Cherry Blossom Procession 4 2 3

(13:57) <CakeyCake> Blue's was a lot quieter than it usually was around lunchtime - something Yanmei noted with a great deal of smugness for two reasons. The first was because it would be really easy to find a seat without all the extra customers. The second reason was because the quietness meant that Blue's was getting a lot of competition from the ship's second restaurant, which was brand new, full of
(13:57) <CakeyCake> healthy foods, and didn't have a terrible commercial campaign that it had posted online soley to infuriate her. Karmic retribution~ She took a seat at the bar itself and peered around casually.
(13:58) <Minaplo> [As Yanmei had expected, the place was a lot quieter than usual.-
(14:04) <Minaplo> [But more to the point, Blue wasn't even here. In his place was none other than Zhang Zhengsheng, tending bar. As Yanmei entered, he gave her a crooked smile, leaned over and ruffled her hair. "Hey there, sis."]
(14:13) <CakeyCake> "H-hey!" She tried smoothing her hair down hastily. "Hmph. Don't you have it easy today? You can just relax and chat to whoever you want with this traffic."
(14:14) <Minaplo> ["That's right." He said cheerfully. "Blue's less cruisy, heh, he's off tryin' to fix the 'problem' now, so to speak…"]
(14:14) <CakeyCake> "W-wait. What do you mean fix?"
(14:15) <Minaplo> ["I mean make the problem go away."]
(14:18) <CakeyCake> Yanmei half stood up, peering toward the door in alarm. "He can't do that! It's illegal to smash up someone else's business just because they're stealing customers!"
(14:22) <Minaplo> ["Hey, slow your roll, sis." Said Zhengsheng. "He's not doin' anything violent…"]
(14:23) <CakeyCake> "Then… blackmail?"
(14:23) <Minaplo> ["No no. Advertising."]
(14:26) <CakeyCake> Advertising. Her eyes narrowed. "How?"
(14:27) <Minaplo> ["He's recording some ads, y'know… Celebrity endorsements."]
(14:27) <CakeyCake> "New ads… so he's not going to play the old ones anymore?"
(14:28) <Minaplo> ["Naw. He said… 'why pay to run ads everyone's seein' on the web anyway?'. So now he's gettin' new ones. You looked very cute, by the way."]
(14:32) <CakeyCake> "Grrr! All of his other endorsers had better be in costumes too!"
(14:37) <Minaplo> ["Well uh… Maybe." He said. "So. Can I getcha anything?"]
(14:39) <CakeyCake> "Soda. Maybe ginger beer?"
(14:40) <Minaplo> ["Ooh, thought you'd ask for something a little harder."]
(14:41) <CakeyCake> "I have to go back to work after this."
(14:43) <Minaplo> ["Heh. You're so grown-up, sis. One ginger beer, coming up."-
(14:43) <Minaplo> [A few moments later he'd poured her a glass tumbler's worth, leaving the can to one side.-
(14:44) <Minaplo> ["So how's work then?"]
(14:47) <CakeyCake> "Making deals, saving lives and dodging spies on the tough Spanish streets. Just another day in the life of the world's greatest Chancellor~"
(14:48) <Minaplo> ["Deals, huh?"]
(14:51) <CakeyCake> "Yeah. No one ever wants to help us out for free, so you have to convince them. 'Yeah, we'll protect your country with our mighty Evas' and so forth."
(15:14) <Minaplo> ["Oh. How hard is it, then?"]
(15:16) <CakeyCake> "Really hard. Our finances have always been pretty tough? If I'm not careful, I could promise them something we can't deliver."
(15:17) <Minaplo> ["Ooh, big stakes. Bit like gambling!"]
(15:19) <CakeyCake> "Not gambling! It's more like marketplace haggling!"
(15:20) <Minaplo> ["Yeah, but you're still taking a gamble, only it's with lives and uh… Economics." Said Zhengsheng. "Know when to fold 'em and stuff, eh?"]
(15:26) <CakeyCake> "I-I guess. It's complicated."
(15:26) <Minaplo> ["Heh. What was it today?"]
(15:28) <CakeyCake> "It's nothing I had to do. I was just hearing from the team that we sent to Canada."
(15:31) <Minaplo> ["Oh, well. How'd it turn out?"]
(15:32) <CakeyCake> "We got what we wanted, but at a tough price? We have to send one of our Evas there, permenantly."
(15:33) <Minaplo> ["Oh… Yeah?" He said, leaning a little closer. "Who?"]
(15:35) <CakeyCake> "I don't know yet. It'll be tough on whoever it is, because they'll be isolated from a lot of the fighting. If you think about it, it could be taken as an insult."
(15:35) <Minaplo> ["Yeah, could be. Wanna know what I think?"]
(15:35) <CakeyCake> "What?"
(15:37) <Minaplo> ["You're saying they'll be kept from the scrap? Pack someone who you're not gonna need in a fight." He said, pouring himself a glass of ginger beer. "And someone for who a nice peaceful posting in Canada is like strikin' gold."]
(15:38) <CakeyCake> "Do we even have someone like that?" Yanmei muttered.
(15:40) <Minaplo> ["Sure. Could name a few."]
[13:42] <Yanmei> "Like who?"
[13:48] <Minaplo> ["Ayanami reg here, comes in late at night. Blonde hair. Drinks a few drinks by herself, takes forever, stares off into the distance… Feel like that's a good pick."]
[13:53] <Yanmei> "Blonde… blonde… Juu? Or Sho…? You ever talk to her?"
[13:54] <Minaplo> ["Not Sho, I know Sho." Said Shengzheng. "Eh, tried a few times, didn't get too far. I always feel like she's waiting for someone who never shows up."]
[13:55] <Yanmei> "Juu, then. Damn. She's had it rough, I'm afraid."
[13:56] <Minaplo> ["Yeah?"]
[13:57] <Yanmei> "Keeps getting defeated over and over again. Her self-esteem must be about six feet under by now? Never mind her nerves…"
[14:02] <Minaplo> ["Damn. That sucks. Maybe I should give it another go…" He said, frowning down at his hands.]
