For The Love Of Life 1 1 3

[16:42] <Raphael> The Dorian Lachapelle was opulent to the point of absurdity and more spacious than an active battleship had any right to be, but Raphael sometimes wondered whether it was really able to serve the purpose the UEF had set it to. The labyrinthine corridors put one in mind of the deeper sections of the Geofront, and were now crammed full of of the bulk of NERV's loyalist troops.-
[16:42] <Raphael> With all this in mind, it had taken some time to seek out Chiisana's room.-
[16:42] <Raphael> He'd barely seen her since his return to the battleship, but hadn't really given that too much thought until Liu Lin sought him out earlier that afternoon, noting how quiet and tense the girl had become. And, of course, she'd thought he was the one best suited to sorting out the problem…-
[16:42] <Raphael> Raphael sighed, questioning the Major's leadership for the first time as he raised his hand to knock.
[16:57] <Minaplo> [A few seconds of knocking would bring him a reply, as the door's intercom light blinked blue. "Wh… Who is it?"]
[16:58] * Raphael frowns a little, not used to the quaver in Chiisana's voice. "It's Raphael, Miss Chiisana."
[17:03] <Minaplo> ["Who sent you?"]
[17:07] <Raphael> A moment of hesitation. "… Colonel Liu, ma'am. Although once I heard you were holed up here, I would have visited on my own."
[17:11] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[17:12] <Minaplo> [Finally the door lock switches to green, and the doors slide open.-
[17:15] <Minaplo> [Chiisana is sitting in a desk chair, her long curtain of hair falling around her face, hiding much of it from view. She is wearing a plain shirt and skirt, and in her hands is one of her lacy damask dresses, a massive rip torn through the back, her hands gripping the edges.]
[17:26] <Raphael> "…" Raphael's quick to shut the door behind him as he steps inside, not bothering to hide his look of concern. Before that moment, he'd suspected this would have something to do with Makoto, but now… he's not so sure.-
[17:26] <Raphael> "Miss Chiisana…?" He asks carefully, reaching out towards her, "What happened?"
[17:30] <Minaplo> ["Nothing. I just realised how imbecilic I've been."]
[17:41] <Raphael> "It seems to me like maybe you're overstating things, ma'am." He says. "Did you want to talk about it?"
[17:46] <Minaplo> ["Not really."-
[17:47] <Minaplo> [She managed- and it sounded quite painful- to pause and take a hard breath in, trying to calm down, despite the tremor in her hands. "But I suppose I should anyway."]
[17:49] <Raphael> "It seems that way," Raphael says gently, taking a seat on one of the heavily cushioned chairs by the window, "But you can take as much time as you need."
[17:57] <Minaplo> [She seemed to take that as something of an invitation, and a few long, potentially awkward minutes- about five or six- passed as Chiisana stewed.-
[17:57] <Minaplo> [Eventually, she put the dress aside and spoke. "So, Makoto does not love me."]
[17:58] * Raphael blinks. "… He said that?"
[18:07] <Minaplo> ["He did."]
[18:14] * Raphael sighs, leaning forward a little with his hands on his knees. "I'm sorry, Miss Chiisana. I know—" A frown. "No, perhaps I can't say I know how you're feeling, but I can't blame you for being in pain."-
[18:14] <Raphael> "And yet loving someone doesn't make you a fool."
[18:16] <Minaplo> ["I… I know that! It's all the… The stupid fairy tale rubbish I've spun around it…"]
[18:20] <Raphael> "Not to be contrary, ma'am, but I think an… idyllic view of love and romance is reasonably common for young ladies. For young people in general, actually." He says gently. "From an outsider's perspective, I really can't say there's anything wrong with your behaviour. Especially given some of the circumstances around it."
[18:36] <Minaplo> ["I'm not s… Sure others would be so generous. You don't think people rolled their eyes or sighed as I went about, talking about Prince this and Prince that?!"]
