For The Love Of Life 1 4 1

[23:47] <Minaplo> ["Is this the place? Blue's Bar and Grill?"]
[23:51] <Sept> "Yeah, that's the one."
[23:53] <Minaplo> [The sound of the door opening, Sera gently being led through.-
[00:02] <Minaplo> [His footsteps and Armin's became harder, a more solid -knock- sound as the ground became panelled wood instead of carpet. The air within was warm; not hot or thick, but inviting and warm like a fire in winter. Instantly Sera was tempted and seduced by the myriad smells. He could smell the hot, rich and filling scent of roasting and grilling beef; the welcome smell of roast chicken; the tangy, active scent of paprika; bitter, peppery turmeric; the fresh, clean, pure smell of steamed rice; a dozen sauces and gravies…]
[00:11] * Sept took a deep breath of it, trying to dispel the less favorable associated memories. "Are the others here yet?"
[00:11] <Minaplo> ["We're looking for Asuka Langley-Soryu? The beautiful firebrand?"]
[00:13] <Sept> "Probably the easiest to spot, yes."
[00:19] <Minaplo> [He was led away from the entrance. In a minute he'd start to hear a familiar voice.-
[00:19] <Minaplo> ["What? No! Stop that! Stop nibbling! You're supposed to dunk the entire thing in at once, idiot!"-
[00:20] <Minaplo> ["There she is." Said Armin happily. "And that's Tsubaki Akagi, and Alexandre Fontaine." The hand on Sera's arm continued to lead him on, until…-
[00:21] <Minaplo> ["Oh hey, look who's finally here. Sup, Paul-chan?" Said Asuka smugly.-
[00:22] <Minaplo> ["Ugh. Hi, Sera."-
[00:22] <Minaplo> [There was a moment's pause.-
[00:22] <Minaplo> ["Oh! Onii-chan's here!"]
[00:23] <Sept> "Hey. Who's Paul Chen?"
[00:23] <Minaplo> ["Don't, it's stupid-" Warned Alex.-
[00:25] <Minaplo> ["Pfft. Saul? On the road to Damascus?" Offered Asuka. "Saw a vision of Christ, was blinded for three days, became Paul the Apostle? Hello?"]
[00:33] * Sept wasn't impressed. "Yeah, that's stupid. You couldn't find a better mythic blind character?"
[00:34] <Minaplo> ["Like Enrico Dandolo." Said Alex.-
[00:35] <Minaplo> ["Did he go blind from seeing God?" Snapped Asuka.-
[00:35] <Minaplo> ["No-"-
[00:35] <Minaplo> ["Then shut your face. Siddown, Sera."]
[00:42] <Sept> "Good counterargument." Sera followed his instructions and took a seat - very slowly and carefully. "How's everyone?"
[00:46] <Minaplo> [He could smell the warm, inviting smell of pizza bread, along with melted parmesan, and roasted chicken and sausage… And an aroma that reminded him of spices and tomato soup.-
[00:46] <Minaplo> ["I'm good. All ready to go." Said Alex.-
[00:52] <Minaplo> ["Never better~" Purred Asuka. "A big fight on the Moon comin' up, 02's all ready to go, never felt stronger, never felt faster- my body's in tip top condition and feeling tight. Isn't that right, Alex?"-
[00:52] <Minaplo> ["Shh."-
[00:52] <Minaplo> ["Onii-chan, I have pizza soup!" Said Tsubaki happily.-
[00:52] <Minaplo> ["It's not Pizza Soup, it's Langley-Soryu pizza. Get it right." Grumbled Asuka.]
[00:57] <Sept> "Leaving your mark on the culinary world?"
[01:00] <Minaplo> ["Not my idea. That Mr. Blue guy made it one day and it's a big hit. Appropriately enough~"-
[01:00] <Minaplo> ["It is a small pizza, cut into five slices, with a meat-biased topping." Said Armin, sitting to Sera's left between him and Tsubaki. "With the pizza comes a bowl of…"-
[01:00] <Minaplo> [A mild sucking sound.-
[01:01] <Minaplo> ["Tomato-based soup with mild-to-medium spices. You dip the pizza into the soup, allow the soup to soak, then eat it. Do you want me to order you one, my friend?"]
[01:02] <Sept> "Oh, I get it. Makes sense. Sounds messy, though, I'll pass."
[01:05] <Minaplo> ["I can help you eat it if you like."]
[01:09] * Sept laughed. "That doesn't sound romantic at all."
