For Discussing Geopolitics

[18:09] <Dorian> [Two weeks have passed since the attack. It's now September the 25th; the attitude in the NERV Command Centre and Operations Room is subdued and quiet. Dorian Lachapelle, Major and Operations Director, is staring up at the holographic viewscreen, waiting- waiting for de Pteres. Waiting for Blanc.]
[18:11] <Sept> It didn't take long for the pilot of 01 to arrive. He had been in the hangar, pondering solutions to a certain… power problem. Sera muttered his "Hello, Dorian" and sat down on a chair usually reserved for one of the bunnies. He spun around absent-mindedly.
[18:13] * Aline had made it a point to make it to this meeting… she was in a more… appropriately civilian outfit this time, one of her more modest black dresses. She sure liked those black dresses! But… Aline arrived after Sera had. "Hi." …She looked briefly around the room, but… then focused back on the people present.
[18:16] <Dorian> [Luckily, there are spare chairs around for the Bunnies, so Sept didn't just, say, sit in the lap of the lovely Lieutenant Marie Gardinier and thus be pushed off.-
[18:16] <Dorian> "I'm glad the two of you are here." Said Dorian seriously. "We've received… News."
[18:17] * Aline looked rather… critically, at Dorian. "News?"
[18:18] <Sept> There was a sharp pain in Sept's chest. It was clear that whatever it was, he'd rather not hear it… but, reluctantly, he still asked. "What is it, Dorian?"
[18:19] * Dorian pressed a button- a map of the world appeared. "Have either of you heard of the Liberated Nations?"
[18:21] <Aline> "…I don't quite recall those… Erm. I've been focusing on other subjects than history and geography."
[18:21] <Sept> "Not really..? No, I don't think so."
[18:27] * Dorian pressed another button, and a series of territories lit up across the world; most of them in Africa (almost all of Africa below the equator, actually); parts of South America; Asia, particularly around China's borders and conquered territories; and parts of Oceania as well. "The Liberated Nations. These nations were, about three years ago, a collection of independent states fighting and collapsing in on themselves, having a go at anyone and anything. The UN had no need to get involved, because of the cost. But three years ago, for some reason, they started putting aside their differneces and joining together in an alliance. An anti-UN alliance."
[18:29] * Aline seemed a bit aghast at that… "No knowledge of why? None at all?" She then shook her head rather deeply. "…And I am guessing they're not content with simply remaining as-is, and the UN isn't content with them remaining as-is either, no?"
[18:32] * Sept had no particular emotional reaction to the information. "What do they have to do with us? Are they helping the Angels..?"
[18:33] * Aline didn't say anything more, but looked at Sera with a very solid 'no, that's insane' look on her face.
[18:46] <Dorian> "They're not helping the Angels, no." Said Dorian, giving Sera a rather solid nonplussed look of his own. "And of course we know why they're against the UN."
[18:47] * Aline sort of waved her hand. "So… why did they suddenly line up to cooperate, then?"
[18:48] <Dorian> "I'm not sure why they did -that-, only why they're against the UN. Their cooperation is a mystery, beyond the simple idea that they just realise they can't beat the UN alone."
[18:50] <Sept> "So they're getting organised more than before. Do they have a new leader, whatever they'd call one? Someone who's good at… that kind of thing?"
[18:51] <Dorian> "We aren't sure. Their leadership is… Scattered. Various heads of state and warlords count but no real main head. Not that we can see. But they're valid for a few reasons."
[18:52] <Aline> "If they did, that might've been more obvious…" She then sighed. "So… there's clearly a reason why this alliance 3 years in the making is important now."
[18:53] <Dorian> "For one, we've discovered they're sponsoring the Covenant of Light. In fact they're basically the same thing."
[18:54] * Aline raised a brow. "…Well, that'd be why it's news. What's the deal, then? Just politics gone especially sour?"
[18:55] <Dorian> "Why they're fighting against the UN, you mean?"
[18:56] * Sept woke up. "They were behind it? Can we… retaliate? Do they have a headquarters?"
[18:56] * Aline wagged a finger. "More like, why they've upgraded from seemingly petty terrorism…" She had, again, a sort of unsettled look. "…To targetted attacks on the pilots. Which is also terrorist in nature."
[18:59] <Dorian> "Hold on. Dealing with the Liberated Nations isn't our problem. That's up to the UN, Sera." Dorian tapped one of the armrests. "They're targetting the pilots, from what I can gather, because they want to force concessions out of the UN by taking the pilots hostage. Grabbing the UN's most valuable people would be quite the coup. The other reason is that they might be trying to pre-emptively take the Evangelions out of commission."
