For The Love Of Life 1 4

[06:54] <Minaplo> [END OF EVANGELION. Date: 6th of May, 2018. "For the Love of Life" 1.4-
[06:54] <Minaplo> [Hours to Doomsday: -54:54:00.-
[07:04] <Minaplo> [A glass bottle full of bright yellow opaque liquid was waggled in front of Yanmei, inches from her nose.-
[07:07] <Minaplo> ["Refreshies?" Crowed Mr. Blue. "It's mango juice, orange juice and ice cream. Yum yum!"-
[07:13] <Minaplo> [It was 3:06 AM. Aline Blanc, Zhang Yanmei, Marianne, Misato, Harken and Alphonse were all here, along with their respective pilots: Asuka, the Simonides twins, and Ayanamis Juuichi, Kyuu, Sho, Nana, Juu and Go.-
[07:14] <Minaplo> [Also present were Vercingetorix, standing ominously at the back, arms folded against the wall. Fatima Nejem, the Divine Eva pilot, was also present, sitting a little apart from the others.-
[07:17] <Minaplo> [Ezekiel sat next to Aline, whilst Alexandre Fontaine sat next to Asuka. And down near Sho sat a Japanese girl; she had brown hair, done into two short ponytails, and a dusting of tiny brown freckles over her nose. No one seemed to recognise her, but Misato informed Yanmei and Aline that this was Fox Leader, Horaki Hikari.-
[07:17] <Minaplo> [Some of these people had been here for half an hour. Some had arrived only a few minutes ago.-
[07:18] <Minaplo> [But one of them was here before all of them with a small coldbox of bottled drinks and several boxes of snacks- Mr. Blue. He had since been systematically offering his refreshment to everyone in the room in the same painful manner.-
[07:18] <Minaplo> [Surov was here as well, and their meeting had been notable mostly for the icy chill of Surov's stare.-
[07:18] <Minaplo> [The one person who wasn't here, however, who should've been, was Sera de Pteres…]
01[07:22] <Yanmei> Yanmei, already in a grim mood, just took the bottle if only to stop that infernal waggling. "Healthy," she remarked.
06[07:27] * Aline folded her arms at the table, and… well. She had already suffered through the beverage game. Yet… still, she was regarding matters with some semblance of stoicism.
[07:28] <Minaplo> ["And refreshing!" Said Mr. Blue cheerily.-
[07:29] <Minaplo> ["Where the hell is that moron anyway?" Grumbled Asuka.]
01[07:32] <Yanmei> "I'm sure there's a good reason he's running late?" Yanmei rubbed her face tiredly. "It's not like him to blow a meeting like this off."
06[07:33] * Aline sighed softly, unfolding her arms and spreading a palm onto the table. "There's definitely somethin g off about it."
[07:34] <Minaplo> ["He's been blinded." Said Surov. "He could be lost."-
[07:34] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, he could be sitting in a room by himself, wondering why no one else is speaking." Said Alexandre dryly.]
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06[07:36] * Yanmei snorted, amused, and then pulled something out of her pocket. A cell phone. Then she stopped. -
01[07:37] <Yanmei> "The chances of him having his own phone on him would be…?"
[07:44] <Minaplo> ["Not great." Said Alexandre.-
[07:45] <Minaplo> ["Did you know he was blind?" Asked Sophia Simonides, turning to Yanmei and Aline with a puzzled frown.]
06[07:46] * Aline closed her eyes and sighed softly. "Not a clue, really."
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01[07:58] <Yanmei> "I heard about it," Yanmei frowned into her phone as her call went straight to voicemail. She hung up, and slid it away. "Not the details, but…" she eyed Surov now.
[08:01] <Minaplo> ["We are not sure of the specific cause yet. We will see if synchronising with 01 will 'clean' it out of his system."-
[08:02] <Minaplo> [Mr. Blue was moving up the line now towards the ODs. He shook a bottle in front of Alphonse, who stonily ignored it, which only prompted a much more vigorous shaking.]
01[08:07] <Yanmei> "Hm. So that's the deal…" Her brow furrowed now, and her frown deepened.
01[08:19] <Yanmei> "Maybe he decided to stay in after all? Like, locked himself in his room until he was able to cope? It's a pretty big deal, if you think about it."
06[08:20] * Aline definitely scrunched her face up at that. "…Actually, uh… that doesn't really sound very Sera-ish?"
01[08:23] <Yanmei> "No, it doesn't. He was definitely out and about earlier anyway, wasn't he?" She glanced at Fatima.