[19:01] <Raphael> "Standard operating procedure for dealing with teenagers in love, I'm afraid. Many of those rolling their eyes would have been just as lovestruck at some point before," He says, smiling sadly. "I'm not being generous, Chiisana. Perhaps you took a different approach to it, but what you felt was a perfectly normal experience."
[19:12] <Minaplo> ["It's… It's not the same, Raphael. I didn't even give him a real chance. Smothering him with my Field, trying to force him into the role… He never even had the chance to figure out how he felt."]
[19:14] <Raphael> "If that were true, would we be having this conversation?"
[19:24] <Minaplo> [She shook her head, her curtain-like hair swaying side to side. "I… I mean before this."]
[19:36] * Raphael nods slowly. "I won't deny that the Field was a problem for both of you, but from the few times I've discussed this with the Lieutenant he was entirely capable of considering his feelings seperate from it. Although he admitted it made things difficult in the moment…"
[19:43] <Minaplo> ["Perhaps I was the one who wasn't able to consider my feelings outside of how he treated me. He had the frame of mind to come to his own conclusions, and… I just mistook how he acted for how he felt…"]
[19:52] <Raphael> "You're being too hard on yourself, Chiisana." He says, a little more firm now. "Not even Lieutenant Hyuga really knew how he felt the last time we talked, beyond the fact that he cared for you a great deal."
[19:54] <Minaplo> ["But it wasn't love, was it? The way I felt…"]
[19:59] <Raphael> "… Maybe not." He sighs. "I really am sorry, Chiisana."
[20:03] <Minaplo> ["Thank you." Her hidden head bobbed slightly. "It's… It's nothing you have to worry about. I feel like rubbish, and it hurts, and it's… It'll all pass in time, I'm sure. I'm sure of it. It was a fanciful idea anyhow. It'd be like you falling in love with Rei. I was silly to think it possible, silly for wanting it to be."]
[20:17] <Raphael> "I don't think so. Considering where you came from, and what Makoto represented to you through all that… I don't think there's anything silly about that at all, ma'am."
[20:29] <Minaplo> ["But…" She started to shake, and her hands flew up to her face, covering her eyes. "But I feel silly! I feel like such an idiot! Some… Something he said, and I was so blank and impressionable that I ran with it a-and wove it around me and based everything off that… B… Becoming some 'princess' figure, trying to a-act like that, when I'm just some stupid girl!"-
[20:29] <Minaplo> [She began to sob.]
[22:56] * @Raphael winces visibly this time, and seems ready to prepare another refutation - to continue trying and find some way to pull Chiisana out of the pain she was in - but this time something makes him stop.-
[22:58] <@Raphael> It's not a particularly natural hug, like he might offer Rei, Suzie or Misato where he had some level of comfort. It was more like the stiff, awkward embrace he'd tried to comfort Suzie with on the first day he'd met her. But it was something, and something in him suggested it would be more useful at that moment than words.
[23:07] <Minaplo> [It was different, the embrace. He still heard her sobs but instead of them being just a sound, now he felt them against his chest as Chii's head shook violently with every sob.-
[23:09] <Minaplo> [She wasn't Rei in this, either. She didn't fall into Raphael's hug as Rei did; at first her only response was to slowly thud her head against his chest. After a minute or two she grasped onto his shirt with her hands, twisting the fabric into little bands around her fingers. Her grip was firm. She never fully embraced him or pulled him to her like Rei or Misato might, but she didn't push him away.-
[23:10] <Minaplo> [After a few minutes more of this, she let out a stuttery gasp that passed as words. "S-Shouldn't- have sp-poken to 'im…"]
[23:17] <@Raphael> "To who?" He asked, not moving yet. If she'd pulled away he wouldn't have thought twice, not at that moment, but even as uncertain as he felt he would offer what comfort he could.
[23:21] <Minaplo> ["B-Brandt. T-T-That's h-how it started…"]
#06[23:28] * @Raphael frowns, glancing down at Chiisana - which only serves to offer him a look at the top of her head. "You spoke to him?"
[23:31] <Minaplo> [The head nodded several times.]
