Cherry Blossom Procession 4 6b

[16:03] <AdEvaGM> [The boarding torpedoes crashed home into the hull of the Dorian. Each torpedo was built essentially like a drill, which punched through the armour with sheer momentum, then dug itself deeper, before splitting open and disgorging its cargo.-
[16:04] <AdEvaGM> [But the torpedoes were empty, carrying instead a pair of dirac beacons each. It was only after they hit home that troops began to appear, being jaunted out of the air by Apostles, Keepers and Brazilian Telepaths, along with the other motley collection of AT users the Federation commanded.-
[16:05] <AdEvaGM> [Out of the air appeared squads of Iron Guard, companies of marines and hordes of Australian gangers, flooding into the cargo bays and corridors that had been identified as good locations for beachheads.-
[16:07] <AdEvaGM> [One of these teams breached into a cargo bay, chosen for its location: barely a few minutes away from the prison hub. Coming through this torpedo's jaunt were the command team and their leaders: SOS, ERAD, the Empress, General Guillory- and Aline Blanc, the prime returned.]
[16:13] <Raphael> SOS-1 were easy to pick out; Their AC Suits put them head and shoulders above the rest of the boarders. The Peaceknight moved first, picking it's way to the front of the crowd.-
[16:13] <Raphael> "Alright," Raphael's voice came over the comms. "You know the plan. ERAD, Sergeant Nieminen, SOS-3 and SOS-4 hold the cargo bay. Worst case scenario, this is our escape route."-
[16:13] <Raphael> "Everyone else, with me."
[16:14] * Aline bowed her head, armored as it was in the white and green deathmask of a Solomon Prime, carrying a… …a weapon. It almost looked like she was holding a helix of light itself, somehow, among her fluted, exotic armor. "Understood!"
[16:19] <AdEvaGM> [There was no resistance in the cargo bay. Only the sound of klaxons suggested that a response was forthcoming eventually.-
[16:20] <AdEvaGM> [Captain Hirano- behind the imposing armour of a sleek Goju-Shiki battlesuit, gave Raphael a nod before levelling a positron cannon toward the door. "Understood."-
[16:22] <AdEvaGM> [A digital voice channel opened up in Aline and Raphael's helmets, along with a map of the battleship. "You have your routes." Said Alphonse. "Little resistance is being reported from the other boarding parties as of yet."]
[16:24] <Raphael> "Let's make ground while we can, then," Raphael said. The Peaceknight began to lope towards the hangar door with eerily human strides, a massive bolt shotgun held at the ready.
[16:28] <Aline> "Waiting for the shoe to drop, then." Aline noted awkwardly, but moving to get in position around the door. Getting ready…
[16:29] <Raphael> "That's how it tends to go, ma'am."
[17:37] <AdEvaGM> ["The reverse is true as well." Said the Empress. "Blanc and I make a fine pair of heels, ready to drop on an unsuspecting guard."-
[17:39] <AdEvaGM> [They progressed through the corridors quickly, encountering light resistance in the form of thralled marines, who were quickly beaten back.-
[17:39] <AdEvaGM> [Their first proper challenge came on reaching the prison complex itself.-
[17:41] <AdEvaGM> [It was heavily fortified. The front doors were sealed, but in front of them were thirty marines, some sporting heavy weapons, crouching behind surovite barricades that had been shaped out of the ground- as though the deck itself had turned to liquid and someone had sculpted it upwards before it froze again.-
[17:41] <AdEvaGM> [Behind the doors were fifteen Iron Guard: nine regulars, three Virus Guard, a pair of Virus Apostles and a single regular Apostle, standing at the central console.-
[17:42] <AdEvaGM> ["Federation intruders, be advised." Said the regular Apostle. "Surrender your arms, or we will flood the prison cells with deadly neurotoxins. You have one minute!"]
[17:50] <Raphael> "Dirac Jammers are still offline," Raphael muttered, scanning the readouts from within the cockpit. "Ms. Blanc, Empress, are you able to buy us some time?"
[17:51] * Aline muttered back. "I'm already visualizing it. Empress, ready to move? I can hit the center in a rushdown, and then we can engage while covering the terminal."
[17:53] <Raphael> "Count us down. Chancellor's Honour Guard, the moment they move we take those barricades. Disable rather than kill, if you please."
[17:58] <AdEvaGM> ["Sounds good." Said the Empress, flashing a pair of spinning energy blades into her hands.]
[17:58] <AdEvaGM> [The Honour Guard desperately began searching their equipment for non-lethal options.]
[17:59] <AdEvaGM> [(There was the sound of loud cracks as the Echidna Clanner began snapping off her own poisoned spines, and handing them out.)]
