Cherry Blossom Procession 4 2 45

[14:56] <Yanmei> Yanmei's morning had started with a few stern reminders from Marianne during breakfast, a few hasty excuses, and a quietly desperate escape to the Chancellor's office… only to discover her very own secretary blocking the doorway with a frown and folded arms. -
[15:04] <Yanmei> This was very bad indeed. The woman was impervious to bribes and puppy dog eyes, and when Yanmei smoothly mentioned that her first meeting of the day had been cancelled and that she needed to catch up on paperwork instead, her only response was to coolly mention in return that she had called ahead to verify that the meeting was indeed still on, and that Yanmei should hurry along before her
[15:04] <Yanmei> tardiness effected the rest of the day's schedule. -
[15:10] <Yanmei> And that was how the Chancellor of the UEF arrived at the office of one Dr. Aherne. She smiled at the receptionist, determined to hide her defeat and betrayal by any means necessary… even behind polite chitchat. "Morning~ Not too frantic in here so far, I hope?"
[15:21] <Hopeplo> ["Not at all, madame, it's a calm sort of place. Please, take a seat." Said the receptionist. "If you could fill out these forms for me…"-
[15:21] <Hopeplo> [And she handed Yanmei a stack of forms. Mostly they were just about permissions- the top one was briefing Yanmei on confidentiality.]
[15:26] <Yanmei> Confidentiality was good! She read it over very, very carefully, using every bit of her knowledge about law to make sure it was up to her standards and frowning at the possibility of information being released if she every went to trial for something. -
[15:27] <Yanmei> Eventually she signed it, moving on to the rest of the paperwork.
[15:35] <Hopeplo> [And so a few minutes later, the young doctor Aherne emerged in the doorway. "Ms. Zhang?" He said politely.]
[15:35] <Yanmei> "Ah, yes." Yanmei stood, gracefully. "Dr. Aherne? It's a pleasure to see you."
[15:43] <Hopeplo> ["And the same to you, Ms. Zhang. Would you like to come with me?"]
[15:43] <Yanmei> "Certainly~" And away with him she went. Into his office, presumably.
[15:47] <Hopeplo> [This office, once Dr. Castillo's, had since been extensively redecorated.-
[15:47] <Hopeplo> [Dr. Aherne took his seat, the one nearest the door. "Make yourself comfortable, Ms. Zhang."]
[15:52] * Yanmei sank down onto one the guest chairs, trying hard not to look around and take in the changes. "Well, well. How have been finding things so far?" she began.
[14:48] <Hopeplo> ["Well enough, Ms. Zhang. How about yourself?"]
[14:49] <Yanmei> "No problems here~"
[14:51] <Hopeplo> ["Mmmhm." Said Aherne. "Before we begin, is there a specific name you prefer I call you?"]
[14:53] <Yanmei> "Dr. Delgado just called me 'Yanmei'."
[14:56] <Hopeplo> ["Is that what you want me to call you?"]
[14:57] <Yanmei> "Sure."
[14:59] <Hopeplo> ["Alright, good. And you can call me whatever you're comfortable with."]
[15:00] <Yanmei> "Dr. Aherne," Yanmei decided on. "So… how much of my file have you read?"
[15:02] <Hopeplo> ["None of it."]
[15:03] * Yanmei regarded him with a polite, blank stare. "Is that so?"
[15:06] <Hopeplo> ["That's right. I haven't read any of the individual case files Dr. Delgado left me."]
[15:07] <Yanmei> "Why not? Aren't you curious?"
[15:10] <Hopeplo> ["A professional decision." Said Aherne with a small smile. "Dr. Delgado's a good practitioner, but his case files are written based on his experiences and his contexts. I've decided not to read them until I've had a chance to form a view of each case myself- that way I go in on a blank slate without being influenced by his views."]
[15:11] <Yanmei> "Hmmm."
[15:13] <Hopeplo> ["Hmmm." Agreed Aherne. "So before we really start, why don't we just spend a bit of time getting to know one another? Tell me about yourself."]
[15:15] <Yanmei> "Certainly?" Yanmei tossed her hair, sitting up straight to make a bold impression. "I'm Zhang Yanmei, professional Chancellor, Evangelion pilot, and world icon. You've seen my face on t.v. before, I trust~?"
[15:19] <Hopeplo> ["Uh…"-
[15:19] <Hopeplo> ["Yes, yes I have…"]
[15:22] <Yanmei> "And what about you? What sort of things do you enjoy doing when you're not working?"
[15:27] <Hopeplo> ["Icons of the Old World. Card game. Ever hear of it?"]
[15:29] * Yanmei shook her head. "Cards, hm? You'll fit in around Blue's restaurant just fine."