[23:34] <@Raphael> "…" The first question that came to mind was the most pertinent, but it wouldn't pay to raise it with her right at this moment. The second, though…-
[23:34] <@Raphael> "Why?"
[23:38] <Minaplo> ["I-I heard… T-That he m-might have information." She mumbled. "F-For the cause. B-But he wouldn't g-give it up. I w-was hoping my a-aura might…"]
[23:45] <@Raphael> "… Alright." Raphael murmurs, his voice steady even as the hand not held against Chiisana's back formed a tight fist. "Don't worry about that now."
[23:51] <Minaplo> [She nodded silently, pulling the tight bands of Raphael's shirt towards her eyes.]
[00:02] <Minaplo> […-
[00:03] <Minaplo> [The directions had taken Raphael to the battleship's security cells. Down here, he knew, they kept three 'Solomon Primes', including that one that looked like Rei- the Spectre…-
[00:04] <Minaplo> [Speaking of which, he'd see that the Specre may have been a prisoner, but a semi-familiar friend of hers was not. A lithe black cat crossed Raphael's path, pausing to look up at him critically, gripping a small piece of crumbed chicken in its mouth. After a moment, it ran off down another hallway.-#
#0[00:11] <Minaplo> [Before long, Raphael would arrive at his destination. A cell, the walls intimidating surovite. The door was a slab of transparent surovite, with only a small sealed slot for food delivery. On the outside, next to the door, at roughly breast-level, there was a phone receiver- and another on the inside of the cell, which was quite spartan. A bed. Some books, piled against the wall next to the bed. A door leading to, presumably, the toilet. And of course, von Brandt himself, lying on the bed, flicking through a novel.-
[00:12] <Minaplo> [Von Brandt was rather tall, maybe given to lankiness. He had dark thick hair, combed to the side, and a pair of gold-rimmed glasses with narrow lenses. The bones in his jaw and cheeks stood out, lending him an appearance that would've been gaunt if it had not been for his relatively tanned skin tone and his general physical presence.-
[00:12] <Minaplo> [He smiled as Raphael arrived, and set the book aside. Raphael would realise that the cell was sound-proof.-
[00:13] <Minaplo> [Von Brandt walked over to the wall, took the phone, and held it up to his ear.]
[20:26] * Raphael paid the Solomon cells a cursory glance, frowning slightly as he eyed the door to the Spectre's room. He'd avoided the Solomon since his first visit, only asking the occasional question of Captain Savage, but the girl's presence still bothered him. Still, anyone passing by would have been able to tell that even the Solomon's held little interest for him at the moment - he had other
[20:26] * Raphael things on his mind.-
[20:26] <Raphael> Which, of course, led to Von Brandt.-
[20:28] * Raphael stands in the doorway for a moment, casting a neutral look around the inside of the man's cell, and then at the man himself. His hands hung loose at his side, the tension carefully eased out of his posture. He'd read what little information was available to him - enough to know that signs of weakness should be avoided.-
[20:30] <Raphael> Soon enough, all that was left to do was to cross to the dividing wall and pick up the phone on his side, watching Ephraim in silence.
[20:33] <Minaplo> ["Brigadier General Guillory. Good evening."]
[20:35] <Raphael> "Doctor." He said, not stretching for anything resembling a greeting.-
[20:36] <Raphael> "I thought it best to inform you that I'll be petitioning to limit your exposure to our Pilots in the future. Frankly I'm baffled that it was allowed so far."
[20:43] <Minaplo> ["Oh dear. I'd ask what brought this on, but I know enough to connect the dots." He smiled, shaking his head. "And to think, I just did you a favour."]
[20:51] <Raphael> "Not interested, Doctor." Raphael said blandly, moving to hang up the phone.
[20:53] <Minaplo> [Von Brandt didn't react in any special manner. He didn't hang up, he didn't move away, he just watched, still smiling.]
