Chaos In Boston

[06:53] <Yanmei> [06:37] * Yanmei stirred and woke slowly, the sound of the VTOL's engines the very first thing in her ears. Groggily, she looked around at her surroundings - the textbook in her lap, the special occupied baby seat strapped in directly across from her, and the warm Isaiah sitting next to her. There were buildings in the view outside of the craft's window where there had only been an endless ocean before. She shook her head and
[06:53] <Yanmei> [06:37] <Yanmei> -stared a little more keenly. "Mmph." How long had she been out?
[06:59] <Elisha> [She'd get no immediate answer from her fellow passengers. Isaiah was very much asleep himself, snuggled up to her side.-
[06:59] <Elisha> [But the sun was burning in the western sky, and the shadows were long as the VTOl made the final approach.]
[07:03] <Yanmei> After a while, Yanmei stopped stroking Isaiah's curly head, her gaze still locked outside. She had needed a moment to explore the burning feeling running through her - that fear of what lay ahead of them when they touched down. It was something that she could manage, and so she did, nudging at him gently to wake him.
[07:09] <Elisha> ["Mmmf…" He reflexively snuggled closer for a second like a child pulling their blanket around themselves. His eyes slowly fluttered open. "Mmm…?"]
[07:12] <Yanmei> "Heh. Morning." She smiled and bobbed her head toward the window meaningfully.
[07:16] <Elisha> ["Oh, huh…" He blinked groggily. "We're here?"]
[07:16] <Yanmei> "Looks like it? How are you feeling?"
[07:17] <Elisha> ["Mmm…" He rested his head back on her shoulder. "Sleepy~"]
[07:19] * Yanmei patted him on the hand. "Get your fill of it now. I don't think Rei'll let us have a break after we land. She's way excited…"
[07:20] <Elisha> ["I bet she is…"-
[07:21] <Elisha> [The VTOL finally touched down upon a helipad directly over NERV HQ. Outside the window, standing in front of an elevator, were two familiar faces- Rei's and Alphonse's.]
[07:25] * Yanmei gathered their luggage, moving almost reluctantly from the warm seat and warmer Isaiah. It looked -cold- out there, but they couldn't disappoint Rei and Alphonse. "They look so happy~"
[07:26] <Elisha> ["They really do look cute together. Made for each other~" Said Isaiah warmly, collecting Lizzie as he went. "Shhhhh. Lizzie~"-
[07:26] <Elisha> ["Uuuuu…" She stirred.]
[07:32] * Yanmei waited until they were both bundled up securely before throwing the door open. She herself was dressed formally, in an indigo-colored suit with a long black wool overcoat thrown over it. "Pilot Ayanami~ Captain Wellesley~" She greeted them with a smile as they emerged. "Long time no see!"
[07:34] <Elisha> ["Meimei~" Rei did not hold for titles, and zipped across the space between to throw herself into a hug. "Meimei~!"-
[07:35] <Elisha> [Alphonse merely nodded. "Good to see you again, Pilot Zhang." He grinned. "And you too, Mr. Gabriel-Wei."-
[07:35] <Elisha> ["How're you, Captain?"-
[07:35] <Elisha> ["I'm quite good!"]
[07:39] <Yanmei> It was hard to hug back when carrying bags. Yanmei leaned into it as best as she could, still grinning. "How have you been? Do you like Boston, Rei?"
[07:43] <Elisha> [Rei nodded enthustically, taking Yanmei's bags for her. "It's really lovely here. Everyone's really friendly- Zaizai~ How're you?"-
[07:43] <Elisha> ["I'm good, Rei. You look really well!"]
[07:50] <Yanmei> "Things have been… interesting back home. Here, let's go inside so we can talk about it some more!"
[07:51] <Elisha> ["Interesting? Ok!"-
[07:51] <Elisha> ["Come." Said Alphonse, heading into the elevator. "I'll show you around the Boston Synfront as we go."-
[07:52] <Elisha> [It wouldn't be long before they'd all be bundled into the elevator and heading down, down… Into the Boston Minifront.-
[07:52] <Elisha> ["Will my office do?"]
[07:55] <Yanmei> "Sure! That sounds fine." Yanmei loosened her coat now that they were indoors and eyed Lizzie, certain that she was still half-sleeping by now.
[08:00] <Elisha> [Lizzie was in fact asleep once again…-
[08:03] <Elisha> [A quick walk through the Minifront, through the Command Centre. It was very similar -identical, rather- to the Geofront's, although obviously the Bunnies were different. In fact, the Bunnies here in Boston were younger- around Yanmei's age. Clearly other Companions.-
[08:03] <Elisha> ["Anything to report, Lieutenant Macquarie?" Asked Alphonse.-
[08:04] <Elisha> [A young man with short brown hair turned. "No, sir."-
[08:04] <Elisha> ["Good." They hurried on past the command centre, and into Alphonse's office.-
[08:05] <Elisha> [Marianne had one of these. Cozy and posh, with a big desk, a personal computer, cabinets and bookcases… A soft, comfortable couch, and chairs. Rei put their bags down against the wall.]
[08:11] * Yanmei had greeted the crew with bright smiles along the way, leaving it to their guides, naturally, to take the initiative. When they arrived, she stretched and sighed, still standing. "Thanks for the invite, by the way? It's my first time here, but… Isaiah has been in the States before, right?"
[08:12] <Elisha> ["Yeah, that's right." Said Isaiah, smiling. "I think I've even been here before, but everything looks so different…"-
[08:13] <Elisha> ["I really wanted you to come, Meimei." Said Rei. "It sounds like the two of you needed to get away…"-
[08:13] <Elisha> ["From what I've heard, it's been rather chaotic over your end." Said Alphonse, sitting at his desk. A picture frame sat on that desk, now that Yanmei could see- one of a smiling Rei.]
[08:14] <Yanmei> "You heard about the battle," she surmised. The picture earned another grin. Hehehe, something to tease Rei about later?
[08:15] <Elisha> ["I did indeed. Would you like some tea, by the way?"]
[08:22] <Yanmei> "Sure. Thank you very much." Yanmei took a seat and politely folded her hands in her lap. "We're lucky there haven't been any followup attacks or Angels. We're still scrabbling to pick up the pieces? And I'm not talking about the EVA repairs."
