Blue S Bruise

[The wine cork popped, froth bursting out of the top in a frenzied eruption of bubbly.-
[16:18] <Idrilyn> ["It's a bit late," Said Hugues, grinning broadly beneath his bristly moustache as he poured the wine out into several glasses, "But like a fine wine, sometimes waiting sweetens the experience, or what-have-you…"-
[16:18] <Idrilyn> [Blaise rolled his eyes.-
[16:21] <Idrilyn> ["But we're well worth it, no matter when it's drunk." Said Hugues, finishing topping up the drinks. "Here's to us, we big, bad, badasses, and here's to another fukken mission made worth it for spittin' in a Caine's eye!"]
[16:36] <Raphael> "… Quite." Comes a second voice, obviously struggling not to join Blaise in rolling his eyes. The tradition of Hugues providing this portion of the post-mission celebrations is well established in the SOS.-
[16:36] <Raphael> Though Raphael might not be able to match the exuberance of his lieutenant, but he does smile as he takes a small sip of champagne. "I know the last few months have been difficult for us all, but our work in Africa and the Geofront has opened a lot of doors for the Federation. I know I speak for many of our superiors when I say that you have our gratitude."
[16:40] <Idrilyn> ["And so we should." Said Isidor with that cool smile of his. "To be perfectly honest, after surviving that last Iron Guard ambush, I wouldn't mind having 'gratitude' in the form of several million francs. I don't seem to find battling super humans quite so relaxing as Mr. Hugues does."-
[16:41] <Idrilyn> ["Nothing like a challenge." Said Hugues. "Plus, the wife enjoys being married to a man who can take on Guard and win."-
[16:41] <Idrilyn> ["Survive, you mean." Cut in Blaise.-
[16:41] <Idrilyn> ["I mean win, you shit!"]
[16:45] <Raphael> "I think "the wife" would prefer you stop taking home trophies."
[16:50] <Idrilyn> ["Oh my god." Muttered Marie. "Did you see the sword he brought home on the last trip?"-
[16:50] <Idrilyn> ["See? I -smelled- it." Grumbled Mana. "You could smell all the little food smells from the digestive juices…"-
[16:50] <Idrilyn> [Henri, who had been about to take a sip of wine, paused and lowered the glass after a second thought.-
[16:51] <Idrilyn> ["I washed it!" Growled Hugues.-
[16:51] <Idrilyn> ["Didn't wash it enough!"]
[16:52] <Raphael> "We need to fit the Stormbird with an autoclave…" Raphael says thoughtfully.
[16:59] <Idrilyn> [It's at this point that the televisions built into the walls- which had been showing mostly just background noise- suddenly burst into colour, an irritatingly cheery jingle bursting into the room…-
[17:01] <CakeyCake> The TVs focus on a beaming Zhang Yanmei, strolling through the ship. To the surprise of many a viewer, mayhaps, she's not dressed in a revealing plugsuit. She's in far worse. -
[17:01] <CakeyCake> It seems to be some sort of highly-customized version of a standard NERV/UEF flak jacket. Only the sleeves have been shorn off and trimmed with violet ribbon. It's been shortened as well, with a tiny, black leather miniskirt peeking out from beneath it, and the fabric of both have been plastered in both various international flag icons, and seemingly the logo for the advertised eatery. A
[17:01] <CakeyCake> pair of wicked thigh-high black leather boots adorn her feet, and she wears an appropriately bizarre peaked military-style hat over her twintails. It's worth noting that she's carrying some sort of medival iron spiked mace in one hand. -
[17:02] <CakeyCake> "Whew," says Yanmei, wiping at her brow with her free hand. "What a hard day? First saving the world from Angels. Then commanding a competent, intelligent and handsome army. Then brutalizing enemy soldiers and mercenaries and mobsters too I guess with my own bare hands! I'm completely wiped out… and I still have to think about dinner!" -
[17:02] <CakeyCake> She cupped a hand to her cheek in dismay. "What's a girl to do~?" -
[17:03] <CakeyCake> A shot of a restaurant, as her voice continued. "Wait? Blue's Bar and Grill just opened up on the Prominade of our very own Battleship! It has entertainment, the best food around, and above all, the most 'bluetiful' service available for miles around?" -
[17:04] <CakeyCake> Another shot of Yanmei, this time in slinky black evening wear, sitting at a booth inside the restaurant. She looks furious for a split second, until someone off camera apparently clues her in to the fact that the film is rolling. "I'm totally not a violent, bloodthirsty warlord," she says with a deliberate look at that same someone off-screen. "But if I were, this would be the best place
[17:04] <CakeyCake> to relax, unwind, and be myself after blowing stuff up~" she winks at the camera as it gave her a close-up. -
[17:04] <CakeyCake> "So come down to Blue's Bar and Grill yourself. Captain's orders?" She salutes.
[17:06] <Raphael> "…"-
[17:07] <Raphael> "… I…" Raphael eyes the TV thoughtfully. "… Hmm."-
[17:07] <Raphael> He nods to himself, as if satisfied with his assessment. "Hmm."
