Cherry Blossom Procession 4 1

[22:16] <AdEvaGM> [END OF EVANGELION. 24th of July, 2018. Location: The Imperial Palace, New Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo-2. "Cherry Blossom Procession" 1.1-
[22:17] <AdEvaGM> ["They're early again this year", you said,-
[22:17] <AdEvaGM> [Looking disappointedly-
[22:17] <AdEvaGM> [At the newly-opened flowers-
[22:17] <AdEvaGM> [you were so beautiful.-
[22:17] <AdEvaGM> [If you were to see me now,-
[22:17] <AdEvaGM> [What would you think-
[22:17] <AdEvaGM> [About me, living without you?-
[22:17] <AdEvaGM> [Everybody finds love in the end.-
[22:20] <AdEvaGM> [The Imperial household of Japan lived now, as almost everyone did, in more modest trappings than they once had.-
[22:23] <AdEvaGM> [The Imperial Palace in Tokyo had burned and sunk with the rest of the doomed city. Many of its members died with it, and so it was that Sakurako's father, the late Saiki Emperor, had been forced to take up his throne in the old palace of Kyoto. Even with the world burning and his family torn apart, tradition had to be upheld. The man- body numb with shock, words stilted with horror- had
[22:23] <AdEvaGM> been enthroned there, in a ceremony almost nobody had seen. There, the Heisei Era had been ushered out and the Saiki Era had begun. The late Saiki Emperor had reigned from Kyoto until Tokyo-2 could be finished.-
[22:28] <AdEvaGM> [The Imperial Palace itself was nonetheless well deserving of the moniker of 'palace', although the actual building itself was a small part of the larger whole. The greater 'Palace' was more like a park than a building, a series of fractal-esque squares, dividing into smaller parts the closer one came to the centre- where stood the Palace, fully one fifth of the complex. Outside of the
[22:28] <AdEvaGM> palace were lush, brilliant gardens of myriad colours nestled beneath a dotted handful of trees.-
[22:30] <AdEvaGM> [As much as the Japanese loved their cherry blossom tree, there was only one in the entire grounds, and it sat at the centre of a water garden.-
[22:33] <AdEvaGM> [Following Impact, global weather patterns had shifted, and Japan had been locked into a permanent summer. The precious cherry blossoms had faltered in this sudden change. They were once famous for blooming all at once, all across the country; now they bloomed erratically if they bloomed at all. In truth, many of the types of cherry blossom tree were dying out.-
[22:34] <AdEvaGM> [The single cherry blossom tree had been planted personally by the late Saiki Emperor, who claimed that it would bloom fully again when the promise of his reign- to restore hope- had been achieved across the world.-
[22:35] <AdEvaGM> [It had never yet bloomed once, but despite suggestions that it be removed and replaced with a less grim symbol, the late Saiki Emperor had insisted that it remain there. "Do you think this task can be done in one lifetime?" He had said, scolding the suggestion.-
[22:36] <AdEvaGM> [Now the late Saiki Emperor had passed, and that unfinished business was to be inherited by his daughter.-
[22:36] <AdEvaGM> […-
[22:38] <AdEvaGM> ["On behalf of Her Majesty and the people of Japan I bid welcome to the delegation from the United Earth Federation." Said Mitsuko Asakura, the woman in charge of organising the enthronement. She bowed to Yanmei- and to the others.-
[23:24] <AdEvaGM> [The Federation entourage numbered a little over a dozen people. There was Yanmei of course, and Sera de Pteres and Michael Leon, but also Misato Katsuragi, who had practically dragged Raphael along; two Ayanami sisters, Chiisana and Roku, Chiisana trying to look dignified and solemn whilst Roku seemed fidgety; Alex and Asuka were also here, standing to one side, keeping things quiet, whilst Lexie and her faithful bodyguard Matthias also stood near Yanmei. There were world leaders too from the Federation- Minerva, of course, as well as Mazarin, Kuzmin and Zhou Xunhan, the latter two not deigning to acknowledge the other's presence. The Canadian Prime Minister was also somewhere in the shuffle, but Yanmei had lost track of him shortly after he'd appeared, kissed Alexandrina's hand and vanished into the crowd, leaving behind a blushing princess.]
[23:27] <Yanmei> "Thank you for having us," Yanmei said politely. She was dressed in her flashy blue, gold, and white dress uniform and was beaming from ear to ear. Her hair had been piled on top of her head in an ornate updo. "We're really pleased to be here."
[23:36] * Sept nodded somewhere to back up the pleasantries being exchanged. He was wearing a suit made specifically for the occasion - not that you could notice. He'd only let Blue get away with the slightest adjustments to the black suit he wore over a simple white shirt, so the only color in his appearance seemed to be in his eyes.
