Cherry Blossom Procession 4 2 22

[12:49] <Minaplo> ["Keep those arms up!"-
[12:53] <Minaplo> [The gymnasium had echoed with these cries for the last hour or so.-
[12:57] <Minaplo> [Occupying the sparring mat today were two figures, who could not look different if one tried. One was a tall, white-haired Iron Guard woman; the other was a slim, petite girl with black hair that turned gradually to a rich burgundy.-
[12:58] <Minaplo> [The training wasn't complex- they were working on basic punches, kicks and blocks. The Iron Guard would demonstrate, and the girl would try to copy. All told, the girl learned quite fast.-
[13:00] <Minaplo> [There were a few people on the sidelines, too; some were just watching idly, others were just waiting.-
[13:01] <Minaplo> [After a few more bouts of trading blows, the Iron Guard stepped back. "Alright, good. Let's take a break for now."-
[13:01] <Minaplo> ["Alright." Said the girl, only slightly out of breath.-
[13:02] <Minaplo> [The Iron Guard planted her right fist firmly across her heart and bowed sharply; the girl copied the movement hesitantly. After that, they both turned and headed for the sidelines, where they kept their bags.-
[13:02] <Minaplo> ["How was I, Raffy?" Asked Caitlin as they approached. "Did I do ok, do you think?"]
[13:28] <Raphael> Raphael sat on the bottom row of the stairs, a tablet on his knees that he'd allegedly been working on - though anyone watching would've seen him quickly lose his attention to the sparring. His legs were tucked over the top of a black and red gym bag, and as Caitlin approached he slid it her way with one foot.-
[13:29] <Raphael> "I think so," he grinned. "You're a quick study."
[13:32] <Minaplo> ["Thanks." Said Caitlin warmly; she grabbed her bag, pulled out a water bottle and took a mouthful.-
[13:34] <Minaplo> ["Young Caitlin's been blessed." Said Euphemia, who simply sat- even sitting on the ground, she still was as tall as Raphael. "She has a light, nimble form and a mind to match. I think with time, she could become a devastatingly agile combatant."]
[13:41] <Raphael> "Hmm," he said, looking Caitlin's way. "What do you think, Caity?"
[13:55] <Minaplo> ["It's weird. I feel way more flexible than I remember," she said, stretching her leg out on the step above Raphael as though to demonstrate. "and it's really weird when I do things faster than I used to. It's not a bad feeling, though…"]
[14:02] * Raphael nodded slowly. "So you want to keep at it?"
[14:04] <Minaplo> ["Yup." Said Caitlin. "I mean, it's always pretty neat to know this sorta thing just in case."]
[14:07] <Raphael> "Mhmm! Even if we're not putting you in a giant robot just yet," he said, ruffling her hair fondly.-
[14:08] <Minaplo> ["Aww."]
[14:13] <Raphael> He gave her a rueful little smile before turning his attention to the seated Guard. "Thanks for taking the time, Commander. Would you like to join us for lunch, perhaps?"
[14:15] <Minaplo> ["Yes, I would love to. Might you wait for moment, though? I need to take care of unfinished business here." She said, standing up and punching a fist into her hand.]
[14:16] <Raphael> "Of course, ma'am. We're in no rush."
[14:17] <Minaplo> ["Thank you."-
[14:18] <Minaplo> [With that, she stood up and crossed the sparring mat, making a beeline for an Iron Guard on the other side of the room.-
[14:18] <Minaplo> ["Theodore, you wished to spar, yes?" She said.-
[14:18] <Minaplo> ["Y-"-
[14:18] <Minaplo> [Before the Guard could stand, Euphemia struck him square in the jaw.-
[14:19] <Minaplo> [A horrid crack filled the air as Theodore went down, letting out a short groan of pain.-
[14:19] <Minaplo> ["Sparring done." Said Euphemia, turning back toward Raphael and Caitlin; she beamed and threw them a thumbs-up. "Let's eat!"]
[14:32] <Raphael> Raphael hadn't seemed entirely surprised by that - in fact he'd only watched with his head slightly tilted. "… Hm," he said mildly.-
[14:33] <Raphael> He glanced at Caity. "He should be able to heal that, even if those teeth might take a while."
