Cherry Blossom Procession 4 1 11

[15:06] <Raphael> It was never a difficult proposition to find an out-of-the-way space in a ship the size of the Dorian, especially when the ship in question had been designed by someone as… eccentric as the presumably-late Silas Caine. It had been in the hands of the Federation for nearly a year now and there were still occasional reports of crew members stumbling across secret passageways or hidden
[15:06] <Raphael> caches of weapons, art or even stranger cargo.-
[15:06] <Raphael> While it was a troublesome feature from an oversight point of view, for those looking to be discreet (Rare as that might be in the UEF) it allowed some leeway.-
[15:06] <Raphael> One such group had gathered in the bowels of the ship, in a room hastily converted from some sort of storage room. There was a musty smell to the place, and crates had been shifted up against the wall alongside a few stray paintings and pieces of furniture that had been removed from rooms during the ship's repairs. A space had been cleared for a meeting area substantially less opulent than
[15:06] <Raphael> those upstairs: A cheap folding table had been set in the centre of the room, surrounded by similarly basic chairs. The only real sign of the occupants' means was the mobile holoprojector laid out in the middle of the table.-
[15:07] <Raphael> At the head of the table stood Raphael Guillory, his uniform jacket removed to reveal a simple white undershirt. His attention was on the assembled figures, sharp and focused.-
[15:07] <Raphael> "Are we ready to begin?"
[15:09] <Minaplo> [There were five people in the room with Raphael.-
[15:10] <Minaplo> [Nearest to Raphael's right was Vercingetorix, wearing his bulky armour, although the helmet had been removed, showing Shinji's pale, drawn face, currently drawn into a small frown. He gave Raphael a short nod.-
[15:13] <Minaplo> [Liu Lin had spent most of the time pushing the storage crates as far away from the table as possible. When she had pushed them as far back as she could, Lin returned to the table, flipped her chair around and sat, so that the back of the chair was between her and the table.-
[15:14] <Minaplo> ["One minute." Said Jeanne Simon, who was sitting to Raphael's left. She was working on a holo; she hit a few keys, then closed it up. "Yep."-
[15:14] <Minaplo> [Surov- who sat opposite Raphael- nodded curtly, then jerked his head to the left slightly.-
[15:23] <Minaplo> ["The jammer is now active." Said Surov. "It should keep any unwanted snooping away."-
[15:25] <Minaplo> [The final occupant stood, and did not sit. This was Ezekiel, the Emissary; he stood a little back, between Raphael and Shinji.-
[15:26] <Minaplo> [… Although perhaps it was inaccurate to call him the final occupant, depending on one's interpretation of the word. There was one chair unoccupied. They had, essentially, left room for God.-
[15:27] <Minaplo> [Although in this case 'God' was specifically, explicitly Tsubaki. They could feel her presence in the room, scratching ever so lightly at their minds. More to the point, Shinji had, with extreme reluctance, placed a little doll on her chair, which she manipulated with AT abilities. It was now nodding at Raphael energetically.]
[16:27] <Raphael> He would never admit it, but it was a little distracting. The movements were unsettlingly fluid and human, even out of the corner of his eye. Raphael strongly suspected it was a conscious decision on Tsubaki's part.-
[16:27] <Raphael> "Excellent," he said, placing his hands on the back of his chair as he glanced around the table. "Then I'd like to begin by thanking you all for coming despite me being so vague about my intentions. I assure you it was necessary for what I hope to achieve."-
[16:27] <Raphael> "… After the release of Iruel I spent a good deal of my time thinking about what could have been done to avoid the situation. I don't say this to be maudlin; it was a pragmatic measure at the time, and one that shone a light on a problem I believe needs to be addressed." His voice wasn't loud, but it carried well in the small room.-
[16:28] <Raphael> "I believe General Liu would agree with me when I say that our pace in the war itself has been exceeding our expectations. Unfortunately we all know there's a good deal more to this war than the troops Caine can deploy, and I would argue that it's against these measures that we've failed time and time again. Here we're reactive, we let Caine throw these curveballs at us and only narrowly
[16:28] <Raphael> avoid destruction. The Crystal Massacre, the battle with the Damocles or Iruel's release… these events will keep happening until our luck fails."-
[16:28] <Raphael> He let his words settle before pressing on. "It's understandable that as thinly stretched as we are it's all our leadership can do to manage the broader war, but it's left gaps. We have resources that aren't being used to their fullest extent - our resources - and I think with the appropriate coordination we might be able to use them to avoid further disasters, and perhaps even begin
[16:28] <Raphael> to undermine Caine's own resources."-
[16:28] <Raphael> "That would require a degree of secrecy and operational security that we've been sorely lacking, though, hence the cloak and dagger in bringing you all here. If we do proceed, keeping that net tight would be crucial."