[23:40] <AdEvaGM> ["I will make sure that Her Majesty knows." Said Asakura politely. "Shima will guide you to your seats…"-
[23:40] <AdEvaGM> [One of Asakura's aides stepped forward smartly, bowed, and began to guide Yanmei and the Federation delegation away down a hallway.-
[23:41] <AdEvaGM> [As they left, they would dimly hear Asakura say: "On behalf of Her Majesty and the people of Japan I bid welcome to the delegation from the United Nations…"-
[23:44] <AdEvaGM> [The Federation delegation was sat on a series of staggered rows, like an ampitheatre, on an enclosed balcony overlooking the entrance to the Imperial Throne room, which was a long, low building sitting on a raised level. The balcony itself was one of two balconies flanking the courtyard leading to the Throne room.-
[23:45] <AdEvaGM> [The courtyard was clean, tiled and dignified; the road to the Throne room was lined with colourful banners, beneath which attendants, the back row wearing rich robes, the front row wearing lacquered armour and a quiver of arrows, sat cross-legged.-
[23:46] <AdEvaGM> [Yanmei, Sera, Minerva, Mazarin, Alexandrina and Zhou Xunhan sat in the front row, whilst the others were dispersed in the other three back rows. Raphael would find himself seated to Misato's left…-
[23:47] <AdEvaGM> ["Budge up a little." Said Premier Kuzmin, squeezing his bulk past Misato and Raphael's legs. He sat down heavily next to Raphael. "Damn fine mess all this is, eh?" Muttered the Premier.-
[23:51] <AdEvaGM> [The seating of the front row, however, from left to right, ran like this: Zhou Xunhan, Alexandrina, Mazarin, Sera, Yanmei, Minerva.-
[23:52] <AdEvaGM> ["Very ceremonial arrangement." Said Minerva. "Oh, but that armour looks gorgeous…"]
[00:00] * Sept sat with his arms crossed in front of him, shoulders slightly slumped. He glanced at Mazarin before settling in and focusing on the ceremonial view in front of him.
[00:01] <Yanmei> "Isn't it?" She stared, wide-eyed. Then frowned slightly. "Why do they get to have arrows? Seems a little unfair…"
[00:01] <Raphael> Raphael shifted back obligingly to allow Kuzmin past, the legs of his slate-grey suit crinkling slightly as the bigger man brushed by. Misato seemed to be keeping a firm grip on his arm even after being seated, as if he might hurl himself from the balcony just to escape the Diplomacy.-
[00:01] <Raphael> "It seems agreeable enough so far, sir," Raphael said.
[00:03] <AdEvaGM> ["Feeling naked without a weapon?" Asked Minerva with a small smile.-
[00:03] <AdEvaGM> ["Oh, sure sure." Said Kuzmin, waving a meaty hand dismissively at Raphael. "I never had time for monarchist nonsense. Look at this, watching the slip of a girl go through a ceremony with her father's body still warm… It's its own sort of cruelty."-
[00:04] <AdEvaGM> [Kuzmin had to shuffle his feet a little to maximise his legroom, and somehow managed to kick Lexie's seat in the process.-
[00:04] <AdEvaGM> [Meanwhile Mazarin glanced at Sera. "Your first event of this nature, de Pteres?"]
[00:07] <Sept> "Guess so. That wedding was pretty grand."
[00:09] <Yanmei> "Of course?" Yanmei folded her arms. "It was kind of like this in Istanbul too. You never know who or what is hanging around the next corner, waiting to get the drop on you."
[00:10] <AdEvaGM> ["Yes, I suppose it was." Said Mazarin. "Oh, de Pteres, do you know the Honourable President Zhou?"-
[00:11] <Raphael> "I suppose so, sir," Raphael said carefully. "I don't know the Princess, I couldn't claim to know how she feels."
[00:12] <AdEvaGM> [Mazarin gestured toward Zhou, who was a reed-thin man with a thatch of grey hair and a sunken face. He inclined his head at Sera.-
[00:13] <AdEvaGM> ["Oh, don't worry." Said Minerva lightly, patting Yanmei on the thigh. "Any attackers would have to get through the Public Security Bureau's forces and the Imperial Guard…"-
[00:13] <AdEvaGM> ["Admittedly both are a joke so take that with a grain of salt." She added with a sigh. "I wish Albert were here."-
[00:14] <AdEvaGM> ["Hunh." Grunted Kuzmin.-
[00:14] <AdEvaGM> ["I wonder how long this'll take. Need a smoke." Added the Premier.]
[00:16] * Raphael glanced back at Misato, and there was a wordless, grumpy accusation hidden in the look.
[00:16] <AdEvaGM> [Misato gave him a sweet smile; her eyes twinkled warmly.]
[00:17] <Sept> "Can't say I do. Nice to meet you," he said, probably inaudibly to Zhou. "You trying to introduce me to your political pals again?"
