Cherry Blossom Procession 4 1 12

(13:57:39) Minaplo: [Rei fought.-
(14:02:41) Minaplo: [She and Alphonse had a sparring field set aside for themselves, and it was on this that they had duelled for the last ten minutes.-
(14:11:21) Minaplo: [They circled each other warily now, not taking their eyes off each other. Rei wore a light blue gi, which matched her hair; Alphonse wore just a pair of light trousers, leaving his upper body bare.-
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(14:16:09) Minaplo: [Alphonse's frame was slim and toned; sweat glistened brightly off well-defined muscles and firm, compact abs. His focus was sharp as well; he never took his eyes off his opponent.-
(14:16:35) Minaplo: [But it wasn't quite enough. He closed in and struck; Rei dodged toward him, grabbed his arm in two places and tossed him over her back.-
(14:16:53) Minaplo: [As he struck the ground she turned, dropped the knee to his throat and pinned him in place.-
(14:19:31) Minaplo: ["Urk."-
(14:19:57) Minaplo: ["Give up?" She said lowly.-
(14:20:00) Minaplo: ["…"-
(14:20:06) Minaplo: ["Yes." Muttered Alphonse.-
(14:21:17) Minaplo: [Rei beamed. Instantly she dropped her guard, straddled him and rubbed his neck gently. "I didn't hit too hard?"-
(14:21:29) Minaplo: ["No, no. I'm fine." He said, giving her a smile. "Still too slow, though."-
(14:21:54) Minaplo: ["Hm~" She bent down to give him a kiss, pushing back his fringe as she did so.]
(14:27:11) Sept: The sound of a door.-
(14:31:29) * Sept had been observing the match from the outside for a few minutes. Clad in what passed for a casual uniform with the UEF, he turned back to face the room, making a show of eyeing everything but the two people in the middle, as if he'd just happened by.-
(14:31:55) Sept: "Is this a bad time?"
(14:50:34) Minaplo: ["Er-"-
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(14:56:31) Minaplo: [Rei pulled herself off Alphonse quickly, sitting to his side, only for a second later to squeak, pull Alphonse up and in front of her. She pressed tightly against his back, her glowing red face peering at Sera from over Alphonse's shoulder.-
(14:57:03) Minaplo: [Alphonse (who was more than a little red himself) frowned at Sera- then his eyes widened. He looked back at Rei for a second, coughed, and turned toward the front.-
(14:57:10) Minaplo: ["You could have knocked." Said Alphonse irritably.]
(15:03:15) Sept: "You would've had to shout back at me," Sera said. "And it's not like there aren't-" He gestured vaguely towards the door with its apparent window. "I mean, yes is fine for an answer?"
(15:04:25) Minaplo: [Alphonse sighed, forcefully pushing out a gust of breath through flared nostrils. Behind him, Rei fumbled quickly.-
(15:04:30) Minaplo: ["What is it, de Pteres?"]
(15:12:01) Sept: "I'll… get to the point." Sera adjusted his glasses. "There's something I'd like to discuss with Rei, preferably today. Things came up in the research team's studies, and we need to figure out how to go forward. She should know about it and I don't think anyone should give input on it before I get yours."
(15:12:48) Minaplo: ["I see."-
(15:13:02) Minaplo: [Alphonse turned his head toward Rei and whispered something quietly.-
(15:13:39) Minaplo: [A second later, she stopped fumbling. She emerged from behind Alphonse, only to sit down securely in his lap; he casually placed his arms around her stomach.-
(15:13:50) Minaplo: ["I'm listening, Sera-san." Said Rei.]
(15:18:27) Sept: "You sure? We could do it any other time you'd like."
(15:20:31) Minaplo: ["You said today. And I know you were studying the Evas, so it's probably important, right?"]
(15:21:25) Sept: "It's important, but not deadly urgent."
(15:22:26) Minaplo: [Rei turned toward Alphonse and whispered something to him. He nodded.-
(15:22:51) Minaplo: [Rei turned back toward Sera. "It's fine. Please go on."]
