For A Revealing Lunch

[23:11] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> [The resort was, like all days, quiet inside. As the clear sky and white fields drew the patrons outside, two pretty blonde women watched on from the restaurant, talking quietly, having a fine lunch.]
[23:14] * Yanmei entered the restaurant quietly, eyes drawn naturally on the enermous glass wall that seperated its patrons from the great white outdoors. There was a hint of envy in that glance as well. But… there was Marianne! Since they had gotten here she had barely seen her at all, and now Yanmei waved eagerly at her from where she stood.
[23:15] <Akagi`Ritsuko> [Marianne looked up from her meal, her eye caught by the colourful girl’s wave- and waves back cheerfully, beckoning her over.]
[23:19] * Yanmei obliged all too happily, giving a respectful greeting nod to her guardian's companion as she drifted closer. "Hello you two. Enjoying the food here? It's really pretty good, isn't it?"
[23:21] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> ["Oh, you have no idea, Yanyan. Last night, I had the -best- chocolate pudding I’ve ever… Oh, God, it was so good. Sit down!"-
[23:22] * Akagi‘Ritsuko looks up at Yanmei, and stands up to give a short bow. "A pleasure to meet you, Pilot Zhang Yanmei. I’m Akagi Ritsuko." … A well-eaten plate of cerville de veal sat on the table at Ritsuko's seat.
[23:25] <Yanmei> That.. brought back memories. She managed not to look grossed out, however, to her credit. "The pleasure is mine," she said politely, taking a seat. "You came in from Japan with the Ikari family and Tsubaki, right? And… I was not aware that they had pudding here." An excellent discovery!
[23:26] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> ["You can have it brought to your -room-. So good."]
[23:28] <Yanmei> "Room service?" Yanmei gasped. "We can use it? Maybe I should have a few things brought up too." Not just food. Liquor, and hot towels and a masseuse…
[23:30] <Akagi`Ritsuko> ["That’s right. Don't overuse it, though~" Said Marianne, winking. "It's coming out of your trust fund."]
[23:34] <Yanmei> "Huh? But why would they take us to a resort with room service if they didn't want us to abus- ah, use it at our discrepancy? I'm sure you agree with me don't you, Ms. Akagi?"
[23:35] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "Hm? Well." Dr. Akagi looked up. "It -is- a time to relax… I doubt any room service you accrue would put any sort of real dent into your trust fund, Pilot Zhang. Do you know how big it is?"
[23:38] <Yanmei> "Well, it’s not something I'm too familiar with?" she admitted. Akagi, hm? Related to Tsubaki, or a guardian, or something like that. No wonder she knew!
[23:39] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "From what I gather, I believe you have around 153,000 Francs in your trust fund. At least, that’s what Tsubaki has. You might have some more, due to your victories."
[23:41] <Yanmei> "Huh?! Th-that much?" she caught herself, and lowered her voice sheepishly. "Is that true, Marianne? It's enough to buy a whole house outright!"
[23:43] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> ["Ahem. It is, yeah." Said Marianne. "It’s a lot more than my own savings… And my superannuation…" Marianne smiled a little guiltily. It was awkward- Yanmei was going to end up rich, and Marianne… Probably was not.-
[23:43] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "In any sense, by the time your role as a Pilot ends and you’re a full, legal adult with rights, you should have a total of around 600,000." Said Dr. Akagi airily.
[23:46] * Yanmei felt her head begin to spin. She'd had no idea. What would she even do with all of that? A house, a sporty car, tons of clothes… that still wouldn't use up even a fraction of that money. "Maybe I'll donate some to charity?" She said, only because that was a good and sweet thing to say and she couldn't think of much else.
[23:50] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> ["Admirable." Said Marianne, sweetly. "Oh… Damn, that’s right." The woman frowned, standing up. "I'm sorry, Dr. Akagi- Yanyan- I promised I'd meet Dorian in the games room for a bit of pool."]
[23:57] <Yanmei> "Really?" Yanmei looked visibly disappointed, and considered going to join her
[23:58] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "Ah. Your date, Marianne? Do have fun. Maybe your good charge will join me for lunch."-
[23:58] <Akagi`Ritsuko> ["It’s… Not a date, Dr. Akagi, really."]
[00:01] <Yanmei> "Are you suuure about that?" Yanmei raised her eyebrows. She could do a lot worse than Dorian, and the idea intrigued her.
