Cherry Blossom Procession 4 7 1

[13:47] * Yanmei drained the last of a dreadful tasting espresso-flavored energy shot and, with nary a second glance, tossed its teeny-tiny plastic bottle onto a small pile of refuse spreading from an overturned wastebin as she passed by. A few hours after the battle, and the hallways of the Gendo still teemed with chaos… Yanmei had managed a shower, a nap, and a change of clothes into her standard
[13:47] * Yanmei workout gear, and yet she still felt like her surroundings were a pretty good reflection of how she felt on the inside too. But she couldn't think about that. She'd gotten a message from Asuka not too long ago, and now she had to be calm and relaxed and… calm. -
[13:49] <Yanmei> She straightened her jacket as she neared the door to Asuka's temporary quarters and pressed the buzzer embedded just next to it. "Wakey wakey," she muttered.
[13:50] <Minaplo> [The door opened almost immediately.-
[13:53] <Minaplo> ["Hey." Said Asuka. She wore a pair of grey slacks and a blue t-shirt. Her eyes were raw and dark, which suggested to Yanmei that Asuka hadn't slept; her hair had that frizzy look, as though Asuka had just gotten out of a very long shower.-
[13:53] <Minaplo> ["Medical called me. Tenma wants to see me down there." Said Asuka. "Didn't want to go alone, though…"]
[14:00] <Yanmei> "I get it," Yanmei nodded. "Um. Do you need to take a few more minutes?"
[14:02] <Minaplo> ["Nope. Let's go." Said Asuka, her face set.]
[14:03] * Yanmei nodded and turned. To Medical!
[14:09] <Minaplo> [Medical was chaotic.-
[14:10] <Minaplo> [Yanmei could rarely remember seeing it so full and noisy. Every bed was taken. Many people stood, including some injured, supported by mates or bits of furniture.-
[14:14] <Minaplo> [Asuka pushed her way through the crowd impatiently; she ignored the retorts of an angry nurse she'd nearly knocked over and instead interrogated him. "Where's Tenma?"-
[14:14] <Minaplo> ["He's over in the special ward, but you-"-
[14:14] <Minaplo> [But Asuka was already gone.-
[14:14] <Minaplo> [It was quieter in the special wards. But still, busy. Every room was occupied, and the main corridor had a constant flow of nurses and doctors.-
[14:15] <Minaplo> [Tenma stood at the far end of the corridor. He had Surov at his side.-
[14:17] <Minaplo> [Neither looked particularly well: they had, after all, been captives of Albus. Surov looked less haggard and tired than Tenma did, whose shoulders sagged.-
[14:17] <Minaplo> [That said, Surov's arms and face were marked with the deep red lines of wounds that had recently healed. Yanmei had heard the reports, of how the Wizard Army had tortured him for information.-
[14:19] <Minaplo> [The man of iron had not broken.-
[14:20] <Minaplo> ["Asuka. Yanmei." Said Tenma, giving them both a slow nod.]
[14:24] <Yanmei> "Tenma," said Yanmei slowly, and nodded back, eyes sweeping cautiously between him and Surov who… why was he here?
[14:32] <Minaplo> ["What's the situation?" Asked Asuka quickly.-
[14:32] <Minaplo> ["… It's not good. Let's take a took." Said Tenma.-
[14:32] <Minaplo> […-
[14:34] <Minaplo> [Alexandre lay on the bed. His body was swaddled in bandages and healing salves, including half of his face. Complex, dark grey life-support machines sat above him, build into the very bed, shielding most of his body from view.-
[14:34] <Minaplo> [Asuka swallowed as she saw him. Yanmei saw her hands tighten into fists.-
[14:37] <Minaplo> ["He's lucky to be alive." Said Tenma. "Parts of the AC Suit had buckled completely. Parts of the… The hull, were driven into him. And there are burns to much of his body…"-
[14:40] <Minaplo> ["But he's deteriorating quickly. We can spare little in the way of biogel for him."-
[14:40] <Minaplo> ["I'd hoped to harvest some from the fallen Guard, but most of it's garbage, corrupted by the virus." Said Surov, his voice thick with disgust.-
[14:41] <Minaplo> ["He's going to need replacement organs." Said Tenma.]
[14:46] <Yanmei> "What resources do you need to make that happen?" Yanmei had fixed an unwavering stare at the bed.
[14:57] <Minaplo> ["Most of the organs could be replaced with synthetics." Said Surov. "But we have a critical shortage of some of them. We might be able to make more in time, but we'd require resources from outside the time bubble."-
[14:59] <Minaplo> ["Meaning we'd have to do things the old way." Said Tenma. "With organ transplants."-
[14:59] <Minaplo> ["Sorry if I come off as blunt, but didn't hundreds or thousands of people just die?" Said Asuka quickly, slashing her hand in front of her. "What's the problem?!"]
[15:02] * Yanmei winced slightly at that but kept her mouth shut, letting the experts answer.
