Cherry Blossom Procession 4 1 31

(22:37) * @Yanmei stewed, all of her suspicions roaring to a bubbly head as she slumped next to the entrance of the Dorian's modest chapel. She could hear people inside mumbling or singing in solemn unison. It was rather creepy. But she also knew enough about religion to realize that it was normal. No brainwashing involved. Probably. -
(22:39) <@Yanmei> She occupied herself by zipping through her emails using her tablet, approving this and that request from this and that department while she waited for the meeting to disperse.
(22:44) <Minaplo> [And after a few minutes, the doors opened and people filed out, talking amongst themselves quietly as they went. Yanmei would see a few familiar faces, including Leon Thomas and Dr. Tenma.-
(22:55) <Minaplo> [No one stopped to speak to her, however, and before long they were gone, leaving the chapel empty except for papal secretary Molina-Olmos, two of the papal bodyguards, and Pope Pius himself. His Holiness wore a series of vestments- a white robe, over which he wore a scarlet red and gold chasuble, which is a simple cloth worn over the robe, falling down to the ankle and worn through a hole in which the head is placed; over this he wore the pallium, a narrow band of cloth two inches long, circling the shoulders and neck, from which hung a cloth pendant on his front and his back, held in place with three golden pins.]
(23:02) <@Yanmei> Michael had claimed that the Pope was, in fact, a modest man, but he was wearing awfully elaborate robes that probably suggested otherwise. Yanmei stepped inside once she had the chance, approaching slowly down the center aisle of the chapel, doing her best to hide any aggression. "Oh your Holiness~ Do you have a moment to chat?"
(23:07) <Minaplo> ["Chancellor Zhang." He said, turning toward her. "Welcome. Of course I have some time for you. What's the matter?"]
(23:11) <@Yanmei> "Nothing's the matter? I just thought we might catch up a bit. Is there someplace private where we could go?"
(23:13) <Minaplo> ["Did you have anywhere in mind? No chapel is truly private."]
(23:16) <@Yanmei> "We could head back to my office," she suggested.
(23:17) <Minaplo> ["If that would make you more comfortable, lead the way."]
(23:19) <@Yanmei> So Yanmei did. Before long, they were meandering past her secretary's desk with nods and opening the door to said office. Yanmei took a seat behind her desk, of course, and politely offered one of her cushy guest chairs to the Pope.
(23:23) <Minaplo> [His Holiness took the offered seat and waited patiently for Yanmei to speak.]
(23:25) <@Yanmei> "So. I've been talking with Michael lately, and he mentioned something… interesting. Is it true that you and Mary Caine have a positive relationship of sorts?"
(23:30) <Minaplo> ["I would say had." Said His Holiness.]
(23:31) <@Yanmei> "What happened?"
(23:34) <Minaplo> ["The world changed, Chancellor. And it in turn changed the people in it. I don't hesitate to say that I have known Mary for some time. I was once her- friend. But the Mary I knew isn't around anymore."]
(23:38) * @Yanmei scrutinized him carefully. Was he lying? -
(23:38) <@Yanmei> "How did you guys become friends?"
(23:42) <Minaplo> ["We met when we were rather young." Said His Holiness.]
(23:43) * @Yanmei blinked. "Like, small children?"
(23:51) <Minaplo> ["Not so young. Late teens." Said His Holiness. "I was an orphan, Chancellor, and for many years I struggled to get by. However, the Caines began to sponsor my orphanage. I benefitted from a scholarship programme they established, which allowed me to attend university… That's where I met Mary."]
(23:54) <@Yanmei> "Hmm. And she was nicer back then? When did she start to go mean?"
(23:58) <Minaplo> [His Holiness sighed. "Mary Caine has always had a ruthless streak, and she's never been one to enjoy compromise. She's always been willing to do whatever it takes… Back then, though, she was… Happier. More willing to laugh and play. She was quick to make friends, and she took good care of those friends. She was… Sensitive to the needs of others."]
(23:59) * @Yanmei stared at him in silent confusion, waiting for him to continue.
(00:00) <Minaplo> ["She could be cruel, but not willfully so." Said His Holiness; his tone had an edge of regret. "And she squirmed and resented the control others had on her life, particularly her father. He forced her to… Do things."]
(00:01) <@Yanmei> "O-oh?"
(00:02) <Minaplo> ["Yes."]
(00:04) <@Yanmei> "What things?"
(00:04) <Minaplo> ["I can't say."]
(00:05) <@Yanmei> "Why not?"
(00:06) <Minaplo> ["The sacramental seal forbids it."]
(00:08) <@Yanmei> "Er… The what seal?"
(00:09) <Minaplo> ["Confession, Chancellor." Said His Holiness. "Anything said during the Sacrament of Penance is bound by the sacramental seal of confession. It may not be shared with anyone."]
(00:11) * @Yanmei arched her eyebrow skeptically. "Really? That applies to anything?"
