Cherry Blossom Procession 4 2 13

[08:01] <AdEvaGM> [They had gathered in the meeting room- at first Yanmei and Sera, then on her invitation, Kourosh, Marianne and Ginevre too. Raphael had also been invited, and with him was Surov and Ezekiel- two other pillars of his secret counter-Caine initiative.-
[08:01] <AdEvaGM> [Here they waited the arrival of a guest.-
[08:02] <AdEvaGM> [A few minutes after Surov was seated, the guest arrived- Gilles de Orleans, French representative on the Human Instrumentality Committee and SEELE's overseer of Western Europe.-
[08:03] <AdEvaGM> [He was a thin man, old but not stooped; he had been given a chance to wash and to groom himself, as well as a change of clothes. He had short silvery-white hair, parted down the middle, and now wore a dark green sweater over a pair of blue trousers along with some black shoes.-
[08:04] <AdEvaGM> [He had been escorted by a squad of marines, who did not cross the door; as it closed they vanished from view.-
[08:05] <AdEvaGM> [De Orleans now stood at the end of the table, far opposite Yanmei. He cast his gaze around; his eyes were steady even as his voice shook a little. "Good afternoon, everyone."-
[08:05] <AdEvaGM> [Ginevre eyed him impassively; Marianne's expression was flat, whilst Kourosh's was alive, his eyes burning with intensity as he focused on de Orleans.]
[08:09] * Sept nodded slightly. His eyebrows and mouth formed parallel horizontal lines as he considered all the ways the meeting could go. Needless to say, he was not optimistic about the outcome or general response.
[08:13] * Yanmei stood up in greeting, her eyes shining brightly. Still, she kept her voice controlled and formal. "Hello Mr. de Orleans. Welcome to our battleship. Please have a seat? There are a few things we'd like to discuss with you."
[08:13] <AdEvaGM> [And so he sat. "Of course."]
[08:16] <Yanmei> "We might skip the introductions this time. I believe you're familiar with just about everyone at this table, correct?"
[08:16] <Raphael> Raphael's expression matched Marianne's as he tracked de Orleans to his seat.
[08:17] <AdEvaGM> [De Orleans' gaze paused on Ezekiel and Kourosh for a moment, but he nodded. "Yes, just about everyone."]
[08:18] * Suzune (moc.rr.ser.yabapmat.551cfh1322356|enuzuS#moc.rr.ser.yabapmat.551cfh1322356|enuzuS) has left #nervfrance
[08:18] * Aline (moc.rr.ser.yabapmat.551cfh1322356|enilA#moc.rr.ser.yabapmat.551cfh1322356|enilA) has joined #nervfrance
[08:25] * Yanmei nodded, her spirits still apparently high. "Currently we're at war with the United Nations. Specifically Mary Caine - the person who was keeping you imprisoned for so long. If it's not too painful, could you please describe your ordeal to us? What happened after you were abducted from the palace?"
[08:28] <AdEvaGM> ["Hm… It is hardly a story." Said de Orleans. "I was taken to the Synfront. Mary had me run through some health examinations, and then I was placed within an apartment hidden in the natural caverns below the Caine mansion in Hamburg-2. She never visited me personally. I had some other visitors from time to time, of course…"]
[08:30] <Yanmei> "Like who?"
[08:31] <AdEvaGM> ["Like… Raskova. It was mainly Raskova. But there were others… Augustine. Agatha. Von Brandt from time to time."]
[08:32] <Sept> "So they wanted you sane as well as alive."
[08:34] <AdEvaGM> [Marianne laughed harshly.]
[08:35] * Tao (ua.ten.letxof.dlq.411-75-291-271-epc|leahpaR#ua.ten.letxof.dlq.411-75-291-271-epc|leahpaR) has joined #nervfrance
[08:35] * Raphael (ua.ten.letxof.dlq.411-75-291-271-epc|leahpaR#ua.ten.letxof.dlq.411-75-291-271-epc|leahpaR) Quit (Ping timeout: 183 seconds)
[08:36] * Tao kept himself to a dour smile.