[00:17] <Yanmei> "Why? They would have stripped him of all his weapons too. I'm actually glad I left Isaiah at home, where it's safe."
[00:19] <AdEvaGM> ["Well of course." Said Minerva. "But I'd still feel safer with him around. It's easy to feel safer with someone who can take a bullet for you then beat the shooter to death."-
[00:19] <AdEvaGM> ["His Excellency is the President of China, de Pteres." Said Mazarin gently. "That makes him all of our, er, 'pals'."-
[00:20] <Vera> At that point, a trio wandered in, all clearly Brazilian in appearance or at least some kind of South Americ- who are we kidding. But they seemed to suddenly pause, looking at each other and murmuring uncomfortably at something. …At which point they were… …That was a coin toss. What was going on here?!
[00:20] <AdEvaGM> [Zhou's eyebrows rose slowly toward his hairline. "Yes, it is a pleasure to meet one of Zhang Yanmei's comrades." He said diplomatically.-
[00:22] <AdEvaGM> [The coin rose through the air- attracting a few disapproving stares- before landing in the hand of a young, black-haired woman wearing a spring green dress.-
[00:22] <AdEvaGM> ["Yessss." She said. "Heads, motherffffffffffffff…"-
[00:23] <AdEvaGM> [She coughed, but nonetheless smirked deeply.]
[00:24] * Vera shook her head. "I guess you do win." She said with obvious reluctance. …Before the delegation moved in. The foulmouthed girl on the outside behind Minnie, a younger girl (but not by much) behind Yanmei, and Vera herself behind Sera. Or, more direly, adjacent to Premier Kuzmin. She settled in with a wordless grunt of greeting, already discomforted by the man's seeming 'aura'
[00:24] * Vera alone.
[00:25] <AdEvaGM> [all of this would be visible to Raphael and Misato of course.-
[00:26] <AdEvaGM> [Kuzmin turned toward Vera. "… Ah! I remember you. The Brazilian representative at Istanbul."]
[00:27] <Vera> "Yes, Premier." Vera said, dropping the overt discomfort like a bad habit. "I seem to be more of a diplomat than the Brazilian civilian diplomatic corps ever could furnish."
[00:27] <Yanmei> "St. Francis can actually do things like that? He looks so scrawny…"
[00:29] <Sept> "Yes, of course, it's an honor," Sera nodded back, reluctantly using his diplomatic tone. "She has always represented your country splendidly."
[00:30] <Raphael> In defiance of Vera's own discomfort, Raphael seemed rather pleased by the latest arrival. "Pleased to see you again, Colonel Freitas," he said, nodding to the woman around Kuzmin's shoulder.
[00:31] <Vera> …So Vera leaned behind him (Kuzmin) "Oh, hello there, Guillory. …I forget your title, as much a faux pas as that is. You have had a lot of them."
[00:35] * Vera was, to note, looking a little surprised. It was probably a testament to something that, odd as her tone was, she actually recognized the man he was, rather than the boy he briefly masqueraded at. Something about Raphael transcended body and voice…
[00:35] <AdEvaGM> ["Oh, but he's very tough." Said Minerva fondly. "He was able to resist Ezra Caine's dirty little gas trick long enough to carry me to safety, for example, and he crossed the Sahara Desert by himself…"-
[00:36] <AdEvaGM> [President Zhou gave Sera a slow nod before sitting back, allowing Alexandrina (who had been in the middle) to finally relax a little.-
[00:36] <AdEvaGM> ["The UN delegation should be arriving on the other balcony any moment now." Said Mazarin quietly to Sera.-
[00:38] <AdEvaGM> [Misato meanwhile was leaning out to catch a glimpse of Vera. "Good morning, Colonel!"]
[00:39] <Raphael> Surprise or no, that she recognized him at all earned Vera a very sincere smile. "No trouble at all, ma'am. It's just Captain, to make life easy for you."-
[00:39] <Raphael> "… and I was going to make introductions, but it seems the two of you are familiar with one another."
[00:41] <Yanmei> "Hmm. So why didn't you bring him? Were you worried he'd see it as a date~?"
[00:42] <Sept> "Got it," Sera said, falling back into his well-practiced sufficiently interested pose.
[00:44] <Vera> "Mildly, mildly." Vera noted to Raphael. "And a good morning to you too, Admiral (I believe?). And… ah. I know her by reputation and she seems to know me by the same? …But Admiral Katsuragi, you nonetheless were preceded by the reputation. I'm in touch with a certain Lieutenant Ando in the Air SDF, who had… …things to say about her visit to the Amagi back in the day. But don't
[00:44] <Vera> worry I also know of your competence under NERV, nothing to fear from that."