[14:06] <Yanmei> "No, if she wants to be left alone, we should probably do that. She has a lot on her mind. But would she take it as an insult if we told her to go to Canada? She could probably use a rest, but I don't even know how she feels about fighting."
[14:07] <Minaplo> ["Know anything else about her?"]
[14:11] <Yanmei> "Not much. I think she was fascinated by romance stories at one point. I'm not sure if she still is."
[14:13] <Minaplo> ["… Huh. Well that's really sad, little sis."]
[14:14] <Yanmei> "Yeah, maybe," she admitted quietly.
[14:15] <Minaplo> ["They're innocent, aren't they?" He said. "The Ayanamis. Or were innocent, once."]
[14:16] <Yanmei> "Of course they were! No one starts life as a soldier."
[14:25] <Minaplo> ["True. But like… They have this earnestness to them. They do things whole-heartedly… Except her."]
[14:26] <Yanmei> "…"
[14:28] <Minaplo> ["Blue scolded me the other day." Said Zhengsheng with a wry smile. "Said there was something about the Ayanamis that made me wanna try and protect 'em, he told me I was dumb 'cause they could kick my ass to the moon. Right, of course- but I dunno, earnestness is precious, isn't it?"]
[14:29] <Yanmei> "A lot of people believe so. But it can make them targets too?"
[14:30] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, I can see how that'd work…"]
[14:30] <Yanmei> "When does she usually come in?"
[14:32] <Minaplo> ["Uh… Few times a week I guess?"]
[14:33] <Yanmei> "What time? I think I should try to talk to her, woman to woman, before I make the decision?"
[14:34] <Minaplo> ["I uh… Late-ish?" Said Zhengsheng. "I don't keep track of her exact hours. That would be creepy, little sis."]
[14:37] <Yanmei> "Hmph. I suppose it would be. I'll figure it out later."
[14:39] <Minaplo> ["Yeah. Go halfsies? I see her, I'll call."]
[14:40] <Yanmei> "You're allowed to make phone calls on the job? I guess Blue isn't that strict after all~"
[14:42] <Minaplo> ["Blue's a cool employer, usually. Sometimes he gets a bit dumb, but he learns and moves on."-
[14:42] <Minaplo> ["Y'know who else is a cool employer? Sarasvati."]
[14:44] <Yanmei> "Yeah…?"
[14:45] <Minaplo> ["Yeah. Showing me all kinds of cool stuff! In fact…"-
[14:45] <Minaplo> [He looked around shiftily. "You wanna tend bar for me 'til I get back? Gonna show you something real cool."]
[14:47] <Yanmei> "H-huh?! I can't do that! How am I supposed to know how to mix all the weird drinks you guys have here?!"
[14:49] <Minaplo> ["Just play it cool, sis." Said Zhengsheng. "Just say I'll be back real soon and ask for 'em to wait 'til then."]
[14:49] <Yanmei> "You'd better not be gone for more than ten minutes!"
[14:51] <Minaplo> ["Thanks sis!" Said Zhengsheng, running around the bar; he latched an arm around her shoulders, kissed her on the cheek, then bolted.]
[14:52] * Yanmei peered around nervously. This felt like the most dangerous of traps. But there still weren't very many customers around, so… -
[14:53] <Yanmei> Uneasily, she slipped behind the bar, and tossed her hair.
[14:57] <Minaplo> [A minute later, two people entered. Two people with whom she was familiar.-
[14:58] <Minaplo> ["Oh, hey!" Said Lanfen. "Yanmei…? Why are you tending bar?"-
[14:58] <Minaplo> ["There goes my appetite." Said Ju.-
[14:58] <Minaplo> [Depressingly familiar.]
[15:01] <Yanmei> "I'm not tending anything! I'm just watching it until the real bartender gets back? And just for that… Ju has to pay double for her orders today!"
[15:01] <Minaplo> ["What? Hell I am!" Said Ju. "You've done it now! Dictator! Tyrant! Down with the aristos!"-
[15:02] <Minaplo> ["I have to say, this is a little, um… Disappointing." Said Lanfen, taking a seat. "No offense meant, Yanmei."]
[15:03] <Yanmei> "What do you mean?" Her eyes narrowed. "Don't tell me you're here specifically to see someone else?"
[15:04] <Minaplo> ["If you insist, I won't tell you." Said Lanfen, coughing slightly; she reddened.]
[15:06] <Yanmei> She kept a careful eye on her reaction. "That Blue, huh? What a catch~"
[15:09] <Minaplo> ["Like the flu, maybe." Said Ju. "We're both here to see your brother, so make with the goods already."]
[15:14] <Yanmei> "I can't pull him out of thin air! He'll get here when he gets here. And who said you could ogle him? Remember that you're representing the distinguished General Liu Lin!"
[15:15] <Minaplo> ["We're off-duty." Said Ju. "We can ogle whoever we want, damnit."]
[15:16] <Yanmei> "Well so am I, but you don't see me doing whatever I want."
[15:18] <Minaplo> ["I bet Isaiah does." Said Ju flatly.]
[15:18] <Yanmei> "W-what? What's that supposed to mean?"
[15:20] <Minaplo> ["Oh stop it." Said Lanfen. "We've just been helping Blue with his adverts, which was hard work, now I came in here to take a piece of eyecandy and you two are spoiiiiiiiiiiiiling it. You're so unfair."]
[15:25] <Yanmei> "So you two have the inside scoop on whatever he's filming?"
[15:26] <Minaplo> ["Sure do." Said Ju.]
[15:26] <Yanmei> "What's it like?"
[15:27] <Minaplo> ["Don't remember." Said Ju. "If only something could jog my memory."]
[15:31] <Yanmei> "Then I guess we'll all have to wait!" She folded her arms.
[15:31] <Minaplo> ["Just tell her she can eat for normal prices already." Said Lanfen.]
[15:32] <Yanmei> "Ugh. Fine. Regular prices for everyone."
[15:37] <Minaplo> ["Good." Said Ju firmly.]
[15:37] <Yanmei> "But I don't know which drink is which." She squinted at the bright wall of colorful bottles that served as the backdrop to the bar counter.
[15:47] <Minaplo> ["Oh God, don't bother." Said Ju. "I'd rather have your brother mix it for me anyway."-
[15:47] <Minaplo> ["So, wanna hear what Blue's up to?"]