[15:29] <Hopeplo> ["Maybe. How about you? What sort of hobbies do you enjoy?"]
[15:33] <Yanmei> "Running. Chatting with friends. I don't have much time for anything else, I'm afraid."
[15:33] <Hopeplo> ["Fair enough. What about things you enjoyed before you became busy?"]
[15:36] <Yanmei> "Well, I still liked running a whole lot? But you could add acting and fencing to that list too. I was in clubs for both of them in school."
[15:38] <Hopeplo> ["Acting and fencing." Said Aherne. "How did you find those?"]
[15:41] <Yanmei> "Both were fun! Fencing was the more difficult of the two? But I eventually got pretty good at it with a lot of training."
[15:44] <Hopeplo> ["All that persistence pay off, hmm?"]
[15:45] <Yanmei> "I like to think so! Have you ever tried it yourself?"
[15:50] <Hopeplo> ["Unfortunately not." Said Aherne with a chuckle. "I played football instead. What about music? Have a favourite genre? Artist?"]
[15:55] <Yanmei> "A couple of pop groups from back home? I wouldn't say I have a favorite artist though."
[15:58] <Hopeplo> ["I see, I see." Said Aherne. "Do you share your hobbies with a lot of your friends and family?"]
[15:58] <Yanmei> "Isaiah and I spar sometimes! He's my husband."
[16:00] <Hopeplo> ["Oh, I see. You two spar…?"]
[16:02] <Yanmei> "Yes! Sometimes with fencing, but he's not very good with bladed weapons. Oh, I have other friends who are, though."
[16:07] <Hopeplo> ["Oh yeah? Who're they?"]
[16:09] <Yanmei> "Asuka Langley-Soryu, for starters. She's almost as skilled as I am~"
[16:11] <Hopeplo> ["Oh?"]
[16:13] <Yanmei> "Of course. Although sometime she pretends that she's better at it than I am? I often let her win, you know…"
[16:13] <Hopeplo> ["How come?"]
[16:16] <Yanmei> "Because she's my friend," she said simply.
[16:19] <Hopeplo> ["I see… Kind of you, nonetheless. Is she the only friend you have to look out for like that?"]
[16:26] <Yanmei> "Sometimes Elene Simonides? But really, she's better with her fists more than anything."
[16:28] <Hopeplo> ["I see…"-
[16:28] <Hopeplo> ["Sounds like you have pretty capable friends."]
[16:32] <Yanmei> "I like to think so too! They're also pilots, so they pretty much have to be."
[16:32] <Hopeplo> ["Of course. What about your non-pilot friends? Are they capable too?"]
[16:36] <Yanmei> "In different ways. Some are politicians. Some are really smart or clever. Some are just sensible or lucky."
[16:41] <Hopeplo> ["Sounds like you have a pretty diverse set of friends, Yanmei."]
[16:45] <Yanmei> "If there's one thing I've been good at, it's making friends? I hope we can get along with each other too."
[15:08] <Hopeplo> ["Let's hope." Said Aherne with a smile.-
[15:08] <Hopeplo> ["But you mentioned Isaiah earlier, your husband. Why don't you tell me a little about your family?"]
[15:16] <Yanmei> "Certainly. There's Isaiah, of course, who's a doctor in training. He's incredibly smart? He can do all of these calculations and measurements in his head without even trying. He's easy to talk to and he helps people and he's incredibly gentle. He's also an Evangelion pilot."
[15:18] <Hopeplo> ["Sounds like an impressive young man."]
[15:19] <Yanmei> "He is! We've known each other for a few years, but we only got married a few months ago."
[15:20] <Hopeplo> ["How do you feel about that?"]
[15:28] <Yanmei> "Hmm? I think it was the natural thing to do? At the time, but also for right now."
[15:28] <Hopeplo> ["That's good."]
[15:30] <Yanmei> "Are you married yourself, by the way?"
[15:34] <Hopeplo> ["I am, yes." Said Aherne. "What about your parents? Siblings?"]
[15:37] <Yanmei> "No siblings. I have a cousin on this ship, though. He works at the bar? Also he's a technician when he feels like it. My mom is here too, but she might not be for long, depending on how things go in China. She's brilliant? One of the world's best mechanical engineers. Naturally, she worked for NERV before this war started~"
[15:39] <Hopeplo> ["That sounds pretty impressive." Said Aherne. "So you and your mother both worked for NERV?"]
[15:40] <Yanmei> "Yeah. Not that we saw each other much. I was assigned to Paris and she was back home."
[15:42] <Hopeplo> ["How old were you at the time, if you don't mind my asking?"]
[15:45] <Yanmei> "When I moved? About 13 I guess," she said casually, as if it was the most natural thing in the world.
[15:45] <Hopeplo> ["13. And you're how old now, sorry?"]