(00:18) <Minaplo> ["Yes."]
(00:19) <@Yanmei> "Even if it's super embarrassing for the confessor? And you want to gossip about it with your priest friends?"
(00:20) <Minaplo> ["Especially so." Said His Holiness. "Breaching the sacramental seal is a grave offense, Chancellor. We do not take it lightly."]
(00:22) <@Yanmei> "What if the confessor's committed a crime? Like they've kidnapped someone and are holding them somewhere against their will?"
(00:25) <Minaplo> ["The seal holds, Chancellor."]
(00:27) <@Yanmei> "But what about the kidnapped person? Not intervening somehow would be irresponsible and dangerous to them."
(00:29) <Minaplo> ["We may, in the most extreme of circumstances, refuse to hear confession." Said His Holiness. "But people come to confession to find the absolution of sins, Chancellor. It is the Lord who forgives, and it is the Lord who hears. The seal is sacred. It is not to be broken."]
(00:35) * @Yanmei frowned. "This is a little difficult to grasp? But I guess it's a good thing I don't have to hear confessions, huh?"
(00:37) <Minaplo> ["Yes. But if you were the sort to give one, you would want the witness to keep it secret even unto death, I am sure."]
(00:40) <@Yanmei> "Well, sure. Not that I have much to hide or anything?"
(00:43) <Minaplo> ["Perhaps not." Said His Holiness. "But in the life of a soldier such as yours, it is inevitable that you have and will commit acts that weigh heavily on your soul. The Sacrament of Penance allows those with such wounds to begin healing."]
(00:49) <@Yanmei> "…" -
(00:50) <@Yanmei> "So about Mary Caine," she said, quickly switching gears. "You guys worked together after Impact, right?"
(00:51) <Minaplo> ["Yes."]
(00:55) <@Yanmei> "Were those times difficult for you?"
(00:55) <Minaplo> ["The times were difficult for everyone after Impact."]
(01:03) <@Yanmei> "Well, you're not wrong," Yanmei admitted. "But you taught and interacted with child soldiers in addition to those hardships."
(01:04) <Minaplo> ["Soldiers like Michael, yes." Said His Holiness with a heavy sigh. "It was the first of what ended up being many manipulations of myself and the Church at the hands of the Caines."]
(01:10) <@Yanmei> "I imagine that's one of the reasons why you guys… parted ways? I guess?"
(01:11) <Minaplo> ["Yes." He said heavily.]
(01:13) <@Yanmei> "So you're not communicating with each other these days at all."
(01:15) <Minaplo> ["Only for official reasons, through League channels."]
(01:28) <@Yanmei> "Hm. I'm sorry about the struggles you've had with each other over the years. That must make this situation pretty awkward?"
(01:36) <Minaplo> ["Which situation would that be, Chancellor?"]
(01:43) <@Yanmei> "This whole intervening in a war that she started situation. Plus being housed by her enemies…"
(01:46) <Minaplo> ["With all due respect, Chancellor, I am operating from a position of neutrality." Said His Holiness evenly. "You are extending to me the courtesy of diplomatic hospitality, nothing more."]
(01:54) <@Yanmei> "Well, yes. If you weren't neutral, I don't think you'd be here," she admitted. "Because the result of extending such courtesy to one of her agents would have horrible consequences for us."
(01:55) <Minaplo> ["Mmm."]
(13:04) <Yanmei> "Speaking of courtesies… you haven't encountered any trouble with the crew or anyone else while you've been with us, correct? Nothing seems out of place or worrying?"
(13:05) <Mianplo> ["Not at all."]
(13:11) <Yanmei> "Oh good?" she relaxed a little, smiling. Nothing but good reports to the other Unaligned Nations, then~ Better than the UN's anyway. Probably. "What about the opposite? Things or people you've found pretty nice?"
(13:20) <Mianplo> ["I have had the chance to speak, briefly, with some of your officers, soldiers and pilots. By and large they're principled people."]
(13:20) * Yanmei nodded proudly. "That's us!"
(13:24) <Mianplo> ["Mmm. This warship too is quite grand, although the purpose for which it is being used is heartbreaking considering how marvellous its construction is."]
(13:26) <Yanmei> "It was designed to be a warship from th very beginning, I'm afraid. It's just that its designers would have been better suited to building large-scale resorts?"
(13:26) <Mianplo> ["Indeed?"]
(13:27) <Yanmei> "Yes. Um. You're probably quite familiar with them?"
(13:28) * ZackAFK is now known as Zack
(13:29) <Mianplo> ["Why do you say resorts?"]
(13:31) <Yanmei> "When we originally got the ship it was even fancier than it is now? There were art murals everywhere, and statues, and the dining hall was like a ballroom. There was a massive swimming pool too, and a game room, and most of the bed linen were made out of silk and velvet."
(13:33) <Mianplo> ["I see. A strange choice."]