[14:33] <Minaplo> […-
[14:48] <Minaplo> [The cafeteria. Raphael had many fine memories here- being given Linden's pie, nearly being killed by the nude nymph's head cannonballing toward him…-
[14:48] <Minaplo> [… Well, Raphael had memories here.-
[14:49] <Minaplo> [The place had changed significantly since then, however. The nymph was gone, the rotunda's murals had been painted over, and the Brothers had long since vanished, leaving everyone to make their own food.-
[14:49] <Minaplo> [Raphael and Caitlin found seats whilst Euphemia marched into the kitchen, proudly declaring that she knew how to cook thanks to her "Father's lessons", and thus insisted on doing so.-
[14:49] <Minaplo> ["Ms. Euphemia's pretty, um… Cool, huh?" Said Caitlin as they took seats.]
[14:58] <Raphael> Raphael had been the one to carry Caitlin's bag as she and Euphemia chatted on the way, and now he slid it beneath the table. "Pretty cool," he agreed with a smile. "It surprised me a bit when she offered to teach you. Most of the time Guards won't train with us."
[15:00] <Minaplo> ["Yeah. Euphemia says it's because a lot of them don't get anything out of it usually…"-
[15:01] <Minaplo> ["Euphemia's different, though. I think she likes teaching. Actually, she said something neat to me the other day."]
[15:01] <Raphael> "Oh yeah?"
[15:03] <Minaplo> ["She said that most Guard are made by taking a normal person and doing stuff to them. And when they wake up, they don't really know how to control their bodies fully, because they're way bigger, way stronger and faster."-
[15:04] <Minaplo> ["She said that, well… I was kind of in the same boat? Not that I'm a Guard," Said Caitlin seriously. "But I woke up to a body I'm kinda unfamiliar with. Euphemia figured maybe it'd help if she trained me, since she'd have the know-how with that sort of thing."]
[15:14] <Raphael> "… That's very generous of her," he said, looking towards the kitchen with a little smile. "It's a lot to deal with, huh?"
[15:46] <Minaplo> ["Yeah." Said Caitlin. "There's, uh… A lot of stuff you don't really know about when you're a kid, about being an adult. I never ever thought I'd look like this."]
[15:59] <Raphael> "…"-
[15:59] <Raphael> Raphael stumbled, meeting her eyes for a moment as if searching for something. The pause before he found his footing again was brief but noticeable. "I know…"-
[15:59] <Raphael> "We all thought you'd be a little old crone," he said, miming a hunchbacked, claw-handed pose, his expression still deathly serious.
[16:04] <Minaplo> [Caitlin's expression turned fierce. "You what?! Raffy, you suck!"]
[16:06] <Raphael> "I know, it was a terrible time."
[16:08] <Minaplo> ["Would I at least be a neat old crone with a gingerbread house, or would I be more like, I dunno… You?"]
[16:11] <Raphael> "You should be so lucky."
[16:13] <Minaplo> ["Thbbt." She kicked him lightly under the chair.-
[16:13] <Minaplo> ["But y'know what, Raffy?"]
[16:14] <Raphael> "Hmm?" He said, grinning now.
[16:17] <Minaplo> ["It's okay that I look like this." Said Caitlin; she reached back and grabbed one of her burgundy ponytails, as though to show it off. "I mean… It'd be weird before, but on this ship, in this world, it's like there's all sorts of weird and cool things around, and everyone's okay with it. Well… Now I'm part of that weird coolness, and that doesn't seem too bad."]
[16:25] <Raphael> Raphael seemed to relax a little, even behind the grin. "Well… I'm glad, you think so," he said gently, nudging her arm with a fist.-
[16:25] <Raphael> "You're adjusting to it pretty well - the 'weird coolness', I mean."
[16:35] <Minaplo> ["Hehe. Some things are harder to handle than others. Suzie took me to the, uh… Ex… Extremotarium…? Where Mr. Awala keeps all his monster feral things. There was a giant spider in there," she said with a shudder.-
[16:38] <Minaplo> ["I also… Kinda get that things look bad out there." She said, a little more quietly. "That there's a war on, between humans."]
[16:42] <Raphael> "… Yeah," he agreed, glancing away. "I'd like to say something to try and minimize that, but… it's a bad situation. It's liable to stay bad for a while."
[16:44] <Minaplo> ["Do you know how long?"]
[16:45] * Raphael just shook his head.