[00:46] <AdEvaGM> [Minerva shot Yanmei a truly dark look. "If you must know, I caught wind of a plot back on the ship, so I arranged for a decoy to take my place back on the Bell, and St. Francis is needed to sell the illusion, as his dedication's so well known. The problem should be sorted tonight; after that, I've arranged for him to meet me here in Japan."-
[00:48] <AdEvaGM> ["Ando, huh." Said Misato cheerfully. "Good old Ando. Haven't spoken to her in years, not after what happened with the cuttlefish."]
[00:48] <Vera> "If it helps, I know results value higher than discomfort." Vera cheerfully retorted.
[00:49] * Raphael opened his mouth just long enough to reconsider asking the question. He quickly closed it again.
[00:49] <Yanmei> "Wait, what?" Yanmei bristled with alarm now. "What plot? One on -my- ship?"
[00:50] <AdEvaGM> ["On the Bell. Don't worry about it, it's nothing major." Said Minerva airily.-
[00:51] <AdEvaGM> ["Well, that's good to hear~" Said Misato.-
[00:51] <AdEvaGM> ["Well then, isn't this cozy." Said Kuzmin. He shifted about in his chair a little before turning to Vera. "What was your full name again, love?"]
[00:52] * Vera slightly bristled at 'love' being part of that sentence. "Ah, my full name is Vera Hiroko Freitas Kuromiya, Premier."
[00:53] <AdEvaGM> ["Vera Hiroko Freitas Kuromiya." Said Kuzmin, nodding slowly. "That doesn't sound all Brazilian to my ear…?"]
[00:54] * Raphael seemed to be watching the exchange uneasily.
[00:55] <Vera> "Brazil has a large Japanese community. You normally hear it used for other groups but I'm a nisei - second-generation. Japanese on my father's side, Brazilian on my mother's." Vera said fairly matter-of-factly. As a matter of survival.
[00:56] <AdEvaGM> ["I see, I see." Said Kuzmin, nodding enthusiastically. "You know, I always did say that there was nothing lovelier than your mixed-blood Eurasian girl, and here you are…" He said, gesturing at Vera.]
[00:57] <Raphael> "So have they sent you alone, ma'am?" Raphael cut in just a bit too quickly .
[00:58] <Yanmei> "Still…" Yanmei was frowning. It seemed awfully elaborate for something she wasn't supposed to be concerned about.
[00:59] * Vera leaned back, presuming it was to her. "No, no, I have two of my subordinates here with me, Lieutenant Prescott and Captain de Franco." …Ah yes. Prescott.
[00:59] <AdEvaGM> [Minerva would suddenly grab Yanmei's arm. "The UN delegation, look."-
[00:59] <Raphael> It was indeed. "… ah. Prescott, I see."
[01:01] <AdEvaGM> [In the balcony opposite, separated by the wide courtyard, the UN delegation began to file in. They would see Ezra Caine, wearing a military dress uniform, enter first and take a seat on the front row, more or less facing Zhou. Next to him sat Sarah Holt-Caine, wearing her own uniform.-
[01:02] <AdEvaGM> [They both looked less than happy, although it was hard to tell details from across the courtyard.-
[01:03] <AdEvaGM> [Then came Narendra Gadhavi, also in a dress uniform, looking calm; followed by Ephraim Siskin von Brandt. Von Brandt wore a smart suit and tie, and had his ever-present pleasant smile on his face.-
[01:04] <AdEvaGM> [Yanmei felt the next person before she saw them. Felt it prickle ever so slightly on the back of her neck.-
[01:04] <AdEvaGM> [Mary Caine emerged, wearing a sharp navy suit and skirt. She settled down, back straight, next to von Brandt; she instantly stared across the gap towards the Federation line.-
[01:06] <AdEvaGM> [Emerging after her and taking a seat behind Ezra was… Raphael Guillory?-
[01:06] <AdEvaGM> [Although anyone in the know would realise it was (probably) Askel Heiden, wearing a military uniform and looking around curiously.-
[01:10] <AdEvaGM> [Next came a tall, pretty girl with long-black hair and an amiable air; she wore a bright orange gown which left her shoulders bare. She sat down next to Aksel, guiding by the hand what appeared to be Ayanami Rei… She wore a black dress, which she kept picking at, and a flower in her hair, which she kept nudging. She began staring at Yanmei as well.-
[01:10] <AdEvaGM> [Finally…-
[01:11] * Aline was there in utterly Resplendant form, her hair cut short as last time she was seen, and missing the glasses she usually once wore, even after bodily regeneration (Hadn't a Brother mocked her for that…?). But beyond what was gone, Aline nonetheless /had/ a surprisingly stunning navy blue dress on, with gold trim at various points. …And a respectably-sized golden crescent-moon
[01:11] * Aline hairclip on one side of her short white bangs, as well. She sat down next to Ezra, on the other side from his wife, and folded her hands primly in her lap. … …She winked once her gaze levelled on the UEF congregation.
