Cherry Blossom Procession 4 1 10

(21:57) <AdEvaGM> [The negotiation room was a spacious square room with a high ceiling; various portraits and tapestries hung off the whitewashed walls, giving the room an air of gravitas. The table itself was round, made of heavy polished wood; Yanmei could see her reflection in the shining surface.-
(21:58) <AdEvaGM> [Sitting across from her was Princess Catherine. She was Lexie's sister- Lexie having spoken to her before the beginning of negotiations- and she looked it, too, with straight shimmering silver hair and a regal bearing, with a straight back and hands folded primly in her lap.-
(21:59) <AdEvaGM> [… Yet that was where the similarities ended. Catherine was lively and bright, always quick with a gregarious, warm smile- for everyone, even Yanmei and her companions. She had personally shaken Yanmei's hand earlier that day when they had arrived…-
(21:59) <AdEvaGM> […-
(22:01) <AdEvaGM> [Stockholm had glittered in the morning sun. The view from the sky was glorious.-
(22:04) <AdEvaGM> [This city, the capital of the Scandinavian Commonwealth, had risen to a new and lofty prominence in the years since Impact. This city, with its rising towers of glass shining like crystals above a clean, warm city filled with parks, trees and lakes looked every bit the place it promised to be.-
(22:05) <AdEvaGM> [In a world overrun with chaos, where near-apocalypse had wiped continents clean and had seen the hope of freedom torn apart by tyrants and dictators, Scandinavia stood forth as the new bearer of liberty's torch. Stockholm then was the new home of democracy, the new beacon of promise.-
(22:07) <AdEvaGM> [Not a major military power, perhaps, but one that excelled in scientific progress, enough of an edge to make some suspicious, even…-
(22:08) <AdEvaGM> [After all, despite Scandinavia's neutral stance, it was no secret that the Aurora Foundation, which had pioneered the UN's new war machine, had originated and still operated (under restrictions) in Scandinavia.-
(22:08) <AdEvaGM> […-
(22:10) <AdEvaGM> [Alfred Ericson, the Scandinavian Junior Minister of State, sat on a seat square between the two parties. To his right was the UEF delegation. To his left was Princess Catherine's.-
(22:11) <AdEvaGM> [For Catherine was not alone. Next to her stood a handsome young man named Sidney White. He was a tall man, with dark black hair parted down the middle and a pair of gold-rimmed glasses. He gave them all a small smile as the proceedings began.-
(22:20) <AdEvaGM> ["I appreciate the Chancellor's efforts to engage with me over this issue." Said Catherine. "Allow me to restate my claim: I am Princess Catherine, eldest surviving child of the late King of Great Britain, George VII. I am his rightful heir, not only by birth but also by acclamation- the people of Britain want me to return to lead them. They want me to make the United Kingdom independent once again of interference from the Federation and the United Nations, whose members have both wronged us. Thus my demands are threefold: First, that the Federation acknowledge my rightful claims, and discharge my poor sister of her status as a puppet; second, that they instantly permit the dissolution of Parliament in order for elections to occur; thirdly, they withdraw all military forces and return all British military assets."]
(22:38) <Yanmei> "With all due respect, the United Earth Federation resents the implication that it's been using Princess Alexandrina as a puppet. What is your evidence for this? Furthermore, I would like to assert that we have been working with Britain's best interests at heart. How, precisely, have we wronged it?"
(23:00) <AdEvaGM> ["Conflict of interest is suspicion enough." Said Catherine. "My sister was rescued from the battle of London, but shortly after was incorporated into NERV's military structure as an Evangelion pilot. Thus by military convention she is subordinate to your command; so she can never truly be considered to be speaking fully independently of your influence, which is needed in a leader. Because legitimate royal assent is needed for parliamentary acts, this throws doubt into every act passed by Parliament." Her voice was measured and calm. "And on that note, Parliament voted to join the Federation; however in 1975 a nationwide referendum was held to gauge support for joining the European Communities. Yet I see no such referendum has occurred here, which makes me question whether the Federation truly has British interests at heart, or simply wanted to rush the process to gain access to our military."]