[16:58] <Minaplo> ["Understandable." Said Liu Lin. "Who do we report to?"]
[17:00] <Raphael> "I'll be bringing reports to the Chancellor directly."
[17:02] <Minaplo> [Liu nodded, seemingly satisfied.-
[17:03] <Minaplo> ["Secrecy and operational security." Said Jeanne. "Should be doable, it's not like anyone here is famed for their loose lips."-
[17:03] <Minaplo> ["Kind of the opposite." Said Shinji with a small smile.]
[17:16] <Raphael> "Mmm." Raphael murmured, but his attention had turned to Tsubaki. "Pilot Akagi, do you agree? I don't mean to single you out, but you understand that you're not here for quite the same reason as everyone else. If you're uncertain we'll figure out a different way to proceed."
[17:18] <Minaplo> [The doll placed its little fluffy hands over its mouth and shook its head.-
[17:19] <Minaplo> [("It's no problem to me.") Said Tsubaki, the voice seemingly emanating from the doll. ("I can keep a secret. I keep lots of secrets. Besides, it'll be fun! Little secret chats, playing spy…")]
[17:24] * Raphael nodded again. "If you're sure. I won't presume to lecture you on how serious this project could become."-
[17:27] <Raphael> With that his attention returned to the group. "With all of that out of the way, it seems to make sense to begin with the most obvious problem. Has anyone turned up any new leads regarding the Eternity Drive? The last time I heard it discussed we were looking into those who might've had a hand in its construction."
[17:34] <Minaplo> ["I created a list of individuals who were most likely to have participated in the project." Said Surov. "They were measured on three fields: metabio knowledge, practical engineering ability, and connection to SEELE and its affiliates."-
[17:35] <Minaplo> ["Candidates measuring a certain level in all three fields were added to the list. They were then sorted from aggregate strength in those fields from highest to lowest."-
[17:36] <Minaplo> ["This returned 1,598 known candidates." Said Surov. "Of that number, 1,591 are either dead or missing."]
[17:38] <Raphael> "Does that include those under our employ?"
[17:40] <Minaplo> ["No. Candidates who work or worked for us, living or dead, or do not but are known or strongly suspected to have no involvement have been partitioned onto a separate list." Said Surov.]
[17:42] * Raphael rubbed his chin, mulling this over. "With numbers like that I'm presuming the remaining seven aren't exactly on the grid."
[17:55] <Minaplo> ["Of the remaining seven, five of them barely qualify- I suspect they never were given the offer." Said Surov. "Of the remaining two, one of them is Ikari Yutada, currently lost somewhere in Japan, and…" Surov frowned. "A man named Achille Adler, who had been missing, but we have recently learned is the head of research with Brazil's clandestine Eva project."]
[18:25] <Raphael> "Adler…" Raphael muttered, frowning a little at the name. "Colonel Freitas mentioned him, actually. Perhaps we could open up a line of communication?"
[18:30] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[18:30] <Minaplo> ["Ye-e-es." Said Surov slowly. "Perhaps we could."-
[18:30] <Minaplo> ["… I require a moment." Said Surov. "To be candid."]
[18:31] <Raphael> "… of course." One of Raphael's eyebrows had quirked up by a fraction of an inch
[18:32] <Minaplo> [He wasn't alone. Shinji's frown had deepened, and Jeanne was watching Surov with particularly bright eyes.-
[18:32] <Minaplo> ["Adler and I have… history." Said Surov.]
