As From The House Your Mother Sees You Playing Round The Gar

[22:33] <Yanmei> Lunchtime at last! The hallways in front of NERV's mess halls were unsurprisingly crowded around this time of day, but Yanmei had never particularly minded. In fact, now she was nearly there she could pick up on the usual eager energy, halfway hoping that some of it would rub off on her as well. -
[22:33] <Yanmei> It had been another grueling morning… tests, and target practice, and melee combat instruction. Fortunately, she'd managed to perk her appearance up a little with a change of civilian clothes and a quick shower.
[22:41] <Marianne> [Definitely crowded. But as she walked, she noticed some of the NERV employees giving her odd looks that quickly vanished if she looked at them. Every so often, she'd notice clumps of NERV employees murmuring.-
[22:41] <Marianne> ["She totally did, man, I heard it-" "But isn't that just a rumour?" "No way, you can tell, look at her hand and that shiny ring-" "Isn't it odd-" "-Exactly-"]
[22:45] <Yanmei> Weariness turned to… wariness. She blinked down at her hand for a moment. Did people find out about the engagement? Was that what this was about? Well - she tossed her hair - she wasn't about to let this get to her. She smiled, like always, pretending that nothing was out of place as she made her way into the cafeteria.
[22:46] <Marianne> ["Uh… Miss Zhang?" A nervous-looking man was waiting at the door for her.]
[22:48] <Yanmei> "Yes~?" She tried to recall if she had seen him before. This weird situation was just getting weirder… Maybe it was a little more serious than she'd thought?
[22:49] <Marianne> ["Uh…" He held out a hand. "I just wanted to wish you congratulations."]
[22:50] <Yanmei> "Ah… thank you?" She reached out and shook his hand. Scratch that. But… "That's a very thoughtful thing to say."
[22:51] <Marianne> ["N-No worries. We wish the two of you the best!"]
[22:53] <Yanmei> "Why thank you!" She gave him a warm smile. "I'll pass on your warm wishes to Isaiah."
[22:54] <Marianne> ["R… Right." The man laughed a little. "Have a good one!" He quickly headed off.-
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[22:54] <Marianne> [Yanmei might notice, at this point, that she was being furtively watched by people from a few tables- including one, James Riel, sitting by himself with a box of chicken. He beckoned her over.]
[22:56] * Yanmei obliged, staying cool and calm, to her credit. "Riel. Have any insight into this new sudden popularity of mine?"
[22:57] <Marianne> ["Well, uh…" He coughed. "People've been saying… You know. You and Isaiah…" He looked at her hand.]
[23:00] * Yanmei nodded, holding up her ring, the little diamond flashing. "Yeah, we're going to tie the knot. Is it really that shocking? It's not like NERV doesn't have people already pairing off like that."
[23:01] <Marianne> ["Well… It's… It's more the circumstances." He coughed. "This… Is this gonna interfere with your piloting?"]
[23:03] <Yanmei> "Why would it? He's in Boston now, remember?" A sullen note crept into her voice. That damn Mary Caine.
[23:04] <Marianne> ["Well…" James coughed. "I… I guess that's… Hey, listen, what are you doing now anyway?"]
[23:07] <Yanmei> "Meeting Marianne for lunch. Although…" she leaned in a bit. "Now I'm compelled to learn what these odd circumstances you mentioned actually are. What's going on, really?"
[23:08] <Marianne> ["Well, it's just- you're so young…"]
[23:11] * Yanmei sighed. "Come off it. Do you really consider me a kid after everything this organization's put me through? Obviously, I'm more mature than your average highschooler. And even your average EVA pilot? Just compare me and Asuka, for example."
[23:20] <Marianne> ["I… I guess I can't argue with that."]
[23:28] * Yanmei scrutinized him carefully, before taking a seat next to him
[23:30] <Yanmei> "What are you so concerned about, anyway?" she muttered. "I guess it's nice of you, but not even my mom's that upset about it, and if anyone would blow her top about it I thought it would be her."