[18:04] * Aline exhaled once. "3…" she started, while starting to stoop lower, the hand holding her weapon lowering. Almost as if she were making to comply. "2…" A soft whisper not on speaker, as she stooped lower. Crouching, but with the slightest semblance of tension. To someone with an idea of what she was about to do, it was tensing for a leap. "1…" Almost making as if to release the glowing weapon. In fact, she did, the thing
[18:04] * Aline starting to fall like a pair of confused snakes dropped from an airplane. "…Mark!" And then Aline sprung forward, but almost as soon as foot left the ground, she, the Empress, and her weapon vanished. …Only to reappear behind the door, Empress to the side… And Aline hurtling right towards the Apostle at the terminal. What happened next was a bit of a blur. The white bony form of the armored girl hit the Apostle with
[18:04] * Aline an open hand near the middle arm, while the other hand was scooping up the lightlash, which bent obediently into her grasp. She used the momentum to - since she didn't have the mass to bowl over a Guard on her own - pull herself around the Apostle, whip sailing through the air in a trail of pure-white glimmers. Then at the apex of the sideswing, Aline released her hand from his arm… only for the all-too-prehensile weapon
[18:04] * Aline to grip him by an ankle. Aline's open palm was now hitting the floor… gripping enough to let her flip… and then with a violent pull, she not only yanked the Apostle off his feet with very bioexotic strength?… But proceeded to cast the lash and its cargo out on the side opposite of the Empress, literally using the Apostle as the head of a radiant morningstar to batter as many Guard as she could before the weapon let
[18:04] * Aline loose its prey. Soon, Aline was alighting on her feet to see how the field changed.
[18:08] <AdEvaGM> [An entangled Iron Guard made for an excellent flail, as it turned out.-
[18:10] <AdEvaGM> [Many of the regular Guards had been felled by the flail; one of them had even decided to grapple onto the Apostle in an attempt to free him, which only doubled the head's mass as it swung into the other Guard. Practically all of them had been felled, mostly stunned.-
[18:11] <AdEvaGM> [The Empress set into those still on their feet, slicing off hands and heads with her energy blades, which she threw with deadly accuracy- the stumps left behind burst into flame.-
[18:11] <AdEvaGM> ["We've cleared them on our end!" Shouted the Empress.]
[18:16] <Raphael> The Peaceknight was airborne before Aline's weapon caught hold of the Apostle, its boosters taking it on a long arc before dropping it in the centre crowd behind the barricades. One massive robotic hand swung out to swat a mascannon out of the grip of a pair of stunned marines, and then the AC suit was moving nimbly through the crowd, scattering marines as it went.-
[18:16] <Raphael> A few shots richocheted off its armour, but none of the heavy weapons were able to turn before the Guards had joined the fray.
[18:21] <AdEvaGM> [The Guards swept through the marines easily.-
[18:24] <AdEvaGM> [The marines were clearly terrified, yet didn't surrender- or perhaps were not allowed to do so. It made the Honour Guard's job a little harder, and ultimately as the last marines went down, there were more than a few that looked as though they sported several broken limbs and other gruelling injuries.]
[18:26] * Aline had eventually settled over the terminal, at the very least canceling the program in operation, or if need be, trying to destroy the terminal. "Hneh, this commitment to the battle from their controllers is going to make this messy. Artificial morale… Ah well. Each as it goes." Mostly muttering while closing said program.
[18:29] <Raphael> All in all it wasn't a bad result for Guards asked to operate less-than-lethally. "We're only required to hold back with the marines," Raphael said.-
[18:31] <Raphael> "Which brings forward the question of where the rest of the Guards are hiding…" The Peaceknight gestured the advancing infantry and their medics towards one of the more grievously wounded marines.
[18:36] <Aline> "…Hm." Aline thought about that as she started to rejoin the formation. "If I were to guess, deeper in the complex, possibly even in hiding places. …Maybe."
[18:36] <AdEvaGM> ["Agreed." Said the Empress.]
[18:38] <Raphael> "Yes, most likely. I thought they'd spare a bit more effort on protecting the prisoners, bu-…" He paused. "Empress, the cells are occupied, aren't they?"
[18:39] * Aline paused in her tracks at that notion.
[18:40] <AdEvaGM> ["Yes." Said the Empress. "All of them, in fact."]
[18:40] <Raphael> "… Good. Good." That would have been awkward.
[18:41] <AdEvaGM> [Empress frowned and turned toward Aline.]
[18:43] * Aline turned back, and then looked to Raphael. "…I can sense the song of the controlled in there. And the AT Fields of virus guards. …Some of them have soldiers mixed into the prisoner population, others are just Virus Guard. …If we open all the cells, this will become even messier."
[18:46] * Raphael sighed. "Right. That was always a possibility…"-
[18:48] <Raphael> "How much time would it take for the two of you to isolate the controlled and infected? Is that an option?"