[01:12] <Minaplo> ["I think it could." Said Armin sincerely.-
[01:12] <Minaplo> ["You're big." Came Tsubaki's voice.-
[01:12] <Minaplo> ["I am." Said Armin. "And your hair is white."-
[01:12] <Minaplo> ["It is. It's not as long as your hair, though."-
[01:13] <Minaplo> ["This is true."]
[01:14] <Sept> "He's Go's dream husband, I think."
[01:22] <Minaplo> ["Hurrk." Asuka made a gagging sound. "Yeah, I saw the way you two were going on during the meeting. She's pretty bad in general when it comes to hunks, but she was -super- bad earlier. See, this is what you get for taking Go of all people."-
[01:24] <Minaplo> ["Don't criticise Go so, please." Said Armin gently. "She is unused to being appreciated as a girl and a woman. Tsubaki, you have sauce all over your face, let me wipe that off-"-
[01:24] <Minaplo> ["Anything I can get you though, Sera?" Asked Alex.]
[01:30] <Sept> "Something to drink, maybe?"
[01:31] <Minaplo> ["Sure. Any preference?"]
[01:32] <Sept> "Surprise me," he suggested with a smile.
[01:38] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, ok."-
[01:39] <Minaplo> ["Hmf." Asuka's voice. "So this guy here- you helped make him then, Sera? That's right, right?"]
[01:42] <Sept> "Sure. Difficult to take credit with so many people."
[01:49] <Minaplo> ["So is he like… Your kid? Did you have a kid with Aline and Go and Yanmei and Isaiah~?"]
[01:54] <Sept> "Heh. That's a bit of a stretch. Can't we just create life without being all weird about it?"
[01:57] <Minaplo> ["Besides, your implication suggests creation from nothing." Said Armin. "This was more a reawakening than a creation, or even a reincarnation."-
[01:57] <Minaplo> ["Oh wow, Sera. He must get his great big hatred of fun from you."]
[01:59] <Sept> "I don't hate fun!"
[02:14] <Minaplo> ["I don't hate fun." Said Armin at the exact same time.-
[02:19] <Minaplo> [Asuka snorted. "Then what do you get up to then, huh, big guy?"-
[02:19] <Minaplo> ["I haven't had time. I've been escorting my friend here. He needs me."]
[02:25] <Sept> "…"
[02:28] <Minaplo> ["Damn, Sera, you've been dragging him around? Why the hell don't you let him do his own thing?"]
[02:32] <Sept> "You want me to develop echolocation or just rot in my quarters?"

-cont'd-

(14:55:36) Minaplo: ["You could ask someone else to escort you, give this guy a break, huh?!"]
(14:59:26) Sept: "I can't believe we're having this discussion. Armin, would you want some time off?"
(15:02:28) Minaplo: ["I don't always look like this. My other form is actually that of a lance, I can show you-"-
(15:02:43) Minaplo: ["Time off?" Apparently he'd been chatting to Tsubaki. "But you need me."]
(15:05:21) Sept: "Asuka suggested arranging for me to not need you."
(15:05:39) Minaplo: ["Oh really?"]
(15:06:38) Sept: "Yeah, she's got plenty of time so she can guide me around and bear my 'vague tangents' instead."
(15:10:10) Minaplo: ["Like hell I am." Said Asuka. "Tsubaki can guide you around."]
(15:12:56) * Sept laughed softly. "The both of us have a pretty solid record of getting lost, I don't think teaming up would help it."
(15:13:22) Minaplo: ["Maybe you'll cancel each other out."]
(15:16:07) Sept: "You think?"
(15:16:41) Minaplo: ["Yeah, like, if you get lost in one direction and she gets lost in the opposite direction, your natural tendencies to get lost will equalise and you'll end up exactly where you mean to go."-
(15:16:49) Minaplo: ["You can turn into a spear?" Gasped Tsubaki.]
(15:20:13) Sept: "Quantum navigation? Possible, since neither of us could observe the process. He'll be naked if he does that, by the way."
(15:21:08) Minaplo: ["Oh."-
(15:21:18) Minaplo: ["Yeah, see?" Said Asuka proudly. "It's flawless."]
(15:23:48) Sept: "Utterly! You mind if I take Alex, then?"
(15:31:56) Minaplo: ["Yes."]
(15:32:31) Sept: "So you're okay with it."
(15:39:14) Minaplo: ["No, I'm not." She sighed irritably. "You know, you actually seem cockier now that you're blind…"]
(15:44:43) Sept: "If you let me, I won't tell him your secrets."