[19:02] * Aline sighed… sighed then… facepalmed. Hard. "…Idiots."
[19:03] <Dorian> "On the contrary. It's strategically sound."
[19:04] * Aline …buried her face into her hands. "My bad. Idiocy planned intelligently."
[19:04] <Sept> "Of course it's our problem! They attacked us, they invaded -my- school, they. They took Viviane! How is it not our problem..? -We- could deal with it easily, we just need power to the Units!"
[19:04] <Dorian> "No." Said Dorian firmly. "We're not using the Evangelions on human targets."
[19:07] <Aline> "…Yeah. They belong on the second front, not the fourth." Aline intentionally didn't explain that one. "…But even if we have a good moral reason /not/ to do that, and probably good financial and logistical reasons not to… it /is/ NERV's problem insofar as that it's a liability against the organization."
[19:09] <Sept> "Gh. But- we did so well during the attack, we should… How else are we going to get her back and, and punish them?"
[19:10] * Aline shook her head. "That's stupid. That's stupid, stupid, stupid. 'Punishment' has nothing to do with it." …She was getting cold in tone. "All that matters is for them to stop. They are endangering their whole species. We either need to eliminate them, cause them to no longer feel the need to fight…" But then Aline's tone dropped back into frustration and dismay. "…Or find a way
[19:10] * Aline to get /out/ of the way."
[19:11] <Dorian> "NERV will do what it always does and remain on the defensive. And Aline's right." Dorian looked up at the screen. "We need them to stop. But I can't blame them for fighting, either."
[19:12] <Aline> "And I imagine… the UN has been giving them reasons to fight." Aline siiiighed. "And doesn't care what a 15-year-old girl, no matter how famous or important to the world
[19:13] <Aline> *'s survival, has to say about what they're doing to make them want to fight."
[19:14] <Sept> "No! That's not right! They can't just get away with this!" Sera pleaded with the both of them.
[19:15] <Dorian> "Sera, there are other methods than deploying Evangelions." Dorian turned to look at Sept.
[19:16] * Sept looked down. "F-fine, what are they…"
[19:17] <Dorian> "The usual way. Armies. Deployments of forces. Special stealth strike teams." Dorian stared hard at the map. "They sent you a message."
[19:17] <Aline> "And other solutions than military conflict." Aline /continued/ to be resigned and almost spiteful. "Other solutions that, as usual, neither side will care about because their intellects are devoted only on power and how to hurt people they don't understand."
[19:20] <Dorian> "Aline?"
[19:20] * Aline lolled her head over. "Dorian?"
[19:21] <Dorian> "You are an intelligent fifteen year old girl with a wonderful head for science. This is an incredibly complex geopolitical situation. Your comments on the latter are making me reconsider my comments on the former."
[19:22] <Dorian> [Frederic and Sophie exchanged worried glances.]
[19:22] * Sept addressed the floor, or maybe Aline. It wasn't exactly clear. "They came here with weapons, Aline. To a place of ours. Why would they negotiate now, why would they give her back to us? And armies? That takes too long." Sera looked back up at Dorian carefully. "…message?"
[19:23] * Aline sighed… "…Sorry. I'm… really tired of people fighting. I shouldn't comment on it. It's weird stuff I don't understand anyway."
[19:24] <Dorian> "I would agree with that assessment, Aline." He turned to give her a cold look. "I've rarely seen anyone fight so savagely as you did two weeks ago. It was animalistic."
[19:26] * Aline …suddenly snapped like a twig. Not in the angry way, but in the… defeated way. "S-s-sorry… I… I don't know what I can say to you about that."
[19:34] <Dorian> Dorian's hard eyes finally softened. "It's fine, Aline. Pardon me for getting on your case, especially about something so sensitive." He turned his gaze toward the map screen. "Just remember in future that human beings are more than just aggressors and targets, like Angels." He let out a sigh. "It's easy to condemn the terrorist, but it's harder to condemn the man who acts purely because his people are running out of food. That's why we don't deploy Evangelions. Most of these people are innocent. On both sides, even in the militaries. If you want to see a real tragedy? Realise that the UN's heavyhanded because they have no choice. They need the resources for the fight against the Angels. And these people have no choice, because they're starving to death. -That's- the situation."
[19:43] * Aline shook her head again, not about to just snap back to normalcy like that. "…Cost cutting?… Trying to research the same effectiveness of EVA deployment with less cost?… Increasing the farming infrastructure? Pulling away resources from useless activities like those stupid EVA-replacement projects the industrial whatnots are trying? We… we have the weapon against the Angels.