[01:12] <AdEvaGM> [-]
[01:20] * Sept shifted in his seat, leaning back and covering his chin with his gloved right hand. His mood had clearly taken a downward slope, but it was within the realm of idle disappointment rather than shock.
[01:21] <Raphael> Raphael would be too involved with helping Vera deflect Kuzmin's advances to notice the UN congregation arrive, at least at first. A sharp elbow to the ribs from Misato would correct that.-
[01:21] <Raphael> As soon as he came to grips with the presence of one face, another seemed to draw his attention. Rei's first, then his own (Not as unsettling as it should have been… he stared at Aline for longer than either. The emotion was flattening out of his face to be replaced with a blank, stone-faced mask as his eyes finally settled on Caine.
[01:24] <Raphael> «should have been)*
[01:26] * Yanmei stared back across the gap at them all, her face utterly placid, reacting more to the way that Linden had grabbed her arm at first. Eventually she settled into a vaguely bored smile and nodded, once, in some sort of vague acknowledgement.
[01:31] <AdEvaGM> [There were a few others filing into the UN side now, and Mazarin murmured their names as they went. "Sobieski… Ordo… Keel Lorenz… Juno Lorenz… Fatih…"-
[01:35] <AdEvaGM> [Several seats to the back, Michael squirmed slightly and began to sink into his seat. The answer became obvious a second later; wearing a jacket, a pair of trousers and an olive green headscarf was Fatima Nejem, who took a seat behind Aline, her expression cool.-
[01:39] <AdEvaGM> [However, none of them would have time to dwell on the situation.-
[01:41] <AdEvaGM> [Two processions, made up primarily of Shinto priests, began to slowly appear from behind the screens shielding the outer deck of the throne room. It was now that they saw Sakurako.-
[01:43] <AdEvaGM> [She wore a robe of gold and saffron, contrasting with her fair skin; the robe was so long that a priest walked behind her, lifting the trail and keeping it off the ground. Her lovely black hair was held up in an elaborate headdress that gave the impression of two gentle peacock wings rising above her. She took measured, slow steps, and her expression was calm and composed.-
[01:47] <AdEvaGM> [The guests would only be able to glimpse her for a minute or so before she vanished inside the Throne room. The procession continued, however; others wearing suits instead of robes would appear, and Misato would whisper to Raphael (and Mazarin to Sera and Yanmei) that one of these, leading the line, was Fujimura Isao, the Prime Minister of Japan.-
[01:53] <AdEvaGM> [There was silence for a few minutes, then…-
[01:54] <AdEvaGM> [The sound of a clear and high bell was rung through the courtyard.-
[01:56] <AdEvaGM> [A few more minutes passed, and then, finally, the Emperor's voice was heard throughout the courtyard and the balconies, clear and firm and unwavering.-
[02:00] <AdEvaGM> [The Japanese members of the UEF would be quick to translate for their neighbours: "As of this day, I, Sakurako, take the place of my honourable father, who has gone to his deserved rest. As all know, this has taken place very quickly, and the period of mourning for the Late Emperor was not observed. This is as the Late Emperor willed, so that the Throne does not remain empty in the hour of the nation's need."-
[02:06] <AdEvaGM> ["I do this in accordance with the Constitution of Japan and the Laws of the Household. My enthronement I now proclaim to those both at home and those abroad in the world. I pledge now that I will uphold Japan's laws and its Constitution, and take my place as a living symbol of the unity of the Japanese people and an emblem of the State. In this I will follow in my father's footsteps, and hope that in doing so I may bring about his wish of hope worldwide."-
[02:09] <AdEvaGM> ["In this New Century, I ask that my father's guidance and that of his fathers fall on me, on this nation and on the lawmakers of the state, to keep us brave and safe until hope is achieved."-
[02:11] <AdEvaGM> [At this Sakurako fell silent, and now Prime Minister Fujimura spoke, his own voice thin and soft compared to Sakurako's. "In this I welcome a new Japan, strong thanks to the work of the old, but prospering in new ways. As you devote yourself single-mindedly to our happiness, we devote ourselves single-mindedly to the dream of your heart."-
[02:13] <AdEvaGM> [At this, Isao stood tall and threw his hands in an arc above his head. At the same moment, Misato, Roku, Mana and the other Japanese in the convention- as well as all those down in the courtyard- did the same. "Tenno Heika Banzai!" They all shouted in unison.-
[02:14] <AdEvaGM> [This they did three times, but the event itself had also been timed carefully so that all the Japanese abroad could do the same; those on the Dorian, or spread across the Federation's bases, or those who simply worked outside of the country.-
[02:16] <AdEvaGM> [In the distance, they could hear the loud pounding of cannons firing, the start of a 21-gun salute.-
[02:16] <AdEvaGM> [Until finally the guns fell silent, and the ceremony- for now, at least- had come to an end.-
[02:17] <AdEvaGM> [Asakura reappeared now at the front of the assembly. She bowed; "Thank you for your attendance. Her Majesty the Emperor will be holding a short reception within an hour to receive your personal well wishes. Please follow me."-
[02:17] <AdEvaGM> ["Finally." Muttered Kuzmin, jumping to his feet a little too quickly.-
[02:19] <AdEvaGM> [Within a few minutes, the Federation guests would be led to a large audience hall; a long, wide space of fine wooden floors and a light, airy feeling. The sun shone through open doors and windows, gleaming off the myriad wine glasses that had been laid out on ornate wooden tables for the benefit of the guests.]