(15:50:01) Minaplo: ["Like you know my secrets."]
(15:51:52) Sept: "Could tell him what you did on your first week in Eden."
(15:54:06) Minaplo: ["Like you know better than he does?" She began to laugh.]
(15:56:07) Sept: "Heh. Yeah, it's probably no different to what you've been doing this week."
(15:59:12) Minaplo: [There was a clunk on the table in front of Sera.-
(15:59:21) Minaplo: ["There you go. It's…"-
(15:59:31) Minaplo: ["It's green." Said Alex flatly.]
(16:00:33) Sept: "Absinthe?" His good hand crept along the table, searching for the base of the glass.
(16:07:02) Minaplo: ["No. It's just green."-
(16:07:41) Minaplo: [The glass would be placed into Sera's hand, courtesy of someone.]
(16:12:12) * Sept took a whiff of it. He wasn't particularly afraid of the contents. Not yet, at least.
(16:23:22) Minaplo: [It smelled… To be poetic, like the breath of an armored lion drunk on cider.]
(16:29:00) Sept: "Hm." He felt the top of the glass with his other hand, and drank.
(16:40:14) Minaplo: [It -burned-. It seemed to actually feel like a punch in the face as it set his tongue and throat on fire. What the hell was this?]
(16:43:16) Sept: He could feel the heat rising up on his face as he covered his mouth with the back of his hand, the cool metal teasing his overworked senses.
(16:50:52) Minaplo: ["Whoops. Too strong?" Asked Asuka. He could -hear- her grin.-
(16:51:18) Minaplo: [He felt a hard pat on the back. From his left- Armin?]
(16:59:42) Sept: "It's strong," he agreed. "Not like…" He coughed. "like anything I've tasted."
(17:05:21) Minaplo: [THUNK THUNK THUNK. Heavy footsteps.-
(17:06:06) Minaplo: ["Oh, it's de Pteres!" Came a new voice. A deep, booming, powerful voice. Terence Savage.]
(17:08:54) * Sept thunked his glass back down. "A rare sighting!"
(17:10:03) Minaplo: ["Tis!" He felt a massive hand grip his entire head and move it around roughly. It was probably supposed to be a gentle ruffle, but…-
(17:10:58) Minaplo: [There was the sound of something heavy falling heavily onto something thick and solid. Sera's glass trembled briefly in his hand. "Well, everything's a rare sighting for me these days. I've only been back for two days or so."]
(17:13:51) Sept: "Yeah? What trouble've you been causing?"
(17:18:14) Minaplo: ["Been rounding up some of my lost brothers in that fucking wasteland they call the outback of Australia. They've formed clans, did you know that? Actual fucking Iron Guard clans!"]
(17:23:08) Sept: "Yeah, I heard something about that. Ain't really the kind of place to raise your kids."-
(17:23:14) Sept: "In fact, it's hot as hell."
(17:23:31) * Sept took another drink of his glass.
(17:26:37) Minaplo: ["It's not for everyone." Admitted Terry. "But for the ones it is for…"-
(17:29:22) Minaplo: [There was a -thud-, and the table shook violently. "Nothing else like it, I tell ya! A hard land breeds hard kids, and the outback's the hardest land of all!"-
(17:29:33) Minaplo: ["Ack, I spilled my drink!" Whined Tsubaki.-
(17:30:20) Minaplo: ["And it's even better now! Giant spiders as big as a tank! Kangaroos with giant talons! I saw an eagle swoop down and steal a man! What a paradise!"]
(17:36:50) Sept: "Sounds nice. You about done with your pizza, Tsubaki?"
(17:37:36) Minaplo: ["Almost."-
(17:38:04) Minaplo: ["Next time, you should come with me, Sera." Said Terry. "I know you'll love it."]
(17:43:22) Sept: "…mm. Maybe I would."
(17:45:25) Minaplo: ["It's pure. No bullshit. You, the desert, and a bunch of oversized bastards who respect how hard you hit and how hard you lead. Better than parliament."]
(17:51:54) Sept: "Mhm. But you just fight those things for the hell of it, then? Most of the time?"
(17:53:52) Minaplo: ["Which things, exactly? The beasts or the bastards?"]
(17:57:59) Sept: "Beasts, I guess. Is there some kind of grand goal with the bastards? Small-time feuds continue, I assume?"