[08:23] <Minaplo> ["Yes, he seemed to be." Said Fatima, nodding.-
[08:24] <Minaplo> ["Maybe he blew us all off." Said Asuka, shrugging. "I've never seen him treat a briefing like anything but an imposition, anyway."]
01[08:31] <Yanmei> "He originally wanted to warp straight to Metatron once we got the Lance back together, you know?"
06[08:31] * Aline sort of frowned pointedly. "Yeeeeah."
[08:32] <Minaplo> ["What? Doesn't he -get it-?" Grumbled Asuka.]
01[08:38] <Yanmei> "He's not great at the whole coordination rank-and-file thing. Never has been? If it's a power thing, I think I understand, though."
[08:39] <Minaplo> ["A power thing? Go on." Said Alexandre.]
01[08:46] <Yanmei> "It's not that hard? If you think you should be in charge - or at least have more influence than you currently do - you're not going to enjoy taking orders from most other people in the organization in question."
[09:02] <Minaplo> ["Should we send someone?" Asked Alphonse.-
[09:03] <Minaplo> [Mr. Blue had reached the farthest OD at this point, Harken. He waggled his mocktail drink in front of the old man's face. "Nice and refreshing-"-
[09:08] <Minaplo> [Harken's left hand lashed out, grabbing Mr. Blue's wrist in a sudden grip and tugging him forward. "Fuck off, you rancid pile of dogshit." He forcefully pushed Mr. Blue away, the latter stumbling a little before regaining balance.]
06[09:13] * Aline …slowly turned her head at Harken and Blue, then let out a gentle puff of air. "A liiittle bit longer."
06[09:15] * Yanmei had, however, risen halfway out of her chair, frowning at Harken. "General? Is there a problem?"
[09:16] <Minaplo> ["Drop the nice-nice crap, Zhang. He's been antagonising the people in this room since we arrived."-
[09:16] <Minaplo> ["Antagonising?! Is this what you call my generous donation to our noble cause?"-
[09:16] <Minaplo> ["Yes."]
[09:21] <Sept> And with the door sliding open, Sera finally stumbled in with Armin in tow. "This is the right one. Better be."
[09:22] <Minaplo> ["'Bout time, Moron!" shouted Asuka, banging her mocktail bottle on the conference table.]
06[09:23] * Yanmei had opened her mouth, and then found herself glancing at the door. "Well, we're about to get started anyway? Mr. Blue, it's time to go."
[09:24] <Sept> "I'm sorry," he just said, whispering for Armin to get him to a seat. "Please do."
[09:27] <Minaplo> ["Blerrr. If you say so." Mr. Blue gave Yanmei a deep bow, flourishing his hat as he did so. He turned to leave, moving very slowly as he, one by one, packed his drinks and food back into his icebox, then picked up the box and slowly walked away.-
[09:28] <Minaplo> [But not before Armin had grabbed one of the mocktail bottles. He found Sera a seat, next to Misato (not that Sera would know this). Armin scanned the crowd, picked one face out of many- Go's- and gave her a bright smile.-
[09:28] <Minaplo> [Go went a deep red and buried her face in Juuichi's shoulder.-
[09:28] <Minaplo> [The rest of the group turned towards Yanmei and Aline, waiting attentively (or in Asuka's case, with arms folded and narrowed eye).]
01[09:34] <Yanmei> "Right, then." Yanmei continued standing. "Everyone knows why we're here? We're giving an oral overview of what happened in the last mission, introducing our latest ally - wave hello, Mr. Armin - and going over the details of the next mission. -
01[09:39] <Yanmei> "As you've gathered, the last operation was a big success. The Lance of Cassius is complete and is currently on standby for our next move. Damage to all Eva units involved was minimum. Is everyone aware of the procedure we used to reforge the Lance?"
[09:40] <Minaplo> [A general shake of head.]
01[09:41] <Yanmei> "Right. Blanc, Mr. Ezekiel, would you please explain?"
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06[09:48] * Aline took a deep breath, then nodded to those assembled. "To begin with, we needed to enter the Realm of Thought, the place where the Lance was originally forged. For very important reasons, I imagine Mr. Ezekiel will not and never explain how to reach that place, no?"
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[09:52] <Minaplo> ["No."]
[09:56] <Sept> "Which is fine, because we shouldn't need to, again."
06[09:57] * Aline nodded. "Indeed. To continue… we had to make our way in there, and bring the fragments of the Lance together. From there… There was a long process of meditation. First, the long process of mending the Lance physically, which required intense visualization. It was… comparatively very simple, but also highly tedious."