[02:26] <Raphael> Raphael kept to Misato's shoulder, holding her arm in his. Even through that veneer of social politeness it was obvious how restless he was, as though he'd start to pace at any moment. His eyes kept flickering towards the other doors.
[02:28] * Sept took the opportunity to stretch out his arms as he lagged behind the rest of the group, resisting the temptation to beeline for the wine.
[02:28] * Yanmei strode in with a little bounce in her step, still chatting happily with Minerva. "…I wish we could have seen more of it…" She snagged a random glass of the wine for now, but didn't take a sip from it yet.
[02:33] <Aline> 7» Vera was around, and seemed both uncertain what some of the fuss was about the UN delegation - as much as she /knew/ the source of the obnoxious creepy crawly feelings was Mary Caine - and… relieved to no longer be smushed up against Kuzmin. Instead, she was carefully guarding what wine the Brazilian delegation was near.
[02:34] <AdEvaGM> [No need for that; Rosamund was eyeing the wine as though it had been a backstabbing ex-friend.-
[02:34] <AdEvaGM> [Kuzmin, meanwhile, had rushed outside, taken out a cigar, lit it and had begun puffing away happily.-
[02:35] <AdEvaGM> ["The positioning was rather strange, I thought so myself." Said Minerva, who also took a glass of wine. "But I suppose we're just outsiders, aren't we? Looking in on something private and intimate."-
[02:41] <AdEvaGM> [Misato glanced toward Raphael, smiling just a little. "Here, let's get a drink, eh? Take the edge off…"-
[02:41] <AdEvaGM> [Sera, meanwhile, would get the odd feeling that he was being… Watched.]
[02:44] <Raphael> "… Right. Sorry." He frowned for a moment before letting his face relax into something less at odds with the party atmosphere… although with Raphael it was always going to be a question of degrees. He led her over towards the table, his free hand on her elbow.
[02:46] <AdEvaGM> [Misato took a glass of wine, took a tiny sip, then gave it to Raphael before getting one of her own. "You ok?"]
[02:47] * Sept caved, grabbed a glass of wine and made a retreat toward the windows to at least get away from the center of things. Old habits?
[02:48] <Aline> 7» For the same of poetics, Vera and gang were closer to there. Didn't want to look like a literal part of the UEF.
[02:50] <AdEvaGM> [Rosamund took the moment to nudge Vera and nod towards… "Hey, look."-
[02:51] <AdEvaGM> [Eufemia- a slim girl with jaw-length straight brown hair- had taken a glass of wine, stared at it for a moment, then downed it in one quick gulp. After that, she had started staring at Sera… Something which became very obvious to him as he approached the wine table.]
[02:51] * Raphael gave her a thin smile. "Perfect, Admiral. I've never had a date at a coronation before."
[02:52] <Aline> 7» "Ohshit." Vera muttered, fairly out of character, and as quietly as she could imagine. This might end poorly. Or amusingly. …Except she wasn't /trying/ to turn Eufie off of liquor like she was Rosamund.
[02:54] <Yanmei> "Yeah…" Yanmei gazed aroound the room, carefully, getting a feel for the faces, familiar or not, beyond the scope of the countries involved in the war. "Still, it was nice enough for them to invite us at all? They haven't seemed exactly… warm."
[02:54] <AdEvaGM> ["It's not actually a coronation." Said Alexandre casually, smoothly emerging next to Raphael. Although he seemed relaxed and light, he had his eyes on Mana- who was talking happily with Roku- a careful manner. "Little technicalities, mind, but that's monarchy for you…"-
[02:57] <AdEvaGM> ["I know what you mean." Said Minerva quietly to Yanmei. "Hedging their bets, no doubt. Maybe they set all this up to see which of us- UN, UEF- would cause a scene first."]
[02:57] * Sept had been halfway through the action of finding a glass, but for now he was frozen, staring back at the girl with one hand awkwardly hanging in the air between him and the table like he was some World Order performer.-
[02:57] <Sept> "What?" he said.