[15:48] <Yanmei> "Sure." She picked up a bottle of purplish liquid and a bottle of clear liquid and peered at them both carefully.
[15:51] <Minaplo> ["So he's doing endorsements from people around the ship. Fairly well-known people."]
[15:55] <Yanmei> "Like who? Other pilots? Presidents?"
[16:12] <Minaplo> ["Let's see… Asuka. Liu Lin. And the two twin-pilots too." Said Lanfen.]
[13:25] <Yanmei> "Well, I guess he has taste if he's using Liu Lin. I don't know about those other three, though." Yanmei experimented! She pulled out a glass and then poured both liquids into it and stirred vigorously. The resulting drink was a muddy purplish-brown.
[13:28] <Minaplo> ["Whassat mean?" Asked Ju.]
[13:29] <Yanmei> "It means they don't match up to my elegance~"
[13:29] <Minaplo> ["Neither does Liu Lin." Said Ju.]
[13:32] <Yanmei> "She totally does, though." She tilted the glass in Ju's direction. "Want a sip~?"
[13:32] <Minaplo> ["Nope."-
[13:32] <Minaplo> ["She really doesn't, Yanmei." Said Lanfen. "I don't know how to say this, but…"]
[13:33] <Yanmei> "Hm?"
[13:34] <Minaplo> ["Liu Lin's a slob." Said Ju.]
[13:36] <Yanmei> "W-what? Come on, now!" Yanmei laughed.
[13:37] <Minaplo> ["It's a little true." Said Lanfen with a sigh. "She eats like a disobedient little kid, she doesn't keep her room clean, and Captain Zhuge has us do her laundry because she hates doing it."]
[13:38] * Yanmei blinked a few times. "Are you sure it's not some clever ploy?"
[13:39] <Minaplo> ["It's not." Said Lanfen.-
[13:39] <Minaplo> ["She's a stickler for personal hygeine otherwise." Said Ju. "But nope, her room's just a big ol' mess."-
[13:40] <Minaplo> ["Maybe she's one of those people who are too preoccupied with genius to care about the little things?" Offered Lanfen hopefully.]
[13:43] <Yanmei> "Exactly!" Yanmei gladly latched onto that. "She's super busy and important and probably is used to someone sorting out those small details for her?"
[13:45] <Minaplo> ["She's just lazy." Said Ju with a huff.]
[13:48] <Yanmei> "Doubtful. What did Blue want her to do, anyway?"
[13:49] <Minaplo> ["Just endorse the place." Said Lanfen. "Talk about how she liked the drinks and food. And especially the ambience. She did it in Mandarin, probably because a bunch of soldiers from home just arrived on the ship…"]
[13:52] <Yanmei> "Hmm." Yanmei took a drink from her glass.
[13:58] <Minaplo> [Or tried to; before she could, Ju shot out her hand and tore the glass away.]
[13:59] <Yanmei> "H-hey!"
[13:59] <Minaplo> ["Don't drink it, you moron." Snapped Ju. "I'm gonna go pour this out."]
[14:01] <Yanmei> "That could be a masterpiece you're throwing away," Yanmei called after her. "An… unusually acrid-smelling masterpiece."
[14:02] <Minaplo> [Ju poured the mess down the drain, rinsed the glass and placed it upside down on the sink. "You're a world leader, not Wu Hanle."]
[14:05] <Yanmei> "Mrph. Fine? No one wants to be like Wu. No more mixes."
[14:06] <Minaplo> [Ju shook her head ruefully as she took her seat.-
[14:06] <Minaplo> ["But yeah, after Lin, there was Asuka, then the twins…" Said Lanfen absently.]
[14:06] <Yanmei> "Did they have costumes and awkward lines to read?"
[14:10] <Minaplo> ["Kinda." Said Lanfen. "Asuka was in her dress uniform and the twins were in swimsuits. I think they just kinda made up their own lines, though."-
[14:10] <Minaplo> ["Asuka was actually real good at it." Said Ju.]
[14:11] <Yanmei> "Apparently she's done commercials before," Yanmei muttered.
[14:15] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, it shows." Said Ju.]
[14:17] <Yanmei> "W-well, whatever. It's not like acting is a competition."
[14:17] <Minaplo> ["You think you could do better?" Said Lanfen.]
[14:18] <Yanmei> "Why not?"
[14:19] <Minaplo> ["If you think you can, might wanna tell Blue sooner rather than later." Said Ju.]
[14:23] <Yanmei> "I've had quite enough of starring in his commercials, thank you. I will inquire over at Restful to see if they need me for something like that."
[14:24] <Minaplo> ["Cold." Said Ju with a snort.-
[14:24] <Minaplo> ["I'm back!" Cried Zhengsheng, walking in through the door; in his hand he held what looked like a small AC Suit.-
[14:24] <Minaplo> ["Zhengsheng~" Lanfen practically pirouetted on her seat. "Hello~"-
[14:24] <Minaplo> ["Er."]
[14:25] * Yanmei rolled her eyes. Hard. -
[14:26] <Yanmei> "That was a lot longer than ten minutes, you know. Here, have your bar back." She slipped out from behind it and flopped onto one of the stools instead.
[14:27] <Minaplo> ["Sorry. Had to rescue one of your friends." He said, taking up his position behind the bar.-
[14:27] <Minaplo> ["What've you got there, Zhengsheng~?" Said Lanfen, slightly breathlessly; a red shade was filling her cheeks.-
[14:28] <Minaplo> ["This, uhm." He glanced desperately at Yanmei. "Is a Friend-Type Assault Wolf."]
[14:31] <Yanmei> "What does it do? It's a friend-type so… it cuddles up to people?"