(13:35) <Yanmei> "It wasn't a boring one, at least! Unfortunately, we had to rebuild a lot of the ship, and we made it more plain in the process."
(13:37) <Mianplo> ["Now that you mention it, I have heard the occasional reference to paintings and murals before today."]
(13:38) <Yanmei> "Well…" she hesitated. "That was actually the worst aspect of the design."
(13:39) <Mianplo> ["Oh?"]
(13:40) <Yanmei> "They weren't terribly tasteful paintings and murals."
(13:48) <Mianplo> ["Tasteful- you mean heroic nudes, battle scenes, that sort of art?"]
(13:49) <Yanmei> "Y-yes." Yanmei turned slightly pink. How would a sheltered clergyman know about such things?!
(13:56) <Mianplo> ["Yes, I can see that." Said His Holiness thoughtfully. "Considering your descriptions, the battleship having a baroque or mannerist artistic style wouldn't be out of place."]
(13:58) <Yanmei> "Y-you know things about art?"
(13:59) <Mianplo> ["You seem surprised."]
(14:00) <Yanmei> "I just… didn't think you guys had time for that."
(14:01) <Mianplo> ["'us guys'?"]
(14:03) <Yanmei> "Priests. And, um, high-ranking priests."
(14:05) <Mianplo> ["Chancellor, for centuries the Roman Catholic Church sponsored, fostered and encouraged the development of the fine arts in Europe and elsewhere. Up until the city was destroyed, Rome was home to truly beautiful art, especially in its churches and holy places… Have you seen a photograph of the roof of the Sistine Chapel?"]
(14:11) <Yanmei> "Of course I have. Who hasn't? But wasn't that centuries ago? I thought your focus might have shifted to more artwork featuring clothing…"
(14:16) <Mianplo> ["The patronage of the Church is diverse." Said His Holiness. "But much of the art of previous centuries… It endures. Needless to say I am no stranger to old styles of art."-
(14:16) <Mianplo> [He leaned forward and smiled a little. "And one little observation I've made, Chancellor?"]
(14:18) <Yanmei> "Oh…?"
(14:21) <Mianplo> ["In the world of fine art, the nude human form is never out of style."]
(14:23) * Yanmei stared back at him, stunned.
(14:25) <Mianplo> ["You look surprised." Said His Holiness. "Perhaps you should know that I was an artist before I entered the priesthood."]
(14:25) <Yanmei> "You drew nudes?"
(14:28) <Mianplo> ["I drew and painted nudes, yes. Amongst other things." Said His Holiness. "Most artists do sooner or later. Usually sooner. It makes good practice."]
(14:30) <Yanmei> Yanmei's eyes narrowed suspiciously. "I bet you guys had all sorts of reference models too."
(14:30) <Mianplo> ["You've not met many artists, have you?"]
(14:31) <Yanmei> "Possibly only one other? And he's a major pervert."
(14:32) <Mianplo> ["I see." Said His Holiness. "I wonder from your reaction whether you think that of me now, too?"]
(14:34) <Yanmei> "Don't be silly?" She chuckled out loud.
(14:39) <Mianplo> [His Holiness gazed at her for a few seconds, then he shook his head.-
(14:42) <Mianplo> ["Chancellor, most of the nudes I drew I did so as part of life drawing classes at a fine arts academy, where the models were hired by the school itself. It's not the scandal you seem to think it is, but perhaps that sort of attitude isn't your fault."]
(14:43) <Yanmei> "What makes you say that?" she said cautiously.
(14:44) <Mianplo> ["There are biases at work, let's say. Two of them. The first, forgive me for saying so, is your cultural upbringing. Many East Asian students and artists find it uncomfortable to adapt to nude life drawing as we do in Europe."-
(14:45) <Mianplo> ["The second is the bias of the priest." Said His Holiness. "Priests are taught, Chancellor, they are not grown as it were from soil like you would an apple tree or a flower. They had lives of varied experience before becoming priests. My predecessor, God rest his noble soul, worked for years as a club bouncer before becoming priest… And Pope."]
(14:48) * Yanmei tilted her head. "So anyone can be potentially be a Pope?"
(14:49) <Mianplo> ["Conventionally, only priests become Popes." Said His Holiness. "But many people can become priests."]
(14:50) <Yanmei> "Are you going to train Michael to be a priest and a Pope?"
(14:50) <Mianplo> ["Hmm."-
(14:51) <Mianplo> ["That is up to him. I might have recommended it, once. But now I'm not so sure."]
(14:52) <Yanmei> "He just needs a chance to rest a little. Everyone can go through an emotional meltdown every now and then."
(14:54) <Mianplo> ["That's not the reason."]
(14:54) <Yanmei> "Ah…?"
(14:56) <Mianplo> ["He has changed." Said His Holiness. "Michael is a very strong young man, and it takes a great deal to affect him. Yet he has the eyes of an older man these days, and only occasionally does a younger light shine in them. Yet little by little he's reclaiming that youth… It's best that I leave him alone to follow his own path."]