[19:43] * Aline It w-w-works just fine. If they really really need to make an answer to them, they can just… make more of those treaties, or… wait a bit longer, or… or… Just…" Aline… just stayed still. She had actually been starting to run out of good ways to express her sadness. "I… I don't have mercy for the people in front of me, pointing the gun at me and the people I love. But they…
[19:43] * Aline they've already set out to make me and them their enemy. Those starving people that sent them… might hate what I represent, but… but but but they haven't hardened their hearts enough to pull the trigger."
[19:52] * Dorian listened as Aline rattled off solutions that had either been tried, couldn't be tried (yet) or the like. Impassively, he nodded as Aline spoke, then replied when she'd finished. "That's right." He turned to Aline again. "Have you met the prisoner, yet?"
[19:54] <Aline> "No." Aline looked… sad enough for it to come off as self-hatred. "I feel like if I did I'd try to tear him apart with my bare hands before I remembered he was a person, or something like that. Even though I know he is…"
[19:55] <Dorian> "It's a common enough reaction." Said Dorian softly. "But did you know he would want you to do it? He tried to kill himself several times. The first time was immediately after…"
[19:58] * Aline frowned deeply… "Not experienced enough, was he. With fighting or with wanting to die…" Aline became grim, mumbly, and still (obviously) upset. "I guess I have that over him."
[20:04] <Dorian> "I wouldn't call it inexperience." Said Dorian. "I'd call it… Something else. He signed up with the Covenant to fight for freedom. Shooting children was never part of that." A tap on the armrest. "He wasn't alone. Something similar happened in the school office- a fight between the orchestrator of the attack and one of his fellows." Dorian sighed. "Now, don't get me wrong. You know as well as I do that I want you to defend yourself if you're attacked, but just try to remember that in a different history, you and they could've been friends."
[20:10] * Aline …stared at Dorian. Especially after that last bit. "…Under…stood." She looked creeped out, on a 'saw a ghost' level of creeped out.
[20:12] <Dorian> "Now then. Shall we see this message?"
[20:14] * Sept was squirming in his seat slightly. "A-alright…"
[20:15] <Dorian> Dorian pushed a button.-
[20:15] * Aline herself still… well, looked like she was thinking of something farrrr away from the message. Her response sounded automatic. "Un." …Automatic in casual Japanese. Right.
[20:16] <Dorian> [The screen changed, now. It was… A room. A decorated room- it looked as though a person could live comfortably in it. The camera was focused on a single man… Sera would recognise Ambassador Anwar Abd'Majid.-
[20:19] * Sept let out a weak groan, almost just a whine.
[20:22] <Dorian> [The Ambassador said something to someone off screen, then turned his gaze back to the camera. "My name is Anwar Abd'Majid. A month ago I was the Ambassador of Algeria to France. I resigned after my country was purchased by the latter nation." His face is sombre and solemn. He seems genuinely upset. "For the past two years I have tried to retain my country's freedom. I have tried to give my nation the basic right to choose its own decisions without having to wear chains. I know you will condemn me. I know you will hate me and treat me as a short-sighted fool. But I have nothing left. This is my life's work. Without it, I simply would cease to exist." He sighed, took a deep breath. "I address this message to NERV, and especially to pilot Sera de Pteres. I have Viviane Fournier. She is unharmed. We are treating her perfectly well. Do not say I do not have honour." He clasped his hands together. "Sera de Pteres. Do you remember the opera house? Do you remember what happened? We still have one last chance. I want you to try. I want you to go to Mortimer Mazarin and tell him that what he is doing is wrong. I want you to tell him he is a dictator and a murderer and a cheat. If you do this, then I promise to you I will return Viviane Fournier to you, and if you ask for it I will even give you my own life." The ambassador leaned forward. "If you refuse, then all I have to say is this: I promised you that you would burn. Your move, de Pteres." - Cut-.]
[20:23] * Aline …slid her head over to Sera, breaking her reverie for a moment. "…What did you do."
[20:24] * Dorian looks at Sera as well. In fact, everyone in the room is.
[20:28] * Sept was gripping the armrest tightly with his right hand. He was still baring his teeth at the ambassador's image, though it only remained in memory. "Anwar… Can we -now- go, Dorian? We know where she is. At the very least, we know where -he- is. He'll tell us. We'll make it quick. -I'll- make it quick."
[20:29] * Aline continued to stare. She was trying to make eyebeams with her mind. Or something. "What. Did. You. /Do/."