[15:47] <Yanmei> "18, now."
[15:48] <Hopeplo> ["So you moved to France about five years ago." Said Aherne, letting out a small whistle. "That sounds like a lot of responsibility for such a young woman…"]
[15:55] <Yanmei> "Nah. There are people here who have been in training since they were five years old and who have been all over the world. Compared to that, it's not much."
[15:59] <Hopeplo> ["True, but there's also a lot more people who've lived quietly and graduated from high school at 17 or 18 for whom your life would be very intense…"]
[16:00] <Yanmei> "Also true? I guess it's not a contest."
[16:09] <Hopeplo> [Aherne nodded. "I don't know if Dr. Delgado told you about me, but before I came here, I spent a lot of my time working with some of those children you mentioned."]
[16:12] * Yanmei nodded. "And how did you feel about that? Or about the possibility of reuniting with some of them now in the present?"
[16:17] <Hopeplo> ["I'm a child of Impact- yet I felt a lot like you did." Said Aherne. "I suppose what's important now is asking- how did you feel to such an uprooting, Yanmei?"]
[16:22] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei calmly resisted a scowl. "It was scary, of course, but I adapted. That's what matters?"
[16:26] <Hopeplo> ["Really? How did you do that?" He asked curiously.]
[16:31] <Yanmei> "By learning and watching people, and picking up on French habits and languages. Watching my co-workers and roommate helped a ton?"
[16:38] <Hopeplo> ["That's great." Said Aherne.]
[16:41] <Yanmei> "Why thank you," There was a slight hint of surprise in her voice.
[21:38] <Hopeplo> [Aherne gave her a nod. "Were there any other… Activities, ideas you had which you used to adapt to that challenge?"]
[21:45] <Yanmei> "Frequent experiments that were usually approved by my french tutor at the time. One day, walk to the nearest bakery to my house and then come back. A few days later, go with a friend and look around inside. A few days later, come back with that friend and try to order something simple, in French, at the counter."
[21:57] <Hopeplo> ["Huh! How did that go?"]
[22:00] <Yanmei> "Ugh. It was kind of embarrassing? It sucks when you try something and you don't know what you're doing and people are watching you."
[22:07] <Hopeplo> ["Yeah, absolutely." Said Aherne, nodding quickly. "It takes a lot of mustered nerve and guts to do that."]
[22:12] <Yanmei> "Yeah, maybe," Yanmei admitted.
[22:13] <Hopeplo> ["Did you manage to make your order, though?"]
[22:15] <Yanmei> "Sort of? I tried, but I kept messing up. My friend had to help me out. Then my dumb tutor kept making me go back until I did it successfully."
[22:18] <Hopeplo> ["That sounds pretty rough." Said Aherne. "I hope your tutor let you go to different places instead of always the same one…"]
[22:21] <Yanmei> "Nope. It was the same one until I got it right and could order by myself. Then she had me move on to someplace else."
[22:21] <Hopeplo> ["That sounds pretty embarrassing." Said Aherne gently.]
[22:34] <Yanmei> "I survived it," she said shortly. "The staff was patient, I figured out that body language could help me place an order even if my words failed, and I learned how to order a croissant at just about any establishment."
[22:37] <Hopeplo> ["Impressive, that you persevered with it. How long did it take you before you felt more comfortable speaking in French?"]
[22:44] <Yanmei> "Couple of years. I could manage just fine in a lot of situations after a year or so? And could hold conversations with my roommate and stuff? But I had extra French lessons up until my second year of high school."
[22:49] <Hopeplo> ["Were you doing combat training at the same time?"]
[22:49] <Yanmei> "Of course I was. Also, during that last year of lessons, I was fighting Angels."
[23:00] <Hopeplo> ["Hm. So learning a new language in a foreign country away from your family whilst also being trained for combat- and eventually fighting in live combat scenarios. That sounds like an immensely stressful situation- and it's admirable that you handled it as well as you did."]
[23:07] * Yanmei preened. "I was pretty incredible," she admitted. "Maybe coping with stress is another one of my talents?"
[23:08] <Hopeplo> ["Hm, maybe. How often are you in stressful situations?"]
[23:10] * Yanmei laughed. "On an almost daily basis?"
[23:10] <Hopeplo> ["Oh?"]
[23:12] <Yanmei> "Every day it's something. Securing funding for our technical department, going to talks with leaders from this country or that country, training, literally punching this or that monster in the face until it leaves the UEF - or humanity - alone for a little while longer."
[23:16] <Hopeplo> ["So heavy stress, every day?"]
[23:19] <Yanmei> "Yeah, I guess so?"
[23:24] <Hopeplo> ["I see." Said Aherne.-
[23:25] <Hopeplo> ["Alright, Yanmei. I feel like I know a lot more about you than I did when you came in, so why don't we get started properly?" He said, sitting up. "What can I help you with today?"]