(15:27:25) Sept: "The growths in your and your sisters' units we call Black Boxes. That Chii helped us test earlier. We've made some progress with figuring them out."-
(15:30:58) Sept: It took a few minutes for Sera to summarize what they'd found out so far. By the end of it, he'd found a slightly more comfortable position himself, leaning back against the wall by the training room door.-
(15:32:29) Sept: "So what we have are receptors of a kind in a significant portion of our Eva corps, and reason to believe they'll be used against us eventually. There are ways to find out very quickly what exactly they're for, but. I'm sure you can guess, but it'd be at significant risk to the Evangelion and the pilot."
(15:33:51) Minaplo: ["Hm." Rei frowned. "What would it involve?"]
(15:38:11) Sept: "The equivalent of brute force. In all likelihood, whatever the growth was originally intended for would happen. Obviously, every possible precaution, including other Evas would be on standby, but that's probably little consolation."-
(15:38:43) * Sept shifted his footing and took one hand away from behind his back.-
(15:40:05) Sept: "Anyway, I wanted to bring this to you so you could veto the whole thing before we even go talk to your sisters. It's a bit cowardly of me, but there it is."
(15:43:12) Minaplo: ["Hm…"-
(15:44:18) Minaplo: ["Do they have any theories on what the growths are holding back?" Asked Rei.]
(15:47:35) Sept: "Well, we know they're tied to the units' high Berserk tolerance. But that could mean any number of things, from simple rampant Evas to… well, angry gods."
(15:48:35) Minaplo: ["Hm." Rei fell quiet.-
(15:49:07) Minaplo: [Alphonse tightened his grip a little, resting one of his hands just inside the fold of her gi, where Rei placed one of her own over his.-
(15:49:24) Minaplo: ["So it could be really dangerous." Said Rei quietly. "And it's probably tied to our… Other bodies somehow."-
(15:50:45) Minaplo: ["How important is it that we find out what they're keeping back?" She asked.]
(15:56:43) Sept: "It's only important that we find out and build countermeasures before it blows up on us. And we don't know when that is."
(16:08:32) Minaplo: ["Hm…"-
(16:08:54) Minaplo: ["Are there any other ways we could make countermeasures besides testing brute force?"]
(16:09:59) Sept: "Yeah. We'll probably find a way, but it'll take time."
(16:10:15) Minaplo: ["Hm."-
(16:10:33) Minaplo: ["So just removing the limiter from someone might be the fastest way." She said.]
(16:11:40) Sept: "Yes. But nothing about it is certain."
(16:12:01) Minaplo: [Rei nodded.-
(16:12:53) Minaplo: ["I… Don't want my other sisters to have to be the one doing it." Said Rei finally. "I'd like some time to think about it and talk it over with them. If you do end up doing the test…"-
(16:12:59) Minaplo: ["…"-
(16:19:15) Minaplo: [She turned a little and looked at Alphonse. "I don't want to just volunteer out of the blue though without knowing what you think. You must be worried…"-
(16:20:01) Minaplo: ["You're right, I am." Said Alphonse quietly; his grasp on her tightened and he pulled her a little closer. "This sounds risky, and I'd hate it if anything happened to you."-
(16:23:03) Minaplo: ["But this is about you and your form." Said Alphonse warmly. "Both your kitten form and your super form. I know things like this are important to you. I'll trust you and your decision, kitten, no matter what it is."-
(16:23:17) Minaplo: [Rei's face flushed with pleasure. "Al…"-
(16:23:47) Minaplo: [A moment later she let out a warm, happy sound, then pushed him yet again down onto the ground, where they dissolved into a flurry of kisses, leaving Sera as a somewhat intrusive interloper once again.]
(16:29:50) Sept: "…"-
(16:31:27) Sept: "I'll tell them you have no objections for now. Th-Thanks." Sera's face was growing a more vivid red by the moment. Until, finally, there was the sound of a door.
