For Advice From A Head Of State

[11:55] <Yanmei> [October 31st, 2015, 11 pm]-
[11:58] <Yanmei> Security at the Palais de l'Elysee was beefed up a little during the evenings, apparently. Yanmei had been x-rayed and had her handbag examined, and had answered the questions of the two guards currently on duty. One of them was making a phone call to someone inside, while she chatted pleasantly with the other about Halloween and little kids, and wasn't dressing up for silly babies and all?-
[12:00] <Yanmei> She and Isaiah had left the party a little early. Early enough for her to drop him off so that he could get some rest, and for her to change and to quietly slip away out here. Maybe when he was better she could take him here with her on a meeting.-
[12:03] <Yanmei> For some reason, her head felt deliciously foggy, and what nerves she had had during their first meeting were completely gone. She had even referred to the President a few times as 'Good old Mort,' and had giggled openly. This was in part because she had momentarily forgotten the French word for "President," but now she was beginning to recall it again as she waited for him - or someone else within the Palace - to give
[12:05] <Yanmei> - to give the okay for her to pass.
[12:08] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> [It was fairly quiet in the waiting room. There was no one around, after all. The door to the office opened, eventually- but it wasn’t the President who looked out at her. Rather, it was a little girl of maybe 8 or 9 years old- barely older than Rei was. She had long black hair and green eyes, and she stared at Yanmei from the shadow of the door.]
[12:09] * Yanmei flashed a brilliant smile at her, and waved. "Hi~"
[12:11] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> [The girl’s face remained neutral, and she walked openly into the waiting room and sat down on a seat, staring straight up at Yanmei. "You're Zhang Yanmei." She said clearly.]
[12:15] <Yanmei> "In the flesh!" She tossed her hair a little. "You're the President's little girl, huh?"
[12:15] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> ["My name is Henriette." She corrected primly.]
[12:16] <Yanmei> "You’re lucky to have such a doting father," Yanmei sighed. "I never even knew mine."
[12:21] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> ["I hardly knew my mother." Said the little girl promptly. "So it evens out."]
[12:26] <Yanmei> "So it does," she said, brightening. "Well met, President’s Daughter."
[12:27] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> ["Henriette."]
[12:30] <Yanmei> "How come you’re awake this late? Are you still wound up from trick or treating?" In her NERV uniform, she felt rather grown up in comparison. Heh, to be a poor stupid little kid again who got excited about things like candy and dressing up.
[12:33] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> ["I don’t do Halloween." Said Henriette coolly.]
[12:37] <Yanmei> "Why not? You're a kid, aren't you?"
[12:39] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> ["So what if I am?" Said Henriette. "I don’t like to dress up. It's silly. I prefer to stay at home and do what I want."]
[12:41] <Yanmei> "And what would that be?" she grinned
[12:45] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> ["Read."-
[12:46] <Mortimer`Mazarin> "Henriette. There you are." A familiar head peeked out of the open door. "Oh. Yes, right. Miss Zhang. I was informed you were here. I see you’ve met my daughter."
[12:48] <Yanmei> "That's right! We were just chatting." Yanmei stood up. "It's good to see you again, Mr. President."
[12:52] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "And you. So soon, as well! I admit this was most unexpected. Please come in, Miss Zhang." He said pleasantly, before turning to Henriette. "And you. It’s time for bed."-
[12:52] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> ["Eh? But…-!"-
[12:52] <Mortimer`Mazarin> "No buts. Say goodnight to Miss Zhang here, and then it’s off to bed."-
[12:52] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> [Henriette turned to Yanmei. "Good night, Miss Zhang." She said solemnly.]
[12:54] <Yanmei> "Night~" Heh heh. Still getting told to go to bed, even if she was precocious. Just like a little kid after all~ "Maybe we can chat more some other time?"
[12:55] <Mortimer`Mazarin> ["Alright!"-
[12:55] <Mortimer`Mazarin> "Please, come inside and sit yourself down, Miss Zhang. I’ll go put little one here to bed." Said Mortimer, who guided Henriette off through a doorway in the office.
[12:58] <Yanmei> "Of course." Offering one last wave to the little girl, she did as told, wandering inside of the gold and white office.
[13:00] * Mortimer‘Mazarin reappeared a few minutes later. "And she’s down. Fell asleep very quickly, too." He said with a smile, before sitting down at his desk.-
[13:00] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "What can I help you with, Miss Zhang?"