[14:32] <Minaplo> ["Friend-Type seems to be Technical speak for 'Small thing of a larger thing'. Like that Friend-Type Annihilator that Princess Alexandrina has." Said Zhengsheng. "This…"-
[14:32] <Minaplo> [He put it on the bench and pressed a button on its back. A few seconds later it lit up, then began to walk forward.-
[14:33] <Minaplo> ["It's an AC Suit. As in it has a lot of the basic functions, but it's a lot smaller. Sarasvati taught me how to make 'em. Check it. Friendsuit, sit on Yanmei's head."-
[14:35] <Minaplo> [The Friendsuit pivoted; hoverjets deployed from its back and it took off into the air; through careful maneuvering and gradual weakening of the jets, it eventually landed on Yanmei's head without setting her hair on fire.-
[14:35] <Minaplo> ["Oh wow." Said Lanfen; she clapped furiously. "It's so cute!"]
[14:37] <Yanmei> "Er…" Yanmei tried to keep her head perfectly still to prevent it from toppling off or making any other sudden moves that involved fire. A tiny bead of sweat rolled down her temple. "It's pretty impressive, if you think about it? You could use it to play pranks on people or collect data from dangerous places or both."
[14:40] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, or send messages! Or you could set it to play with animals or kids." Said Zhengsheng cheerfully. "Off you come, Friendsuit."-
[14:40] <Minaplo> [The Friendsuit leapt off and landed firmly on the bench.-
[14:40] <Minaplo> ["Was thinking of asking Blue if we could turn it into a kind of mascot."]
[14:41] <Yanmei> "Hmm." Now that it was safely off her, she poked at it lightly with an index finger. "I could see that."
[14:44] <Minaplo> ["Want one?" Asked Zhengsheng.]
[14:45] <Yanmei> "You're already to the point where you're mass producing them?"
[14:46] <Minaplo> ["Nah. It's good practice, though."]
[14:49] <Yanmei> "Hmm. What I think you should do is make one for your sisters over in the Soviet Union. Something tells me they don't have much to do right now."
[14:56] <Minaplo> ["Oh, true." Said Zhengsheng. "Oh! I'll make one for Xiumin and fill it with stuff for her studies. Little robot helper."-
[14:56] <Minaplo> ["Can I have one, Zhengsheng?" Asked Lanfen warmly.-
[14:56] <Minaplo> ["Sure. Got 300 grand?" He said.-
[14:56] <Minaplo> ["Um… Ow."]
[14:59] <Yanmei> "Hehehe. No wonder they aren't being mass produced!"
[15:02] <Minaplo> ["Yeah. Pretty cheap by army standards though." Said Zhengsheng. "Wonder if I can get rich off these…?"]
[15:04] <Yanmei> "You and Sarasvati together, remember? She helped you to make it."
[15:05] <Minaplo> ["Of course." Said Zhengsheng cheerfully.-
[15:05] <Minaplo> [Lanfen shot Yanmei a dirty look.]
[15:07] * Yanmei grinned at her innocently~
[15:13] <Minaplo> ["So one of Yanmei's friends was in trouble?" Said Ju shortly.]
[15:14] <Yanmei> "Oh, yeah. That's pretty unusual? Who was it?"
[15:14] <Minaplo> ["Rustami." Said Zhengsheng.]
[15:15] <Yanmei> "E-even more unusual! Was he being bullied by Katsuragi?"
[15:15] <Minaplo> ["Nah. Go was chasing him."]
[15:16] <Yanmei> "Mild-mannered Go? What on earth did he do?"
[15:16] <Minaplo> ["She was chasing him with soapy water." Said Zhengsheng. "Maybe because he was smelly- he was bad to be around…"]
[15:17] * Yanmei briefly covered her face with her hands. "…I see. Anyway, thank you for saving him."
[15:24] <Minaplo> ["Cool." He said happily.-
[15:24] <Minaplo> ["How'd you do it?" Said Lanfen.-
[15:24] <Minaplo> ["Oh, I just talked to Go, distracted her… She's real easy to distract."]
[13:13] * Yanmei gave him a suspicious look. "You didn't flirt with her, did you?"
[13:27] <Minaplo> ["Wouldn't say I flirted, exactly…"]
[13:29] <Yanmei> Yanmei's expression turned stern!
[13:30] <Minaplo> ["Just told her, y'know, she was looking lovely." Said Zhengsheng with a laugh. "That's not flirting, is it?"]
[13:36] <Yanmei> "We'll see if she takes it the wrong way. We'll know for sure if she makes excuses to drop by as often as possible and then desperately tries to avoid eye contact with you."
[13:39] <Minaplo> ["She kinda did the latter anyway."]
[13:43] * ZackAFK is now known as Zack
[13:45] <Yanmei> "Great. She's probably writing about you in her diary as we speak. I hope you're happy."
[13:46] <Minaplo> ["A little happy."]
[13:48] * Yanmei tsked. "Could you mix me a drink please? Surprise me."
[13:54] <Minaplo> ["Sure thing."-
[13:55] <Minaplo> ["So'd you guys have a good talk, then?" He asked.]
[13:58] <Yanmei> "Of course. We chatted about General Liu Lin, and that's all we did," said Yanmei smoothly.
[13:59] <Minaplo> ["No we didn't." Said Ju with a frown.]
[14:02] <Yanmei> "Well, we also talked about commercials," said Yanmei grudgingly.
[14:02] <Minaplo> ["Oh yeah?" Said Zhengsheng.]
[14:08] <Yanmei> "Apparently, these two were off helping your boss with filming. He's using Asuka, you know, and the good General, and the twin pilots."
[14:08] <Minaplo> ["You two got dragged into it somehow?" Said Zhengsheng.-
[14:08] <Minaplo> ["Lin lent him our services for the filming." Said Lanfen.-
[14:09] <Minaplo> ["So… What'd you do?"-
[14:09] <Minaplo> ["Oh, anything." Said Lanfen. "Made food, adjusted sets, cleaned stuff…"]
[14:09] <Yanmei> "You had sets this time?"
[14:10] <Minaplo> ["Kinda." Said Ju. "Mostly just went to places and added crap to them."]
[14:12] <Yanmei> "Hmph."
[14:13] <Minaplo> ["After they're done shooting their parts, they'll all do one last big shoot here in the grill itself." Said Lanfen.]
[14:16] <Yanmei> "Hmm? Hey maybe you'll get to be in it too at that point." She gave Zhengsheng a faint smile.
[14:17] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, I could be Server #4." He said wryly.]
[14:24] <Yanmei> "C'mon, you'd probably be great at it?"
