Do not stand at my grave and weep; I am not there. I do not sleep.

[16:26] <Mingzhu> [The Tokyo-2 Minifront, within the Evangelion hangar bay.-
[16:26] <Mingzhu> [EVA-05 stood, suspended in dura-bakelite up to its collarbone, its wings held in place seemingly by the very walls themselves. Its eyes were blank and dark.]
[16:44] * Raphael , whether by luck or planning, has found himself alone in the hangar today. He stands against the railings of the wide catwalk that runs directly in front of the hulking EVA, looking up at it in silence. He's not really sure why he came down here, or why he didn't explain to the others where he was headed… but it feels like the right thing to do.
[16:48] <Mingzhu> [It, too, stood in silence, looking down at him… It some trick of the light, or perhaps the bias of his own mind, but the fierce expression of that helmeted head seemed to be… Deeper, more despairing, perhaps…]
[16:53] * Raphael stares into those eyes for a few more seconds before he has to look away for moment. "… Hello, Rei." He says gently, hesitation showing through.
[17:00] <Mingzhu> [The air was cold, here in EVA-05's partition. Cold and… Lonely.-
[17:03] <Mingzhu> [The sound of one of the doors opening. Calm footsteps across the platform.-
[17:04] <Ikari‘Gendo> "Admiring the sights, Sir Guillory?"
[17:07] * Raphael ’s eyes narrow ever so slightly. He recognizes that voice easily enough, of course. "In a matter of speaking, Commander Ikari, sir." Raphael says, turning slowly and giving the man a smart salute.
[17:08] * Ikari‘Gendo nods in acknowledgement, his hands tucked away in his pockets. He walks to Raphael’s side- about a meter away, that said.-
[17:09] <Ikari‘Gendo> "Evangelion Unit 05. It’s seen only two engagements, yet it remains the most feared EVA unit both in NERV and out."
[17:13] <Raphael> "… Well, your son is a remarkable pilot, sir."
[17:17] <Ikari‘Gendo> "He performed well in the last battle." Said Gendo quietly. "He has become much stronger since he became a pilot."
[17:26] * Raphael stares back up at 05 again to try and mask the awkward silence that follows. But as his gaze drifts over the face of the EVA, he suddenly speaks up again. "… Is it true, sir?"
[17:27] <Ikari`Gendo> "Yes."
[17:28] <Raphael> "…"-
[17:28] <Raphael> "-Why-?"
[17:34] <Ikari`Gendo> "Why do you think? I ask you seriously. No doubt, if you were aware of the situation, then you would have the chance to think on the whys yourself."
[20:55] * Raphael ’s face seems to suggest that this may as well be a conversation about the weather, but a faint movement in the muscles of his jaw gives away his teeth gritting for a moment. "You were… in need of a soul that would suit your son."
[20:59] <Isabelle> ["That is one reason. It is the standard reason for nearly every Evangelion's soul, after all. Langley-Soryu's mother dwells in 02, Akagi's in 03. Volkova's brother dwells in 06." Says Gendo. "However, that is one reason amongst many." He stares impassively up at EVA-05. "I did not expect Rei to die so young. Just as I did not expect Shinji to become a pilot. I both expected and wished for her to live a long and happy life."]
[21:14] * Raphael 's breath catches gently as those names are rattled off, and he holds it for a moment to make sure it's kept steady. "She certainly has a long life ahead of her now, sir." He says evenly.
[21:15] <Isabelle> ["You are mistaken if you think I did this lightly, Sir Guillory. Or that I somehow enjoy the state she is in now."]
[21:16] <Raphael> "Of course, sir."
[21:17] <Isabelle> ["I assume that, if you were in my position, you would have been happy to have simply let things run its course? To say farewell to my daughter now and forever?"]
[21:21] * Raphael , to his credit, seems to pause to seriously consider this for a moment before replying, turning to look Gendo in the eye. "Commander Ikari, if this is about love for a daughter rather than absolute necessity for the safety of the world, I cannot see how the state she's in now is any better than death."
[21:25] <Isabelle> ["Then I am going to ask you a question. If I had decided to, say, salvage my daughter's soul into Ayanami Rei, would that make it any better?"]
