Cherry Blossom Procession 4 2 25

[11:13] <Raphael> The Dorian wasn't lacking for hangars. In many cases they ran the length of the top and bottom decks of the ship, loaded heavily with every type of flight-equipped vehicle that the UEF had access to, from fighter jets to Superheavies to Evas.-
[11:14] <Raphael> And they were busy, with tech crews, pilots and cargo constantly rushing to and fro even in quieter moments. It had been tough for Raphael to find a place where he was out from underfoot, but finally he'd perched himself on a stack of crates that'd been mag-locked to the floor. He had a small notebook laid over his knees, filled with neat, thin handwriting, and every now and again he paused to make some note or adjustment.-
[11:14] <Raphael> … and then, inevitably, he'd pause to look up at the hangar doors above before going back to his work. They remained stubbornly closed.
[11:28] <Minaplo> [Throughout this, Raphael had gone unbothered. The crews had been busy with their own duties and no one had needed the crates. They figured he had good reasons to be there.-
[11:29] <Minaplo> [It would be a little unexpected, then, to hear an awkward cough from behind him.]
[11:31] <Raphael> He paused his writing mid-word and glanced back over his shoulder.
[11:35] <Minaplo> [Standing a few metres behind him, her hands folded demurely in front of her, looking deeply shamefaced, was Maya Ibuki.]
[11:37] <Raphael> "… ah," he said slowly. After a moment he tucked the notepad into his jacket pocket and stepped down off the crate to face her. "Lieutenant."
[11:39] <Minaplo> ["G-General." She said timidly.]
[11:50] <Raphael> He gave her a wary look. "Here to jab me in the chest again?"
[11:57] <Minaplo> ["U-Um." She flushed red. "No. I'm here to meet the Admiral…"-
[11:58] <Minaplo> [Then her words came out in a tumble. "I'm really sorry I went mad on you I was just scared and Ritsuko-senpai told me to apologise please don't take it personally I said all kinds of horrible things I'm sorry…"]
[12:05] <Raphael> A small smile found its way onto Raphael's face, and he seemed to relax a little. "… you're forgiven, Lieutenant. You got me into the right mindset for that day right off the bat, so it was almost appreciated," he said wryly.
[12:19] <Minaplo> ["I-I did…?"]
[12:20] <Raphael> "Well after you I ran into the old men…"
[12:20] <Minaplo> ["Oh no…"]
[12:24] <Raphael> "I've had better days, overall, and you weren't the only one who thought it was my fault. The rumour had circled the ship by the end of the day," he shrugged.
[12:26] <Minaplo> ["Oh. I'm sorry to hear that. Rumours suck." Said Maya sympathetically. "Can I sit on the crate too?"]
[12:28] <Raphael> "Of course," he said, returning to his perch alongside her.
[12:28] <Minaplo> [Maya sat down.-
[12:31] <Minaplo> ["I'm sorry. I know I had some part in spreading that rumour, too. It wasn't anything intentional, but rumours can get out of control fast…"]
[12:33] <Raphael> "Try not to worry too much. I've had some experience with the rumour mill."
[12:33] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, it's hard not to know that. I have too, if it's any consolation."]
[12:34] <Raphael> "Oh?"
[12:35] <Minaplo> [Maya shrugged. "It's basically the same as you. I'm young, I'm eligible, so you can have lunch with a colleague and the next day everyone thinks you're secretly dating."]
[12:40] * Raphael gave a sympathetic nod. "They can't seem to help themselves. I don't know what's in the water to cause it."
[12:41] <Minaplo> ["Heh. What's the old quote? Smart people talk about ideas, normal people talk about events, stupid people talk about other people? Maybe it's just that. It was worse in high school, though- it was more judgmental back then."]
[12:43] <Raphael> "Most things are worse in high school, at least by my memory."
[12:44] <Minaplo> ["Hmm." She eyed him curiously, now.]
[12:45] * Raphael glanced back, an eyebrow raised. "I thought that was common consensus."