[23:32] <Marianne> ["Oh really?" He brightened. "I was afraid she'd be furious."]
[23:33] <Yanmei> "Nope! She commended me for postponing the actually marriage until after the war, and then gave me a line about hoping for a violet-haired granddaughter someday."
[23:34] <Yanmei> ^actual marriage
[23:34] <Marianne> ["I…" He blinked. "I… I see. Well, good for her, then." He grinned.]
[23:37] <Yanmei> "To be honest? I'm glad I told her when I did. If she'd heard about the proposal second-hand from some rumors, it would have been a lot worse?"
[23:37] <Marianne> ["Yeah, totally." He pulled a piece of chicken off the bone and popped it into his mouth. "Anyway, have you seen the time? You've got 15 minutes before a shift change. The cafeteria's gonna be a warzone…" He looked down at his chicken jealously. "I can see why. This is -good- stuff."]
[23:39] <Yanmei> "Yeah? I should get some before it's too late." Yanmei started to rise. "Back soon!"
[23:39] <Marianne> ["Later."]
[23:42] * Yanmei took her time deciding what to eat. The chicken looked a little greasy, but she decided on it anyway, picking out some fruits and veggies as well, in the hope of balancing it out somehow. Before long, she was back at James' table, alternating between texting other people and chatting amicably with him.
[23:42] <Marianne> [Before long, there was a flood of people, exactly as he had said…-
[23:42] <Marianne> [James peered at her curiously.]
[23:43] <Yanmei> "Hm?" She was trying to keep an eye out for Marianne so she could wave her over. "What's that look for?"
[23:45] <Marianne> ["I thought you were eating with the Colonel?"]
[23:46] <Yanmei> "Yeah, when I can find her. Wait, what am I doing?" she turned to her cell phone, and punched a few buttons.
[23:46] <Marianne> Ring. Ring…-
[23:46] <Marianne> "Hello?"
[23:47] <Yanmei> "Hi Colonel! It's me. Are you on your way?"
[23:49] <Marianne> "On my way? Uh… You're going to have to come to me, today, Yanmei. I'm stuck in the office."
[23:51] <Yanmei> "Oh, no problem! Be there in a bit." She hung up, nodded a quick parting to James and picked up her tray. "She always has too much work," she muttered. "I'll be seeing you, okay?"
[23:52] <Marianne> ["Righto. Have fun."]
[23:55] <Yanmei> Off to Marianne's office, then, at a quick pace! It wasn't long until she was standing at the door, and knocking cheerfully. "Colonel? Marianne?"
[23:55] <Marianne> "Come in!"
[23:57] <Yanmei> So Yanmei did. "Afternoon! How're you doing today?"
Session Time: Fri Mar 09 00:00:00 2012
[00:18] * Marianne was sitting behind her desk- when Yanmei entered she pushed aside her books and papers she was poring over. "I'm good, I'm good. Just going over a bit of prep for the op. Like your recent test scores."
[00:21] <Yanmei> "Oh, um." Yanmei found a place to set down the plate she had made for Marianne. "The last synch test wasn't that bad? Not my worst, but admittedly not my best, either."
[00:23] <Marianne> "No, no, it was ok. All in all, you seem pretty well off. Thanks for lunch." She grinned, pulling it towards her. "I have a few questions, though."
[00:24] <Yanmei> "Yes?" She took her own seat in a guest chair with her own plate, nibbling on a little asparagus.
[00:26] <Marianne> "Well…" She picked up a piece of chicken and nibbled on it. "There's been a rumour going around. I doubt it's true, but you've probably heard it already."
[00:30] <Yanmei> "Yeah. James Riel filled me in? Everyone's talking about me and Isaiah."
[00:33] <Marianne> "Mmm…" Marianne frowned. "They say the two of you are engaged because you're carrying a baby, Yanyan. That isn't true, is it?"
[00:33] * Yanmei promptly began to choke.