[17:10] <Idrilyn> [The advertisement had definitely fulfilled its job of grabbing everyone's attention.-
[17:11] <Idrilyn> [In fact, it seemed to hold everyone's attention long after it had ended.-
[17:11] <Idrilyn> [It was Henri who breached the silence.-
[17:12] <Idrilyn> ["What's Zhang Yanmei doing advertising a blues bar?" He asked. "Why do we even have a blues bar on the ship? Are people really into that all of a sudden?"]
[17:14] * Raphael 's brow creases fractionally, and he shoots Euphrasie a concerned glance. "… Not precisely. You haven't heard about it?"
[17:15] <Idrilyn> [Euphrasie's look is just as concerned.-
[17:15] <Idrilyn> ["No, I haven't." Said Henri. "Why?"]
[17:18] * Raphael sighs. "It seems that, with Mr. Blue now roughly aligned with us - or at least with Rei - he decided he needed something to keep himself busy. It all happened while we were gone."
[17:19] <Idrilyn> ["Hahaha. That's funny. Good joke, sir!"-
[17:19] <Idrilyn> [But this was really just Henri trying to deny the truth. The grim expressions on the people around him broke whatever facade he had hoped to create. "No. Seriously…?"]
[17:22] <Raphael> "It was cleared by the Colonel, I'm afraid."
[17:28] <Idrilyn> ["What!? But why? How? He- he tried to kill me!"]
[17:32] <Raphael> Another sigh, deeper this time. "I'm aware, Henri," he says gently. "He's made attempts on most of our lives. We know how you feel, but I'm afraid we need his resources right now. We need him on-side."
[17:38] <Idrilyn> ["But…"-
[17:38] <Idrilyn> [Henri's face became grim. "That's it. I'm going down there, I'm going up his smug face and telling him to fuck off."]
#02[17:42] * CakeyCake (~ten.nozirev.soif.apalhp.44-401-2-801-loop|ekaCyekaC#ten.nozirev.soif.apalhp.44-401-2-801-loop|ekaCyekaC) Quit (Quit: )
[17:51] <Raphael> "No you aren't, Sergeant."
[17:53] <Idrilyn> [Henri glowered, then downed his glass of wine in a single defiant gulp, placing it down on the table a little too firmly. "You guys didn't spend months in hospital. You guys didn't need surgery to correct internal damage. So… Yeah, actually, I think I am"-
[17:53] <Idrilyn> [Henri turned on his heel and resolutely stormed out of the room.-
[17:53] <Idrilyn> ["Hey, bambi! Goddamnit." Hugues growled.]
[17:55] <Raphael> "… Damnit." Raphael agrees, rubbing his jaw as he gets to his feet. "I can't really say that I blame the man."
[17:57] <Idrilyn> ["I can't either." Said Isidor, getting to his feet, "But Blue isn't going to leave. That's a reality we have to deal with now, and furthermore, if Henri isn't prepared to handle that… It's not going to be a fair fight."]
[18:00] <Raphael> "I'll go after him. You should all stay here and enjoy yourselves…"
[18:02] <Idrilyn> ["We're really not gonna be doing much of that when we're worried about Bambi and Boss." Said Hugues. "We may as well go with you in case it gets ugly and we have to put Blue down. You know, for the good of public safety."]
[18:02] <Raphael> "Of course."
[18:04] <Idrilyn> [It would be about ten minutes to walk down to the Promenade. More than enough time for Henri to cool his head, but apparently he had decided against that action.-
[18:04] <Idrilyn> [They arrived, walking unconsciously in a 'v' formation, on the promenade just as Henri slammed through the front door of Blue's Grill.-
[18:05] <Idrilyn> [The words exchanged were perfectly audible.-
[18:05] <Idrilyn> [("BLUE!"-
[18:05] <Idrilyn> [("NO NEOSPARTANS! WE'RE CLOSED! FUCK OFF!")]
[18:12] <Raphael> "We're here to take Henri home, nothing more." Raphael murmurs to the others, resting one hand on the door and shooting a meaningful glance over his shoulder.
[18:16] <Idrilyn> [SoS exchanged glances with each other, before looking back at him and nodding grimly.-
[18:19] <Idrilyn> [The interior of Blue's Bar, Grill and Tailor's lacked the utter extravagance of most of the battleship. Yet this also in its own way made it a favourite of a lot of people. In a normal setting, this place would probably be a higher class of bar, with its private parlours, its soft cushioned chairs, the rich wood of the desks, the entertainment- the haunting sound of a violin filtered throughout the room… Yet here, on the battleship, it looked homely and normal, and many of the regulars went there due to its sense of imagined familiarity, the soothing environs, the amazing food, and, occasionally, having cute waitresses in imagination-provoking uniforms as opposed to ominous holographic Brothers.-
[18:20] <Idrilyn> [They'd see Henri, standing before the bar, his face red with fury, his neck muscles standing out magnificently, a vein throbbing in his throat. Mr. Blue was sitting behind the bar, staring back with an expression of utter irritation.-
[18:21] <Idrilyn> [As Raphael entered, they both turned, and Blue was the one to speak first. "Yo, Guillory! One of your boys is tryin' to cause trouble in my humble establishment! It's not fuckin' cricket!"]
