Augustine S Parley

#6[13:36] * Yanmei tried not to stare at the mound of lace sitting opposite her in the VTOL as it touched down in the city of Paris-2. She was still trying to come to terms with her presence and how complicated it made things. -
[13:41] <Yanmei> When she finally did look up, it was with a bright and innocent smile. As far as things officially stood, they were simply there to meet up with a certain god-botherer, pick up some personal items from a certain apartment, and return back to the battleship after just a short hour or two. -
[13:44] <Yanmei> So why had Marianne insisted sending along a… a -babysitter- for such a simple task? What was the worst that could possibly happen?
[13:46] <Minaplo> [The VTOL door opened, the cool wind blowing into the cabin immediately. William was already waiting, his coat buttoned up fully against the chill. "Welcome back to the ground, Yanmei."]
[13:54] <Yanmei> "Thanks, William~" She hobbled down the ramp, stretching her arms a bit as she came in closer. "What have you been up to today?"
[13:55] <Minaplo> ["Just visiting a few friends. Hi, Chiisana."-
[13:55] <Minaplo> [Chiisana had followed Yanmei down, the rustling lace barely audible above the wind, but still audible. "Pilot Weiss-Xylander. You are well?"-
[13:55] <Minaplo> ["Cold but fine. Shall we, Yanmei?"]
[13:56] <Yanmei> "Certainly?" She let him lead the way to whichever vehicle they were going to be taking.#
#1[14:00] <Minaplo> [Which turned out to be a black, unmarked car driven by a man in a suit with an earpiece.]
[14:05] <Yanmei> Of course it was. Sparing no security? She tried to make the best of it, chatting happily with William and Chiisana. "It's the first time I've been back to the place in a really long time? I wonder if a lot of stuff's been moved around."
[14:16] <Minaplo> ["I'm the only person who's been there, really. And even then only occasionally." Said William.-
[14:19] <Minaplo> [The car drove more or less silently through the deserted streets, and before long the sights became very familiar ones. Shops she used to frequent, closed up and locked. A school, shut down. Apartments, their windows dark.-
[14:19] <Minaplo> [The car stopped outside of the most familiar place of all- her own apartment building.]
[14:23] <Yanmei> It had been a sobering ride. Now, Yanmei opened the car door, murmuring a thank you to their driver, and slipped out onto the sidewalk, staring up at the building. She slipped out her key card. "This is your first time here, isn't it?" Another smile aimed at Chiisana.
[14:24] <Minaplo> [Chiisana rustled out after Yanmei. She looked up at the building, her umbrella held between her hands. "Yes."]
[14:29] <Yanmei> "I will endeavor to be the best hostess that I can under the circumstances. Let's go?" She was the one to lead the way now, up to the front door of the building, to the elevator that would lead up to the floor where the apartment was. Once before their apartment door, she tried listening through it for just a moment for anything unusual…
[14:30] <Minaplo> [She couldn't hear anything.]
[14:33] <Yanmei> "Right, then," she said cheerfully, and opened it, leading them into the main living room. "Please make yourself at home?"
[14:42] <Minaplo> ["Of c-" Began Chiisana, who then froze.-
[14:42] <Minaplo> [Sitting on one of the couches, one leg folded over another, was the Solomon Prime Augustine, reading a book.]
[14:43] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei stopped short herself now, following her gaze. She stared. Incredulously.
[14:44] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[14:45] <Minaplo> [William and Chiisana reacted at the same time, William pulling a gun, Chiisana drawing her greatsword out of a dirac sea.-
[14:46] <Minaplo> [Augustine barely reacted. William's gun flew from his hand, sending him stumbling forward- the gun flew through the air and landed harmlessly next to Augustine, whilst Chiisana swung her sword- only to be blocked by a wide-spread AT Field barrier.]#
[14:54] <Yanmei> "No!" There was a slight touch of panic to her voice, remembering the bone-breaking conflicts from the Palais. "Both of you, stand down!"
[14:57] <Minaplo> ["But Yanmei! He is an enemy!" Said Chiisana stubbornly.]