[21:29] <Raphael> "Not by a great deal, sir, but at least her life may have consisted of something other than pain and blood in between bouts of confinement."
[21:32] <Isabelle> ["Then, perhaps, one step further. A perfect rebuild of Rei's original body, right down to the last hair. As if the shooting that took her away had never happened. Just as she was."]
[21:48] <Raphael> "…" That one makes his hesitate, searching Gendo's face for some clue as to what he's driving at. "… I don't know, sir. But I'm not sure what bearing that has in this situation."
[21:51] <Isabelle> [Gendo's face is impassive, those glasses hiding his eyes far too easily. "I am waiting, Sir Guillory, for the day when my Rei has the ability to rebuild herself. Until then, I have given her as much protection as I can. When that day comes, she will have the choice, in her hands, to live as she was, to live as she is, or to be reborn."]
[21:54] <Raphael> He frowns slightly, and suddenly a bit of honest emotion is showing on his face: Surprise. "… and what will happen to Ayanami Rei then, Commander Ikari?"
[21:57] <Isabelle> [It's now when Gendo smiles, turning to Raphael. "That is for her to decide. I assume, all things considered, that she will probably consider wedding that Wellesley boy." He says nonchalantly. "And live a normal life. An extraordinary life, but a normal life."]
[21:58] <Raphael> "… she thinks of you as her father. Do you, sir?"
[22:00] <Isabelle> ["Yes." Says Gendo, turning his gaze back towards EVA-05. "No doubt, it is probably more than I deserve from her. But I love her as my own."]
[22:11] <Raphael> "And the mental conditioning you've give her and other Ayanamis?"
[22:17] <Isabelle> [Gendo lets out a quiet sigh at that. "At the project's inception, the Human Instrumentality Committee requested twelve perfect soldiers who would respond to orders flawlessly, who could be… Batch-grown, replaceable and mass-produced. They would, essentially, be dolls." He turned back to Raphael. "It was Yui's idea to remove the emotion inhibitors, the 'idiosyncratic-purging programming'. She wanted to give them a chance to experience life. Coincidentally, have you ever heard of the remarkable Atticus Nelson?"]
[22:20] * Raphael is watching Gendo closely now. "Briefly. He was lost during the Silas Caine skirmish in the Sahara, correct?"
[22:21] <Isabelle> ["Correct. You are aware that he, like nearly all NeoSpartans, was given intense levels of conditioning upon entering that program?"]
[22:24] <Raphael> That subtle tension in his jaw again. "Not directly, sir, but I had my suspicions."
[22:24] <Isabelle> ["Of course." Gendo turns back towards EVA-05.-
[22:26] <Isabelle> ["The conditioning was performed by Azariah Caine himself, practically the inventor of those techniques. The level was probably deeper than the conditioning implemented upon the Ayanamis. So you can imagine how surprising it was when Nelson proved that he had, in fact, dismantled his own conditioning through force of will and personality."]
[22:28] <Raphael> "From what I read in the reports, the moments leading up to his death seemed to prove otherwise."
[22:29] <Isabelle> ["No. Sadly enough, that was nothing more than Silas Caine's own sense of manipulation and psychology. Nelson spent most of his life wracked with guilt over the fact that Silas died because of his errors. Silas needed no conditioning to bend him to his will."]
[22:34] * Raphael nods slowly. "And you're saying the Ayanamis - That Rei - could…"
[22:37] <Isabelle> ["Yes." He turns to Raphael. "Rei's personality- her strength of will- is already very powerful. She has incredible convictions already. You yourself know this, do you not? You've witnessed them for yourself. They show through in everything she does."]
[22:45] * Raphael nods mutely, gaze hard as he watches those damned glasses.
[22:52] <Isabelle> ["If Rei were told to kill Wellesley. Can you genuinely believe that she would do it?"]
[22:53] <Raphael> "… no."
[22:53] <Isabelle> ["There you are, then."]
[23:05] * Raphael is quiet for a long time after that, staring up at 05 and gathering his thoughts. "Please understand, Commander Ikari, that this conversation is possibly the closest I've come to insubordination in all my years in the military. But I'm doing it because I care for Rei a great deal."