[23:27] <Yanmei> "Well, um." The question seemed to catch her quite off guard! "I'm basically fine?"
[23:32] <Hopeplo> ["That's good." Said Aherne kindly. "Do you mind filling something in for me?"]
[23:32] <Yanmei> "Certainly?"
[23:36] <Hopeplo> [He handed her a pen and a sheet of paper- it was simple to look at, with four horizontal lines on it, each labelled differently. "This is an ORS, an Outcome Rating Scale. It only takes about a minute to fill in- all you have to do is put an X on each line, based on how you've felt in the last week or so, including today."]
[23:45] * Yanmei took the form and looked over it curiously. Then she began marking it. In all, it only took a minute or two for her to complete it and hand it back to the man.
[23:48] <Hopeplo> [Aherne took it.-
[23:48] <Hopeplo> [And… Was that a flicker of disappointment she saw in his eyes, or did she just imagine it?-
[23:48] <Hopeplo> ["A perfect score, huh?" He said drily.]
[23:52] * Yanmei preened a little. "Yeah. It's hard to believe, but…~"
[23:53] <Hopeplo> ["Well, then." Said Aherne, his tone brisk. "How did you do it?"]
[23:53] <Yanmei> "Hm? What do you mean?"
[00:01] <Hopeplo> ["Well you have a perfect score, don't you?" Said Aherne, holding up the ORS, with its four Xs all firmly along the right-hand edge. "That must've taken work. How did you do it?"]
[00:05] * Yanmei spent a moment in silence, perhaps thinking of things that would sound plausible to an experienced mental health professional. "I didn't actually do anything," she admitted at last. "I just am."
[00:06] <Hopeplo> ["Oh."-
[00:07] <Hopeplo> ["So… No special behaviours or practices." He said. "Nothing I could pass onto anyone else. You're just naturally dealing with everything perfectly, no problems?"]
[00:08] <Yanmei> "…" -
[00:10] <Yanmei> Yanmei took a deep breath. "Maybe the perfect score was… a slight exaggeration."
[00:10] <Hopeplo> ["Would you like to do it again?"]
[00:11] <Yanmei> "Sure."
[00:12] <Hopeplo> [He held out another sheet for her to fill in.]
[00:29] <Yanmei> And Yanmei took it, grumbling a little under her breath. After a minute or two she thrust it back at him with her responses written down.
[00:29] <Hopeplo> [Aherne took it, reviewed the sheet. The old page of lies he put back on the table.-
[00:31] <Hopeplo> ["Hmm." He said. "Alright. So you feel fairly decent with your close relationships and pretty solid with your work commitments and family. Overall you seem to be doing alright." He said.-
[00:31] <Hopeplo> ["Individually, though, seems to be an area of concern for you. What can you tell me about that?"]
[00:42] <Yanmei> Yanmei, again, was quiet for a few moments. "There might be a guilt thing that I'm dealing with. Also a truth thing, although I don't know if that's actually a problem. We already talked about daily stress a little bit, so there's probably no need to go over it again."
[00:43] <Hopeplo> ["Mmm, we'll keep it in mind for later maybe." Said Aherne. "So a guilt thing and a truth thing. Why don't you tell me about the guilt thing first?"]
[00:49] <Yanmei> "You know I'm responsible for a lot of people dying, right? Well. Maybe not, since you didn't read my file. But you've seen the news in the past year, right?"
[00:55] <Hopeplo> ["Mmm, tell me what you mean?"}
[00:58] <Yanmei> "I'm talking about this war," she said bluntly. "And all the fallout coming from it."
[01:00] <Hopeplo> ["This war. Alright, so you feel responsible for all the deaths in the war?"]
[01:04] <Yanmei> "A lot of them. Okay, yeah, this war is bigger than just me? If I was dead, there would be someone else to keep it going. But you can't deny that I'm playing a role in keeping it going just by acting as the Chancellor of the UEF."
[01:16] <Hopeplo> ["So you feel that your role as the Chancellor means you have a hand to play in keeping the war going, yes?"]
[01:19] <Yanmei> "Yeah. It's just common sense to think about it like that."
[01:22] <Hopeplo> ["I see." Said Aherne. "If you stopped being Chancellor, would you still feel responsible?"]
[01:24] <Yanmei> "You can't change the past. If I stopped now, it wouldn't erase the stuff I've done?"
[01:26] <Hopeplo> [He nodded. "How long have you felt this sense of guilt?"]
[01:33] * Yanmei shrugged. Discomfort was clearly starting to creep into her expressions. "A while?"
[01:36] <Hopeplo> ["Hmm, do you mind being a little more specific?"]