[14:25] <Minaplo> ["Well yeah, but who'd care about me being there?"]
[14:27] * Yanmei eyed Lanfen with a smirk.
[14:27] <Minaplo> [Lanfen flushed.-
[14:27] <Minaplo> ["Heh." Zhengsheng smiled. "Sure, sure…"-
[14:33] <Minaplo> [At that point the door opened. In entered Liu Lin, who was wearing her usual white coat over a turtleneck and trousers; she was followed by the Simonides twins, who both wore dark red one-piece swimsuits with white towels wrapped around their legs.-
[14:33] <Minaplo> ["Hi." Said Lin. "Sorry to interrupt, but I need these two back."-
[14:33] <Minaplo> [Yanmei caught the split-second scowl on Lanfen's face.]
[14:36] <Yanmei> "Hi General!" said Yanmei brightly. "Ladies."
[14:37] <Minaplo> ["Hi, Yanmei." Said Sophia. "Guess what we've been doing?"]
[14:39] <Yanmei> "Filming. I heard."
[14:40] <Minaplo> ["Damnit."]
[14:45] <Yanmei> "Hehehe. Was it tough?"
[14:52] <Minaplo> ["FIlming's tougher than it looks." Said Elena. "Scram, kids."-
[14:52] <Minaplo> ["Who you calling a kid?" Muttered Ju, but she and Lanfen moved anyway.-
[14:52] <Minaplo> ["Seeya, Yanmei." Said Lanfen. "Bye, Zhengsheng~"]
[14:53] <Yanmei> "See you guys! Bye, General!"
[14:53] <Minaplo> ["Bye."-
[14:53] <Minaplo> [And before long it was just Elene and Sophia left; they took the now empty chairs.-
[14:54] <Minaplo> ["Hey there." Said Zhengsheng. "You cats want the usual?"-
[14:54] <Minaplo> ["Yes please." Said Sophia.]
[15:00] <Yanmei> "It's been a while. How have you guys been holding up?"
[15:09] <Minaplo> ["Keeping busy." Said Sophia with a faint smile.]
[15:19] <Yanmei> "I see," Yanmei offered her a smile back. "Been keeping up with current events?"
[15:25] <Minaplo> ["Uh, kinda. What'd those be?"]
[15:30] <Yanmei> "Like the election, or the UEF's new Prime Minister or stuff like that."
[15:31] <Minaplo> ["Oh yeah, I guess." Said Sophia. She gave Yanmei a rough smile. "What's the new PM like?"]
[12:52] <Yanmei> "Strange, and kind of sneaky, but earnest too. Like he really wants to help us?"
[12:55] <Minaplo> ["Well it's about time someone thought like that." Said Elene bluntly. "Getting kind of tired of all our so-called allies flunking out."]
[12:59] <Yanmei> "The guys from France and the U.S. aren't that bad."
[13:00] <Minaplo> ["Oh sure, like the US is actually that big a help." Said Elene sarcastically. "And France just causes a bunch of other problems elsewhere."]
[13:09] <Yanmei> "Other nations are gonna have other priorities revolving around their own people instead of the UEF's mission." Yanmei heaved a resigned sigh. "They're working with us and they haven't backstabbed us yet? I'm actually pretty happy about that."
[13:15] <Minaplo> [Elene glowered down at her hands sullenly; when Zhengsheng put their drinks down, Elene barely grunted a 'thanks'.-
[13:15] <Minaplo> ["S-So." Said Sophia, taking a bright green cocktail. "Um… Strange how?"]
[13:17] <Yanmei> "He's very confident. And clever. But he, ah. There are some hygiene issues."
[13:26] <Minaplo> ["Like bad breath or something?"]
[13:27] <Yanmei> "Like he doesn't shower too often. Has a phobia that interferes with that."
[13:30] <Minaplo> ["Oh." Said Sophia, her expression wrinkling slightly.]
[13:31] <Yanmei> "Zhengsheng here met him pretty recently."
[13:40] <Minaplo> ["Kinda." Said Zhengsheng. "In passing. Doesn't really look like a Prime Minister."-
[13:40] <Minaplo> ["What should a Prime Minister look like, then?" Asked Sophia.]
[13:42] <Yanmei> "Someone tall and looming with a stern face and a suit?" Yanmei guessed.
[13:43] <Minaplo> ["What, like Guillory?" Said Sophia.]
[13:48] <Yanmei> "Eh?" Yanmei considered this carefully. "He's got the right face and he can loom when provoked, but he hardly ever wears a suit."
[13:48] <Minaplo> ["That's because he's a soldier, so he's always in a uniform." Said Sophia patiently.]
[13:49] <Yanmei> "I bet he wouldn't wear one even if he didn't have to wear the uniform."
[13:50] <Minaplo> ["How many people would wear a suit unless they had to, though…?" Said Zhengsheng thoughtfully.]
[13:53] <Yanmei> "Not many," Yanmei agreed. "But Prime Ministers tend to live in suits. It's very important?"
[13:57] <Minaplo> ["Well Rustami was just wearing his shawl-robe thing." Said Zhengsheng.]
[13:57] <Yanmei> "He's an exception."
[13:58] <Minaplo> ["Obviously. He's a haircut, shave and suit away from presentability."]
[14:01] <Yanmei> "That's true," said Yanmei thoughtfully. "But it's not a good idea to force him."
[14:09] <Minaplo> ["Sure." Said Zhengsheng. "So long as he gets it done."-
[14:10] <Minaplo> ["The UEF motto." Said Sophia with a small smile.]
[14:11] <Yanmei> "N-not everyone here is an eccentric! Marianne is pretty normal. And so is yours truly~"
[14:12] <Minaplo> ["…"]
[14:13] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei haughtily turned to Zhengsheng for confirmation.
[14:14] <Minaplo> ["You're, er." He laughed. "Normaller than you oughta?"]
[14:22] <Yanmei> Yanmei's own disposition started to turn a bit sullen and pouty. "I'm totally normal."
[14:24] <Minaplo> ["You're not, and it's a good thing." He said.]
[14:29] <Yanmei> "You think so…?"