[12:48] <Minaplo> ["Well, that's just conjecture. To prove it, we'd need to run rigorous tests." Said Maya brightly.-
[12:48] <Minaplo> ["It's a shame they never decided to enrol you in high school during your Shinjiform phase…"]
[12:50] * Raphael made a disgusted noise. "People kept joking about it. Luckily the high schools in Paris-2 spent more time ruined than operational, so I was reasonably safe."
[12:53] <Minaplo> ["That's no good. We could've shipped you off to a Tokyo-2 school." Said Maya enthusiastically. "You'd be able to visit Misato whenever you wanted, whilst also enjoying an ideal dream of high school life!"]
[13:01] <Raphael> "Believe me, if I took enough of a blow to the head to return to high school I'd be sure to do it as far away from Misato as possible. The teasing would be intolerable."
[13:02] <Minaplo> ["Good for you. Poor Shin-chan had no such option…"]
[13:04] * Raphael snorted. "Shinji and Misato… a terrible combination if there ever was one."
[13:07] <Minaplo> ["You have no idea. Pretty early on, she came to pick him up one day and saw him waiting with Tsubaki, having a talk. You shoulda heard it…" Said Maya. "'Oooo, Shin-chan, who knew you were such a smooth operator~? Just keeping her company, hmmm?'"]
[13:12] * Raphael covered his face with a hand. "It's reflexive for her, I'm sure of it."
[13:12] <Minaplo> ["It really is. Poor Shin-chan was so embarrassed, too…"-
[13:13] <Minaplo> ["Don't worry, though. The Ayanamis got their fair share too."]
[13:33] <Raphael> "Believe me, I know," he laughed. "She got to them early. More than a few still treat her as a trusted source on relationships."-
[13:34] <Raphael> He gave the hangar doors another look, still smiling. "Oh well. Her heart's in the right place."
[13:34] <Minaplo> ["Well, you'd know more about that than I would, sir." Said Maya modestly.-
[13:35] <Minaplo> [With a sudden creak, the hangar doors split open, sending a shaft of sunlight into the hangar bay.-
[13:36] <Minaplo> [Into the hangar slowly fell a black, stealth Stormbird, its engine jets unusually quiet for such a large vehicle. After about half a minute it finally landed, its nose pointed toward the wall.]
[13:39] <Raphael> "Finally," he murmured, getting to his feet.-
[13:39] <Raphael> "Are you making a report, Lieutenant? Or just saying hello?"
[13:43] <Minaplo> ["A report, but don't worry sir, I'll be quick."]
[13:47] <Raphael> "It's no problem, Lieutenant. Professional matters first," he said… although his words were belied by how quickly he was heading for the VTOL.
[13:47] <Minaplo> [Indeed, Maya was having to jog slightly to keep up.-
[13:51] <Minaplo> [The rear hatch of the VTOL lowered. Down it walked Misato, followed by Hyuga and Aoba.-
[13:53] <Minaplo> [Misato looked… Tired. Perhaps only Raphael could see it; her posture was still straight and her expression firm, as it was when she was on duty. But there was something around the eyes, the edge to her voice…-
[13:54] <Minaplo> [Maya stepped forward. "Welcome back, Admiral." She said with a salute.-
[13:54] <Minaplo> [Misato saluted in return, then turned to look at Raphael.]
[14:40] * Raphael stood alongside Maya for the moment, and though he smiled there was a hint of concern in the way he took her in. "Hi there, Misato."
[14:43] <Minaplo> [Quite suddenly Misato brushed past Maya, threw her arms tightly around Raphael's chest- one hand resting on his neck- and drew him into an aggressively unconcerned kiss.-
[14:43] <Minaplo> [Maya, Hyuga and Aoba watched on, their expressions embarrassed, astonished and amused respectively.]
[14:49] <Raphael> Even more surprisingly, Raphael made no effort to resist it. It stretched on for long enough that a few particularly brave techies applauded and whooped as they came up for air.-
[14:49] <Raphael> "… Well it's good to see you too," he murmured, meeting her eyes.
[14:56] <Minaplo> ["It's better seeing you." She mumbled. "C'mon, let's get out of here."-
[14:56] <Minaplo> ["B-But Admiral, my report-"-
[14:56] <Minaplo> ["Hyuga can handle it." Said Misato dismissively.]