(16:31:45) Minaplo: [His absense went unnoticed.]
(12:04:36) Raphael: There was a sound to Sera's right as he reentered the hall, almost masked by the hydraulic hiss of the shutting door: The sound of a man gently clearing his throat.-
(12:04:37) Raphael: Raphael stood with his back to the wall, his arms lightly crossed over his chest. He looked relaxed, although the effect was belied by the too-intense look in his eyes.
(12:10:39) * Sept froze in front of the door for a moment as it closed behind him. His face was still faintly red, and a glance to the side betrayed his urge to flee.-
(12:11:41) Sept: "Oh. Ah. It's just you. L-Looking for her…?"
(12:20:18) Raphael: "I was," Raphael said blandly, shooting a glance at the edge of the window to his right. "I was waiting for you to finish, but it seems they have other business."
(12:27:12) Sept: "Sure." Sera took a couple steps to the side to distance himself from the door, and put his back to the wall opposite Raphael.
(12:27:17) Sept: "So, how have you…?"
(12:35:24) * Raphael gave a small shrug. "Keeping my head above water, thank you," he said, leaning back into the wall to stretch to his full height. "I'm trying to manage personal matters between deployments."-
(12:35:29) Raphael: "You?"
(12:44:27) Sept: "I'm fine. Spending a lot of time down in Tech. No Eva withdrawal. Which is good," he added quickly.-
(12:44:31) Sept: "Caitlin?"
(12:50:45) Raphael: "Fine." A little too quick, a little too clipped.-
(12:50:46) Raphael: And he seemed to be aware of it, as when he spoke again his voice was carefully relaxed. "I heard the good news about Pilot Akagi. Congratulations."
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(12:55:29) Sept: "Thanks. We've got a long way to go, still."-
(12:55:37) Sept: "You look better, too."
(13:01:14) Raphael: "… Oh. Thank you."-
(13:01:15) Raphael: And with that his conversational momentum stalled. He looked away down the corridor, but it was empty but for them.
(13:11:37) * Sept resisted the temptation of the corridor for now.-
(13:12:18) Sept: "There's something you could help me with."
(13:15:18) Raphael: "Oh?" One eyebrow was raised as his attention returned back to Sera.
(13:17:47) Sept: "You're a hero to the soldiers, right? I'm sure you work with them a hell of a lot more than I do."
(13:21:10) Raphael: "The second part's true, at least…"
(13:28:22) » Minaplo is now known as AdEvaGM
(13:28:44) Sept: "Yeah, well. It's nothing complicated. It's just I've, for a long time, wanted to know more about what normal people think about the things we're doing that we pretend don't exist."-
(13:30:25) Sept: "And since you've got all of your shit going on, I don't know anyone like that anymore. So if you run into people you think want to talk with, you know, people who aren't strictly their superiors or whatever, you could. Refer them my way?"
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(13:48:40) Raphael: "…" He gave the man an odd look, head canted to one side. "I'm curious what you mean by these 'things'."
(13:56:55) * Sept looked uncomfortable and shifted his footing.-
(13:57:26) Sept: "Bioexotics, us using Evangelions and Angels, soul stuff. You know. I don't think anyone's trying to adequately explain them."
(14:07:49) Raphael: A longer, deeper silence - almost a palpable thing - filled the hall.-
(14:07:49) Raphael: "Alright," he said slowly. "And if they did come to you with these… concerns, what would you do?"
(14:10:39) Sept: "What do you think? Hear them out and try to convince them we're doing something right. And maybe we could try to fix what we're doing wrong."
(11:32:25) Raphael: "With due respect, sir, I would feel more comfortable handing any questions like that myself," he said. He leaned away from the wall, in a way that suggested he was planning to take his leave. "Thank you for the offer."
(11:40:02) * Sept didn't make a move in response.-
(11:40:42) Sept: "That's not fair to them. What do you think you're accomplishing with this?"