[01:41] <Yanmei> "Probably since… the first battles against the UN."
[01:51] <Hopeplo> ["I see. When you feel this guilt, are there any groups of people that you think of specifically?"]
[01:54] <Yanmei> "Our soldiers. Their soldiers. The people caught in the crossfire? Ugh. It wasn't even that big a deal until the Crystal massacre happened? I mean, it was there, but the urgency of breaking away from those jerks in charge of the UN took priority."
[01:57] <Hopeplo> ["Mind elaborating for me?"]
[02:03] <Yanmei> "Okay. Let's look back at the massacre. It was a catastrophic loss for us. Everyone working for the UEF felt it on just about every level? Not to mention the death and suffering on board the Dorian itself, which was stranded on another planet for days. It was like taking those worries from before - that people are dying on my orders - and making it a million time worse while shoving it at
[02:03] <Yanmei> me in a way that's impossible to ignore or downplay."
[02:14] <Hopeplo> ["It made the situation real for you?"]
[02:16] <Yanmei> "I guess you could say that," she muttered, and cleared her throat. "Maybe we should talk about something else now?"
[02:25] <Hopeplo> ["If this topic's becoming too uncomfortable for you, then we can stop." Said Aherne gently.]
[02:30] <Yanmei> "Oh, good. Thanks. Let's, then." Yanmei nodded enthusiastically. "Let's talk about… I don't know, pets or something. Do you have any of your own? Are they cute?"
[02:30] <Hopeplo> ["I don't." Said Aherne. "Perhaps we should spend some time talking about your 'truth thing'?"]
[02:31] <Yanmei> "Oh… that." He hadn't forgotten. Damn it…
[02:32] <Hopeplo> ["When you say a 'truth thing', mind telling me what you mean by that?"]
[02:36] <Yanmei> "Ugh. Delgado was under the impression that I had a problem with telling the truth sometimes."
[02:36] <Hopeplo> ["Where did he get this impression from?"]
[02:39] <Yanmei> "I'm not exactly sure? But he's not the first one to imply it. Marshal Amatore deForest might have complained about it in the past."
[02:40] <Hopeplo> [Aherne idly picked up the old lie-filled ORS and held it in his hand.-
[02:40] <Hopeplo> ["Really?" He said lightly. "Who else has mentioned it?"]
[02:45] <Yanmei> "Um. A couple of friends. Isaiah has too. Your predecessor thought it was something I should try to work on and even gave me homework for it?"
[02:46] <Hopeplo> ["Okay. So it sounds like a lot of people think this is something you're struggling with. What do you think, then?"]
[02:47] <Yanmei> "They're exaggerating. It's not like I go around lying all the time!"
[02:48] <Hopeplo> ["I see." Said Aherne. "Is… That what they say?"]
[02:55] <Yanmei> "Well, er. The wording was that they didn't understand why I couldn't be 'open and honest during a friendly, casual conversation'."
[02:56] <Hopeplo> ["So it sounds like they say you approach a conversation in a closed… Dishonest way?"]
[02:59] <Yanmei> "Yeah, that certainly seems to be what they mean?"
[02:59] <Hopeplo> ["And you think they're exaggerating."]
[03:00] <Yanmei> "Of course! Look at the conversation we're having today for example? I've been super open and honest!"
[03:01] <Hopeplo> ["It sounds like your friends and family feel like they're not having open conversations with you, though, regardless of what's actually happening."]
[03:01] <Yanmei> "Mmph."
[03:02] <Hopeplo> ["Be straight with me." Said Aherne. "Did they ask you to come to therapy because of this?"]
[03:04] <Yanmei> "Mmph. Maybe. Fine, yes, okay?"
[03:04] <Hopeplo> ["I see." Said Aherne. "Why didn't you mention that in the first place?"]
[03:06] <Yanmei> "That would have been rude! "
[03:07] <Hopeplo> ["Howso?"]
[03:08] <Yanmei> "'Hello. I'm only here to take up your time and use your services because I'm being forced to by other people.' How does that not sound rude?"
[03:13] <Hopeplo> ["I can see where you're coming from, Yanmei." Said Aherne. "You wanted to make a good impression. But couldn't you have found a way to explain your situation to me quickly without sounding rude?"]
[03:15] <Yanmei> "Why is it so important to explain it, anyway?"
[03:16] <Hopeplo> ["Because I'm providing a service, Yanmei. To do that properly, I need to know where we stand, what we're trying to achieve together." Said Aherne, his tone calm. "As you said- my time, my services… It'd be best for both of us if they were put to good use."]
[03:20] <Yanmei> "So you're saying that if you'd known that you wouldn't have asked me to fill out the form or talk about any of that guilt stuff?"