06[09:59] * Yanmei had taken her seat again by now, leaning back, opening up a folder with some documents in it, and listening to the story she already know.
[10:00] <Minaplo> ["And it all worked? No problems? The Lance isn't damaged or flawed in some way?" Asked Harken.]
[10:01] <Sept> "Nothing to test it on fully, but we're confident."
01[10:03] <Yanmei> "The process for that part went rather smoothly, and there's nothing to suggest any structural problems so far. We're still analysing it."
[10:06] <Minaplo> ["Mmm. So what's the plan then?"]
06[10:09] * Aline did nod, at that, and… turned to Yanmei. Though she /did/ make an aside. "There /was/ a rather lengthy mental building process, but it worked more-or-less the same way."
01[10:12] <Yanmei> "Yes. Since it's a self-aware contruct, we needed to build a 'self' for it, so to speak. And that also turned out okay, going by what we can tell." Yanmei picked up a tiny remote at her side and pressed a button. At once, a holographic image of the moon - and the Singularity Egg - appeared in the center of the meeting table. -
01[10:14] <Yanmei> "Our plan for it is simple? We'll use the new Lance to breach the surface of the Egg. This will allow us to enter it physically, and deal with the threat inside."
01[10:16] <Yanmei> ^construct
[10:22] <Sept> "As usual, we deal with any resistance as it comes. Is it likely the egg will interfere with communications?"
[10:25] <Minaplo> ["Almost certain." Said Surov.]
01[10:28] <Yanmei> "It should be noted that we will not be using much long range communiction during this battle anyway. The battleship will also be engaging in this battle. As will our D-Titan and E-Destroyer forces."
[10:28] <Sept> "Where?"
06[10:29] * Aline looked at Yanmei for a moment, but… turned back to the rest of the table. She had no comments /yet/.
01[10:34] <Yanmei> "They'll be entering the Egg along with the Evangelion units. We're expecting a -lot- of resistance, so we'll need all the help we can get. Civilians will, of course, have the option of disembarking before the mission. We should strongly encourage that, in fact."
[10:45] <Sept> "And beyond that, we have little idea of what the core of it will be like?"
01[10:48] <Yanmei> "That's correct. Unless some of our experts have a few guesses?" She glanced at Aline.
06[10:59] * Aline rested her hands on the table. "From what we can tell… the egg's inner world is likely to be comprised of matter formed by Metatron… though it will notably resemble nature, if in a somewhat unusual form related to her plans for the planet. It can be highly disorganized and follow none of the rules of the nature it actually imitates, though. There are, at any rate, multiple levels
06[10:59] * Aline of this kind of thing, connected by weakpoints - 'gates'. Pass through them, handle any native creatures, then enter the core - the concentrated space where Metatron herself and the Lance lay."
06[11:06] * Sept nodded, considering how that might pan out.
06[11:07] * Yanmei nodded slowly. "Miss Fatima Nejem is with us on the behalf of Caine's forces to help us with this operation. Did your scientists find anything else about the Egg that you wanted to add on to that?"
[11:08] <Minaplo> ["Only a note that once the Egg collapses, the matter may be ejected in dangerous and unstable ways."]
06[11:10] * Aline raised a finger, actually. "And to do that, you'd need to displace or eliminate either Metatron or the Lance."
01[11:13] <Yanmei> "Will there be time to backtrack or warp away after we eliminate one of them?"
[11:14] <Minaplo> ["Not a lot." Said Fatima quietly.]
01[11:19] <Yanmei> Yanmei knit her eyebrows. "Can we do it? Warp an entire ship and its surrounding troops with a moment's notice?"
[11:20] <Minaplo> ["Akagi can still use EVA-03's AT Field." Said Surov. "It can be done."-
[11:20] <Minaplo> ["Warping through the space inside the singularity egg can be dangerous." Said Ezekiel. "It is not assured."]
01[11:22] <Yanmei> "What about protecting ourselves while staying inside of it during the collapse? Some sort of barrier?"
06[11:23] * Aline frowned a bit… "Or blasting open a clear exit path beforehand…?"
[11:26] <Sept> "Partial evacuation beforehand would be unoptimal, too."
[11:28] <Minaplo> ["The difficulty," Said Ezekiel, "Is that the immense energy released during the collapse of a Singularity Egg is enough to pose a challenge even to a Seed of Life. It is not impossible to blast our way out, but we lack firepower enough to blast a clear exit through the shifting landscape and sustain that exit."]
[11:32] <Aline> That only made Aline's frown worse. "Then… is there even a solution…?"
[11:32] <Minaplo> [Armin beamed.]