[13:03] <Yanmei> "Oh, I don’t know~ I liked our last chat so much that I thought it would be nice to come again, that's all." She was sitting in a chair but… a little casually. She was actually slouching down some, legs crossed, top foot bobbing slightly in a slightly impatient manner.
[13:05] * Mortimer‘Mazarin clasped his hands together, frowning slightly. A moment or two passed.-
[13:05] <Mortimer`Mazarin> "You’ve been having fun tonight, haven't you, Miss Zhang?" He said slightly critically.
[13:06] <Yanmei> "Whatever do you mean?" She smiled pleasantly.
[13:09] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "You’ve been drinking."
[13:12] <Yanmei> "Just… a few glasses of wine. Nothing hard," she assurred him. "I attended a party tonight. Adults drink at parties. At the same time, it wouldn't be professional for a representative of NERV to get drunk, so~" She lifted an index finger, wagging it in a matter-of-fact Blanc fashion, "I stayed mostly within my limits."
[13:13] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "I should hope so." Murmured Mazarin. "Do keep in mind, however, that despite your own thoughts regarding your image and capabilities, that you are not an adult yet."
[13:16] <Yanmei> "Maybe not officially," she relented, nearly frowning. "But that’s simply taking my birthdate into account. Ah, that reminds me. If you had to buy a present for a fifteen year old boy's birthday, what would you get him?"
[13:19] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "That depends on the boy."
[13:21] <Yanmei> "He’s really smart? Really gentle, sensitive. He actually slept through his actual birthday, because he was in a coma. But he's just woken up, so it would be good to do something for him?"
[13:26] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "Ah, hm." Mortimer steepled his hands together. "Well, I do have one idea."
[13:26] <Yanmei> "Oh?"
[13:32] <Mortimer`Mazarin> "Why not something sentimental? If he’s just woken from a coma, he might be feeling rather adrift. Maybe a locket of some kind?"
[13:35] <Yanmei> "Locket? I suppose." Yanmei turned the idea over in her mind. It would be up to him to decide whose picture to place in it. The thought made her sad. "I would much rather be able to protect him properly for a change as a gift. This kid… this gentle and sensitive and brilliant boy… has a lot of people wanting to do things to him."
[13:37] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "Do things to him?" Asked Mortimer.
[13:41] <Yanmei> "Various things?" A shadow passed over her face. "He was attacked by terrorists. The horrible Commander wants to make him pilot an Evangelion if she can. But the worst I found out about just tonight…"
[13:41] <Mortimer`Mazarin> A far subtler shadow crossed Mortimer’s face at the mention of the piloting. But he nodded. "Continue."
[13:44] <Yanmei> "There's someone who's trying to win his heart. But it's not because he likes him." She shook her head, feeling the grip of fear and dismay on her once again, but determined not to show it in front of her esteemed host. "It's out of spite. To get back at me for some unintended slight of mine. He said as much during the party tonight. And… I'm not sure I'm capable of stopping him."
[13:51] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "… I see." Murmured Mortimer. "That is an unusual way to spite you."
[13:53] <Yanmei> "Is it?" Yanmei’s eyes lowered a bit. "Another boy that he's genuinely interested in kissed me. 'I want to make you feel the same pain I do.' That's what he said this revenge was about."
[13:56] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "Ah." Mortimer paused. "I see. So you made him jealous, and now he wants to make -you- jealous by stealing someone you like?" The corners of Mortimer’s mouth were twitching.
[14:01] <Yanmei> "It's not funny." Yanmei actually glowered at him now. "He means it! And I'm not even interested in anyone that way! Isaiah and me are just platonic. Friends. But…" she made some frustrated, helpless gesture with her hands. "He said that he would take him away from me and make me feel lonely and hurt me! And Isaiah's going to be manipulated to that end, and it's all my fault!"
[14:05] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "Your fault?" Mortimer frowned. "This is all very confusing. I would like you to start from the very beginning. Isaiah- the boy who broke into the Geofront?"
[14:12] * Yanmei tensed slightly as he made the connection. "One and the same. We’re good friends, I hope you know, and I will do everything to protect him." She glowered at Mazarin with a bit more meaning.