[08:36] * Tao is now known as Raphael
[08:45] * Yanmei said nothing to that, apparently watching for a reaction.
[08:47] <AdEvaGM> [De Orleans did not say anything, nor did his expression markedly change. He sat quietly and waited for the next question.]
[08:48] <Yanmei> "Um. Did any of them say anything to suggest why you were being held like that?"
[08:49] <AdEvaGM> ["Not particularly. I know why I was being held, it wasn't really a mystery-I knew better than they did, I suspect."]
[08:49] <Yanmei> "Why were you being held, then?"
[08:52] <AdEvaGM> ["I'm afraid I'm too important for her to kill." Said de Orleans.]
[08:53] <Yanmei> "She had no problem killing other members of SEELE. Why were you different?"
[08:54] <AdEvaGM> ["…"-
[08:55] <AdEvaGM> [De Orleans sighed. "Of all the members of SEELE, I was the only one outside of Mary and her father who truly grasped what the Eternity Drive was."]
[08:55] * Raphael leaned back in his chair, folding his arms to mask his fingers drumming restlessly against his side.
[09:00] * Yanmei gave him a rather puzzled look. "I admit there's a lot about it that we don't really understand? But you're intimately familiar with how it works?"
[09:01] <Sept> "I find it strange no one else would've gotten to the bottom of it. But it sounds to me like you're saying you would've posed some risk to her after your death."
[09:04] <AdEvaGM> ["You're quite close, de Pteres." Said de Orleans. "Although I pose plenty of risk alive as well, but I don't believe Mary expected you to successfully rescue me… And yes, Yanmei, I am. In fact," he straightened up, "I was one of its designers. Although at first it was not the thing it became- it was much more benign- I do not hesitate to say that I oversaw the project to its end."]
[09:08] <Yanmei> "Why would you do that…? What was it supposed to be?"
[09:09] <AdEvaGM> ["Its original intention was as something to be used in the process of Human Instrumentality." Said de Orleans.-
[09:11] <AdEvaGM> ["… The first plan for Third Impact that SEELE pursued was instrumentality. The process of dissolving all of humanity into a single, shared gestalt consciousness. At the time, our interpretations of the future led us to believe that humanity would be destroyed due to a massive war between humanity, fought for the same old reasons."-
[09:13] <AdEvaGM> ["… So instrumentality was to be our attempt to thwart that." Said de Orleans. "By combining all of humanity into a single mass, every human being's psyche would be fully exposed to every other. No secrets, no… Noise. Without barriers, humanity would enter a moment of perfect understanding."-
[09:14] <AdEvaGM> ["The process was only temporary, however- the plan would end with humanity being rebodied, but remembering what it had experienced in that form- there would be no more strangers, no more misunderstanding, no more prejudice. The great human village."-
[09:14] <AdEvaGM> ["The Eternity Drive was designed initially as a system to control Instrumentality and ensure that it ended at the proper time. But as Mary and Jeremiah slowly shifted away from Instrumentality as a plan, the purpose shifted."]
[09:18] <Sept> "But the rest of SEELE was kept convinced they were still aiming for Instrumentality. You must've been aware of that deception for a long time."
[09:19] * Raphael 's head didn't move, but his eyes - utterly devoid of any warmth - did. They sought out Marianne.
[09:19] <AdEvaGM> [Marianne's expression was quietly unreadable…-
[09:19] <AdEvaGM> ["Yes, I was." Said de Orleans simply.]
[09:24] <Yanmei> "There was no way for you to step in and stop them once you found out?" Yanmei guessed.
[09:25] <AdEvaGM> ["No, so I did the next best thing- I made myself useful, joined the project." Said de Orleans. "It kept me in the loop, allowed me to understand what exactly they were attempting to make."]
[09:32] <Yanmei> "That would've make them even more eager than normal to kill you after the project was completed. How, exactly, would your death threaten them?"