[18:33] * Raphael gave a very cautious nod.
[18:34] <Minaplo> ["He is a brilliant, if erratic man." Said Surov. "That is to say… We worked together during the days of Gehirn and the Liberated Nations after." Said Surov. "On certain projects."-
[18:35] <Minaplo> ["… And on things more important."-
[18:35] <Minaplo> ["…" Surov glanced around at the other faces in the room with a mix of defiance and embarrassment.-
[18:35] <Minaplo> ["… We worked together to create Sarasvati."-
[18:36] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[18:36] <Minaplo> [Tsubaki's doll let out a giggle. "Oh, I get it! He's Sara's other daddy."-
[18:36] <Minaplo> [Surov gave the doll a flat look.]
[18:44] * Raphael pointedly ignored the comment, keeping his gaze on Surov. His expression wasn't giving away much, and he seemed to be taking the information in stride. "Would there be problems if you were to speak again?"
(18:46) <Minaplo> [Surov's expression became neutral once again in response to Raphael's sang-froid. "I would find interacting with him to be unpleasant, but not unsurmountable. He is likely to be more forthcoming with me than anyone else here."]
(18:52) <Raphael> "Most likely," he agreed. "If it really came to it would you be capable of contacting him through more secure means?"
(18:52) <Minaplo> ["Yes."]
(18:57) * Raphael nodded quickly. "That would probably be the optimal scenario, if you were willing."
(18:57) <Minaplo> ["Very well. I and Sarasvati will make preparations."-
(18:58) <Minaplo> ["You said he was erratic." Said Shinji. "In any way that could hinder us?"-
(19:00) <Minaplo> ["No." Said Surov. "Not likely at least. Adler is a hedonistic deviant, and is overly physical and tactile in his mannerisms and general nature. That is all; nothing that could jeopardise us."-
(19:02) <Minaplo> ["So that's where Sarasvati gets it from." Said Tsubaki-Doll, clapping her padded hands on her shiny porcelain face.-
(19:02) <Minaplo> [Liu Lin suddenly bowed her head, as though staring at something on the ground.-
(19:02) <Minaplo> ["…" Surov did his best to ignore them both. "I will require some time. I estimate a week and a half. Sarasvati's participation is required, of course."]
[16:13] <Raphael> "Understood," he said, finally taking a seat. "It'd be best if you could keep her involvement to a minimum, but I'll trust you to see to the details."
[16:16] <Minaplo> ["Understood."-
[16:17] <Minaplo> [Tsubaki-doll had caught Liu Lin's eye; she held up her hands, did clumsy fingerquotes, and whispered 'understood'.-
[16:18] <Minaplo> ["Is that everything we need to work out for Adler then, Guillory?" Asked Simon.]
[16:21] * Raphael drummed his fingers on the table. "I believe so. Minimal risk over a secure method of communication, and whatever information we obtain lets us proceed more effectively."-
[16:22] <Raphael> He peered at her in the low light. "Would you agree, ma'am? You're the more experienced in these matters."
[16:27] <Minaplo> ["Yep." Said Simon.]
[16:30] <Raphael> "Mmm."-
[16:31] <Raphael> "… Which leaves the question of securing Ikari Yutada."
[16:32] <Minaplo> ["We can run an op to get him back, but it'll be a mess of a sitch." Said Simon.-
[16:35] <Minaplo> ["Both Japanese and UN agents are spending a great deal of time trying to find him in Tokyo." Said Shinji. "We can expect… Phantoms and whoever Japan thinks their best is."-
[16:35] <Minaplo> ["I don't like the idea of a firefight with Phantoms in this kind of op." Said Liu Lin. "On the other hand, I think we can take the Japanese security forces, but the diplomatic fallout would… Be undesirable."]