[14:59] <Yanmei> "Of course he is? But that's not going to work!"
[15:00] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[15:00] <Minaplo> [Chiisana stepped backwards, the air around her taking a strange distorted feel as she began to displace energy around her. Yanmei had seen the tactic enough to realise that she was focusing for a huge blast…]
[15:04] <Yanmei> "Himesama!" Yanmei lurched for her, trying to grab her shoulder. "Please!"
[15:05] <Minaplo> [Augustine turned a page in his book.-
[15:06] <Minaplo> [Chiisana gave Yanmei an infuriated look, but the energy dissipated. "What are you doing?!"]
[15:15] <Yanmei> "Stopping you? -Listen- to me! This is more complicated than you think."
[15:19] <Minaplo> ["How?"]
[15:21] * Yanmei didn't answer directly. She just glared Augustine. "Please state why you're here? It's for non-hostile reasons, right?"
[15:29] <Minaplo> ["Yes."]
[15:32] <Yanmei> "Then… you want to talk." She glanced at Chiisana out of the corner of her eye to make sure she was calming down. "Negotiations?"
[15:33] <Minaplo> [Chiisana's jaw was set in that way that reminded her mostly of…-
[15:34] <Minaplo> [… Well, Chiisana. She -was- the superlative comparison benchmark here.-
[15:34] <Minaplo> ["Yes." Said Augustine quietly.]
[15:37] * Yanmei repressed a deep shudder and tried to refocus on the enemy Solomon Prime. -
[15:38] <Yanmei> "Where have you taken Gilles de Orleans?"
[15:42] <Minaplo> ["To Mary Caine."]
[15:42] <Yanmei> "…" She took a deep breath. "He's not dead."
[15:43] <Minaplo> ["She will have him replaced."]
[15:49] <Yanmei> "Can he be saved?"
[15:54] <Minaplo> ["In what way?"]
[15:57] <Yanmei> "Him. The original de Orleans? If he's still alive, can he be rescued from Mary Caine intact? Physically. Mentally."
[15:57] <Minaplo> ["No."]
[15:59] <Yanmei> "…" Her expression shifted, but she managed, with effort, to smooth it out again, letting a fist drop down by her side. "What did you want to talk about, then?"
[16:02] <Minaplo> ["I want you to help me."-
[16:02] <Minaplo> [Chiisana let out a low hiss so menacing that William jumped, looking around himself in alarm.]
[16:06] * Yanmei glanced at her as well again, but comparatively briefly. "How?"
[16:08] <Minaplo> ["There is a Solomon Prime in the Geofront named Sophia Terra Rei. I want you to bring her here."]
[16:10] <Yanmei> "The Spectre?" She raised her eyebrows. "I… can kind of understand why? But don't you have a better chance of getting her out of there? Caine's troops practically occupied the entire place."
[16:10] <Minaplo> ["I am forbidden to enter the Geofront."]
[16:11] <Yanmei> "Why?"
[16:11] <Minaplo> ["I do not know. I simply am."]
[16:19] <Yanmei> "I see," said Yanmei quietly. She resisted the urge to exchange a glance with William. "I don't know how much I can promise? But I'll try to formulate a plan."
[16:21] <Minaplo> ["You cannot be serious." Said Chiisana flatly.]
[16:27] <Yanmei> "I'm not. Caine clearly has her reasons to keep those two apart? So that means we should try to thwart that as much as possible."
[16:32] <Yanmei> ^I am
[16:48] <Minaplo> ["It could be a trap!"]
[16:51] <Yanmei> "If he wanted to capture me, he would have tried it already back at the Palais. Or right now."
[16:56] <Minaplo> ["And if you walked into the Geofront and were caught, they'd have you for espionage."]
[17:03] <Yanmei> "You're not wrong? But…" she eyed Augustine, "what do you plan to do with the Spectre when you see her again?"
[17:05] <Minaplo> ["Form a Libido Effect with her."]
[17:06] * Yanmei turned slightly pink. Respectfully, she cleared her throat. -
[17:09] <Yanmei> "I thought that was the case? Miss Himesama, I'll explain everything thoroughly. For now, there's no harm in hearing his request out, don't you think?"