[18:49] <AdEvaGM> ["I'm sure we could, but it might take time." Said the Empress. "At least ten minutes. I could stay behind and do it myself, though."]
[15:20] <Raphael> Raphael tapped restlessly on one of the control consoles for a moment. "… Alright. Honour Guard, you're assigned to the Empress. Hold the entrances until she can finish her work."-
[15:20] <Raphael> "Chiisana, can you sense our high-value targets here?" He didn't sound hopeful. "If not, are you and Aline able to give us a heading to find them?"
[15:25] <AdEvaGM> ["I can sense most of them." Said the Empress. "A few are missing: Amatore, Ezekiel…"-
[15:26] <AdEvaGM> [("Albus has just surrendered Amatore back to Yanmei.") Said Alphonse over the comms. ("We've secured her now.")]
[15:30] * Aline thought about this, quickly. "Ezekiel might be restrained somewhere where AT forces or whatever bizarre technology he's using can keep him at bay, rather than here. He's on a different level…"
[15:31] <Raphael> "Sir, we're seeing trojan prisoners infected with the virus among the prisoner population here. Please treat anything or anyone he gives us with extreme caution."-
[15:33] <Raphael> Then his attention switched to Aline. "Right. I imagine they're keeping him close to the high-threat AT users on their side. If Mortens is outside, that could mean Akagi?"
[15:39] <AdEvaGM> ["I can't sense him on the ship, but there's a great deal of interference." Said the Empress. "I'm sensing a great deal of AT-empowered viral entities, however…"]
[15:40] <Raphael> "Where's the highest concentration?"
[15:40] <Aline> "…It's pretty packed, yeah. …Best we settle this and then regroup mid-engagement maybe."
[15:41] <AdEvaGM> ["They're on the move, forming a long cordon around our positions." Said the Empress. "They don't seem to be congregating in any one location."]
[15:45] * Aline frowned. "…What's more, is I'm sensing spatial disturbances throughout the ship. …They're portalling in more."
[15:46] <Raphael> "Right." The Peaceknight stood to its full height and turned to face the rest of the crowd. "The Empress will stay here to manage the prisoners. The rest of us will damage the viral Guard as much as we can on the way to the nearest command post. If we can disable any of their portal staging grounds, all the better."
[15:51] <AdEvaGM> ["Good hunting." Said the Empress, nodding toward Aline and Raphael.-
[15:52] <AdEvaGM> [("This is Hirano.") Said Subaru over the comms. ("They're counter-attacking our position. We've held them off for now, but there's some damage to the room-")-
[15:53] <AdEvaGM> [("We've suffered some casualties, nothing we can't handle, but we're still trying to find some people, Messina included.")]
[15:57] * Raphael frowned. "Understood. It looks like you'll need to hold for another ten minutes, I'll direct you reinforcements as they become available."
[15:59] <AdEvaGM> [("Got it.")-
[16:00] <AdEvaGM> […-
[16:02] <AdEvaGM> [The Virus Guard were well-entrenched.-
[16:04] <AdEvaGM> [Aline and Raphael pressed deeper into the vessel, and before long ran into Virus Guard positions. The first two of these they took apart relatively quickly. The third, however, was a different story. It held an intersection, with one path leading down the main route to the bridge, the other to Main Engineering, and the third to the promenade.-
[16:04] <AdEvaGM> [Which was always going to be a nightmare.-
[16:06] <AdEvaGM> [Facing them this time were five Apostles, thirty Virus Guard, a hundred dominated marines and two Annihilators, entrenched behind those strange barricades that looked as though someone had liquefied the deck, pulled it roughly upwards then let it go solid.-
[16:06] <AdEvaGM> [An Australian Clan-Guard volunteered to scout out the defenses.-
[16:07] <AdEvaGM> [He was Platypus, and so he had an advantage on not being detected. And he managed to describe their defenses well enough in the six seconds he had.-
[16:08] <AdEvaGM> [One of the apostles- this one with armour trimmed in platinum instead of gold- had turned abruptly, staring at the Platypus clanner. Then the platinum apostle stepped forward and made an upward sweeping motion with his hand.-
[16:11] <AdEvaGM> [As though it were clay being sculpted by an invisible hand, a part of the surovite deck rose in sync with the apostle. It stretched upwards, split from the floor, formed a thin, razor-sharp disc of metal, then flew at high speed straight through the clan-guard's body, bisecting it before embedding itself in the wall directly behind.]
[16:19] <Raphael> "… That's new," Raphael murmured, watching the feed resolve down to static on one of his cockpit monitors.-
[16:19] <Raphael> "I apologise, Ms. Blanc, but it looks like we might need you to take point here. Anything you can do to remove… whatever that was, would be appreciated."