[23:11] <Isabelle> ["I understand." Ikari, too, turns away, back towards 05. "Rei is very fond of you. It's fair to say that you've played more of a father to her than I have."]
[23:24] <Raphael> "I'm not sure about that, sir." Raphael says easily, but he seems to push on rather quickly. "But regardless of my feelings about Rei’s past, please rest assured that when it comes to my duties with NERV I will remain completely professional."
[23:25] <Isabelle> ["Good." Ikari turns to Raphael. "You said something earlier of which I took particular notice."]
[23:25] <Raphael> "Sir?"
[23:26] <Isabelle> ["You described Rei's life- EVA-05's- as one of blood and pain in between bouts of confinement."]
[23:26] <Raphael> "Wouldn't you, sir?"
[23:27] <Isabelle> ["Hardly." Ikari looks around at the bakelite, the pens. "Rei has been listening to us this entire time. Haven't you, Rei?"-
[23:27] <Isabelle> [… Horrifyingly, as he says that, the eyes of EVA-05 flare to life.]
[23:33] * Raphael doesn't move - not yet. He knows enough to be aware of the futility of trying. Still he feels the first burst of adrenaline rush over him like a wave, and he has to let his hands white-knuckle the railing to avoid one slipping down to his gun. "Sir…?" He says tersely, gaze not shifting away from 05 for a moment..
[23:36] <Isabelle> ["Every containment method you see here, from the dura-bakelite, to the walls of the pens locking the wings in place- right down to the false dummy plug embedded in her vertebrae are here purely to serve our own need for a sense of security. In truth, Rei could break through them within seconds."]
[23:38] <Raphael> "… so what you're saying, sir, is that I was right about everything but the confinement?"
[23:39] <Isabelle> ["Correct."]
[23:46] <Raphael> "And what is this meant to show me?"
[23:58] <Isabelle> ["Rei's awake." Said Gendo simply. "She's freer than anyone else on Earth."]
[00:08] <Raphael> "Unless she wanted to come home, I assume." Raphael says flatly, letting go of the railing and holding them by his side. It took effort to stop them balling into fists. "I should probably get home, Commander Ikari."
[00:14] <Isabelle> ["Why did you come here, Guillory?"]
[00:22] * Raphael is quiet for a few moments, as much to find the answer as out of any sort of anger. "Because I needed to see." He says eventually. "I couldn't really believe what I'd been told until I saw it for myself, but I knew it was important that I did."
[00:24] <Isabelle> ["The wrong reasons, then."]
[00:28] * Raphael waited mutely for him to continue, his face an impassive mask.
[00:32] <Isabelle> ["The real reason you came here, Guillory, is because you were meant to come here." Said Ikari. He shifted one of his hands, adjusting his glasses ever so slightly.]
[00:41] <Raphael> "…" Raphael stares at Gendo, his lips pressed tight. Slowly he nods. "… Naturally, Commander. Now if you'll excuse me." He brings up on hand in a quick salute.
[00:42] <Isabelle> ["I have an order for you before you go, Guillory."]
[00:43] <Raphael> "Sir."
[00:49] <Isabelle> ["Protect Rei at all costs. With your very life if you must. She is innocent where others are guilty. She trusts you, and adores you, and so I will trust you to protect her from any and all dangers, especially the ones she cannot see. In fact, if I were to hold a gun to her head I would expect you to shoot me without hesitation, despite me giving you the order." He turns to look back at Raphael, his glasses opaque. "Others will try to hurt her. You and Wellesley must not allow that to happen."]
[00:56] * Raphael frowns, finding himself put off-balance yet again. "… Of course, Commander."
[01:04] <Isabelle> ["Dismissed."]
[01:08] <Raphael> "Thank you, sir." He says, giving a quick nod before passing Gendo on the catwalk and heading for the massive hangar doors. He only stops once before he crosses the threshold - sparing one last look up at Eva-05. Then he's gone.
[01:11] <Isabelle> [Gendo waits until Raphael is quite gone before looking up at 05, a corner of his mouth lifting. "How much did you understand, I wonder… Go back to sleep, Rei."-
[01:12] <Isabelle> [The eyes faded once more, and a minute later, Gendo was gone too.]

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