[17:11] <Minaplo> ["Of course there is harm!" Said Chiisana, outraged.]
[17:16] <Yanmei> "It will be okay," she insisted. "Please trust me…"
[17:17] <Minaplo> [Chiisana pointed to Yanmei's bedroom. "In here. You will explain everything thoroughly indeed- and now."]
[17:19] * Yanmei sighed. "-Fine-. Please excuse us for a moment."
[17:20] <Minaplo> [Chiisana pulled Yanmei into the room, closing and locking the door behind her. Then she perched on Yanmei's bed as though she owned it, crossed one leg over the other, folded her arms, and waited with an imperious aura.]
12:56] <Yanmei> Her bedroom… it had been ages since she was last in here, and back then, her last glimpse of it had been of her blood-soaked bed. Someone had cleaned the place up, obviously. -
[12:57] <Yanmei> Fondly, absently, she ran a hand over the top of the dresser and went to her closet to see if her guns were still there. -
[13:00] <Yanmei> "This request works out in our favor. If we can pull it off - assuming it's not a trap - then that Solomon Prime sitting in the livingroom will have a Libido Effect that could block any conditioning he underwent to instill his loyalty to Caine. If we can't fight him directly, then this is the next best thing?"
[13:01] <Minaplo> ["And how do we know it won't just make him an even greater threat? There's no guarantee that he won't remain loyal to Caine regardless."]
[13:07] <Yanmei> "Maybe. But she's seemingly going to lengths to keep them apart? Doesn't that seem strange to you?"
[13:08] <Minaplo> ["According to him." Said Chiisana. "Maybe he just wants you to think that so you'll buy into his scheme!"]
[13:11] <Yanmei> "But it's completely unnecessary! What possible reason would he - or Caine - have for tricking me into going in there when they could just abduct me the way they did with de Orleans? How easy would it be to replace me? They tried it before!"
[13:13] <Minaplo> ["They can't replace you, because Gabriel-Wei would know, and we would know." Said Chiisana.-
[13:14] <Minaplo> ["If you were to randomly vanish, people would ask questions."-
[13:16] <Minaplo> ["The last time, she framed you for a crime and the world went ballistic. But this time, if she seizes you in the Geofront committing subterfuge, she wouldn't have to frame you. She'd be right, and NERV would have no choice but to agree."]
[13:20] <Yanmei> "So then we don't commit subterfuge. We find some loophole." She smirked, hefting a rifle up. "Sneaking in and out is an impossibility anyway, for high-profile NERVites like us."
[13:21] <Minaplo> [Chiisana frowned.-
[13:22] <Minaplo> ["So you're basing this fool's errand solely off the fact that he could have captured you at his own will but did not."]
[13:22] <Yanmei> "Not… entirely, no," she said awkwardly, lowering the rifle.
[13:23] <Minaplo> [Chiisana waited, her lower leg tapping the floor impatiently.]
[13:28] <Yanmei> She was outright somber now. "You can't tell anyone? I still haven't told de Orleans' little girl and bodyguard… But I knew this would happen. Not this request specficially, but -a- request."
[13:29] <Minaplo> ["How?" Demanded Chiisana.]
[13:34] <Yanmei> "Payback? For sparing one of the targets he was after that night."
[13:36] <Minaplo> ["That could be part of the deception!"]
[13:42] * Yanmei sighed, settling the gun aside and pulling out another one. "None of what you're saying is wrong."
[13:51] <Minaplo> ["But you're still going to go through with it, aren't you?"]
[13:55] <Yanmei> "…" She slipped a fresh clip into a standard pistol. "I'll get proof or insurance from him before doing anything? But… I don't want to leave this matter alone, no."
[13:57] <Minaplo> ["Then I am coming with you."]
[13:58] * Yanmei blinked up at her, startled. "What? Why…?"
[14:05] <Minaplo> ["Because it is dangerous for you to do this alone!"]
[14:06] <Yanmei> "I didn't plan to? But…" she smiled warmly at her, "thank you."