[21:12] * Raphael makes it as far as hanging up the phone, but doesn't get as far as standing. Something in his expression shifts, allowing the open contempt he was working to hide to show through. It's the smile, he knows - the unerring confidence that there's nothing Raphael or anyone else can do to change the final outcome of this or any other conflict. Caine's confidence.-
[21:13] <Raphael> That he knows it's calculated for just such an effect can't stop the ugly feeling of anger stirring in his gut. If anything it worsens it.
[21:22] <Minaplo> [Von Brandt finally responds. Nothing moves except his mouth- he speaks, slowly, very slowly, in French, so that Raphael can follow the movement of his lips.]
[21:28] * Raphael 's lip curls in distaste… but, reluctantly, he picks up the phone again.
[21:33] <Minaplo> ["Why are you here, then, Raphael Guillory?"]
[21:44] <Raphael> "I admit to being disappointed by how blatant your manipulations are, Doctor." Raphael says evenly, sidestepping the question. "Normally Caine puts more effort into her… machinations would be the term, I suppose."
[21:48] <Minaplo> ["Oh please." Von Brandt chuckled, shaking his head slowly. "You don't know the first thing about Mary Caine's machinations. For every long term scheme, there are a hundred which boil down to things as simple as killing the right people at the right time in as quick as fashion as is possible. I'll concede, sometimes her work requires the odd grand manipulation, but mostly it's just bookkeeping."]
[21:56] * Raphael grunts, that look of distaste returning for just a moment. "In that spirit, whatever threat you pose is most easily eliminated by simply…" He shrugs, trailing off as a knife appears in his hand and he sets the blade to the phone cable by way of explanation.
[21:56] <Minaplo> ["Vandalism?"]
[21:56] <Raphael> "More or less."
[21:57] <Minaplo> [He smiled. "Well, there we are then. By all means, Raphael, cut the cable. Silence me. My voice won't hurt anyone on this ship again. But that isn't what all this is about, is it?"-
[21:59] <Minaplo> ["There's a reason that phone is there, and that reason is the one that will stay your hand- considering who I am, what I know, my silence is far more dangerous than my voice. Think about the catastrophes that could be prevented, the lives that could be saved- if only I sang away my secrets."-
[21:59] <Minaplo> ["Go ahead and cut. All you'll get is a reprimand, and all I'll get is a new phone line."]
[22:00] <Raphael> That smile again…-
[22:04] <Raphael> "I don't believe that's the way the cost/benefits of the situation break down. If we had more to gain than we had to lose from your being here, you wouldn't be. If it were up to me, I -would- cut you out, without hesitation." The knife vanishes just as easily as it had arrived. "Unfortunately you're correct. Your line would simply be replaced, and I'm not one to waste resources for my own
[22:04] <Raphael> satisfaction."
[22:07] <Minaplo> ["Good." Said von Brandt. "I abhor waste."]
[22:13] <Raphael> "That said, elliminating your influence from the Pilots should serve the same purpose."
[22:14] <Minaplo> [Von Brandt smiled. "My influence? You send pilots to fight Angels, but you won't let them speak to me? Now, that is rare praise."-
[22:15] <Minaplo> ["Of course, I wonder how you intend to make this happen. Simply trying to enact a ban on the pilots won't work, now, will it?"]
[22:21] <Raphael> "I'm sure we'll find a way to keep a handful of teenagers out of a high security jail cell on one of the more advanced ships on the planet."
[22:21] <Minaplo> [Von Brandt laughed.-
[22:23] <Minaplo> ["Zhang Yanmei? She's your Head of State now, you can't keep her from seeing me. Sera de Pteres? Since when have rules or restrictions ever stopped him? Shinji Ikari, well, he's beyond any of us right now, isn't he? And, of course, you had trouble controlling Rei Ayanami even when she was confined to a hospital bed, barely able to walk, nevermind as she is now."-
[22:24] <Minaplo> ["These aren't teenagers, Raphael Guillory, these are Evangelion pilots, and if you have not realised yet that they are beyond your attempts or the attempts of others in your organisation to control them, then now is a good time to see the truth."]