(23:37) <Yanmei> "You speak of the 1975 referendum… but I don't believe that every military partnership in Britain's history has required a national vote. It would have made sense to use it to leave the UN in the first place, certainly, but not necessarily joining our faction as we are not yet established as the equivelent of the UN and will not be until we've actually defeated their forces."
(23:37) <Yanmei> "I can't speak for the UN's actions at the time that your sister was drawn into its structure, but she was in fact pulled into the war against the Angels because no one else at the time could pilot her Evangelion. You are essentially saying that in order to be a proper leader, she can't have a simultaneous military position within the UEF - which is fine. As the war against the Angels ended,
(23:37) <Yanmei> we had more flexibility in letting pilots do whatever they please, including leaving the UEF entirely. Would involuntarily discharging her legitimatize her position as the leader of your country? Or is that a moot point now that you've returned?"
(00:15) <AdEvaGM> [Sidney White had taken off his glasses; he polished the lenses. "A public gesture, but exactly that: a gesture. No substance." he placed his glasses back on. "We all know that by the time he died, His Majesty had ceased to be the true ruler of his own country."-
(00:17) <AdEvaGM> [Sidney bent down next to his chair and took out a stack of folders. He began to lazily toss them across the table. "Prime Minister Windsor-Yamato. Joshua Salmo, Foreign Minister. Robert Barry, MoD. John Harris, Michael Lore, Rebecca Swanson…"-
(00:17) <AdEvaGM> ["Go ahead, open the files. In each you'll find a picture of them meeting with the owner of Shardlake Industries. The British representative to the HIC."-
(00:18) <AdEvaGM> ["We're suspcious about foreign powers controlling Britain because it's been the status quo for the last ten years, Chancellor Zhang. Nigel Shardlake owned these men. Through them he wielded power in Britain far above his station as a mere representative to some instrumentality."-
(00:19) <AdEvaGM> ["Of course, Shardlake… Well, Shardlake's now working with you, isn't he?" Said Sidney White. "No, don't bother denying it…"]
(00:41) * Yanmei did look through them, frowning down at the images that met her eyes. "Define 'working'? Because whatever he's done in the past, he certainly isn't using his vast influence to help us raise money or troops or any desperately needed supplies even though it would be in his best interest. He also isn't controlling the UEF's leadership, even though that would be just as useful to him.
(00:41) * Yanmei Why? Because he's unable to. He lost most of that influence after he was ousted from the UN and went into hiding. What could he possibly use to control a country now? Psychology? The UEF keeps him around on the slim chance that he will volunteer intelligence about the UN, but he's demonstrated that he is either incapable or unwilling to provide anything that will allow us to dominate the
(00:41) * Yanmei war and that he would rather sit around making wisecracks instead."
(01:32) <AdEvaGM> ["We all know you can't prove it." Said Sidney easily. He smiled. "Half of these men still serve in Parliament. The man on the Clapham omnibus wouldn't hold your claims up for a second."-
(01:33) <AdEvaGM> ["Now, Chancellor, I know you're angry." He said gently. "I can see the rage in your eyes. I would be too. You're probably thinking to yourself, 'how is it that that man can be causing me trouble when he's not even here'?"-
(01:33) <AdEvaGM> ["But that's how politics works, I'm afraid." He said with a shrug. "Let's move on."-
(01:35) <AdEvaGM> ["Regardless of your record on wronging or dominating Britain or not, we must come back to one important issue: how does the United Kingdom benefit from the Federation? As you said yourself, Shardlake isn't bringing in any 'desperately needed' supplies so we know the Federation is cash-strapped. The United Kingdom is in need of rebuilding, Chancellor. England was devastated by Metatron and her plague. Half the country is in ruins, and the other half is contemplating revolution to break away from years of oppression and torment. Her Majesty-" he turned and gave Catherine a very warm look, "Is the only person who can keep our homeland together."-
(01:36) <AdEvaGM> ["Have you donated any major resources? Have you instituted sweeping repair actions? You've mostly just been using the Royal Navy and the Air Force to fight your war, a war that doesn't benefit the United Kingdom, and sucks up resources that could be used housing the homeless and feeding the hungry."]