[03:22] <Hopeplo> ["Maybe, maybe not. Probably still would've asked you to do the form at least." Said Aherne.-
[03:22] <Hopeplo> ["What I'm saying is… You're a busy person, yes?"]
[03:27] <Yanmei> "Of course?"
[03:29] <Hopeplo> ["Then your time is important, and so I don't want to see the time you give me wasted." Said Aherne. "We should spend it working on the challenges you're facing, so you can feel happier and more capable. Sound good?"]
[03:30] <Yanmei> "Yes," she agreed. "That's quite acceptable."
[03:31] <Hopeplo> ["Then our first step should be identifying a challenge that you want us to work on overcoming."]
[03:36] * Yanmei eyed him suspiciously. "Any suggestions, just based on our conversations so far?"
[03:38] <Hopeplo> ["Which one seems to be causing you the most problems right now?"]
[03:39] <Yanmei> "Honesty and openness seems to be the one everyone's grumbling about the most? So I guess we'll start with that."
[03:41] <Hopeplo> ["Alright, then we'll take that to be our goal… Do you want to summarise your aim for me in a single sentence?"]
[03:41] <Yanmei> "Um. I'll aim to be more open and honest when I'm talking with people I trust."
[03:43] <Hopeplo> ["That's good." Said Aherne. "I hope I'm hone of those people- or will be soon enough. Would you like to write it down? Make it formal?"]
[03:47] <Yanmei> "Sure?" Yanmei pulled out a pen accordingly.
[13:17] <PINGplo> [And Aherne gave her a blank sheet of paper.]
[13:23] <Yanmei> And Yanmei wrote a simple passage: 'I will attempt to be more open and honest with the people I trust.'
[13:24] <PINGplo> ["That's good." Said Aherne. "Now why don't we focus it a bit more?"]
[13:29] <Yanmei> "Why? Isn't this okay as it is?"
[13:32] <PINGplo> ["It's alright, but it's best to make it as specific as we can." Said Aherne.]
[13:35] * Yanmei frowned suspiciously. "I think it's better to keep it as it is?"
[13:38] <PINGplo> ["Hmm…"-
[13:40] <PINGplo> ["Let me explain what I mean. We're setting this as a goal, and it's better for goals to be more specific and achievable. The more specific they are, the more aware you'll be of how close you are to achieving it." Said Aherne. "It's a bit like the difference between 'I will kill an Angel' and 'I will destroy its core'… Both do the same thing, but one is more specific and focuses your
[13:40] <PINGplo> attention on that goal in particular."]
[13:45] <Yanmei> "So like… you want a specific plan?"
[13:48] <PINGplo> ["We can hash out a step-by-step later, but right now I think a more specific goal is best. What I think we need to do is figure out a specific time frame, a specific understanding of what 'open and honest' means, and a specific group of people you're hoping to improve your behaviour with."]
[13:52] * Yanmei frowned again, but this time she didn't protest. "What do we want to start with, then?"
[13:53] <PINGplo> ["Let's start with defining what open and honest means, action-wise, attitude-wise."]
[13:58] <Hopeplo> ["Let's start with defining what open and honest means, action-wise, attitude-wise."]
[13:58] <Yanmei> "Okay. 'open and honest' means revealing parts of my internal thoughts, when appropriate, if asked by the person I plan to reveal them to, if there is no danger of being overheard by people who I don't trust as much. How's that?"
[14:02] <Hopeplo> ["Alright, but what does 'when appropriate' mean?"]
[14:07] <Yanmei> "It means that there are certain exceptions to this rule? Like if telling that person would endanger their lives, or would lead to a catastrophic effect on our relationship or the well-being of others or something else that simply isn't worth it."
[14:13] <Hopeplo> ["I like that, mostly, but 'simply isn't worth it' seems pretty open-ended." Said Aherne. "Can you reword 'when appropriate' to incorporate that desire not to endanger people without that open-endedness?"]
[14:17] <Yanmei> "The problem with that is I can't imagine all the situations where being open with someone would be dangerous. I think a little of that open-endedness is a good thing? It lets me be flexible."
[14:22] <PINGplo> ["Then let's refocus it completely." Said Aherne. "Why don't we start with assuming that being open and honest isn't dangerous?"]
[14:23] <Yanmei> "It's not an assumption? It's the truth," said Yanmei primly.
[14:24] <PINGplo> ["It's the truth that being open and honest isn't dangerous, then?"]
[14:24] <Yanmei> "No. I mean that it is dangerous. For a lot of reasons."
[14:26] <PINGplo> ["Here." Said Aherne. "Can we work off the idea that being open and honest isn't dangerous unless there's an explicit proof of danger?"]
[14:37] <Yanmei> "I think that's a rather naive mindset, but I suppose we have to start somewhere?"