[22:34] * Raphael 's gaze, hardly warm to begin with, seems to grow a few degrees colder at the mention of Rei's name. "Our control, but not yours. That's the gamble, isn't it?"
[22:36] <Minaplo> ["Is it? Are you suggesting I can control them? Because I cannot. Oh, I can make them see truths, yes, truths that might lead to behaviours they would be inclined to do anyway, but to make them do something they wouldn't do themselves- true control- no, that is beyond me."]
[22:37] <Raphael> "Mmm."
[22:39] <Minaplo> ["This still raises the question, the elephant in the room. Why are you here? You don't need to tell
[22:39] <Minaplo> -
[22:41] <Minaplo> ["This still raises the question, the elephant in the room. Why are you here? You don't need to tell me of your plans before you enact them. What does that change? No, there's something you want from me. Something more than this entertaining repartee in which we have been indulging. What would that be?"]
[22:52] <Raphael> "You annoyed me badly enough to bring me down here. Does it need to be more complex than that?"
[22:57] <Minaplo> ["Need to be? No, I suppose not." Said von Brandt, rubbing his chin. "Curious, though, I never pegged you as an impulsive individual. No, annoyance isn't the right word, is it? Being annoyed doesn't bring Raphael Guillory to my little box of a cell. No no no, you're angry. The great bristling papa wolf. It's not the phone line you'd like to cut, is it, Raphael Guillory? Perhaps you'd prefer to cut my throat with that little knife of yours?"]
[22:59] <Raphael> "Oh my. The briefings hardly did your insight justice, Doctor." Raphael said blandly, leaning forward in his chair slightly.
[23:02] <Minaplo> ["It wouldn't be hard. You could probably distract the guard long enough to access the door controls. You're faster than I am, stronger. I imagine you'd find it to be all too easy."-
[23:03] <Minaplo> ["After all, you're a veteran of a hundred battles, and me, I've always been a pacifist."]
[23:06] <Raphael> "And so you return to the Eternity Drive with whatever knowledge you've collected here." Raphael says, his eyes cold. "I don't think so. Again, Doctor, I find the blatant manipulations distasteful."
[23:08] <Minaplo> ["You misunderstand, my dear fellow. I don't -want- to die, but knowing that you can't even kill me without making your situation worse… Well, that has a charm all of its own."-
[23:14] <Minaplo> ["Besides, what have I really learned? Zhang Yanmei is terrified of losing the ones she loves, you're a killer- that's not new. I think all I've really learned is that Ayanami Shi came drastically close to committing a terrible act… Which is meaningless, now, because fortunately for you I was around to prevent it."]
[23:21] <Raphael> It takes a moment - too long, really - to connect the name with Chiisana's face, and it's this and not von Brandt's casual dismissal of Raphael that brings a fresh surge of anger. He knows her real name, there's no doubt that he must. To use a name she finds explicitly dehumanising is a choice on his part.-
[23:23] <Raphael> "How good of you." He says, pointedly avoiding the bait.
[23:26] <Minaplo> ["Yes, although I shouldn't brag." Said von Brandt with a smile. "I've always been one for helping others. And with Ayanami Shi, well, as you have no doubt seen, considering your presence here, my methods can cause some momentary distress. My dear NeoSpartans are much the same. So don't worry, Raphael Guillory. Dear Shi may be hurting now, but…"-
[23:26] <Minaplo> [He gave Raphael a wide, sincere smile. "She'll be a better person for it in time."]
[23:36] * Raphael watches the other man in silence for a few seconds after that, slowly shaking his head. "… Meeting you is almost disappointing, von Brandt. You're only what I expected you to be."
[23:37] <Minaplo> ["And what would that be?"]
[23:43] <Raphael> "Another amoral scientist who the world may be better without. All that changes is the balance of pros and cons on that particular scale. Riel, Surov, Ikari… I've been forced to exist with your kind before."