[15:02] <Raphael> "Of course," he said gently, putting an arm around her shoulders. He shot the trio behind them an apologetic look, but he didn't waste any time leading her away.
[15:05] <Minaplo> [And Misato was only too content to be led away.-
[15:06] <Minaplo> [She snuggled up against him and kept quiet until they were out of the hangar. "Oh, there we go. Somewhere that doesn't smell of machine oil."]
[15:18] <Raphael> He chuckled, but it was a perfunctory sound that just gave him a chance to tuck her a little more tightly against his side. "Do you want to head back to your room…?"
[15:25] <Minaplo> ["Yes please." She said quickly.]
[15:30] * Raphael nodded and took a left at the next intersection, setting them both on the right path. For the rest of the journey he spoke about mundanities - what Rei, Caitlin and Suzie had been doing first, then a few anecdotes from his own day-to-day. He kept it quiet and calm, speaking in such a way that she barely needed to offer input unless she wanted to.
[15:33] <Minaplo> [And Misato took advantage of that- she barely spoke up until they returned to her dorm.-
[15:34] <Minaplo> [On arriving, she promptly walked in- still dragging Raphael- and flopped onto her bed, face-first.-
[15:34] <Minaplo> ["Oh my God, I've missed this. Hello, bed. Your only flaw is being too big for a dumb carrier dorm." She mumbled.-
[15:35] <Minaplo> ["… Hey, have you been sleeping in here?" She asked suddenly, her voice muffled by the fact that she was still speaking into the bed.]
[15:36] <Raphael> "Uh, once," he admitted. He'd seated himself on the edge of the bed with one hand resting gently on her back.
[15:37] <Minaplo> ["Did you miss me~?"]
[15:38] <Raphael> "Always." His tone of voice suggested he considered it the most obvious question in the world.
[15:38] <Minaplo> ["…Mmmf."-
[15:40] <Minaplo> [Misato rolled onto her back, staring up at him. "Y'know how there's a plush toy of you? Well I reclaimed it from Mana and snuck it onto the Enterprise, so I didn't miss you at all."]
[15:45] * Raphael raised an eyebrow. "Oh, so you prepared and decided to leave me to my loneliness. I see how it is, ma'am."-
[15:45] <Raphael> He placed both hands over his heart with an utterly straight face and promptly flopped back as though he'd been shot in the chest, leaving his head next to hers.
[15:55] <Minaplo> [She stared at him blankly for a few seconds.-
[15:56] <Minaplo> [Then suddenly she cracked up, throwing her hands over her mouth, stifling a few hopeless giggles before laughing loud and raucously, filling the room with her mirth.-
[15:57] <Minaplo> [It took her a while to recover, and when she did she playfully whacked him on the chest. "I-If only people knew how much of a goof you were."]
[15:58] <Raphael> "If they all knew I wouldn't be able to surprise you with it," he said fondly.
[16:03] <Minaplo> ["Awwww." She cooed. Now she sat up, but only long enough to flop herself across his chest. "You really must've missed me, I've come back and you're all smooth and charming."]
[16:05] <Raphael> "Excuse me, ma'am, I'm always smooth and charming," he said with mock-sternness. He wrapped both arms around her protectively, but otherwise seemed content with his position.
[16:12] <Minaplo> ["Hmph. And you wonder why people spread rumours about you?"]
[16:14] <Raphael> "That's got nothing to do with it," he said. "People here would spread rumours about Anita-Margaret if they saw an opportunity."
[16:18] <Minaplo> ["Ooh, have they~? Maybe Ban-Ban's got a girlfriend?"]
[16:18] <Raphael> "Point proven."
[16:19] <Minaplo> ["Hmph."-
[16:19] <Minaplo> ["Well what rumours have I missed, then?"]
[16:24] <Raphael> "I hate to be a disappointment, but you know I don't pay much attention to that nonsense," he said, one hand brushing her hair away from her neck. "You should ask San - she's been spending all her time observing people since her first test with Director Simon fell through. Nobody's had much luck talking her out of it."
[16:25] <Minaplo> ["Oh no, Simon turned her down?"]
[16:27] <Raphael> "There might be a second chance yet, but there were some mistakes made. Simon seems to think there's potential there, it's just getting San to use it properly."