[00:01] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> ["… Hey, Yanyan." Marianne glowered. "Why don’t we double-date? You can bring along Isaiah~"-
[00:01] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "Hm? Oh. Is this the boyfriend you mentioned…?"
[00:05] <Yanmei> "I don’t have a boyfriend!" She flushed indignantly. Still… better Isaiah than more remarks about Alexandre Fontaine.
[00:12] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> ["You should’ve seen her. He was at her bedside every day after her injury. Ah~" Marianne kissed Yanmei on the cheek as she went by. "You two have fun though, ok?"]
[00:15] * Yanmei grumbled a little, but bore the parting with relatively good nature otherwise. "I hope you win, Marianne. See you later?"
[00:15] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> ["See you! I’ll bring some pudding around for you and your beau~" And with that parting shot, she was gone.-
[00:16] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "Ah… Sorry. You’ll have to call the waiter over to order."
[00:17] <Yanmei> "No problem." Yanmei raised her arm to do just that, glancing over her shoulder at Akagi again. "And I really don't have a boyfriend, no matter what people keep saying," she added matter of factly. God, what if rumors travelled back to Japan with her? "Do you have one, Ms. Akagi?"
[00:20] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "Ah…" Dr. Akagi blushed faintly. -Very- faintly. "No. I’m far too occupied in my work to ever look for love… Besides, I have high standards."
[00:23] <Yanmei> "Nothing wrong with high standards. Or with being too busy," she said, doing her best to sound mature. For some reason, being with this lady made her feel like she should try harder at that. "Romance can be a painful thing when it goes wrong and the other half lets you down."
[00:24] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "Heh…" Dr. Akagi looked away for a moment. "Talking from experience? I hope not…"-
[00:24] <Akagi`Ritsuko> [At this point, the waiter, who was an Etoile Waiter and thus magnetically attracted to discussions of romance, appeared. "Mmmmmay I take your order, Miss Zhang~?"]
[00:30] <Yanmei> "I afraid so. Ah!" she blinked in surprise as the waiter from before reappeared. "It’s you again! Pleasure to see you. Just a fruit salad today, sir."
[00:30] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> ["Certainly, madame. Anything to drink?"]
[00:31] <Yanmei> "Sparkling water?"
[00:32] <Akagi`Ritsuko> ["Very well." The waiter wrote it down, bowed, and departed.-
[00:33] <Akagi`Ritsuko> "Hm…" Dr. Akagi looked at Yanmei curiously. "Some boy at school?"
[00:35] <Yanmei> "From back home," she corrected, examining the silverware. "He said he loved me and that we would still be together even if there were a million miles between us. Then I came here, and he was suddenly, ’I can't deal with a long distance relationship, please understand.' What a jerk."
[00:38] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "Ah. Well, I think that’s called a personal fable." Said Dr. Akagi. "He probably really -did- think that at the time, but…" She shrugged her shoulders. "Still, your friend seems to have done well in her own long-distance relationship, yes?"
[00:39] <Yanmei> "Blanc? Heh heh. Yes, that's true!" she brightened again. "I've never seen her like that before. She's always snuggling up against him."
[00:48] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "Ah, yes… I noticed that." Dr. Akagi smiled, and took a piece of cerville. "They make a cute couple. Once he becomes used to the feeling…"
[00:50] <Yanmei> "Based on how he’s reacting, that might take a few years~"
[00:51] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "I don’t think she'll -let- him have a few years. From what I've seen, I say the boy has a few weeks…"
[00:56] <Yanmei> "Poor guy." She giggled. "It's pretty interesting to watch, though. You know, not many people have been hooking up at school lately? There have been rumors about who like who, but no one's taken action. This sort of gossip is pretty refreshing."
[00:56] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "Even when it includes you, Pilot Zhang?" Asked Dr. Akagi with an amused smile. "Marianne told me things."
[01:00] <Yanmei> "Th-things like what?" She was almost afraid to ask. "Isaiah and me are just friends, and I only went on a date with Patice Gosselin that one time, and I do -not- like Alexandre Fontaine because he’s an annoying smug snake of a…" whoops. That certainly wasn't a mature thing to say. "I mean, Alexandre and I have some personal differences that can't be reconciled. I'm sure he's a fine fellow in all other respects."