[09:32] <Yanmei> ^made
[09:33] * Sept rubbed the side of his neck idly, but kept his eyes firmly fixed on de Orleans.
[09:39] <AdEvaGM> ["Because I have a knack for making myself indispensible." Said de Orleans. "Allow me to explain simply: the Eternity Drive is not a what, but a who. It is not a device or some facility. Rather, it is a metaphysical whole divided amongst several pillars, each pillar an individual fed on the ichor of Lilith: LCL. For you see, exposure to LCL over a period of time makes one more receptive
[09:39] <AdEvaGM> to connecting to other souls- not a surprise, is it? Each pillar, then, contains some portion of the greater Drive, and also supports the others in keeping their portions more stable. Mary Caine is in charge of the entire system, but her power relies on the pillars being maintained- and I am one of those pillars."-
[09:39] <AdEvaGM> [Ezekiel leaned back in his chair, his expression lightening as though some great question had been answered for him.]
[09:42] <Raphael> "So your death would disrupt her," Raphael said mildly, speaking up for the first time.
[09:43] <AdEvaGM> ["Yes. In fact my death is necessary, as is the deaths of all the pillars." Said de Orleans.-
[09:43] <AdEvaGM> ["Did you know that at the time?" Asked Kourosh.-
[09:43] <AdEvaGM> ["Yes." Said De Orleans.]
[09:45] <Yanmei> Yanmei's expression had clouded over somewhat at this revelation. "Who are the other pillars?"
[09:45] <Sept> "And can we be sure there can't be more of them?" Sera cut in.
[09:48] <AdEvaGM> ["Creating a new pillar is highly difficult, and Mary is reluctant to do so, especially if the vessels are particularly powerful- after all, if they are sufficiently powerful they might try to turn on her. She has kept with human vessels for the most part, and only as her control over the Drive has become firmer has she decided to create more powerful vessels. The three new Devas are Pillars,
[09:48] <AdEvaGM> of this I am sure. I myself am a pillar… I would say there are nine in total. The three Devas is three, I make four. Mary herself makes the most important pillar, and so four remain."-
[09:48] <AdEvaGM> ["I know the identity of only one of those four unknown pillars." Said de Orleans. "Athena Caine, Mary's daughter."]
[09:50] <Raphael> … Raphael frowned.
[09:52] <Sept> "That's Freya," Sera said, his stare at de Orleans growing more tense. "We have her to thank for getting Mr de Orleans to us."
[09:54] * Raphael kept frowning at nothing in particular.
[09:57] <Yanmei> "…" -
[09:58] <Yanmei> "Does the Drive have any other fatal weaknesses?"
[10:03] <AdEvaGM> ["One fatal weakness is about as much as Mary is willing to tolerate, she avoids things with multiple weaknesses." Said de Orleans. "I estimate that if you were to kill… Three of the Pillars at the same time as you attacked her, you might be able to cause an irreversible destabilisation of the Drive. Since you have one of the Devas, and you have myself and Freya, if you have a plan to
[10:03] <AdEvaGM> attack Mary, you could kill us at that moment." Said de Orleans. "Preferably, you should strike as many as possible at once- she needs the pillars mobile and out so they can absorb souls from each region, but if she feels they are threatened, then she will retreat them to her last redoubt."]
[10:06] <Raphael> "And what does an irreversible destabilisation of the drive look like?"
[10:09] * Sept kept quiet, looking more or less the same except for a slight pallor to his face. He brushed some hair off his face, wiped the sweat off his brow and leaned back in his chair.