[14:14] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "Good friends." Repeated Mortimer dryly. "He must be a very good friend if this is how you react to such a threat." Mortimer stood up, heading over to the window. "Let me see. You have a good friend, Isaiah. You were also kissed by a boy recently, and this other person took offense to that, out of jealousy, and swore to steal Isaiah away from you?"
[14:16] <Yanmei> "That’s right." She watched him rise, shifting in her seat, half-wondering if she should follow.
[14:17] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "Why does this worry you so much?" Asked Mortimer. "Do you doubt the strength of your friendship?"
[14:21] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei looked away then, examining the objects on Mazarin’s desk halfheartedly. "You of all people should know why I'm scared of this guy's plan." She closed her eyes a moment. "What's more, I've… done things in the past to hurt Isaiah. I didn't mean to, but it still happened. It's a miracle that he doesn't already hate me."
[14:23] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "Oh?"
[14:28] <Yanmei> "His slipping into the Geofront. His severely burning himself to help me during an unfortunate battle. His being close enough to NERV to catch the Commander’s eye and make her consider using him as a pilot. His being shot into a coma by terrorists attacking our school in search of EVA pilots and possible civilian hostages. And now this." Yanmei's gaze sharpened with quiet fury.
[14:38] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "Forgive me for saying this, but it seems he would hate you if it weren’t for the fact that he is so attached to you." He turned to her with a small smile. "… Ah. Perhaps that is the problem. That that attachment itself causes such pain."
[14:43] <Yanmei> "You see, then?" She made another frustrated gesture. "Am I being selfish and rapacious for wanting him to stay with me even if it hurts him? If it was his decision to leave, I would understand. But this… -this-" her voice was filled with disgust, "this manipulation is far worse."
[14:48] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "I agree." Murmured the President. "Indeed. If it were a whimsical thing of chance, I would understand, but this is malicious in the extreme. I have a question, though."
[14:49] <Yanmei> "Yes?"
[14:52] <Mortimer`Mazarin> "Do you think, if this individual did win Isaiah’s heart, he would truly have no time for you?"
[14:58] <Yanmei> "Said individual's plan was to remove him from my life and make me suffer. If he got his way, something like that would happen. He'll worm his way into his heart at my own expense, no doubt."
[15:01] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "And Isaiah is the sort of person to let that happen? That the moment someone tries to turn him against you, he’ll immediately go for it?"
[15:08] <Yanmei> "You're underestimating the aggressor." Yanmei shook her head again. "If it was some ordinary person, I wouldn't be so concerned? But he's very good at staring past what's in front of him and into the thoughts and fears beneath the surface of the people he meets."
[15:11] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "I see." Murmured Mazarin. "So long as you are not underestimating Isaiah." A slight smile. "But. That is not the point. What we have to discuss is how you intend to prevent this from happening."
[15:12] * Yanmei sagged a little. "What would you do if you where in my place? I can only think to tell Isaiah of what’s happening before it's too late."
[15:13] * Mortimer‘Mazarin sat back down again. "What would I do in your place? That’s simple."
[15:17] * Yanmei tilted her head slightly. "Assassination?"
[15:17] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "… Are you making fun of me?"
[15:18] * Yanmei gazed at him with the utmost innocence. "Whatever do you mean, Mr President?"
[15:19] <Mortimer`Mazarin> "To be so bold to suggest that I use, or have ever used, assassination…"
[15:22] <Yanmei> "Now, now. It was just a random suggestion! It doesn’t reflect on you at all."
[15:24] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "… Then let’s move on." He coughed. "No. If I were in your place, I would follow the simple principle of Know Thy Enemy, Know Thyself. What do you know about your enemy?"
[15:26] <Yanmei> "Not much. He's employed by the person he loves, even though his family is fairly well off. Nagisa. Does that name ring any bells?"
[15:27] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "Nagisa." Mortimer leaned back in his chair. "Nagisa… No, it doesn’t seem to ring a bell." He clucked, and leaned forward. "Do you know what talents or abilities this Nagisa has that are relevant to the situation?"
[15:32] <Yanmei> "I mentioned how he deals with people before. He's so unfailingly polite and trustworthy that it'd be hard to convince people of how creepy he is without him dealing with them directly. His employer also said that he has a huge amount of contacts and a very wide variety of skills at his disposal, including technical skills. He can build phones, and may have aided his employer when they were being consulted for a projec
[15:33] <Yanmei> -project to build a giant robot."
