For A Cheerful Chat

[12:02] <Marianne> [The third and final week of their holiday! The end is fast approaching now- the day in which everyone will leave and return to their own corners of the world.-
[12:05] <Marianne> Marianne Amatore-DeForest, the second most senior of the NERV Operations Command Crew- aka, the Bridge Bunnies- sat in her chair, gazing out at a brilliant, sunny day and the sparkling ocean. Two weeks in the sun wearing only a form-flattering swimwuit had given her a remarkably gold tan. Massages had eased out her overly tense muscles; and now she was sipping a margarita paid for by NERV. Life was good.]
[12:12] <Yanmei> And life was about to be interrupted by an exhausted pilot, who, seeking a reprieve from a day of forced swimming, had stolen onto the balcony in little more than a wetsuit, sandals, and beach towel wrapped around her waist. -
[12:13] <Yanmei> She brightened, however, upon spotting her guardian, and happily hurried over to her. "Marianne! Wow, you look really…"
[12:15] * Marianne looked over at Yanmei as she approached, beaming. Putting down her margarita, she stretched luxuriously. "Really… Beautiful? Classy? Which is it~?"
[12:16] <Yanmei> "All of the above!" she decided with a firm nod. "It's good to get away, isn't it?"
[12:18] <Marianne> "It is. I haven't had a tan like this for a very long time." She admired her arms for a moment, before pulling a chair out for her darling little Yanyan. "And look at you! That swimsuit really suits you. You look so graceful and lithe~"
[12:21] <Yanmei> "You think so?" she peered down at the wetsuit with new eyes, and then beamed, sliding into the offered seat. "It's a shame we can't stay even longer? Do you think the Major will let us if we ask?"
[12:23] <Marianne> "Hahahaha. We have to go back some time." Said Marianne, snickering. "We can't stay on vacation forever~ Besides, I think they finished repairing Saint Louis last week, and your education is important, so you can grow up, get rich and keep your darling Marianne in her old spinsterhood."
[12:25] <Yanmei> "It's the least I can do after you putting up with me all this time," she grinned, and leaned back. "Even Saint Louis was damaged? Wow… I thought it was one of those places that would always be safe."
[12:26] <Marianne> "Qaphsiel was a destructive bastard. The repair bill that Angel left us with was in the 700 billions."
[12:27] <Yanmei> "Th-that's more than all the other battles combined!"
[12:28] <Marianne> "It was. But that includes Berlin-2, as well…" Marianne paused, then frowned. "H-Hey, you know what we should do?"
[12:29] <Yanmei> "Hmm?" Yanmei stopped peering around for someone that she could grab and have deliver a margarita for her too.
[12:30] <Marianne> "We can sip margaritas together and you can tell me about your day~"-
[12:30] <Marianne> [Yanmei would quickly find a waiter wandering about!]
[12:34] * Yanmei waved him over, "It's like you read my mind~" She quickly ordered a Strawberry-flavored margarita, and turned back to Marianne. "It wasn't too exciting, though? Asuka woke me up to go swim for a while, and then I got away and helped Dr. Ikari's little girl hunt for seashells for a few minutes,-
[12:34] <Yanmei> but I got pulled away for a swimming race before we could find much, and then I slipped away while Asuka was dunking Edgar after the race, and now here I am."
[12:35] * Marianne laughed. "Ah yes, I saw that. It's amazing how a guy who once came back naked in the alps holding a wolf's head can be so easily taken out by Asuka."
[12:39] <Yanmei> "Well, some people are tougher than wolves. And scarier." She thought back to a serene smile and glittering red eyes. "But how have you been spending your beach time, Marianne? It's like I've hardly seen you?"
[12:41] <Marianne> "Hahaha. Sorry, honey. I've been busy tanning~ And getting massages~ And swimming, too! But I usually swim a little later sometimes. And shopping. And eating. Going to shows. All sorts of things."
