Cornelia S Lunchbreak

[07:07] <Sept> Sera, tired from his morning workout, stopped to have a bite at the HQ cafeteria - still just very slightly a comforting sight in itself after the years of incarceration. Even with all the people occupying it at lunch hour. Sera set his tray down at one of the less crowded tables - of which there weren't many. He promptly set to work on his snack.
[07:14] <Yanmei> With time, he would be joined by someone else - one rather tired-looking Zhang Yanmei, dressed in one of the more frilly outfits she had acquired during their latest trip. The two year old that had been by her side since returning was oddly absent today, and she was carrying a tray with more than one cup of coffee balanced on it. "De Pteres."
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[07:18] * Sept didn't take his eyes off his tray. "Hello, Yanmei. How's the relaxing?"
[07:24] <Yanmei> "Less relaxing than one would think?" She picked up a steamy cup and blew on it. "I finally have an hour of peace to myself, though. How about you?"
[07:33] <Sept> "Staying busy. It's a better busy than usual." Sera finished sorting the snacks into order of consumption, and started on his sandwich. "No real progress on anything, though."
[07:36] <AdEvaGM> [Footsteps as someone- having glanced around at the cafeteria and seeing no empty tables- reluctantly approached their table.-
[07:37] <AdEvaGM> ["Excuse me, Pilots de Pteres, Zhang." Said Lieutenant Archibald. "Do you mind if I sit here?"]
[07:39] * Sept lifted his head to briefly frown at her. "You may sit here. That's why we do our job, after all."
[07:41] * Yanmei had opened her mouth to make some reply, but now found herself briefly redirected and glancing at Sept. "Lieutenant," she smiled finally. "How are you doing?"
[07:48] <AdEvaGM> [Archibald gave Sera a long stare, before turning to Yanmei and giving her a nod. "I'm adjusting, thank you for asking." She sat down, and began on her lunch- a bowl of pork stew.]
[07:54] <Yanmei> "No hazing from the Bridge crew going on, I hope?"
[07:54] <AdEvaGM> ["No, no. They're keeping to themselves."]
[08:01] * Sept took another critical look at the Lieutenant's face. "Oh, right. I know you. Archibald. You're the new…" He fished around for a clue. "No, sorry."
[08:03] <AdEvaGM> ["Cornelia Archibald, Chief Warfare Officer on board the Dorian Lachapelle." She filled in.]
[08:06] <Sept> "Right. Welcome aboard. The team, I mean. How do you feel about adventurous romances?"
[08:07] <AdEvaGM> ["I beg your pardon?"]
[08:10] <Yanmei> Yanmei stared at them both in surprise. What exactly was she witnessing here?
[08:11] <Sept> "I've been advised to find one. Your name came up."
[08:15] * Yanmei lifted her cup and took another drink from it to hide some expression or another - although her eyes remained a little wider than usual.
[08:17] <AdEvaGM> ["…" Achibald's face was impassive. "Sorry. It's bad form to fraternise within the service."]
[08:17] <AdEvaGM> <Archibald's*>
[08:26] <Sept> "That's fine. A little professionalism certainly can't hurt this place."
[08:26] <AdEvaGM> [Archibald didn't reply to that, instead preferring to stick to her meal.]
[08:30] <Yanmei> "Come on. We're not that bad."
[08:45] <Sept> "We've gotten this far, it's true. But by 'professionalism' I mean how I'd like to run things."
[08:52] <Yanmei> "And how would you run things? Generally speaking."
[09:03] <Sept> "I would run on a platform of truth and transparency," he said with his best Miles impression. "And for that, things would need to be smaller. An independent NERV would be much more capable of identifying our enemies within the system."
[09:12] <Yanmei> "…I see," said Yanmei politely.
[09:13] <AdEvaGM> ["Independent?"]
[09:18] <Sept> "To put it simply, get all the politics out of our way."
[09:20] <AdEvaGM> ["What does that entail, exactly? 'All the politics'?"]
[09:25] <Sept> "Organisations below and above us we have to negotiate with. As long as we're fighting for survival, why would anyone have the right not to trust us with everything?"
[09:27] <AdEvaGM> ["That sounds poorly thought out, I'm sorry to say." Said Archibald coolly, tucking into her stew.]
[09:28] <Sept> "Go ahead."
[09:32] <AdEvaGM> ["It's the difference between a civilian rule and a military one." Said Archibald. "When you act under the jurisdiction of a civilian government, that makes you a force with a specific duty empowered by a popular mandate. If you have no oversight, then there's no real difference between yourself and a protection racket. If you're fighting for survival, why would anyone not have the right
[09:32] <AdEvaGM> to trust you with everything- but even if you weren't fighting for survival, no one would actually have the ability to deny you anyway, and that's wrong."]
[09:41] <Sept> "Yeah, that's a problem, isn't it? One way is to just not care, but is it really impossible to gain that trust otherwise?"
[09:45] <Yanmei> "It'd be pretty hard? Trusting an unchecked organization that's running around with WMD on our scale sounds very dangerous. And idealogy aside, you're failing to realize that there are elements of these politics that serve to protect NERV? Our funding comes from the top, after all. -
[09:45] <Yanmei> "Would a smaller, weaker organization be able to defend itself from nations or UN troops seeking to appropriate the EVAs for themselves? Because without formal restrictions, that's exactly what will happen."