[00:36] * Marianne reached under her desk and took out a bottle of water, which she wordlessly handed to Yanmei.
[00:38] * Yanmei downed it in big hasty gulps, pounding a fist against her chest a few times. Finally, she set the bottle down with a big, gusty exhale. "Baby," she gasped. "Not Lizzie, but… another baby?"
[00:39] <Marianne> "Yeah…" She looked on apologetically.
[00:41] <Yanmei> She could only think back to the time she had spent in the cafeteria with a more acute sense of horror. "Why? I…? I don't look pregnant!" She stared down at herself, self-consciously, and scowled. "It's ridiculous! It's not true at all!"
[00:42] * Marianne let out a sigh of relief. "Thank God. I didn't think you were, but…"
[00:44] <Yanmei> "But everyone else does? They… they were congratulating me, and I just played along, thinking it was something else!"
[00:46] * Marianne let out a groan. "Do you want me to publish a statement?"
[00:52] <Yanmei> "Maybe. It has to be a non-embarrassing one, though? Like…" She was still frowning and gestured vaguely with her hands. "'There have been no significant changes to the health of the three Parisian pilots lately, so stop talking about it or you're fired.' Something like that?"
[00:54] <Marianne> "Isn't that kind of vague?"
[00:55] <Yanmei> "But if you say 'pregnancy,' they'll know exactly what you're talking about and then talk about it even -more-. Only it'll be in secret to avoid getting fired."
[00:56] <Marianne> "Well, hold on. We can't fire people for that. What we -can- do is subject them to hours of sensitivity training lessons."
[00:59] <Yanmei> "Is that a good deterrent?" She tried to think of various members of the staff being subjected to that. Doctor Gabriel for one…
[01:02] <Marianne> "It should be. But… What if I simply put out a message saying that it's poor form to speculate on unfounded rumours about NERV Personnel's private lives, and anyone caught doing so will be given sensitivity training and a mark on their record?"
[01:05] <Yanmei> "Well, that sounds nice and professional. All ri-" she stopped suddenly "Whoa, wait, wait. That would mean no gossip about anyone. Ever."
[01:05] <Marianne> "Yes, I know."
[01:08] <Yanmei> "Um…" Yanmei hesitated, glancing aside. "…"
[01:09] * Marianne smiled brightly. "You and Katsuragi are way too alike, you know that? You should both take up a different hobby."
[01:14] <Yanmei> "I-I'm not like her!" Yanmei huffed. "I wouldn't spread rumors about an untrue pregnancy unless it was totally obvious and too amazing to keep to myself."
[01:16] <Marianne> "You totally would."
[23:50] <Yanmei> "I wouldn't! Anyway? I'm more concerned about the morale of people around here. Chatting about the things going on with other people in the organization is a pasttime everyone enjoys! And it's wholesome one, except under circumstances like -these-."
[23:51] <Marianne> "You mean, circumstances where they're talking about you?"
[23:52] <Yanmei> "If they were staying nice things, it wouldn't be a problem if they were talking about me," she muttered.
[23:53] <Yanmei> ^saying nice things
[23:53] <Marianne> "But that's just it." Said Marianne. "Why don't you tell me some of the -big- rumours that have crossed this place in the last two years?"
[23:58] <Yanmei> "Um, like… the ones about Group Captain Guillory, and Major Katsuragi, which turned out to be true, and the ones about the late Colonel and Ariadne, which were also true, and those horrible false things people were saying about stupid Fontaine and me way back when the pilots first starting getting missions?"
[23:59] <Marianne> "Actually, if I remember correctly, the rumours about Guillory involved a lot more than just his relationship with Katsuragi."
Session Time: Sun Mar 11 00:00:00 2012
[00:05] <Yanmei> "Well…" Yanmei shifted uncomfortably in her chair. Maybe it was time to steer the conversation toward something lighter. "Ah… did you hear the new one about his secretary making kissy faces at him?"