[12:43] <Yanmei> "You have been busy," Yanmei gaped. "Meet any strapping beach guys while you were here? Besides Major Lachapelle, I mean~"
[12:43] * Marianne gives Yanmei a baleful eye. "Whatever are you insinuating, you cheeky girl?"
[12:44] <Yanmei> "Oh nothing~" The margarita arrived in record time, and Yanmei accepted it with a polite thank you. "I've barely seen him either? So I thought you might have disappeared somewhere together. Makes sense, hm?"
[12:46] * Marianne pokes Yanmei in the ribs playfully. "I've been spending -some- time with Dory. But you're one to talk!"
[12:47] <Yanmei> "Huh? What do you mean by that?"
[12:48] * Marianne giggled. "Actually, I'm a little curious~ Isaiah was in a right feral last week, but look at him now." She stared down at the beach, where Isaiah was busy helping Rei bury Shinji under sand. "What did you do?"
[12:51] <Yanmei> "We just had a little talk, that's all? It made him feel better." She tried waving to them, but they probably didn't see. "Have you seen much of Blanc either? The last time we talked, she wasn't in a good mood either. I was worried about her…"
[12:53] <Marianne> "Ah… Actually, I have. But she's usually off canoodling with her boy."
[12:57] <Yanmei> "Odd. I wonder why she isn't rescuing him now." She took a long drink. There were other things she wanted to ask - why the Commander had really visited, and if anyone had mentioned anything about their talk, and if Marianne had known about Isaiah's synch tests as well. "Marianne?"
[12:58] <Marianne> "Yeah?"
[12:59] <Yanmei> "… … How do you feel about your job? You always come home so late and tired…"
[13:02] <Marianne> "Hm…" Marianne tapped her chin. "I… I'm not sure. There are sacrificed to it. Like you say, I do come home pretty late, and it's hard work, so I'm exhausted. But…" Marianne frowned. "I'm not sure. I think it's sort of fulfilling in its own way…"
[13:09] <Yanmei> "Is that so? It sounds nice in a way. I never feel that way about school, anyway," she grinned.
[13:11] <Marianne> "I didn't when I was your age, either." A grin.
[13:14] <Yanmei> "But you know? Taking breaks like this, even when you're back home should be a good thing too."
[13:15] <Marianne> "Oh?" Marianne seems contemplative. "What're you suggesting? We start going on little holidays~?"
[13:16] <Yanmei> "Definitely!" Yanmei nodded firmly. "You deserve them. And I think I do too."
[13:17] * Marianne puts an arm around Yanmei's shoulders lazily. "That's so sweet. And a little funny. But what would we do?"
[13:23] <Yanmei> "It's too cold to sunbathe there, and too warm to go skiing." Yanmei frowned, thinking. "We could… drink? The way we are now?"
[13:25] <Marianne> "Hahahaha." Marianne eyed Yanmei suspiciously, grinning nevertheless. "I'm letting you drink hard stuff because we're on holiday. But once we get home it's wine only~"
[13:27] <Yanmei> "Aw… Oh well. Some of the stuff I've had here was really bitter anyway. This is wonderful, though!" She held up her margarita glass.
[13:29] <Marianne> "Of course. It's a margarita~" Said Marianne, beaming. "But, hmm. I dunno, maybe we can just have a few days where we stay at home and do nothing? But that's a little boring…"
[13:30] <Yanmei> "I wish Paris-2 had an amusement park. I mean… it's pretty childish and all, but it would be something we could do?"
[13:31] <Marianne> "Ahahaha. It could be a big NERV amusement park. 'Play Gopher smack with Commander Fontaine's head!'"
[13:35] * Yanmei snickered at that! "I wouldn't be surprised? You know that they're already producing Evengelion toys, right? Seems like NERV's appealing to the kiddies these days."
[13:36] <Marianne> "Kiddies with rich dads, at least. NERV sells them at a 1,000% profit." Marianne rolls her eyes. "Mass produce them for about 10, 20 dollars in factories in China and Italy, then sell them for 1-200 dollars."