[14:38] <Hopeplo> ["Mmm." Said Aherne. "Why 'naive' instead of, say, rational?"]
[14:41] <Yanmei> "Because spies have been a problem for us in the past. In the best case scenario, we are surrounded by vicious, vicious gossips nearly all the time. You just got here, so you probably don't realize it yet?"
[14:45] <PINGplo> ["I see." Said Aherne. "Are there spies listening in on this conversation?"]
[14:46] <Yanmei> "I wouldn't count it out." She glanced around with renewed suspicion.
[14:47] <Hopeplo> ["Can you prove it?"]
[14:48] * Yanmei glared at him for a second before slipping behind a more polite expression. "I cannot. Yet."
[14:49] <Hopeplo> ["And you know this room has been checked for listening devices by Internal Security, using both electronic and AT Field methods?"]
[14:50] <Yanmei> "That was the arrangement, yeah."
[14:52] <Hopeplo> ["Mmhmm. So there's nothing to indicate that there's any spies listening in on this conversation." Said Aherne.-
[14:52] <Hopeplo> ["Meaning it's just you, me and the pink unicorn in here right now."]
[14:53] * Yanmei continued to frown, but she said nothing.
[14:55] <Hopeplo> [Aherne stayed silent as well.]
[14:59] <Yanmei> Yanmei's frown deepened. "You haven't been in contact with any UN agents lately, have you?"
[15:01] <Hopeplo> ["No." Said Aherne warmly. "And you can check with Internal Security, they've records of all my movements for the last two years."]
[15:01] <Yanmei> "Hmph."
[15:03] <Hopeplo> ["So back to the matter at hand, it shouldn't be any problem to state that you'll be open and honest unless there's active proof that someone dangerous is listening in?"]
[15:11] <Yanmei> "Fine," Yanmei grumbled. "I'll concede this time. I'll wait until I can disprove the danger before talking openly."
[15:13] <Hopeplo> ["Yanmei, that isn't what we discussed." Said Aherne. "You have to talk openly until you can prove the danger, not the other way around."]
[15:18] <Yanmei> "Right. Fine. I'll… I'll talk openly, until the danger presents itself."
[15:19] <Hopeplo> [Aherne was silent for a few seconds- then he nodded. "Alright, good."-
[15:19] <Hopeplo> ["And of course 'presents itself' means with provable evidence…?"]
[15:21] <Yanmei> "Yes, of course."
[15:23] <Hopeplo> ["Alright. Let's move on to listing specific people. This one should be a little easier, because I don't want you to list everyone you consider trustworthy, just the most… Four or five important people in your life."]
[15:27] <Yanmei> "Well… that is simple. Isaiah, Marianne, my mother, my cousin. How's that?"
[15:28] <Hopeplo> ["That works." Said Aherne. "Would you mind including me as well? It'd help with our sessions, of course."]
[15:29] <Yanmei> "Trust is something that takes time," said Yanmei sagely. "We'll work on it together, okay?"
[15:31] <Hopeplo> ["Alright, sure." Said Aherne.-
[15:31] <Hopeplo> ["Finally we need to discuss time frame. How does… Over the next ten weeks sound?"]
[15:34] <Yanmei> "You mean I'd have to be consistantly honest with them for ten entire weeks?"
[15:36] <Hopeplo> ["Not quite." Said Aherne. "That would be nice, but rather I'm hoping to set it as a goal to be achieved by the end of ten weeks, with the hope that you'll be consistently honest with them afterward for… You know. Ever."]
[15:40] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei considered this very very carefully. "If it's just those four, I think it will be okay? Alright, then."
[15:44] <Hopeplo> ["Alright, good. Do you want to now draft all of that into a statement goal for us?"]
[15:48] <Yanmei> A worn out Yanmei took up her pen again to write the following: -
[15:52] <Yanmei> 'I will try to be open and honest with Isaiah, Marianne, my mother, and my dumb cousin, if they ask me about something. The exception to this rule is if I can prove that there's someone dangerous listening in on the conversation. I will work my way up to doing this for the next ten weeks.'
[15:54] <Hopeplo> ["Looks good." Said Aherne. "Might we change the first part to 'I will be try to be open and honest in conversation with-', and drop the 'if they ask me about something'?"]
[15:55] <Yanmei> "Why do I have to be the one to initiate it?"
[15:56] <Hopeplo> ["It's not their problem, is it?"]
[15:58] <Yanmei> "It should be, since they're the ones who put me up to coming here!"
[15:59] <Hopeplo> ["True, they did, but why did you agree to it if you didn't want to come?"]
[16:01] <Yanmei> "Because I'd never hear the end of it otherwise?"
[16:02] <Hopeplo> ["Mmmhm. And do you really think being open and honest only some of the time is going to make that stop?"]
