Doctor Clement Awakens

[19:47] <@Minaplo> [It was one week ago when Dr. Victor Clement opened his eyes.-
[19:48] <@Minaplo> [The first thing he saw was a familiar ceiling from an unfamiliar perspective.-
[19:51] <@Minaplo> [He stared at it, not really looking, just thinking. There was a lot to think about- he wasn't even sure what had happened, or why he was here…-
[19:52] <@Minaplo> ["You're awake." Came a dry voice from Clement's right. Clement turned his head, slowly.-
[19:53] <@Minaplo> [Doctor Barzilai Surov sat in a recliner, his form partially obscured by a haze of holographic screens displaying countless threads of information. The screens immediately faded out of existence.-
[19:54] <@Minaplo> ["Doctor Surov?" Asked Clement. He was already wrong-footed. "What are you…?"-
[19:54] <@Minaplo> ["I estimated that you would wake up sometime between yesterday and tomorrow. I am here because you undoubtedly have questions and I am here to answer them."-
[19:55] <@Minaplo> ["Questions?" Repeated Clement slowly. "I… Do, but I thought I'd best keep them for my principal carer…"-
[19:56] <@Minaplo> ["I am your principal carer." Said Surov. "I know some surgery. It is a prerequisite for my areas of expertise. Doctor Kenzo helped, of course, but he lacks my skills when it comes to the required treatment."-
[19:56] <@Minaplo> ["Treatment? Wait." Clement frowned. "… What happened to me?"-
[19:57] <@Minaplo> ["You suffered a direct hit from the battle-axe of an Apocalypse Engine-class Angelspawn during an invasion of NERV HQ by the Children of Adam cultist group. The hit nearly bisected you, and required extensive treatment." He paused.-
[19:58] <@Minaplo> ["Very extensive treatment." He added.-
[19:58] <@Minaplo> ["-How- extensive?"-
[20:02] <@Minaplo> ["I was forced to replace a large portion of your spine with cybernetic analogues. Your digestive system, lungs, kidneys, liver- all have been replaced with synthetic organs. The muscles and nerves from your midsection to your waist have all had to be replaced with either cybernetic or synthetic analogues. All in all, your chances of surviving were slim, but then again, I am the expert."-
[20:06] <@Minaplo> [A heavy silence filled the air. Doctor Clement went pale- he didn't respond, but instead placed a hand under the blanket and experimentally pressed against his stomach and chest.-
[20:06] <@Minaplo> ["… A… Any side effects?" He asked warily.-
[20:11] <@Minaplo> ["Many." Said Surov dryly. "Your lung capacity has greatly increased, your digestive system is much more efficient, your lifting capacity has expanded by an estimated 30%, and your new liver is impervious to damage from dangerous substances."-
[20:22] <@Minaplo> [Another silence fell on the room.-
[20:23] <@Minaplo> ["W-Well, I suppose that's a more optimistic list of side effects than I'm typically used to hearing." Said Dr. Clement with a small, shaky laugh.-
[20:23] <@Minaplo> ["Thank you, Doctor Surov. I appreciate your… Your expertise."-
[20:25] <@Minaplo> [Surov inclined his head in acknowledgement. "You are welcome. It is rare that I am thanked for fulfilling my purpose."-
[20:25] <@Minaplo> ["Your purpose?"-
[20:31] <@Minaplo> ["My research, my development- aimed at discovery, at perfection. Synthetic organs and cybernetics are but a part of that purpose, but they are the ones with the most immediately understandable benefit to your average human being." Said Surov. "Everything else in my life is a prelude for that. I see no 'wisdom' in portraying humanity as endlessly hunting for a purpose. I have found it, I am enacting it. I am content."-
[20:40] <@Minaplo> ["… I hadn't expected that from you." Said Clement slowly.-
[20:40] <@Minaplo> ["I suppose you think it's too human."-
[20:40] <@Minaplo> ["Too philosophical. My mistake, not yours, Doctor Surov."-
[20:40] <@Minaplo> ["Ah."-
[21:04] <@Minaplo> ["I suppose in that sense, er… My purpose is medicine?"-
