De Orleans S Visit

[13:55] <Yanmei> It was raining in Paris-2, and had been for the past two days. -
[14:01] <Yanmei> Thus the drive to Mansion de Orleans had been slow, cautious, and very quiet despite the additional company. Zhang Yanmei was guiding them through the front door now, exchanging happy small talk with the familiar maid, Lucille. She herself was dressed in long sleeves and a floral skirt, as carefully groomed as always.
[14:11] <Minaplo> [Two guests followed Yanmei in, a pair of little girls. Eevi, silent, hair groomed and straight in a clean red dress. Next to her, bouncing about, was Navah, wearing a brand new blue dress- sadly not as frilly as her old one. She clutched her horrible little doll under one arm. "Wow! It looks huge, Yanny!"]
[14:17] <Yanmei> Yanny… She tried not to wince at that, but at least the little kids looked happy to be here. Kids… plural? She briefly eyed the gravely silent Eevi, and found herself utterly unable to tell. "It -is- huge," she agreed. "Both of you be polite. We're about to meet the gentleman of the house?"
[14:19] <Minaplo> ["Yes." Said Eevi.-
[14:19] <Minaplo> ["You do not have the little Elizabeth today?" Asked Lucille.]
[14:24] <Yanmei> "Not today. She'd try to run after and play with the girls, and I thought it would be better if they just hung out with their own age group today. She's in a selected babysitter's very capable hands for now?"
[14:28] <Minaplo> ["I understand." Into the main hall, now, the patter-patter of Navah's energetic footsteps contrasting with Eevi's slow, long ones. "Would you desire refreshment? Tea or the like?"]
[14:31] <Yanmei> "Tea would be okay. Thank you. And, ah. Would milk be okay with you two?"
[14:35] <Minaplo> [Eevi nodded, Navah nodding much more enthusiastically. "And sugar!"]
[14:39] <Yanmei> "…" She had meant milk alone. But why -couldn't- they drink tea? The girl couldn't get any more hyperactive, could she? God, was she really part of Surov? "And sugar," she echoed with a shrug.
[14:40] <Minaplo> [Lucille nodded. "The master is in the drawing room."]
[14:41] <Yanmei> "Thank you so much, Miss Lucille. Ladies?" She walked over to the familiar door, and knocked gently.
[14:46] <Minaplo> ["Come in." Came a familiar voice.]
[14:49] <Yanmei> So Yanmei opened the door. "Hello, Monsieur de Orleans! How have you been?"
[14:51] <Minaplo> [de Orleans was sitting at that same old rich table, sipping tea from a cup. "Yanmei- it's good to see you again." He said warmly. He gestured across the table, where another young girl was sitting. "Have you met Padma before, Yanmei?"]
[14:53] <Yanmei> Yes. No. Not in this timeline. She smoothed the issue over by offering the girl a big smile. "Hello, Miss Padma. How are you?"
[15:00] <Minaplo> [Padma was wearing a neat white dress, rather old fashioned but still pretty. She glanced at de Orleans before standing up. Padma smiled and offered Yanmei an awkward bow, as though she didn't really know how to do it. "I hope I'm as well as you are, miss Zhang."-
[15:00] <Minaplo> [de Orleans chuckled. "You've brought guests, Yanmei?"]
[15:03] <Yanmei> "I have! Eevi and Navah, two friends from work. Girls, this is Monsieur de Orleans and his daughter, Padma."
[15:09] <Minaplo> ["Hello." Said Eevi tonelessly, but Navah made a dash for the table. "Your house is really amazing."-
[15:09] <Minaplo> ["Well, thank you."]
[15:14] <Yanmei> "Why don't you tell them a little about yourself, Navah? You too, Eevi."
[15:21] <Minaplo> [With a solid -plonk-, Navah placed her doll on the table. "Yanmei saved me in the… the Geofront." She said, nodding firmly despite stumbling a little over the name. "I'm gonna be -really- beautiful one day, even more than she is…"-
[15:21] <Minaplo> ["My name is Eevi." Said Eevi quietly. She looked up at Yanmei with a slightly bemused look. "I have a friend named Felix."]