(18:01:13) Minaplo: ["One at a time. The beasts have their uses. You kill a megaroo- that's what the locals call them, I don't know why we can't just call them giant fucking kangaroos- and you can sell the hides for leather, and the meat for eating. There's an industry in that, and it's not safe work. That gives us some money to work with as well as fattening up all the little communities that dot the outback.
(18:01:14) Minaplo: The spiders, well, the spiders… One of the bastard clans I ran into, Clan Redback, they keep pet spiders, gather their silk, weave it into clothing. Fucking tough clothing. Stronger than steel. Sells for a pretty penny. You can sell the roo meet to them for their pets, and get a good price on silk."-
(18:02:05) Minaplo: ["And the grand goal? Well, just to bring the bastards all together again. There's got to be at least five hundred of 'em out there, maybe even a thousand. Bring them together, hammer them back into a single force, equip 'em properly, and that's a regiment of Iron Guard you can unleash on other poor bastards."]
(18:13:40) * Sept swirled his drink around in his hand, absent-mindedly smelling it again, and regretting the decision. "Mm. I guess. There isn't any hope of that happening any time soon, is there?"
(18:15:21) Minaplo: ["I've already got two-thirds of 'em falling in line, as a matter of fact." Said Terry proudly.]
(18:16:05) Sept: "Well, then, the beast's are gonna be the only things left when I get there, won't they?"
(18:21:51) Minaplo: ["That depends on how hard you fuck up your unit in this op. If you trash it hard enough, I'm sure I can persuade 'em to let you come along for a week or two."]
(18:25:17) Sept: "A vacation?"
(18:26:38) Minaplo: ["Exactly. What could be more relaxing than leaving all this soft luxury behind, living under the clearest skies you'll ever see, working an honest day's in the burning heat, forcing fuckers to see sense with nothing but a gun, a sword and a big fucking fist?"]
(18:31:04) Sept: "Mm." A hint of a smile formed on Sera's face. It was promptly wiped by him taking another drink.
(18:35:19) Minaplo: ["You know, that does sound like fun." Said Asuka. "Maybe I'll trash my unit too."]
(18:43:06) Sept: "Uh huh," he said once he'd finished coughing. "Does that mean the UEF doesn't need you to survive?"
(18:43:42) Minaplo: ["Well-"-
(18:43:55) » @ZackSleep is now known as @Zack
(18:43:57) Minaplo: ["He makes a fair point." Said Alex airily.-
(18:49:41) Minaplo: [There was a sudden squeal from Asuka before Alex continued. "Trashed unit or no, you'll be staying here with me, so -try- to avoid trashing 02 for no good reason. Those toys are expensive."-
(18:49:52) Minaplo: [There was a light tug on Sera's shirt. "Will I be going?" Asked Armin.]
(18:54:02) Sept: "I guess you'd be free to go. If I got better by then."
(18:59:48) Minaplo: ["Do you want me to come?"]
(19:04:03) Sept: "I don't mind."
(19:05:20) Minaplo: ["Then I'll come."-
(19:05:29) Minaplo: [Tsubaki spoke up now. "Onii-chan, my pizza's gone."]
(19:11:38) Sept: "Share a dessert?"
(19:12:40) Minaplo: ["Ooh! Which one?"]
(19:17:19) Sept: "You probably know them better than I do."
(19:25:04) Minaplo: ["A big banana split with vanilla and strawberry ice cream on a plate of hotcakes-"_
(19:25:21) Minaplo: [There was a throaty rumble from across the table. Terry. "Sera. I have a question."-
(19:25:35) Minaplo: ["With wafers that have toffee filling inside and a side scoop of mango sorbet-"-
(19:25:40) Minaplo: ["What think you of peace?"-
(19:25:58) Minaplo: ["… With extra chocolate."]
(19:28:13) * Sept squinted from the effort to try and make sense of it, putting his glass down again. "Sorry, what?"
(19:29:48) Minaplo: ["What think you of peace?!"-
(19:30:02) Minaplo: [A deep breath from Tsubaki. "A big banana split with vanilla and strawberry ice cream-"-
(19:30:15) Minaplo: ["Hush, Tsubaki. Let me fetch it." Armin's soothing voice.]
(19:31:45) Sept: "In a dessert, Terry?"
(19:33:36) Minaplo: ["No. I'm being serious."]
(19:34:31) Sept: A moment's delay, whether to think about it or decode the original meaning to begin with. "Peace? All for it."
(19:35:20) Sept: "…sorry. The split sounds delicious," he nodded towards Tsubaki's voice a moment.
