Battleship S Welcome

[09:11] <Yanmei> The jaunt had gone as well as expected. -
[09:14] <Yanmei> And now, an hour later, two massive person-shaped shadows ran along the surface of the gray, churning Atlantic Ocean. A short distance behind them was a much, much smaller one that lacked arms, legs, or any other recognizable appendages. -
[09:17] <Yanmei> EVA Unit 04 was in the lead, though its pilot hadn't said much to her companions during the trip so far. Her face was tense, bordering on hostile expressions, as she skimmed the water below them for emerging enemies.
[09:22] <Minaplo> [With an electronic -beepeep!-, a Sound Only window opened to Yanmei's left. ("Evangelions 04 and 08, this is the NERV Battleship Dorian Lachapelle. Hold position, over.")]
[09:25] <Yanmei> "Understood. Over." Yanmei slowed and then stopped, hovering. Her gaze darted every which way, seeing dangers everywhere. -
[09:26] <Yanmei> Was this a mistake? Being out here in the open? Leaving unfinished things behind in Area 66?
[09:27] * Suzune has joined #nervfrance
[09:30] <Minaplo> [A video window opened to Yanmei's right. It was Isaiah.-
[09:30] <Minaplo> ["Yanmei, look at the ocean!"-
[09:31] <Minaplo> [For below them, the fickle seas began to churn and writhe and bubble, frothing madly over a massive area; it was as though a small volcano had erupted beneath the ocean, superheating and boiling the water…]
[09:35] <Yanmei> "!!!" That was definitely danger! She reached for the Imperial Herald. "Isaiah! Guard the VTOL with your life!"
[09:35] <Minaplo> ["On it-"-
[09:35] <Minaplo> ["W-Wait…"-
[09:36] <Minaplo> [Something began to emerge from the maelstrom. It was a rigid, angular thing, all straight edges and lines; it was basically triangular in shape, with a squat series of squares intersecting the sloping side.-
[09:37] <Minaplo> [It was the Battleship's command tower. Seconds later, Yanmei would see the top decks emerge, bristling with turrets and cannons; the mighty engines, the stabiliser wings, the sealed doors to the hangar bays, the drill shield…-
[09:37] <Minaplo> [The battleship finished surfacing, sitting half-in-half-out of the water. ("Evangelions 04 and 08 are cleared to dock in Eva bay 2, over.")]
[09:43] <Yanmei> It was a more impressive entrance than she had anticipated, that was for sure. The Herald went back into its wing dock, and Yanmei coughed delicately. "Let's go?" And 04 began to lower itself toward the appropriate sector.
[09:44] <Minaplo> [There was a snicker from the VTOL pilot.-
[09:45] <Minaplo> [Landing in the docking bay would take five minutes; actually docking, sealing, caging and deactivating the Evas took another twenty.-
[09:45] <Minaplo> [("Disengaging synchronization. Hold tight, Third Child.")-
[09:46] <Minaplo> [With a brief sensory flash, Yanmei would find herself simply floating in LCL…-
[09:46] <Minaplo> [("Disengaging Entry Plug.")-
[09:46] <Minaplo> [A sense of sudden movement as the Entry Plug spun out of the back of EVA-04's spinal cavity.-
[09:47] <Minaplo> [("Entry Plug disengaged. Engaging stop signal plug-")-
[09:47] <Minaplo> [("Stop Signal Plug engaged. Third Child may disembark at her leisure.")]
[09:49] <Yanmei> There was a long pause in which the plug remained still. Then, a figure emerged, still dripping. -
[09:54] <Yanmei> The plugsuit she wore was transparent through most of the middle, although strips of gauze liberally applied beneath it blocked the view of much of her chest and midsection. Her face had not completely lost that wary tension as she looked around at the familiar equipment.
[09:58] <Yanmei> Soon she was walking along the catwalk toward the showers. She'd give herself five minutes to wash off and change, and then hurry to where the VTOL was docked. Afterward, she could catch up with people.
[09:59] <Minaplo> [But Yanmei would find that people were waiting for her in the airlock-like space between catwalk and main corridor.-
[10:00] <Minaplo> [Standing there was none other than Colonel Amatore-DeForest, wearing her uniform- and next to her, wearing a red coat and jeans under her cape, looking profoudnly disapproving, was Asuka Langley-Soryu.-
[10:00] <Minaplo> [Marianne was standing at attention, and she saluted with a broad grin. "Welcome home, Captain Zhang."]
[10:04] <Yanmei> "Marianne! …Colonel." She returned the salute, a smile coming to her at last. "It's good to be back?"
[10:11] <Minaplo> ["It's good to -have- you back." Said Marianne.-
[10:11] <Minaplo> [The figure next to Marianne scowled. "… Hmph."]
[10:12] <Yanmei> "Asuka~" Yanmei dropped her hand. "What's putting you in such a good mood today?"