[08:23] <Elisha> [Alphonse stood up, heading over to the kitchenette that came with the office. Before long a kettle was boiling away.-
[08:23] <Elisha> ["I hear Juu-neechan got hurt." Said Rei, a shadow falling across her face. "And so did Roku-neechan…"]
[08:29] <Yanmei> "Yeah, they did." Yanmei looked a little unhappy at that too. "Roku is making progress, according to her doctors. Still has to be monitored to make sure that she doesn't hurt herself, but everyone's hopeful. Juu… Juu still has a long hospital stay ahead of her. She's made a new admirer, though?"
[08:31] <Elisha> ["Really?" Asked Rei curiously.]
[08:34] <Yanmei> "Chevalier. It's written all over his face." Yanmei shook her head. "Even though her actions in that fight crippled him. It's not something I fully understand, to be honest."
[08:36] <Elisha> ["…" Rei tilted her head. "That's strange…"-
[08:37] <Elisha> [Alphonse leaned back. "Chevalier is a warrior. To him, he probably realises that long term injury is simply a risk of the job. He knows Juu was doing her job, but in doing so she surpassed him, and that's impressive to him."-
[08:37] <Elisha> [Isaiah was sitting on the couch, putting Lizzie down on it for a more comfortable rest- only to go very still for a second.]
[08:41] <Yanmei> "I suppose so. He took the news of everything so calmly, too," Yanmei murmured. She eyed Isaiah, momentarily distracted. "…you okay?"
[08:46] <Elisha> ["Mm? Yeah, I'm ok. Just a little tired." He smiled.-
[08:46] <Elisha> [Rei frowned, patting Isaiah on the head. "We have rooms for you, so you can rest when we get home." She looked up at Yanmei. "I'm not sure if things are going well or not…"]
[08:49] <Yanmei> "…yeah. It's a mess, but it's just you piloting over here for now, right? Even in our state, we at least have two functioning EVAs and pilots. You guys are amazing to have held up as you have."
[08:50] <Elisha> ["Well…" Alphonse frowned. "We have San as well. But the two of them have been doing magnificently."-
[08:51] <Elisha> [Rei blushed, smiling- she busied herself with fetching the tea.-
[08:51] <Elisha> ["… But it isn't quite enough." Said Alphonse. "We predict that unless a breakthrough occurs, Minerva will take Washington D.C by April, early May."]
[08:53] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei shifted uneasily. "Not that far away, all things considered… It's good about San, though? I was still under the impression that her EVA hadn't been completed yet."
[08:55] <Elisha> ["We had it completed in late January." Said Alphonse. "She's been a great help."]
[08:59] <Yanmei> A faint expression of relief. "Maybe something will come along to help with the tide even more." They had acquired a lot of enemy Solace units and even some Dreadnought designs to even things out in Europe. Was there any reason why that technology couldn't be replicated here too?
[09:02] <Elisha> [Alphonse opened his mouth to reply…-
[09:02] <Elisha> [… And the alarms across Boston's Minifront started to sound.]
[09:03] <Yanmei> "…?!" Yanmei rose slightly out of her chair on instinct, all too familiar with that sound. "No…"
[09:05] <Elisha> [Rei looked around suddenly. "Al-chan…"-
[09:05] <Elisha> [Alphonse was already out of his chair, rushing out into the command center. "What is it?"-
[09:05] <Elisha> ["Angel, sir! From the northeast!"-
[09:05] <Elisha> [Isaiah was staring at Yanmei- and Lizzie was crying.]
[09:09] <Yanmei> An instant of uncertainty as it dawned on her that EVA-04 was not here… and then she firmed up. "Wait here. I'll see what the situation is. Chances are we won't have to move to a shelter since we're already in one, so to speak."
[09:14] <Elisha> [Isaiah nodded worriedly. "R-Right. I'll look after Lizzie…"-
[09:14] <Elisha> [Rei was frowning a little, but she was already out the door, headed for her Evangelion.]
[09:16] * Yanmei in the meantime slipped out toward Command, trying to make herself as unnoticable as possible.
[09:18] <Elisha> [Alphonse was standing in the middle of the command centre. In front of him on the holographic display was the Angel- about 70 metres tall, with a maw that dripped saliva- saliva that burned away buildings and craters where it landed. It had no legs, only a long tail- and its arms terminated in long glowing blades.-
[09:18] <Elisha> [Object: 18th Angel. CODENAME: AHKRAZIEL.-
[09:20] <Elisha> ["Get the Dragonflies out there." Said Alphonse. "Where's San?"-
[09:20] <Elisha> ["She's already at her Eva, sir."-
[09:20] <Elisha> ["And Rei?"-
[09:20] <Elisha> ["Likewise."]
[09:22] * Yanmei stared. She was reminded of the first Angel that had attacked Paris, acidic saliva aside. …and she was bothered, because she remembered how difficult that fight had been.
[09:29] <Elisha> [The Angel unleashed a massive energy beam that vaporised a flight of VTOLs.-
[09:29] <Elisha> ["VTOL Squadron 3 down, sir." Said Macquarie.-
[09:30] <Elisha> [Alphonse frowned. "Counterattack. Now."-
[09:36] <Elisha> [The VTOLs opened fire, bursts of energy striking the Angel's body- to no effect.-
[09:36] <Elisha> ["No effect, sir!"-
[09:36] <Elisha> ["I can see that. Pull them out-"-
[09:36] <Elisha> [Another burst of energy, this time a pair of rising crosses that vaporised another VTOL wing.-
[09:37] <Elisha> [Ahkraziel then hurled itself across the river- landing straight on top of the Minifront. It brought a glowing claw up, and-
[09:37] <Elisha> [The roof shook, as did the ground. "Armor plates one through three breached!"]
[09:44] * Yanmei grabbed at the wall to steady herself, and hissed a curse under her breath. She started to turn, to make her way back toward where she had left Isaiah and the baby.
[09:47] <Elisha> ["EVA-09 and 10 ready, sir."-
[09:47] <Elisha> ["Rei? How're you doing?"-
[09:47] <Elisha> ["I'm ready to go, Al-chan."-
[09:47] <Elisha> ["That's my girl. Deploy Evangelions!"-
[09:49] <Elisha> [Yanmei would find Isaiah standing in the doorway, looking pale and a little sick, a crying Lizzie in his arms.]