[18:28] * Raphael just gives Blue a disdainful look and circles around the bar to lay a hand on Henri's shoulder. "Come on, Sergeant. This won't get you anywhere…"
[18:31] <Idrilyn> ["That's bullshit! He just gets to walk away scot-free, is that it? Because he's -useful-, we need him, he gets to stay?"-
[18:33] <Idrilyn> [Mr. Blue sighed, pulling out several small bottles of various alcohols and ingredients, pouring them into a mixer and shaking it. "Yeah, is this about the time I pushed you off a building and broke your back? Because just so's you know, that was justice."-
[18:33] <Idrilyn> ["You motherfucker!"]
[18:34] <Raphael> "Blue, shut up." Raphael snaps, a trace of venom creeping into his voice.
[18:36] <Idrilyn> ["Whoa, now. You can't say that." Said Blue, looking hurt. "Through the grace of Miss Rei's pure love and forgiveness I have been reformed, no, redeemed, so you have to be nice to me or she'll be ~up~set~."-
[18:37] <Idrilyn> [There was a muscle working furiously in Henri's jaw. "H… Horseshit." He turned to Raphael. "Sir, this is horseshit!"-
[18:38] <Idrilyn> [Henri's gaze lowered, his entire body shaking with anger. "Ayanami's one of your girls, right? Why can't you just speak to her and make him go away?!"]
[18:42] <Raphael> "Rei's rather…" His gaze flickers towards the smirking barman for a moment, "She's rather stubborn on this matter."-
[18:43] <Raphael> "And besides, as angry as you are right now you /know/ we can't afford to turn away assets."
[18:43] <Idrilyn> ["I -know- that, but… But…" Henri looked anguished. "Just having him on this ship pisses me off."-
[18:45] <Idrilyn> ["You know," Mr. Blue finished mixing, pouring the finished cocktail into a glass, "Sounds like the physical's fixed but the mental's still a bit broke."-
[18:45] <Idrilyn> ["You shut up!"-
[18:46] <Idrilyn> ["No, I'm bein' serious this time. Yeah, I fucked you up, and your body's all fixed but you're still scared of me. That ain't me boastin'. That's just how trauma works." Said Blue, pushing the cocktail towards Henri. It was black, with a sort of… Bluish edge. "I call it a 'Dirac Sea'. It's on the house."-
[18:46] <Idrilyn> [Henri just stared at him.]
[18:49] * Raphael gives the cocktail a doubtful look but doesn't move to stop Henri, keeping a calm hand on the younger (Mentally, at least) man's shoulder.
[18:50] <Idrilyn> ["Here. Tell you what." Blue leaned over the bar. "I'll give everyone a free drink, and you, Henri, you get to punch me right in the kisser if you think it'll-"-
[18:50] <Idrilyn> [He didn't even finish before Henri drove an elbow square into Blue's nose, sending him flailing off his chair and into several rows of glasses and bottles.]
[17:15] * Raphael lets out a deep sigh and peers over the bar to check on Blue amidst the mixture of alcohol and broken glass. "Did that help, Sergeant?" He asks mildly.
[17:20] <Minaplo> [The alcohol has managed to practically soak Blue's suit, although curiously the glass hasn't managed to damage the fabric even a little. The rest cannot be said for Blue's uncovered parts, since he seems to have landed on some kind of glass shrapnel bomb.-
[17:25] <Minaplo> [Thin little red cuts cover his hands and face, alcohol seeping into them, mixing with the blood and no doubt hurting like hell. More stomach-turningly, a large jagged shard has torn through his right palm, a steady stream of blood coursing down his wrist and onto his suit. Several small shards had managed to embed themselves into his face and neck.-
[17:26] <Minaplo> [Mr. Blue coughed, once, causing the shards to wriggle and tense about in the flesh. He winced, getting back up to his feet. A large bruise was apparent on his left eye.-
[17:30] <Minaplo> [Henri had no answer for Raphael at first. His act of violence had seemed to lift the red mist from his shoulders, instead replaced with a sort of hollow realisation. He stared at Mr. Blue in quiet horror.-
[17:32] <Minaplo> ["Stings." Said Blue quietly. There was a mildly groggy note to his voice that suggested that the pain was quite real. "Really fuckin' stings." He lifted his impaled hand up, turning it this way and that so that the bloodstained shard caught the light. "Huh."-
[17:33] <Minaplo> [Henri turned away quickly, looking squarely at Raphael, grabbing onto his shoulder for support. He didn't look well. "Sick." He muttered out.]
[17:36] * Raphael nods mutely, gesturing to Blaise and Hugues. "Take him outside, would you? Let him get a bit of fresh air. Euphrasie, would you mind helping me here? If that's a problem I'll call the medics."
[17:38] <Minaplo> ["I helped Isidor at Villetta, didn't I?" Muttered Euphrasie.-
[17:38] <Minaplo> ["… Hey."-
[17:39] <Minaplo> [Blaise and Hugues were only too happy to escort the green-looking Henri out.]