[20:30] <Dorian> "The Ambassador has gone into hiding." Said Dorian curtly. "You have explaining to do."
[20:38] <Sept> "Bastard… he. He was at the ball. And at the opera house. He was asking me to free his people from the horrible fate of helping France help us help -the world-. Asking me!" Sera looked around, confident he'd see the shock in everyone's faces at the absurd notion. "I just tried to get away from him at the ball, I had. Other concerns, and then Berlin, and then at the concert… He ambushed
[20:38] <Sept> me and "
[20:41] <Sept> * and Viviane, and he kept talking but he knew nothing and… and we had a fight. That's it. But he went after Viviane, and calls it honor. We. Need. To go after him."
[20:43] * Aline stared. Stared hard and… just… "What the hell are you talking about? Helping France what and… what? Other than tolerating NERV's presence France is basically no more a party to saving the world than any other UN state. So uh…" She began to make sense of it. "…So you completely failed to understand a complex geopolitical situation. One that even /I/ failed to understand.
[20:43] * Aline I'm the smartest of the 5 current pilots, and I didn't understand it enough. But you… /you/ thought you did?!"
[20:43] * Dorian didn't need to step in here.
[20:48] <Sept> "He went on about how everyone looks up to us, how much influence we have. Tell me, what influence do I have? Me, Sera de Pteres. A clueless rat who got a stroke of luck and ended up here. Good or bad luck, I still don't know! Who listens to me? -Would we still be here instead of preparing for a manhunt if anyone listened to me?!-"
[20:54] <Dorian> "Is it not true that Commander Fontaine promised you not to use Imperative One without your say so?" Asked Dorian -coldly-.
[20:56] <Aline> "…No. We wouldn't be. You're wrong." Aline's tone had become flat. "Had we always listened to you… you probably would not have been at that ball. You avoid people, and you… you're avoiding responsibility now. You're avoiding having a clue. You're only a clueless rat like you say because you won't ask! You won't ask anything, you just /decide/ what to believe in and never care about
[20:56] <Aline> the truth! At least Yanmei has a reason to not seek it so hard. You…" She shook her head, clenching her fist. "You don't have a reason for anything."
[21:03] <Sept> Momentarily silenced by the argument, Sera was about to lash back when he was set upon by Aline instead. Et tu, pilote. "And what good has that brought you? You still have your parents, you have information and abilities beyond what you could ever have dreamed of without NERV. Tell me, are you satisfied now?! Because I was. We could have survived and -lived- there as long as we wanted, me
[21:03] <Sept> and Freya."
[21:06] * Aline …paused at that. She had /benefited/ from becoming a pilot. She could hardly even say anything to that. So instead… "Ah. Dorian?" Aline's expression flattened to unreadability. "How have cross-compatibility and/or backup experiments with 01 gone?"
[21:08] <Dorian> "Total failure. Evangelion Unit-01 flatly refuses to synchronise with -anything- or anyone other than Sera."
[21:08] * Aline raised a brow at that. "…Well then. And was it always like that?…"
[21:11] * Sept blinks. And laughs quietly. "…not always. We made a promise. We'd do it together. Make it safe."
[21:11] * Dorian gestures to Sera. "Originally, 01 would synch with others, but it was a very poor ratio. Barely above the 10-20%."
[21:14] * Aline stared at Sera. Then… she laughed back. She… laughed darkly, like she considered that to be deep into gallows humor territory. "So you did it. You really did it. You've given yourself some excellent job security, Pilot de Pteres. A pity that other than fighting the creatures you're /supposed/ to, you can't begin to deal with anything else - the fame, the position of importance,
[21:14] * Aline the world around you…" Her smile turned… into a weary grin. "Congratulations! You've trapped yourself in a life you can't deal with. Hooooow does it feel, Sera?"
[21:22] <Sept> "Do you really think I could've gone back to that life? After touching One that day, after touching his mind? The feeling of protecting the city is… unlike anything else. With One to share it with, what more do I -really- need? Aaaaaand… that brings us back to why we're here. Just like the Angels, the Covenant invaded my city, and they have to pay. If I'm not allowed to go after those
[21:22] <Sept> who violate this place, or at least see them punished, what do you think 01 will think? Do you think either of us will keep playing nice and cooperating?"
[21:23] <Dorian> "Watch your words." Snapped Dorian. There was malice in his voice. "That's enough. Both of you."
[21:23] * Aline sighed. "…Right…"
[21:24] * Sept breathed heavily, glaring at Dorian.