[15:24] * Yanmei nodded her approval at Eevi, befoe guiding her over to the table as well. "Neither of them are enrolled in school just yet. So I thought it would be nice to take them somewhere new for a change of pace?" Gah, that horrible thing was on the table. She should have tried harder to convince Navah not to bring it… "Miss Padma, I understand that you're at St. Louis? How are your classes coming along?"
[15:25] <Minaplo> ["I'm learning." Said Padma with a smile. "The school keeps having to close up though."]
[15:27] <Yanmei> "Oh, that's right…" Was that a faint look of guilt in her eyes? She worked through it as quickly as she could. "What sort of things do you like to do when you're not at school?"
[15:31] <Minaplo> ["I'm taking lots of etiquette classes right now." Said Padma. "I-"-
[15:31] <Minaplo> ["She enjoys arguing with her tutors." Said de Orleans with a smile.-
[15:31] <Minaplo> ["I don't argue…"]
[15:32] <Yanmei> "I bet you win sometimes." Yanmei winked at her.
[15:33] <Minaplo> ["It isn't like that." Said Padma. "I just- ask a lot of questions-"-
[15:34] <Minaplo> ["And sometimes they can't answer." Said de Orleans.]
[15:36] <Yanmei> "I see…" Yanmei nodded thoughtfully. "So that just means you're rather bright, doesn't it?"
[15:44] <Minaplo> ["Maybe."-
[15:46] <Minaplo> ["Your dress is really nice!" Said Navah enthusiastically. "I want dresses like that, Yanmei!"]
[15:48] <Yanmei> "All right, all right. We'll go shopping for more stuff sometime soon, okay?"
[15:55] <Minaplo> ["It seems you've added another to your brood, Yanmei." Said de Orleans.]
[15:57] <Yanmei> "B-brood?" Yanmei colored slightly, and coughed delicately. "It's not like that? We're just enjoying each others' company. And since she doesn't have an allowance of her own…"
[16:09] <Minaplo> ["So you're an auntie."]
[16:14] * Yanmei would have pouted had she been in the presence of someone less mature. "I'm a distant cousin figure."
[16:15] <Minaplo> ["Auntie Yanny!" Said Navah enthusiastically.]
[16:17] * Yanmei eyebrow-twitched. Time for fast evasive action. "Please take your doll off the table, Navah. It's not polite."
[16:29] <Minaplo> ["Aww. Yes, Auntie Yanny."-
[16:29] <Minaplo> ["Auntie…" Eevi stared up at Yanmei speculatively.-
[16:30] <Minaplo> ["Aunt Zhang, your tea." Came a voice at Yanmei's ear.]
[16:31] * Yanmei eyed Eevi back - and quite literally jumped, whipping her head around at the voice.
[16:44] <Minaplo> [Lucille was standing there, holding a tray with two cups of tea- one white with sugars, of course- and a glass of milk.]
[16:47] <Yanmei> "Oh. Oh, thank you, Miss Lucille." She accepted her cup with a slightly unsteady hand, and took a sip. No footsteps again… "S-so! I understand that you three left the city until recently."
[16:48] <Minaplo> ["For our own safety, of course." Said de Orleans. "It was entirely too dangerous… Ah, Padma, why don't you show Navah and Eevi your special room, hm?"-
[16:48] <Minaplo> ["Oh- alright, Mr. Orleans."]
[16:50] <Yanmei> "Thank you, Padma." She nodded to her own charges. "You two behave, okay?"
[16:51] <Minaplo> [Eevi nodded.-
[16:51] <Minaplo> ["I will! C'mon, Padma, let's go, let's go!" Said Navah, almost dragging the girl out of the room.-
[16:52] <Minaplo> [de Orleans chuckled as the girls went. "Enthusiastic young lady there."]
