Death In The Forest

[00:15] <@Dorian> [The Entry Plug was highly destablised by the hit, and by the time it landed roughly in the forest half of it had been vaporised by the impact. LCL leaked out everywhere. It was quiet.]
[00:21] <Sept> "Ugh… no… no no no no…" Sera tried to regain his senses, his eyes slowly opening. Elisha was gone, and he was hurting again. The instruments were offline. He'd left his friends again. …friends? The last memories he had of being synchronised flashed across his mind. What had he done to them? How much had he imagined? It was all a blur.
[00:22] <@Dorian> ["Nnngh…" A groan from behind the seat.]
[00:24] * Sept ignored it, scrambling to get out. Think! He had to do something to fix this!
[00:25] <@Dorian> [Scramble. Before long Sept would find himself, dizzy and sore, lying on LCL-stained grass, the plug broken. Trees all around.]
[00:29] <Sept> He'd been here before… hadn't he? Long ago, in another battle. But he'd only been in two, hadn't he? Was -this- real? She'd be here any moment, she'd explain everything…
[00:35] <@Dorian> [… Silence. Nothing. Except the groaning of Anselme.]
[00:37] * Sept looked back at the plug, blinking. "…Anselme?"
[00:38] <@Dorian> [The boy was scraped and bruised, but otherwise ok. He looked up at Sera. "Sera?"]
[00:39] <Sept> "Why are… where are we, Anselme?"
[00:40] <@Dorian> ["Uh." He frowned. "I-I dunno…." Frown. "We blew up."]
[00:45] * Sept nodded. That he could agree on. It was a good place to start building up from. "Do you think they'll… come find us? They should, but…"
[00:45] <@Dorian> ["I… I think so."]
[00:49] <Sept> "…that's good," he decided and sat down in the slightly LCL-soaked grass.
[00:49] <@Dorian> ["…"-
[00:49] <@Dorian> ["I-I'm sorry."]
[00:49] * Sept didn't look up. "For what?"
[00:50] <@Dorian> ["F-For not helping out very much…"]
[00:53] * Sept thought. "You were there with us. That's more than anyone else could've done." Details of the fight were beginning to surface. "You got hurt, didn't you? That was helping out."
[00:56] <@Dorian> [Anselme looked down at the bloody cuts on his arm. "What… -Did- that?"]
[01:00] <Sept> "The Angel. It hit One."
[01:00] <@Dorian> ["I-it hit -me- through One?"]
[01:04] <Sept> "Well. Yeah. It would've been a lot worse if it'd hit me."
[01:06] <@Dorian> ["Because you're so hurt."]
[01:10] <Sept> "…yeah. And that's why you had to get hurt." Sera paused for a moment. "It probably would've gotten worse if it hadn't managed to do that. Or if Aline could've…" His voice trailed off.
[01:11] <@Dorian> ["…?"]
[01:15] <Sept> "She should've done something. Or Yanmei. But they didn't."
[01:23] <@Dorian> ["Why not?"]
[01:33] <Sept> "I don't know. I've done everything to keep them safe. But sometimes… Sometimes I feel so alone."
[01:33] <@Dorian> ["You're not alone. You have me, right?"]
[01:33] <Sept> "Yeah. I do now."
[01:34] <@Dorian> [Anselme stood up and walked over to Sept. "Hey, Sera?"]
[01:35] <Sept> "…y-yeah, Anselme?"
[01:35] <@Dorian> [Hug. "I want to be like -you-."]
[01:37] * Sept hesitated, but… eventually returned the embrace. "Thank you."
[01:39] <@Dorian> […-
[01:39] <@Dorian> ["Skrrrrrrr."-
[01:39] <@Dorian> [In the trees…]
[01:40] * Sept let go and faced the noise. "…get back, Anselme."
[01:42] <@Dorian> [Anselme stepped back.-
[01:42] <@Dorian> [A Banshee was in one of the trees, ribbons of flesh and bone hanging from its mouth.-
[01:42] <@Dorian> [… Another.-
[01:42] <@Dorian> [And another.-
[01:42] <@Dorian> [And another. There were more than a dozen…]
[02:07] <Sept> So that was how it was? Sept took a step backwards, but stood his ground there. "You did well, Anselme. Remember that. Okay?"
[02:10] <@Dorian> [Anselme nodded. His face was pale, but set.-
[02:10] <@Dorian> [A banshee sprang at Sept, hurling itself across the air…-
[02:11] <@Dorian> [… But it fell short. Or rather, as it slammed into the ground, it started to howl in pain. Its features became more rubbery, more textile like. The purple gave way to orange…-
[02:11] <@Dorian> [The others started to howl, as slowly, with the death of their master, they melted back into the primordial soup which had been their birthing blood.-
[02:12] <@Dorian> [The sound of a VTOL nearby…]
[02:28] <Sept> "She's here..!" Sera had no intention of hiding the relief in his voice.
[02:33] <@Dorian> [The VTOL hovered over the area, a minigun rotating around, sweeping in the area…-
[02:33] <@Dorian> [Before it finally landed. The doors opened- revealing…-
[02:33] <@Dorian> ["Sera!"-
[02:33] <@Dorian> [Captain Amatore-Deforest…-
[02:33] <@Dorian> [But behind her, at her left shoulder, was Ginevre Fontaine.]
[02:40] <Sept> "Ginnie!" Sera took off running toward the VTOL, but… his legs weren't quite as responsive in the face of certain death. Instead, he just stumbled after a step, then picked himself up with no small effort. Maybe careful walking was a better way to approach this? "You came."
[02:46] <@Dorian> ["Sera." She smiled, stepping off the VTOL, walking towards him and catching him. "You're alive. I'm… I'm so glad. Are you alright?"]