[18:] <Raphael> "Only polite to ask, ma'am." He murmurs, giving Blue a unreadable look. "… That was nice of you."
[18:07] <Minaplo> ["What, the part where I offered him a drink, or the part where I let him fuck me up?"-
[18:08] <Minaplo> [Euphrasie walked over, critically taking in the injuries. "We'll need a first aid kit to patch up the injuries, especially to his hand and throat-"-
[18:08] <Minaplo> ["Nah, just rip the shard out."-
[18:08] <Minaplo> ["What?"]
[18:09] <Raphael> "The part where we both know you could have avoided the blow, or made it less painful for yourself." He shrugs. "Sergeant Herriot can't throw a punch worth talking about."
[18:11] <Raphael> «Sergeant Duval*, derp»
[18:48] <Minaplo> ["Yep, both true." Said Blue. He held out his hand to Euphrasie. A lot of the minor cuts had already closed. "Go on, just rip it out."-
[18:49] <Minaplo> [She gave him an uncertain look, and gingerly wrapped a cloth around her hand, grabbing the glass shard. "On three. One, two, three-"-
[18:51] <Minaplo> [The shard was pulled free, Mr. Blue letting out a long, hissed 'harrrgggnnnkkkkshhhhhhhitfucker' of pain. Blood began pouring out of the rapidly-closing wound. "Fuck, got nanomachines all over the booze…"-
[18:51] <Minaplo> ["I hope you appreciate my willingness to suffer really fuckin' awful pain to build bridges with you lot." He muttered at Raphael.]
[18:57] <Raphael> Raphael responds with a noncommittal grunt.-
[18:59] <Raphael> "I'll see that Sergeant Duval keeps his distance from now on."
[19:00] <Minaplo> ["Good. I ain't gonna start shit, but the kid's traumatised, it ain't healthy." He rubbed the palm of his hand, sighing.-
[19:03] <Minaplo> ["Like you care that much." Muttered Euphrasie, who'd taken to trying to clean up some of the glass in the interests of public safety.-
[19:04] <Minaplo> ["Miss Rei told me to build bridges, and I'd rather die than fail." He said loftily. "Besides, I don't see you exactly sheddin' tears about all my friends who died in your little op." He turned to Raphael. "So you want that free drink or what?"]
[19:21] <Raphael> "Your friends-" Raphael snaps, before literally biting his tongue and forcing himself to be silent. "Nevermind. We've been through this enough."-
[19:22] <Raphael> "Forget about the free drinks. I think we've wasted enough of your alcohol today."
[19:31] <Minaplo> ["Welp, can I get you something to eat, to go? We added a bunch of specials to our permanent menu, y'know: Langley-Soryu Pizza is pretty popular."]
[19:37] <Raphael> "The… what?" Raphael asks, giving Blue a confused look.
[19:39] <Minaplo> ["It's a pizza with grilled chicken, spicy German sausage and melted mozzarella cheese, served with a bowl of curry soup with spices and herbs. You did the pizza into the soup, and then eat it." He beamed proudly.-
[19:40] <Minaplo> ["Miss Rei and I came up with it."]
[19:47] <Raphael> It would've been easy to miss earlier, with Henri still on the warpath, but there's a faint, telltale tensing of the muscles in Raphael's jaw every time Blue mentions Rei's name. He eyes the other man in silence for a moment before glancing back at Euphrasie and Isidor.-
[19:48] <Raphael> "Euphrasie, would see that everyone makes it back to the party, please? I think I have a few things to deal with here."
[19:50] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, sure." She placed a stack of glass into the trash, patting Raphael with her clean hand as she went past. "C'mon, Isidor."-
[19:50] <Minaplo> ["Hmph." Isidor turned to Raphael. "See you, General." He turned to Blue, giving him a short nod, before leaving.]
[16:07] * @Raphael gives the pair a vague sort of wave as they depart, most of his attention still on Blue. Only when he hears the door click shut does he break the silence.-
[16:08] <@Raphael> "I believe I'll have a drink after all." He says, fishing his wallet from his pocket. "I'll be paying, though."
[16:09] <Minaplo> ["Suits me." Said Mr. Blue. "What'd you like? I can make you up one of my custom cocktails… A Maltese Vampire?"]
[16:13] * @Raphael gives Blue a flat look, but slaps a few notes down on the bar. "I suppose."
[16:17] <Minaplo> [Mr. Blue grabs a cocktail mixer, pouring in a small quantity of tequila, a larger amount of tomato juice then added a few dashes of worcestershire and tabasco sauce. He took the mix, shook it vigorously, then strained it into an ice-filled highball glass. A lime gets dropped into the drink, then finally, he holds a pepper grinder over it and seasons the mix.-
[16:17] <Minaplo> [The end result is a bright red drink with a very faint green tinge near the bottom.-
[16:18] <Minaplo> [He pushes the mix to Raphael, and takes the notes. "Enjoy."]