[16:51] <Minaplo> ["… You're gonna be alright, though?"]
[16:53] <Raphael> "Of course I will," he said, giving her a thin smile. "Too many people I need to keep an eye on."
[16:56] <Minaplo> [She smiled a little in return.-
[16:56] <Minaplo> ["We could make you a Guard, so you could come back from the dead." She said jokingly.]
[16:56] <Raphael> "They've offered, you know. Well, one has."
[16:57] <Minaplo> ["Oh yeah?"]
[16:58] <Raphael> "Mhmm. One of the Guards who works in Technical thought I'd make for an excellent one."
[17:16] <Minaplo> ["You said no?"]
[17:17] <Raphael> "Replacing my furniture would've been a lot of effort."
[17:18] <Minaplo> ["Less effort than you'd think, because you'd be super strong."]
[17:18] <Raphael> "That is true…" he said, looking thoughtful.-
[17:20] <Raphael> "But yeah, I said no," he admitted, leaning back a little. "Being a Guard might be safer in wartime, but I'd like to think I'll have a chance to appreciate this body during peace. Does that make sense?"
[17:46] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, it does." Said Caitlin. After a second, she gave him a bright, warm smile. "It's like… If you got a wartime body, but the war only lasts for a little bit of your life… You should be able to see what it's like without needing to be really strong."]
[17:47] <Raphael> "Right, exactly," he agreed.-
[17:49] <Raphael> "I mean, there's other factors too. Guards can't have children, for example…" he paused, raising a finger to ward off her follow-up. "Not that that's a concern right now, but it's an example."
[18:12] <Minaplo> ["They can't have any kids? How come?"]
[18:13] <Raphael> "Something to do with the genetic modifications, I think. I'm not 100% sure of the science."
[18:19] <Minaplo> ["Oh."-
[18:20] <Minaplo> ["… So you might want kids in the future, Raffy?"]
[18:22] * Raphael let out a little groan. "I knew that was a mistake as I said it…"-
[18:25] <Raphael> "… I don't know," he admitted. "There's a lot of factors that make that… not to put too fine a point on it, but complicated. I suppose I wouldn't want to close the door on it entirely."
[18:29] <Minaplo> ["But you're not so sure about it either?"]
[18:41] <Raphael> "No, I guess not," he sighed. He gave her a brief, black look as if this whole discussion were her fault. "To be honest, most of the time I don't feel equipped to handle Suzie or… well, Rei, and those two entered my life by accident. Trying to do that on purpose feels irresponsible."
[18:43] <Minaplo> ["Oh." Said Caitlin, sounding a little… Surprised.]
[18:44] * Raphael shrugged, frowning now. "I suppose I try not to let people in on that."
[18:59] <Minaplo> ["No no, it's okay. It's just, lots of people treat you like you're really reliable, so hearing you say that you don't feel like you can handle it is just a bit surprising. But, it's not a bad thing…"]
[19:00] <Raphael> "People need me to be reliable, so I'm reliable. It's always been that way."
[19:06] <Minaplo> ["…" But Caitlin looked dissatisfied.]
[19:10] * Raphael just watched her for a while. "… If you want to say something you can say it, Caity."
[19:11] <Minaplo> ["That doesn't seem very fair."]
[19:13] <Raphael> "Waiting for 'fair' is a luxury, little one," he said, but his voice was gentle. "There are people who need help."
[19:14] <Minaplo> ["And who helps you, huh…?"]
[19:15] <Raphael> "It gets back to me eventually."
[19:15] <Minaplo> ["Does it really?" She asked suspiciously.]
[19:19] <Raphael> "Sure. Most of the help I've offered has been repayed in turn in some way, big or small."
[19:19] <Minaplo> ["Hmmm."-
[19:20] <Minaplo> [She was looking at him shrewdly now, a speculative, crafty look in her eyes.]
[19:20] <Raphael> "What?" he said, staring right back with the faintest of smiles.
[19:22] <Minaplo> ["Nothing. Don't worry about it." She said, shaking her head.-
[19:22] <Minaplo> ["What does Misato think about kids, then?"]
[19:24] <Raphael> "We haven't really discussed it."