[09:50] <Yanmei> "It's right above us," Yanmei reached him breathlessly, stating what was probably the obvious. "We're not safe here…"
[09:50] <Elisha> ["W-Where can we go…?"]
[09:51] <Yanmei> "Let me think a minute. The safest place in these situations is…"
[09:59] <Elisha> ["… In the Minifront." Said Isaiah. "Or…"-
[10:00] <Elisha> [Rei grunted over the comms, a glowing blade embedded in 09's torso. "I-I'm ok!"]
[10:16] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei shook her head after a minute, the two of them apparently on the same wavelength. "They're not going to let a family of three in there. And anyway…" Her face was tense with concern and worry.
[10:17] <Elisha> ["… Then we should go to the command centre and wish our girls luck."]
[10:18] <Yanmei> "Yeah." Yanmei nodded, resigned. "Let's go…" And she started to lead the way.
[10:18] <Elisha> [He took her hand as they walked…-
[10:19] <Elisha> ["San, I want you to aim directly 44.3 by 14.3." Said Alphonse.-
[10:19] <Elisha> ["Yes, sir."-
[10:25] <Elisha> ["… The Angel's shifting towards San!"-
[10:25] <Elisha> ["Damnit, it anticipated that?" Swore Alphonse. "Rei, pursue and engage!"]
[10:45] * Yanmei squeezed Isaiah's hand silently. On the way, she moved as if to take Lizzie too, worried about her cries disturbing the Bridge crew
[10:52] <Elisha> [Rei pursued the Angel, her Prog Sword raking off the Angel's core and arm- distracting it, drawing its fire, but not enough to prevent a blade from digging into EVA-10's left leg. San let out a cry of pain-
[10:54] <Elisha> [Lizzie was still crying, and gladly went to Yanmei, burying her head into Yanmei's chest.]
[11:12] * Yanmei tried her best to soothe her, bouncing her slightly and rubbing her back, and murmuring quietly. She glanced up sharply, first at the monitors and then to Isaiah at the cry.
[11:35] <Elisha> [Rei struck out once more, burying her blade in the beast's arm- and its head. It let out a painful keening noise…-
[11:36] <Elisha> [But as the blade pulled away, many of the wounds closed up. It grew taller- it was done playing with its food.]
[11:54] <Elisha> [San stepped back, Mas Carbine firing heavily- but the sheer mass of fire barely did any damage.-
[11:54] <Elisha> ["It's armor's too thick. San, redeploy across the river to Supply Cache 02. I'm sending up your sword."-
[11:54] <Elisha> ["Yes, sir."]
[12:10] <Elisha> [Rei continued to strike it, even though it parried some of her blows- a deep cut to the head sent it running across the river.-
[12:11] <Elisha> ["Yes! There's my Rei." Said Alphonse proudly.-
[12:11] <Elisha> ["She's winning." Said Isaiah quietly.]
[12:12] <Yanmei> "Yeah, it looks good." Yanmei was brightening
[12:35] <Elisha> [As San crossed the river, the Angel charged once more, glowing blades ripping into 10's leg- then into its chest. San cried out in pain…-
[12:36] <Elisha> [But somehow remained standing, although Rei's attempt to intervene with a flying kick was disrupted by the Angel's AT Field. "We need to neutralise again."]
[12:53] <Elisha> ["I'm neutralising-" began San…-
[12:53] <Elisha> […Only for Ahkraziel to strike again, this time embedding its blades into San as deep as they would go- then pulling out, cutting horizontally, bisecting the Evangelion completely.-
[12:54] <Elisha> [San -screamed- as her Entry Plug was launched to safety- landing in the river, flotation devices deploying a second before impact.-
[12:54] <Elisha> ["Yanmei-" Isaiah murmured. "She- Rei's all alone-!"]
[12:55] <Yanmei> "Easy." Yanmei was staring fixedly at the monitors. "If it was a straight fight, we'd still be okay. The problem is that AT Field, though?"
[13:02] <Elisha> ["If only…"-
[13:02] <Elisha> [Rei struck one more time- it parried.-
[13:02] <Elisha> ["I can't break through, Al-chan-"-
[13:02] <Elisha> ["Sir, something's happening!" Cried Macquarie.-
[13:03] <Elisha> [The Angel's chest seemed to crack open, a small orifice emerging… A gleaming white tentacle emerged, coiled in the air- and then struck EVA-09 squarely in the chest.-
[13:03] <Elisha> ["N-Nnngh-" Rei's eyes widened, gripping her controls. "N-No-"-
[13:04] <Elisha> ["Rei?" Alphonse took a step forward. "Rei!"]
[13:05] <Yanmei> "It can't…" Yanmei's eyes were wide. "It can't be!"
[13:08] <Elisha> ["Yanmei? Is that…"-
[13:08] <Elisha> [Alphonse stared- and swivelled around towards Yanmei. "What? What's going on?!"-
[13:09] <Elisha> ["Al… Al-chan…" Rei groaned, flinching as though she were being struck.]
[13:12] * Yanmei held Lizzie closer. "She's helpless now. If it was a physical attack she might shrug it off, but it's more than that." One nasty surprise that it had pulled out on them. Her face was grim.
[13:14] <Elisha> ["Helpless? No. That can't be." He turned back to the viewscreen. "Macquarie, eject the entry plug."-
[13:14] <Elisha> ["…"-
[13:14] <Elisha> ["Not responding, sir."-
[13:14] <Elisha> ["Alright. Try compressions. Combat drugs. Let's get her back in control."-
[13:15] <Elisha> [Painful seconds passed as Rei convulsed, staring down at her hands. "Al-chan- please- please- I'm all alone- I can't see-"-
[13:16] <Elisha> ["No effect, sir."-
[13:16] <Elisha> ["Damnit!" Alphonse turned back towards Yanmei, his face panicky. "There has to be something- Yanmei, tell me what I have to do."]
[13:21] <Yanmei> "…" She had to struggle not to turn away. "She has to snap out of it herself. If she could pull back and give herself the time to do it, she'd be fine, but we don't have that option."