[10:09] <AdEvaGM> ["It damages the Drive's ability to absorb new souls." Said de Orleans. "And it lessens Mary's ability to control the ones she already has. The pillars that die, their souls will be released… And some from the other pillars may escape as well. In the case of the Devas, it means Mary may lose control over them permanently. She may even struggle to control the Primes…"-
[10:10] <AdEvaGM> [Kourosh glanced at Sera sympathetically. "Is there a way to… Make someone not a pillar without killing them?"-
[10:10] <AdEvaGM> ["No." Said de Orleans.-
[10:12] <AdEvaGM> ["Then you came knowing that you would have to die for us to win." Said Kourosh.-
[10:13] <AdEvaGM> ["…"-
[10:14] <AdEvaGM> ["I am old." Said de Orleans. "And one does not live to be as old and powerful as I am without regrets. I have been foolish and selfish. I have spoken when I should have remained silent, and kept quiet when I should've spoken out. I've been manipulative, and I have been manipulated. I see my life before me and I see many things I would change."-
[10:15] <AdEvaGM> ["But I am still a son of France, and so I am not afraid to die." Said de Orleans.]
[10:19] * Raphael gave de Orleans a look that bordered on the openly disdainful before glancing at Ezekiel. "You understand the theory he's discussing, sir?"
[10:20] <AdEvaGM> [Kourosh, meanwhile, had suddenly gone still and was staring off into space.-
[10:20] <AdEvaGM> ["Yes." Said Ezekiel. "It has answered many questions I had."]
[10:21] <Raphael> "Would retrieving the soul in question with an Eternity Tear get in the way of these 'pillars' being destroyed? The way he's talking makes it sound as though the crucial part is the physical death."
[10:21] * Yanmei perked up just a little at that.
[10:22] <AdEvaGM> [Ezekiel closed his eyes for a moment.-
[10:27] <AdEvaGM> ["It is a system, with each pillar bearing its own weight. If you destroy one pillar, the weight is distributed to the survivors, so destroy enough at the same time and the system collapses beneath the weight." Said Ezekiel. "But I believe if you were to place an Eternity Tear within a pillar, and kill them, the souls within would also be bound to the Tear, and so they would not flow
[10:27] <AdEvaGM> to the other pillars. The Drive would be weakened, but only in a very minor fashion. The pillars must die, and their souls must not be bound at the time, nor after- for the damage to be total, then the soul of the pillar must be allowed to completely return to Lilith."]
[10:28] <Raphael> "…" Raphael sighed, nodding. For just a moment he glanced at Sept. "… I see."
[10:30] * Yanmei jabbed Kourosh sharply with her elbow. "Snap out of it," she hissed.
[10:30] <AdEvaGM> [Kourosh did not snap out of it.]
[10:31] * Sept shrugged. "Sounds like it would work. What happens if we take too long between killing the Pillars and making our final attack?"
[10:35] <AdEvaGM> ["You give Mary time to recover- a window of vulnerability is lost." Said de Orleans.]
[10:37] <Sept> "What I mean is, would new Pillars need to be assigned, or would the remaining ones be able to compensate?"
[10:38] <AdEvaGM> ["The drive would be thrown into chaos for a temporary period, but unless Mary is attacked, it will weather it. With time she will create new Pillars- although the Drive will not be as strong as it once was, it won't be the decisive blow you're hoping for either."-
[10:39] <AdEvaGM> ["… And considering that I am sure that at least Athena is unaware of her status as a Pillar, that is not a price you wish to pay lightly."]
[10:40] <Sept> "…right. I see."
[10:40] <Yanmei> "Tch." She tried another elbow. "And earlier you mentioned something about Caine pulling the pillars back if she felt they were threatened. Where to?"
[10:40] <AdEvaGM> [Kourosh remained dazed.-
[10:42] * Raphael (ua.ten.letxof.dlq.411-75-291-271-epc|leahpaR#ua.ten.letxof.dlq.411-75-291-271-epc|leahpaR) Quit (Ping timeout)
[10:42] * Raphael (ua.ten.letxof.dlq.411-75-291-271-epc|leahpaR#ua.ten.letxof.dlq.411-75-291-271-epc|leahpaR) has joined #nervfrance
[10:43] <AdEvaGM> ["To the UN Flammenschwart fortress on Tasmania." Said de Orleans. "Or rather, the fortress is a gate- leading to the White Moon, Adam's vessel. Mary has been… Rebuilding it, preparing its systems, reactivating its ancient weapons systems. If the Pillars are taken there, you will need a miracle of miracles to break through."]