[21:25] <Dorian> "De Pteres, if you -ever- even insinuate rebellion against NERV with an Evangelion unit, I'll shoot you myself. Is that perfectly understood?"
[21:26] <Sept> "Others have tried." the boy muttered.
[21:27] <Dorian> "Elaborate."
[21:28] * Aline …stared at him. Curiously.
[21:42] <Sept> "At one time I was delivering packets daily from the very edge of the city to a man on an alley near one of my and Freya's roofs. Took most of the day, but they wanted me to run it most days, so it was steady enough. Probably some kind of gang thing. Didn't ask -see, it's useful sometimes-. One day a bunch of thugs catch me on my usual route, pull a gun on me and take the delivery. The man
[21:42] <Sept> on the alley calls me a liar and says he'll 'shoot me himself' if there's so much as a scratch on them in the future. Next day, bringing in the shipment, find the man dead in his shack. Used the same route for a year after. Never saw the thugs again either. And the aforementioned terrorist organisation caught us unarmed, at our school. Do you see any wounds on me?"
[21:44] * Aline let out a heavy, heavy breath, but just… decided to take a look at the rather interesting floor tiles.
[21:48] * Dorian leans forward and smiles. It's a shark's smile.-
[21:49] <Dorian> "How many of those gangsters and terrorists went to Saint-Cyr?"
[21:51] * Aline then… sidled a bit closer to Sophie's chair. While pretending to be monomaniacally analyzing the floortiles' tesselations. She was soooo not getting involved in this.
[21:52] * Sept falters for a moment. "I don't know. How many of you are there?"
[21:53] <Dorian> "Not many." Dorian's still grinning. "Do you know how many weapons this chair has?"
[21:56] * Sept stops for a significantly longer time. "I… honestly would not know, Dorian. But maybe I'll just live out the rest of my days at the top of a flight of stairs..?"
[21:58] <Dorian> [It's deathly quiet.-
[22:00] <Dorian> "You have a lot of nerve, boy." Whispers Dorian coldly. "Especially considering who's kept you safe all these years."
[22:02] * Aline leaned on the side of Sophie's console, now, staring out at the standoff.
[22:02] <Dorian> [Sophie stares up at Aline, looking… She honestly looks a little scared.]
[22:03] * Aline looks back with a weak, sort of… sympathetic look.
[22:03] <Sept> A hint of confusion and fear enters Sera's expression. "What are you talking about, Dorian?"
[22:08] <Dorian> "What, never heard of the Marduk Report?" Dorian smiles. "The name of every potential Evangelion pilot in our system is recorded in its pages. A lot of them are recorded from the age of five onwards." His smile grows darker. "What, did you seriously think, after all this time, you could live in Paris-2, become an Evangelion pilot, and -not- have been watched?"
[22:11] <Sept> "Wh-where did you get that information, I'd never been here before. No, you can't have been watching. We were alone. It was me and her. We were -alone-."
[22:14] <Dorian> "This is Paris-2." Whispers Dorian.
[22:14] <Dorian> "You're never alone."
[22:18] <Sept> "Am I to b-believe that you just… watched me and a hundred others every day, on the off c-chance I'd meet you on the square that day?" His tone said he did believe it.
[22:19] * Aline didn't say it, but she nodded. It was more than believable, for her.
[22:21] <Dorian> "Oh. The meeting in the square was a total coincidence. That you showed up at all was unexpected. That -anyone- showed up was unexpected." A smirk. "But yes to the 'watched you and a hundred others every day' part."
[22:26] * Sept nodded to himself, twice, shaking slightly. "Alright…" The boy was defeated. On a completely unrelated item, but it was enough.
[22:28] * Dorian smiles, satisfied. He leans back in his chair. "Now, then. First and foremost. De Pteres. What would -you- have us do, then?"
[22:28] <Sept> "W-with what?"
[22:28] <Dorian> "With retrieving Viviane."
[22:32] <Sept> "I just want her back… if, if I can't go with One, I don't care how you do it."
[22:34] <Dorian> "And if you -could-?"
[22:36] <Sept> "I'd bring her back myself. They'd never expect it. They couldn't possibly prepare for it."
[22:37] <Dorian> "Where would you go?"
[22:39] <Sept> "I… I don't know, Dorian." Even if he knew, how could he navigate such a long distance?
[22:40] <Dorian> "And if you did know, what then?"
[22:45] <Sept> "I'd take her and figure out what should be done with the ones who took her. Together, with One."
[22:47] <Dorian> "Situation: Viviane is being held in a fortified compound in the Atlas Mountains, near the Moroccan border. The compound is protected by a single company of foot soldiers. What do you do?"