06[11:35] * Yanmei eyed him warily. "Do you have a suggestion?"
[11:40] <Minaplo> ["A Lance like me could clear us a path."-
[11:42] <Minaplo> ["Armin, no." Said Ezekiel sternly. "Your reforging did not restore all of your strength. If you try to do such a thing you could tear yourself apart."-
[11:42] <Minaplo> ["I am willing to sacrifice myself for the beauty of this world if need be." Said Armin immediately, his eyes straying towards Go and the other Ayanamis.-
[11:43] <Minaplo> [A raft of giggles met this look, although Alphonse rolled his eyes.-
[11:43] <Minaplo> [Go went back to hiding her blushing face in Juuichi's shoulder.]
06[11:45] * Yanmei tried to ignore the Ayanamis' reactions. "Is this s structural or stability issue or an energy output issue? Maybe there's some way the rest of us could help him and lighten the load?"
06[11:47] * Aline nodded to Yanmei, almost surprised at how strongly scientific the question was, coming from someone whose 'ferocious intellect' was usually suited for political matters. "…That is a very, very good question."
[11:50] <Minaplo> ["Both." Said Ezekiel. "He is unable to draw on enough power, and even if he could I do not trust his frame to sustain the output without damage."]
[11:51] <Sept> "I'd like to note we absolutely do need some priorities. If it comes to that, he is among the more expendable."
[11:52] <Minaplo> ["I don't like being called expendable."]
[11:53] <Sept> "He's among the more willing to sacrifice themselves for the beauty of this world."
[11:55] <Minaplo> [Armin beamed.]
06[11:56] * Aline allowed a… forced smirk. Ah, wording. "…Then let that be a plan B, for now… unless we really have no other ideas."
01[11:58] <Yanmei> "…suppose we used the other Lance in addition to whatever Mr. Armin could provide? If… we even can, that is?"
[12:00] <Minaplo> [Ezekiel and Armin looked at each other. Armin's expression was dubious.]
01[12:03] <Yanmei> "So it's impossible," she guessed.
[12:04] <Minaplo> ["Not impossible." Said Ezekiel. "The Lance of Longinus alone would be enough to break us through. There is a complication."-
[12:04] <Minaplo> ["The other one belongs to the other Seed." Muttered Armin.-
[12:05] <Minaplo> ["It does not suffer the hand of the Lilim lightly." Said Ezekiel. "As Sera de Pteres learned when he used it during the battle of the Geofront. Since it controls the forces within the Egg, we would need to convince it to help us."-
[12:05] <Minaplo> [Armin looked dissatisfied.-
[12:06] <Minaplo> ["Are you still angry about the battle, Armin?" Asked Ezekiel softly.-
[12:07] <Minaplo> ["Always."-
[12:07] <Minaplo> ["You're going to have to get over that!" Said Ezekiel, his voice hard all of a sudden, his brow furrowed deep, his mouth a firm, hard line.-
[12:10] <Minaplo> ["The other's failings saw us lose the Creator of Mysteries! You expect me to forgive-"-
[12:10] <Minaplo> [Ezekiel cut him off with a wave of his hand. He turned to Sera de Pteres. "As you can see, diplomacy is out of the question."]
06[12:12] * Aline /flinched/ at the argument. "Nnnn…"
[12:13] <Sept> "Don't be ridiculous," he said, still just facing forward. "You'd forfeit our Seed out of spite?"
[12:14] <Minaplo> ["Don't call me ridiculous." Said Armin. "I would rather sacrifice myself as we discussed than rely on the other one."-
[12:15] <Minaplo> ["In truth, it is not all Armin's doing. The feud goes both ways." Said Ezekiel. "You could try to mentally subjugate the Lance…"]
06[12:16] * Yanmei looked profoundly uncomfortable. "Wouldn't that take time? And danger?"
[12:16] <Minaplo> ["Both could be reduced if Armin assisted de Pteres."-
[12:16] <Minaplo> ["I'll gladly help subdue the other one." Said Armin.]
[12:20] <Sept> "Good. That's an option we'll have to assess more carefully once we get there."
06[12:20] * Aline seemed a bit worried, but… "It's… definitely worth a shot. IT might even be our Plan A."
[12:22] <Minaplo> ["I would request, once we are done with it, that we seal the Lance away in a safe place." Said Ezekiel. "The Lance is too dangerous to use with any regularity."]
01[12:24] <Yanmei> "Agreed?" said Yanmei firmly.
06[12:26] * Aline lowered her head solemnly. "Definitely."
[12:30] <Sept> "Of course. I'm sure we can come up with a better way than last time."