[10:46] <Yanmei> "Is that where Caine herself is physically located?"
[10:48] <AdEvaGM> ["No. I believe she is located in the Synfront." Said de Orleans. "… Aha, I see what you mean. No, Mary Caine does not have some secret 'true' body. She is not truly an Evangelion or something comparable. She is a terrifying marionette, but she is a human-shaped marionette at that."]
[10:51] <Yanmei> "Forgive me, but that's a little confusing? If she's not an Eva, then what is she? Human?"
[10:53] <AdEvaGM> ["She is…"-
[10:54] <AdEvaGM> [De Orleans sighed. "What is the word? It is not improper to say that she is an Ayanami." He said. "You understand that there are twelve Disciples of Lilith, yes? And those twelve are now the twelve Ayanami sisters?"]
[10:55] * Raphael gave a single tight nod, watching closely.
[10:56] * Yanmei nodded as well.
[10:58] <AdEvaGM> ["Mary Caine is the 13th Disciple- or rather, the first. Specifically, she is an Adam-type to Lilith's Eve."]
[11:00] <Yanmei> Yanmei's eyes darkened considerably.
[11:01] <Sept> "That is bad," came Sera's analysis.
[11:01] * Raphael reached up and squeezed at the bridge of his nose.
[11:03] <AdEvaGM> ["Yes." Said de Orleans. "But… She is still mostly human. She can be killed, so long as the circumstances are perfect."]
[11:05] <Raphael> "And if she's killed she's killed in full?"
[11:06] <AdEvaGM> ["… As far as I know." Said de Orleans. "I would not be surprised if she had some tools in place to make that particularly difficult, of course."-
[11:06] <AdEvaGM> ["Like the whole UN army." Said Marianne drily.]
[11:07] <Yanmei> "Like that, yes," Yanmei sighed.
[11:08] * Raphael shook his head. "No. We can work with this."
[11:09] * Sept tapped on the table twice and eyed it before looking around at the rest of the table pointedly.-
[11:09] <Sept> "This raises another, more immediate concern, I think…"
[11:13] <Yanmei> "It raises many concerns. But which, specifically, are you talking about?"
[11:18] <Sept> "W-Well," said Sera, hesitating. "The Ayanamis. It's known that we have de Orleans, so it should follow naturally we should find out about the thirteenth Disciple - so we should move to immediately do something about their Evangelions, before they have time to fast track their plans."
[11:21] * Raphael 's eyes widened suddenly as he realized what Sera was saying. He barely stopped himself swearing aloud.
[11:24] <AdEvaGM> ["I'll get the bakelite containment systems ready." Said Marianne, rising to her feet.]
[11:30] <Yanmei> "Fine. Approved as at least a temporary solution. Um. Better avoid touching the Empress' unit for now."
[11:31] <AdEvaGM> [Next to Raphael, Surov let his face fall into his open hands.-
[11:32] <AdEvaGM> ["We should at least try to consult with her about it." Said Ginevre. "She returned from her own Empire to help fight Caine, I'm sure the idea of falling under her sway holds no appeal to her."]
[11:34] <Sept> "Surov…?" Sera raised his voice, his tone making it clear he was grasping at a straw. "Can we rely on bakelite, is it possible just the cores would pose a danger?"
[11:37] <AdEvaGM> ["Frozen bakelite seals are the standard NERV response to a potentially out of control Evangelion." Said Surov, lifting his head. "Surprisingly it tends to work, but it's not a long term solution. Furthermore, we don't have the facilities to deep all of the Master Models. We will have to distribute them across all of our bases. Which means that if the process is not enough, then they
[11:37] <AdEvaGM> will destroy all of our facilities instead of one." He said.-
[11:38] <AdEvaGM> ["That sounds like Mary all right." Said de Orleans. "You know, I've been dealing with little problems like this for nearly 20 years?"-
[11:39] <AdEvaGM> [Surov gave de Orleans a truly withering look. "We should consult with Dr. Ikari, with a recommendation that we move to block the strange signals that we detected in the Masters immediately."]