(15:02) * Yanmei didn't know how to respond to that. Wasn't it something a parent would say? He was a Pope-Dad for sure. -
(15:05) <Yanmei> "I see. I also have a child, so think I understand where you're coming from?"
(16:11) <Mianplo> ["Yes, you do, don't you? A little adopted one…?"]
[13:04] <Yanmei> "Yes. She's the smartest and most cheerful three-year-old ever? Her name is Lizzie."
[13:06] <Minaplo> [His Holiness chuckled. "Smartest ever, hm?"]
[13:09] <Yanmei> "Obviously." Yanmei preened. "She already knows the french alphabet by heart and basic numbers. And she's quite good at watching adults and trying to do what they do."
[13:13] <Minaplo> ["Haha. Aren't they all?"]
[13:17] <Yanmei> "But she's really good at it," Yanmei insisted. "I suppose you'd just have to see it in person…"
[13:17] <Minaplo> [He laughed.-
[13:18] <Minaplo> ["What sort of things does she get up to, then?"]
[13:22] <Yanmei> "She runs after Isaiah a lot, trying to help him with his medical volunteer duties. And she tries to befriend every animal on the ship, no matter how much big and dangerous they are. And she tries to help me with the paperwork I bring home, so I had to stop bringing them home to keep them from getting crayon scribbles on them. Also, she plays a lot with the other kids on the ship and also
[13:22] <Yanmei> her pet fox."
[13:23] <Minaplo> ["She sounds delightful!"]
[13:24] <Yanmei> "She is," said Yanmei, beaming. "We adore her?"
[13:25] <Minaplo> ["That much is obvious!"]
[13:29] <Yanmei> "I'd imagine you haven't met many of the kids on the ship," she guessed. "Would you like to? Not just Lizzie, but we have quite a few others too. I bet they'll be curious about what you do in your position."
[13:30] <Minaplo> ["I'd love to meet them."]
[13:34] * Yanmei nodded. "I'll make the arrangements?"
[13:37] <Minaplo> [He nodded graciously.-
[13:37] <Minaplo> ["Have you had much difficulty with her situation? If you don't mind my asking."]
[13:38] <Yanmei> "Not even a little. She's a really good kid."
[13:42] <Minaplo> ["Ah. Fortunate- I know there's often problems when it comes to orphans…"]
[13:45] <Yanmei> "Oh. Her mom is still in the picture? She just was having some trouble taking care of Lizzie for a while when she was a baby."
[13:47] <Minaplo> ["Ah. So…"]
[13:48] <Yanmei> "But you… you were taking care of orphans a lot back when Michael was little, weren't you?"
[13:52] <Minaplo> ["Yes, indeed."]
[13:55] <Yanmei> "I know it must have been difficult… but surely there were some good times too, weren't there?"
[13:56] <Minaplo> ["That's the hope, isn't it?" Said His Holiness with a sigh. "But I worried nonetheless. Not only for the children, but for those forced to give them up."]
[13:59] <Yanmei> "I haven't heard very many of those stories from the parent's side," Yanmei admitted.
[14:37] <Minaplo> ["Mmm. It's… It can be traumatic."]
[14:38] <Yanmei> "I can imagine it is, yeah."
[14:43] <Minaplo> ["How are you going to approach the mother's situation in this case?"]
[14:44] <Yanmei> "W-well. That's rather private?"
[14:45] <Minaplo> ["Of course." Said His Holiness. "Pardon me."]
[14:45] <Yanmei> "No harm done," she said simply.
[14:46] <Minaplo> ["Mmm."]
[14:48] <Yanmei> "Did you and your men have a policy in place for the parents you spoke of?"
[14:51] <Minaplo> ["We had a policy of helping, but that takes many forms."]
[14:52] <Yanmei> "Like what?"
[14:54] <Minaplo> ["That depends on the person needing help, Chancellor."]
[14:59] <Yanmei> "Hmm." Yanmei thoughtfully folded her arms.
[14:59] <Minaplo> ["Why do you ask?"]
[15:04] <Yanmei> "No reason. I guess if you didn't have a uniform policy, it didn't come up that often."
[15:05] <Minaplo> ["We did have a uniform policy, Chancellor. I just said that."]
[15:07] <Yanmei> "That's more like a loose guideline? You help, but not in the same way each time."
[15:08] <Minaplo> ["And that's not because it comes up occasionally; that's because it comes up all the time, Chancellor. Very quickly one learns that a one-size-fits-all policy just doesn't work when it comes to situations involving orphans and parents. Each case is different."]
[15:18] <Yanmei> "So what you're saying is that you're practically an expert on counseling parents who have lost children."
[15:19] <Minaplo> ["No…" Said His Holiness slowly. "I've had experience with it, but that doesn't make me an expert."]