[10:13] <Minaplo> [Asuka stepped forward, barely a few feet from Yanmei.-
[10:13] <Minaplo> [And then, quick as lightning, before Yanmei could react, she brought her hand back and slapped Yanmei- hard- across the face.]
[10:16] * Yanmei staggered back, a hand to her cheek while the other one groped the wall for balance. "What the- What the hell?!"
[10:17] <Minaplo> [Asuka stared at Yanmei imperiously, her eyes burning bright-
[10:18] <Minaplo> [Before she stepped forward, grabbed Yanmei around the middle and pulled her close as hard and as tight as she could. "Don't you ever fucking get captured again, or I'll kill you myself, you idiot." She muttered.]
[10:20] <Yanmei> It was, perhaps, just as jarring as the blow itself. It was a second before she began talking again. "You're the idiot. It's not like I meant to?" she mumbled, and patted her back.
[10:21] <Minaplo> ["S-Shut up…"-
[10:22] <Minaplo> ["She's really missed you a lot." Said Marianne fondly. "Scared for you, even~"-
[10:23] <Minaplo> ["S-S-Shut up! Who wouldn't be scared? This is Zhang Yanmei. If you put her in charge of getting an old lady's cat out of a tree, the tree'd explode, the old lady'd be dead and the cat'd be an Evangelion pilot. Y-You can't trust her w-w-with anything…"-
[10:23] <Minaplo> ["S-She's like a s-stupid baby…"-
[10:23] <Minaplo> [… She sniffled.]
[10:31] <Yanmei> "Babies don't make trees explode," Yanmei teased, pulling away slightly. "But you know, I thought about you a lot too? Not that Asuka the Great would have much trouble defending the world while I was gone…"
[10:31] <Minaplo> ["You're totally right?"_
[10:33] <Minaplo> ["I-I mean, you're totally right! I kept the world completely safe whilst you were off being stupid, so you can hang up your plugsuit right now." Said Asuka, pulling away completely and folding her arms- but not before glancing at the testsuit's clear parts, smirking.]
[10:40] * Yanmei folded her own arms across her chest and huffed. "I don't think so? I've come back so that I can be your boss again, so you'd better get used to it~"
[10:41] <Minaplo> ["Ugh…"-
[10:41] <Minaplo> ["Alright, you two." Marianne was beaming. "Asuka, take the good Captain here to the showers so she can get cleaned up and into something nice."-
[10:42] <Minaplo> ["Yes ma'am~" Said Asuka, turning back to Yanmei. "Well? Are we going?"]
[10:44] <Yanmei> "Of course!" Yanmei started off. "I need to find and check on Lizzie as soon as I can. It was a long trip for her?"
[10:54] <Minaplo> ["Pff. I'm sure her daddy's taking good care of her." Said Asuka with a toss of the head.-
[10:57] <Minaplo> [And before long, Yanmei would find herself presented with true heaven- a chance to peel off the suit and wash away the LCL with copious amounts of hot, steamy water.]
[11:03] <Yanmei> It -was- heaven. The clothes available to her were from her old closet - a simple green dress with slip-on shoes. She emerged from the locker room wearing them, her hair neatly tidied, stretching her arms. "God, that felt amazing?"
[11:04] <Minaplo> ["Nothing like pulling off those damn suits, huh?" Said Asuka, smirking. She'd sat outside the shower booth, chatting the entire time.-
[11:04] <Minaplo> ["I bet it'd be nicer if a boy did it for you~ not that I'd know." She added with a scowl.-
[11:06] <Minaplo> ["Where to now, sub-pilot?"]
[11:12] <Yanmei> "You mean 'Where to now, glorious team leader?' And… the VTOL hangar, of course~ After that, we'll go say hello to the other pilots. How've they been since the last battle, anyway?"
[11:15] <Minaplo> ["Nyeeh-eeeheh?" She held a hand flat in the air, and tipped it to each side. "God-botherer's ok, Aline's shaken up, Shinji's…"-
[11:15] <Minaplo> ["… Ok, Shinji's kind of reaaaaaaaally fucked up…"-
[11:15] <Minaplo> [They started to head off towards the VTOL hangar, now, passing people in the corridors, many of them stopped to go "Welcome back, Pilot!" and "Good to have you back, ma'am!".]
[11:18] * Yanmei grinned and waved at them as they passed. "Really, now? God, that's… maybe we shouldn't disturb him until tomorrow, then."
[11:19] <Minaplo> ["Good idea."-
[11:19] <Minaplo> [They had almost reached the hangar door when…-
[11:19] <Minaplo> ["… Meimei?"-
[11:19] <Minaplo> [To Yanmei's right…]
[11:20] <Yanmei> And so Yanmei looked over, knowing full well who it was before she saw her. "Rei!"