[11:39] * Raphael stood. "Permission to take Surov and see to that while the Marshal sees to containment, Chancellor?"
[11:41] <Raphael> "… actually I'll find the Empress on the way. If anyone's liable to know more it's her."
[11:42] <Sept> "The blackboxes are related," Sera agreed. "Yui will know more. I don't think I can help."
[11:45] <Yanmei> "All right. Guillory, I'll leave it to you and Surov to assemble the Blackbox Investigation Task Force. De Pteres, are you sure you don't also want to sit in on it?"
[11:47] <Sept> "I would like to, if there's nothing else. But, like I said, probably not useful right now."
[11:48] <Raphael> "If you think you can offer anything I won't turn down the help," Raphael said, already moving to leave. "Come on, Surov."
[11:50] <Yanmei> "We also need to immediately figure out a way to compensate for the losses of those units on the battlefield. Prime Minister Rustami!"
[11:50] <AdEvaGM> [Surov was off, through the door before anyone.]
[11:50] <AdEvaGM> [Kourosh continued to become one with the universe.]
[11:51] <Yanmei> "Pardon me," said Yanmei to the rest of the table. She reached over and gave him a light whack on the back of the head.
[11:51] <AdEvaGM> ["Ow!" He jerked forward, wincing; he rubbed the back of his head. "You hit me!"]
[11:52] <Sept> "I'll… catch up if we figure everything out here?"-
[11:52] <Sept> "Yanmei! What was that?"
[11:52] * Raphael was gone as well.
[11:53] <Yanmei> "He was spacing out!" She huffed defensively. She turned to Kou. "You were doing the thing again."
[11:53] <AdEvaGM> ["Of course I was doing the thing!" Said Kourosh, his eyes watering. "Geez."-
[11:54] <AdEvaGM> ["I figured some things out during all of that, though." Said Kourosh. "Mary Caine's probably gonna use her Disciple thing to screw with the Ayanami units, so you should probably go create a task force to block the blackbox signals. You should probably call Dr. Yui."]
[11:55] <Sept> "U-Um," Sera said, trying to hide his smile.
[11:56] <Yanmei> "We already came to the same conclusion and appointed people to gather and lead the task force."
[11:57] <AdEvaGM> ["Oh." Said Kourosh, flushing.-
[11:58] <AdEvaGM> ["Right. Well. May I spend time talking to De Orleans?" He said. "I'm going to start chasing down leads on who the other Pillars may be. I mean, von Brandt is obviously one, so we need to find two more…"]
[11:59] <Sept> "Yeah. So as long as the Command Disciple thing isn't another trap… If you two are going to follow up with Gilles, I can go listen in on the others?"
[12:00] <Yanmei> "Certainly, you can." Yanmei nodded to Sera. -
[12:02] <Yanmei> "Vice Chancellor, could you stay as well? I need to gather the ODs and come up with a plan. I'm worried the UN will predict this and use the opportunity to strike at us while the MP Units are disabled. Prime Minister Rustami, please see me after you're done with the conversation."
[12:03] <AdEvaGM> ["Understood." Said Ginevre.-
[12:03] <AdEvaGM> [Kourosh, meanwhile, stood up, gave Yanmei an old-fashioned Chinese salute (arms clenched across chest) before leaving, taking de Orleans with him.-
[12:03] <AdEvaGM> [Marianne remained too, looking altogether tired.]
[12:06] <Sept> "Okay. Thank you for- I mean, I'm going."-
[12:06] <Sept> Sera made his way out without making eye contact.
[12:10] * Yanmei exhaled and steeled herself, rising out of her chair in an authoritative manner. She dug her phone out of her pocket and dialed a number. "Hello? Katsuragi? You're good at planning insane things. I need your help with something…"

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