[16:23] <Aline> "…It's LN stuff. Training apostles to do weird things with their AT powers - it looks like he learned how to shape metal. Let's see now…" Aline actually reached out and cracked her knuckles, starting to march ahead
[16:50] * Aline then moved forward. Starting to jog. Then outright running, at obviously superhuman speeds. Diving in, Aline went… straight for the cover. A brutal, powerful charge with a cresting wave of AT force in front of her, and she ended up, effectively, 'blade tackling' the cover… Bracing it with one hand… and bowling right into a Virus Guard, before kicking off of it quickly, and turning to wing the severed chunk of Surovite
[16:50] * Aline at one of the apostles! Aline was now in the ranks, and drew her lash…!
[16:57] <Raphael> "We don't know their limitations, so keep distance until the metalwarper is contained," Raphael instructed, leading a wedge of AC Pilots and Iron Guard into the empty zone between the two lines of infantry, bracing himself as the first Virus Guard began to close. Behind him the heavy weapons teams were already focusing positron fire on the first Annihilator.
[17:06] <AdEvaGM> [The chunk of Surovite caught an apostle in the face, knocking it to the ground. It was already starting to rise, but the damage was done- the shock of Aline's attack had scattered the Virus Guards' front line.-
[17:09] <AdEvaGM> [Raphael's suits fired and his clanners roared furiously, leading the charge- they started on the Guards Aline had knocked over or sent ducking away from her charge, quickly cutting through several of them. Behind Raphael, the weapons teams fired, their target Annihilator soaking the first few shots with its AT Field before it shattered. Several shots caught it on the face and one lucky positron cannon shot caught it on the core just as it was about to fire. The resulting explosion ripped the Annihilator apart from the inside.-
[17:15] <AdEvaGM> [As the normal Apostles busied themselves with Aline and her burning whip of light, the metalwarper suddenly vanished, sucked into the deck. He emerged a moment later behind one of the AC suits. He slapped a hand against it- and the suit spasmed. A second later the pilot screamed- which was cut abruptly short- and the suit went still.]
[17:39] <Raphael> None of it presented much time for Raphael to formulate a response, which might've served to explain his course of action. He spun, beam sabre flashing horizontally to leave a bright, burning gash in the Apostle's readied AT Field. The gap only lasted for a split second, but it was enough for the Peaceknight to hurl a dead Virus Guard at the metalwarper like a dart.-
[17:40] <Raphael> It struck him in the chest with enough force to knock him clear of the formation and the Peaceknight was quick to follow, discarding the bolt shotgun carelessly as it boosted towards the threat.
[17:45] * Aline meanwhile sized up her own situation. Many guard, an Annihilator still standing. Thinking through, thinking of her weapon's properties, AT powers to use… all manner of scenarios came up… but she made her decision. Focusing her will, Aline's AT Field shifted slightly, and… what passed for artificial gravity aboard the Dorian would, at least around her, suddenly cease to be. The whip of light unfurled as Aline used
[17:45] * Aline the sudden change of gravity to set up another attack! She's soon bearing down with two ends of the helix spinning in front of her, fending around to protect herself, while she pushed off of the floor, launching towards the ceiling, before calling down a barrage of homing AT Bolts…!
[17:58] <AdEvaGM> [The anti-gravity changed the face of the battlefield instantly. Charging soldiers lost their footing, impacts sent bodies flying through the air- it was a disruption hard enough to shut down most attempts to dodge or defend for a few seconds.-
[18:00] <AdEvaGM> [Aline's bolts began striking through Virus Guards, punching through armour and weak joints, sending them bouncing off floors and off walls. Her whip caught an errant apostle, but the other three remained- still standing thanks to their own AT Fields.-
[18:01] <AdEvaGM> [The three of them raised their hands, neutralising Aline in unison. The marines and the Annihilators all began to focus on her now, waves of bolt shells and positron sparks hurtling towards her.-
[18:02] <AdEvaGM> [The metalwarper was knocked across the ground, but before it struck earth it sent the Guard hurtling away, leaving it free to rise- and rise quickly it did, as Raphael was bearing down on it in a blur of speed.-
[18:03] <AdEvaGM> [It dove to the ground and thrust a hand upwards at the Peaceknight.-
[18:04] <AdEvaGM> [Nothing happened.-
[18:05] <AdEvaGM> [The warper desperately slapped its hands against its chest, which sent itself flying directly away at high speed.]
[18:08] * Raphael hissed out a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding as he hurled himself forward again. "Thank you, Julien," he muttered.-
[18:11] <Raphael> A microgesture switched comms back on. "Positron weapons teams, hem the Silver Apostle in as much as you're able." He cut boosters, leaving the Peaceknight falling rapidly into the metalwarper's path, blade lowered.