[16:53] <Yanmei> "Yeah. It's pretty astonishing?" Yanmei sipped a little more of the tea. "Do you know much about her yet?"
[16:58] <Minaplo> ["I'm afraid I don't. Nothing at all."]
[17:00] <Yanmei> "We found her in the… the Dirac Sea chaos going on in the Geofront this week. She was created by it, but remained behind even after it faded."
[17:05] <Minaplo> ["You mean she isn't…" De Orleans' eyebrows shot up. "She's something from the Sea?"]
[17:15] <Yanmei> "Yes. Or at least she was?" Yanmei frowned slightly. "My understanding is that now she's a biologically normal girl. I don't really understand how, but…"
[17:15] <Minaplo> ["There's so little we understand about the Dirac Sea. Or AT Fields in general, sometimes…"]
[17:19] <Yanmei> "Yeah," Yanmei murmured. "The new Commander is another expert on those things, but I haven't really asked her about it?"
[17:23] <Minaplo> ["Ah, Miss Hohenzollern." De Orleans smiled warmly. "She's quite brilliant on these matters, but I suspect it'd be beyond her ken."]
[17:27] <Yanmei> "Ah, I see. You two seem to know each other well. She spoke very highly of you too."
[17:31] <Minaplo> ["Yes, Miss Hohenzollern and I have been friends for quite some time."]
[17:33] <Yanmei> "What's your personal take on her, if you don't mind me asking?"
[17:34] <Minaplo> ["Hm? What do you mean?"]
[17:34] <Yanmei> "What would you say she's like, in your own words?"
[17:36] <Minaplo> ["That's a broad question, Yanmei." Said de Orleans, rubbing his chin. "Maybe specifics…?"]
[17:39] <Yanmei> "Her personality. Is she pleasant? Cruel? Empathetic? Trustworthy? What are the qualities you've grown to admire in her over the years? That sort of thing…"
[00:05] <Minaplo> ["Hm." He sipped his tea, a thoughtful frown on his face. "I would say she's thoughtful and thorough. She's quite popular with her students, too, because she's willing to talk and be friendly- she isn't a distant person." Said de Orleans.]
[00:09] * Yanmei nodded along with this pensively. "She's trying pretty hard to be friends with people around the base. Or at least the pilots…"
[00:09] <Minaplo> ["She likes making friends. It's part of her nature- she's not the sort to hide away and isolate themselves."]
[00:12] <Yanmei> "Was that friendliness the reason you two met and became friends?"
[00:13] <Minaplo> ["I'd say it's the reason we stayed friends, at least."]
[00:16] * Yanmei nodded again, glancing into her teacup. "Even if she wasn't like that, it makes sense that she'd want to draw as much support as she could from everyone at NERV. Her introduction was met with lots of mixed reactions."
[00:18] <Minaplo> ["Oh?"]
[00:22] <Yanmei> "Because few people knew who she was, you see. And because of the immediate changes she made under the direction of the Committee. -
[00:22] <Yanmei> "And because many were still shaken up about what happened to Ikari, of course. The man was like a…" she paused, trying to settle on a good descriptor, "like a Commander to us."
[00:33] <Minaplo> ["I didn't think he was that popular."]
[00:36] <Yanmei> "I think a certain amount of shock is called for when a leader and figurehead suddenly dies, regardless of popularity."
[00:40] <Minaplo> ["I see." Said de Orleans. "In any case, miss Hannelore likes knowing the people she works with. Mind, though- she's willing to listen to advice, but not disrespect. She's a proud lady from a proud family, and she doesn't react well to insolence."]
[00:42] <Yanmei> "So, we should be polite to her, but not distant."
[00:46] <Minaplo> ["Polite, courteous, warm- you can be informal with her to a degree, depending on how well she likes and trusts you."]
[00:48] <Yanmei> "I think we've been getting along so far, her and I. But…"
[00:48] <Minaplo> ["But?"]
[00:50] <Yanmei> "…her very position binds her into doing what the Committee tells her to, doesn't it?"