[21:04] <@Minaplo> [Surov frowned slightly. "If you say it is. I cannot tell others what -their- purpose is, only that it is foolish to not have one at all."-
[08:07] <Minaplo> ["I can offer observations, however." added Surov.-
[08:07] <Minaplo> ["Please." Said Doctor Clement.-
[08:14] <Minaplo> ["You are a skilled medical practitioner- very skilled. Your skill is such that I respect you for it." Said Surov, with the light insinuation that this was a rare honour. "You are dedicated to that cause, both physically and psychologically, and you are also the only person in NERV I know of that is not hated or disliked by anyone else in NERV."-
[08:19] <Minaplo> ["These observations do not tell you much." Added Surov. "I, do, am very skilled and dedicated, yet I am hated and disliked by everyone in NERV. Which is why opinion is irrelevant to purpose."-
[08:19] <Minaplo> <I, too*>
[08:35] <Minaplo> ["I don't hate you." Said Clement quietly.-
[08:47] <Minaplo> [There was a pause at that, slightly awkward, somewhat contemplative. Surov didn't respond.-
[08:53] <Minaplo> ["How long have I been out?" Asked Clement.-
[08:53] <Minaplo> ["Three weeks." Replied Surov.-
[09:18] <Minaplo> ["… Three weeks…"-
[09:19] <Minaplo> ["…" Clement looked over at Surov. "Is Elena alright? Someone's been looking after her, right?"-
[09:34] <Minaplo> ["Elena." Surov paused.-
[09:35] <Minaplo> ["This is not the sort of thing you should be asking from me, Doctor Clement." He said quietly.-
[09:37] <Minaplo> ["… Why not? Surov? What happened? Elena- is Elena alright?"-
[09:38] <Minaplo> ["Elena is…" Began Surov, but he paused again- and he looked away this time, his brow furrowed as he stared at the wall.-
[09:39] <Minaplo> ["Missing." He said eventually. "She is missing. She was taken by enemy agents during the attack on the Geofront, and we have yet to find her."-
[09:48] <Minaplo> ["M… Missing?!" The look on Clement's face was… It was horrible even to look at. The man had been nearly cut in half, had been unconscious for three weeks, had lost a great deal of his organs- but it was clear now that this was a deeper blow. "Why? How? Elena- but… Surov, -why-?!"-
[09:50] <Minaplo> ["I do not know." Said Surov. "We… Are doing out best to retrieve her."-
[09:50] <Minaplo> [It was a lie. It was a total, complete lie.-
[09:51] <Minaplo> ["… But it's been three weeks, you said, surely… I mean, NERV is the most powerful… How hard…?"-
[09:51] <Minaplo> [Surov had no answers.-
[09:52] <Minaplo> [And eventually, Clement slumped back into his bed, looking completely crushed. In some ways it was a little worse than being told Elena was dead- the gut-wrenching terror of one's child being in danger mixed with the spectre of uncertainty.-
[09:55] <Minaplo> [The silence continued for some time, neither speaking, neither moving.-
[09:56] <Minaplo> ["… Doctor." Said Surov eventually, breaking the silence. "Once you are discharged, you should consider living at my apartment for awhile. Until the situation is resolved."-
[09:56] <Minaplo> ["…" Clement looked up, clearly confused.-
[09:58] <Minaplo> ["For some inane reason, NERV insists on having that annoying little construct share my living space. An intelligent sensible man such as yourself will be actually refreshing company." Said Surov dryly.-
[09:59] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[09:59] <Minaplo> [Surov stood. "Think about it. I will be in tomorrow to receive your answer."-
[10:03] <Minaplo> [And with that, Surov left.-
[10:29] <Minaplo> [A day passed.-
[10:30] <Minaplo> [Surov was in the Battleship laboratory, alone- working in front of the giant MAGI console that dominated the hub of the lab.-
[10:47] <Minaplo> [The lab door opened, and a single word rung out into the deserted room.-
[10:47] <Minaplo> ["Barrrrrzy!"-
[10:48] <Minaplo> [Navah slid into the room, wearing a hugely elaborate multi-layered pink silk dress covered in ribbons and lace, her ugly doll clutched in one arm.-