[14:34] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, you add spice." Said Zhengsheng. "You stand out! You're not normal, but it's in a can-save-the-world way."]
[14:38] <Yanmei> "Well~" Yanmei tossed her hair, apparently pleased. "I guess that works too? Thanks."
[14:41] <Minaplo> [Zhengsheng grinned. "Yeah, you make the UEF colourful and unique." He said, turning to wink at Sophia. "True of a lotta cats, of course. You're all… Eh… Spicy flowers?"-
[14:41] <Minaplo> ["'spicy flowers'?" Repeated Sophia, but she was smiling more than she had the entire time she'd been here.]
[14:49] <Yanmei> "That's a new one to me too," Yanmei grinned.
[14:50] <Minaplo> ["Hm, you think I should do better?" Asked Zhengsheng.]
[14:55] <Yanmei> "If you're picking something that stands out, it should be more dynamic. Like exploding flowers."
[14:57] <Minaplo> ["But I don't want the flowers to explode. I want them to last forever." He said gently, shifting his gaze toward Sophia just as she began leaning in slightly.]
[14:58] * Yanmei rolled her eyes. "Flirting again? Don't fall for it, you two."
[14:58] <Minaplo> ["I'm not flirting." Said Zhengsheng. "Am I flirting, Sophia?"-
[15:00] <Minaplo> ["I'm not sure." She said. "Everyone flirts differently, after all… I don't know you well enough to tell."-
[15:01] <Minaplo> ["You see, Yanmei?" Said Zhengsheng. "Just because you tell Isaiah weird things about exploding flowers doesn't mean we all do. Seriously…"]
[15:12] <Yanmei> "I do no such thing," Yanmei huffed. "Well, whatever. If you want to flirt your lives away, it's none of my business?"
[15:15] <Minaplo> ["I don't 'flirt my life away'." Said Zhengsheng, turning back to Sophia. "I take my flirting very seriously."-
[15:15] <Minaplo> ["So do I." Said Sophia airily.-
[15:15] <Minaplo> ["By the Holy fucking Spirit." Muttered Elene. "Just ask him out already. Seeing these thoughts is becoming unbearable."-
[15:16] <Minaplo> [Sophia went bright red; Zhengsheng laughed.]
[15:26] <Yanmei> "Ugh. No, no dating! Zhengsheng, remember the rule!"
[15:26] <Minaplo> ["What rule?" Said Zhengsheng.]
[15:28] <Yanmei> "The one about dating pilots?"
[15:29] <Minaplo> ["Who said anything about dating?" Said Zhengsheng. "We were just going to have a nice friendly dinner. Right?"-
[15:29] <Minaplo> ["Right." Said Sophia firmly.]
[15:29] <Yanmei> "That's a date!"
[15:29] <Minaplo> ["No it's not." Said Zhengsheng.]
[15:32] <Yanmei> "Then what's the difference between a date and your dinner thing?"
[15:32] <Minaplo> ["Define a 'date'."]
[15:35] <Yanmei> "A date: a fun event when two people meet to determine or further explore their romantic compatability, usually teminating in smooching or other displays of affection when a successful match is indeed made," Yanmei rattled off matter-of-factly.
[15:38] <Minaplo> ["Well see, there you go. We aren't meeting to explore or determine our romantic compatibility." Said Zhengsheng.]
[15:39] <Yanmei> "I don't believe you."
[15:39] <Minaplo> ["Yeah…?" Said Zhengsheng. "What would I have to do to get you to believe me?"]
[15:43] <Yanmei> "You could stop making flirty faces at each other, for starters. And bring a chaperone. Someone responsible."
[15:45] <Minaplo> ["Like who?"]
[15:46] * Yanmei eyed Elene.
[15:50] <Minaplo> ["Not doing it." Said Elene automatically.]
[15:50] <Yanmei> "Damn. Isaiah, then!"
[15:52] <Minaplo> ["You know, if you care so much about having a chaperone, why don't you do it yourself?" Said Elene.]
[15:53] <Yanmei> "Maybe I will!"
[15:54] <Minaplo> ["Let's not go that far." Said Zhengsheng. "I can nominate someone."]
[15:57] <Yanmei> "Oh yeah?"
[16:01] <Minaplo> ["You want someone responsible."]
[16:01] <Yanmei> "Right."
[16:03] <Minaplo> ["Someone respected by everyone."]
[16:03] <Yanmei> "Yeah?"
[16:06] <Minaplo> ["Someone with national acclaim."]
[16:06] <Yanmei> "Spit it out already."
[16:06] <Minaplo> ["I nominate Rei Ayanami!"]
[16:10] <Yanmei> "Rei?" Yanmei felt a pang of dread. Rei was way too romantic! "She might not have time."
[16:11] <Minaplo> ["We should ask her anyway."]
[14:10] <Yanmei> "You're really determined, aren't you? Fine. I'm sure she'll say that she's too busy kissing Wellesley or something."
[14:11] <Minaplo> ["Double date?" Said Sophia brightly.]
[14:12] <Yanmei> "Not acceptable! And see? You totally admitted it was a date!"
[14:13] <Minaplo> ["Figure of speech." Said Sophia. "Double outing sounds weird."-
[14:14] <Minaplo> [There was the clink of a glass; Elene had finished her drink. "Hey, can we go now?"-
[14:14] <Minaplo> ["Huh? Oh… Sure." Said Sophia, looking a little taken aback.]
[14:16] <Yanmei> "Eh? Where are you going? We only just started chatting?"
[14:18] <Minaplo> ["Training fields. Wanna come?" Said Elene.]
[14:19] <Yanmei> "Hm. That doesn't sound like much fun. Maybe I'll just watch."
[14:20] <Minaplo> [Sophia gave Zhengsheng an apologetic look before she followed her sister out.]
[14:23] * Yanmei gave him a somewhat brighter look as she stood up and shelled out a few bills for her bill… and a few extra for some mysterious reason. Then she hurried after the twins.
[14:31] <Minaplo> [The two were walking in silence- and Elene was setting a brisk pace, too.]
[14:36] <Minaplo> [The two were walking in silence- and Elene was setting a brisk pace, too.]
[14:47] * Yanmei was keeping pace, glancing back and forth between the two. "So… are you changing out of those swimsuits first?"