(02:01) <Yanmei> "Our main efforts have revolved around suppressing any remaining threats from Metatron first and foremost. How can you rebuild if that very same threat still exists out in the wings, waiting to swoop in and topple over whatever security you've recostructed for yourself and your citizens? To that end, we're developing technology that will be vital to that effort and are committing troops of
(02:01) <Yanmei> our own to help. We also fully intend to use what we have at our disposal after the war to generate crops and to assist with rebuilding efforts - using superheavies, Evas, and other machinery, for example to clean up and rebuild communities. We are willing to work with you if you have ideas for alleviating hunger and homelessness immediately, though. For example, we could donate some
(02:01) <Yanmei> of those resources ahead of schedule on a rotating, short-term basis."
[14:53] <Minaplo> ["Ideas…"-
[14:55] <Minaplo> ["You could recall the air force and navy." Said Sidney. "Use their personnel and machines as part of the rebuilding effort- heavy duty VTOLs are always welcome in a rebuilding effort, and having trained personnel who know what it means to shift heavy loads would also help. Of course, if you are that hard-up for military assets, I'm sure Her Majesty would be, once the situation is resolved and the UK's sovereignty is regained, be willing to sell some of those assets to you. We could, after all, use the money, and I assure you that Her Majesty is deeply devoted to the idea of friendship between us and your own organisation."-
[14:57] <Minaplo> ["But there is one special resource that would benefit us greatly indeed. And I would be hoping that, in the spirit of generosity for which you are so well-known, you would be willing to lend that resource to us… Princess Alexandrina and her Evangelion."-
[14:58] <Minaplo> ["In fact, on that note, I've been meaning to speak to Princess Alexandrina to see what she feels about all this, especially in regards to the monarchy." Said Sidney cheerfully. "You of course wouldn't have any objections to bringing her in for a bit of light questioning?"]
[15:33] <Yanmei> "I don't object to her reuniting with her sister and homeland, but the UEF should at least be present for any formal 'light questioning' on the behalf of the state." Yanmei smiled back sweetly. "She is more than 'one of our resources', as you put it; her wellbeing has been a critical concern of ours for the years that she's been with us. We'd like to support her in whatever she decides to
[15:33] <Yanmei> do. Furthermore, her unit was badly damaged in battle some time ago and hasn't been repaired, so I'm afraid that we can't immediately lend it out. If you are insistant on that one for morale reasons, you may have to wait a bit. But if you are able to give us information on some of the more massive building projects you have in mind, we could loan you another Eva-pilot pairing to do the
[15:33] <Yanmei> heavy lifting in the meantime. As for recalling all of the navy and air force, it would put us in a precarious situation in the war. If we're to have a partnership, then more losses to the UEF wouldn't benefit either of us, wouldn't you agree? So! Let's work out a compromise on that."
[15:45] <Minaplo> ["Friendship, my dear Chancellor, let's not go to using words like 'partnership' just yet." Said Sidney. "In my opinion, I feel strongly that if the UK requests all its assets back, then indeed it should receive all its assets back. Of course, the offer stands vis a vis paying for them. That's only fair."-
[15:46] <Minaplo> ["And of course, Chancellor, I would never dream of questioning Princess Alexandrina anywhere but in front of you. In fact, Mr. Ericson, would you be able to send someone along to invite the Princess here immediately?"-
[15:46] <Minaplo> ["…" Ericson was silent; then he nodded. He reached for the phone on the desk, rung it, and spoke something in Swedish.-
[15:52] <Minaplo> [Fifteen minutes later, Alexandrina appeared, her natural smallness seemingly amplified by the size of the table and the room itself. She nonetheless bore herself with a straight back and a sense of stiffness- even though her eyes immediately fell on Catherine.-
[15:53] <Minaplo> ["Cheer up, Lexie." Said Catherine with a grin. Lexie smiled- forgetting herself for a moment.-
[15:54] <Minaplo> ["My lady." Said Sidney, rising to give her a bow. "I trust we find you well."-
[15:54] <Minaplo> ["Of course. What else would I be?" Asked Lexie, her smile quickly fading.-
[15:55] <Minaplo> ["Naturally. It is obvious that your friends in the Federation take good care of you." Said Sidney. "They aren't too forceful…?"-
[15:55] <Minaplo> [Lexie shook her head. "No. They give me orders because I serve as a soldier."-
[15:56] <Minaplo> ["But a monarch's place should be to see to her homeland, should it not?" Said Sidney.-
[15:56] <Minaplo> ["And I am. To defend it from its enemies." Said Lexie firmly.-
[15:57] <Minaplo> ["So much pressure." Said Sidney sympathetically. "I do wonder how you could be doing both, when it seems like you would be forced to do one or the other."-
[15:57] <Minaplo> [Lexie stared at him, her gaze strong and forceful. Sidney's own matched hers just fine.-
[15:58] <Minaplo> ["Princess Alexandrina, do you want to be queen? Speak truthfully."-
[15:58] <Minaplo> ["I don't." She said quickly, before she could stop herself.-
[15:58] <Minaplo> [Her eyes widened. Sidney smiled slightly.-
[15:58] <Minaplo> ["If the option were yours, would you choose to recognise your sister's claims?" Asked Sidney.-
[15:59] <Minaplo> ["I would."-
[15:59] <Minaplo> ["Lexie!" Snapped Minerva in horror.]