[18:16] * Aline on the other hand was in a pickle. Attacks from the left, attacks from the right, and she's stuck in the middle with… her AT Field. Reaching the ceiling, Aline soon panicked, setting up a Barrier between her and the assembled group! Some positron shots might go through (MIGHT), but she was now much harder to kill than before, so she figured it worthwhile. …Until she got another idea. Legs connecting to the ceiling as
[18:16] * Aline she flipped around in zero-G. Barrier humming now above her head. …and then she released the gravity field. Or… did she? No. She unreversed it, now causing a fatal attraction to herself. She hurtled down as the ship's gravity reaserted itself… barrier up… and as now her foes would be pulled into the wall.
[18:25] <AdEvaGM> [The remaining Apostles had a moment to shriek- possibly in horror.-
[18:25] <AdEvaGM> [A second later they struck the barrier, which Aline then pushed into the ground hard enough to pancake them and two other Virus Guard nearby.-
[18:27] <AdEvaGM> [Raphael's weapons teams opened fire, one bolt smacking the metalwarper across the left arm, leaving a deep wound.-
[18:28] <AdEvaGM> [It hissed lowly, then gestured at a nearby clan-Guard. With one violent yank it ripped its power pack free, then hurled it forward, both toward the Peaceknight and the positron bolts.-
[18:33] <AdEvaGM> [The power pack exploded violently, not enough to cause lasting damage to the Peaceknight but enough to knock it off-kilter.-
[18:33] <AdEvaGM> [As it stood, the apostle narrowly dodged the beam sabre…-
[18:34] <AdEvaGM> [… And at that moment, the dominated marines all spasmed, shrieked, then fell to the ground.-
[18:34] <AdEvaGM> [Followed by an inhuman, demonic roar which ripped through the entire vessel. The roar of a berserk Evangelion.]
[18:35] * Aline was already breaking into a sprint, her lash forming up into a column, into a… into a faux-longinus shape of pure light, as she rushed towards the Apostle vexing Raphael. While she was moving fast even as chaos went down, she was complaining into the comms. "The hell was that? 03?!"
[18:38] <Raphael> "Has to be." Raphael said, sounding harried as the Peaceknight faced off against the metalwarper with blade raised, not lunging yet.-
[18:39] <Raphael> A quick change of channels. "Command, we have a berserking Evangelion onboard. Did de Pteres screw up?"
[18:42] <AdEvaGM> [("He's telling us he saved the fuck out of her.")]
[18:42] <AdEvaGM> [The metalwarper, meanwhile, plunged deep into the deck and vanished.]
[18:43] * Aline …ended up stopping her charge, the 'lance' unfolding again. "I heard that. …I saw that, too. This guy is going to be REALLY annoying, isn't he."
[18:44] <Raphael> "03 seems to disagree, unless there's a second-," he hissed a curse as the Apostle vanished. "- Unless there's a second Evangelion onboard. Are we able to get secondary confirmation somehow?"-
[18:44] <Raphael> Aline got a silent, very human nod from the Peaceknight.
[18:45] * Aline actually confirmed the nod, nodding back. "…Unless this is somehow a good berserk. Like. …Like wasn't there a thing how her mom in the eva was fucking her up? What if he like, saved her so hard that her mom got scared straight and now it's going to murder Albus to pieces?"
[18:46] <AdEvaGM> [("Albus seems to be able to repurpose the Ayanami Evas we had on board- well, one of which we've seen, Kyuu's…")-
[18:46] <AdEvaGM> [The blast door that sealed the intersection from the Main Engineering grand corridor blew apart.-
[18:48] <AdEvaGM> [Tsubaki walked out of the doorway, dressed up in resplendent robes, some of which she'd torn off or in half. Walking behind her was an extremely pale, emaciated Ezekiel.]
[18:49] * Aline … pulled off her helmet, or rather it just vanished. She smiled, waved, and… hoped for the best.
[18:51] <AdEvaGM> [Tsubaki waved in return, before awkwardly just holding her hands up in the air in surrender.]
[18:51] <Raphael> Aline, predictably, was an outlier. As the final scraps of fighting died down, every unoccupied UEF gun turned Tsubaki's way. Deprived of his own, Raphael settled for a single pointed gesture with his blade-…-
[18:51] <Raphael> And then she surrendered, which took some of the air out of that.-
[18:54] <Raphael> "Stay there, Akagi," Raphael's voice was crisp and cold as it came through the Peaceknight's speakers. "Ezekiel, are you alright?"
[18:55] * Aline was starting to move forward, actually, to try to get near him, maybe to help him walk if possible, to check him for harm…
[18:56] <AdEvaGM> [He had no physical injuries, but he was extremely weak- Aline could sense Tsubaki's gravity harness keeping him upright.-
[18:56] <AdEvaGM> ["No." Said Ezekiel. "I am extremely not right."]