[11:21] <Minaplo> [Rei was standing in the hallway, staring at her. She was wearing a blue dress- a dress Yanmei had bought her- and a long yellow scarf- the same scarf Yanmei had given her for her very first christmas.-
[11:22] <Minaplo> [She was silent for a moment…-
[11:22] <Minaplo> [And then her eyes rapidly filled with tears, which streamed down her face. She sprinted the distance and near-tackled Yanmei, burying her head into Yanmei's chest- she started to sob. "M-Meim-me-mei…"]
[11:28] <Yanmei> "Rei," She laughed quietly once she got over the initial impact, one arm around her. "You didn't think I was gone forever, did you?"
[11:30] <Minaplo> ["I-I was s-scared… Meimei…" She tried to rein in her sobs. "D-Don't leave me… I-I need my b-big sis…"]
[11:34] * Yanmei waited for her to calm a little. "It's okay. It's okay! I'm back now and it's fine…"
[11:35] <Minaplo> ["Meimei…"-
[11:36] <Minaplo> ["Meimei…?"]
[11:37] <Yanmei> "Hm?"
[11:37] <Minaplo> ["I… Is Zaizai here?"]
[11:38] <Yanmei> "He is! He's probably heading for the same destination we are by now? Let's see him together."
[11:39] <Minaplo> ["Meimei? I… Is it ok if I snuggle him? J-Just a little?"-
[11:39] <Minaplo> [Behind Rei, Asuka began to smirk.]
[11:39] * Yanmei shot Asuka a dark look. "I… guess. Since it's been a while," she muttered.
[11:40] <Minaplo> [Rei beamed up at Yanmei with adoration clear in her gentle red eyes. "Y-You're the best, Meimei."-
[11:43] <Minaplo> [Asuka smirked a little more, and headed for the hangar door.]
[11:46] * Yanmei was following closely. "How's Major Wellesley doing? I heard there was a successful rescue operation."
[11:47] <Minaplo> ["Al's doing ok. I've been with him a lot."-
[11:47] <Minaplo> ["I bet you have~" Said Asuka, crowing gleefully.-
[11:49] <Minaplo> ["He's been busy working out the battleplan to fight the new Angel. I'm really glad he's back. You, Zaizai, Al, all went missing at the same time… I've never been so scared…"]
[11:52] <Yanmei> "I can imagine all too well? What rotten timing." They passed through the door into the hangar proper. "…you have been taking care of yourself, right? I know that when I'm worried about something it's hard to focus much on myself…"
[11:54] <Minaplo> ["Um… Raffy says I've probably been a little careless. I'm still a little sore in some places."-
[12:00] <Minaplo> [The hangar was a very wide space, as one would expect, with a full fleet of VTOLs docked. One VTOL had landed in the direct middle of the room- and crossing that space now was Isaiah, already changed into jeans and a blue coat. Running next to him, holding his hand, was Lizzie, her free hand clutching tightly onto General Bear.-
[12:05] <Minaplo> [Striding next to them was Isha Misra, crossing the floor with a long, ground-eating stride, his coat fluttering dramatically behind him.-
[12:05] <Minaplo> [Next to Isha was Anthony Albus, looking absolutely floored, gawking openly at the place around him.-
[12:05] <Minaplo> [And behind Albus was a kangaroo, bounding gaily after…-
[12:06] <Minaplo> [And a little red fox ran after Lizzie, her lovely tail wagging energetically.-
[12:06] <Minaplo> [Asuka -stared-. "W… What."-
[12:07] <Minaplo> ["… Wait, hold on." Asuka peered. "What's that dark shape by the VT-"-
[12:07] <Minaplo> [Lupe the Wolf sat by the ramp, jealously guarding their luggage, scratching at his side with a cybernetic leg.-
[12:07] <Minaplo> ["What."-
[12:08] <Minaplo> [Rei had no time for such mundane things, however; she released Yanmei and tore across the remaining space, almost throwing herself into Isaiah's arms, pulling him close, squeezing him tight. Her eyes were full of tears again, and she was sobbing. "Z-Zaizai…!"-
[12:09] <Minaplo> ["R-Rei?! Oh, Rei…" An expression of warmth spread quickly across his face, and he bundled her up into a huge hug.]
[12:12] <Yanmei> D'aww… Yanmei was still bursting with laughter at Asuka's reaction, but that scene melted her heart a little. She elbowed her lightly. "I see you're impressed by my awesome entourage~"
[12:12] <Minaplo> ["You have a wolf… Actually, I knew about the wolf. What I don't get is the kangaroo."-
[12:12] <Minaplo> [Asuka put her hands on her hips- and licked her lips. "… Brings back memories~ Now I feel a little hungry."-
[12:13] <Minaplo> [Meanwhile, Lizzie had latched onto Rei's leg, giving it tight cuddles. "Wayway!"]
[12:17] <Yanmei> Extra d'awww… Yanmei struggled to focus. "He's a pet, not food," said Yanmei primly. "Not even -my- pet. Mr. Isha…" She stepped closer to meet them. "Come say hello to one of my pilots."