[00:05] <Marianne> "See? That's what I'm talking about." Said Marianne, who adamantly refused to have the conversation steered. "What would Guillory do if he heard you talking about this?"
[00:06] <Yanmei> "He'd probably get all grumpy?"
[00:08] <Marianne> "Yes, but only because he's a patient man. Katsuragi told me that he was quite livid about the other rumours about him." Marianne frowned. "So no. It doesn't matter if it's a pastime everyone enjoys, it's hurtful to a lot of people, and quite honestly I'm disappointed that you feel that there should be a double standard in place to protect you without changing the problem."
[00:12] <Yanmei> "Huh? But… but…" It was rather hard to come up with a good explanation to allow something like that after all when Marianne was wearing that stern face. She trailed off into a sullen silence.
[00:14] <Marianne> "But what?"
[00:16] <Yanmei> "Nothing," she muttered. "If it bothers you then I'll try to not do it so often either."
[00:18] <Marianne> "Thank you." Said Marianne. "And if you could do me a favour?"
[00:19] <Yanmei> "Yes?" She blinked and looked up at her.
[00:20] <Marianne> "The next time you think about spreading a rumour, try to remember how you felt when I told you what people were -really- talking about, mm? That's how a lot of people feel when rumours get spread."
[00:24] <Yanmei> "Yes ma'am." She attempted a little smile. "It seems like I'm getting my own sensitivity training today?"
[00:26] <Marianne> "Yes, you are." Said Marianne, smiling a little herself. She reached out and ruffled Yanmei's hair playfully. "I do love you, sweetie, you know that. But it's my job as your guardian to correct you when you go wrong."
[00:32] <Yanmei> "Yeah, I know." She tried to smooth down her hair after that. "Is there anything else you're worried about while we're on this track?"
[00:33] <Marianne> "Well…" She nibbled her food, a little ineffectually.-
[00:33] <Marianne> "You're… Alright, right? With Isaiah in Boston and all…"
[00:35] <Yanmei> "Heh. Of course!" She made herself smile a little more broadly to show that it was true. "We still communicate all the time. And I still have you and Lizzie to keep me from getting too lonely."
[00:38] * Marianne gazed at Yanmei doubtfully. "Don't give me that…"
[00:44] <Yanmei> Yanmei's smile faded a little. "It's true," she muttered, glancing away. "I guess it's led to a lot being on my mind? And less time and money to go around. But that's really it."
[00:50] <Marianne> "Yanmei." She reached out and took her hand. "You and Isaiah are- close. Really, really close in ways I admit I've never seen elsewhere… I want to help."
[01:01] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei looked down a moment, thinking. She didn't know -to- let her help with these overwhelming circumstances… these politics. "If… you could work from home a few evenings every now and then…" she ventured. "It gets quiet."
[01:02] <Marianne> "…"-
[01:02] * Marianne stood up, walking around the desk, putting her arms around Yanmei tightly. "I'm sorry. I'll do my best to try."
[01:04] * Yanmei leaned into the hug, patting her arm gently. "Thank you, Marianne. Just that is enough."
[01:07] <Marianne> "Maybe once we win the war, we'll be able to spend more time together. We can go out to restaurants and plays and the like."
[01:09] <Yanmei> "Which of those wars are we talking about here?" Yanmei smiled wryly. "We really have a lot to do, don't we?"
[01:10] <Marianne> "We do. A lot of people are depending on us."
[01:13] <Yanmei> "Yeah…" Yanmei nodded, her brow furrowing slightly in thought. "May I ask you something?"
[01:14] <Marianne> "Sure."
[01:16] <Yanmei> "Am I doing a decent job? I mean, there always seem to be a lot of expectations, and I want to know if I'm meeting them regularly."
[01:19] <Marianne> "Yes, of course. You're performing well in nearly all aspects. It'd be nicer if you had a firmer grasp on managing your squad, but Blanc and de Pteres are pretty headstrong…"
[01:25] <Yanmei> "Oh. Well, I'm trying with that." She frowned, keeping her insecurities to herself for now. "I was told that it would get easier, but I don't think it has, really."