[02:53] <Sept> "Ginnie… I'm so tired. Y-you saw… right?"
[02:53] <@Dorian> ["Yes." She smiled. "I saw. They won because of you."]
[02:57] <Sept> "They did. I… I don't want to feel like that ever again, Ginnie. I know I just want to be myself, now. I want to be Sera de Pteres, and everything that means! No matter what anyone says!"
[02:58] <@Dorian> ["You -are- Sera de Pteres." She said gently, running a hand through his hair. "No one can take that away from you."]
[03:07] * Sept nodded, smiling brightly. "Sera de Pteres," he repeated. "I'm my own person, with the unique path that I've taken. Even if that path started later than the ones my friends have. Even if it didn't start the same way as everyone else's! This voice, this face… Even if they aren't mine, -I- am! It's all right, Ginnie, because I understand now! We'll fix all of it! You, and Elisha,
[03:07] * Sept and me, as my own, whole person!"
[03:09] <@Dorian> ["…" Ginnie was still smiling, but it was a frozen, slightly fearful smile. "… What do you mean? Of course that's your own face, your own voice."]
[03:13] <Sept> "No, no, I mean how they weren't -always- mine! But a parent gives certain features to their children anyway, right? If this once belonged to Elisha… It's not something that's been taken from me. It's something I should be with pride! It's -all right- not to hide it anymore, Ginnie. You don't need to worry any more! It doesn't matter if I was cloned or not! We'll fix all of it together,
[03:13] <Sept> and build a new world worthy of ourselves! Of -everyone-, Ginnie!"
[03:14] <@Dorian> ["…" Ginevre continued to smile. "O-Of course. You've finally… Of course." She swallowed. "Please step onto the VTOL. I'll help Anselme."]
[03:16] <Sept> "It's all right," Sept repeated once more, in a soothing, almost fatherly, voice. Then, he started walking to the VTOL calmly, with a very slight limp. He managed without any kind of crutch, now. A whole person didn't need to rely on others, except to share his happiness.
[03:16] <@Dorian> [Ginevre was silent as he walked.-
[03:16] <@Dorian> [Then, in one smooth motion, she reached into her jacket.-
[03:16] <@Dorian> [Pulled out a semi-automatic pistol.-
[03:17] <@Dorian> [And unloaded six shots into Sera's chest.]
[03:31] <Sept> "Gi… nnie?" Sept took another step toward the VTOL. That was where it'd be safe and warm, right? And he could fall asleep in her arms and wake up in a better world. Another step. If he could just make it a couple of steps further… A step, and his legs gave way, leaving the boy sprawled out and bleeding onto the LCL-soaked grass. He tried to gasp for air, but nothing entered his lungs.
[03:31] <Sept> Nor could he make any discernible sound. He just mouthed that word, over and over.
[03:33] <@Dorian> [Fontaine waited until he stopped.-
[03:33] <@Dorian> [Only a shocked silence remained…-
[03:33] <@Dorian> ["You…" Anselme was frozen.-
[03:33] <@Dorian> ["C-Commander?! What is the meaning of this?!" Captain Amatore-DeForest was already reaching for her own sidearm when Fontaine drew the bead on her.-
[03:34] <@Dorian> ["Stand down, Captain." Said Fontaine calmly. "What happened here is necessary. Sera is still alive."-
[03:34] <@Dorian> ["…" The Captain didn't flinch. "You shot him! In the back!"-
[03:35] <@Dorian> ["Yes. It tore my heart out to do it, but I know deep inside that the pain is only temporary." She walked over to his body.-
[03:35] <@Dorian> ["This model is defective."-
[03:36] <@Dorian> ["It wasn't supposed to learn about its nature. But." She looked up at Captain Amatore-DeForest. "This is our chance to correct some of the drastic personality errors marring Sera's otherwise stellar performance as a pilot."-
[03:36] <@Dorian> ["What-?"-
[03:36] <@Dorian> ["The Sera you see before you is but one of many, each of them cloned and grown, just like Ayanami Rei." Ginevre didn't flinch. Her gun still trained on the Captain's chest. "Any individual body is replaceable, but the soul is not. Please bring the body onto the VTOL."-
[03:37] <@Dorian> ["… You're evil." But Marianne lowered her gun. "You're a sick, twisted woman- you're playing God-"-
[03:37] <@Dorian> ["Someone has to play God to defeat God." Said Fontaine coldly. She turned to look at Anselme. Walked over to him.-
[03:37] <@Dorian> ["You're… The other one." She said quietly.-
[03:38] <@Dorian> ["Y-You killed him. You- you- why-?"-
[03:38] <@Dorian> [Ginevre gently put a hand around Anselme's neck. "Shhh."-
[03:38] <@Dorian> [Then, with undisguised and unsubtle force, drove her knee into his face. The boy went down without a sound.-
[03:38] <@Dorian> [With a toss, she threw him aside.-
[03:39] <@Dorian> ["… What the hell-?" Murmured Marianne.-
[03:39] <@Dorian> ["We'll bring him, too." Fontaine looked up at Marianne. "When he wakes up, he'll think we saved him and NERV treated him to lots of ice cream with his big brother figure." She looked down at Anselme.-
[03:40] <@Dorian> ["Fitting, of course, considering how this one was created after the current line." She picked Anselme up and dragged him onto the VTOL.-
[03:40] <@Dorian> ["Let's not tarry, Captain!"-
[03:41] <@Dorian> [Captain Amatore-DeForest felt like she was going to be violently ill. It was with shaking hands that she dragged Sera de Pteres's bleeding corpse onto the VTOL.]
[03:43] <@Dorian> [It was only as the VTOL was in flight, when no one could meet her eye that Ginevre Fontaine let herself shed tears of guilt.]

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