[19:24] <Minaplo> ["Oh."-
[19:28] <Minaplo> [At that point, Euphemia returned, bearing a tray; on the tray were three bowls of lightly steaming teriyaki noodles, two of them normal-sized, the third very obviously a re-appropriated mixing bowl.-
[19:31] <Minaplo> ["I have finished cooking." She said proudly, placing the three bowls on the table. "Chicken noodles, just like Father taught me."-
[19:32] <Minaplo> ["Oh thanks," Said Caitlin, turning-
[19:32] <Minaplo> [Then her eyes widened to the size of dinner plates as she saw Euphemia's bowl. "Whoa! So much!?"-
[19:33] <Minaplo> ["This is the first time you've seen me eat, isn't it?" Said Euphemia with a laugh. "Iron Guard do not need to eat, but it is deeply difficult to fully suppress the nervous system's drive to make one eat. Being Guard, when we decide to eat, we do not waste our time on mortal meals."-
[19:33] <Minaplo> ["But… But rationing…"-
[19:33] <Minaplo> [Euphemia laughed. "Let them ration! This meat I hunted myself."]
[19:34] <Raphael> "… you went hunting for chickens?" Raphael said doubtfully.
[19:38] <Minaplo> ["No." Said Euphemia.]
[19:42] <Raphael> "…"-
[19:42] <Raphael> "Oh."-
[19:44] <Raphael> He glanced down at his own bowl. There were glimpses of meat here and there amongst the noodles like savannah predators in tall grass.
[19:48] <Minaplo> ["…" Caitlin was also staring down at her bowl with a concerned expression.-
[19:48] <Minaplo> ["In the lands near our old base, there was a particularly aggressive breed of Feral." Said Euphemia quietly; she dug her fork into her bowl and began to eat.-
[19:48] <Minaplo> ["We called it the Megafowl."]
[19:52] <Raphael> "… I see," Raphael said slowly.
[20:11] <Minaplo> ["You should eat up, General. Hate for it to grow cold."]
[20:13] * Raphael considered that and then, for lack of a better option, shrugged and picked up his fork. Ferals were edible, at least according to Sergeant Fabien Awala…
[20:16] <Minaplo> [Caitlin, eyes flicking between the two, eventually did the same… Although she took a deep breath first.-
[20:16] <Minaplo> [… The food tasted good!]
[20:23] <Raphael> And, cliche of cliches, it really did taste like chicken! "This is delicious, Commander," he said, gesturing a little with his utensil. "Teriyaki noodles?"
[20:23] <Minaplo> ["Yes. Father's own recipe. Although it's hardly a complex one…"]
[20:26] <Raphael> "Hardly matters," he said, collecting some more noodles on his fork. "It's an… unusually popular dish on the ship, given that we're primarily French. It's the go-to dish for both Rei Ayanami and Pilot Gabriel-Wei, I believe."
[20:26] <Minaplo> [Euphemia laughed. "Of course! That's who I got it from!"]
[20:27] <Raphael> "… I thought you got it from your Father, ma'am," he said, a little uncertainly.
[20:28] <Minaplo> ["Yes. Oh." She laughed again. "That's who I meant."]
[20:28] <Raphael> "… oh. Oh. Oh?"-
[20:29] <Raphael> "I'm very sorry for being rude, Commander, but I'm not sure I follow," he admitted
[20:32] <Minaplo> [Euphemia resettled in her chair slightly in order to face Raphael full-on. She clasped her hands together tightly. "All Bioexotics rely on a specific foundation of genes. These genes make our biology incredibly compatible, granting us greater genetic flexibility. Otherwise, our bodies would reject the changes and break down."-
[20:34] <Minaplo> ["This gene stems from a woman named Eugenia Ranvier. In turn, the gene was cultivated in her by combining donated DNA from Isaiah Gabriel-Wei and Aline Blanc." Said Euphemia. "In this sense, Isaiah Gabriel-Wei is the patriarch of all human bioexotics."]
[20:41] <Raphael> "… huh," Raphael murmured, his eyes wide and his meal forgotten. "As friendly with the Ayanamis as I am… I had no idea."
[20:44] <Minaplo> ["I'm not sure they're fully aware." Said Euphemia. "But even amongst the Iron Guard, we are quick to warm to him. It is… A disposition of our genetics."]
[13:43] * Raphael nodded a little as a frown slowly spread across his face. "… I see. Does that bother you?"
[13:44] <Minaplo> ["I actually find it quite comforting."]