[12:17] <Minaplo> ["Huh?! I'm not one of -your- pilots-"-
[12:18] <Minaplo> [Isha stepped over, giving Asuka a salute. "It's an honour to meet you, Lieutenant Langley-Soryu. I rarely am able to meet a legend in person."-
[12:19] <Minaplo> [In an instant, Asuka's demeanor changed. She was suddenly preening, puffing up her chest and turning away from Yanmei. "It's nice to be recognised~ I try to keep the team going, which is kind of hard when certain idiots pull us down…"]
[12:22] <Yanmei> "Idiots, huh? How motivating," Yanmei rolled her eyes. She waved Albus closer as well.
[12:23] <Minaplo> [Albus came jogging over, craning his head over to look at Isaiah and Rei. "So -that's- what an Ayanami looks like up close…"]
[12:25] <Yanmei> Rude… Yanmei knit her eyebrows slightly. "How about an introduction?"
[12:28] <Minaplo> ["Mm, maybe later." He said, rubbing his chin. "She seems kind of pre-occupied. Still, though, makes me wish I weren't so old…"]
[12:30] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei coughed. "She has a boyfriend."
[12:34] <Minaplo> ["She also has sisters…"-
[12:35] <Minaplo> ["Again, though, I'm too old. They wouldn't want some wretched hive-runner who spent half his life in a cell doing adhoc-bureaucracy anyway." He said, with a touch of bitterness.]
[12:39] <Yanmei> "There are lots of other people on this ship, you know. People who would be impressed with how well you ran things back then." She nodded firmly to herself. "After you're settled, I'll take you around the place to meet them. And there's all sorts of media on board, that you can probably play around with."
[12:40] * ZackSleep is now known as ZackStudy
[12:41] <Minaplo> [He brightened a little. "Sounds good to me…"-
[12:42] <Minaplo> [And now Isaiah and Rei were coming over, Rei carrying Lizzie, who was busy covering Rei's face with warm kisses.-
[12:42] <Minaplo> ["This is the sort of reception I can get used to." Said Isaiah brightly.]
[12:44] <Yanmei> "Is that so?" She smirked and stepped forward and gave him a quick little kiss. "Ready to get settled?"
[12:44] <Minaplo> ["Oh yes."-
[12:45] <Minaplo> ["You have so many new animals, Meimei." Said Rei delightedly, who had been approached by Skippy- and was giving him rubs under the chin. "This is a kangaroo, right?"]
[12:46] <Yanmei> "That's right. And you know Lupe. And that's Daji." She gestured to the little red fox. "We practically have a zoo following us now?"
[12:46] <Minaplo> ["She's so pretty." Said Rei admiringly, bending down to pet the fox. "Can Ban-Ban come play with them sometime? He really likes animals."]
[12:48] <Yanmei> "Well, er," by 'like', she did mean 'likes to play with and not eat them,' didn't she? "I guess that's okay?"
[12:50] <Minaplo> [Rei beamed.-
[12:50] <Minaplo> ["We should get together for dinner this week, Meimei, like we used to…"]
[12:57] <Yanmei> "Of course! We'll do lots of things this week. We have to catch up? Oh." She balled a fist and lightly tapped an open palm. "Speaking of catching up? Mr. Albus, there's another guy from Australia around here. I'll have him come by your place sometime to chat."
[13:05] <Minaplo> ["Another Australian, huh. Sure, I wouldn't mind."]
[13:08] * Yanmei nodded firmly. "Now let's see. We should head over the the guest rooms now and relax a bit." She made for the luggage, eying Lupe warily.
[13:12] <Minaplo> [He eyed her back, with a cocky look in his eye…]
[13:14] * Yanmei decided to be bold by giving him a command as she reached for a suitcase. "Lupe! Come!"
[13:19] <Minaplo> [Lupe gave her a deeply resentful eye, then reluctantly got to his feet and padded over to Yanmei, glancing at Isaiah as he did so.]
[13:31] * Yanmei beamed and petted him briefly with her free hand. "Good boy~ Good Lupe!" Of course the wolf would follow her natural charm~ She snagged a second bag as well. "Let's get a move on."
[13:34] <Minaplo> ["Right."-
[13:35] <Minaplo> [Fifteen minutes of walking, greeting and directing would see Yanmei restored to what had been a kind of second home. She was finally back to her old quarters- her old clothes were still hanging up, Lizzie's little bed was still there in the corner…]
[13:38] * Yanmei put the suitcases away in the closet. For a little while, she just took a step back and looked over the room in contemplative silence. -
[13:39] <Yanmei> It felt much smaller than before. The door only had two locks on it, and could probably be picked if someone had the proper training. With an AT Field, it could probably be blown clean off its hinges. -
[13:42] <Yanmei> The camera feeds in here - and she was sure there were some - were going to… where? The Bridge, probably. She began to poke around absently, around the furniture, behind the door…
[13:44] <Minaplo> [Rei put Lizzie down; the little girl promptly ran over to Yanmei's big bed and tried to climb up onto it, slipping on the sleek fabric. "Uuuuu!"-
[13:44] <Minaplo> [Isaiah was unpacking, and Asuka had detoured to find Isha and Albus a place.-
[13:44] <Minaplo> [And so Rei looked back to Yanmei, looking at her curiously. "Is something the matter, Meimei?"]