[00:52] <Minaplo> ["Is that a problem?"]
[00:55] <Yanmei> "Is it?" She took a pause, considering de Orleans' own position. "Maybe it's not."
[00:56] <Minaplo> ["The Committee's primary objective is to oversee NERV. You know that." Said de Orleans quietly. "If NERV isn't doing what it's being told, then it's acting illegally."]
[01:00] <Yanmei> "Yes, I know. Her predecessors were in the same position? I suppose the difference is that I didn't care if they were taking orders from Mary Caine because I was not particularly compelled to like either of them on a personal level." She sighed. "Well. I guess finding the right balance in this situation is something I'll just have to work out."
[01:02] <Minaplo> [De Orleans's brows furrowed.]
[01:04] <Yanmei> Yanmei's eyebrows lifted slightly. "…hm?"
[01:06] <Minaplo> ["I'm troubled and a little disappointed by your lack of trust in the Committee, Yanmei."]
[01:11] <Yanmei> "It's not the Committee as a whole that I mistrust. You and my mother are both a part of it? That's something I haven't forgotten. It's just… that woman in particular…"
[01:17] <Minaplo> ["Can't act without the authority of at least four other people in the committee." Said de Orleans quietly. "And even so, she makes good decisions."]
[01:21] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei frowned, but she kept quiet.
[01:21] <Minaplo> ["You don't like hearing that."]
[01:27] <Yanmei> "I don't," she admitted with difficulty. "But even if I don't trust her, I do trust your knowledge and judgement on the matter, so I can't really contest what you're saying."
[01:31] <Minaplo> ["Mm." He drained the rest of his tea, staring down at the table pensively.]
[01:34] <Yanmei> "I mean it," she insisted.
[01:35] <Minaplo> ["I know, I know." Said de Orleans. "I was just thinking…"]
[01:37] <Yanmei> "Oh…" She tilted her head cautiously, ever so slightly. "May I ask what you're thinking of?"
[01:39] <Minaplo> ["I was just dwelling on miss Hannelore. I would like to see her flourish in her new position, Yanmei. In a lot of ways you remind me of her."]
[01:40] <Yanmei> "Ah? Do I?"
[01:41] <Minaplo> ["You both have the same sort of… Air. Presenting a little of yourself whilst keeping most of it locked away- yes, Miss Hannelore has been lonely for a long time." A sad expression crossed his face, and he seemed lost in thought.]
[01:46] * Yanmei let him think quietly, and did a little thinking of her own, trying to come up with something to say. Could she deny it? No… no, probably not. "I… sort of felt that about her. The loneliness," she admitted eventually. "I thought it was because she didn't know anyone very well yet."
[01:49] <Minaplo> ["Mm. Miss Hannelore has had 'friends' in the past, but they've been mostly casual in nature. What I think she wishes is for someone to confide in."]
[01:54] * Yanmei set her tea cup on the table gently. What to do? "If two people are similar, then maybe they can rely on each other," she muttered, finally.
[01:55] <Minaplo> ["Yes, that's right." Said de Orleans with a smile.]
[01:59] <Yanmei> "I-I… I will give it a try." Maybe she trusted him -too- much. It didn't stop her own small smile from forming, however.
[02:01] <Minaplo> ["It's good for Miss Hannelore to have someone to trust. Mind, this isn't -entirely- out of altruism." He leaned forward a little. "Just between you and me, Miss Hannelore has the poor habit of… Sometimes losing her head during crises."]
[02:05] <Yanmei> "Uh oh. Considering that crisis are practically a NERV employee's way of life… Well, I'm sure she'll get the hand of it eventually? Right? With help?"
[02:05] <Yanmei> ^hang of it
[02:07] <Minaplo> ["Hopefully. Mind, it doesn't happen -often-, but if it does, at least she has a solid team to rely on."]
[02:12] * Yanmei nodded firmly. "Having her keep her head is important to everyone! Honestly, she seemed like she knew what she was doing in the aftermath of the latest crises. Let's make it a trend, shall we?" she winked.