[16:29] <Minaplo> ["Hmm." Misato leaned slightly into Raphael's chest. "She's observing people- so does that mean Simon felt she wasn't paying attention?"]
[16:31] <Raphael> "That was part of it, I think."
[16:34] <Minaplo> ["Huh. So what, San's just… Watching people?"]
[16:36] * Raphael nodded, his chin briefly bumping the top of her head. "Watching from a distance and taking notes, usually. She caches them as soon as anyone tries to approach."-
[16:36] <Raphael> "… there have been a few complaints."
[16:38] <Minaplo> ["… Oh~?"]
[16:41] <Raphael> "A pair of technicians snuck into one of the abandoned buildings in the Promenade and were… occupied before they realized they were being watched," he said awkwardly. "We checked the cameras after the fact and San had been shadowing them for the better part of an hour before that."
[16:48] <Minaplo> ["Oh no." Whispered Misato in horrified delight. "And she just watched?"]
[16:48] <Raphael> "Apparently."
[16:50] <Minaplo> ["Someone needs to give that girl a firm talking-to."]
[16:53] <Raphael> "I've tried, and so's Marianne. She apologizes and says it won't happen again, and then a few days later…"-
[16:54] <Raphael> He shook his head. "I'll have Rei talk to her when she's back from the UK."
[17:05] <Minaplo> ["You're all going about it the wrong way." Said Misato knowingly.]
[17:05] <Raphael> "Oh really?"
[17:06] <Minaplo> ["We should be thinking of harm minimisation." Said Misato sagely. "If we can't get her to stop, then we just direct her habits against people that we're okay with being watched."]
[17:06] <Raphael> "… hmm. Like who?"
[17:09] <Minaplo> ["Like, oh, I dunno… Asuka?" She offered innocently.]
[17:10] <Raphael> "I would rather San lived, thank you very much," he said, nudging her in the ribs.
[17:20] <Minaplo> ["Ow! Hey-hey, it'd be for a good cause~"]
[17:20] <Raphael> "Your amusement?"
[17:22] <Minaplo> ["You don't think that's a good cause?"]
[17:23] <Raphael> He paused. "Hm. I may have backed myself into a corner."
[17:24] <Minaplo> ["I'm a tactical genius." Said Misato brightly, turning around to give him a triumphant, I-won-and-you-can't-deny-it kiss.-
[17:24] <Minaplo> ["So what else have I missed, hm?"]
[17:32] <Raphael> "Oh, nothing interesting. I'm terribly boring without you here, you know," he said gently.-
[17:32] <Raphael> "The rest is all work, or work-related. Better to leave that for later."
[17:35] <Minaplo> ["Mmm…"-
[17:37] <Minaplo> ["I wish I could get more time back here." Said Misato. "But it's all rush-rush-rush right now. First they had me in the Pacific, then I had to haul ass back to Spain to prepare for the invasion of Morocco… Conducting a world war is hard work. We should just invite the UN to a drinking contest and tie it up like that."]
[17:41] * Raphael groaned. "You know, that sounds wonderful right about now."
[17:42] <Minaplo> ["I bet they have you thrown to all four corners of the world too, huh?"]
[17:51] <Raphael> "Oh yes," he sighed. "I should've made you cross the continent to see me while I was in the Congo. We could've had lunch."
[17:54] <Minaplo> ["Geez, the Congo?"-
[17:59] <Minaplo> [Misato leaned up slightly now, looking up at him. "You're ok?"]
[18:05] <Raphael> "Right now? Absolutely," he said matter-of-factly, then offered her a smile. "No need to worry about me, ma'am."-
[18:06] <Raphael> He examined her for a moment, seeming to see right through her. "… how about you?"
[18:06] <Minaplo> ["Me?" She said, giving him a cheery smile. "I'm…"-
[18:07] <Minaplo> [… But she couldn't carry it through. Her smile faded, and she dropped her head gently into his chest. "I feel kinda shitty…"]
[18:11] <Raphael> "I thought so," he said, his arms still twined around her middle to hold her close.-
[18:11] <Raphael> "Is there anything I can do?"