[16:42] <Raphael> "… Messy is right," he muttered, frowning at the table as though it had personally wronged him.-
[16:45] <Raphael> "I've learned my lessons from Singapore," he said finally. "We'd need to go in with a plan or not go at all. Japan and the UN have spent months failing to catch him, what resources do we have to ensure we wouldn't be searching just as blindly?"
[16:46] <Minaplo> ["His last known location." Said Shinji.]
[16:46] * Raphael just nodded for him to continue.
[16:51] <Minaplo> ["He was last reported being in a Vercingetorix safehouse. He left it, and we don't know where he is now, but he might have left clues for us to trace." Said Shinji. "Furthermore, we also know he's with two other people. One of them is Kozo Fuyutsuki, the VC at NERV Japan before the revolt."]
[16:53] <Raphael> "And the other?"
[17:07] <Minaplo> ["My-" He caught himself. "That is, er-"-
[17:07] <Minaplo> ["Just go with it." Said Tsubaki-doll.-
[17:07] <Minaplo> ["…" Shinji sighed. "Chisato Sanada. My step-grandmother."-
[17:08] <Minaplo> ["She was a clone bred for combat, a sort of… Test model for a bunch of the projects that came after."]
[17:15] <Raphael> Raphael's response took a moment longer to arrive than it should've. When he finally blinked it was very deliberate, almost as if he'd needed to remind himself. "… He designed his own wife?"
[17:21] <Minaplo> [Shinji cringed.-
[17:21] <Minaplo> ["Um… No." He said slowly. "Grandpa's not a geneticist."]
[17:25] * Raphael relaxed a bit, visibly mollified. "Ah. Forgive me for leaping to conclusions."
[17:26] <Minaplo> ["It's, er… Understandable." Muttered Shinji.-
[17:32] <Minaplo> ["But no. I only found out grandma Chisato was a bioexotic a year ago myself." He said. "I mean, they married in 2007… She bought me my cello for my 12th birthday."-
[17:32] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[17:32] <Minaplo> ["Uh, in any case, she's a good fighter." He added awkwardly.]
[15:25] <Raphael> "… Right," he muttered, looking increasingly guilty as Shinji spoke. "I was-… excuse me then, sir."-
[15:28] <Raphael> He wasted no time in pressing on, trying to speed by the awkwardness. "Regardless, that they have someone equipped for a fight is a minor comfort. From what I've been told Mr. Ikari is wheelchair-bound?"
[15:30] <Minaplo> ["Yeah." Said Shinji. "Although… Well, it's probably akin to that chair of Suzanne's we found in Asgard than a normal hospital chair."]
[15:31] <Raphael> "Right. Are you looking to lead the recovery team yourself, sir?"
[15:34] <Minaplo> ["Yeah." Said Shinji. "I think it makes the most sense. It's not something I can or want to do by myself, though."]
[15:37] * Raphael smiled a little. "Probably not a good idea, no. What resources do you need, aside from any further intelligence we can dig up? You'll obviously have access to whatever I can offer from the SOS."
[15:39] <Minaplo> ["I'd actually be happy if you could put a team together for me…"]
[15:42] <Raphael> "Of course. I'll have the details organised within the next few days."-
[15:43] <Raphael> He paused. "Rei will want to be involved, but I don't think that would be in our best interests."
[15:44] <Minaplo> ["… N-n-ooo." Said Shinji slowly. "No it wouldn't."-
[15:45] <Minaplo> ["She just wants to go on every fun mission that pops up, doesn't she?" Said Tsubaki-doll.-
[15:46] <Minaplo> ["I don't think it'll be a problem." Said Lin. "Rei'll be too busy helping Alphonse with his election campaign. On the other hand, Captain Guillory, I think bringing an Ayanami would be a good idea. One who can be subtle, reliable and used to subterfuge."]
[16:00] <Raphael> "Agreed. Chiisana would be my first thought, or perhaps Ni," he said with a nod. "I'll look into it and get back to you."
[16:01] <Minaplo> [Nods from around the room.-
[16:01] <Minaplo> ["I do have a question." Said Liu Lin.]
[16:02] <Raphael> "Yes ma'am?"