[16:11] * Yanmei shushed Minerva, quietly. If she was angry, it didn't show on her face. "For the sake of fairness, you should ask next about her position - and ours - following the disaster in Britain."
[16:18] <Minaplo> ["But of course…?" Said Sidney, turning back to Lexie.-
[16:18] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[16:19] <Minaplo> ["I wanted to fight for Britain." Said Lexie. Her right hand was balled into a fist. "To protect it from any further threats. To- to avenge it, and my family, to kill the Angels that destroyed my home."-
[16:20] <Minaplo> ["They all supported me." Said Lexie quickly. "They didn't judge me or put me down for being young or quiet or angry. They- respected my drive. I was ready to serve my country as its queen, and they did nothing but support me."-
[16:21] <Minaplo> ["But my lady, the Angels are dead." Said Sidney gently. "There's no more reason for you to keep on fighting. We need you at home, now, helping us to rebuild-"-
[16:23] <Minaplo> ["No." Said Lexie harshly. "The fight isn't over yet. I believe Britain is better together with the UEF, because their fight is just. The UN is corrupt."-
[16:23] <Minaplo> ["Corrupt?"-
[16:24] <Minaplo> ["Rotten to the core." Said Lexie. Heat was starting to creep into her face.-
[16:24] <Minaplo> [Sidney frowned. "Tell me more."-
[16:25] <Minaplo> ["They controlled the world after Impact, playing us as puppets for their own ends." She said, her voice hard. "And now they're planning to wipe out the human race and make it over."-
[16:25] <Minaplo> ["…" Sidney's eyes widened. Next to him, Catherine's jaw had dropped.-
[16:25] <Minaplo> ["Mary Caine has an Eternity Drive!" Shouted Lexie.-
[16:25] <Minaplo> ["A what?"-
[16:26] <Minaplo> ["It's a well of souls! Everyone who has died since Impact is trapped within the well! That's why we're fighting-"-
[16:26] <Minaplo> ["… Miss." Said Mr. Ericson gently. "Perhaps we should stop this here. Her Highness is not well…"]
[16:46] <Yanmei> "I… would not be opposed to stopping this, no," Yanmei said. "Although I don't believe Her Highness is ill. Excited, maybe. Let's all take a little time to calm down."
[16:46] <Minaplo> ["Agreed. Your Majesty…" Said Sidney to Catherine.-
[16:46] <Minaplo> [But Catherine was already out of her chair; she ran to Lexie's side and bundled her up in a hug.-
[16:47] <Minaplo> [Lexie went stiff; her eyes widened, and for a second it looked as though she were in shock.-
[16:48] <Minaplo> [Then a second later she closed her eyes and started to suddenly cry. Catherine took her away from the room, murmuring gently.-
[16:48] <Minaplo> ["…" Sidney folded his hands primly in his lap and sat back in his seat.]
[17:00] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei, by contrast, rose from her seat. "Getting back to the issues at hand… we have no objection to dissolving Parliament, as we said before, or loaning you the help for rebuilding efforts. Whether we have the ability to pay for units is another matter that we should see to at another time. If that's all for now…?"