[15:34] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "Hm." Mortimer folded his hands together. "Very well, then. And what are the weaknesses you and Isaiah possess that his talents can exploit?"
[15:38] <Yanmei> "The.. complicated nature of our history is the major one. The fact that because of my duty and other projects, I can’t always be with him all the time. And also…" Yanmei frowned. "Isaiah just woke up from a two month coma. He seemed so happy… that's why I haven't told him about any bad things that happened while he was asleep. Not yet. That aside, he's still pretty physically weak and vulnerable."
[15:39] <Yanmei> "He doesn't have much confidence either… although that's changing bit by bit. And his father's an asshole."
[15:40] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> The president’s eyebrows quirked upwards at the last few notes. "I see." Murmured the President. "You will have to forgive me. From what I've heard of your complicated history, I am still at a loss to see any glaring weaknesses there. As noted, most of the reasons he might have for hating you seem to be mitigated by his affection for you. You might feel guilty, but I doubt he is too worried."
[15:43] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei fidgetted, a discreet motion, that hopefully he wouldn't notice?
[15:43] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "… I do not know the entire story here, do I?"
[15:46] <Yanmei> "He… may have had a thing for me?" she mumbled. "And it caused a lot of suffering. But we resolved that. We’re friends. Friends and soulmates."
[15:48] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "… Ah." Mortimer frowns. "That… Changes things, doesn’t it?"
[15:49] <Yanmei> "If he finds out about the kiss, how will he react?"
[15:52] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "The kiss most definitely was not your fault, correct?"
[15:55] * Yanmei shook her head. "It was a smooth move, admittedly. When I was distracted with conversation, the kisser moved in and stole it from me. But if calm Nagisa is worked up about it, maybe Isaiah will be too."
[15:57] <Mortimer`Mazarin> "You understand, you were going to have to confront this situation sooner or later, even in different circumstances." Said Mortimer quietly. "The question is thus: if Isaiah had -been- there, and had seen what happened, and was in range of your words, do you, as his friend and soulmate, believe that he would become angry?"
[15:57] <Mortimer`Mazarin> "Specifically, angry at you?"
[16:01] <Yanmei> "Its more likely that he would be angry at the kisser. But it’s hard to predict how someone will act in such a delicate situation."
[16:02] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "An idle question: how does that make you feel? The idea that he would be angry at someone who kissed you."
[16:03] <Yanmei> "It’s… awkward. Understandable, but awkward."
[16:05] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "Mm. Yes, I can understand that." He tapped his fingertips together. "So, you’re afraid that this Nagisa would break the two of you apart by focusing on his unrequited feelings, as well as your guilt."
[16:06] <Yanmei> "If I were in his shoes, that's what I would do?"
[16:09] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "I see." Mortimer frowned. "Tell me. If this -had- been a simple happenstance of fate, and Isaiah fell in love with this Nagisa, and, let’s say they moved away… You'd accept that?"
[16:13] * Yanmei nodded with some difficulty. "It has to be his decision, though. And Nagisa has to treat him both nicely and genuinely."
[16:23] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "Hm." A pause. "Then… The most prudent path would be to strip away Nagisa’s weapons." He peered at Yanmei. "I suspect you're not willing to actually reciprocate young Isaiah's feelings- so we'll have to go with the next best thing."
[16:24] <Yanmei> "Oh?"
[16:26] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "Reinforce the relationship, naturally. Tell him -all- about these cares and concerns. Bare your entire soul."
[16:27] <Yanmei> "Naturally," she sighed, and rubbed her forehead.
[16:33] <Mortimer`Mazarin> "Does that worry you?"
[16:36] <Yanmei> "Doesn’t matter if it does or doesn't. I'll handle it."
[16:36] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "He seems like a good, loving boy. He will stay by you."
[16:38] <Yanmei> "I’ve a question for you now, Mr President. If you don't mind?"
[16:40] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "What is it?"
[16:45] <Yanmei> "Do you remember what we talked about last time? Commander Fontaine, and that subculture of NERV that encourages conformity to the ideals of the founder? If, hypothetically speaking, someone were to challenge Commander Fontaine on it - to challenge the idea of giving up something important to them, no questions asked - who would you side with?"