[22:58] <Sept> "I'd have to approach quietly. If they knew I was there, they could do something before I got to her. If I couldn't directly get to her, I'd try to isolate or destroy as much of the company as possible, then demanding the rest to surrender. Ideally, I'd have a team on the ground as well, either for distraction or getting her out."
[22:59] <Dorian> "And how do you disguise the Evangelion Carrier on approach?"
[23:00] <Sept> "We have access to active camouflaging and white noise generators. You could consider it an investment in the future."
[23:01] * Aline is… mulling this as she goes, but at the same time… looked a bit unsure.
[23:05] * Dorian coughed. "Active camo wouldn't work, most anti-air detection sites don't operate on sight. Nor do white noise generators block out the mass of the Carrier." Dorian folded his hands together. "The craft is too big to block detection from radar. You'd be shot down long before you hit your mark. And then what? You'd collapse in five minutes due to a limited battery and then you'd be captured. Or, even worse, a single N2 strike to really cripple you."
[23:07] <Sept> "I'm note the one who went to Saint-Cyr. I'm sure -you- could make it work."
[23:07] * Aline took this time to… lean in. "That's why he's explaining the gaps in your strategy, you know."
[23:09] <Dorian> "I could make it work. I wouldn't bother with the Evangelions. Too risky, too uncontrollable. Just stick with the strike team." Dorian smiled. "So that's what we're doing. We don't know where Viviane is. But we're looking for her. And when we do, that's how we'll handle it- small strike teams, in and out."
[23:10] <Sept> "Can we join them?"
[23:10] * Dorian blinked. "What, join the strike team?"
[23:11] * Aline almost /instantly/ contorted her face. "…I can't speak for you, Sera, but I want to have as few engagements outside of the Plug as I can."
[23:11] <Sept> "Yes. I want to be there."
[23:13] * Dorian tapped his armrest. "You've all the makings of an urban commando, Sera. When the time comes, I'll make sure you're cleared to go- providing you start putting in the time and effort to excel at firearms."
[23:15] * Aline …nodded at that. "Yeah, uh… I'm only average with non-AT methods and… er. I think my last range scores were better than yours."
[23:18] <Sept> "Thank you, Dorian. I will." Sera nodded, and… smiled. Juuust a little, but there was enough of a contrast with his earlier demeanor to make it visible.
[23:19] * Dorian smiled. "Good to hear. Now, I think it's best that you head down to the armory and have a chat with the guy on duty. See about getting you a permanent firearm."
[23:21] * Aline smiled a little, finally. "Mmm, that's the spirit… Why, I might want to talk on that later myself."
[23:22] <Sept> "…alright." A deep breath. "Thank you, both of you. See you, Dorian, Aline. Frédéric."
[23:22] <Dorian> [Sophie ._.]
[23:22] <Dorian> "See you, Sera."
[23:23] * Aline was already patting Sophie on the shoulder at that moment. "Yeah. Sorry about earlier, but… you're getting better."
[23:32] * Dorian leaned back in his chair with a deeeeeep sigh as Sept departed. "Whoo, that boy."
[23:35] * Aline slowly nodded. "…I'm not that much better, I suppose, but… He's still… troubled." She did seem rather glum about that.
[23:37] <Dorian> "It's understandable, considering his girlfriend's been kidnapped, but…" Dorian frowned. "He reacts so unusually to things, doesn't he?"
[23:42] <Aline> "…Yeah. There's… there's a lot I don't understand, and not just because I credibly don't understand people as well." Aline pouted a little, moving away from her hovering-over-Sophie position. "He normally seems terrified of people. Normally seems clueless, sort of like Tsubaki but less so. Then suddenly… bam, out of nowhere this big hero/martyr complex. I just don't hang out with him
[23:42] <Aline> enough to know why."
[23:45] <Dorian> "I wonder if Freya'd know." Asked Dorian curiously. "The worst part was that… Guh. That threat. Of 'not being so cooperative…' Those are fighting words if I ever heard 'em."-
[23:46] <Dorian> ["It… Really scares me, the idea of someone deciding to abuse that power." Murmured Sophie, before she gazed up at Aline with admiring eyes. "I'm glad you're not like that."-
[23:47] <Dorian> ["Aline? Naw." Said Frederic, snickering. "She doesn't want to abuse her power. All she wants is to cuddle her widdle Shinny-chan.~"]
[23:51] * Aline …blushed intensely at all that… "G-guys…" She shook a little too. "Yeah… I've had my moments of despair and madness, but… I don't think I'd go that far. I… It wouldn't even be fair. It'd be like flinging N2s at whoever I wanted for 5 minutes. Amazingly… irresponsible." She sighed. "I'm actually glad. I have some reason to have a bit more hope, anyway."