[02:58] <AdEvaGM> [Eufemia stared at him with large brown eyes. Without looking away, she put her glass down, picked up another and downed it smoothly.-
[02:58] <AdEvaGM> ["You…"-
[02:58] <AdEvaGM> ["You and I are the same."]
[02:59] <Sept> "…"-
[02:59] <Aline> 7» Vera's lower lip twitched.
[02:59] * Sept looked around for signs that other people could see this person, too.-
[02:59] <Sept> "What?"
[03:00] <Raphael> "It's not?" Raphael glanced between Misato and Alex. "… Everyone seemed to think it was."
[03:01] <AdEvaGM> ["You and me." Said Eufemia softly. "We're the same."-
[03:02] <AdEvaGM> ["Nah." Said Alex. "A coronation, strictly speaking, requires a crown, and the Japanese don't have a crown. They have a throne instead, which makes it an enthronement."-
[03:02] <AdEvaGM> [Alex shrugged lightly. "Like I said… Little technicalities."]
[03:03] <Aline> 7» …Vera was now moving like a grim spectre over the room, looming over Eufemia as much as she could manage with only being a modest bit taller. "…Consider your words carefully." She intoned. "Carefully."
[03:04] <Sept> "I'm going to drink one of these now, Eufemia," Sera said without taking his eyes off her. "Then I'll try to follow you. Alright?"
[03:05] <Raphael> "Mmm," he shrugged, conceding the point. He was quiet for a moment, even going so far as to glance over his shoulder before he continued. "Are you and Asuka alright?"
[03:05] <AdEvaGM> ["Asuka's fine. She thinks Kuzmin was trying to perv on her." Alex leaned towards Raphael slightly. "And after overhearing that little gem of a line earlier about- what was it, 'mixed blood'? I'm pretty sure she's right."-
[03:06] <AdEvaGM> ["One of these days we'll find someone from the Soviet Union who's actually still working for them that isn't insane, perverted or a war criminal." Muttered Misato.]
[03:06] <Yanmei> "We're not giving them the satisfaction," Yanmei scoffed. "Well. I'm not, anyway. I can't vouch for Kuzmin, for example."
[03:07] <AdEvaGM> ["Sure." Said Eufemia, shrugging a little. She turned back towards Vera with a vacantly questioning expression.-
[03:08] <AdEvaGM> [Minerva's expression wrinkled most magnificently. "Yeah, so long as he doesn't try to hit on Her Majesty the Emperor of Japan we should be good for the afternoon… I wonder how much of that wine it'd take to get him three sheets."]
[03:09] <Aline> 7» Vera… patted Eufemia on the head. That'll do, pilot. That'll do.
[03:09] <Yanmei> "He's Russian. So probably… hmmm. All of it?"
[03:09] * Sept took a step closer to the table and away from Eufemia and slammed a glass down in a way that might've made Ezra proud.-
[03:10] <Sept> "Okay," he said, facing her squarely. "I don't understand. We're both pilots. That's not what you mean."
[03:11] <Raphael> "We live in hope, ma'am," Raphael said, quickly tipping back a generous portion of his own drink. "What did you two make of the delegation?"
[03:13] <AdEvaGM> ["I'm not thrilled at the fact that they've brought enough raw firepower to wipe the city off the map, to be honest with you." Said Alex lightly. "Ezekiel's not always easy to get along with, but just this once I'm glad we left him and his at the hotel."-
[03:15] <AdEvaGM> ["Damn. Okay." Said Minerva seriously. "If he ever does try to make a pass at her, though, someone has to run interference."-
[03:16] <AdEvaGM> [Eufemia had taken the pat on the head in her stride, gently reaching up to smooth down her hair. Nonetheless, lessons had been learned. "I'm not a real pilot. In that sense. Superheavy corps." She added.-
[03:17] <AdEvaGM> ["But you and I are still… The same. I don't know what to say…"]
[03:18] <Aline> 7» At this juncture Vera actually tried to be helpful, now that the necessary Open Secret bit was done. "…Is this some kind of uncanny thing? de Pteres, maybe there's a personality… trait." She had trouble saying that completely straight.
[03:22] <Raphael> "Confident, though. So many of their ringleaders in one place."
[03:23] <Sept> "Uh huh." Sera gave Eufemia a moment, turning his stare towards Vera. "Sorry, miss? We haven't been introduced, I think."
[03:27] <AdEvaGM> ["That's Mary's doing. She rarely shows herself anymore… She wouldn't be here if she weren't absolutely confident. So of course she wouldn't be worried about bringing along her big guns." Said Alex, gazing fondly at Asuka, who was currently quarrelling with Michael over whether or not kicking Kuzmin in the face would be worth Yanmei's scolding.-
[03:27] <Aline> 7» "Colonel Vera Hiroko Freitas Kuromiya, of the Brazilian Armed Forces. Director of Superheavy Operations, to be precise. This is one of our ace pilots and a veteran of the Brazilian-Colombian war, Captain Eufemia Eliana de Franco Salazar."