[10:48] <Minaplo> ["Navah." Replied Surov automatically.-
[10:53] <Minaplo> ["Huh." Navah blinked, her face showing clear surprise. "You didn't tell me to go away today."-
[10:53] <Minaplo> ["No. Actually, today, I think I even have a -use- for you."-
[10:53] <Minaplo> ["A use?" Asked Navah with justifiable caution.-
[10:54] <Minaplo> ["Starting from tomorrow, Doctor Clement is going to be staying at our apartment." Said Surov, still not looking at Navah.-
[10:54] <Minaplo> ["Huh? What sort of crazy person assigned him to live with you?"-
[10:54] <Minaplo> ["I invited him myself."-
[10:57] <Minaplo> ["What?!" Navah ran across the lab, her eyes completely wide with surprise. "But that's a -friendly- thing to do!"-
[10:57] <Minaplo> ["I am aware. He also asked me about his daughter."-
[10:57] <Minaplo> ["… Oh no. Poor Doctor Clement…"-
[10:57] <Minaplo> ["I told him she was missing, and that we were looking for her."-
[10:58] <Minaplo> ["… What? But that's a -lie-. Since when have you lied about stuff without being ordered to?"-
[11:02] <Minaplo> ["Since yesterday, it seems." Said Surov dryly. "I cannot obviously find Elena, since she is either dead or- best case scenario- LCL. What I am doing is trying to find out why Elena Clement was taken to pilot Caine's new unit."-
[11:02] <Minaplo> [Navah just stared at him, completely, utterly, -absolutely- flabbergasted. "But you -lied-…"-
[11:03] <Minaplo> ["Clement is not a NeoSpartan or an E-Type. She possesses no unique skills or attributes. She is intelligent, but there are plenty of other candidates that share that trait." Surov paused, mulling.-
[11:04] <Minaplo> ["There is a reason she was chosen over any other potential candidates, and right now I am whittling down the possibilities." He continued. "The obvious answer is that she is the only one who could pilot it, like Unit 01 or 08. But why Clement?"-
[11:06] <Minaplo> [He paused, staring up at the MAGI screen.-
[11:08] <Minaplo> ["One of the methods I used was to trace Clement's ancestry. And in doing so I found something I call the 'Hohenzollern-NERV Network'."-
[11:09] <Minaplo> ["What's that?" Asked Navah, tilting her head.-
[11:09] <Minaplo> ["It is my name for a strange pattern in NERV's structure. It begins with the Hohenzollern family. You have heard of them?"-
[11:10] <Minaplo> ["That's one of Commander Hanny's names." Said Navah.-
[11:33] <Minaplo> [Surov inclined his head. "You are on the right track. The Hohenzollerns are a German noble family. They used to be very powerful- Emperors, in fact. Noble families like that breed 'connections'."-
[11:34] <Minaplo> ["Commander Hohenzollern is part of the Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen branch, for example. It is the 'Catholic' branch of what is mostly a Protestant family. Religion plays some role in this. Do try to keep up, Navah."-
[11:34] <Minaplo> [She nodded firmly, giving him a stern look.-
[12:13] <Minaplo> ["The main Protestant line continued to gain power. Eventually they intermarried into several European royal families- the Russian Romanovs, the British Windsors…"-
[12:31] <Minaplo> ["At some point in the 1850s- sources are conflicted-, they intermarried with the Hamburgian Caine family. Wealthy and powerful, descended from Jewish converts." Said Surov, his tone flat. "Sources are again conflicted but at some point around the turn of the century, the Caines became Jewish again. Do not ask me why, as I do not know. What I do know is that the Caines created several
[12:31] <Minaplo> branching families of their own- most notably, the Clements-"-
[12:31] <Minaplo> ["Doctor Clement's family?"-
[12:32] <Minaplo> ["Yes, and the Gabriels- to which the pilot of EVA-08 and his father belong."-
[12:36] <Minaplo> ["So the Caines and the Gabriels and the Clements are all related?" Asked Navah, confirming.-