[23:55] <Dorian> "Oh?"
[23:58] * Aline nodded firmly. "Yeah. I think I've…" She bit her lip a little. "I've thought long and hard enough to know just what working for NERV means. No matter what might happen, there's that grain of truth to hold onto, that I learnt." She then smiled a bit, though it was a smile with a small, strange air to it. "The truth is my burden, but its weight is what keeps me wanting to live."
[23:59] * Aline then grinned. "The truth that I'm still protecting everyone, at the end of the day."
[00:03] * Dorian beamed. "Now -that's- what I like to hear. It's a good feeling, isn't it?"-
[00:03] <Dorian> [A door opened, somewhere- the form of Dr. Riel emerging into the command centre, a bright orange and black tiger cub cradled in her hands.]
[00:06] * Aline nodded. "Yup!"… then… then… "Ohhhh wow finally get to see… …is it a boy or a girl, I forget, but… but… ee~" She did resist the urge to rush it. It's just a baby! And Dr. Riel would probably not appreciate being suddenly bum-rushed.
[00:07] <Dorian> ["When did she get a tiger?" Asked Sophie curiously.-
[00:09] <Dorian> ["Major? The-" Dr. Riel looked over at Aline for a moment, then looked down at her adorable little cub. She paused, then hesitantly started to walk over to the group- until the cub was in Range. "I figured you'd like to know, Major, that EVA-05 and EVA-06 have -finally- been completely finished. We finished the process this morning, and they're both in IPEA Cold Storage vats."]
[00:10] * Aline blushed, but then nodded quickly. "Sorry, righto, didn't mean to interrupt!" But she seemed cheery at that fact. "Two more, then~"
[00:12] <Dorian> [The cub mewled~-
[00:13] <Dorian> ["That's right. Pilot Natasha will be sworn in as the Seventh Child when we have the 'official opening' in six weeks." Said Dr. Riel.]
[00:16] * Aline blinkedblinked at that… Though she did make a little cutesy smile-and-wave at the little baby homicidal jungle cat. "…Ohhh, a new pilot. Natasha… Natasha… so NERV Russia's, then? Wow, another new person then~" …Though she did ponder something. Felt it presumptuous to say.
[00:21] <Dorian> ["Oh, I thought you would've run into Natasha by now." Asked Dr. Riel, absent-mindedly dropping the tiger cub on a console.]
[00:23] * Aline practically twisted in sheer squee at the image of a tiger cub crawling around on advanced technology in its awkward little baby kitten way. "…No, I haven't. I haven't even heard the name before now! It's a total surprise!" …She looked surprised. …And overly 'squee' still. But mostly surprised!
[00:26] <Dorian> ["She's a big fan." Said Dr. Riel dryly, as the tiger cub loped awkward only across a console toward Sophie, who reached out timidly to scratch it under the chin.]
[00:29] * Aline …continued to try not to explode in sheer d'aww. So far, she was maintaining stability! "Big… fan. That's different! Most all the pilots I know… …well all the actual pilots I know came before there was anything to be a fan of."
[00:31] <Dorian> ["She… Became a fan relatively recently. She's a NeoSpartan, but… What can I say? She just really admires the Paris-2 pilots." Said Dr. Riel.-
[00:32] <Dorian> [Another pair of doors opening. "What's this about pilots now?" The familiar, curious-but-too-busy-being-quiet-and-composed-to-show-it voice of Alexandre.]
[00:34] * Aline suddenly shifted her gaze imperceptibly… then /perceptibly/. She began to slowly walk over towards Alex, smiling widely. "Oh, just surprised that Natasha even exists, much less that she's apparently the Seventh Child now." …Then when she got close enough, she just reached out and gave Alexandre a big hug. "Ah~"
[00:39] <Dorian> ["Natashawhaaaaaa?" Alexandre stared down at Aline, utterly uncomprehending. "… Er, hello." He patted her awkwardly on the head. "I-I'm not used to being liked by you. What happened?"]
[00:43] * Aline pulled back quickly enough, used to not traumatizing a boy with too much affection. But then she giggled. Excessively. "It's a secret!… Somewhat. I'll give you a little bit of a hint, though." …Okay, she was enjoying it some. "Something there wasn't enough time for. Besiiides. The reason I was mad at you has gone and turned itself inside out."