[13:46] <Yanmei> "Heh. Not really? I'm just looking for anything that's out of place. Really, though, it's exactly the same as we left it." She smiled at her.
[13:47] <Minaplo> ["Mmhm! It makes Colonel Marianne angry sometimes. Everything keeps resetting…" Rei grinned. "She keeps trying to turn off all the Holo-Silases, but they keep coming back on automatically."]
[13:52] * Yanmei snickered. "I never thought I'd be glad to see one of those again. The first time I ran into one was at 1 in the morning, on my way back here from the Colonel's quarters. I actually thought it was a ghost?"
[13:52] <Minaplo> ["I bet you tried to beat it up, didn't you, Meimei~?"]
[13:54] <Yanmei> "Of course not." She puffed her chest out. "After a minute, I got my cool again? And that was the end of it."
[13:55] <Minaplo> ["She was so frightened, she woke me up through the Libido Effect." Said Isaiah from across the room, his tone casual and light.-
[13:56] <Minaplo> ["Aw, Meimei." Rei shook her head, giggling.]
[13:58] <Yanmei> "H-hey… Don't listen to him." Yanmei went over to the struggling Lizzie and gave her a hand up onto the slippery bed. "Its not like me to overract!"
[13:58] <Minaplo> [Isaiah coughed.-
[13:59] <Minaplo> ["Yay!" Lizzie gleefully scuttled over the bed. She stood up awkwardly and began to jump up and down, before doing a huge belly-flop onto the pillows, where she buried her head in their warm softness.-
[14:00] <Minaplo> ["She's so cute." Said Rei adoringly. "I hope I have a little girl as cute as she is one day."]
[14:01] <Yanmei> "Maybe you will," she said cheerfully. "With Alphonse~~~"
[14:04] <Minaplo> ["That'd be the idea, I think." Said Isaiah casually, grinning to himself.-
[14:05] <Minaplo> [Rei blushed, her eyes glancing fretfully around the room. Almost timidly she walked over to the bed and sat down on the corner. "I-I hope so." She admitted. "… D-Do you think Al would be a good dad?"]
[14:07] <Yanmei> "Probably. He's cultured and disciplined, and that will probably rub off on the little kids."
[14:10] <Minaplo> ["Didn't he teach Ban-Ban how to read poetry and all that?" Said Isaiah. "I bet he'd be really patient with them, too. And he'd probably give them lots of love…"-
[14:10] <Minaplo> [Rei nodded enthusiastically. "Yeah, you're right…"-
[14:11] <Minaplo> [She coughed. "But we're going to wait until our twenties before we do anything like that."]
[14:12] <Yanmei> "Fair enough," Yanmei chuckled. "Before Lizzie, we were going to do the same thing."
[14:14] <Minaplo> ["You did a really good job with Lizzie, though." Said Rei warmly. "Lizzie-tan~"-
[14:14] <Minaplo> [Lizzie lifted her head, peering over at Rei- before scuttling over to latch onto Rei's side tightly. "Wayway~"-
[14:15] <Minaplo> ["Oh, Meimei, good news. Look in your top bedside table drawer."]
[14:16] <Yanmei> "Hm?" She slid over to do just that, curiously pulling it open.
[14:16] <Minaplo> [Sitting there snugly were…-
[14:16] <Minaplo> [Her phones.]
[14:17] * Yanmei gasped! She gathered them all hastily, spreading them on top of the bed and gazing at them to make sure that they were all unharmed. "I don't believe it!"
[14:18] <Minaplo> [The one she used for Ju and Lanfen was full of messages…-
[14:18] <Minaplo> ["Colonel Marianne said you'd like that." Said Rei with a grin.]
[14:21] <Yanmei> "They must have been so worried," she muttered, gazing down at their messages. They blurred slightly… Yanmei blinked fast, and reached for another. Her special phone, a plain, black, unmarked one. She hesitated and then flipped it open.
[14:22] <Minaplo> [A familiar picture stared out at her…]
[14:25] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei shut it just as quickly and exhaled deeply, practically cradling it. "They didn't do anything to it after all…"
[14:31] <Minaplo> ["You alright, Meimei?"]
[14:33] <Yanmei> "Yup!" She nodded happily. "I'm perfectly okay?" She slid the phone into her pocket and then grabed her usual personal phone. "My friends from back home were trying to contact me this whole time. I'll let them know that I'm okay."
[14:33] <Minaplo> [There was an electronic -beep-beep-.-
[14:34] <Minaplo> ["Zhang." Came a voice from the cross-ship communicator. "This is Surov."]