[01:27] <Marianne> "Generally speaking, the job doesn't get easier. You just get better at doing it. And I think you -have- improved."
[01:29] <Yanmei> "I have?" She blinked.
[01:29] <Marianne> "You have! I can tell. The way you look at situations, how you act… Yes, I think you've gotten better, it's just confidence keeping you back."
[01:32] <Yanmei> "Confidence? But I have loads of that stuff!" She tossed her hair, her voice taking on a rather Asuka-like tone. "I'm not frightened going into battles. Not that I ever was, but…"
[01:40] * Marianne cuddles Yanmei tighter. "Aw, sweetie. I saw the movie. I also know you. But that's not what I mean. It's ok to be scared…"
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[01:47] <Yanmei> That stupid movie… but Yanmei held her tongue on it. Well, this was an opportunity to get hugs from Marianne, and even if they were kind of awkward sometimes, she'd missed them. "Is it really? Almost everyone acts like a professional when it's time to go. I'm not exception. I don't see why I should be, anyway."
[01:47] <Yanmei> ^no exception
[01:50] <Marianne> "You can act however you feel like. Just… there's nothing wrong with admitting it." She smiled. "But what I actually meant is that I don't think you have the confidence needed to order de Pteres and Blanc."
[01:55] <Yanmei> "…!" Yanmei considered this warily. It wasn't something she wanted to confirm, and if she denied it Marianne would just think she was masking the truth. Assuming that she saw through it? As if she was even masking anything! "How would you handle it? You were in charge of the Dreadnought team before now, so you have lots of experience."
[01:57] <Marianne> "Well, think of it like this: if you have faith in your own abilities, then your plans and strategies should be sound, meaning you should have no worries with ordering them."
[03:01] <Yanmei> "That simple, hm? So how did you get faith in your own abilities?"
[03:02] <Marianne> "Study, practice. Experience, success."
[03:07] <Yanmei> "Not so simple after all," she said with a grim smile. "But I've been teaching myself tactics and I've nearly beaten Julian in chess, you know."
[03:07] <Yanmei> ^Julien
[03:13] <Marianne> "Hm? How come you don't play me in chess?"
[03:14] <Yanmei> "Do you want to?" Yanmei brightened. "That'd be fun. I bet you don't flagrantly cheat, like he does."
[03:15] <Marianne> "Oh? He cheats?"
[03:17] <Yanmei> "Absolutely. Moving certain pieces backward when it's compltely against the rules. You have to keep an eye on him!"
[03:18] <Marianne> Marianne beamed. "Well, I'd love to play chess. But we should also consider more complex games too…"
[03:19] <Yanmei> "Hm? Like what?"
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[03:21] <Marianne> "Wargames. There are some games out there that can mimic warfare pretty well. The MAGI can even run simulated wars."
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[03:23] <Yanmei> "Oh! He has some of those too, but they look pretty weird. I've just been passing on them. But… if you say they're okay, then maybe I should give them a try?"
[03:33] <Marianne> "I think it'd be a great idea."
[03:35] <Yanmei> "It's settled, then." Yanmei nodded. "We;ll have a game night one of these days. I'll invite the Group Captain, too. I'm sure he'd appreciate it!"
[03:35] * Marianne beamed. "Oh, yes. I know he will. And Misato, too~"
[03:36] <Yanmei> "Eeeh? Her too?"
[03:36] <Marianne> "Oh, come on. Why don't you like Misato?"
[03:47] <Yanmei> "She's completely immature," Yanmei pouted. "Besides, she and Guillory will probably getting all cozy and snuggly with each other if they're both there. Although - heh - it's be just as funny as it is awkward to see him acting that way."
[03:49] <Marianne> "Like you can talk."
[03:50] <Yanmei> "Ah? I'm not like that at all!"
[03:50] <Marianne> "You and Isaiah are so snuggly whenever you're together."