[13:39] <Yanmei> "Seriously?" Yanmei shook her head. "As if they need the profits that badly…"
[13:40] <Marianne> "Hahaha. Well, we really sort of wanted the -most- we could get after that last fight…" Marianne stretches. "But you know, I'm sure there's plenty of fun things to do in Paris-2 that we just don't know about yet. We could have a games night!"
[13:41] <Yanmei> "Or a party!" Yanmei beamed, imagining a live band playing in their small apartment, which guests danced the night away.
[13:42] <Marianne> "A party, huh? Should I trust you with that…~?"
[13:44] <Yanmei> "Of course!" Yanmei gave a bright look filled with innocence and determination. The sort of look designed to be -trusted-
[13:45] <Marianne> "Who would you invite?"
[13:47] <Yanmei> "Hm. Some people from school. Isaiah, the other pilots, some musicians… trustworthy people!"
[13:48] <Marianne> "Hmmm. I guess that isn't too bad." Marianne gave her a little grin. "Maybe I could bring the bunnies along."
[13:49] <Yanmei> "Easier to supervise when there are three of you, hm?"
[13:49] <Marianne> "Hahaha. Are you kidding? Let Frederic supervise?"
[13:51] <Yanmei> "Well, he hasn't acted up too much while we were here! Although admittedly, I lost sight of him some time ago?"
[13:52] * Marianne let out a little groan. "He's up to no good. He showed me a video recently."
[13:52] <Yanmei> "Video? What of?"
[13:53] <Marianne> "The first day we came here. A tennis match. Asuka beating on Edgar until he lost consciousness."
[13:55] <Yanmei> "… he -taped- that?" Yanmei flushed red momentarily. "so much for being responsible. But… maybe those duties are things you can leave aside when you're on vacation."
[13:56] <Marianne> "Well. Frederic rarely considers acting like a responsible adult as a duty." Said Marianne with a grin. "… Ah, man. I nearly forgot…"
[13:57] <Yanmei> "What? What?" She leaned over in anticipation
[13:57] <Marianne> "Well, since -you- were being naughty…" She pokes Yanmei in the ribs again- "Talking about me and Dorian, I actually remembered I had a chat with Dorian recently…"
[13:58] <Yanmei> "I see. A romantic chat~?"
[13:59] <Marianne> "Not exactly." Another poke! A little firmer. "He's worried."
[13:59] <Yanmei> "Eh?" Yanmei rubbed her ribs. "About the next Angel?"
[14:00] <Marianne> "Noooo." She shook her head. "We're having someone join NERV soon."
[14:01] * Yanmei …tensed at that. But Isaiah was already working at NERV. Someone else? "Anyone I know?"
[14:02] <Marianne> "Um… No, I don't think so, unless you've ever heard of Ariadne Delacour."
[14:04] * Yanmei thinks back. That -did- sound… "Oh! I met someone named that during the party that the President was throwing. But… isn't she with the UN?"
[14:04] <Marianne> "That's right. But NERV is controlled by the UN. We answer to the Human Instrumentality Committee." She nodded. "Miss Delacour is going to act as a sort of on-the-ground attache between them and us."
[14:06] <Yanmei> "So in other words," Yanmei snapped her fingers. "Our bosses' bosses will be keeping a closer eye on everything? Ah. Is… this because of the last battle?"
[14:07] <Marianne> "I'm not particularly sure. I guess they just want a closer eye on things. But, this makes Dorian worried for other reasons."
[14:07] <Yanmei> "I remember." Yanmei smirked. Sweet revenge. "The two of them have some history, right?"
[14:09] <Marianne> "Yeah. Dorian's uncomfortable, because they used to be lovers, but… They sort of went bad during 2I."
[14:11] * Yanmei nodded. "I heard. But if she's with the UN, she'll probably be professional. I'm sure he can too."
[14:16] <Marianne> "Well. Let's hope so. But still, it'd be awkward. It can be hard to work with someone like that. Imagine you, having to work with A- no, that doesn't fit at all."
[14:17] * Yanmei frowned at that. Now it was her turn to give Marianne a poke.