[14:52] <Minaplo> ["Oh yeah, I guess." Said Elene, stopping so suddenly that Sophia nearly ran into her.-
[14:52] <Minaplo> [Before long, Elene and Sophia had led Yanmei back to their quarters. "Come in and wait." Said Elene.]
[15:01] <Yanmei> So Yanmei graciously came in and took a seat in a spare chair. "What did Blue have you dress up like that for, anyway?"
[15:02] <Minaplo> ["Oh, it was an ad." Said Elene. "For his bar."]
[15:03] <Yanmei> "Well, yeah, I know? But you could have done it in your uniforms or something."
[15:11] <Minaplo> ["Well the set was a poolside thing." Said Sophia. "We sat by the poolside with cocktails and posed…"]
[15:15] <Yanmei> "Were you okay with that?"
[15:17] <Minaplo> ["Yeah?" Said Elene. "Why?"]
[15:18] <Yanmei> "No reason. I guess I would have been less okay with it if I was in your shoes."
[15:19] <Minaplo> ["Oh yeah?"]
[15:25] <Yanmei> "Yeah."
[15:26] <Minaplo> ["Huh. Well, makes sense." Said Elene. "It'd be weird if the world's most powerful woman were going around advertising a bar in a swimsuit."]
[15:27] <Yanmei> "Well, yeah?" Yanmei tossed her hair. That had a nice ring to it. 'World's most powerful woman'…-
[15:28] <Yanmei> "Wait. You're not trying to butter me up, are you?"
[15:29] <Minaplo> ["I'm not big on butter." Said Elene.]
[15:40] <Yanmei> "Maybe not," Yanmei admitted. "But you've gotta be big on something, right? Like… how have you been keeping busy lately? Outside of Blue's film projects."
[15:41] <Minaplo> ["Sparring and battle are two things." Said Elene. "Keeping fit, you know."-
[15:41] <Minaplo> ["I've been helping Misato restore an old car." Said Sophia. "Should be easier now that I have a Field."]
[15:43] <Yanmei> "Katsuragi does cars? No wonder she and Marianne get along so well."
[15:44] <Minaplo> ["Oh yeah, Marianne used to be an army engineer once, huh?" Said Sophia.]
[15:45] <Yanmei> "Still is. You three should get together sometime and do gearhead stuff."
[15:46] <Minaplo> ["Hmmm." Sophia closed her eyes and mulled it. "Wonder what on… Maybe an old tank…"-
[15:47] <Minaplo> ["If you're gonna do tanks, take Eva too." Said Elene, who had just finished stripping out of her suit and was pulling on a tracksuit. "She's always doodling them."]
[15:51] <Yanmei> "Oh yeah? Are they good doodles?"
[15:52] <Minaplo> ["Guess so." Said Elene. "They don't look childish anyway."-
[15:52] <Minaplo> [Sophia meanwhile had sat down next to Yanmei; she lolled her head on Yanmei's shoulder.]
[13:21] <Yanmei> And Yanmei patted her lightly on the head. "Are you guys really that interested in figuring out how the Evas work?"
[13:35] <Minaplo> ["Huh?"]
[13:37] <Yanmei> "Like with the drawings? And Elene's remark just now. It sounded like you were pretty interested in them from a design standpoint?"
[13:38] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[13:38] <Minaplo> ["Evangeline." Said Sophia delicately.]
[13:40] <Yanmei> "Oh. Ahem. Now, see, that wasn't even my fault? They're entirely too similar sounding."
[13:47] <Minaplo> [Elene smirked.-
[13:47] <Minaplo> [But Sophia sighed, and lowered her head onto Yanmei's lap. "I don't wanna go to the training room."-
[13:48] <Minaplo> [Elene frowned. "What do you wanna do then?"-
[13:48] <Minaplo> ["Can we just stay here and cuddle?" Muttered Sophia. "Training sucks. I get too tired too quickly and I'm always short of breath. And we do it all the time…"-
[13:53] <Minaplo> ["Well I get tired of always being cooped up in here." Snapped Elene.]
[14:04] <Yanmei> "Why don't you come to my place? I bet Lizzie will be glad to see you? And we have all the movies you could ever watch."
[14:11] <Minaplo> ["W-Well." Elene frowned. "That… Sounds fine?"]
[14:14] * Yanmei beamed and stood up, trying to pull Sophia up along with her. "Let me call ahead so that Isaiah can fix us snacks."
[14:15] <Minaplo> ["Sure. Uh, I need to take care of something anyway, so I'll meet you there." Said Elene.-
[14:15] <Minaplo> [Sophia stubbornly resisted being tugged up.]
[14:16] <Yanmei> "H-hey." Yanmei peered down at Sophia in surprise. "What? Does that go for you too?"
(14:21) <Minaplo> ["I was comfortable. Geez." Sophia got to her feet.]
(14:24) <Yanmei> "Heh. Let's go~" Texting away, she led the way. "See you soon, Elene."
(14:33) <Minaplo> ["Seeya."-
(14:33) <Minaplo> [Sophia walked alongside Yanmei as she went. "Elene's gone off to get a few quick rounds in anyway, heh…"]
(14:34) <Yanmei> "Yeah, that wouldn't surprise me? She really looks like she needs to let off steam."
(14:35) <Minaplo> ["Yeah…"-
(14:37) <Minaplo> [Sophia took Yanmei's hand in her own. "It's kinda funny. We're twins, libido twins at that, but we're actually different in a lot of ways. Like how we deal with stress… I think sometimes people aren't expecting that, like somehow we should use each other to handle stress, but in times… Well, like this, it's probably better for us to find our own way."]
(14:44) <Yanmei> "I understand. Just because you're twins doesn't mean you have to be together all the time? How do you normally deal with stress on your own, Sophia?"
(14:46) <Minaplo> ["I like to be around other people." Said Sophia. "Elene… Kind of doesn't, so…"]
(14:53) <Yanmei> "Hm, I see. Were you the one who convinced her to go to the bar just now?"
(14:56) <Minaplo> ["Yeah." Said Sophia. "I guess she's a little protective of me too- even though I know Zhengsheng wouldn't cause trouble."]