[03:51] <Yanmei> "We're completely self-controlled!" she huffed.
[03:52] <Marianne> "So you -intend- to be all snuggly and wuvey-duvey in public?"
[03:58] <Yanmei> "Urgh, we don't…. We're like professional colleagues when we're in public!"
[03:59] <Marianne> "Mmmhmm." Marianne leaned over and tickled Yanmei's neck. "Besides, don't be begrudging Misato her fun. She didn't have much of a chance to be a kid when she was a kid.'
[04:06] <Yanmei> "Hm?" Yanmei squirmed a little. "Ah. Second Impact?"
[04:10] * Marianne nodded slowly. "Misato's experiences were… Rather worse than other's."
[04:18] <Yanmei> "Oh?"
[04:24] <Marianne> "Mm-mm. You should ask her yourself."
[04:33] <Yanmei> "I may just do that?" Yanmei leaned back in her chair. "Hmph. I bet you guys are getting ready for some huge Operation Director meetings right about now."
[04:34] <Marianne> "Oh yes." Marianne chuckled.
[04:35] <Yanmei> "How are things between her and Wellesley these days?"
[04:37] <Marianne> "They're a little better, actually. I dunno why. I guess after Wellesley and Rei hooked up he's become a little less touchy."
[04:39] <Yanmei> "You don't think it has something to do with him getting a position that lets him show off without stepping on anyone else's toes?"
[04:40] <Marianne> "Not at all. Misato and Wellesley's rivalry would preclude something like that."
[04:44] <Yanmei> "Hm. So it'd make more sense if they were trying to one-up each other from opposite sides of the globe, huh?"
[04:47] <Marianne> "Naturally. I mean, you and Asuka are still rivals, right?"
[04:58] <Yanmei> "Hey! We're just friends with a healthy sense of competition?"
[04:59] <Marianne> "Ah. So you'll be pleased to note that Asuka's being promoted to full Lieutenant, with seniority over all Eva units?"
[05:07] <Yanmei> "Th-that can't be true!"
[00:14] * Marianne beamed, watching Yanmei with clear delight.
[00:15] * Yanmei frowned back at her. "No… if it was true, she would have started bragging about it right away. That's a mean joke, Marianne!"
[00:15] <Marianne> "I thought you were just friends with a healthy sense of competition. So you -are- rivals~"
[00:17] <Yanmei> "That doesn't prove anything. Would -you- want to be Asuka's subordinate?"
[00:18] <Marianne> "She gets the job done."
[00:19] <Yanmei> "Maybe, but have you seen Hachi and Go lately?"
[00:21] <Marianne> "I have. Hachi seems to be having fun at least."
[00:23] <Yanmei> "Hmph." Yanmei eyed her suspiciously. "I get the feeling that you're impressed with how she's performing in her new position?"
[00:24] <Marianne> "Aren't you?"
[00:26] <Yanmei> "I admit that she may have picked up a few things in her training that she's probably applying competently. I haven't seen the three of them on the battlefield with my own eyes, though."
[00:28] <Marianne> "Well, we could watch a simulation…"
[00:29] <Yanmei> "We could. I think that's a very interesting idea."
[00:36] <Marianne> "Right. I'll schedule the war room sometime this week. But…" She peered at Yanmei curiously. "Have you considered making Blanc and de Pteres do formation training?"
[00:38] <Yanmei> "Do you think we should? We've never been required to before."
[00:46] <Marianne> "It can be helpful. Angels and human enemies both, although Angels may be a little harder to handle. But let me ask you this. What formation would you put yourself, de Pteres and Blanc in to face, say, a close-quarters focused enemy?"
[00:53] <Yanmei> "In close quarters? A single opponent? De Pteres and I would be in the front, shoulder to shoulder, to neutralize, melee, and form a wall to keep it from advancing. Blanc would support us from a slightly farther distance. -
[00:53] <Yanmei> While it would be hard for her to get a line of sight in those circumstances, it would be a problem if her allies were caught in an explosion caused by one of her AT Field abilities, so it would be best if she stuck to using her lance or a similar weapon."