[16:59] <@Raphael> Apparently driven more by politeness than any real urge to drink, Raphael collects the glass and takes a small sip. Again he lapses into silence, waiting to see whether he'd be struck down by poison or some other hideous toxin… but when that begins to seem unlikely, he speaks again. "… We need to talk about Rei, Blue."
[17:01] <Minaplo> ["One of my favourite topics."]
[17:03] <@Raphael> "It goes without saying that I have no interest in her being anywhere near you. It also goes without saying, I think, that when Rei has decided on redeeming something there's not a damned thing anyone can do to stop her."
[17:07] <Minaplo> ["One of her best qualities." Said Mr. Blue, nodding slowly.]
[17:08] <@Raphael> "Which leaves me in an awkward position." He says, taking another sip of his drink.
[17:09] <Minaplo> ["Sounds like your options are limited to me."]
[17:09] <@Raphael> "Mmm."
[17:12] <Minaplo> ["The way I see it, you really only have one option you're able to fulfill. That is, leaving Rei to make her own decisions and simply coming to terms with the idea of putting up with me."-
[17:12] <Minaplo> ["Alternatively, you could try to kill me." Said Blue brightly.]
[17:18] <@Raphael> "Or I could convince you to leave her be." Raphael says mildly, as if the idea had just occured to him.
[17:19] <Minaplo> ["You'd have better luck tryin' to kill me, and we all know how that went last time." Said Mr. Blue, shaking his head.]
[17:20] <@Raphael> "I was /trying/ to take you in."
[17:21] <Minaplo> ["Pfft. You're lucky I've got tiny little robots in my bloodstream. Explosives are 'non-lethal subdual equipment' for very few people."]
[17:23] <@Raphael> "… Hmmph."-
#02[17:23] * Yanmei (~ten.nozirev.soif.apalhp.321-202-261-17-loop|ekaCyekaC#ten.nozirev.soif.apalhp.321-202-261-17-loop|ekaCyekaC) Quit (Quit: )
[17:26] <@Raphael> "Whatever the case," Raphael continues, "I don't trust you. I don't trust you being on this ship, I don't trust you being within reach of my family, and I sure as hell don't trust you taking an interest in Rei. However circumstances dictate that we come to some sort of accord."
[17:29] <Minaplo> [Mr. Blue sighed. "Yeah, so it seems. Here's me sayin': you don't trust me, so on and so forth. And honestly I get that, sure, that's understandable. We were on opposin' sides, and we've fucked with each other, like, if you -did- trust me… That'd actually surprise me." He leaned forward on the bar, soaked his left arm in benedictine, and scowled in irritation, trying to mop it up with a cloth.-
[17:31] <Minaplo> ["I don't know what it'd take for you to trust me. I suspect you wouldn't ever unless I was dead, 'cuz it's easy to trust a corpse to stay dead, or if you were somehow to read my mind. So any accord you're willing to offer, I'm willin' to hear."]
[17:45] * @Raphael nods slowly. "… Then I need to understand what you want from her. Really understand it."
[17:50] <Minaplo> ["Alright. You want the full story?"]
[17:52] * @Raphael just nods, turning his near-full glass idly.
[17:52] <Minaplo> [Blue tapped his fingers on the top of the bar. "How old were you when Impact hit?"]
[17:54] <@Raphael> "Eighteen."
[18:01] <Minaplo> ["Eighteen." Mr. Blue nodded. "I was… Six, seven. I don't remember exactly. Lived with my folks in New Orleans. They," He jabbed a finger towards one of the siderooms, which led to the Tailor shop, "Were tailors. They had a little family business, they expected me to take it over when I grew up." He placed his hand back down on the table. "Your American geography might not be too good, but New Orleans sits smack-fuckin-bang on the Mississippi River, the biggest fucker in North America. When Antarctica blew up and the water rose the Mississippi flooded every goddamn bank, and New Orleans got it twice as bad from bein' so close to the coast. We were proper fucked, is what I'm gettin' at. My folks, their little store, all went under Old Man River. Little kid like me lived through pure chance. Hid in a church bell tower. Fuckin' waters damn near covered most of that church."]
[18:15] <@Raphael> … It was a common enough story for impact survivors, but that didn't lessen the weight of it. Especially when he had seen something similar. "I see."
[18:15] <Minaplo> ["I figured you might." Blue nodded, grabbing a cloth and wiping down a stool on his side so he could sit down on it.-
[18:19] <Minaplo> ["Now, by the time you're 18, your brain's developed and shit so that you can look at a situation in more abstract and complex ways. You understood all the ramifications and most importantly, all the unceasing bullshit that'd have to be done to fix it all. 7-year old's different. Back then I saw shit in black and white. I'd lost my folks, I was alone, and -bad- was happening, in every direction. Everywhere you looked, you saw bad. I remember thinkin' to myself, and it's a little dumb, but there you go: I was thinkin' that something so bad needed a lot of good to fix it. Like Superman or some shit."-
[18:20] <Minaplo> ["I was rescued, eventually, by a cool old priest who wanted to see what had happened of his church. I was put into religious orphanages, pushed around for a year or two, and then around that time, some fuckers started putting orphans through aptitude tests. Mental, physical, whatever. And guess who won that fuckin' lottery?" He smirked and shook his head.-
[18:21] <Minaplo> ["So I got snapped up in one of the many super-soldier programmes happenin' at the time, just like that. This one was one of the first, drawn from Catholic orphanages 'round the world and trained in secret, hopin'… I dunno, hopin' to breed little religious warriors? We were called the Templars, which is such a fuckin' corny name but I loved it at the time."-
[18:23] <Minaplo> [He sat back on his stool. "So there I was, one of the first, and we were told by the overseer that we all ought to have some dream, some reward or goal that we wanted more than anything else. Somethin' to keep a fucker warm at night. And they went through the kids, and then they came to me, and you know what I said? I said I wanted to be a superhero. Ain't that the shit?" He snorted.]