(15:07) <Yanmei> "He wouldn't. He's been weirdly gentlemanly ever since he came on board? But hm. Maybe she's had enough for the day, between that and Blue."
(15:09) <Minaplo> ["Yeah, maybe. I think after that there's only a few people she really has time for…"-
(15:09) <Minaplo> [Sophia glanced at Yanmei.]
(15:10) <Yanmei> "Wh-what?"
(15:22) <Minaplo> ["I probably… Shouldn't say this." Said Sophia. "But you know, we really admire you, Yanmei. You're friendly and welcoming, you're tolerant… You're good in a fight, which Elene likes- she was really impressed with how you handled those Harpies in Belgium- and you're real stubborn about what you believe in. Everyone teases you a lot, but you don't take it too seriously. You're scrappy, but you're also elegant."-
(15:22) <Minaplo> ["Elene and I both had pretty big crushes on you after we arrived at NERV, y'know that?" Said Sophia with a laugh.]
(15:34) <Yanmei> "R-really?" Yanmei had turned slightly red by now. "You both played it so cool, I didn't notice. Super genius mobster sisters… You were both so completely not what I was expecting when you first arrived?"
(15:35) <Minaplo> ["You were expecting wide-eyed innocent sisters, right?" Said Sophia with a small grin.]
(15:37) * ZackAFK is now known as Zack
(15:39) <Yanmei> "Maybe," Yanmei muttered. "Actually, you ended up being a lot cooler than that, so it all worked out."
(13:09) <Minaplo> ["Hehe. You weren't what we expected either." Said Sophie.]
(13:11) <Yanmei> "So you weren't expecting an amazing, elegant, crush-worthy girl?"
(13:13) * Stearns is now known as StearnStore
(13:19) <Minaplo> ["We pictured you to be, y'know, really a grizzled war veteran, blunt and practical… The sort who'd be real gruff and not willing to trust a pair of newbies. Elene was hyping herself all up for a fight." She said with a laugh.-
(13:21) <Minaplo> ["But actually you were pretty sweet and trusting of us. And then we learned you had a kid! And a lover! And you were totally crazy for both of them. It was adorable."]
(13:30) <Yanmei> "W-well. I was trying to look professional the first time we met, you see, but with Lizzie there it just… fell apart? There are some things you can't hide."
(13:33) <Minaplo> ["You should let it show." Said Sophia. "I like that side of you. Elene does too. Um. A lot."]
(13:39) <Yanmei> "I don't mind showing it to you guys anymore. The cat's already out of the bag, so…" she grinned at her.
(13:47) <Minaplo> ["Hehe."-
(13:47) <Minaplo> ["Hey, um… Do you mind if we sleep over tonight?"]
(13:49) * StearnStore is now known as Stearns
(13:52) <Yanmei> "Hm?" Yanmei blinked in surprise. "I'm fine with it? You'll be having a weird dinner, though. Cheeseless pizza. Is that okay?"
(13:52) <Minaplo> ["How come?"]
(13:55) <Yanmei> "Food supplies. None of us thought to pick up some good cheese at that fair we just held, and the ship's own stock is low."
(13:55) <Minaplo> ["Oh, hehe. I'll ask Elene to bring something, then."]
(13:56) <Yanmei> "You have some? Yay~"
(13:57) <Minaplo> ["Of course. If you ask me, Elene's been wanting to cook for you for awhile. It relaxes her, you relax her…"]
(13:59) <Yanmei> "I do, huh…?" Yanmei thought about that revelation carefully. "I should have invited you guys over way sooner."
(14:01) <Minaplo> ["Yeah, I think so."-
(14:04) <Minaplo> ["… Hey." Said Sophia. "Elene's the sort of person who tends to nurse her crushes for awhile, but she's also not one for being super lovestruck either. Just keep that in mind, yeah?"]
(14:08) <Yanmei> "I'll try to," said Yanmei simply. "I'm going to be respectful to her too, ok?"
(14:09) <Minaplo> ["Sure. Just don't make too big a deal of it."-
(14:09) <Minaplo> ["It's always been like that. She nurses, I tend to move on pretty quick when I know I've not got a chance." Said Sophia. "Oh, that reminds me…"]
(14:11) <Yanmei> "Hm?"
(14:12) <Minaplo> ["I'm dating your brother. Don't try and stop me~"]
(14:15) <Yanmei> "What?! No! What's so good about him, anyway?"
(14:25) <Yanmei> "Unlikely."
(14:28) <Minaplo> ["Worth a shot." Said Sophia with a laugh. "Okay. He's just kind and friendly. You know that old joke Blue tells about gentle perches? That's what he is. Also, he's really good with his hands- you saw that robot. And he gets so excited about it too…"-
(14:28) <Minaplo> ["You really shouldn't stop us." Said Sophia. "People like Zhengsheng are what keep us fighting. It's nice to come back from a fight to people like that."]
(14:31) * Yanmei frowned. "I'm not trying to take away your motivation? But in his younger days he was a dumb party boy. I'm trying to keep you and the other pilots from getting broken hearts."
(14:36) <Minaplo> ["He wouldn't screw around with a mafia girl."]
(14:37) <Yanmei> "He totally would, though."
(14:37) <Minaplo> ["Oh, Yanmei. Let me take care of myself, okay?"]
(14:39) <Yanmei> "Can I ask you not to break his legs even if he does do something dumb?"
(14:39) <Minaplo> ["Sure, I won't break his legs." Said Sophia brightly.]
(14:39) <Yanmei> "Or his arms. Or his face."
(14:41) <Minaplo> ["I won't harm him~"]
(14:41) <Yanmei> "…" -
(14:41) <Yanmei> "You're still getting chaperoned on the first date," she added.
(14:42) <Minaplo> ["So unfair!"]
(14:45) <Yanmei> "Tsk." Yanmei drew to a halt… because they were at her front door. One could faintly hear the sound of someone running a vacuum on the rug inside the apartment, along with lots of yipping. "Here we are~ It's movie time!"
(14:48) <Minaplo> [The door opened- Isaiah stood in the doorway, a long black vaccum cleaner in his right hand. "Welcome home."]

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