[18:57] <Raphael> "Aline, please help him however you can."-
[18:57] <Raphael> There was a short sigh. "… Is that 03 that just berserked, Tsubaki?"
[18:58] * Aline nodded, and tried… tried to think. "… …" Beat. "…Will you allow me to synchronize fields with you, Ezekiel?"
[18:58] <AdEvaGM> ["Yeah." Said Tsubaki. "It's okay, though."-
[18:59] <AdEvaGM> ["By all means." Said Ezekiel.]
[19:00] <Raphael> "Define 'okay'."
[19:00] <AdEvaGM> ["She's on our side, and I'm in control. Okay?"]
[19:01] * Aline nodded, and did just that, putting a hand on his shoulder a bit, before starting to focus, and push her own energy against his. Slowly… try to find the gaps and shore them up, one by one…
[19:02] <AdEvaGM> [Aline would feel a great sense of wrongness coming from Ezekiel. It was always hard to quite understand him, in terms of metaphysical biology, but even that knowledge seemed off…-
[19:02] <AdEvaGM> [If Aline had to put it into words…?]
[19:04] * Aline stared blankly. "…Command?" She made sure to change band appropriately. "We have Tsubaki and Ezekiel. Tsubaki has surrendered and seems to be helping, but Ezekiel. Uh. He feels like he doesn't have a soul. This can't be accurate but that's what it feels like. If I were to guess, Albus ate it. Somehow."
[19:09] <Raphael> This prompted a moment of chilly silence from Raphael. "Accurate, Akagi?"
[19:11] <Raphael> <Mulligan>
[19:15] <Raphael> There was a moment of chilly silence from Raphael, both at Aline's message and Tsubaki's response. "Fine. You're under arrest, for what little that's worth right now."
[19:20] <AdEvaGM> ["Okay." Said Tsubaki.-
[19:21] <AdEvaGM> ["We don't have much time." Said Ezekiel. "Albus used Tsubaki to defeat me before I could reveal my other form. He then took the Philosopher's Stone and sealed it."-
[19:22] <AdEvaGM> ["He made an agreement with the virus guard, who taught him secrets… Secrets from the Void Asterion. With that, he was able to tether the power of the Stone to himself." Ezekiel shook his head. "I don't have unlimited power in my other form- it requires an external power source to maintain for more than a few minutes at a time. He's using the Evangelions for that."-
[19:23] <AdEvaGM> ["But he's hidden the Stone somewhere…"-
[19:24] <AdEvaGM> ["The Dorian has secret passages." Said Tsubaki. "Passages made of sigilite. They only react to people who know the pass-phrases, and once you go in, the environment is… Really, really hostile. But the passages themselves don't obey physical laws, and so Albus has been able to hide the Stone in there."-
[19:24] <AdEvaGM> ["Very shortly, the Void Asterion is going to emerge." Said Ezekiel- and then he suddenly, desperately grabbed Aline's arm.-
[19:24] <AdEvaGM> ["Aline, Raphael- Albus is going to try to merge with it. He must not be allowed to do so. At any cost."]
[19:26] <Raphael> "Understood, sir." The Peaceknight fell quiet as Raphael set about rapidly passing that on to Eva Command.
[19:26] * Aline nodded firmly. "…If there is any way you can help us enter, I'll do it. I imagine I'll have trouble, but it's something we must do. …Hang on until then…"
[19:28] <AdEvaGM> ["I know the passcodes. I can use them to… I guess broadcast them so they appear to everyone, meaning you can all go in. But I'll be stuck here, sustaining that the entire time. I can't go in with you." Said Tsubaki.]
[19:31] <Raphael> There was a bit of lag time as Raphael broke off his other conversation. "Where's the nearest entrance?"
[19:35] <AdEvaGM> ["On the way to the promenade." Said Tsubaki.]
[15:43] * Aline nodded at that… and began to move almost immediately…!
[15:49] <Raphael> The Peaceknight quickly followed. "Empress? If you've finished with the prisoners, we might need you to collect Ezekiel."
[15:50] <AdEvaGM> ["Understood."-
[15:50] <AdEvaGM> ["…"-
[15:51] <AdEvaGM> ["There are some people who'd like a word with you, if you have time?" Asked the Empress.]
[15:53] <Raphael> "Just a moment." There was a stretch of silence long enough for Raphael to pass marching orders on to the other teams, and then his voice returned. "Go ahead."
[15:57] <AdEvaGM> [A small dirac cache opened at eye-level with the Peaceknight.-
[15:57] <AdEvaGM> ["Raffy-!" Rei appeared on the other side, her eyes wide.]