[16:02] <Minaplo> ["Like Captain Guillory, I assumed that Dr. Ikari was a geneticist." Said Liu Lin. "I admit I don't know what his speciality actually is."-
[16:03] <Minaplo> ["I can answer that." Said Surov. "Guillory, may I?"]
[16:04] * Raphael nodded, leaning back in his chair as the reins of the conversation were handed to someone else.
[16:10] <Minaplo> ["Doctor Ikari Yutada. Was the SEELE member in charge of overseeing Japan." Said Surov. "He is considered well-versed in metaphysical biology, but he also seems as though he was SEELE's resident expert in metaphysical materials, a related but more esoteric discipline. That is, Dr. Ikari was charged with analysing the composition of items such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Lance of Longinus,
[16:10] <Minaplo> the physical makeup of the Seeds, the material made to build the Seedships, and other such things- materials like sigilite were his domain."-
[16:11] <Minaplo> ["He was also an architect and urban planner." Said Surov. "He played a large role in designing Tokyo-2. He also designed the Geofront facilities, the minifronts, and the basic template for recessive fortresses."-
[16:12] <Minaplo> ["Sounds… Important." Said Jeanne.-
[16:23] <Minaplo> ["… So he's the reason the other Tsubaki spent so much time lost in those twisty corridors." Muttered Tsubaki-doll.]
[17:59] <Raphael> "I can certainly see why you'd think he could have something to do with the Eternity Drive…" Raphael said slowly. "Even if he wasn't one of the last survivors that background would seem to make him a natural fit."
[18:04] <Minaplo> ["Agreed- now that I know this it seems obvious… But then I wonder how it is that he survived." Said Liu Lin. "He only went into hiding very recently, so Caine must've known where he was."-
[18:05] <Minaplo> ["He was SEELE." Said Jeanne simply. "He had resources of his own to fend her off."-
[18:06] <Minaplo> ["Then this raises the question of why she would utilise him in the first place. Caine is not known to use resources that have a chance of backfiring on her in a way she cannot control." Said Surov.-
[18:07] <Minaplo> [But Shinji was simply frowning silently at Raphael.]
[18:21] <Raphael> Raphael's attention was focused on the ongoing conversation, and so it was only by accident that he met Shinji's (fairly imposing) stare. He gave the man an apologetic look before turning away again.-
[18:21] <Raphael> "If it were true, it could imply that a degree of specialisation was still needed?" He ventured. "That she needed someone for maintenance or support, and that she might finally be ready to remove him now that Caine approaches her endgame?"
[18:22] <Minaplo> ["That's a good point." Said Lin.-
[18:23] <Minaplo> ["Something I gotta point out." Said Tsubaki-doll.]
[18:23] <Raphael> "Ah?"
[18:24] <Minaplo> ["If he is for maintaining whatever it is, it has to be more than just knowledge." Said Tsubaki-doll. "If all that was needed to do that maintenance was his knowledge, then she could just kill him, and that knowledge would be hers thanks to the Eternity Drive."-
[18:26] <Minaplo> ["Unless he found a way to exempt himself from it." Said Ezekiel.]
[18:30] <Raphael> This time it was Raphael's turn to frown.-
[18:32] <Raphael> "I doubt we will find much more than conjecture unless we can recover him. Whatever he does or doesn't know, if Mr. Ikari had left hints about Caine's secrets I don't think expertise would have saved him this long."
[18:33] <Minaplo> ["Agreed." Said Shinji.-
[18:36] <Minaplo> ["Not much left then but to retrieve him." Said Liu Lin. "That said, I suppose if we wanted more information, we could ask the old men."]
[18:43] * Raphael glanced at Shinji again. "Not to turn down a resource, but unless it's absolutely necessary I feel like giving them any clues about our actions hurts more than it helps. How do the rest of you feel?"
[18:44] <Minaplo> ["Fuck them." Said Jeanne.-
[18:44] <Minaplo> ["Fuck 'em." Agreed Tsubaki-doll, patting a bicep.-
[18:44] <Minaplo> ["I agree with Guillory." Said Surov.-
[18:45] <Minaplo> ["I… Think it's weird that we're keeping them around but we're never willing to use them, so they just kind of eat our food and stuff." Said Shinji awkwardly. "But I don't think this is the place for them, no."]