[13:22] <Elisha> ["Rei." Alphonse turned around. "Rei- you have to pull it together. I'm here. I'm right here. Please-" He was trying to control the fear in his voice. He wasn't prepared for this. "Please, Rei. I love you- please fight…"-
[13:22] <Elisha> [The air around EVA-09 shimmered.-
[13:22] <Elisha> ["Pilot Ayanami's Synch Ratio's rising! Rapidly!"-
[13:23] <Elisha> [EVA-09 spasmed, as if about to move- to break free…-
[13:23] <Elisha> [… Before slumping once again.-
[13:23] <Elisha> ["Not enough, sir." Said Macquarie. "Mental contamination is reaching the brink-"-
[13:25] <Elisha> ["Pilot's heartrate is 150 beats per minute. Blood pressure is 165 over 76-"-
[13:25] <Elisha> ["That's way too high. Calm her down-"-
[13:25] <Elisha> ["It's not working-"-
[13:25] <Elisha> [Alphonse started shaking, clasping his hands together.-
[13:25] <Elisha> [But Rei started to scream…]
[13:29] * Yanmei looked at Isaiah. She looked to the monitors, then back, wincing hard at the scream. "Send me up!" She blurted out. "Send me in EVA-08! Even if the synch ratio's abysmal, if I can at least distract it with gunfire. It's already badly injured!"
[13:29] <Elisha> [Alphonse turned around, suddenly. There was something approaching hope in his eyes…-
[13:30] <Elisha> ["EVA-08 might not accept you at all. You might not even synchronise. But…" He turned to look at Isaiah. "It was made for you. It'd definitely work…"]
[13:32] <Yanmei> She knew he would say that. And for an instant, her horror had to be pushed aside for a calm argument. "Wouldn't the empathy link make a difference?" she pleaded. "I'm the more experienced pilot, and… you can't ask him to do that!"
[13:34] <Elisha> ["DON'T YOU TELL ME WHAT I CAN'T DO!" Shouted Alphonse.-
[13:34] <Elisha> ["… Please. She's -all- I have. There's no time- if we waste time putting you in and it doesn't work, she could die."-
[13:35] <Elisha> ["Sir, mental contamination has penetrated the 3rd and 2nd safeguards-"-
[13:37] <Elisha> ["Al-chan…" Rei's voice. She was hugging herself, pulling her legs up to her chest. "I love Al-chan- I want to be with Al-chan…"-
[13:37] <Elisha> [Every word was torture for Alphonse. "Please. -Please-, I'm begging you. She'd fight for either of you in a second. She'd -die- for either of you…"-
[13:37] <Elisha> [Isaiah's hand tightened around Yanmei's- he was sweating…]
[13:41] * Yanmei held his hand back tightly, her face a stiff and slightly contorted mask. Then, little by little, she started to loosen her fingers. "Do you want this? If you do, I won't stop you. I promised before that I wouldn't."
[13:42] <Elisha> ["I don't want to pilot." Murmured Isaiah. "But… But I can't leave her alone. I'm the only person who can help her. If she dies- her blood's on my hands…" He stared at Alphonse.-
[13:43] <Elisha> ["Send me up. I'm no good at piloting, but I'll do my best."]
[13:45] <Yanmei> Defeat. But it was not a bitter thing, not yet, when Rei's life was hanging precariously on this decision. She let his hand go. "I'll be with you every step of the way, you know?"
[13:45] <Elisha> ["I know. I'm counting on it. I can't do this by myself…"-
[13:46] <Elisha> ["I know this is hard for you. And you don't want to do this." Said Alphonse. "But I'm grateful. All you need to do is get up there and neutralise it. Rei can do the rest."-
[13:46] <Elisha> [Isaiah nodded slowly. "I can manage that." He said quietly.]
[13:50] * Yanmei stepped back, out of the way. She was concentrating, on him, withdrawing back into herself and reaching out to him through the Libido Effect.
[13:52] <Elisha> [He flashed her a smile. "I'll see you soon. Goodbye, Lizzie."-
[13:53] <Elisha> ["Daa…"-
[13:53] <Elisha> [A minute passed as he was escorted to the cages. No time for a Plugsuit- the A10 nerves are clipped to his head, and he was placed inside an Entry Plug.-
[13:54] <Elisha> ["Everything inside the cage is in docking position." Said Macquarie. "Stop signal plug ejection- complete."-
[13:54] <Elisha> [A technician on the field nodded. "Roger. Inserting entry plug!"-
[13:55] <Elisha> ["The plug has been secured. Beginning first level connection!"-
[13:55] <Elisha> [The LCL began to pour into the Entry Plug- Isaiah shifted uncomfortably, but breathed it in. "So… Weird…"-
[13:56] <Elisha> ["Entering second level contact."-
[13:56] <Elisha> [Alphonse was staring at the screens, hoping… This'd work, right?-
[13:57] <Elisha> ["Connecting to A10 nerve. Fixing the thought patterns to English for fundamental control- Initial stage of contact, no problems detected."-
[13:57] <Elisha> ["Bidirectional circuits are open. Synchronisation Ratio at 73.4%."-
[13:58] <Elisha> ["73%…" Alphonse murmured, then smiled. "He's doing it. He's actually doing it."]
[14:02] <Yanmei> "…" 73 percent. She… could worry about the consequences later. Rei needed to be saved!
[14:03] <Elisha> ["First lock disengaged. Second lock disengaged…"-
[14:03] <Elisha> ["EVA-08, ready for launch."-
[14:03] <Elisha> [Alphonse nodded. "EVA-08- launch!"-
[14:04] <Elisha> [A few seconds later, EVA-08 emerged from the launch port, dominating the skyline of Boston.]
[14:05] * Yanmei was following along closely. Adjusting to the perception change and the new view of the unfamiliar city, she supposed. That was normal.
[14:08] <Elisha> [Ahkraziel turned…-
[14:08] <Elisha> [The tentacle vanished, EVA-09 dropping to the ground, Rei letting out a final cry of pain.-
[14:09] <Elisha> [… Then the Angel hurled itself at EVA-08 before Isaiah could even raise his field- he barely stumbled backwards away from one claw, then sidestepped another. "A-Ah!"]
[14:19] <Yanmei> A rush of his fear… met with a rush of adrenaline from her. She tensed.