[16:03] <Raphael> "Rei-" He was forced to use the speakers to communicate, and it was impossible to disguise his relief. He had to pause and take a breath, forcing his voice level. "… Are you hurt?"
[16:06] <AdEvaGM> ["No…" She said, shaking her head. "Are you ok? Do you need my help?"]
[16:09] <Raphael> "I do," He nodded, and the Peaceknight mimicked it. "I need you to go to the staging ground with the others and hold it, alright? Eevi's there waiting for you. We'll begin the evacuation soon."
[16:11] <AdEvaGM> [A swirl of conflicting emotions crossed Rei's expression for a second.-
[16:11] <AdEvaGM> ["But-"-
[16:11] <AdEvaGM> ["Hrm-"-
[16:12] <AdEvaGM> ["Okay." Said Rei hesitantly. "Look after yourself. Please?"]
[16:13] <Raphael> "I'll do my best. Keep everyone safe for me."
[16:14] <AdEvaGM> ["Okay. Love you, Raffy."]
[16:14] <Raphael> "…"-
[16:14] <Raphael> "Love you too, hon."
[16:18] <AdEvaGM> [She gave him a quick nod, then reached through the cache to pat the Peaceknight on the head. Then she was gone.-
[16:18] <AdEvaGM> [After her was Kourosh Rustami.-
[16:19] <AdEvaGM> [Rustami was pale, his hair wild, but his expression had a terrible intensity to it that Raphael found, for some reason, familiar.-
[16:19] <AdEvaGM> ["Raphael." He said. "Raphael, I tried…"]
[16:26] <Raphael> "… I'm sure you did, sir," Raphael's voice was a little clipped, but he managed to soften it with some effort. "It's not your fault."
[16:28] <AdEvaGM> ["I…"-
[16:29] <AdEvaGM> ["Hurt him." Said Rustami coldly. A moment later, Go appeared, escorting the apparently weak Rustami away.-
[16:29] <AdEvaGM> [The cache closed.]
[16:34] <Raphael> The comms on the Peaceknight fell silent as the AC Suit walked on. Inside the cockpit Raphael allowed himself a miserable little sigh.
[16:36] * Aline had waited a bit after she heard the request, but …tried to sympathetically nod at Raphael.
[16:36] <AdEvaGM> [A moment later the Empress appeared, grabbed Ezekiel and vanished.]
[16:41] <AdEvaGM> [-
[16:42] <AdEvaGM> [The boarding forces passed them, heading in to secure the promenade. It wasn't long before the sound of gunfire and prog blades could be heard.-
[16:43] <AdEvaGM> [Aline and Raphael, however, did not go to the Promenade. Rather they stopped in a hallway about 50 metres before the entrance to the Promenade, in front of a… Door.-
[16:44] <AdEvaGM> [It was a wide archway, made of white wicker. The space between should've been blank surovite wall, but instead it was a grassy meadow.-
[16:44] <AdEvaGM> [On stepping through the archway, they'd find that it indeed was a grassy meadow they were in- a pleasantly cool, windy day, the landscape dotted with the odd tree.]
[16:49] <Raphael> Raphael paused in front of the door, passing out commands to the soldiers staying behind. When he finally stepped through the remaining Australian Guard came with him, the Peaceknight at the head with its recovered shotgun held level.-
[16:49] <Raphael> "Anything else we need to know, Akagi?"
[16:50] * Aline …stared at the scenery beyond, pensively biting her lip, before re-manifesting her helmet from the silk it was made from. "…The whole 'peaceful looking' trap-and-torment-scape trope. Fun."
[16:55] <AdEvaGM> ["Alright. Remember that you're almost always going to be in a hallway or a big room. You're gonna see a lot of shit, but try to keep that in mind as best you can."-
[16:58] <AdEvaGM> ["The sorts of things you see tend to be one of two things: pleasant landscapes designed, yeah, to kind of lure you into a trap, or horrible places plucked out of your nightmares. To a degree, your perception can shape the reality in here, meaning that if you buy too much into what you see, it can become very real for you."-
[16:59] <AdEvaGM> ["You have safety in numbers. If there's a lot of you, then the reality you see is being shaped by a lot of minds, and it can all sort of cancel out because it's being tugged in a bunch of directions."-
[16:59] <AdEvaGM> ["But if some of you start dying or disappearing, then the rest of you become that more influential over what you see."-
[16:59] <AdEvaGM> ["Also, Aline?"]
[17:02] * Aline turns up out of instinct. "Yeah?"
[17:03] <AdEvaGM> ["Don't think of a potato."]
[17:05] <Aline> "Was gonna say. Butter and sour creme with a…~" She noded her head, though. "Will do."