[14:35] <Yanmei> Her smile… crashed and burned abruptly. -
[14:36] <Yanmei> "Ah…" She tried to rally, of course. "Hello, Doctor. It's been a while? I'm settling in nicely, thank you. How are you doing?"
[14:37] <Minaplo> ["Fine. It is good that you accepted the Friend-Type. I will arrive with the package in ten minutes. Surov out."-
[14:37] <Minaplo> [There was an ending beep-eep.]
[14:38] <Yanmei> "What?" She said to the now non-responsive communicator. -
[14:39] <Yanmei> She looked up in alarm at Isaiah now. "What did I accept?"
[14:39] <Minaplo> ["I… Don't know. A Friend-Type, it seems." He said, alarmed.-
[14:40] <Minaplo> ["Oh, the Friend-Type is some thing Surov-sensei made." Said Rei. "I don't know much about it, but apparently it's some sort of bodyguard thing. he made it for Misa-bachan, but she didn't it, I think…"]
[14:43] <Yanmei> "Like, an Iron Guard?" Yanmei frowned. Something was off. Why would Surov attach a name like 'Friend-Type' to one of his creations? Did he even know what 'Friend' meant? -
[14:43] <Yanmei> Instead of texting her friends back, Yanmei promptly dialed Marianne.
[14:44] <Minaplo> [Ring… Ring…-
[14:44] <Minaplo> ["Colonel Amatore speaking."]
[14:44] <Yanmei> "Marianne! Do you know what a Friend-Type is?"
[14:45] <Minaplo> ["Friend-Type? I'm going to need context."]
[14:45] <Yanmei> "Surov made it. He says he's sending it here. It's supposed to be a bodyguard?"
[15:29] <Minaplo> ["Huh? -Oh-, the Mini-Annihilator…"]
[15:29] <Yanmei> "…" =
[15:30] <Yanmei> "…" -
[15:30] <Yanmei> "WHAT."
[15:31] <Minaplo> ["He made it for Major Katsuragi, but she was high on painkillers so she didn't know what she was on about. Apparently it took 4.6 million francs to make, and he's been trying to offload it for weeks now."]
[15:32] <Yanmei> "And so I'm the latest victim of this scheme? That Misato! Why isn't she taking responsibility?!"
[15:33] <Minaplo> ["Well, Guillory didn't seem too fussed on it, so…"]
[15:36] <Yanmei> "Well I'm not going to do it. Risk Lizzie getting eaten by that thing? No chance!"
[15:41] <Minaplo> ["Look, Surov's getting grumpier and grumpier about this, so if you could at least hear him out, I'd appreciate it. Ok?"]
[15:42] <Yanmei> "He's -always- grumpy. Why should it matter one way or the other?"
[15:43] <Minaplo> ["Because if we don't, then Surov will pawn it off to Mazarin, that's why."]
[15:44] <Yanmei> "…Really?" There was some obvious curiosity there. Mazarin and a pet Annihilator? -
[15:46] <Yanmei> But if it ate him, it would be almost as bad as an assasination! Yanmei grimaced. "I reserve the right to refuse, you know."
[15:46] <Minaplo> ["Of course, sweetie, but just… Hear him out? For me?" Asked Marianne sweetly.]
[15:51] <Yanmei> "Ugh. Fine." The things she did for a country she wasn't even born into… "SHould I call him now? Or does he plan to arrive with the… the creature?"
[15:51] <Minaplo> ["I imagine he's already on his way. Oh, I really need to go, sweetheart…"]
[15:54] <Yanmei> "All right, all right," she mumbled. "I'll see you later?"
[15:55] <Minaplo> ["See you, sweetie~"-
[15:55] <Minaplo> [Click!]
[15:55] * Yanmei looked up from her phone at last, surveying the expressions and reactions from the other humans in the room.
[15:57] <Minaplo> [Rei was looking mildly concerned, whilst Isaiah was frowning. "That sounded like an ominous discussion."]
[15:59] <Yanmei> "It's an Annihilator. The Friend-Type is a miniature Annihilator! Surov made his own dangerous Angelspawn, and he's trying to give it away."
[16:00] <Minaplo> [Isaiah's face went dark incredibly quickly, but Rei brightened up.-
[16:00] <Minaplo> ["That sounds really cool, Meimei!"]
[16:02] <Yanmei> "Wait, how? I can't care for something like that! And no one even told me this thing existed until now."
[16:03] <Minaplo> [Rei frowned. "I'm sure it'll be ok, Meimei. Surov would make sure that it's safe and everything."]
[16:03] <Yanmei> "Surov is the -last- person I'd trust with safety."
[16:04] <Minaplo> [Rei looked uncertain. "Well, let's just wait and see…"-
[16:04] <Minaplo> [A few minutes would pass… And then the dreaded sound came. A beep. Someone ringing the 'doorbell'.]
[16:06] * Yanmei had, thankfully, found the Excalibur replica by that time, firmly strapping it on. -
[16:06] <Yanmei> "Isaiah, stay back and protect Lizzie, ok?" She went for the door.