[15:05] <Minaplo> ["… It's an issue of compatibility." Said Tenma, who had also winced.-
[15:07] <Minaplo> ["He's a NeoSpartan." Said Surov. "That means he was genetically modified as a child, making him grow faster, stronger and more resistant to disease. But the gene engineers of those days didn't have the skill and finesse we do."-
[15:07] <Minaplo> ["In a nutshell: he's incompatible with biotypical organs. He might only be compatible with other NeoSpartan organs." Said Surov.-
[15:08] <Minaplo> [Asuka's eye widened. Her mouth hung open for a few seconds- and then she went pale. "Oh. I know where this is going."]
[15:19] <Yanmei> Yanmei frowned, turning to face them at last. "Wait. Wait, wait. She can have some time to think about this, right?"
[15:24] <Minaplo> ["Out of respect, I'll be up-front." Said Tenma. "We ran the numbers. Even amongst the NeoSpartans, your organs, Asuka, have the highest chance of being compatible with Alexandre's. Even then, we'll be relying a bit on luck. The longer we wait, the more of a role luck plays."-
[15:24] <Minaplo> ["I floated the possibility of turning him into an Iron Guard." Said Surov. "But it's a procedure with a 50% success rate on good, healthy subjects… He'd probably die."-
[15:25] <Minaplo> ["He wouldn't want to be an Iron Guard anyway." Said Asuka bitterly.-
[15:29] <Minaplo> ["I know we have to hurry, but I need some time to talk with my friend." Said Asuka. She made a sharp jerk with her head towards the door.-
[15:29] <Minaplo> ["Of course." Said Tenma. He bowed shortly and left.-
[15:30] <Minaplo> [Surov looked over at Alexandre. He looked oddly small- his mechadendrites and other extra limbs had all been removed.-
[15:30] <Minaplo> [Then he, too, turned and left.]
[13:03] * Yanmei was quiet for the first few moments they were alone, although something in her posture now seemed to soften. "Hey. Tell me what you're thinking?"
[13:05] <Minaplo> [Asuka folded her arms, her face downcast. "I…"-
[13:06] <Minaplo> [She walked over to the end of the bed and took the clipboard Tenma had left there. She gave it a once-over.-
[13:08] <Minaplo> [Asuka folded her arms, her face downcast. "I…"-
[13:08] <Minaplo> [She walked over to the end of the bed and took the clipboard Tenma had left there. She gave it a once-over.-
[13:11] <Minaplo> ["Jesus, what a list." She said to herself.-
[13:12] <Minaplo> ["Here's what I'm thinking." Said Asuka eventually, throwing the clipboard back onto the end of the bed. "Don't be too worried? I'm pretty sure I'd survive at least. Probably. Long enough to get fakey organs in."-
[13:13] <Minaplo> ["But you heard 'em: the sooner the better. Which means if I go through with it… I won't be there at the final battle."]
[13:24] <Yanmei> "Forget about the final battle! You two have bigger things to… Look. Why aren't you more pissed? I'm not you, but even I'm furious about this?"
[13:31] <Minaplo> ["I-I dunno! I'm terrified, and I'm confused… I don't think being angry's gonna help here." Said Asuka. She began to pace the room.-
[13:35] <Minaplo> ["This is the final battle. We're throwing everything we can spare at it, so basic tactics say that if we fuck up, we'll be at best on the back foot for a long time- at worst, it's all over and we're done." Said Asuka. "You're gonna fight a lot of Evas- we really, really have to ask if we can live with keeping one inert for the sake of a wounded soldier."-
[13:36] <Minaplo> ["Even if we win, the fact that I'm not out there fighting means the battle'll be harder, longer- meaning more people die." Said Asuka.-
[13:38] <Minaplo> ["Some of the oldest parts of me are saying that going through with this operation is a stupid idea. It'd be a type of weakness. My place is on the battlefield, taking out the enemy… Supporting those who are fighting, not those who're already… Almost beyond saving anyway."]
[13:42] <Yanmei> "But you're not listening to those parts of you," Yanmei inferred. "Because it's Fontaine's life on the line."
[13:44] <Minaplo> ["No. I am listening to them." Said Asuka. "That's the point, really. I don't know what to do…"-
[13:44] <Minaplo> ["We weren't promised anything."-
[13:46] <Minaplo> ["The battlefield was our life. Promises took your mind away from the fight, gave you a sense of false hope." She said. "But like idiots, we went and made promises of our own. We made something for ourselves after the fighting was done, and I want that, I want something to come back to after this is all done-"-
[13:46] <Minaplo> ["But I don't know if that's the right thing to do…"]
[14:02] * Yanmei glanced over at Alex's bundled body and then looked away again quickly. He couldn't possibly hear them, could he? "If this is the final battle, isn't it more important than ever to hold on to those things you want to come back to after the war? You've fought and saved us countless times. You're already a hero? And out of respect for all that, we can at least figure out a way to
[14:02] * Yanmei survive if you have to take a break."