[13:45] <Raphael> "Oh?"
[13:48] <Minaplo> ["It is a foolish thing." She said. "Iron Guard are made for death and destruction. But even we're disposed to love at least one person… That's a constant of all of us. Almost all of us," She added as a correction.]
[13:53] <Raphael> That seemed to give him pause, and after a moment he shook his head. "No, that's not foolish. When you put it like that… I think I understand. If it brings you comfort I'm glad for it."
[13:55] <Minaplo> [Euphemia inclined her head. "Thank you."-
[13:55] <Minaplo> ["… Have I met Isaiah before?" Asked Caitlin uncertainly.]
[14:02] <Raphael> "I don't think so, unless you've run into him around the ship," Raphael said, returning to his meal. "He's Chancellor Zhang's husband and one of the Eva pilots. You'd like him, I think - he's a very nice young man."
[14:04] <Minaplo> ["Very nice." Said Euphemia with a smirk. "To hear others tell it, Chancellor Zhang had to compete with twenty different young women for his affection…"-
[14:05] <Minaplo> ["O-oh." Said Caitlin, her cheeks growing slightly pink. "So he's kind of very popular too… And all the Iron Guard love him as well?"-
[14:05] <Minaplo> ["That's right. All of them except Albus." Said Euphemia, taking a mouthful of noodles.]
[14:08] <Raphael> That earned a raised eyebrow. "Mortens, hm?"
[14:08] <Minaplo> ["Yes." Said Euphemia. "He was made differently to us- he doesn't use the same genetic base we do. Or perhaps he uses it, but it doesn't stem from Isaiah… Hard to say. He's a mystery."]
[14:16] <Raphael> "… he is that," Raphael murmured with a little frown.-
[14:22] * Raphael glanced back up, examining Euphemia in silence for a moment. After a moment he smiled. "Ms. Ranvier, you say? I can see it now."
[14:22] <Minaplo> ["You knew dear Eugenia?"]
[14:31] * Raphael shook his head. "That'd be overstating it, but I met her on a couple of occasions."-
[14:31] <Raphael> "… it's funny, though. She was there for the first time I met my daughter and Rei /and/ the first time I met Admiral Katsuragi. I'd never really thought about that." Another little smile.
[14:38] <Minaplo> ["Do you mind telling me the story, General?" Asked Euphemia, leaning a little closer toward him.-
[14:38] <Minaplo> [Caitlin was looking more interested as well; she'd actually stopped eating.]
[14:47] <Raphael> "Well, the first time was on the ground during the Twelfth's attack, which…" He gave a thin, humourless smile, "Isn't particularly excellent lunch conversation, I'm afraid."-
[14:47] <Raphael> "But I can tell the second, if you'd like?"
[14:49] <Minaplo> ["Please."]
[15:17] <Raphael> "Well it was just before…" A pause as he checked his memory, "Just before the incident at Eden Base. In any case, Marshal Amatore-deForest invited Misato and I to her apartment for drinks, and Ms. Ranvier happened to be there - she was living with Marianne and Yanmei at the time, I believe."-
[15:20] <Raphael> "Anyway, there was a good amount of talking and drinking - I remember Ms. Ranvier was one of the ones after Isaiah, if only to toy with Yanmei. Misato and I outlasted the other two, but as it happened Eugenia gave us a pretty stern lecture before she fell asleep." He was still smiling, stabbing his meal idly with a fork. "She told us that we should both grow up and open ourselves back up to other people, otherwise we may as well be dead."-
[15:21] <Raphael> "In a funny way she's probably at least a little responsible for the fact that the Admiral and I are together at all."
[16:48] <Minaplo> ["Wow." Said Caitlin. "She told you that…?"-
[16:49] <Minaplo> [Euphemia was smiling in a gentle, wistful way. "That sounds much like her." She said. "She was… Perceptive like that."]
[16:50] <Raphael> "Oh, you had a chance to meet her as well, Commander?"
[17:02] <Minaplo> ["Yes. I was charged with seeing to her needs after she came to the LN." Said Euphemia. "She was… Very weak, near the end."]
[17:03] * Raphael nodded slowly. "… I was sorry to hear of the way it ended for her."