[16:07] <Minaplo> ["I will." He joined Rei on the bed, Lizzie between them.-
[16:08] <Minaplo> [Surov was standing outside, looking… A little relieved. He was holding a 1.25 cubic metre cardboard box with his heavy-duty servo arm. "Finally." He said. "It has been an irritating trial trying to find someone to accept this. I am glad to be done with it."]
[16:10] * Yanmei made no move to take it. "I wouldn't get relieved just yet? I've only now just been informed of what a Friend-Type was. I told the Colonel that I'd listen to you, but that's all I've promised her."
[16:11] <Minaplo> [Surov's face immediately went dark. "Disappointing. Am I to come in?"]
[16:12] * Yanmei gave him an extra-suspicious once-over, and then stood aside to let him pass inside.
[16:14] <Minaplo> [Surov stepped inside.-
[16:14] <Minaplo> ["Ayanami. Gabriel-Wei." He said, giving them both a perfunctory nod.-
[16:15] <Minaplo> [He placed the box down by Yanmei's feet. "Within is the Miniature Friend-Type Annihilator. Look at it." He said bluntly.]
[16:17] * Yanmei hesitated. Eventually, she took Excalibur's sheath, and lifted the top of the box with the tip.
[16:17] <Minaplo> [The lid slid away.-
[16:18] <Minaplo> [Within was a bulky, ungainly-looking creature. The body was heavy-booking, made of dark, non-reflective black flesh. White pouldron-like bone covered the shoulders, which tapered off into disproportionately long black arms, with hands terminating in a three-clawed hand. Spikes of bone jutted from its elbows. Its black legs were long, but too thin-looking to sustain the body. White gill-like objects were embedded into its thighs. Embedded in the middle of its chest was a red core-like object, surrounded by several ribs jutting out of the body. The face was thin, long, tapering off into a point like a bird's beak, or a plague doctor's mask. All in all, if it stood, it would be a little over a metre tall.-
[16:19] <Minaplo> [The Miniature Annihilator. Friend-Type, of course. Right now its arms were curled up around its knees, sitting in a bed of linens, covered by a thin sheet of fabric, clearly fast asleep. It was snoring gently.]
[16:21] <Yanmei> It didn't look too dangerous when it was sleeping. But when it was awake and in motion, rampaging around the Battleship and murdering little girls and their pet foxes… -
[16:22] <Yanmei> "I've looked at it," she said simply. "What do you want me to do, Surov?"
[16:24] <Minaplo> ["I want you to take it." Said Surov irritably. "But it is clear that you need persuading. What is keeping you from taking it?"]
[16:26] <Yanmei> "I don't want an unknown creature like this near my family? Especially if it was designed by you."
[16:28] <Minaplo> [Surov's expression became sour. "I have put much of my skill toward ensuring that it is safe. It is designed to imprint on the first human it sees, like a duckling. It is by nature non-aggressive. It can be taught to speak. Its fighting abilities are locked behind conditioned codewords, to be used in emergencies."]
[16:34] <Yanmei> "If it's so harmless, why don't you just let it imprint on you instead? Between you and Katsuragi, why does someone else have to take responsibility for it?"
[16:36] <Minaplo> ["I don't want it." Said Surov. "I do not need its protection or its companionship. The same cannot be said for other people. I was told you wanted a companion and protector for your foster daughter."]
[16:38] <Yanmei> "Not something that's compelled to blindly follow her around for the rest of it's days! Not something that was… non-humanoid!"
[16:39] <Minaplo> ["… Meimei?" Rei tilted her head.]
[16:48] * Yanmei stopped short. She shook her head. "I'm sorry Rei. Clones, Iron Guards, Genetic Enhancements, I can deal with those, no problem? But this… I won't do it."
[16:50] <Minaplo> ["But why, Meimei? It hasn't done anything wrong, and it needs a home…" Her expression became… Really sorrowful.]
[16:57] <Yanmei> "This creature came from an Angel, Rei. I -can't- do it. If it does need a home, it should go with someone who appreciates it."
[16:58] <Minaplo> ["… Ban-Ban came from an Angel, too. Does that mean you don't like Ban-Ban, either?"]
[17:00] <Yanmei> "Ban-Ban's different. Because you worked with him and made him that way? Do you remember how nervous he made me when you first found him in the tunnels?"
[17:03] <Minaplo> ["… But… Doesn't that just prove that this one can be good, too?"-
[17:04] <Minaplo> [Rei sighed. She shook her head, looking glumly down at her shoes. "Meimei, if you don't want it, then I understand, but you could at least try to help find him a home."]
[17:08] * Yanmei hesitated. It wouldn't be her first time finding a home for an orphan thanks to this terrible organization. But Rei… why did she look so darn -sad-? "I can try," she said finally. "You won't take it yourself, Rei?"