[23:46] <Minaplo> ["Amoral?" von Brandt tsked. "I think I'm a victim of your own imagination, Raphael. No… Riel, Surov, Ikari? You compare me with these? Surov was amoral. Surov sacrificed thousands of lives to his Iron Guard programme and never shed a tear. Ikari's reach exceeded his grasp. How many failed clones he made before he began producing true copies- oh, they would be in the dozens, little lives that struggled and wiggled and died, never leaving the laboratory."-
[23:47] <Minaplo> ["And Riel… Well, Riel killed all those soldiers in Eden Base, didn't she? Yes, that was a monstrous act."-
[23:49] <Minaplo> ["But I've never killed anyone. Amoral? No, no. You've got it all wrong. I'm one of the most moral people on this ship."]
[23:52] <Raphael> "Providing you measure morality purely in regards to violence. Perhaps Luna Riel is the right comparison," He mused, "She was similarly deluded."
[23:54] <Minaplo> ["Name my crimes, Raphael. You cannot convict me as a killer, so by what other right do you judge me? Name them, and I will patiently explain each and every one of them."]
[00:02] <Raphael> "Of course you will. Your kind excels at explaining, and I have no intention of allowing you the satisfaction." He says folding his free hand across his chest. "So no, I'm comfortable in my judgement."-
[00:05] <Raphael> "You wanted to know what I hoped to find here? Caine. Caine, or some shadow of her. Something to rage against, someone who might actually have made me think twice when the talk of murder was on the table. You aren't that, though. You're just another parasite, only good for frightening children."
[00:17] <Minaplo> [Von Brandt shook his head slowly.-
[00:20] <Minaplo> ["I am not Caine. Caine would be angry at what you just said. Oh, yes. Very, very angry. I am just… Sad. A little sad."-
[00:24] <Minaplo> ["You are not the man I imagined you would be. I imagined a man who would do the right thing. I did not imagine a man who would let Ayanami Shi's behaviour slide. She came to me- she tried to manipulate me, using that ability of her AT Field, the one you share with her. It failed, but she tried nevertheless. I was shocked. I expected better, knowing that you had taken it on yourself to look after her and her sisters, to teach them, guide them. You of all people know how powerful that ability of yours is. Tell me something, truly. You've seen the effect it has on some women. How far could you take it if you pushed the point? A kiss? A touch? Sex? You know how powerful it is. You haven't used it as a weapon… But Shi did. And that truly worried be, because I began to wonder to myself: what if she didn't realise? What if she fooled herself and thought that Makoto Hyuga was reciprocating her affections? How could she tell? How far would she take it before she realised? If she realised at all?"-
[00:26] <Minaplo> ["Did you ever tell her the stakes, Raphael? Did you ever, ever, take her aside and tell her the truth? You knew the truth, you knew Hyuga didn't truly reciprocate her feelings, and you kept it from her. What were you waiting for?"]
[00:44] <Raphael> "For it to be necessary." Raphael says coldly, his free hand forming a fist beneath his other elbow. "If you believe I had not kept a close eye on it, you were mistaken. I've spoken to Hyuga about it several times, and the last time even he seemed unsure of his feelings. I offered what help I could and erred on the side of caution, and I stand by that."-
[00:46] <Raphael> "… And even with all of that said, I will agree that using her field as a weapon was wrong. It was the actions of a scared girl, though, and not a sexual predator."
[00:47] <Minaplo> ["My god." von Brandt's smile faded.-
[00:51] <Minaplo> ["You're serious. At first, I thought it was an act designed to rile me up, but no, you really had no idea what was happening." Von Brandt seemed genuinely taken aback. "You spoke to Hyuga? Of all the people! What, pray tell, did you accomplish? Of course he was unsure. Who wouldn't be unsure?"-
[00:54] <Minaplo> ["Have you not read the reports? Of how the Prince of Dubai swore his love to her after only a few hours in her presence? A few hours! What would that be like for a man she was actually in love with? Coming from someone who could manipulate their Field like this, no less!"-
[00:54] <Minaplo> ["Why Hyuga? Why? It doesn't matter what he felt, there was only one way to guarantee that if push came to shove, he wouldn't be seduced by the field, and that would be speaking to the one with the field, not the victim!"]