[17:08] <Minaplo> ["Yes." Said Euphemia. "… Nonetheless, I think she died the way she wanted to."-
[17:09] <Minaplo> ["… But she deserved a better life than she had. It is cruel that even the most worthless Iron Guard can regenerate, but someone so deserving never had a second chance."]
[17:10] * Raphael gave a muted nod, and took an unenthusiastic mouthful of noodles to fill the silence.
[17:15] <Minaplo> [Caitlin had sat quietly throughout this as well, a pensive frown on her face.-
[17:15] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[17:15] <Minaplo> [Euphemia looked between the two of them. She eyed Raphael, waited until he had properly swallowed, then gave him a friendly- and firm- slap on the back. "So the Admiral Katsuragi? Lucky you!"]
[17:28] <Raphael> Raphael winced, trying and failing to mask it. Even a restrained Guard struggled to be restrained enough. "Lucky me," he agreed. "I've more or less given up trying to hide it, since everyone on the ship seems to know."
[17:33] <Mianplo> ["This ship has some particularly enthusiastic rumourmongers." Agreed Euphemia. "Most of them are false, I believe."-
[17:33] <Mianplo> ["Still. Forgive me for saying so, but I am a little envious."]
[17:34] * Raphael gave her a curious look. "Ma'am?"
[17:38] <Mianplo> ["Unlike many Guard, I was created from scratch, a modified clone. By your reasonings I am very young." She said. "Most of my comrades have had the ability to experience many types of relationships… My own experiences are limited."-
[17:39] <Mianplo> ["But I had the chance to work closely with the Admiral during the conquest of Panama. She is… Admirable."-
[17:39] <Mianplo> ["An admirable admiral?" Said Caitlin innocently.-
[17:39] <Mianplo> ["Hah! Funny."]
[17:49] <Raphael> "Hilarious," Raphael said, rolling his eyes.-
[17:49] <Raphael> "But that makes sense. I knew she'd worked with your Wizard Army in Panama, but I hadn't really drawn the connection…"
[17:55] <Mianplo> ["What was Panama like?" Asked Caitlin.-
[17:55] <Mianplo> ["It was…"-
[17:55] <Mianplo> ["… Well-led." Said Euphemia awkwardly.]
[18:04] <Raphael> "The UEF has good commanders," Raphael agreed, but his tone was non-commital.
[18:05] <Mianplo> [Caitlin looked between the two of them. She frowned. "Did something happen?"]
[18:05] <Raphael> "No."
[18:06] <Mianplo> ["Yes." Said Euphemia.]
[18:06] <Raphael> "…"
[18:09] <Mianplo> ["…" Euphemia looked momentarily shame-faced.-
[18:09] <Mianplo> ["It was something bad, wasn't it." Said Caitlin, looking crestfallen.]
[18:12] <Raphael> "It was bad, yes," he sighed. "There's no need for you to know about it…"
[18:31] <Mianplo> ["…" Caitlin looked down at her food.-
[18:32] <Mianplo> ["I'm afraid the General is right." Said Euphemia. "There will be time enough later to learn of bad things. More than your fair share."]
[18:37] <Raphael> "Unfortunately so," he muttered. Noodles. Noodles were simple…
[18:43] <Mianplo> ["… Sorry." Said Caitlin smally.]
[18:46] * Raphael gave her hair a gentle tousle. "Not your fault, Caity. Hard to know what to say sometimes, that's all. I'm sorry I'm being so careful."
[19:01] <Mianplo> [She accepted the tousle with a shy smile. "Okay. I'll trust you- you know better with all the… This."]
[19:06] <Raphael> "The this, yes," he agreed with a little sigh.-
[19:06] <Raphael> Then, in the spirit of Euphemia only moments ago, he made an attempt to rally. "So! You've found yourself a new hobby - what do you think you're going to try next?"
[19:07] <Mianplo> ["H-Huh? Oh…"-
[19:08] <Mianplo> ["I… I don't know what I'm gonna do next! There's so many things that I dunno what to do first!"]
[19:09] <Raphael> "A list then!" he said, laughing.
[19:15] <Mianplo> ["Ooh, a list. I-I wanna do it on one of those star trek pad things I keep seeing around. Raffy, please…?"]
[19:16] <Raphael> "What, one of the tablets?" he asked, already digging around in her gym bag for where he'd stored his personal one.