[02:13] <Minaplo> ["Yes, let's."-
[02:13] <Minaplo> ["Speaking of solid teams, have you had the chance to meet the Varangian Guard?"]
[02:13] <Yanmei> "Not yet. I'm sure it's just a matter of time, though. I hear that they helped out in the battle in the UK recently."
[02:15] <Minaplo> ["Hm, that's a little surprising. Lieutenant Norling seemed interested in you."]
[02:17] <Yanmei> "Did she?" Yanmei preened a little. "I'll have to see what that's about, then~"
[02:18] <Minaplo> ["She reminded me a little of you as well, in fact."]
[02:19] <Yanmei> "Oh?"
[02:20] <Minaplo> ["The same sort of vivaciousness, a little bit of, if you will pardon me," He smiled, "competitive cockiness."]
[02:24] <Yanmei> "You think I'm cocky? Honestly…" Yanmei fell into a little mock-pout. "I'm not half as bad as, say, Alexandre Fontaine, or Langley-Soryu…"
[02:32] * Zack is now known as ZackSleep
[02:37] <Minaplo> ["I hear you're fairly rich about it too. Taunting your opponents, flipping your hair…"]
[02:42] <Yanmei> "W-what? I so wouldn't-" Her hand had been moving towards her hair, but she noticed in mid-sentence and sharply redirected and clasped in her her lap. "Heh… Where on earth are you hearing these things?"
[02:43] <Minaplo> ["I watched Thunderdome, you know."]
[02:44] <Yanmei> "You… watched… Ah. The whole thing?"
[02:54] <Minaplo> ["I did." Said de Orleans with a twinkle in his eye.-
[02:54] <Minaplo> ["It was quite entertaining." Came a voice at Yanmei's ear.]
[02:59] <Yanmei> "I-" Yanmei quite literally jumped in her chair again, swiveling around hastily. "Miss Lucille! You also… Well… well, I'm glad you were both entertained! Some of that was just showmanship, you know. For the audience?"
[03:00] <Minaplo> ["Some of it?" Asked de Orleans.]
[03:04] <Yanmei> "The unbecoming parts were. It was that shady announcer's idea."
[03:05] <Minaplo> ["I didn't know you were so easily swayed…"-
[03:05] <Minaplo> ["Perhaps it was his fine looks." Said Miss Lucille. "Miss Zhang has shown a weakness for thin blondes in the past."]
[03:12] <Yanmei> A flash of heat worked its way across her face. "I'm totally professional with all of my fellow pilots, blonde or not?"
[03:17] <Minaplo> [De Orleans began to laugh now. "Look, she's blushing. I'm only having a joke, Yanmei."]
[03:23] <Yanmei> "I know, I know…" The heat started to fade a little. "You two have been doing that a lot today. And in front of the kids, too…"
[03:29] <Minaplo> ["You're easy to tease." Said Lucille.]
[03:30] <Yanmei> "Mph…" A noncommital noise. "May I ask you two something?"
[03:31] <Minaplo> ["Of course." Said de Orleans.]
[03:40] <Yanmei> "In general you seem a bit lighter today. Do you -feel- happier? Recent disasters in Paris aside, anyway."
[00:14] <Minaplo> ["Hm. I think perhaps I do…"]
[00:15] * Yanmei beamed. "I thought so? I've been meaning to congratulate you, by the way. On tackling fatherhood?"
[00:18] * Rynol has joined #nervfrance
[01:04] <Minaplo> ["Oh, well. Thank you very much." Said de Orleans with a smile. "That means a lot, coming from you."]
[01:09] <Yanmei> "Well, parents have to stick together." Yanmei nodded firmly. "It hasn't been too stressful, has it?"
[01:14] <Minaplo> ["Lucille has been a great help, so overall it's been a fine experience. She's an intelligent girl, if a bit awkward."]
[01:16] <Yanmei> "I'm sure she'll adjust. She's a lucky girl to have such wise and understanding people looking after her."