[15:27] <Yanmei> "Hmm. Well, you strike me as a rather calm person? I bet you handled it pretty well when it did come up."
[15:27] <Minaplo> ["Thank you."]
[08:02] <Yanmei> "Did you ever have any situations where the parents were close by and were working out the resources to provide for their child again, but their relationship with the child was strained from being apart for a long time?"
[08:02] <Minaplo> ["Hmm. I think so, yes."]
[08:04] <Yanmei> "Did it work out? How would you counsel a parent in that situation?"
[08:07] <Minaplo> ["That depends on the parent, I think."]
[08:11] <Yanmei> "Oh?"
[08:16] <Minaplo> ["Yes."]
[08:23] * Yanmei squinted at him for a moment. "Were there any factors that made the transition from orphanage to parent go more smoothly?"
[08:25] <Minaplo> ["I'm afraid I can't say." He said with a small, warm smile.]
[08:26] * Yanmei squinted harder. "Very well? Let's discuss something else, then."
[08:30] <Minaplo> ["Chancellor, I feel this sense that you are perhaps seeking something of me, with these questions of orphans and parents. I cannot help but think that perhaps your questions would bear fruit if you just asked directly."]
[08:37] <Yanmei> "I believe you are mistaken, Your Holiness. As I recall, you're the one who brought up the topic of parents who had lost their children and the traumas they faced because of it. I was simply asking questions because I was curious about learning more about it."
[08:39] <Minaplo> [He chuckled.-
[08:39] <Minaplo> ["Children are delightful, aren't they? I'm reminded of one little child I met in Slovenia."]
[08:40] <Yanmei> "Oh?"
[08:45] <Minaplo> ["He had been stirring up trouble with his parents." Said His Holiness. "Stealing little things… Sweets, his sister's toys. Doing things he shouldn't have. Lying about them."-
[08:47] <Minaplo> ["I remember I was travelling through his town when he was brought to me, near in tears. He said his parents told him to talk to me, because… What was it? Because his parents said that a priest can always tell when someone is lying."]
[08:49] * Yanmei chuckled. "Surely, they were exaggerating a bit about these priestly powers, weren't they…?"
[08:50] <Minaplo> ["Exaggerating, yes." He said. "But it was only an exaggeration, not an out and out lie."]
[08:55] * Yanmei shifted around a little in her chair. "How do you tell, then? Is it a trade secret?"
[08:57] <Minaplo> ["It is not a trade secret."]
[08:58] <Yanmei> "Then how…?"
[08:58] <Minaplo> ["The priesthood isn't a trade." He said with a smile. "It's a calling. So let's call it a secret of the calling and keep it at that."]
[09:04] <Yanmei> "Heh heh. So it's a secret of the calling, then. What did you do with the little boy? Did you make him pray a whole lot?"
[09:05] <Minaplo> ["That's bound by the sacramental seal, Chancellor."]
[09:06] <Yanmei> "Hmph. That seal again…" she grumbled.
[09:09] <Minaplo> [He chuckled.]
[09:10] <Yanmei> "It's rather odd to bring up a story like that if you aren't willing to tell me the ending?" she added innocently.
[09:11] <Minaplo> ["I did tell you the ending."]
[09:17] <Yanmei> "You didn't. Because he haven't explained if the boy was reformed or if you really did see through him, or if he continued down his messed up path and eventually became… became… I don't know, an arms dealer or a marketing executive or something?"
[09:17] <Minaplo> ["The story was about the lie, not the boy. I don't think you want to hear the boy's story, Chancellor."]
[09:23] <Yanmei> "Your Holiness… is there something you're trying to imply with this story?" she asked carefully.
[09:24] <Minaplo> ["What do you mean?"]
[09:25] <Yanmei> "About your ability to detect lies."
[09:26] <Minaplo> ["Ah. Well, yes, but not quite that. The truth of the story, Chancellor, is that the boy had not really done anything that deemed a punishment, even if he thought he had. He was lying for no reason."]
[09:31] <Yanmei> "…"
[09:39] <Minaplo> [He smiled.]
[09:42] <Yanmei> "I assure you," she said gently, "that I haven't actually lied about anything today."
[09:43] <Minaplo> [He remained silent.]
[09:51] <Yanmei> "It's the truth!" she grumped. "You don't believe me?"
[09:52] <Minaplo> ["I believe you've tried very kindly to spare my feelings on certain matters."]
[09:53] * Yanmei flushed slightly. "I'm… not sure what you mean."
[09:54] <Minaplo> ["Yes, you do."]
[09:58] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei seemed to struggle internally in silence. Then she sighed. "Fine. There were some things I held back on because it was the polite thing to do?"
[09:59] <Minaplo> ["I know."]
[09:59] <Yanmei> "There's nothing really wrong with that, is there?"
[10:00] <Minaplo> ["Not generally. But I value honesty, Chancellor, even when it might risk being hurtful. Sparing my feelings is not as important as ensuring I'm on the right path… Have you ever heard of the Devil's Advocate?"]