[01:01] * Akagi‘Ritsuko smiled. "I think I understand. You’re young, and it's in the nature of your guardian to speak about these things, especially when she obviously would like to see you with a partner. But she didn't say anything bad. It's mostly just… Cute."
[01:06] <Yanmei> "Hm…" She didn't know how she felt about that just yet. Well, whatever~ "So is this the sort of stuff that the guardians of Eva pilots sit down and discuss once they're together? How very interesting~ I wonder how Akagi Tsubaki's love life is."
[01:09] * Akagi‘Ritsuko chuckled. "I was curious about you. These things come up. And…" Dr. Akagi rolled her neck slightly. "Tsuchin’s love life is nonexistent. Honestly, I don't think my little sister will have a lover until after she stops being a pilot."
[01:12] <Yanmei> "How long do you think that will take?" Casual, casual. The war would have to end sometime, wouldn't it? And then she could go home, and go back to being normal. Maybe. She -wanted- to feel optimistic about it and have something to look forward to, but she was beginning to know better, and those dreams made her more sad than happy nowadays.
[01:14] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "Her tenure- like all the pilots- ends in 2020." Said Dr. Akagi. "Although I doubt the Angels will last that long."
[01:17] <Yanmei> "That’s… a long time from now." Five years. She would be 20 by then. An entirely different person. "Does she have any real plans for afterward? Beyond the romance thing, I mean?"
[01:20] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "I imagine she’ll go into science like the other Akagi women." Said Dr. Akagi with a smirk. "But I don't really know… I know what I'd like her to do."
[01:20] <Yanmei> "What's that?"
[01:23] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "Live peacefully and easily. Maybe use her money to secure her wealth…" Dr. Akagi sighed wistfully. "Science can be thrilling, and it can be fulfilling, but it eats you up like nothing else. Tsuchin should experience… Good things."
[01:27] <Yanmei> "Good things," Yanmei echoed. "I think she deserves that much?"
[01:28] <Akagi`Ritsuko> "She does." Said Dr. Akagi. "You all do, really."
[01:32] <Yanmei> "Blanc might try to go into science too," Yanmei decided thoughtfully. "She’s really good at it, and she likes it, and it's hard to imagine her doing something else. Is that a good thing or bad thing?"
[01:33] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "Probably a good thing." Said Dr. Akagi, chuckling. "She’d make a good scientist, I hear. Especially considering how intimately she works with the AT Field… And I feel she'd be the sort of person to keep her social life going, too. Which is the real danger."
[01:36] <Yanmei> "Scientists don't get a lot of free time, huh?" She tsked. "More vacations like this one are in order."
[01:37] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "Oh, I don’t know. A vacationr runs too long and you feel the urge to go back." Said Dr. Akagi, nibbling on some more cerville. "NERV Japan is -very- busy right now, but most of it can run without me, thankfully…"
[01:48] * Yanmei smiled politely. "What sort of work are you involved in over there? It sounds like you're pretty taken with it."
[01:49] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "I’m the head of the Technical Department." Said Dr. Akagi. "Basically, I do the same job Dr. Riel does. I run research… Monitor the MAGI… Also, Evangelion management. It's certainly one of the more exciting jobs- although it's intense."
[01:53] <Yanmei> "It sounds like it. MAGI and Evangelion management. You're practically running everything that NERV is relying on aside from manpower and military organization."
[01:54] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "That’s right." Said Dr. Akagi with a sigh, taking a sip from a flute of wine. "And… Well. You can imagine what it's like. One branch wiped out, all the other branches need to pick up the slack. So now Japan's building EVA-05…" Dr. Akagi sighed tiredly. "Endless, endless work."
[01:57] <Yanmei> "How… far along is EVA-05?" she wondered, keeping an eye out for the waiter. "And I'd imagine they'd be searching for the sixth child as well, although I guess that isn't really your department."
[01:58] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "No, Thank Goodness. More work!" Dr. Akagi snickered. "And EVA-05 is nearly finished. We have yet to find a… Well, certain specific parts are still needed."
[02:03] <Yanmei> "Where’s Unit-02 going to go?" It wasn't something she had really worried about, but between this and earlier conversations with Asuka… "There's no Berlin-2 now. The pilot, Asuka Langley-Soryu, was recovering in Paris-2… so does that mean she'll stay there? Was there enough of EVA-02 recovered to repair it, or are we out an Evengelion?"-
[02:03] <Yanmei> Wasn't this news she should have already been on top of? Damn that hospital for keeping her out of the loop for so long.