[14:04] <Minaplo> ["Maybe. Maybe it's more important to ensure we actually win." Said Asuka.-
[14:04] <Minaplo> ["What you're basically asking me to do is put the life of one person I know over the lives of many I don't… Is that okay? Is that okay for you to do, Chancellor?"]
[14:15] * Yanmei hesitated. "Not for me. Not anymore. But I've still done it in the past? Like, fretted over Isaiah in mid-battle when he was in a coma. Or allowed my own weaknesses to turn me into a literal rampaging monster. I don't know if it's right or okay. But I understand, you know?"
[14:16] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, I guess you of all people would. Sorry."-
[14:20] <Minaplo> [Asuka sagged into one of the waiting chairs. "You know, at times like this, I kinda think of that shithead father of mine."]
[14:21] <Yanmei> "Really?" Yanmei didn't try to hide her surprise. She folded her arms and leaned against the wall.
[14:23] <Minaplo> ["I've told you about how it was love- well, maybe lust?- at first sight with him and my mum?"]
[14:28] <Yanmei> "No. Come on, you didn't tell me anything about him aside from how he wronged your mother and how much you wanted to kick his teeth in."
[14:28] <Minaplo> ["So the important points. Right."-
[14:30] <Minaplo> ["Well, they met during Project Eva. They met, hm, April 2001. I was born in December 2001- so if you do the maths, you'll realise they were fuckin' without raincoats within weeks of meeting each other."]
[14:33] <Yanmei> "Very romantic," she grinned.
[14:34] <Minaplo> ["More like irresponsible." Said Asuka with a huff. "It makes Alex mad as hell every time he hears it: he was the work of miracle science, painstakingly planned in a lab. I was probably conceived in a lab too, but, y'know, not scientifically…"]
[14:46] * Yanmei snickered. "At least they were happy together for a while."
[14:48] <Minaplo> ["But that's the thing? They rushed into a marriage, and then realised maybe they weren't that good a fit for each other after all… He'd already started an affair a few years later, after all, and didn't care at all when she got sick."-
[14:52] <Minaplo> ["I could… Never get that. Alex is my partner." Said Asuka. "In lots of ways. He's my friend, my colleague, my brother-in-arms, and he's the man I love. It took me so long to come to have someone I love, longer than it should've been, long after I needed it…"-
[14:53] <Minaplo> ["I can't really get that my dad could just fall in love with someone and then just throw them away with so little effort." Said Asuka. "Maybe it's not a good comparison, I know, I've known Alex my whole life. But there isn't anyone else. We're the only people who really know one another."]
[15:01] <Yanmei> "So, like. Even if you don't get married and have a million babies, there's still that bond there? All those years of knowing each other."
[15:02] <Minaplo> ["Yeah." Said Asuka. "Heh. He does want babies. S'why he'd hate being a Guard. Me… I dunno, not so much. I guess we're kind of alike there."-
[15:04] <Minaplo> ["But that's what I mean: there's no one else for me if he dies. Maybe some'd disagree with me, but we're not like other people." She shrugged.]
[15:14] * Yanmei nodded thoughfully. She looked down at her boots. "I'm really worried about both of you," she admitted slowly. "Like, scared. There's a reason to be scared no matter which path you decide on."
[15:16] <Minaplo> [Asuka nodded slowly. "Yeah… I know. Thank you."-
[15:17] <Minaplo> [She patted her lap.]
[15:22] * Yanmei moved forward, but only to reach out and ruffle her hair as if she was a little kid.
[15:23] <Minaplo> ["Hey. Be nice."]
[15:36] <Yanmei> "Hehehe. Fine." She eased onto Asuka's lap, trying not to put too much weight on her. Then she hugged her.
[15:38] <Minaplo> [Asuka hugged her tight.-
[15:38] <Minaplo> [Yanmei could feel the twitching in Asuka's hands, the way her body seemed to ever so slightly vibrate with nervous energy.-
[15:38] <Minaplo> [And after awhile, Asuka patted her on the shoulders.-
[15:39] <Minaplo> ["Alright. I'm going to need some time to think about this by myself." Said Asuka. "Thanks for coming. I'll let you know what I'm doing soon."-
[15:39] <Minaplo> ["… And whichever way I choose, I hope you forgive me."]
[15:43] <Yanmei> "You know I will." She pulled back. "Call me if you need anything. Energy drink. Way to burn off steam. Anything."
[15:45] <Minaplo> ["Thanks, Yanmei…"]
[15:46] * Yanmei patted her shoulder once more. Then she peeled herself away, backing out of the room and leaving the two alone for now.
[15:48] <Minaplo> [Once Yanmei was gone, Asuka pulled her legs up onto the chair and tucked her knees against her chest. She lowered her head and started to cry.]

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License