[14:10] <Minaplo> ["Hmph. You should be scolding me for letting you go through with this in the first place. At least with me, I will be able to see you spirited to safety if the situation goes poorly."]
[14:13] <Yanmei> "That -is- true." Satisfied with her collection, she stood up and happily joined Chiisana on the edge of the bed. "You're like everyone's big sister sometimes~"
[14:16] <Minaplo> ["This is still a bad idea." Said Chiisana haughtily, although she seemed a -little- mollified by Yanmei's comments. "I think we should bring some other people with us."]
[14:19] <Yanmei> "I did say I wasn't planning on doing this alone? Aside from an actual task force, I want to consult with some people too."
[14:23] <Minaplo> ["Oh?"]
[14:26] <Yanmei> "At least one of the ODs might have ideas on how to approach this problem from within the system, at a lower risk to us. Unfortunately, we only have a short window of opportunity…"
[14:48] <Minaplo> ["Then we ought to go right now." Said Chiisana promptly. "I am thinking we should bring Rei, Ni and Juuichi along as well."]
[14:58] <Yanmei> "So gung-ho all of a sudden~" She stood once again. "I want to finish talking to this guy first. Give me a few minutes, and I'll get that insurance I was talking about?" She took a step back and looked around her bedroom again, this time with a little sadness. "And a few mementos, too."
[15:01] <Minaplo> [Chiisana hesitated, then reached out and put a lace-gloved hand on Yanmei's left shoulder. "Yanmei."]
[15:02] <Yanmei> "Hm?" She tilted her head at her.
[15:03] <Minaplo> ["I do not think this is a good idea. But I trust you and your judgement."-
[15:04] <Minaplo> ["But if this is a trap, then this is the last time. No more negotiations. Agreed?"]
[15:09] <Yanmei> "Heh. Yes, I think that's fair? It's a deal."
[15:10] <Minaplo> ["Good." Chiisana nodded, then, pausing, pulled Yanmei into a hug. "I am sorry I became- emotionally aroused."]
[15:13] * Yanmei patted her lightly on the back. "It was because you were worried. I understand?"
[15:15] <Minaplo> ["Good." Chiisana pulled back.-
[15:15] <Minaplo> ["I hope we haven't chosen to risk our lives just so one of our enemies can have a girlfriend." She added darkly.]
[15:25] <Yanmei> "It'd be a first," Yanmei said with clear amusement. "…I've a feeling it will pay off, though."
[15:27] <Minaplo> ["Perhaps they'll make you the Godmother." Said Chiisana dryly.]
[15:28] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei cleared her throat. "Let's go see how William and the Prime are doing."
[15:38] <Minaplo> [William was sitting down directly opposite the Prime, staring at him with cautious suspicion.-
[15:38] <Minaplo> [The Prime was continuing to read, unruffled.]
[15:42] <Yanmei> "We've returned?" Yanmei needlessly announced. "And we've decided something."
[15:43] <Minaplo> [Augustine wordlessly looked up.]
[15:46] <Yanmei> "We'll help you. But." She put her hands on her hips, "First we need proof from you that this whole thing isn't just an elaborate trap."
[15:46] <Minaplo> ["What proof would suffice?"]
[15:56] <Yanmei> "Anything. Arguing your proof, being willing to put yourself in a vulnerable position until you're reunited, giving up something important to you until the same conditions are reached…"
[12:37] <Minaplo> ["I did not capture you before." Said Augustine. "I allowed you to go free."]
[12:38] <Yanmei> "That could have been part of an elaborate set-up to lead us to this point."
[12:39] <Minaplo> ["What would be the point?"]
[12:48] <Yanmei> "For us, the danger of this mission isn't being caught and killed by the guards in the Geofront? It's being placed in a position that would all Caine to incarcerate us for a seemingly legitimate reason… unlike the last disasterous time. If I had vanished during the attack on the Palais, it would have caused another huge backlash." -
[12:49] * Yanmei paused. "Granted, that might have also been quelled by taking out Mazarin at the same time. But still…"
[12:51] <Minaplo> ["Who would pilot Evangelion Unit 04 with you gone?"]