(11:46:02) Raphael: Raphael looked at Sera again, and for the briefest moment there was the gleam of something darker behind the geniality. "Unfair how, de Pteres?"
(11:55:14) Sept: "You can't carry this alone to the end. I'm putting myself at your disposal."
(12:01:20) Raphael: "That's a very self-centred point of view for someone claiming altruism," Raphael said mildly. "I'm not denying everyone's help, I'm denying yours."
(12:12:52) Sept: "I can see that," Sera said, looking away, mouth half-open as he fumbled for words for a moment. "I'm on your side," was all he settled on.
(12:18:56) Raphael: "Most likely," he said. "I've seen the people you were, and I suspect that you're still good at your core."-
(12:19:13) Raphael: "However the fact remains that I came to you with fears about our course of action, and the closest you came to reassurance was to shrug and tell me we were doing it anyway. I can take that, but do I trust you not to inflict it on those I send your way? No."
(12:28:13) Sept: "Like I've said, there's no point in cancelling the plans, but if you let me open a dialogue, we've still got time to change them!"
(12:37:36) Raphael: "I was opening a dialogue, you myopic-" Something in his expression clamped down tight as a bear trap, managing to straighten his posture from the aggressive stance he'd been taking.-
(12:37:57) Raphael: "I was giving you exactly what you asked for. I wanted a reason to believe what we were doing was best, that it was not just the least worst Caine plot. You gave me nothing. Why would I repeat the process?"
(12:48:52) Sept: Sera, too, was making an effort to keep everything under control, still leaning back against the wall. "Because it's not right to keep it from them. Maybe the plan sucks!" He said, throwing up his hands.-
(12:49:04) Sept: "But those people are dying for it."
(12:55:41) Raphael: Raphael's expression turned icy. "So you would propose I just throw my soldiers into the meat grinder that is a conversation with you until you manage to work out how basic human empathy works?"-
(12:55:45) Raphael: "Because you just tried to explain to someone who's been a soldier since Impact that wars kill people, so we both know it's an ongoing process. Sir."
(13:03:55) * Sept stared back at him quietly for a few more moments.-
(13:04:59) Sept: "Do you think it's unjust for soldiers to die without knowing what the war is for?"
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(13:16:32) Raphael: "Do you think it's any different to how wars have been fought since our ancestor first found a particularly sharp rock?" He snapped back. "War is turning lives to ash for the causes of a few. To be a soldier is to die like a dog for no good reason. While I respect your guilt for being one of the few this time, I'm not about to let you use those soldiers as a salve for it unless I think
(13:16:33) Raphael: it's going to benefit them as well."
(13:19:24) Sept: "I think this one has… reason to be different."-
(13:22:18) Sept: "Fine. I'll forget about it," Sera said in a resigned tone, his posture relaxing. "Call me if you have something I can help with."
(13:35:33) Raphael: "Actually," Raphael said, "While I seem to be getting everything out in the open, I'll offer one more thing for you to consider."-
(13:35:53) Raphael: "It would be easier to take your assistance - to work with you - if you did not come to everyone who's not an Evangelion pilot as a better. We've had this argument before, remember? I've explained in the clearest terms I can why we cannot do what you're proposing if we want to continue down the path you're partially responsible for setting us on. We'll break the back of our morale
(13:35:53) Raphael: as sure as anything the UN can do, and so many more will die to let us few sleep easier."-
(13:35:59) Raphael: "But instead of reflecting on that information in any way, you're here again looking to conscript me into your plan because you know best. Because you're sure you can have your cake and eat it too."-
(13:36:07) Raphael: "So try to imagine why I don't think you're the person best equipped to interpret the concerns of the common soldier and adapt what you've already set your mind on."-
(13:36:11) Raphael: He turned and walked away without looking back. "Enjoy your day, Sera."
(13:37:21) Sept: "…You too."-
(13:37:45) * Sept gave it a minute or so before he went after him.

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