[00:46] <Dorian> ["…" Alexandre stared at Aline, baffled. "I, erm. Ok then." He took a step backwwards, reddening in confusion and embarrassment. "A-Anyway. Natasha? Natasha Volkova?"-
[00:46] <Dorian> "The one and the same."-
[00:46] <Dorian> ["… Huh. I see." Alexandre frowned.]
[00:47] * Aline nodded a bit, tilting her head side to side. "…Probably a little disappointing. I didn't even know who she was…" But a long shrug. "Ah well. Such is life?"
[00:50] <Dorian> ["Natasha is a NeoSpartan. I… 'Knew' her back in the training." Said Alexandre dubiously. "It's not a pretty thing."]
[00:52] <Aline> "I can at least imagine. I'm probably outright spoiled in comparison…" Aline sighed deeply. "I guess that we'll find out the reasoning sooner or later. I mean… eesh. Not to gossip, but some of the non-NeoSpartan pilot choices can be just as confusing to me, as I think we all learned."
[00:53] <Dorian> ["What's this now?"]
[00:57] * Aline looked over at Dorian slightly… but then back to Alexandre. "…Sera. Acting preeeetty weird about the kidnapping of Viviane. Apparently he… uh. Well I don't want to be so much of a rude gossip, but apparently part of the reason they took Viviane is because he offended someone with ties to them. Personally offended. And he… did not take the news of it very coherently."
[00:59] <Dorian> ["… Man, what an idiot. How exactly do you 'personally offend' a member of a terrorist organisation?"]
[01:01] * Aline frowned deeply. "When they used to be the Algerian ambassador to France, and asked him to do something nice from their point of view… which he must have said he'd do, then didn't. And apparently they fought?"
[01:01] <Dorian> ["…" Alexandre facepalmed.]
[01:03] * Aline drooped a little, looking back to try to get a tiger-related mood boost, before turning back. "Yeeeeeah. I er. I got a bit crazy in trying to call him on it, but then again he got even more crazy after that. I… I'll leave the rest to Dorian, I'm gonna get too biased otherwise."
[01:06] <Dorian> "I don't feel like talking about it. Later, maybe." Said Dorian, waving a hand. Alexandre shrugged.-
[01:06] <Dorian> ["So who's the Sixth Child?"]
[01:06] * Aline suddenly perked up! "Oh! I was gonna ask that before you came in but I thought it'd be rude because I already interrupted Dr. Riel with uh… silly kitty stuff."
[01:08] <Dorian> [The cub had somehow found itself in Sophie's lap, making the girl rather uncomfortable. Even the cub's claws were rather sharp.-
[01:08] <Dorian> "Who -is- the pilot, then? For 05."-
[01:08] <Dorian> ["Marduk's still deciding." Said Dr. Riel.]
[01:10] * Aline blinked at that. "…Wow, that's interesting. For only the third… and fourth I guess… time out of seven, the designated-Children are being picked in Unit order. Even though it leaves a lot of suspense…" She again eyed Alex at that.
[01:11] <Dorian> ["…" Alex looked over at Aline. "What, you think it'll be me?"]
[01:12] * Aline shook her head. "Nah, more just wondering if you still want that chance. Lot of people, especially from your class…" Apparently. Evangeline was still a surprise. "…That do."
[01:14] <Dorian> ["I was trained to pilot." Said Alexandre rigidly. "Why wouldn't I want that chance?"]
[01:15] * Aline shrugged at that. "People change? Dunno, didn't mean anything bad by that."
[01:17] <Dorian> ["Oh." Alexandre waved a hand lazily. "Not a problem."-
[01:17] <Dorian> [Dr. Riel sighed. "Aline, you busy today?"]
[01:18] * Aline turned her glance over to Dr. Riel. "Oh… not too terribly. I had come in for the meeting that… devolved, and didn't know it'd be as short as it was so I still have a pretty empty block of time."
[01:21] <Dorian> ["Aha." Dr. Riel nodded, reaching over to pluck her cub out of Sophie's lap (the girl squealing as the cub dug in before being pulled up). "I can take you down to have a look at 05 and 06, now, if you like."]
[01:22] * Aline smiled just the slightest. "Ah. Okay! Thanks for remembering that I get pretty curious about that sort of thing."
[01:24] <Dorian> ["Of course. Come on!" Dr. Riel started to head off.]
[01:25] * Aline headed off with a little rapid step… though she peered over at Sophie sympathetically, Dorian… more resigned-sympathetically, and then Alexandre, just… cryptically.

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