[14:27] <Elisha> [Another dodge- but it caught him in his arm.-
[14:27] <Elisha> [He screamed in pain. "Y-Yanmei-"-
[14:27] <Elisha> [Another gleaming blade. This time into the head. Smash!-
[14:27] <Elisha> ["A-Agh-!"-
[14:27] <Elisha> [Smash!-
[14:27] <Elisha> ["Y-Yanmei-!"-
[14:28] <Elisha> [Smash-! The blade ripped through, EVA-08's eyes dying, the blade pinning its head to a building- before retracting, gouts of blood spurting out of the open wound.]
[14:32] <Yanmei> "Isaiah!" She'd focused hard, trying her best. She felt aches in her own body suddenly, but it wasn't enough! Not enough to keep him going, or safe, or less than scared. A little dizzily, she set Lizzie on the ground.
[14:34] <Elisha> ["He's out- we aren't picking up anything"-
[14:35] <Elisha> ["Eject the plug! Now!"-
[14:35] <Elisha> ["No response…"-
[14:35] <Elisha> ["… Sir!" Macquarie's voice.-
[14:35] <Elisha> [Ahkraziel was turning away…-
[14:37] <Elisha> ["The nerve pulses are reversing-"-
[14:37] <Elisha> [EVA-08's one remaining eye flared to life. It lifted itself up…-
[14:37] <Elisha> [Ripped open its jaw- acidic saliva dripping from its jaw- and -roared-.]
[14:40] * Yanmei was staring at the monitors, but also not staring now, slumping against the wall behind her as if she might slide down it. Her jaws were clenched.
[14:46] <Elisha> [Ahkraziel turned…-
[14:46] <Elisha> [But not fast enough. EVA-08's left arm… Morphed, becoming distended, gooey- the armour fell off, leaving only the prehensile limb. It lashed out like a rip, curled around Ahkraziel's arm…-
[14:47] <Elisha> [and ripped it clean off, digesting it. Flesh bubbled around 08's face, before bursting into regenerated eyes and skin.-
[14:48] <Elisha> [Ahkraziel screamed, collapsing backwards, blood spurting from its missing arm.-
[14:49] <Elisha> [Which was just what 08 needed- bending down, maw gleaming, it -tore- into Ahkraziel's engorged leg, ripping it clean off- and mangling it into ribbons of flesh.]
[14:55] * Yanmei slowly raised a hand to her own mouth, and ran the back of her hand over very dry lips. This… this is what it looked like? Isaiah…
[15:01] <Elisha> [EVA-08 ripped into the body, now, with claw and fang, dissolving the body into a puddle of blood and scraps of flesh…-
[15:01] <Elisha> ["T… This is… Rei." Rei sounded fatigued and horrified. EVA-09 clambered to its feet and skittishly floated over the river, scooping San's entry plug up.-
[15:10] <Elisha> [Rei was quickly away, just as EVA-08 tore through the Angel's core- light shone from it… Before filtering away.-
[15:10] <Elisha> [EVA-08 plunged its hands into the Angel's fallen body…-
[15:11] <Elisha> [And -soaked- it into its arms, limbs bulging like a python devouring a rat.-
[15:11] <Elisha> [As it gorged itself on Angel flesh, its body started to ripple, fleshy tumours bursting across its back- its wing docks were ripped clear off its arms as four glistening orange wings erupted from its back.-
[15:12] <Elisha> ["… I-It's gone lucid." Alphonse stared in horror. "We can't control it…"]
[15:13] * Yanmei was breathing oddly, heavily. She turned away from the screen, holding herself, and pressed her forehead against the wall.
[15:14] <Elisha> [Lizzie was staring up at the screen, crying no longer. Just staring…-
[15:14] <Elisha> [Staring at the godly beast, its jaws dripping blood and flesh, at the blood coursing down its body. It roared…-
[15:15] <Elisha> [And turned away, stepping on a building carelessly as it went, it began to walk… Away from the city.]
[15:20] <Yanmei> Her breathing evened out and her shoulders loosened, but she didn't turn around. The space between herself and the wall was a private space, she decided, or as close to it as she could get on short notice, and she -really- needed a private moment.
[06:23] <Elisha> [She could feel the buzz of people around her- technicians and staff going into damage control.-
[06:23] <Elisha> ["… Yanmei?"]
[06:26] * Seraphiel has joined #nervfrance3
[06:30] * Yanmei swallowed. She must have looked so weird. For once she didn't care; the allure of staying in this private spot was too great. She couldn't stay there forever, though, and she knew it. "It's fine. He'll be fine," she muttered, and slowly turned around.
[06:36] <Elisha> [It was Alphonse, looking shaky and upset, but trying to pull it together. He reached out and put a hand on her shoulder. "I'm sorry…"]
[06:43] * Yanmei hesitated, and then reached up and patted that hand. "Me too," she muttered. "But. It's not enough to stand around moping? Is there any way that I can help out with the recovery too?"
[06:46] <Elisha> ["Yes. Yes there is. Rei's just returned with San's plug, and if you could help me…"]
[06:47] <Yanmei> "Yeah. Yeah, I can do that." She crouched and held her arms out to Lizzie again. "C'mon, sweetie. Let's see Auntie Rei."
[06:49] <Elisha> [Lizzie's eyes seemed… Oddly haunted and dazed for such a little girl. She wordlessly walked over to Yanmei and allowed herself to be picked up.]
[06:51] <Yanmei> "…" Troubled, Yanmei smoothed down her hair. She would have felt better if she had been crying or something… "All right, Captain. Let's go."
[06:57] <Elisha> [Alphonse nodded, and led Yanmei away to the cages.-
[06:57] <Elisha> [There, EVA-09, sporting some battle damage, had just returned, a long plug- deflated flotation devices hanging limply between the fingers- in its hand.]
[07:01] * Yanmei was suddenly sorry for bringing the baby after all. Now they were up close and personal with the EVAs, and they didn't know what sort of state the pilots would be in. She hummed, bouncing her slightly, waiting for Rei's plug to be removed first and foremost.
[07:08] <Elisha> ["Ejecting Unit 09's Entry Plug now!"-
[07:09] <Elisha> [the thin cylinder emerged smoothly from the back of EVA-09 and was grabbed in the docking clamps. It was lowered onto the embarkation area- in front of Yanmei and Alphonse.-
[07:09] <Elisha> [The exit hatch hissed open.]
[07:11] <Yanmei> "Rei?" Yanmei stepped forward, craning her neck a little, trying to peek into the interior of the plug. "Everything's all right now. Can you come out?"