[10:03] <Yanmei> "It's when you take a position you don't agree with, just to make someone think more deeply about something. Or to annoy them, as had sometimes been my experience."
[10:04] <Minaplo> ["Close, but not necessarily true."]
[10:05] <Yanmei> "Then, please, enlighten me."
[10:06] <Minaplo> ["Devil's Advocate means taking the position that runs contrary to the orthodox view, or the one held by the powerful. When a ruler is powerful, sycophants flock to him. The ruler proposes an idea, and the sycophants say it is good, even if it is terrible. The Devil's Advocate, then, always argues against the idea, to expose its flaws and to challenge the view."-
[10:07] <Minaplo> ["Thus, if the view is bad, then defending it from the advocate is difficult. But if the view is good, then it can be defended easily, and so all know its value."]
[10:14] * Yanmei nodded, to show that she was following along. "Are you now going to take up the Devil's Advocate role regarding something we've been discussing?"
[10:15] <Minaplo> ["No." He said. "I just feel it's a good example of how telling someone things they don't want to hear can help them."]
[10:27] <Yanmei> "Oh, I see…" she frowned a little. "But if the truth isn't particular helpful and would just upset the other person, then there's no need to go into it?"
[10:29] <Minaplo> ["But that should be up to the person to decide, shouldn't it?"]
[10:31] <Yanmei> Not in a diplomatic situation
[10:33] <Yanmei> "Not in a diplomatic situation."
[10:33] <Minaplo> ["But this isn't a diplomatic situation."]
[10:37] <Yanmei> "But it is," Yanmei insisted. "You're an important Unaligned State representative and the leader of an entire religion and also Michael's unofficial dad. I wouldn't want to offend you for any reason."
[10:41] <Minaplo> ["Then is every talk between us a diplomatic situation?"]
[10:43] <Yanmei> "I don't know!" she admitted. "This is technically only our second real talk?"
[10:45] <Minaplo> ["Then we cannot agree to simply decide this to be an informal talk?"]
[10:47] <Yanmei> "We could," she said thoughtfully. "I mean, why not?"
[10:48] <Minaplo> ["Why not." He agreed.]
[10:50] <Yanmei> "I'd like to ask you something in a non-diplomatic fashion, then."
[10:51] <Minaplo> ["Please go ahead."]
[10:53] <Yanmei> "You said before that you knew Mary Caine, and that you attended the same institution for a while. Did she… ever take art classes alongside you?"
[10:54] <Minaplo> ["Alongside me? No. She wasn't really interested in learning how to paint, but she was interested in art. She took an interest in what we produced."]
[10:56] <Yanmei> Her eyebrows shot up. "Including the nude portraits?"
[10:57] <Minaplo> ["Including the nude portraits, Chancellor."]
[10:59] * Yanmei glanced away and coughed daintily a few times into a closed fist.
[11:01] <Minaplo> ["That's funny?"]
[11:02] <Yanmei> "N-no. Of course not?" she cleared her throat and tried to look at him with a serious expression.
[11:06] <Minaplo> [He stared at her seriously.-
[11:06] <Minaplo> [Then he, too, began to laugh.]
[11:13] * Yanmei also let out something of an open chuckle, but she did her best to stifle the rest, fighting for control. "Sorry. I was curious! Ah… what else…?" she paused, thinking.
[11:14] <Minaplo> ["Between you and me, though, Caine's true passion was for archaeology."]
[11:17] <Yanmei> "Ah, I'd heard that before. Was she any good at it?"
[11:17] * SyntaxPhone (~if.elibom-asile.tan-402-56-67-58|xatnyS#if.elibom-asile.tan-402-56-67-58|xatnyS) Quit (Ping timeout)
[11:18] <Minaplo> ["Wondrously." He said wistfully.]
[11:22] <Yanmei> "Mmm. Shame, then."
[11:23] <Minaplo> [He sighed.-
[11:23] <Minaplo> ["Yes, a shame. She could've been an excellent archaeologist. She would've been a fine artist, too."]
[11:25] <Yanmei> "Hm. Do you know much about her life-partner? Von Brandt?"
[11:25] <Minaplo> ["Von Brandt?" Said Pius, his tone just a little sharp for a moment.-
[11:26] <Minaplo> ["… No. I can't say that I do."]
[11:26] * Yanmei studied him curiously. "But you've met before… right?"
[11:29] <Minaplo> ["Briefly."]
[11:30] <Yanmei> "Did he leave any impressions?"
[11:31] <Minaplo> ["Not particularly."]
[11:34] <Yanmei> "He was on this ship for a short time. In the brig, naturally. He still tried his hardest to undermine the confidence of any significant UEF personnel who would bother to listen to him. He was uncomfortably good at it."
[11:35] <Minaplo> ["Indeed?"]