[18:26] <@Raphael> Despite himself, Raphael does smile a little at that - not much more than a twitch of his lip, but it's there. "Templars… that's not one I've heard of. Not surprising given how many there were at the time, I suppose."
[18:27] <Minaplo> ["There were a fuckin' lot. Lots of 'em got folded into the NeoSpartans in the end, though we didn't." Mr. Blue shook his head. "That's 'cuz we were answerin' directly to Mary Caine."-
[18:29] <Minaplo> ["Mother Superior, we called her. Like she was a fuckin' nun or something. Ain't that a thing? We were her own personal little crusader squad. We were used for aid missions in Africa, officially… And officially we delivered a lot of fuckin' aid, let me tell you. I don't regret that."-
[18:31] <Minaplo> ["But there was the flip side, too. The unofficial aid… Y'know. Coercing local politicians, offing warlords. I didn't like it at first. You read those old comics, you never see Superman or Batman assassinate shit, even when those fuckers are like, baaad with a capital Surov. But I was just a kid, and you get Mary Caine Logic hammered into your head everyday, and you start to internalise it, and at some point the wires switched and I grew up into a teen who believed that the best way to save the world was to kill all the bad guys."]
[18:35] * @Raphael holds up a hand, gesturing for Blue to stop even as he nods in understanding. "I'm sorry, but you're using that term again."
[18:35] <Minaplo> ["What term?"]
[18:37] <@Raphael> "'Mary Caine Logic'. I'm not foolish enough to miss what you mean, at least in the broad strokes, but you've applied it to enough situations now that I'm beginning to think that's how you perceive -everything-."
[18:43] <Minaplo> [Mr. Blue sighed. "That's 'cuz it's behind a lot of shit. Mary Caine didn't invent it, but she's the best at it. It's the belief that you can make the world better by doin' evil, y'know… Killin' is an evil act, but if you kill evil dudes…" He shook his head and pointed at Raphael. "This is the sort of shit they taught you. That rules… Ethics… -Codes- weren't intrinsic, but relative, that people who didn't live by your code, or broke it somehow… Were exceptions. Your code could say that an act is evil, but if someone -else- does that act, then it's ok to do the same thing to them. That an evil act becomes less evil because the target is evil, even though the only thing that makes them evil is that their -actions-. See? That's what I mean by Mary Caine Logic."-
[18:44] <Minaplo> ["I know you know what I mean. It's easy to rationalise that shit. 'If we don't do this bad thing, then we might all die' was basically NERV's creed."]
[18:49] <@Raphael> "Of course I know what you mean. That doesn't mean there's any other real, practical option." Raphael says tersely. "You don't think, on a pure, pragmatic level, there's people who we would be better without? We wouldn't be better without Mary Caine? I understand it's an ethical problem, and I struggle with that, but pragmatically…"
[18:55] <Minaplo> ["How did Mary Caine get to the point where she's officially someone we'd be better off without? She thinks pragmatically too. The fucker von Brandt in that cell down in Security? He's her lover, yet she'd sacrifice him in a heartbeat if it meant serving the greater good. And I think there's situations where you might be forced to do the same, maybe with Katsuragi." Mr. Blue leaned forward, folding his arms and leaning them on the bench. "Caine has a goal in mind, one she thinks will benefit all of humanity, and if you're in her way, then pragmatically speaking, from her point of view, you're a threat to humanity and the greater good."-
[18:59] <Minaplo> ["That's the trick, see. By pragmatically removing her, you open yourself up to a whole new world of shit. What's to say you won't stop with other threats? Other people we'd be better off without?"-
[18:59] <Minaplo> ["Now, I'm not an idiot. I know Caine's a threat, and one we gotta beat. But killin's a bad thing to do, so in the end… We beat her, and we let her live. That's my judgement."]
[19:05] <@Raphael> "… And of course, I disagree." Raphael says. "I don't think all pragmatism is weighted equally. And by disagreeing, I know I only allow you to claim that it proves your point." He sighs.
[19:07] <Minaplo> ["No, I know what you mean." Blue shook his head. "Pragmatism is fine… Like, here, if you have enough food to feed three people, but you gotta care for four, then you'll prioritise. That's fine. But when you start letting pragmatism break the special rules… Like "Don't kill", then -that's- where you gotta go 'nope'."]