[16:03] <Yanmei> "If I'm clever about it, they won't know the difference?"
[16:04] <Hopeplo> ["Has that ever worked in the past?"]
[16:10] <Yanmei> "It depends who I'm doing it to. It wouldn't work in Isaiah because he can literally read my mind? But on my mother, for example…"
[16:10] <Hopeplo> ["And do you enjoy deceiving her?"]
[16:11] <Yanmei> "Of course not!"
[16:11] <Hopeplo> ["Does she like it when you deceive her?"]
[16:11] <Yanmei> "Probably not…"
[16:11] <Hopeplo> ["Then if you don't like doing it, and she doesn't like it, and there's no provable danger, why not be open and honest to her all the time?"]
[16:17] * Yanmei sighed deeply. "You're a frustratingly persistent man, Dr. Aherne."
[16:18] <Hopeplo> ["When I have to be, Yanmei." Said Aherne lightly. "Now there shouldn't be any problem amending your statement, no?"]
[16:20] <Yanmei> "Fine." She drew a line through the offending passage. "Does this meet your standards now?"
[16:21] <Hopeplo> ["Make sure to add 'open and honest in conversation with' too…"]
[16:23] * Yanmei scribbled it in. "There?"
[16:24] <Hopeplo> ["'I will try to be open and honest in conversation with Isaiah, Marianne, my mother, and my dumb cousin. The exception to this rule is if I can prove that there's someone dangerous listening in on the conversation. I will work my way up to doing this for the next ten weeks'." Read AHerne. "Sounds good!"-
[16:25] <Hopeplo> ["Now, which of those people do you think we should focus on first?"]
[16:26] <Yanmei> "We have to do it one at at time…?"
[16:27] <Hopeplo> ["Well, we can do all at once if you like, sure. I just figured it'd be easier on you to focus on one person first."]
[16:30] <Yanmei> "Hm. If I had to pick, maybe Marianne?"
[16:33] <Hopeplo> ["Sure." Said Aherne. "If you're more comfortable doing it with everyone, that's fine too."-
[16:33] <Hopeplo> ["In any case, you feel like you can achieve this?" He said, tapping the mission statement.]
[16:36] <Yanmei> "Of course I can?" Yanmei tossed her hair. "Easy as pie?"
[16:37] <Hopeplo> ["Hm, well, you're confident, that's good." Said Aherne. "Next week, we'll start working on some technique."-
[16:37] <Hopeplo> ["But for now… I'm going to ask you to do something for us in the time between sessions, alright?"]
[16:39] <Yanmei> "More homework, hm?"
[16:42] <Hopeplo> ["That's right. Two things. I want you to show your statement to Isaiah, Marianne, your mother and your cousin." Said Aherne. "If you like, you could get them to sign it, so that you know they're supporting you."-
[16:42] <Hopeplo> ["The second thing is that I want you to keep a log, recording each time you catch yourself being less than honest with them for no good reason. You'll bring both with you next week, and we'll go over them. Sound good?"]
[16:44] <Yanmei> "That's fine," she said calmly.
[16:48] <Hopeplo> ["Alright." Said Aherne, clapping his hands together. "We're nearly done! Just one last thing to do, then you can go."]
[16:48] <Yanmei> "Oh?"
[16:50] <Hopeplo> ["At the start of the session I asked you to do an ORS. Now I'd like you to do an SRS- a session rating scale. It reviews how you found the session, whether you felt like it suited your needs." He handed another sheet of paper to Yanmei.]
[16:56] <Yanmei> And Yanmei briskly filled it out before returning it to him.
[16:58] <Hopeplo> [Aherne raised an eyebrow. "I see…"]
[16:59] <Yanmei> "I guess this concludes our session?" she asked politely.
[17:00] <Hopeplo> ["Would you rather I go over this now or next time?"]
[17:00] <Yanmei> "I'll leave that to your preference."
[17:05] <Hopeplo> ["Alright, then we'll go over it next time," Said Aherne, rising to his feet.]
[17:08] <Yanmei> Yanmei quickly got to hers as well, extending a hand to him. "Thank you for today. It will be a pleasure to work with you?"
[17:09] <Hopeplo> ["I hope so." Said Aherne, taking Yanmei's hand and shaking it. "This time next week, then."]
[17:13] <Yanmei> "Yes, of course." With that done, she turned to go.
[17:14] <Hopeplo> [Aherne walked Yanmei out into the reception area, and left her to her own devices then.-
[17:14] <Hopeplo> [He went back to his office and shut the door behind him. He held up Yanmei's three scales- the lie-filled one, the truthful one, and the rather spiteful one she'd given him at the end.-
[17:15] <Hopeplo> [He rubbed his temples and let out a small sigh.]

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