[12:53] <Yanmei> "Is that really one of Caine's concerns?"
[12:57] <Minaplo> ["I believe so. Caine does not want the Angel Michael to win, but she does not wish to deploy her key forces so early. You are more useful to her taking hits in an Evangelion than you are in her grasp."]
[12:59] <Yanmei> "Comforting," Yanmei muttered sourly.
[13:03] <Minaplo> ["You know my soul." Said Augustine quietly. "If I could go to her directly, I would. You know that."]
[13:07] <Yanmei> "I remember, yes. I also don't think you'd do something as tacky as using her as bait for a trap if it was up to you? But Caine could, I bet, force you to even if you didn't want to."
[13:16] <Minaplo> ["There is nothing I can give you." Said Augustine. "All of my equipment is traceable, and I can summon it at will. And there is no way to put me into a genuinely vulnerable situation."]
[13:23] <Yanmei> "So all we have is your word, really…"
[13:28] <Minaplo> ["If that is all you have, then we must reinforce it with honesty. If you were to accept my proposal, what would be your motivations?"]
[13:30] * Yanmei stiffened slightly. "A longshot hope of making you and the Spectre more resistant to Caine's commands. Since, you know. Combat with you guys isn't exactly in our favor?"
[13:32] <Minaplo> ["I thought as much. I can disclaim to you now that I do not think it will work."]
[13:34] <Yanmei> "Why not?"
[13:41] <Minaplo> ["Caine does not use standard conditioning techniques on the Primes, or people she needs to control. She separates their souls. The will of a person is placed within her Eternity Drive, and she uses her mastery of it to place absolute Destiny on us."]
[13:42] <Yanmei> "So not even a Libido Effect will weaken that?"
[13:44] <Minaplo> ["I do not know. It is my hope that reconnecting with my Eve will let my Eve control me, and that control would be more powerful than Caine's. But my Eve no doubt is under the same predicament. Even if it did work, I doubt Caine would let it go on without creating some countermeasure."]
[13:52] <Yanmei> "So what we'd be doing, potentially, is making you and the Spectre more powerful. While you remain our enemies."
[13:52] <Minaplo> ["Yes."]
[13:55] <Yanmei> "It's no wonder you tried to make that deal at the Palais. This is madness…"
[14:00] <Minaplo> ["I would not make this deal if it were offered to me."]
[14:02] <Yanmei> "But you're so desperate that you're asking us to go along with it." She glanced at Chiisana and William.
[14:03] <Minaplo> [Chiisana was watching quietly, whilst William seemed unconvinced.-
[14:03] <Minaplo> ["Yes." Said Augustine. "I want to see her."]
[14:16] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei plopped into a chair opposite of him.
[14:24] <Minaplo> ["I am driven to see her." He said, his voice quiet. "I want to see her now. But I cannot. And to be so close, yet unable, is cruel."]
[14:30] <Yanmei> "I sympathize, believe me?" She grumbled. Finally, she sighed. "But we do anything, I need to confer with some people first. I can't just waltz up to the Geofront and barge in on my own? But… I will try to give my assistance."
[14:31] <Minaplo> ["Thank you."]
[14:32] <Yanmei> "I suppose if you need to contact me, you'll find a way to."
[14:32] <Minaplo> ["Yes."]
[14:37] <Yanmei> "Then…" She stood. "There are a few things we'll take and then we'll be on our way?"
[14:43] <Minaplo> [He stood up, and nodded to her. He walked past them all, out onto the balcony; he stepped off and into the gloom without breaking his stride.-
[14:43] <Minaplo> [His book had been left behind.]
[14:44] * Yanmei watched him go, warily, before curiosity took hold. She crept closer to the sofa where he had been sitting.
[15:03] <Minaplo> [The book was large, thick, with a red leather cover, but the pages were white, suggesting recent print. The book's title was in Chinese- 'The Dream of the Red Chamber'.]
[15:09] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei flipped through to the title page, briefly, before putting it down on the coffee table. "I'll call a meeting as soon as we return? But for now…" She frowned back in the direction of her bedroom.

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