[17:01] <Minaplo> ["Of course." Said Sidney, rising to his feet.-
[17:02] <Minaplo> ["Once you make the announcement as to dissolution, I will of course be running with my own party." He said. "Once the election is resolved, well… The issue of the throne will fix itself, won't it? Good day, Chancellor Zhang. If only all my meetings were this delightful."-
[17:02] <Minaplo> [He gave her a very wide smile, a slight bow- then he left.]
[17:02] * Yanmei held up her own smile… until he was gone. Then it promptly dropped from her face. "Ugh…"
[17:34] <Minaplo> ["What a mess." Agreed Minerva.-
[17:34] <Minaplo> ["It's not hopeless." Said Lin with a shrug. "All we need to do is ensure we win the election."-
[17:35] <Minaplo> ["Yes, which would be fine if it weren't for the fact that most of the people who elected the encumbents died." Said Mazarin drily. "Most of the UK's population is now centered in the celtic states, and that's where they have the most support. The incumbent is going to lose, and the UK will take away half our battlefleet with it."]
[17:40] <Yanmei> "We shouldn't accept that. We have to fight! Who can we get on this? Someone who'll make an impression on British politics… who isn't Shardlake," she added, face twisting in a little scowl.
[17:44] <Minaplo> ["We need someone of British heritage, obviously." Said Lin.-
[17:45] <Minaplo> ["Someone who can manage high-stress situations and conduct a campaign well." Said Mazarin. "Someone unrelated to the old regime, yet identifiably British in some way."-
[17:45] <Minaplo> ["Someone smooth and socially aware enough to counter that smug bastard." Said Minerva.]
[17:47] <Yanmei> "…Wellesley…?"
[17:48] <Minaplo> ["A little young." Said Mazarin.-
[17:48] <Minaplo> ["… But perhaps that's an asset." He amended hastily as Minerva shot him a truly foul look.-
[17:51] <Minaplo> ["Wellesley is intelligent and photogenic." Said Liu Lin. "He's not exactly a stranger to the political scene, and he's no fan of the monarchy either. That could all go well for us."-
[17:51] <Minaplo> ["And maybe Rei could help him campaign?" Offered Minerva.-
[17:51] <Minaplo> [Mazarin quirked an eyebrow at her.-
[17:51] <Minaplo> ["Rei's cute." Said Minerva with a shrug.]
[17:55] <Yanmei> "She is. But we shouldn't get ahead of ourselves? We need to ask him if this is something he can do for us. And in the meantime… we need to think of a plan B."
[17:56] <Minaplo> ["Excuse me." Said Junior Minister Ericson.]
[17:58] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei blinked at him. "Yes~~~?"
[18:04] <Minaplo> ["I'll be going now, but I wanted to know what your stance was on this 'Eternity Drive' thing."]
[18:08] * Yanmei sighed. "There's no way for us to prove what the Princess said, although I wish we could."
[18:10] <Minaplo> ["… So you acknowledge that you believe in the idea?" Said Ericson, clearly surprised.]
[18:21] <Yanmei> "At least some of it has a basis in reality. There are things I've seen personally that would… well. Of course, no one else can know about it. It's all way too crazy, you know?"
[18:22] <Minaplo> ["I see." Said Ericson delicately. "I should go."-
[18:22] <Minaplo> ["Ericson." Said Mazarin idly. "You understand this is all a secret."-
[18:22] <Minaplo> [Ericson stared at Mazarin.-
[18:22] <Minaplo> ["We all understand how messy things get when secrets become less so."-
[18:22] <Minaplo> [Ericson went bone white.-
[18:23] <Minaplo> ["Don't let us detain you, sir." Said Mazarin politely.]
[18:23] <Minaplo> [With that, Ericson was quick- maybe too quick- to leave.]
[18:24] * Yanmei peered up at Mazarin with a frown.
[18:27] <Minaplo> ["Secrets can be a powerful tool." Said Mazarin. "Especially with photographic evidence. We should leave."]
[18:28] <Yanmei> "Right," Yanmei said. "Let's… get someplace else to regroup."
[18:30] <Minaplo> [He nodded.-
[18:31] <Minaplo> [With that, they turned and made their way out…]

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License