[12:31] <Minaplo> [There was a general murmur of assent.-
[12:31] <Minaplo> ["ETA to operation start?" Asked Harken.]
01[12:36] <Yanmei> "We're looking at sixteen hours from now."
[12:40] <Sept> "Sounds good to me."
[12:41] <Minaplo> ["Awesome. We get to actually sleep!" Said Sophia Simonides.-
[12:41] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, I hear you there." Said Isaiah with a grin.]
06[12:42] * Aline …yeah, probably had bags over her eyes by now, even if she hadn't actually spent as long as the twins had. Or did. Did/hadn't. Fuck time ratios.
01[12:43] <Yanmei> "All right. Are there any other matters to discuss before we go our separate ways?"
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[12:54] <Sept> "Not really. We can only guess at any problems with 01, but it shouldn't stop us from proceeding. Speed bumps, at most."
06[12:59] * Aline shook her head. "I've got nothing."
[12:59] <Minaplo> [General shakes of the head.]
01[13:01] <Yanmei> "Then, let's adjourn. De Pteres, could I have a few words after?"
[13:03] <Minaplo> [People began to file out. Armin patted Sera's hand and went to wait outside, driving before him a blushing Go who fled as quickly as she could, dragging along a giggling Juuichi and Sho.]
[13:04] <Sept> "Won't go anywhere," he said jokingly.
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06[13:10] * Yanmei waited for the room to clear, smirking at shenanigens, and hastily avoiding eye contact with Misato for her part. She stood up and grabbed a chair next to him, lowering herself down in it. "How've you been getting along?"
06[13:14] * Sept swayed his head from side to side for a moment, thinking. "Fine."-
[13:15] <Sept> "Could've been worse, you know? Sorry about the delay earlier. Stopped for a chat."
01[13:19] <Yanmei> "Yeah, it's fine? It happens." She shrugged, although he probably couldn't see it. "You're sure, though?"
[13:23] <Sept> "Well, yeah, it's also driving me crazy," He shook his hand in front of his face. "but what do you do? We're closer to the end every day, and that'll fix it if nothing else will. I can be patient. With some things."
01[13:27] <Yanmei> "Right. Heck, who knows? Maybe it'll be fixed after the next operation? They say they don't know what caused it, so…"
[13:31] <Sept> "A lot of possibilities. Odd issues have come and gone before. You're alright with… leading?" He changed the subject, turning more towards her.
01[13:36] <Yanmei> "Of course?" Yanmei laughed. "It's kind of like pulling on a pair of old, familiar pants by now. Or something like that?" She paused. "I was curious about what you thought of it."
[13:37] <Sept> "You're doing well. You seem to always have had their respect."
01[13:43] <Yanmei> "Ha. That seems to fluctuate depending on how serious the situation is? I could tell you some stories about James and the rest of the bunnies and Misato…"
[13:46] <Sept> "Heh, not surprised. That's fine."
01[13:48] <Yanmei> "And you're cool with me giving you orders too, right?"
[13:53] <Sept> "I'm… cool with trusting you on strategy and politics. The rest is my domain, anyway. UEF's all yours."
06[14:03] * Yanmei frowned a little, tilting her head as if puzzling something out. "'The rest,' meaning wars beyond humanity, I take it?"
[14:06] <Sept> "Mm. As they pertain to how we end up structuring the relationship between the Seeds."
01[14:14] <Yanmei> "Gotcha. So. You haven't been on edge or anything during the past missions? Dissatisfied with the way everything's going?"
[14:21] <Sept> "No, that's… fine, too. I can understand why the war's important to everyone."
01[14:27] <Yanmei> "Hm. The war. That's going to be hard to avoid at this point." She rubbed her head lightly. "Look, people have been noticing an attitude from you lately? Like, this dismissive thing? Not just with Marianne and the other ODs. Ezekiel's been grumbling about it as well."
[14:35] <Sept> "-Oh-, I understand. It's a bother having people on board who… haven't bought into it as much as everyone else?"
01[14:38] <Yanmei> "Nope. Dissenting opinions are fine. Hell, even necessary? Just try not to be a jerk when doing it."
[14:39] <Sept> "…ah. Alright. I'll try."
01[14:42] <Yanmei> "Thanks." She started to get up. "I'll send your guy back in. And… you know that if you need anything, you can ask me, right?"
06[14:44] * Sept nodded. "Yeah. I get that. Thanks."
06[14:45] * Yanmei smiled. "All right. I'll see you later?"
[14:46] <Sept> "See you. Rest well."

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