[18:13] <Minaplo> ["Well holding me like you are is a good start." Said Misato, her tone quietly warm. "Otherwise… I dunno. I think it's just a bad time. I can't really tell how it's gonna go sometimes. Bad sleep? Being away from you? Seeing people die? They could all be part of it, but who knows…"-
[18:14] <Minaplo> ["Maybe I need to go have a word with Delgado." She said half-jokingly.]
[18:18] <Raphael> Misato's head was still buried in his chest, which was good - it meant she didn't have to watch how suddenly, obviously wrongfooted he was.-
[18:20] <Raphael> "Doctor Delgado's… mm, this was one of the work things I mentioned," he sighed. "He had a heart-attack last week. He's fine, but Tenma's finally talked him into retiring."
[18:26] <Minaplo> ["W-Wait, what?!" Misato's head shot right back up. "He's retiring?! But…"]
[18:28] <Raphael> "I know," he said apologetically. "He's already named an old protege as a replacement."
[18:30] <Minaplo> ["Oh man, a protege? So we have to start all over again, huh?"]
[18:31] <Raphael> "Maybe. I'm not really sure how the transition process works with this sort of thing…"
[18:46] <Minaplo> ["Mmrph. Poor Delgado, though- he loved working here!"]
[18:51] <Raphael> "I know…"-
[18:52] <Raphael> He sighed heavily, forcing himself to speak again. "I may as well tell you: The rumour going around is that it's my fault."
[18:53] <Minaplo> ["Huh…?" Her expression was incredulous. "Yeah right."]
[18:55] * Raphael shut his eyes. "I had an argument with him a little bit before the heart-attack itself. People put the two together, and… Yes."
[18:57] <Minaplo> ["Oh."-
[18:57] <Minaplo> ["… Did you 'put the two together' too?" She asked warily.]
[19:01] <Raphael> "Of course I did," he laughed. "Circumstances didn't help that, of course. Although when I tried to put any blame on myself in front of Euphrasie she tore through me for being a fool, so I've got enough plenty of people telling me it's not true, too."
[19:04] <Minaplo> ["Well good." Said Misato firmly. "Seriously, the people on this ship gossip too damn much."]
[19:05] <Raphael> Raphael stared at her for a moment, then started to shake with laughter. "O-of course, Misa—" He attempted, before the laughter stole his breath away entirely.
[12:03] <Minaplo> [Misato's blank expression quickly turned into a knowing smirk. "Oho, I get it, I get it, I see… I'll have you know I only gossip out of civil duty."]
[12:11] <Raphael> "You and Yanmei are just filled with an overabundance of civic responsibility, I know," he said, pulling one hand away to wipe an honest-to-god tear from the corner of his eye.
[12:12] <Minaplo> ["Well we are." Said Misato, jabbing Raphael in his ribs. "Information wants to be free, you know!"]
[12:15] <Raphael> "Oh really?" he asked, grinning. "I'll tell you what, since San needs a new target I'll point her at you. Hold firm in your ideals, Admiral."
[12:15] <Minaplo> ["Y-You fool! She'll watch you too!"]
[12:16] <Raphael> "I am willing to sacrifice myself for the beliefs of my beloved," he said piously.
[12:19] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[12:20] <Minaplo> [Misato narrowed her eyes. "Fine." She said dangerously. "Fine, if that's how you two want to play. Let San come. We'll see how long she lasts, eh?"]
[12:25] <Raphael> "We'll see," he said cheerfully.
[12:27] <Minaplo> ["Hmph. You're cocky, but you won't remain cocky when she's spying in Vladivostok, will you?"]
[12:31] <Raphael> "You're not allowed to send her to Vladivostok when she beats you, Misato."
[12:32] <Minaplo> ["Says who?"]
[12:33] <Raphael> "Marianne."
[12:33] <Minaplo> ["Oh, that's not a problem."]
[12:33] <Raphael> "Oh?"
[12:36] <Minaplo> ["Nah, Marianne's easy to fix. All I have to do is persuade her or Yanmei otherwise."]
[12:38] <Raphael> "… it would be easy to convince the latter," he frowned.