[14:18] <Marianne> "Hey! I said it didn't fit! It'd have to be different, like, um… If you and Isaiah started to hate each other then had to work together."
[14:19] <Yanmei> "Oh. So they really -don't- get along after all."
[14:20] <Marianne> "Well… They sort- listen, it's complicated. I think they sort of didn't get along, but have had time to think, and want to get along, but are afraid of each other."
[14:22] <Yanmei> "Hm. A little more complicated. Think they need a push?"
[14:22] * Marianne eyes Yanmei.
[14:25] <Yanmei> "…that's a no, isn't it?" She sighed. "All right, all right. I'll leave them alone…"
[14:26] <Marianne> "You should just try to, you know. Talk to Miss Delacour. See what she thinks."
[14:27] <Yanmei> "I can do that," she said cheerfully. "She seemed like a nice person."
[14:29] <Marianne> "Heh. Who else did you meet at that gala, I wonder?"
[14:30] <Yanmei> "Well, the mayor was there too. It was my first time chatting with him."
[14:30] <Marianne> "Yeah? What was he like?"
[14:34] <Yanmei> "He was… trying to be jolly, I think? We didn't get to talk for very long. The ground started shaking, and we had to hurry back to HQ."
[14:35] <Marianne> "Ahhh. That's a shame." Said Marianne, patting Yanyan on the head. "He's not bad for a big ol' puppet."
[14:36] <Yanmei> "Puppet?" She smoothed down her hair a little. "Controlled by who? I'm almost afraid to ask…"
[14:36] <Marianne> "The Magi~"
[14:38] <Yanmei> Better the Magi than Fontaine she supposed. "How can that be? They're a powerful computer system, but…"
[14:39] <Marianne> "Much more powerful than you might give them credit for. Remember, the Magi have personality templates, sort of like the Evas. The Magi singlehandedly runs -everything- in the government. Traffic, police, wages, public spending…"
[14:48] <Yanmei> "So much…" Yanmei's eyes had gotten a little wider, but now they seemed to return to their normal size. "Is it just for Paris-2? Or does their power extend beyond that?" That was… real power, wasn't it? The ability to determine how people ran their lives. It seemed wasted on a computer.
[14:50] <Marianne> "Paris-2 and most of the surrounding area, yeah."
[14:53] <Yanmei> "I'm a little jealous," she admitted with a laugh. "But it would be bad if a human was able to determine that much. Too whimsical, I guess?"
[14:53] <Marianne> "And inefficient." Said Marianne with a grin.-
[14:53] <Marianne> [Yanmei would suddenly feel a tug on her sleeve…]
[14:54] * Yanmei would peer at it, of course, setting her margarita down. "Yes~?"
[14:55] <Marianne> [Rei was staring up at her with big eyes! The girl was wet, of course, from the surf, and her hands were covered in sand. "Um. Meimei! Um. Zaizai… Want… You." She was struggling with the words, but she was -trying-.]
[14:58] * Yanmei was impressed, actually! The little kid had only been with them for a few weeks, and she was already picking up English! "Yes, yes." She started to stand, giving a last nod to Marianne, and… peeking over the side of that balcony to figure out what had happened since Isaiah and Rei were last seen burying poor Shinji.
[14:59] <Marianne> [Isaiah had joined poor Shinji in being intombed in sand.]
[15:01] <Yanmei> "What the…?" Yanmei glanced at Rei, even -more- impressed now. "Gotta go, Marianne. Let's talk more later, okay?"
[15:01] <Marianne> "Sure thing, hon." She reaches out and ruffles Yanmei's hair again, -really- mucking it up this time.
[15:02] <Yanmei> "Nngh!" Her efforts to comb it back into place with just her fingertips, were not going to cut it. With a grin that mixed amusement and wryness, she started off!
[15:05] * Marianne chuckled to herself with glee as the two headed off. Once again alone, she sipped her margarita and watched as Yanyan and Rei ran off to help the poor, shy boys. It had been a good vacation.-
[15:05] <Marianne> A very good one indeed.

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