[11:43] <Yanmei> "Yes. The trick, as I understand it in retrospect, was to make us believe that he had significant information about Caine and her plans and so forth, which he would use as leverage to get an audience with several different individuals. He would then use a mix of psychology, reason and information picked up from whatever the UN had on us to pry past said individual's guard and to trigger fear or anxiety. And the maddening thing is that he claimed it was for their own good? Like he was some noble doctor offering a patient bitter medicine or something to make them better."
[11:44] <Minaplo> ["I see. And did it work?"]
[11:47] <Yanmei> "Well, he upset a lot of people and made them temporarily more vulnerable. Did it make them better? Hardly. He was full of garbage."
[11:49] <Minaplo> ["Do you think he believed he was helping?"]
[11:54] <Yanmei> "Maybe. He certainly sounded sincere, but it doesn't make sense for him to try to help us at all?"
[11:54] <Minaplo> ["Doesn't it?"]
[11:55] <Yanmei> "It doesn't."
[11:56] <Minaplo> ["Why not?"]
[12:02] <Yanmei> "What's his motive? We are people that he is at war with, that he has no personal connections to, and he has no ethical codes or standards that I know of that would prevent him from doing harm to us instead of good. He has a history of psychologically terrorizing child soldiers for reasons that are completely beyond me. Why not use the same attacks against us?"
[12:03] <Minaplo> ["What if he genuinely does believe he's helping, though?"]
[12:07] <Yanmei> "That would make his actions unfathomable? He'd either be a deluded, sick man or someone who pities and condescends to us. Neither of those options makes him too endearing."
[12:10] <Minaplo> ["Hmm…"]
[12:11] <Yanmei> "Something wrong?"
[12:15] * Mianplo (~ua.ten.tenii.nyd.27-832-7-85|olpaniM#ua.ten.tenii.nyd.27-832-7-85|olpaniM) has joined #nervfrance
[12:15] <Mianplo> ["What exactly did he try to do? With specific individuals?"]
[12:16] * Minaplo (ua.ten.tenii.nyd.29-112-7-85|olpaniM#ua.ten.tenii.nyd.29-112-7-85|olpaniM) Quit (Ping timeout)
[12:16] * Mianplo is now known as Minaplo
[12:27] <Yanmei> "He'd talk to them. Lecture them. Essentially explain what he thought they were doing wrong, or throw known mistakes in their faces. It went further than that, though? Like he was attacking the core of a person instead of their actions, or playing on self-contained fears. And he was persuasive enough that someone who didn't keep their guard up might walk away with great big cracks in their self-worth."
[12:34] <Minaplo> ["Did he show any patterns in who he targeted?"]
[12:40] <Yanmei> "People who were either Eva pilots, or who provided critical emotional or technical support for the pilots. Myself and a handful of other Eva pilots. General Guillory. Also, the head of our Technical Department."
[12:41] <Minaplo> ["So people all related to the Evas… And who runs your technical department?"]
[12:42] <Yanmei> "Doctor Barzilai Surov."
[12:42] <Minaplo> ["… The Barzilai Surov?"]
[12:43] * Yanmei sighed. "Yes."
[12:43] <Minaplo> ["… I see."-
[12:43] <Minaplo> ["Any reason why he would target such a person?"]
[12:48] <Yanmei> "He would murder me for saying so, but the good doctor actually does have a number of troubles that he doesn't let out in the open? He is also damned brilliant. If you weaken him, make him less capable of focusing on his work, or remove entirely from the UEF, the UEF itself would weaken. Or, worse, you could get him to act out against us…"
[12:49] <Minaplo> ["But what kind of troubles…?"]
[12:53] <Yanmei> "I'm afraid I can't really say. You could speak with him directly, if you'd like? Just don't let him know that I suggested it."
[12:54] <Minaplo> ["Forgive me, but that's not what I meant." Said His Holiness. "It seems difficult to think that Dr. Surov has weaknesses that von Brandt knows how to exploit."]
[13:02] <Yanmei> "There's plenty? He just puts up a relentless front. Anyway, why else would von Brandt have wanted that talk to him?"
[13:02] <Minaplo> ["For information, perhaps."]
[13:03] <Yanmei> "I suppose, yeah."
[13:03] <Minaplo> ["Mm. In truth I don't know enough about von Brandt to tell of his… Motivations."]
[13:07] <Yanmei> "Consider yourself fortunate, then," she said wryly. "But even if you did talk with him a little, he's an incredibly difficult man to read."
[13:10] <Minaplo> ["Oh?"]
[13:14] <Yanmei> "Yes. He's very… placid? In sort of this creepy nicey-nice way?"
[13:15] <Minaplo> ["Like a porcelain doll with a wide smile."]
[13:17] <Yanmei> "Exactly?"
[13:17] <Minaplo> ["That seems… Unusual."]
[13:21] <Yanmei> "There's no way it's natural."