[12:39] <Minaplo> ["Exactly." Said Misato. "All I have to do is say, 'Hey, Yanmei, why don't you go on a romantic date with Isaiah here~?', and then trick San into following them, and…"]
[12:48] <Raphael> "You say that, but you've survived her this long, oh architect of the Shirokawa Boulevard Incident."
[13:01] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, but that's different!"]
[13:02] <Raphael> "Oh really?"
[13:03] <Minaplo> ["Yanmei still thinks of me as an all-powerful superior who can destroy her life with some well-timed blackmail. She thinks of San as a subordinate who makes stupid mistakes. I'm fucking untouchable!"]
[13:05] <Raphael> "'Don't be fooled by her beauty, Raphael Guillory,'" he intoned, "'For it hides a mind of ten-thousand vipers.'"
[13:07] <Minaplo> ["W-What? Who said that?"]
[13:08] <Raphael> "Chiisana, once upon a time. I'm fairly sure it was a compliment."
[13:10] <Minaplo> ["What else did she say?"]
[13:14] <Raphael> "That if I was to ever fail you I'd be a… 'mouse in a cage, ready to be swallowed whole', was the phrase, I think," he said. "You know how she gets."
[13:16] <Minaplo> ["… Hmmmm." Misato smirked smugly. "Chii's a clever cookie."]
[13:17] <Raphael> "She is that," he agreed, tucking her head against hers. "Very good advice."
[13:20] <Minaplo> ["Do you feel like a mouse in a cage yet~?"]
[13:21] <Raphael> "I'm fairly sure that's not what she meant."
[13:21] <Minaplo> ["We could interpret it to mean that."]
[13:26] <Raphael> "We could…"
[13:31] <Minaplo> ["Hmmhmm~"-
[13:31] <Minaplo> [She opened her mouth wide and bit him gently on the shoulder.-
[13:32] <Minaplo> ["Nope. Too big. Chiisana's a charlatan."]
[13:32] <Raphael> "I was a fool for believing her," he agreed.
[13:33] <Minaplo> ["She's not wrong about everything, though…"]
[13:33] <Raphael> "Oh?"
[13:34] <Minaplo> [She reached up and tapped Raphael's nose. "Boop~"]
[13:35] <Raphael> "Oh god, not again," he mumbled, and buried his face in her neck.
[13:41] <Minaplo> [Misato giggled. "It's totally cute, the way you and Caitlin have the same pointy nose~"]
[13:53] <Raphael> "Well I'm glad you think it's cute," he said, a little muffled.
[14:02] <Minaplo> ["It is cute. You're cute. And now you're all mine~"]
[14:38] * Raphael leaned back so that he could look at her properly. "If we barred the door how long do you think we could hide in here before they jaunted someone in to drag us away again?"
[14:40] <Minaplo> ["Hour and a half. If we had Tsucchin on our side? Indefinitely."]
[14:41] <Raphael> "Do you think you could make an appeal?"
[14:42] <Minaplo> ["I could give it a red hot go."]
[14:43] <Raphael> "Please."
[14:44] <Minaplo> ["Do you reckon she's watching right now?"]
[14:45] <Raphael> "You know, I've given it some thought and come to the conclusion that it's better for my sanity to assume she's always watching rather than trying to guess when she is," he said grimly.
[14:46] <Minaplo> ["What a wonderful little police state we live in."]
[14:47] <Raphael> "Mhmm."
[14:48] <Minaplo> [Misato sighed. "Alright, let's see. ~Tsucchin~"-
[14:49] <Minaplo> [A shimmering hologram-like image of Tsubaki appeared; she folded her arms and huffed. "I am not a police state, and you are both very rude."]
[14:50] <Raphael> "Merde, I was really hoping I was wrong." He muttered as he tried and failed to hide a wince.
[14:51] <Minaplo> ["I was only watching because I missed Misa-bachan and wanted to say hello." Said Tsubaki sulkily.-
[14:52] <Minaplo> ["Aww." Misato rolled off Raphael and sat up. "That's super sweet of you~ Sorry. I'll make sure to visit you soon, ok? We can have dinner together with Raffy, and you can tell me all the goss he's too good to leave out."]