[17:10] <Raphael> … that got a concerned frown, even as the Peaceknight began picking its way across the meadow. Its footsteps were careful, as if they expected every bit of ground to disguise a drop.
[17:13] * Aline strode in herself, cautiously, the tips of her lash flicking a bit in obvious readiness.
[17:15] <AdEvaGM> [The meadow held no pitfalls for them at this point.-
[17:16] <AdEvaGM> [The Iron Guard had formed a chain around Raphael, Aline and the marines, each Guard using a spare hand to grasp another.-
[17:17] <AdEvaGM> [As they walked forward (for want of a better term), they saw movement from the nearest tree. A tall, oak tree it was, its leaves a healthy deep green.-
[17:18] <AdEvaGM> [From behind the tree came two teens, a boy and a girl, holding hands, talking- and completely ignoring the Federals.]
[17:20] * Raphael bit his lip and carefully tried to remove the pair from his mind, focusing on keeping his forward momentum steady and even.
[17:20] * Tao (ua.ten.letxof.dlq.24-36-291-271-epc|leahpaR#ua.ten.letxof.dlq.24-36-291-271-epc|leahpaR) has joined #nervfrance2
[17:23] * Raphael (ua.ten.letxof.dlq.24-36-291-271-epc|leahpaR#ua.ten.letxof.dlq.24-36-291-271-epc|leahpaR) Quit (Ping timeout)
[17:24] * Aline strode forward as well, maintaining a ready stance, but trying to still her mind, muttering a mantra. She… wasn't perfectly sure what the way out into the next room was, but… it was likely to be a door, right?
[17:26] <AdEvaGM> [The couple didn't react to the Federals as they passed.-
[17:26] <AdEvaGM> [A moment later, the couple were joined by a doggie, carrying a wicker basket.-
[17:27] <AdEvaGM> [Actually, where did the dog come from? It was as though it had walked out of thin air near the tree.]
[17:32] * Tao slowed to a stop, glancing from the site of the dog's appearance to the wicker gate and back again. "… hidden door?" Raphael said to Aline, pointing. "If this is actually a large room… I think that would be right."
[17:34] * Aline blinked. "…Torn between whether that's the door or a look-at-me trap. …But let's settle the room question. Maybe." Aline eyed the tree, and trailed her line of sight horizontally from it - as if imagining the tree demarcated a wall. She raised a hand… and shot a single, lower-powered AT bolt over the Guard Chain (hitting them would be rude) and towards the direction she intended.
[17:36] <AdEvaGM> [The AT Bolt vanished into thin air at a point near the tree, although Aline could still hear it for a few seconds after it did so.]
[17:36] <Aline> "…Not a wall, but…" She looked at Raphael briefly
[17:37] <Aline> *as if to ask his opinion.
[17:39] <Tao> "…" Raphael glanced around, but the rest of the room seemed to be an endless expanse of rich green grass. "We'll try it."
[17:48] <AdEvaGM> [They passed through the door- for that is indeed what it was- into what looked like an extremely boring corporate office.-
[17:48] <AdEvaGM> [But they could still see the meadow behind them.-
[17:49] <AdEvaGM> [The cute couple shared a kiss, reached down to pet the dog, then- kicked open the basket and pulled out a pair of full Iron Guard Heavy Bolters.]
[17:52] * Aline frowned openly. "Much more direct than I thought!" …She was moving a bit further into the office now, but turning to see the figures, waiting tensely, not sure whether to engage or just move.
[17:55] <Tao> Raphael wasn't taking chances. The Peaceknight spun and fired in one smooth action, a blast of bolt rounds tearing up the barrel of the leftmost figure's gun and leaving the arm that held it a bloody ruin
[17:58] <AdEvaGM> [The bolter quickly detonated, forty heavy-duty bolt rounds exploding all at once, smearing the couple- and their dog- across a thirty metre radius.-
[17:59] <AdEvaGM> [As they died, the meadow suddenly flickered, faded, then vanished, revealing nothing but a corridor- its walls obsidian-black.-
[18:00] <AdEvaGM> ["They were Guard!" Shouted a marine in horror, as the girl's head turned into a blue-clad helmet mid-flight.-
[18:00] <AdEvaGM> ["This shit was here the whole time?!"-
[18:00] <AdEvaGM> ["Ohh, I remember this place." Said one of the Guard- a Cassowary Clanner named Tony, who was staring out at the office. He had ignored the gore.]
[18:02] * Aline annoyedly grunted. "…This is just going to keep happening." And tilted to Tony. "Remember what Akagi said over the comms. It takes your memories and basically tries to kill you with them. Just…" Then to Raphael. "I guess, kill them faster."
[18:06] <Tao> "Mm. Be careful, though, I wouldn't put it past Albus to leave a few non-combatants down here to trip us up."

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