[18:49] <Raphael> "I agree with you, sir. At least the Wizard Army have repeatedly assisted us, even given the risk they pose," he said.-
[18:53] <Raphael> "As a matter of fact, I would be interested to get your collective opinions on those internal security risks while we are on the subject."
[18:53] <Minaplo> ["I don't trust Weaver's lot." Said Shinji instantly. "His Guard are fine, but he's…"-
[18:54] <Minaplo> ["Worthless without them." Said Simon.-
[18:55] <Minaplo> ["Vercingetorix formed an alliance with them out of pure convenience, I believe." Said Liu Lin. "I remember the wars in China. Alliances of convenience do not remain convenient forever."]
[19:01] * Raphael nodded gravely. "The presence of Mr. Weaver's team puts a question mark over nearly every action we take with the Army's resources, and we can't trust the same tools we use to keep our allies in line to work on them. It's been a growing concern for me."-
[19:01] <Raphael> "I can't say that I have an alternative, but from a security perspective I'm sharply aware of how much damage a Guard force of that magnitude could do to us before we could effectively stall them."
[19:03] <Minaplo> ["We do have an advantage in AT Field users." Said Lin.-
[19:03] <Minaplo> ["They'd go for them first." Said Simon. "And with the power of Mortens-"-
[19:04] <Minaplo> ["Or." Said Tsubaki-doll. "I could incinerate them all at once."]
[19:05] * Raphael gave the little figure a critical look. "… Could you actually do that?"
[19:05] <Minaplo> ["There's like a hundred of them. How difficult do you think it is for even a weak Eva to kill a hundred people, huh?"]
[19:07] <Raphael> "A precision strike powerful enough to incenerate Guards against a hundred targets mixed amongst friendlies on our flagship? I genuinely couldn't say, ma'am."
[19:07] <Raphael> <incinerate*>
[19:07] <Minaplo> ["Uh-huh."-
[19:07] <Minaplo> […-
[19:08] <Minaplo> [There was a light rumbling near Raphael's ear.-
[19:08] <Minaplo> [A moment later a small, localised shower opened up above his head.]
[19:09] * Raphael managed not to flinch, but his naturally dour demeanour projected the right sort of feeling regardless.-
[19:09] <Raphael> "That seemed unnecessary, Pilot."
[19:10] <Minaplo> ["Look, worse comes to worst, I just knock the crew out and take them out one by one."]
[19:13] * Raphael shot a questioning glance at Liu Lin, his eyes almost hidden behind a curtain of water streaming off his limp, soaked hair.
[19:15] <Minaplo> [Liu Lin simply shook her head. "It seems doable…"-
[19:16] <Minaplo> [A moment later the rain stopped. The air around Raphael then began to quickly grow hot as Tsubaki tried to evaporate the water away.-
[19:16] <Minaplo> ["Could they perhaps execute a pre-emptive attack on 03, instead?" Asked Lin.-
[19:17] <Minaplo> ["They would have to cut through an Evangelion first." Said Surov. "Their best bet would be to attack whilst Tsubaki was convalescing."]
[19:21] * Raphael was now instead hidden by a light heat haze, like a road on a summer's day. Some of them may have been able to make out his wince. "That… that is how I would do it, in a hypothetical scenario."
[19:22] <Minaplo> ["All the more reason to hurry up and remote synch me." Said Tsubaki-doll petulantly.]
[19:26] <Raphael> "My understanding is that it's already a priority item for Technical, ma'am. And besides, it's still not a perfect solution."
[19:27] <Minaplo> ["Captain, perhaps you and I should collaborate to draft worst-case scenario plans." Said Liu Lin.]
[19:29] <Raphael> "That sounds like the best idea, General. Director Simon, if we could rely on you to forward us any relevant information on both the Army and their commanders…?"