[00:55] * Marianne nodded. "That makes sense. Do you think you could improve on that, though?"
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[01:08] <Yanmei> "It's pretty predictable, isn't it? And all the enemy would need to do is to take out one of the front-liners to advance." She frowned. "It would be better if we could take it from both the front and back instead of forming a front line. Maybe make an attempt to pin its limbs to its body to prevent retaliation. -
[01:09] <Yanmei> In that case, the allied attackers would have to be as precise as possible to not hit the grappling EVA and to put the enemy down before it reverses the advantage and takes a hostage."
[01:11] * Marianne nods. "That's a good way to go about it. See? That's the sort of thinking I like to see." Said Marianne approvingly. "Tell me, have you heard about Hannibal of Carthage?"
[01:14] <Yanmei> "Um. He was some sort of military… guy, right?"
[01:20] * Marianne smiled, a little sheepishly. She walked over to her bookshelf, taking one of the books. "He was a military commander. Considered to be one of the most successful in history. He lived around 240 to 180 BC, and he almost single-handedly wiped out the Roman Republic." She placed the book on the table. "He came -this- close to changing all of Western civilization."
[01:23] <Yanmei> "Impressive. What stopped him?"
[01:29] <Marianne> "Politics, his own army, and Roman strategy." She sat down. "His army contained a lot of mercenaries and people he not only had to pay, but people who were part of his army because a good way to get rich was through looting. In three major battles- Trebia, Lake Tresimene and Cannae- he smashed the Roman army, and every time his soldiers looted the bodies and got rich. But if the victories
[01:29] <Marianne> stopped flowing, then his army would desert. The Romans knew that they couldn't face him on the battlefield, so what do you think they did?"
[01:31] <Yanmei> "They bribed away his mercenaries, huh? A good idea!"
[01:31] * Marianne shook her head. "No, they didn't."
[01:34] <Yanmei> "Then they… blocked the flow of wealth to the army somehow? Making it so that he couldn't pay his soldiers?"
[01:36] * Marianne nodded. "Think about it. Hannibal needed victories to pay his soldiers. With his talent, so long as he had an army to fight, he'd win. So the Romans simply refused to field an army."
[01:41] <Yanmei> "Ah~ Clever. But kind of risky too? If they'd been mistaken about the nature of his army, they could very well have hung themselves by doing that."
[01:46] <Marianne> "You're right. Luckily, they knew what they were dealing with, and Hannibal was in Italy for ten years. Eventually his army whittled away and the Romans were able to force him to pull back to Carthage by attacking the city- and that's where they eventually took him down." Marianne smiled. "But that's not important. What you should focus on is his strategies and tactics."
[01:48] <Yanmei> "Hm, it sounds like he'd be the sort of person to use tactics based around having overwhelming numbers and force?"
[01:50] <Marianne> "Not so. In fact, in many cases he faced the Romans with a force that was strictly speaking, inferior."
[01:54] <Yanmei> "I see." Yanmei nodded. "In that case, I will! And of course, I'll look for some of his ideas that we can use too."
[01:57] * Marianne nodded, smiling. She slid the book over to Yanmei. "There's a battle in there called the Battle of Cannae. I want you to be able to list the two armies involved, their relative strengths and weaknesses, and how Hannibal won- and how to apply his strategies to our own wars by next week."
[01:58] <Yanmei> "You're… giving me a test on it?"
[01:59] * Marianne nodded.
[02:01] <Yanmei> "Heh. Should I ask what happens if I fail?"
[02:01] <Marianne> "Then we'll keep doing it over and over." She grinned. "Do you still have that copy of Sun Tzu's Art of War with you?"