[14:57] <Raphael> "If you'd like," he said agreeably, sitting up as well. His uniform was now rather creased and rumpled.
[14:57] <Minaplo> ["You promise?" Asked Tsubaki.-
[14:57] <Minaplo> ["'Course." Said Misato.-
[14:58] <Minaplo> [Tsubaki folded her arms. "Alright. Then I'll give the two of you… Does eight hours sound like enough?"]
[15:00] <Raphael> Raphael let out a little laugh that suggested he couldn't quite believe he was having this conversation, but he nodded regardless. "I think so."
[15:01] <Minaplo> ["Good." Said Tsubaki. "Have fun, then, you two. Don't do anything I wouldn't do~"-
[15:01] <Minaplo> [With that, the image vanished.-
[15:01] <Minaplo> ["She's such a weird little girl, but I kinda love her a lot after it all." Said Misato with a short laugh of her own.]
[15:03] <Raphael> "Now that I've gotten to know her properly I can't say I'm surprised," he said.
[15:04] <Minaplo> ["Oh?"]
[15:06] <Raphael> "You've got similar senses of humour," he said with a smile.
[15:08] <Minaplo> ["Yeah. You know, I wonder how much of that is my fault. I've known Tsucchin for awhile, you know. I used to just prattle off to her about all sorts of things whilst she was in her sleepymode… How much of that got internalised? Did I corrupt her?"]
[15:11] <Raphael> "Oh Misato, no…!"
[15:11] <Minaplo> ["I-Is that a 'don't worry' no or a 'what have you done' no?!"]
[15:12] <Raphael> "Very much the latter."
[15:12] <Minaplo> ["H-How bad could it be? I bet she's totally normal when I'm not around."]
[15:15] <Raphael> "I'd really wondered whether the similarities were coincidental, but now…"
[15:16] <Minaplo> ["W-What is she doing?!"]
[15:23] <Raphael> "Ok, Misato," he said slowly. "Try to imagine you had the ability to watch and do everything Tsubaki can within the bounds of the ship. Alright?"
[15:25] <Minaplo> ["Okay…"]
[15:25] <Raphael> "She's doing that."
[15:25] <Minaplo> ["Not everything, surely."]
[15:28] * Raphael looked grim.
[15:28] <Minaplo> ["Is… Is she disabling elevators with people she's trying to matchmake inside them?"]
[15:31] <Raphael> "Three instances I'm aware of."
[15:32] <Minaplo> ["Surov and Clement?" She asked.]
[15:33] <Raphael> "Twice."
[15:36] <Minaplo> ["Go and Rustami?"]
[15:38] <Raphael> "We only know she was doing it because Go picked up the AT manipulation."
[15:38] <Minaplo> [Misato cringed.-
[15:38] <Minaplo> [She leaned forward, now, her eyes wide. "Zhengsheng and herself?" Misato whispered in horror.]
[15:39] <Raphael> "…" He looked a little horrorstruck. "Not that I've heard, but it's entirely possible."
[15:39] <Minaplo> ["It's only a matter of time. Can she be stopped?"]
[15:41] <Raphael> "We might finally have a chance," he said seriously.-
[15:41] <Raphael> "Apparently we can use your perfect mental model to spot the threats ahead of time, ma'am…"
[15:41] <Minaplo> ["So you mean our only hope is Rustami."]
[15:42] <Raphael> "… sorry, Rustami?" he asked, looking as though he'd suddenly lost the thread.
[15:44] <Minaplo> ["Isn't that supposed to be his thing? He can create mental models and run them through simulations in his head to figure out the response?"]
[15:46] <Raphael> "…" Raphael's eyes had gone wide. "He can do that?"
[15:47] <Minaplo> ["Y-Yes. Sorry, I thought you knew…"]
[15:48] <Raphael> "I had no idea," he said with a shake of his head. "Was that in a briefing I missed…?"
[15:49] <Minaplo> ["Oh… Maybe? I don't know. I think he told me about it when he came to check out Panama Fortress, and I guess I assumed he'd told everyone."]
[15:56] * Raphael shook his head again. "Certainly not that I've heard. I didn't know he visited Panama either, so perhaps I'm just out of the loop."