[19:34] <Minaplo> ["No prob."-
[19:34] <Minaplo> ["And I will make available to you reports of any deficiencies in their equipment as I find them." Said Surov.]
[19:35] <Raphael> "Thank you, Doctor."-
[19:37] <Raphael> By this point it seemed that the sizzling had largely stopped. He glanced around the table, his skin looking like it might be lightly sunburned. "I think most other topics will need to wait until we gain further information on either of our possible informants. Is there anything else we want to discuss?"
[19:39] <Minaplo> ["Something in private if you would, Guillory." Said Surov.-
[19:39] <Minaplo> [Everyone else was quiet.]
[19:41] <Raphael> "Alright," he said, nodding. "Thanks for your time, everyone. I'll be speaking to Surov about a way to contact you all more discreetly, but until then you can contact me directly and we can disseminate information as necessary."
[19:43] <Minaplo> [There were nods of understanding. After that they began to file out, although Ezekiel just vanished and Tsubaki-doll leapt up to give Raphael a cold porcelain kiss on the cheek before fading away.-
[19:43] <Minaplo> [This left just Surov and Raphael now.-
[19:44] <Minaplo> ["Guillory." Said Surov. "I appreciate that you kept the meeting from dwelling on my- history- for too long."]
[19:50] * Raphael gave a small shrug. It was a more matter-of-fact gesture than he might've offered someone else and there was no sympathetic smile to go with it, but it was very clear he thought nothing of it.-
[19:50] <Raphael> "Your business is your business, Surov. I'm not about to deny others the same courtesy I've spent so much time asking for."
[19:50] <Minaplo> ["Mmm." Surov inclined his head.-
[19:51] <Minaplo> ["Two points. I will be quick. The first is this: I am willing to volunteer to accompany you and Ikari on the mission to retrieve Dr. Ikari."]
[19:54] * Raphael made a thoughtful sound. "That could be useful. I was already considering people with technical expertise."
[19:55] <Minaplo> ["Mm. I am capable of travelling discreetly, and unlike Sarasvati I do not possess an intrinsic magnetic positron signature that can be detected by NERV sensors."]
[19:57] <Raphael> "Quite."
[19:57] <Minaplo> ["Secondly…" Surov glanced at the door, and beckoned Raphael to come closer. "It is about Ikari the younger."]
[19:58] <Raphael> … that earned a frown, although he complied without a great deal of effort.
[19:59] <Minaplo> [Surov leaned forward, his voice dropping to a whisper.-
[20:00] <Minaplo> ["Ikari's degeneration is accelerating beyond our predicted levels." Said Surov. "At this rate he'll probably be dead by October."-
[20:00] <Minaplo> ["I… Have a suspicion that he has done something he absolutely should not have done."]
[20:02] <Raphael> None of this was improving Raphael's expression. When he spoke his voice was quiet, but it had a sharper edge to it than Surov's. "But he-… what could have done that?"
[20:07] <Minaplo> ["I believe he has attempted to generate a second Angel."]
[20:21] * Raphael let out a hissing breath that sounded like it may have contained a curse. "How sure are you?"
[20:23] <Minaplo> ["Not certain. It is a likely theory considering recent events."]
[20:23] <Raphael> "Yeah. It… would make sense."-
[20:23] <Raphael> "Damn."
[20:25] <Minaplo> ["If it is true, then our duty becomes ever more imperative." Said Surov. "I do not know if he can control two Angels for long."]
[20:31] * Raphael stared at the tabletop. "I know," he sighed. "If this is even a possibility I should bring it to Pil-… to Chancellor Zhang immediately."
[20:31] <Minaplo> [Surov nodded. "I will gather evidence."]
[20:32] <Raphael> "Thank you."-
[20:32] <Raphael> "…" He looked up again, his gaze hard. "If this is true… there's nothing we can do for him?"
[20:34] <Minaplo> ["Some things. Desperate things."]
[20:35] <Raphael> "…" Another sigh.-
[20:35] <Raphael> "Save them for now. Let's find out what we're dealing with first."
[20:36] <Minaplo> ["Agreed."]

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