[02:04] <Yanmei> "Of course! I left it at home, though, on my bookshelf." The one now crowded with picture books and popout books from the library. Hopefully she could dig it out easily…
[02:07] <Marianne> "Good, good. Because after Hannibal, we'll be looking at a few other military leaders over the next two months. Alexander the Great, Zhang Liang, Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan, Henry V, Frederick the Great and Erwin Rommel amongst others."
[02:09] <Yanmei> "S-seriously? That many? How come?"
[02:11] <Marianne> "Because you -need- to know Alexander, Hannibal, Zhang and Caesar for the basics, but you need to know Frederick and Rommel for everything else."
[02:13] <Yanmei> "I suspect you were a teacher in another life or something? But…" she sighed, "this is important, so I'll do it."
[02:16] * Marianne beamed. "And I've decided that you'll be testing your tactical acumen against Asuka to see who'll be promoted to Lieutenant."
[02:20] * Yanmei looked up abruptly at that! But she settled down again just a moment or two later. "Har har. You almost had me going, there."
[02:20] <Marianne> "I'm absolutely serious."
[02:22] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei stared. "You… you can't… I mean, uh. Surely a contest like this would have to be approved by uh, the Commander or the VC or whoever approves promotions?"
[02:23] <Marianne> "I already have permission."
[02:24] <Yanmei> "Then…" That left her without wind in her sails. Any other excuses? Nope. She tossed her hair. "Hmph. In that case, I'll just have to beat her soundly!"
[02:25] <Marianne> "That's right. So you'd best study hard." Marianne beamed. "In fact, I know someone who could help you greatly."
[02:26] <Yanmei> "Really? Like an experienced General?" Her eyes widened slightly.
[02:26] <Marianne> "Indeed." She held out a phone number. "Why don't you make a call now?"
[02:28] * Yanmei promptly took out her phone, and peered down at the number she had been given, quickly doing just that! She sat up straighter, adopting a more professional pose.
[02:28] <Marianne> [Ring… Ring…-
[02:29] <Marianne> ["Moshimoshi~?" answered a perky female voice in Japanese.]
[02:31] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei gave her Operations Director a Look, clenching her phone harder.
[02:35] <Marianne> ["Hello?" This time in English.-
[02:35] * Marianne beamed.
[02:36] <Yanmei> "Hello, Major Katsuragi," said Yanmei through gritted teeth. "This is Zhang Yanmei?"
[02:38] <Marianne> ["Ah! Hello, Yanyan~ How can I help you today?"]
[02:39] <Yanmei> "I was talking to Marianne today, and she mentioned something about. Um. Tutoring. In military tactics?"
[02:40] <Marianne> ["Oh yes! She told me about that too. I'd be happy to help you, of course~ <3"]
[02:42] <Yanmei> "*Mutter mutter* assistance. I'll call again later to see when you're free?"
[02:45] <Marianne> ["Of course, Yanyan~"]
[02:47] <Yanmei> "All right. Till then?" And she hung up. Silence followed for a little while. Then. "Colonel? Aren't there, like, dozens of experts on this in the Paris Geofront alone?"
[02:48] <Marianne> "If there were, wouldn't they have been made Major?"
[02:49] <Yanmei> "But," she pouted, "couldn't you tutor me instead? Like, moreso?"
[02:50] <Marianne> "I could, but a mature, professional pilot would accept her given tutor~"
[02:53] <Yanmei> "Hey! I'm both of those things!" She insisted, sitting up again. Her frown didn't go away, however. "It's for a good cause," she muttered to herself. "Beating the pants off of Asuka. And maybe it won't be too bad?"
[02:54] <Marianne> "I'm sure Misato will give you a solid tutoring."
[02:57] <Yanmei> "Let's hope?" she murmured. "You seem pretty impressed with her too."
[02:58] <Marianne> "There's a reason she's a major." Marianne winked.
[03:01] <Yanmei> "All right, all right. I'll trust you on this, Marianne." Yanmei nudged her plate aside. There was still a lot of food left on it, but she was satisfied. "Feel like seconds?"
[03:03] <Marianne> "Don't mind if I do!"

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