[07:17] <Elisha> [Nothing, at first…-
[07:18] <Elisha> [Then a shape- Rei, shaking, barely able to stand properly- emerged in the hatch frame, holding onto the sides tightly. She looked up at Yanmei and Elizabeth, then at Alphonse- and began to tremble violently.-
[07:19] <Elisha> [Alphonse moved quickly, catching her- and she fell into him. Her silence gave way to painful, wracking sobs.]
[07:20] * Yanmei held off, giving them a few minutes before looking around for and trying to wave a medical team over.
[07:28] <Elisha> [The head of the team nodded, rushing over- but Rei, for all the seeming weakness in her legs, was refusing to let go. They eventually had to take Alphonse and Rei both…-
[07:28] <Elisha> ["Take care of San for me, Yanmei." Said Alphonse.]
[07:30] * Yanmei nodded her understanding, one hand on the platform's railing as she saw them off. "Leave it to me."
[07:36] <Elisha> [Alphonse nodded gratefully.-
[07:37] <Elisha> [The salvage crews had fetched San's plug from 09's hand, now, and had just pried open the exit hatch. Unlike Rei, San was quicker to get out, practically stumbling out, a dark bruise purpling over her left eye. She got to her feet and shrank against the side of the Plug.]
[07:39] <Yanmei> "San!" Yanmei hurried over to her. "How do you feel? We'll get you seen to right away."
[07:40] <Elisha> ["I don't feel very well, Souslieut-"-
[07:40] <Elisha> [San stumbled dizzily, hurling up a seething gob of LCL.]
[07:43] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei waved medical over hurriedly at that! "You'll be okay. Concussion, maybe? Let's get you looked over by a professional."
[07:48] <Elisha> [Another med team rushing over- San could walk under her own power, though, and thus they headed off towards the sickbay…]
[07:50] <Yanmei> That left her alone for now, to eye EVA-09 and the remaining empty spots where the two other EVAs should have gone. She felt suddenly very weak, very small. With nothing left to do, she started back to the Bridge.
[07:55] <Elisha> [When she returned, Macquarie and his other companions were tracking EVA-08. A glowing dot was beelining at top speed for Lake Ontario.]
[08:03] <Yanmei> "It's still going," she murmured to herself. Of course, it could theoretically go on for quite some time. She kept her eyes on that dot, frowning.
[08:08] <Elisha> ["Would you like a status report, ma'am?"]
[08:09] <Yanmei> "Yes, please."
[08:16] <Elisha> ["At 1845 hours, EVA-08 left the vicinity of Boston Metropolitan Area and began heading northeast." Said Macquarie. "It is averaging a speed of about 82 kilometres per hour. So far we have…"-
[08:17] <Elisha> ["Nine hundred sixty-six witness calls from worried locals. It hasn't attacked anything yet and it seems to be avoiding damaging anything if it can."]
[08:20] * Yanmei nearly winced. Nope. Definitely no way to cover this up. "If it's not attacking anything, then the plan is to just let it keep going until it deactivates, correct? At least it's going North. If it was heading toward Lib territory, it would be a problem?"
[08:22] <Elisha> ["For them or us, Ma'am?"]
[08:25] <Yanmei> "Probably both," Yanmei sighed. She found a chair of her own, one that was away from the console, and slumped down into it. "Please keep me updated on any changes."
[08:32] <Elisha> [Lizzie was clinging to her silently, head on her shoulder.-
[08:36] <Elisha> ["Ma'am? May I ask you a question?" Asked Macquarie, turning to face her.]
[08:36] <Yanmei> "Yes?"
[08:37] <Elisha> ["What's it like? To berserk, I mean."]
[08:48] <Yanmei> What, was she the resident expert? …actually, she supposed she was. She considered the question thoughtfully. "Usually, you don't remember much? But the feeling of transitioning to that is like… like drowning. Or more like… having someone hold your head underwater." Something stirred behind her eyes, and she blinked, a little shocked at what she had just said. "Erm. Or something like that?"
[08:51] <Elisha> ["It… I see." Macquarie coughed.-
[08:52] <Elisha> [He turned around towards the console, which started to blink. "… Ah. There's a priority message coming in for the Captain, but…" Macquarie turned to Yanmei, the request obvious. "Can you take it? In his office?"]
[08:54] <Yanmei> "Yes, of course." Yanmei rose, still holding Lizzie, and started to move back to the familiar office. "Thank you."
[09:00] <Elisha> [Macquarie nodded.-
[09:00] <Elisha> [Back in the office, Alphonse's computer was flashing…]
[09:05] * Yanmei set Lizzie down on the sofa and found a throw-pillow for her to rest her head on. She pulled off her long coat and rested it on top of her like a blanket, and then turned to face the computer in just her suit.-
[09:14] <Yanmei> "Be a good girl, okay? This will only take a minute." She was gathering her composure, straightening her shoulders, transitioning to the sort of professional mode that would hopefully wipe the weariness from her face. She answered the call in accented English. "Yes? I'm afraid that the Captain is indisposed. This is Second-Lieutenant Zhang. How may I help you?"
[09:17] <Elisha> [She came face to face with a girl- about Yanmei's age, maybe a little younger, with black hair and blue eyes. She wore a LN colonel's uniform, with a cream shawl worn over the top. "Oh." She blinked, staring at Yanmei.]
[09:24] <Yanmei> "…?" The enemy?! This was unexpected. She stared. Considered the young face and the ranked uniform. "…Linden?" she guessed.
[09:36] <Elisha> ["…" The girl took a second to recover. "Yes, that's right. Colonel Minerva Linden of the LN Second Regiment."]
[09:37] <Yanmei> "An honor." Yanmei nodded. "I presume that you have a message for us?"
[09:39] <Elisha> ["Ahem." She cleared her throat. "An inquiry. There was… That is, something happened in Boston, right?"]
[09:40] * Yanmei regarded her cautiously. How much information should she be handing out to her? "How would you know about that, I wonder."
[09:46] <Elisha> ["Well, we detected the Angel on our AT Interception Network." Said Linden meekly.]
[09:49] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei smiled a little. "That's not inaccurate information. We've resolved the issue ourselves, however, and rather handily."
[09:51] <Elisha> ["Ah, that's good." … "… And, um…"]
[09:52] <Yanmei> "The Captain was unharmed. He's just busy right now, understandably."