[12:48] <Minaplo> ["Yes. Distantly." Said Surov. "NERV and its predecessors were founded by the Caines, who seemed to have gone out of their way to employ distant- at this point very distant- relatives. Gabriel and Clement employed by NERV, run by a Hohenzollern, which is controlled by the Caine-controlled Instrumentality Committee, which also includes a Romanov, who employed his granddaughter to pilot an
[12:48] <Minaplo> Evangelion- which is now piloted by a Windsor."-
[12:49] <Minaplo> ["Whoa." Said Navah, awed. "That's crazy."-
[12:56] <Minaplo> ["It cannot be a coincidence. Not with the Caines. Where other people see coincidence, the Caines see the culmination of decades of intricate plotting." Muttered Surov distastefully. "I decided to test the 'web'. I brought up the list of potential candidates to replace Volkov, and as I suspected, all the candidates were related- The princess and Elena Clement were the two major candidates,
[12:56] <Minaplo> with the princess's cousin being a third, minor candidate."-
[12:56] <Minaplo> ["I see…" Said Navah, nodding.-
[12:59] <Minaplo> ["The principle is not unusual." Said Surov. "Ikari's unit contains his little sister, Langley's contains her mother, same for Akagi and Gabriel-Wei. The pattern of relatives producing sustainable Ratios is well-established." But then Surov leaned back, frowning at the screen- which Navah would realise was showing a very broad web of names and faces and dates.-
[13:01] <Minaplo> ["Apparently this arbitrary pattern is sustained even when the ties are so distant as to be meaningless." Said Surov. "I admit that I do not even pretend to understand why the pattern produces results, only that it does. Nevertheless, from this data, I would suspect that Caine's new unit houses the soul of one of Elena Clement's relatives."-
[13:04] <Minaplo> ["I cannot conclusively prove which one, however." Said Surov. "Her mother would be a strong candidate, but there are many other relatives that could fill the criteria."-
[13:05] <Minaplo> [There was a pause.-
[13:05] <Minaplo> ["Barzy?"-
[13:05] <Minaplo> ["What?"-
[13:06] <Minaplo> ["Why did you go to all this effort to try to figure it out when you could just try hacking the Synfront mainframe?"-
[13:08] <Minaplo> [Surov gave her a withering look. "Assuming Caine hasn't wiped the information, Navah, I would remind you how painful and debilitating it was the last time I hacked a MAGI supercomputer system to that extent. I am in no hurry to repeat that particular experience."-
[13:09] <Minaplo> ["Wussy."-
[13:09] <Minaplo> [Surov ignored her, instead staring up at the web of names and pictures, which seemed to be sorting itself of its own will.-
[13:10] <Minaplo> ["Weird of you to go to so much effort for someone else, though." Said Navah.-
[13:10] <Minaplo> [Surov continued to ignore her. The web froze, saved itself, and closed down- replaced with suddenly dozens of windows of text reports and videos.-
[13:10] <Minaplo> ["… What's all this, Barzy?"-
[13:11] <Minaplo> ["I am attempting to discern what Doctor Clement prefers to eat from security videos and internal reports." Said Surov irritably.-
[13:11] <Minaplo> ["… Why?"-
[13:13] <Minaplo> ["Because he is going to be living with us for some time, and I highly doubt he will be satisfied with my preferred diet of rice and pork ribs- or your preferred diet of waffles and ice cream."-
[13:19] <Minaplo> ["You used to like waffles and ice cream when you were a kid." Muttered Navah darkly.-
[13:20] <Minaplo> ["I liked many pointless things when I was a child." Replied Surov, clearly annoyed. "I grew out of it."-
[13:21] <Minaplo> ["You didn't." Muttered Navah, turning away and starting to walk towards the door. "You just put it all somewhere else."-
[13:21] <Minaplo> ["Meet me before you go home today. We will take Doctor Clement to the supermarket."-
[13:22] <Minaplo> [Navah muttered a wordless assent- before slipping out the door, leaving Surov to his own devices.]

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