[01:23] * Raphael frowns slightly, the first hints of uncertainty showing through. "… I'm perfectly capable of having normal relationships with women even with my own field. I didn't have any reason to believe Chiisana was different. I don't believe Makoto's feelings were created from whole cloth." Statements not arguments this time, as though he were trying to shore up his feelings of certainty.
[01:26] <Minaplo> ["Women? Woman. Misato Katsuragi. A woman who loved you even before you changed." Said von Brandt. "Would you truly feel comfortable with it if her feelings had only been apparent after the field? Maybe. Given time. Careful consideration. Once you separated the wheat from the chaff, that is, the true feelings as opposed to the ones manufactured by the field; then you would feel secure about it."-
[01:28] <Minaplo> ["But can the same be true of Ayanami Shi, Raphael? Don't forget the truth. She may look like a young woman, but she is only a few years old. Born in a laboratory, run by the Ikaris- it was Hyuga who gave her the name she uses, wasn't it? You do the math, Raphael. For most of her life, short as it is, living with the Field is all she has ever known."]
[01:41] * Raphael leans forward suddenly close enough to the transparent barrier that his breath fogs the surface. "What point are you trying to make exactly, Doctor? That I made the wrong choice? You may well be right. I made the best choice I could with the information available to me, but that may not have been good enough. I accept that, and I'll do what I can to fix it. Beyond that, what's your
[01:41] * Raphael point?"
[01:43] <Minaplo> [von Brandt did not lean forward. He continued to face Raphael with the same measured gaze. "You came down here today because you felt I hurt Shi. I did. I did it for her own benefit and for Hyuga's. There was a truth that she did not see, and I made it evident for her. My question is this: how is it that one man who only knows of you and Shi and all the others through reports and dossiers see a truth that you did not? You, when you are so close to the Ayanamis, who love them in a paternal, even fatherly way?"-
[01:47] <Minaplo> ["How did I have the information to discern it, and the awareness to take the right path, when one of Shi's confidantes did not? There is my point. You came here today, and now you have learned a truth. Your desire to protect the Ayanamis is admirable, but in your love for them, you forgot that as a parent, sometimes hard lessons must be learned. Your desire to shield Shi from pain meant that you chose to avoid hurting her yourself, even though it meant that she might learn, become a better person for it."-
[01:48] <Minaplo> ["Now if you really must know what I think, I think you should return to Shi's side, love her as a father should, and not be afraid to be a mentor to her."]
[01:56] <Raphael> "And the endgoal? To make me buy into the idea that you really only want the best for those you toy with?"
[01:59] <Minaplo> ["No. The endgoal is to improve your lot, Shi's lot, and the lots of everyone around you." Said von Brandt. "Raphael, today you have both said that I am a terrible manipulator, yet apparently not so terrible that you think having people speak to me is dangerous. If you assume that everything I say is a manipulation, then of course you're going to think I'm both unsubtle and dangerous."-
[02:01] <Minaplo> ["I hate lies, Raphael. I avoid lying, and I dislike seeing others lie, especially to themselves. Of course, that could just be me trying to manipulate you again. Or it might not be. Here is what I think: whether I've tried to manipulate you or not today, that doesn't make my advice wrong. Feel free to think of me as you already do. It doesn't really affect me and I can't change that."-
[02:05] <Minaplo> ["I am happy to continue talking with you, but leave if you feel like it. I've changed what's important, I think- your approach to Shi. That's all that matters in the here and now, and I could not care if you think the worst of me, so long as that remains true."]
[02:26] * Raphael just gives the man a hard, contemptuous look through the barrier, aware that he had lost whatever game the two of them had been playing in some way that he could not see yet. -
[02:28] <Raphael> In the end all he could do was slam the phone onto the hook with a little too much force, climbing to his feet and marching towards the door. A moment later the heavy security door had slid shut without another word from the solider, hiding Raphael from that calm, collected smile.

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