[09:52] <Elisha> ["Right, right, of course." She tapped her desk with her fingers.-
[09:52] <Elisha> ["So… The Evangelion heading towards Lake Ontario is berserk, isn't it?"]
[09:54] * Yanmei heaved an inward sigh. "It feels odd to give life-saving advice to an enemy? But trust me when I say that you'll want to stay as far away from that thing as possible."
[09:57] <Elisha> ["Well, that's a funny story. Ah… Do you remember my father? Tobias Linden? He put down your Evangelion awhile back."]
[10:04] * Yanmei visibly winced. "I see…"
[10:04] <Elisha> ["Wait, wait. It's not like that. He just- that is, he wants to know if you need our help."]
[10:10] <Yanmei> She stared a moment, and then looked briefly away. "But why? I don't understand your father's motives for offering his assistance now, and even back then. Not that I'm ungrateful or anything?"
[10:19] <Elisha> ["Because it's the right thing to do."]
[10:19] <Elisha> [Linden seemed a lot less uncertain now. There was a strange focus to her and her words…]
[10:30] * Yanmei looked up in surprise. A slow smile cracked. "My Operations Director -did- say something about him being a gentleman. I think I get it now. Thank you for the offer. This is a situation that we're taking control over, however."
[10:31] <Elisha> ["Of course." Linden smiled. "Then, good luck, Second Lieutenant."]
[10:33] <Yanmei> "Thank you, Colonel. Please look after yourself."
[10:33] <Elisha> ["You too." The screen cleared.]
[10:43] * Yanmei sighed, and started to head back toward the couch to check on the baby. She wondered if that was the right thing to do. Disabling the EVA seemed a lot less messy than letting it wander all over the place as it pleased. But… even if she wanted to accept, she didn't really have the authority to make that call.-
[10:43] <Yanmei> When Alphonse came back, she would verify things with him to make sure.
[10:45] <Elisha> [Lizzie wasn't asleep, but yet she hadn't said a word, not even a gurgle.]
[10:49] <Yanmei> "Hi Lizzie~" She was getting a tight, desperate feeling in her chest. "Can you say hello? Hi-hi?"
[10:58] <Elisha> ["…"]
[11:09] <Yanmei> "…" She took the little girl's arm and gave it a pinch. Not enough to bruise, but maybe if she startled her…
[11:10] <Elisha> [She moved her arm lethargically away. "…"]
[11:12] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei tried to gather her in her arms. "Why won't you cry? Say… say something?"
[11:14] <Elisha> [Lizzie clung to her, head on her chest, but she didn't say anything.]
[11:17] * Yanmei stroked her hair. For a moment, it seemed as if she would cry herself, but she held it back. "You'll be okay," she murmured. "It'll be fine. You'll forget this eventually. You're just a baby…"
[11:20] <Elisha> ["…"-
[11:20] <Elisha> [There was an electronic buzz. "Second Lieutenant?"]
[11:20] <Yanmei> "Yes?" She lifted her voice.
[11:22] <Elisha> ["EVA-08 has stopped moving."]
[11:22] <Yanmei> "Where is it? Is the pilot okay?" She rose to her feet quickly.
[11:23] <Elisha> ["It's stopped along the Lake Ontario coast. It… Drank some of the water, then it curled up and it seems to be asleep."]
[11:25] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei was heading to the door, clutching Lizzie still. "Have you tried to eject the plug remotely while it's asleep?"
[11:30] <Elisha> ["I thought we'd wait until the rescue team arrived first, ma'am." Said Macquarie.-
[11:30] <Elisha> [As Yanmei opened the door, she'd see a new presence on the bridge…-
[11:30] <Elisha> [Aquilan features and black hair streaked with grey.-
[11:31] <Elisha> ["The boy rather outdid himself, didn't he?"]
[11:36] <Yanmei> "…" He'd gotten here fast. Rather like a vulture descending on something moment after it died. Peculiar, because she couldn't recall any of the other UN-affiliates appearing in the Geofront aside from the directors and Ariadne. "Mr. Washington," She greeted him, ignoring his opening remark entirely. She turned to Macquarie. "Yes, you're right about the rescue crew. I guess I was getting ahead of myself?"
[11:38] <Elisha> [Macquarie nodded. "The rescue crew is about to embark now. Do you want to go with them, ma'am?"]
[11:39] * Yanmei hesitated, looking down briefly at the baby she was with. "I think it's better if I wait in his designated hospital room."
[11:40] <Elisha> ["As you wish, ma'am."]
[11:42] * Yanmei regarded Washington again, brimming with her usual politeness. "If you're looking for the Operations Director, he's also in the medical facility."
[11:44] <Elisha> ["Oh, then I'll give him time." Washington smiled.]
[11:46] * Yanmei smiled back politely, and then started to turn and leave.
[11:50] <Elisha> [It wouldn't be long until Yanmei was led by a helpful nurse to the specified room…-
[11:51] <Elisha> [And time passed.-
[11:51] <Elisha> [An hour… Two hours…]
[11:55] <Yanmei> Why? Why was it taking so long? Yanmei let the day's agonies stew beneath a composed outer shell. If there were eyes on her, she was determined that they not see her crack.-
[11:57] <Yanmei> Eventually, she stood. Elizabeth was resting on another chair right next to hers, possibly asleep, but certainly quiet. She tiptoed to the door to call for a nurse to put her in contact with someone who could tell her what was going on.
[11:58] <Elisha> [Lizzie… Wasn't asleep.-
[11:58] <Elisha> [The nurse put her into contact with Macquarie. "Ma'am?"]
[11:59] <Yanmei> "Sorry to trouble you. Is there any news from the rescue team? Pilot Gabriel-Wei hasn't arrived at the hospital yet."
[12:00] <Yanmei> Something internal twisted. Had she just called him "Pilot"? Ugh, no, no!
[12:04] <Elisha> ["The plug wouldn't eject, ma'am, so they had to cut him out. He's ETA 10 minutes."]
[12:04] <Yanmei> "I see. Thank you. I'm not on speakerphone, am I?"
[12:05] <Elisha> ["Sorry, ma'am. Is that a problem?"]
[12:06] <Yanmei> "No, not at all." She cringed. But at least she'd thought to ask before inquiring if Washington had crawled off somewhere, like she had been planning to. "Thank you for the update."