[19:16] <Mianplo> ["Don't call them that, that makes them sound like medicine."]
[19:19] <Raphael> "'Star Trek Pad Things' doesn't exactly roll off the tongue," he said as he pulled the computer free. He unlocked it, opened up one of the simple note-taking apps… and then after a moment's thought brushed at his pockets until he found the one containing the tablet's stylus.
[19:19] <Raphael> Then he handed the whole setup over.
[19:20] <Mianplo> [Caitlin took it with all the reverence usually associated with a different type of tablet. "S-So… What do I do?"]
[19:22] <Raphael> "If you want, you can use that-" He pointed to the stylus, "- like a pen. Just write on the screen. If you don't want to do that you can press that little button in the corner to bring up a keyboard, and then you just use your finger on the screen to type."
[19:26] <Mianplo> ["Like this?" She said, writing out- with the pen- her own name. She showed it to him.]
[19:27] <Raphael> "Like that," he said, grinning. "And you can use the other end as an eraser if you need."
[19:29] <Mianplo> [And she did so. "Ohhh man. That's really neat."-
[19:29] <Mianplo> ["Do they have pads that let you… Draw on them?" She asked hopefully.]
[19:31] <Raphael> He was outright beaming now as he watched her get the hang of it. "Pretty sure they do. Do you want to see if Technical has a spare they could loan you…?"
[19:32] <Mianplo> ["Yes please!" She said, as she went back to writing.-
[19:32] <Mianplo> [She was writing a list of names now, just revelling in this shiny new tech.-
[19:32] <Mianplo> [Her spelling wasn't always perfect, of course- some of the names weren't the sort she was used to.-
[19:34] <Mianplo> [Missato.-
[19:34] <Mianplo> [Raffy.-
[19:34] <Mianplo> [Euphimea.-
[19:34] <Mianplo> [Rei.-
[19:34] <Mianplo> [Suzie.-
[19:34] <Mianplo> [Aksel.-
[19:34] <Mianplo> [Heminway.-
[19:34] <Mianplo> [Maya.-
[19:34] <Mianplo> [James.-
[19:34] <Mianplo> [Eevi.]
[19:36] <Raphael> "Just practicing?"
[19:41] <Mianplo> ["Yup." Said Caitlin. "We weren't allowed to use pens in school, but this is way better. I think my spelling's a bit shaky, though." She said, showing him the tablet once again. "It is, huh?"]
[19:50] * Raphael made a dismissive little noise as he looked over the first few names. "It's pretty good, all things conside-"-
[19:51] <Raphael> Silence. He'd stalled mid-word and didn't even seem to notice. After a moment he tapped a name in the middle of the list with one utterly steady hand.-
[19:51] <Raphael> "… Who's Aksel, Caity?"
[19:55] <Mianplo> ["Who?" She said, looking back down at the list.-
[19:55] <Mianplo> [She frowned. "I…?"-
[19:55] <Mianplo> [And then her eyes narrowed suddenly in distress. "I- I have a headache…"]
[19:59] <Raphael> "Hey, that's alright," he said gently, even though the words came a little too fast. After another quick fish through her bag he handed over the water bottle. "Probably just tired from exercise, hmm? Maybe we should head home."-
[19:59] <Raphael> "Sorry, Commander. Your cooking is excellent, but it looks like we might have to cut this short," he said, turning to Euphemia with a smile that came nowhere close to reaching his eyes.
[20:01] <Mianplo> [Euphemia had been watching the exchange closely; she nodded. "Yes, I agree. I'll dispose of all this."-
[20:02] <Mianplo> [Caitlin took the bottle of water, unscrewed the top and drank greedily. A few seconds later she lowered it and looked up.-
[20:02] <Mianplo> ["… Huh."]
[20:06] <Raphael> Raphael had busied himself repacking the bag almost immediately, shovelling items in with more speed and force than the situation seemed to require. At the sound of her voice he glanced back up.-
[20:06] <Raphael> "Something wrong?" The words were light, but his eyes… his attention was on her, completely and utterly.
[20:09] <Mianplo> ["Uh… I don't think so." Said Caitlin. "I think I had a headache, but it's gone. I dunno, I… Kinda zoned out for a little bit."-
[20:10] <Mianplo> ["… Hey, do they have pads that let you… Draw on them?" She asked, again. Hopefully.]


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