[15:56] <Minaplo> ["Hrm."-
[15:58] <Minaplo> ["Ah, well." Said Misato. "You know how before Impact, some A-Types had special powers? Apparently that was his, but he still has it because his power just restructured his brain. I guess it's what makes him so useful."]
[15:59] * Raphael brow worked furiously as he tried to unpack that statement.-
[15:59] <Raphael> "… special powers?"
[15:59] <Minaplo> [Misato clapped a hand over her face.]
[16:00] <Raphael> "How have I been this deep in conspiracy arcana for this long and I'm still finding out ridiculous new info?" he asked, gesturing madly with both hands.
[16:01] <Minaplo> ["I don't know! I thought you would've run into it by now!"-
[16:18] <Minaplo> ["God, geez, hrm." Misato bit at her left thumbnail thoughtfully. "Let's see. Raskova used to have super strength. Von Brandt used to be able to read and manipulate minds. Surov used to be able to create mental projections of himself… The thing is that the A-Types needed training to learn how to use it, so most didn't- Yui told me that Gendo had limited ability to control plants, for
[16:18] <Minaplo> example, but he never had the chance to really use it. Many of the ones who did were either Caines or lived in a hidden village in western China known as 'Shangri-la', which they think was founded before Christ, give or take a thousand years. The people of Shangri-la used to scout out other A-Types and bring them back to Shangri-la where they could live safely without harming others or
[16:18] <Minaplo> being harmed. Of course there were only ever a maximum of 4,000 people, because there's only 4,000 A-Types, right? So what they needed was someone who could form a simulacrum of a soul and track it as it reincarnated so they'd know where to look. That's what Rustami used to do as a kid, and used to do in his previous lives as well. That's why Rustami seems so fond of Yanmei, because he
[16:18] <Minaplo> worked with her in previous lives, like when she was Cyrus, Cao Cao or Napoleon."]
[16:29] <Raphael> "I don't…"-
[16:29] <Raphael> "… Napoleon?"
[16:29] <Raphael> His voice was very small.
[16:30] <Minaplo> ["Oh God, you don't know that?" Said Misato hastily. "She uses that red pendant to focus her previous memories and creates a projection of Napoleon in reflections…"]
[16:32] <Raphael> "Oh my God." He looked rather glassy-eyed.
[16:32] <Minaplo> ["Oh my God." Repeated Misato. "I shouldn't be telling you any of this!"]
[16:33] <Raphael> "At least telling me everything at once heightens the possibility of trauma-induced memory loss," he said dully.
[16:34] <Minaplo> [Misato covered her face with her hands.-
[16:35] <Minaplo> ["I told you Yanmei is Napoleon." She whispered in horror. "Oh no, it's worse because you're French…"]
[16:39] <Raphael> "Give me a few minutes, I'm going to hide in the bathroom and sing La Marseillaise to reaffirm my national pride."
[16:42] <Minaplo> ["I suppose this would be a bad time to tell you that I was Robespierre in a past life?"]
[16:44] * Raphael covered his face with both hands and started laughing helplessly.
[16:45] <Minaplo> ["H-ha-ha, yeah, that was a joke…" Said Misato.]
[16:47] <Raphael> "It was. I can tell."
[16:48] <Minaplo> ["W-Well good. Because I was actually Hitler."]
[16:50] * Raphael moved his hands enough to stare at her with wide eyes. "M-Misato!"
[16:50] <Minaplo> ["Okay, that was a joke too!"]
[16:51] <Raphael> "I know!"
[16:51] <Minaplo> ["Oh my God I can't stop saying stupid bullshit someone stop me"]
[16:57] <Raphael> As if to fulfill her request he put both hands around her and kissed her hard.
[17:02] <Minaplo> ["Mmff-"-
[17:03] <Minaplo> [And Misato, freed from her own mouth cooking off wildly, put her arms around him in return, kissed harder and pushed him back onto the bed.-
[17:04] <Minaplo> [Little did Raphael realise that he, unwittingly, had become the fourth instance of Tsubaki locking two people in a room together- he would eventually find out that the door to the room had become jammed beyond his ability to fix.-
[17:04] <Minaplo> [But that would be then. As for now…]


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