[16:48] * Mortimer`Mazarin sighed quietly, and stood up, returning to the window. "There’s the rub, isn't it? On the one hand, the deplorable, but necessary actions required to save the world… On the other, the inalienable rights of a human being. That is, ultimately, what it comes down to, right?"
[16:51] * Yanmei scrutinized his back. "Does this mean that you're not really certain?"
[16:56] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> It was a very fine back. "I’m not. On the one hand, saving the world is obviously a massive priority, and if it's, say… A flat choice between one person and the world, and that there were no other alternatives? I would have to choose the world. On the other hand, if it were a hasty action. An action chosen not out of ethically-supported pragmatism, but out of sheer expedience, I would have to question the authenticity of the action." He turned to face Yanmei. "Defeating the Angels and preserving humanity is more important than any individual person's human right. However, I think breaching a person's human rights for the sake of the world should be done only when there is literally no other choice. When, and only when every other alternative has been exercised do we finally strip away a person's choice."
[17:00] <Yanmei> "And a person placed in tha unfortunate position. Should they at least have an opportunity to resist that decision, however small it is?"
[17:07] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "…" Mortimer sighed. "Most of me says ’no'. The politician, the administrator, the presidential part of me says no."
[17:11] <Yanmei> "I see." Disappointment flooded her. She closed her eyes again to contain it. "At the center of this 'hypothetical' situation is a good, loving boy. But this is too pragmatic a matter to let that be an influence in such a decision? Nevertheless… thank you for your honesty, and your advice."
[17:12] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "Hold on a moment."
[17:12] * Yanmei paused at that, blinking. "Yes?"
[17:13] <Mortimer`Mazarin> "Is he really worth the entire world?"
[17:16] <Yanmei> "That’s not the first time that question has been posed to me," she said with a little smile. "I don't know. For me, this matter is worth fighting for. That's all I can say."
[17:23] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "Then tell me. If the situations were reversed. If Isaiah had a choice between you, and saving the world… And he chose you… How would that make you feel?"
[17:26] <Yanmei> "…" She really should have come to anticipate these reverse scenarios. It still troubled her, however. "Are you implying that I should just accept it? Even if it wasn’t Isaiah, it would still bother me. This is about him, but it's also bigger than him."
[17:28] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "No. I’m not implying you should just accept it. I'm not implying that you should let your soulmate walk, alone and unaided, into this situation. I am merely asking. If he chose you over the world, -how would you feel-?"
[17:32] <Yanmei> "I don't know," she gritted out. "Terrified. But thrilled. Because it wouldn't just be me against the world."
[17:33] <Yanmei> How did she feel. Dragging that question into conversations always, always got under her skin. Why couldn't people listen to what she said instead of asking for that specifically?
[17:35] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "…" Mortimer sighed, a sad, amused sigh. "How -lucky- you are."
[17:35] <Yanmei> "Oh?"
[17:40] <Mortimer`Mazarin> "Tell me, what sort of boy infiltrates the world’s most fortified installation, then later saves someone he loves from a painful death? What sort of girl appeals to the President of her nation- the most powerful man in the world, some might say- to save that same boy from a miserable and dreary fate?" He chuckled, sadly, turning back to the window. "The two of you are so incredible, that I am almost a little intimidated. The two of you really, truly deeply love each other, don't you? You are soulmates in a very real sense." He sighed, his shoulders slumping a little. "I feel… Very old, hearing that, because it makes me feel as though I have spent most of my life as a very lonely, weak person."
[17:45] <Yanmei> Clear confusion crossed her face. "It's not as if you've been doing any differently? Supporting the Commander after thirty years, even though she changed into a more horrible person. That takes even more strength."
[17:52] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "No. It’s not a case of strength." Murmured Mortimer. "It is… Simply good fortune. The two of you are incredibly lucky to have one another. Let nothing take that away from you."
[17:54] <Yanmei> "That's exactly what I'm trying to do." She started to rise, and to offer him a slight bow of respect. "Thank you."
[17:56] <Mortimer‘Mazarin> "You are welcome. If you ever require my assistance… Do not hesitate to call."
[17:58] <Yanmei> "Of course. I hope you’ll do the same." She took that as her cue to start for the door. "Have a good evening, sir."
[18:00] <Mortimer`Mazarin> "The same for you."

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