[13:22] <Minaplo> ["That's what I thought. Do you know anything about his origins?"]
[13:25] <Yanmei> "I don't know much about where he was born or what he did before impact, but I do know that the village where he lived was destroyed shortly after it. He was one of a handful of survivors. Then, I guess, Caine picked him up somehow and he ended up eventually helping with the Neospartan program."
[13:25] <Minaplo> ["Hm. A German village? That seems strange."]
[13:27] <Yanmei> "No, no. He was actually working in a village in China when impact hit."
[13:27] <Minaplo> ["Ah, I see…"]
[13:42] <Yanmei> "So, yeah. He has a lot of troubles of his own just from that, nevermind the stuff he must have gone through afterward if he joined the UN military or something."
[13:43] <Minaplo> ["So he's suffering too?"]
[13:44] <Yanmei> "Probably. It doesn't make him less of a jerk, though?"
[13:46] <Minaplo> ["No, I suppose not. Still, I will keep him in my prayers."]
[13:48] * Yanmei blinked in surprise. "I… guess that's the natural thing for a Pope to do for someone who's suffering, isn't it?"
[13:52] <Minaplo> ["I would hope it to be the natural thing for us all, Chancellor."]
[13:54] <Yanmei> "S-sure." She glanced aside awkwardly.
[22:42] <Minaplo> [He smiled a little.]
[22:47] <Yanmei> "Speaking of prayer… I'm surprised your services aren't drawing massive crowds on the ship. Maybe word hasn't gotten out about them yet."
[22:56] <Minaplo> ["My services do draw quite large crowds- on a Sunday, Chancellor."]
[23:01] <Yanmei> "Oh. Naturally~" She beamed. "Is the chapel big enough for all of that?"
[23:01] <Minaplo> ["Not particularly- I've had to take them onto the deck."]
[23:03] <Yanmei> "O-oh. I see. Um. They aren't bothered by the seagulls? Or the really big phoenix bird that's been inexplicably nesting up there?"
[23:05] <Minaplo> ["Ah. Well, I admit to being rather… Fascinated by it at first, but many of your crew seem a little… Used to it."]
[23:09] <Yanmei> "It doesn't squawk at you guys does it? Or flame up randomly when you start singing?"
[23:10] <Minaplo> [He chuckled. "Mostly it just observes, if it's even there at all."]
[23:13] <Yanmei> "Ah, good."
[23:18] <Minaplo> ["I'm sure many of your soldiers have seen worse things. All told the firebird is very beautiful."]
[23:21] <Yanmei> "Thank you. I can't take much credit, though? He came with our Prime Minister. Apparently they've been friends for many years?"
[23:24] <Minaplo> ["A curious friend for a prime minister to keep."]
[23:27] <Yanmei> "Not that strange when you consider the rest of the ship. For some reason there are a lot of Impact Ferals here."
[23:28] <Minaplo> ["Oh?"]
[23:30] <Yanmei> "Foxes, penguins, lion cubs… and of course, you know Feng the bird."
[23:30] <Minaplo> ["Yes, of course… Do you have any of your own?"]
[23:31] <Yanmei> "Daji the fox. Lizzie's pet?"
[23:32] <Minaplo> [He grinned. "What a friend that must be for a child."]
[23:38] <Yanmei> "Sometimes it's like having a second kid around?" Yanmei muttered. "They pick up the worst habits from each other and run around noisily all the time."
[23:38] <Minaplo> [He laughed. "Bad habits from a fox?"]
[23:40] <Yanmei> "She's trained Lizzie to feed her at the table, for example…"
[23:41] <Minaplo> ["Most pets are good at that. My cat did the same thing to me when I was a child."]
[23:45] <Yanmei> "You grew out of it, though, right?"
[23:46] <Minaplo> [He chuckled.]
[23:48] * Suzune (~522.281.431.46|enuzuS#522.281.431.46|enuzuS) Quit (Quit: )
[23:52] <Yanmei> "I'll take that as a 'yes'," she said happily. "I knew it…"
Session Time: Sun May 29 00:00:00 2016
[00:03] <Minaplo> [He smiled- but a moment later he looked down at his watch.-
[00:03] <Minaplo> ["Ah. I think I might be needed elsewhere."]
[00:04] <Yanmei> "Oh, of course." She stood up to see him out. "Sorry to take up so much time?"
[00:09] * Suzune (moc.rr.ser.yabapmat.551cfh1322356|enuzuS#moc.rr.ser.yabapmat.551cfh1322356|enuzuS) has joined #nervfrance
[00:09] <Minaplo> ["You're quite welcome, Chancellor." He said, getting to his feet. "I enjoyed myself, even."]
[00:12] <Yanmei> "Glad to hear it? Let me know if there's anything else I can do for you while you're here." She held the door open for him.
[00:13] <Minaplo> ["I'll keep you in mind." He said, stepping out through the door. "Have a good day, Chancellor."]

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