[03:27] <AdEvaGM> ["Oh, by the way, if Ezra appears and Mana runs off and hugs him or what-have-you, do you want me to stop her? This is hypothetical, but think fast, it'll only be for a second because they're coming through that door right now." Said Alex quickly.-
[03:28] <AdEvaGM> [Alex was right; the UN delegation had caught up. They began filing into the room, again Ezra and Sarah first, followed by von Brandt and Mary- arms linked- and then Aline, the Ayanami, and Agatha. Finally at the back came Gadhavi and the others.-
[03:29] <AdEvaGM> [Eufemia wasn't paying attention to them, though; she instead gave Sera a proper salute.]
[03:32] <Raphael> "Let her go. She deserves a hug, if that's what she needs," Rapael murmured. He was watching the entrance from the corner of his eye. "More than that and one of us can check on her."
[03:33] <Yanmei> "Before we get into that, we both know that half the fun of these parties is getting out and meeting new people. So~ Which famous person do you have your eyes set on first?" Yanmei was speaking to Minerva, but was slowly starting to left her eyes drift toward the newly-arrived UN personnel.
[03:34] <Sept> "I see." Sera brushed his hair back behind one ear, and responded with his imitation of a salute as best as he could. "Sorry. I don't have the memory of other people."-
[03:36] <Sept> "So what is it we're the same about, Eufemia?" Sera shifted his footing, taking a glance at the wine glasses. But he definitely had to pace himself for today. "What have you heard about me that makes you think that?"
[03:37] <AdEvaGM> ["No idea. Her Majesty would be the obvious answer, wouldn't it?" Said Minerva, her gaze turning toward the UN delegation as well. "I'd say Juno Lorenz, of course- she has the most gorgeous eyes, honestly, and she's so fierce- but she once tried to assassinate Mazarin for being a bloody tyrant and so I assume I'm Satan himself to her."-
[03:40] <AdEvaGM> ["Oops, there we go." Said Alex, draining his glass of wine; for the UN delegation had begun to disperse now, Ezra and Sarah striking out for neutral territory; as they went, they caught Mana's eye.-
[03:41] <AdEvaGM> [Mana stared at them, took a few faltering steps, glanced back with a frown at the Federation line and, on realising that no one was going to stop her, ran across the room, met Ezra and Sarah halfway, and threw herself at them. They both caught her, and in a second they were a big knotted mess of hugs, kisses, laughter and a few tears.-
[03:46] <AdEvaGM> [Eufemia, however, shook her head. "… I don't know. But… The look in your eyes is the same one I see in the mirror."]
[03:47] <Raphael> "… as I said, she deserves it," Raphael said, and even in spite of the rest of the UN arrayed behind them he managed a small smile.
[03:49] <Yanmei> "Fantastic. I bet that's going to be an amazing reunion." And speaking of reunions… Yanmei watched Mana with a slight frown, quickly turning away after the hug. "Hmm. I guess Lorenz has a relative with her today."
[03:52] <Sept> "I'll keep that in mind." Sera was more than briefly distracted by Mana's defection as the UN contingent arrived. He decided it was time for the second glass.-
[03:53] <Sept> "So, what are you? You don't mind talking about yourself, do you?"
[03:55] <AdEvaGM> ["That's her father, Keel Lorenz." Said Minerva. "He's an influential man. Held a lot of power in the European Union before it collapsed, and he's spent years trying to turn the Central Democratic Alliance into a new Union. He's an ardent democrat and Unionist, you know… I actually remember being told that he and SEELE were almost enemies at a few points." Minerva sighed. "He teaches, or taught, once… Raised his daughter to believe in democracy like luscious Mr. Leon believes in God."-
[04:00] <AdEvaGM> ["…" Eufemia frowned. Her eyes were large and honest, and she had a cute little nose; when she frowned, her eyes narrowed and her nose twitched upwards slightly, giving her the air of a mildly perplexed little owl. "I don't, but I don't know how you want me to answer that question."]
[04:02] <Yanmei> "Luscious, huh~?" Yanmei smirked. "But that's very interesting. I don't suppose he thinks your the devil incarnate too? Someone who's been around that much is probably going to have a ton of stories. And information and such."
[04:05] <AdEvaGM> ["Undoubtedly. And I suspect he thinks me the devil, yes, but then again he never tried to firebomb Kuzmin. You know that, right? Juno Lorenz tried to kill Mazarin and Kuzmin both at the same meeting using a firebomb?"]

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