[19:13] * @Raphael looks a little nonplussed, but lifts his glass back to his lips and takes a long drink to stop himself arguing the point any further. "I apologize for interrupting your story, in any case." He says after a moment, gesturing with his free hand.
[19:13] <Minaplo> ["S'cool." Mr. Blue continued.-
[19:17] <Minaplo> ["So, I was a good little Templar. Did I kill a few people? Sure. Some of 'em were 'bad', some of 'em were just in the way. I was their crownin' achievement, their best student, so they decided it was time for me to get my wish." He smiled darkly. "That's where that fuckface Surov comes in, by the way. He's the one who pioneered all my enhancements. Some cybernetic stuff… Implants in my head to improve my memory and intelligence. Nanomachines to give me perfect health and regenerative abilities, amongst a few others. I was taught all the -big- stuff. Complex combat techniques, advanced electronics, battle planning… Oh, and then they decided to neurocondition me and that's where shit went really wrong."]
[19:18] <@Raphael> "It has a way of doing that, from all I've seen…"
[19:23] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, you're not wrong. It might've also been thanks to all the implants, but the end result was that coded conditioning meant to make me highly aggressive on codewords… Was triggered all the time. It fucked with my head to the point that it killed any hope of controllin' me, too. I went berserk eventually, broke out of the Templar base and went rogue."]
[19:31] * @Raphael frowns.
[19:31] <@Raphael> "How could they fail that completely?"
[20:11] <Minaplo> ["No idea. It's possible their neuroconditioning fucked up 'cuz it was more intensive than usual… For the time. This was supposed to turn me into a real nasty piece of work. Wipe away all my doubts, worries… Just concerned only with the mission I was given. And it fucked up. And I went rogue. I kinda like how it turned out."-
[20:12] * Syntax (~if.vth.pp.060771sc|reTxatnyS#if.vth.pp.060771sc|reTxatnyS) has joined #nervfrance2
[20:13] <Minaplo> ["I found myself in the wilderness for awhile. Still fucked in the head, but I only really had one option. I had to start piecing my head back together. If I wanted to evade all the bounty hunters, the patrols, the warlords, so on… I needed all of my skills. It took… Fuck, I don't even know how long. Three years before I was even a little coherent. I didn't talk for two years."-
[20:15] <Minaplo> ["But there was one thing I regained early on- my skill with needles and fabric, all the shit I learned from my folks and all the shit I'd done to advance that stuff after I joined the Templars. I began to make clothes for myself. I made this hat first, because the sun was killin' me, yet 'cuz I was a half-mad idiot I made a fashionable hat, not a practical one." He grinned. "But it helped. For some reason, after the hat, things became easier, slowly. I started to build myself up. I started to wonder where it'd all went wrong. Where I'd turned from a kid who wanted to be a superhero into a guy who was so obviously a supervillain. And the answer was with the Templars and Mary Caine. They taught me a lot, includin' how to be a killer."-
[20:18] <Minaplo> ["I told myself that I'd use those same fuckin' skills against 'em, to bring 'em down…" He shook his head. "It didn't quite work out that way. It was hard to kill my old Templar buddies. Fuck, it was so dumb. To this day I still have voices in my head tellin' me how to kill a person, and to do it as soon as possible- just anyone- and I keep 'em in check- the hat helps a lot, keeps the voices quiet mostly- and it was -harder- to kill after the voices than before. I wasn't able to kill even -one- Templar, because when I'd get to it I'd remember all the shit they'd done with me… Good and bad… And… Fuck, I dunno."]
[14:59] * @Raphael frowns down at the table, lifting his glass after a moment and draining the rest of the drink. "So what -did- happen to the Templars? I take it they're not still active."
[15:00] <Minaplo> ["Oh, they're still active, just not in the way they used to be. They've become less 'intensive' now. The training's all done, they've moved on into jobs and careers and shit… Doing their own thing until they get tapped."]
[15:02] <@Raphael> "Sleeper agents. Certainly fits Caine's style, once she worked out the… flaws of this neuroconditioning."
[15:07] <Minaplo> ["Oh, I doubt she used it nearly as intensively as she did with me. Probably light stuff, the sort they might use on Guard."]
[15:08] <@Raphael> "Mmm."
[15:12] <Minaplo> ["In any case, after that, I made my way around. I did odd jobs. Some mercenary stuff, you know, 'I need this stolen' or that kind of thing. There was a part of me that was resigned to the idea that Mary Caine and her Logic had won. But as weird as it sounds, believing, fuckin' -believing- that there was an alternative- that was important. It kept me sane. So long as I didn't surrender to the Logic, I could keep my head together."-
[15:14] <Minaplo> ["I worked for Azariah Caine for a bit. Hoping he'd be better than Mary Caine, and hoping to have some of the neuroconditioning fixed, but I ended up getting captured before the surgery was done and by the time I got out, the LN was dead and gone."]
[15:30] * @Raphael sighs, scratching his chin. "My fault, I suppose." He says. It's not quite an apology, but he doesn't seem in a rush to offer any more.