[01:16] <Minaplo> ["Now you're just buttering me up."]
[01:20] <Yanmei> "But it's seriously true? Lizzie loves getting the chance to come over here and play. And you've both taught me a bunch too, so…"
[01:42] <Minaplo> ["I'm surprised not to see the little dear here today…"]
[01:44] <Yanmei> "A special S2 agent is watching her for the day. His son's a bit shady-" Yanmei held back a scowl at that until the moment for it passed "-but he himself is shockingly patient and even-tempered."
[01:55] <Minaplo> ["An S2 agent? That reminds me, actually."]
[02:00] <Yanmei> "Oh?"
[02:03] <Minaplo> ["Miss Hannelore made a request to the Committee for extra security."]
[02:05] <Yanmei> "Ah? But why? The city's so much calmer now than it was. Unless… they're still worried about that sniper not being caught yet?"
[02:06] <Minaplo> ["Not for the city, for the Geofront itself."]
[02:06] <Yanmei> "What did she have in mind?"
[02:08] <Minaplo> ["She wanted something more than just relying on S2 agents in a pinch. She wanted specialised troops brought in from Kenya with new weaponry- and she's receiving a company of soldiers in response."]
[02:09] <Yanmei> "I see. Maybe that's the right thing to do."
[02:28] <Minaplo> ["They should be arriving anytime next week… Ah, that's right. You wanted to visit Kenya, didn't you?"]
[02:29] <Yanmei> "That's right. Elizabeth's mom is there. Marianne's said that the Committee won't let her leave."
[02:31] <Minaplo> ["It's not that we won't let her. It's that she can't."]
[02:31] <Yanmei> "What do you mean?"
[02:32] <Minaplo> [De Orleans gave her a grave look. "You'll see when you pay her a visit."]
[02:35] <Yanmei> "…" A worried expression crossed her face. She squared her shoulders and tried to stow it away again. "We'll be leaving soon, to do just that? The Commander gave Lizzie and me permission to go there."
[02:42] <Minaplo> [De Orleans nodded. "Just make sure you're prepared. The Synfront is a different beast to what you're used to."]
[02:44] <Yanmei> "Have you been there personally?"
[02:45] <Minaplo> ["I have."]
[02:46] <Yanmei> "Outside of the battle we fought there, we never got a chance to look around it. What's it like?"
[02:50] <Minaplo> ["It's…" He hesitated. "Strange. The atmosphere is more regimented and cold, and all the security officers are required to wear armour all the time, and carry weapons. Everyone is always cautious and quiet. The Synfront is full of automated machines that run miles into the ground, all of them producing things, whirring 24/7."]
[02:52] <Yanmei> "No wonder they sent Lizzie here," she muttered. "What sort of things are they making? More weapons?"
[02:53] <Minaplo> ["Weapons for Evas, armour, new things… Anything."]
[02:57] * Yanmei nodded. Just talking about it made her feel more grave. "If they let me, I guess I'll see the latest developments. Not that our armor and weapons aren't nice enough as they are?"
[03:05] <Minaplo> ["The discovery of the Lachepelle has spurred on a lot of ideas we already had, but we can always improve."]
[03:10] * Yanmei nodded. "That's right! Like sticking multiple positron cannons together to make a big super-cannon…"
[03:12] <Minaplo> ["I'm not so sure that would work…"-
[03:12] <Minaplo> [A polite clearing of the throat by the doorway. "Lunch is served, sir."]
[03:14] <Yanmei> "Lunch?" She glanced to de Orleans, and then back at Lucille. "That's very nice! You didn't have to…"
[03:18] <Minaplo> ["Little children should be fed. As should mothers." Said de Orleans with a wink.]
[03:18] <Minaplo> ["As well as aunts." Added Lucille.]
[03:21] <Yanmei> "There are no aunts here," Yanmei muttered, but she stood up regardless. "Shall we?"
[03:21] <Minaplo> ["Yes, let's."]

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