[12:06] <Elisha> ["Not a problem, ma'am."]
[12:08] * Yanmei hung up. Glanced to the nurse with more gratitude. "Um. While I'm here, could you let me know if there's someone willing to look at my baby? I don't think it's a physical problem, but…"
[12:09] <Elisha> ["Of course, miss."]
[12:10] <Yanmei> "Thank you. You know where to find us." And so it was back to more waiting.
[00:10] <Ayanami‘Rei> [A few minutes passed, and ultimately, it wasn’t Lizzie's doctor who arrived first.-
[00:10] <Ayanami‘Rei> [Yanmei would probably first hear them- the rescue team, trundling along, Isaiah on a stretcher between them, unconscious.]
[00:11] * Yanmei stood up, waiting by the bed before it was even occupied. She held Lizzie close, too, her heart pounding hard.
[00:13] <Ayanami`Rei> [They carted him through the doors, into the room- the head medic and an aide shifted him onto the bed.-
[00:13] <Ayanami`Rei> ["He’s unconscious for now, but otherwise he's unharmed." Said the head medic.]
[00:14] <Yanmei> "I understand." Yanmei was staring down at him, even though she was talking to the doctor. "I'd like to stay here until he wakes up…"
[00:21] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["That’s fine, ma'am. We'll be outside if you need anything."]
[00:22] <Yanmei> "Thank you." She was still staring, waiting for them to leave. Slowly, she pulled a chair closer and sat on it, silent Lizzie in her lap.-
[00:25] <Yanmei> She'd lost. Lost to a better protector, lost to that cold jerk of a Commander, lost to both Caines. Worst of all, she'd failed him yet again.-
[00:27] <Yanmei> What would he say when he woke up? Would he be as lucid as he was before? She tried to imagine him waking up, and…felt something beyond fear. A sort of grim determination stirring. A sort of seething anger.
[00:35] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Nn…"]
[00:37] <Yanmei> "!" Yanmei was on her feet again, slipping closer. "I-Isaiah?"
[00:38] <Ayanami`Rei> [His eyes slowly started to open. "Yan…?"-
[00:38] <Ayanami`Rei> ["D-Daa…" Lizzie spoke…]
[00:43] <Yanmei> "Isaiah! … Lizzie!" Both at once! Suddenly, it was like the world wasn’t ending any more. Hope glimmered on the horizon. "How do you feel?"
[00:52] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["I…" He looked at her and smiled dizzily. "I feel a little sick."]
[00:54] <Yanmei> "I’m sorry." She placed a palm over his forehead, shifting Lizzie closer to him with the other arm. "It'll be okay, though. We won. You're in the Minifront's hospital."
[00:55] <Ayanami‘Rei> [He was warm…-
[00:55] <Ayanami`Rei> [Lizzie was fussing now, trying to get to him. "Daadaa…"-
[00:55] <Ayanami`Rei> ["We won…? Did Rei finish it?"]
[00:57] * Yanmei let Lizzie go to him! Relief had started to spread across her face, but his words cut it short. "Not exactly."
[01:02] <Ayanami`Rei> [Lizzie was quick to scramble to him, clutching his LCL-soaked shirt. The girl started to bawl…-
[01:02] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Hey… Hey, Lizzie, it’s alright!" Isaiah put his arms around her tightly. "What -did- happen, then? Shh, Lizzie…"]
[01:04] <Yanmei> "Berserked," she said quietly. "08 went berserk. It ate the Angel. Completely."
[01:07] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["…" Isaiah’s eyes widened. "Ate…?!"]
[01:14] <Yanmei> "The nausea will pass. Just give it a few hours, okay?" She was staring into his eyes, anxious. "I'm sorry. I tried to help, but I couldn't do anything…"
[01:20] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Hey." He looked at her, frowning slightly. "Yanmei, you couldn’t do anything, but that doesn't mean you didn't try. If you could've done something, I know you would've been out there giving that Angel a beating."]
[01:23] <Yanmei> "I wish I could have," she muttered. "But… you did save Rei. And you saved everyone else, too."
[01:24] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["I… Well. I’m not really sure how much of that was me, honestly. All I really did was stand there and get hit." He said abashedly.]
[01:25] * Yanmei shook her head. "You were really brave, and I'm proud of you."
[01:30] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["I’m proud of you, too." He said quietly.]
[01:35] * Yanmei chuckled, and leaned forward, pressing her forehead gently to his. She closed her eyes a moment. "Do you want some time to rest up and think for a while?"
[01:36] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["In a bit." He said quietly, reaching up to stroke her cheek, leaving a layer of LCL on it as he pulled away. "Are the sisters alright?"]
[01:40] <Yanmei> "Nothing serious, physically-speaking. Rei’s pretty shaken up, though." The scent of blood on him. The smell and the sight of those blue eyes, clouded with confusion, didn't go together.
[01:47] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["That’s not surprising." He said with a sad sigh, leaning back in the bed, cuddling Lizzie. "Are you alright?"]
[01:53] <Yanmei> "It's… been a rough day. You and Lizzie are fine, though, so it's getting better."
[01:54] <Ayanami‘Rei> [Isaiah smiled. "So long as you’re ok…"]
[01:58] <Yanmei> "Course I am," she murmured. "Never better."
[01:59] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["I promise we’ll do something nice tomorrow to make up for today. Alright? I promise."]
[02:02] <Yanmei> "I'd like that." She held his hand. "I love you, you know?"
[02:04] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["I love you too." He held her’s in return, squeezed it. "More than anything."]
[02:08] <Yanmei> "Get some rest. You look like you need it. I'll watch over you both."
[02:10] <Ayanami‘Rei> [He smiled, resting his head back on the pillow and closing his eyes. "Goodnight, love."]
[02:12] <Yanmei> "Goodnight, Isaiah."
[02:12] <Ayanami`Rei> ["…"-
[02:13] <Ayanami`Rei> [Before long it was just Yanmei. Isaiah was asleep, Lizzie the same at his side…]
[02:23] * Yanmei watched them a while, contentedly. Then she stood up, wandering out to the hallway for a minute alone. All the old stresses seemed to come back to her when he closed his eyes again. And… that old fire, that -defiance-, lingered. She tossed her hair, and straightened her back. She’d watch over them, all right, HIC be damned.

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