[15:31] <Minaplo> ["Yep."-
[15:34] <Minaplo> ["The post-Breakout Blue was not a happy Blue. I was free, sure, and I had no master, but to be frank, I was startin' to lose hope, 'cuz it looked like Mary Caine was unstoppable. I started to fear. I wondered that maybe my other way was just a lie, that you -couldn't- live your life in another way… Not really. I didn't wanna lose that belief. I'd rather die than lose it. I began to set roots down in Paris. In the long run, I wanted to find proof of my 'other way', and in the short run, the Mafia was there, rich and stupid, and I needed cash, so those fuckers got the short straw."-
[15:36] <Minaplo> ["That's when I learned about Miss Rei, and that's when I decided that I needed to know. I needed to see if she could live the Other Way even in the worst fuckin' circumstance, to sort of put an end to all that 'one bad day' bullshit. And she passed."-
[15:39] <Minaplo> ["So that's, to bring an overly long story to an end, why I have an interest in Miss Rei. Because it's a hell of a lot easier to believe in her than it is for me to believe in myself. And that keeps me sane. Miss Rei and I weren't so different once. We both once wished to be superheroes, the only difference is that she fulfilled her wish and I didn't. So I'm gonna support her, not only to keep myself sane, but also 'cuz I want that to be protected, 'cuz it's her attitude that will save the world in the long run… And 'cuz that wish is still precious to me, and I wanna protect it, even if it means protectin' someone else livin' the wish."]
[15:50] * @Raphael drums his fingers on the outside of his glass, eyeing Blue doubtfully. "And that's it? Your agenda begins and ends with assisting Rei in what she already plans on doing?"
[15:52] <Minaplo> ["Yeah."]
[15:59] * @Raphael 's eyes remain fixed on Blue's own, but he takes a deep breath and slides his glass back across the bar as he gets to his feet. "Alright."
[16:00] <Minaplo> ["That's it?"]
[16:13] <@Raphael> "No." Raphael says flatly. "But I accept what you're saying for the moment, and I accept that a resolution is necessary. I can't say I entirely trust or believe you, but I suppose I'm closer to both than I expected to be."#
[16:18] <Minaplo> ["Ah, well. It was only my life story. I guess 'not entirely trusted' is a worthy payment for that. Guess it's the best we got for now. Did you like your drink?"]
[16:43] * @Raphael , to his credit, does look a little shamefaced. "… It was excellent, thank you." He sighs.-
[16:43] <@Raphael> "Please don't misunderstand me - I do appreciate you being candid with me. If it were just an issue between you and I, things may be different. When it comes to Rei, though… In a lot of ways, you're right. She's precious. Maybe her way of thinking can make something better - but for now, things are how they are. I won't try to temper that light of hers, and I won't stand in the way of
[16:43] <@Raphael> her doing what she thinks is right, but I fear for how fragile it might be. So if I have to deny you trust, and if I have to be a bastard to ensure my girl stays safe, I'll accept that."-
[16:43] <@Raphael> "I will protect my family, Blue, Caine Logic or not."
[16:46] <Minaplo> ["Even if it went against the greater good?"]#
[16:51] <@Raphael> "… I don't know." He said with a sigh. "But I don't think that really applies here."
[16:54] <Minaplo> ["Bullshit! It totally applies. You know why?"]
[16:55] <@Raphael> "Why?"
[16:55] <Minaplo> ["Cuz it means I'm right, motherfucker!" He got to his feet, raising his hands above his head. He began to clap, loudly… festively.-
[16:58] <Minaplo> ["Miss Rei turns two adversaries into colleagues! She reforms an insane man! She takes the bitter career soldier and gives him back his in-no-cense! Is there nothing her light cannot fix?! Is there a crevice it cannot reach?!"]
[19:49] *Raphael, his face now drained of any discernable expression, fixes Blue with a dangerously flat look. "I feel like bothering to speak with you was a mistake."
[20:07] <Minaplo> ["Aww, don't be like that. Here, I'll make it up to you. I'll let you star in my next ad. I'll even pay you! It'll bring the fuckin' lady clientele, let me tell you now."]
[20:07] <@Raphael> "-Absolutely not-."
[20:09] <Minaplo> ["I can see it now." He leaned over the table. "'Come to Blue's, and let Raphael Guillory dress you… The way -you- like it…'"]
[20:15] <@Raphael> "Ugh." Raphael groaned, turning on his heel and storming towards the door. A sharp slam echoes through the bar a second later.
[20:17] <Minaplo> [Mr. Blue grinned the entire time. His grin only widened as he heard the raging slamming of the door.-
[20:18] <Minaplo> [Blue stood up out of his chair, tugging at his alcohol-soaked lapels, before slowly turning on his heel and heading for his personal room. "He's totally hot for me," he said to one of the waitresses as he passed.-
[20:18] <Minaplo> ["… Really."-
[20:18] <Minaplo> ["What, you couldn't see him, sittin' there, feelin'… Blue?"-
[20:18] <Minaplo> ["Ugggh."-
[20:18] <Minaplo> [And with one more person annoyed, Mr. Blue skipped merrily off.]#

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