[02:08] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "Yeah, there’s plenty of EVA-02 left." Said Dr. Akagi. "Evangelions are incredibly resilient machines. As for where… Well." Dr. Akagi tapped her chin. "Rebuilding Berlin-2 will take time. I imagine NERV Germany's main functions will be routed to Hamburg- which is where NERV Germany's production facilities are. Unfortunately, those facilities are taken up trying to convert Hamburg into a real base and repairing Berlin-2… So."-
[02:08] * Akagi‘Ritsuko shrugged. "I assume Hamburg. Otherwise, London or Boston."
[02:11] <Yanmei> "Interesting~" A bit of gossip to share later on. "You’ll forgive me for prying I hope? Just trying to catch up after entirely too much bedrest. I'll return the favor. Is there anything you're curious about that you'd like to ask me?"
[02:13] * Akagi‘Ritsuko leaned forward. "Tell me about your friend de Pteres."
[02:17] <Yanmei> "Huh?" That took her off guard. "Tsubaki hasn’t talked about him? Well… he's a nice enough guy, but he's totally clueless about a lot of things. He attracts a lot of attention, but either oblivious about it, or shies away from it completely. For example~"-
[02:19] <Yanmei> She lifted a knowing index finger, "He hates cameras. And big crowds. He actually fainted right before the press conference the three of us French pilots gave earlier this year. And he didn't seem comfortable at any of the parties we've gone to." -
[02:21] <Yanmei> "At the same time, he doesn't even notice that he has three girls practically hanging off him. And the Commander acts weird around him too. Actually giving him the time of day and all. Did you know that she actually went out to retrieve him personally once when he was ejected during a battle? And they're on a first name basis, too." Her eyes darkened further.-
[02:22] <Yanmei> "She's totally up to something, that cold-hearted woman. Whatever it is, it's probably no good for him."
[02:24] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> Tsubaki certainly wouldn’t have told Ritsuko -that-. Dr. Akagi's eyebrows rose, and suddenly it seemed weird that the woman didn't have a notepad, because she was clearly taking notes. "Indeed…?" She stroked her chin. "Three girls, really? And the commander treats him like that… Hm… Has he ever talked about his parents?"
[02:25] <Yanmei> "I… don't think he knows who they are? If he does, he never talks about them, no. You'll have to ask him." She shrugged apologetically.
[02:26] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "Really? hm…" Dr. Akagi frowned. "But he has such distinctively blue eyes…"
[02:27] <Yanmei> "…?" Yanmei blinked. "I suppose? Maybe that’s why everyone's in love with him." She rolled her own eyes.
[02:28] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "Are you in love with him?"
[02:31] * Yanmei broke into sudden laughter. "With de Pteres? Oh…" it took a while to catch her breath, and she wiped a tear or two away. "Sorry to disappoint, Dr. Akagi~ I don’t think we'd make that great of a couple."
[02:32] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "No? Hm…" Dr. Akagi frowned. "You sure do watch him closely, though. I wonder… I wonder if you can do me a favour."
[02:35] <Yanmei> "Hm? A favor?"
[02:37] <Akagi`Ritsuko> "I need you to keep a closer eye on him. Try to dig a little into who he is- and about his Evangelion." Her face was serious. "It’s critically important that any information about who he is- I know about."
[02:39] * Yanmei stared at her. For the first time in the conversation, she looked vaguely uncomfortable. "Um… what's this about? Why is he so important?"
[02:40] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "Tell me, Yanmei. Do you have someone in your life that you’d do anything to protect, even if it'd get you into trouble?"
[02:41] <Yanmei> "You're trying to protect de Pteres?" But she barely knew him…
[02:42] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "No. I’m trying to protect my sister."
[02:45] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei considered it. "I get it. I think? They do seem pretty attached to each other." She closed her eyes briefly. "Still, I can't make any promises. De Pteres is my colleague, and that aside, a very private person. I only know so much about him because I've been watching his clueless back for a while."
[02:46] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "Then keep watching. Please. And if you can… Try to find out what’s between him and Fontaine. That old snake's playing some game and I want to know what it is."
[02:48] <Yanmei> "That's something I intended to do anyway," Yanmei remarked. "Not that I think of our brave and noble Commander as an old snake, of course." She smiled her pretty PR smile.

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