[17:09] <Minaplo> ["I have Ban-Ban to mind, Meimei, and I'm spending lots of time with Eevi, too. I'll ask Eevi if she wants it, but then she also has Felix…"]
[17:10] <Yanmei> "Ah, I understand. Then we'll have to find someone else who's responsible. Will you help me?"
[17:10] <Minaplo> [She nodded firmly.]
[12:29] <Idrilyn> ["So no takers, then." Said Surov, his servo-arm moving to repackage and take the box. His expression was deeply distasteful.]
[12:31] <Yanmei> "No, but you've just added some members to your recruitment force. Rei is especially charming, you know~ So the chances of finding someone are much higher, now."
[12:34] <Idrilyn> ["I see." Said Surov coolly. He didn't waste any further time- he turned and stomped away…]
[12:38] <Yanmei> "Grateful man, that one," she said dryly. "He didn't even tell us who he's contacted so far." Yanmei rubbed her head briefly and turned to the bed. "Rei. If we're serious about this, we'll need it done by the end of the week. After that, we'll be too busy dealing with the Angel - or the aftermath of the Angel - to put the focus into the search that we need."
[12:40] <Idrilyn> ["You're right, Meimei. Who should we speak to?"]
[12:42] * Yanmei went over to the room's lone desk. A minute or two later, she had set up a laptop and was typing away. "Katsuragi and Guillory are out, obviously. Aside from them, there must be others out there who would not only be sold on the Angelspawn's good features but capable of nurturing it properly." -
[12:47] <Yanmei> "Your sisters come to mind. NERV Technical comes to mind. The Thruster team and possibly Guillory's comrades. Hohenzollern -" She stopped short at that. Glanced aside as if puzzled by herself.
[12:48] <Idrilyn> ["Good ideas… Meimei? Everything ok?"]
[12:50] <Yanmei> "It's nothing. I was just thinking that she seems in over her head these days. Maybe she could use something that's unconditionally loyal to her."
[12:51] <Idrilyn> ["Wow." Said Isaiah. "Talk about depressing."]
[12:53] <Yanmei> "Thing is, it's not even really her fault?" She drew away from the laptop's keyboard and sighed. "I need to talk to he anyway, so I'll bring it up. Basically, we need to ask anyone who looks like they could use a friend or who needs long-term protection."
[12:55] <Idrilyn> ["… What about Princess Alexandrina?" Asked Isaiah.]
[12:57] <Yanmei> A deep shudder ran through her. "There's… no harm in just asking."
[12:57] <Idrilyn> ["… What's wrong?"]
[12:59] <Yanmei> "It's the same reason why I'd hesitate to give a potentially unstoppable living weapon to Mazarin's daughter? Sure, someone important like her could use protection. She just seems very… driven."
[13:04] <Idrilyn> ["Ni says that she works really hard." Said Rei. "… And scares Ni a little. They speak a lot, because Ni lets the princess come over and play with Ni's cats."]
[13:05] <Yanmei> "She does like cats. She was playing with Reggie the last time she was on board too." Yanmei sighed again. "It's a shame that we can't disguise the Angelspawn as one."
[13:08] <Idrilyn> ["That'd be cute." Said Rei fondly.]
[13:11] <Yanmei> "Hehe. Now. How shall we divide up the work? Should we make the inquiries together or seperately?"
[13:13] <Idrilyn> ["We should do it together, unless I'm busy at a certain time." Said Rei. "I'm part of the strike team intercepting Michael at Boston, so I may be busy…"]
[13:15] <Yanmei> "I… guess you would be, yeah. All the more reason to find someone quickly?"
[13:16] <Idrilyn> ["Right!"-
[13:16] <Idrilyn> ["Don't be too quick to start today." Said Isaiah with a grin. "We still need to settle in- and pick up Reggie."-
[13:17] <Idrilyn> [Lizzie clapped her hands. "Fino fino, maamaa?"]
[13:18] <Yanmei> "Fino…" But she couldn't scowl with how excited Lizzie looked and all. "I don't know where he is, sweetie, but I can ask Marianne. You want to play with him, huh?"
[13:19] <Idrilyn> ["Fino Fino Fino!"]
[13:24] * Yanmei pushed her chair back far enough to allow her to reach over and ruffle her hair. "All right, all right. Let's head back to the Bridge. Reggie is probably there and we can ask Marianne. Rei, are you coming too?"
[13:25] <Idrilyn> ["Hmm? Can't I stay here and snuggle Zaizai?"]
[13:25] <Yanmei> "W-what?" She blinked between the two of them, clearly off guard.
[13:26] <Idrilyn> ["Huh?" Isaiah looked up, confused.-
[13:26] <Idrilyn> ["Hehehe. I'm just kidding, Meimei. I'll come! But I'm having lunch with Al later, so let's be quick, ok?"]
[13:33] <Yanmei> "Well, we wouldn't want to keep you from your date." There was something about the joke that was unseetling. It lingered with her even as she stood up, took Lizzie's hand, led her to the door - and then paused one last time to give the room another look over before heading out into the hallway. Home again, huh?

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