[09:53] <Sept> "A smaller, weaker organization with access to everything would. We'd outsource all of that, as it were. Everyone would be responsible at the same time - Mary can't keep the whole world in her grasp. And if she can… well, that'd be the extent of humanity's will to live, wouldn't it?"
[09:56] <Yanmei> "You're underestimating her."
[10:03] <AdEvaGM> ["In any case." Said Archibald.-
[10:03] <AdEvaGM> ["There's no real requirement for reform, as NERV has been doing just fine as it stands."]
[10:09] <Sept> "Also a problem. I mean, it's not one if you're right, but I like to think we can do better."
[10:10] <AdEvaGM> ["How? More units? Enhanced weapons? Superior training?"]
[10:13] <Sept> "Yes. And the plan I've just described - a leadership -we- can trust not to misuse their power."
[10:14] <AdEvaGM> ["… But NERV already receives all it needs."]
[10:16] * Yanmei said nothing. She was shredding her meal apart slowly and sadistically with her utensils.
[10:23] <Sept> "Then how is it possible for nations to still harbor our enemies, despite the fall of the Liberated Nations? How can those enemies find their way to our doorsteps to carry out their plots?"
[10:28] <AdEvaGM> ["Systems are more complicated than is often expected." Said Archibald. "And wouldn't going 'independent' exacerbate those problems, anyway?"]
[10:32] <Sept> "Not if we had everyone's trust, or if we were gods. I thought I could get the former, if I could prove I was able to make sacrifices and that I didn't care about myself. Then I died, and nothing changed. So that was that plan."
[10:35] <AdEvaGM> [Archibald stared at Sera, her expression impassive, but her eyes widening a little.-
[10:36] <AdEvaGM> ["… And becoming gods seems like a tall order." Said Archibald dryly. "So you'll have to settle with the current system, I'm afraid."]
[10:38] <Yanmei> Yanmei's utensils had stopped. "Who would want to be ruled under gods they can't trust, anyway?"
[10:38] <Sept> "It worked alright for Jesus. Could've worked for me. But now, we're stuck hoping and waiting for another chance."-
[10:40] <Sept> "Trust. It always comes back to trust. Like some kind of Prometheus came in and took all of it."
[10:47] <AdEvaGM> ["And who did he give it to, then?" Asked Archibald quietly, placing her fork into her empty bowl. "Silas Caine?"]
[10:49] <Sept> "Not a bad guess. His father had a knack for that kind of thing."
[10:55] * Yanmei made a disgusted noise. "So, what now? Is their way starting to look like a more appealing route? You can work around mistrust, but getting everyone to trust you naturally is a doomed effort."
[11:00] <Sept> "Maybe I'll accept that, one day. In the end, they're the same thing, after all. If everyone places their hopes onto one person, what are they if not a god?"
[11:02] <AdEvaGM> ["And that's why it's not good for people to do that." Said Archibald, getting to her feet and looking down at her watch. "My break's over. Thank you for the conversation." She said politely, taking her tray and quickly departing.]
[11:07] <Sept> "No problem. Until next time."
[11:08] <Yanmei> "Goodbye, Lieutenant." Yanmei gave her a small wave. "And… she's more or less right."
[11:16] <Sept> "Of course," Sera sighed non-ironically. "But it's probably too late for Elisha to take that into account."
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[11:22] <Yanmei> "Who knows if he actually overlooked it? Maybe it was something that was just irrelevant to him."
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[11:30] <Sept> "Absolutely. I'm not even sure if an alternative could dissuade him. But I'm in the best position to try."
[11:39] * Yanmei raised an eyebrow and then raised her second coffee mug to him. "Good luck with that. I think you would have had about the same luck with the rest of the Caines, though?" She took a drink, and when she set the mug down again, her eyes were dark again. "Everyone thinks they know what's best."
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[11:45] * Sept laughed heartily. "They certainly do. Yet I'm afraid to imagine what would happen if you forced one into a menial existence."
[11:52] <Yanmei> "Sounds like empathy counseling. Maybe, before clawing their way back to the top, they'd learn that regular people have willpower and dignity too. Or maybe they'd just snap and go to the top of a belltower with a sniper's rifle before they could ascend."
[11:58] <Sept> "…yeah, something like that." Sera's face had paled slightly, and he refocused his efforts on the remaining sandwich half.
[12:05] * Yanmei sought to do the same, but the most of her lunch already lay in barbecue-soaked ribbons of flesh. She sighed and stood. -
[12:05] <Yanmei> "I should get going myself. Gotta pick up Elizabeth."
[12:11] <Sept> "Ah..! Yeah, don't let me keep you. That's your time, and yours alone. Try to enjoy it, Watcher."
[12:19] <Yanmei> Something stirred in her eyes, and then quickly settled behind a veil of forced calm. "Yanmei," she corrected with a chuckle, lifting up her tray. "You're so strange sometimes. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the rest of your day too?" And she turned to go.
[12:24] <Sept> "Thanks. See you, Yanmei!"

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