(19:35:47) Minaplo: ["Yay!"-
(19:36:12) Minaplo: ["Hmm." Terry mulled for a moment. "Do you mind if I ask you another question along that line?"]
(19:37:40) * Sept leaned back a bit, set somewhat on guard by the preface. "Go ahead."
(19:41:52) Minaplo: ["Let's say that you have a goal. It is a goal you commit everything towards. Everything you do is done because it advances this goal in some way. Your entire life is shaped towards achieving this goal. Now, what's left when this goal is achieved? What does a man do after that?"]
(19:46:39) Sept: "I had a life with Freya before. I can rejoin the billions of people going about their daily business," he said as if it was obvious.
(19:47:08) Minaplo: ["Aye. Aye, to beg your pardon. I wasn't actually referring to you."]
(19:50:36) Sept: "Huh? What, the armies in general?"
(19:54:36) Minaplo: ["Specifically, my brothers, the Iron Guard. We were designed- over-designed, some might say- for a specific, brutally specific purpose. We were programmed to be loyal to Azariah Caine, not to his cause, and when he died our reason to exist- the reason we were created- died with him."]
(20:04:12) Sept: "I'm sure a bunch, given peace, would just adapt to a post-war society and find their places. And the clans haven't been in utter misery with their Australian lives, have they?"
(20:06:37) Minaplo: ["I think that's the problem, though." Said Terry, his voice quiet. "Their war ended, and now they squabble and fight over the desert like a bunch of Germans."-
(20:06:40) Minaplo: ["Hey!"-
(20:07:43) Minaplo: ["Deal with it, you know I'm right. Now don't get me wrong, it's enjoyable, that life, but it's not doing much important. They could've reintegrated as is. Gone into the cities, helped rebuild. We're smart, we know how to govern, but so many of them opted to go and live in constant violence and mayhem. Why?"]
(20:12:04) Sept: "Why should they? Start with that."
(20:12:36) Minaplo: ["Why should they integrate?"]
(20:12:50) Sept: "Yeah."
(20:13:03) Minaplo: [He tapped the table. "You ever thought about kids?"-
(20:13:24) Minaplo: ["Oh god, a little Sera. Blerrr." Asuka made a gagging sound.-
(20:13:31) Minaplo: ["Little Sera would be cute!" Protested Tsubaki.]
(20:16:54) Sept: "Not that I-" Sera started to answer. "Look, you smug fucker, Alex came from -somewhere-, you think of that?"
(20:20:07) Minaplo: ["Yeah, I know where he came from." Said Asuka.]
(20:26:55) Sept: "So the concentration of blue eyes on this table is just a completely natural statistical event to you?!"
(20:27:28) Minaplo: [There was a pause.-
(20:29:57) Minaplo: ["You know, now that you mention it, you -all- have blue eyes." Said Terry. "All except the big guy who left to grab that dessert."-
(20:30:35) Minaplo: ["That doesn't mean anything!" Said Asuka hotly. "Tsubaki and I are totally unrelated! Half of the blue eyes here don't count!"-
(20:30:51) Minaplo: ["42%." Said Alex.-
(20:31:00) Minaplo: [There was a hard -whap-.-
(20:31:02) Minaplo: ["Ow."-
(20:31:11) Sept: "You've got blue eyes?"
(20:33:50) Minaplo: ["Who was that to?" Asked Asuka.]
(20:34:42) Sept: "You? Nevermind."
(20:35:59) Minaplo: ["You fucker. Yes, I have one eye. And yes, it's blue. God."-
(20:36:15) Minaplo: ["Anyway, to get back to my point, your body right there had nothing to do with Alex's conception, did it? So it doesn't matter."]
(20:38:21) Sept: "Well, if you're gonna make that distinction, -this- body won't survive another day."
(20:38:45) Minaplo: ["Yep." Said Asuka, clearly having decided that she'd won.-
(20:39:12) Minaplo: ["To get back to -my- original point, you derailing assholes." Came Terry. "Sera, you and children. Thought about it?"]
(20:41:51) Sept: "Yeah. And concluded I'm in no position to consider it. Reconsider afterwards."
(20:42:07) Minaplo: ["But you -can- consider it at some point."]
(20:44:49) Sept: "Yes. But I don't believe in legacy like that."
(20:46:23) Minaplo: ["Yeah, ok. But that's where you and I differ, not in belief, but in capacity. I can't have children. That's one of the prices you pay when you become an Iron Guard. No kids. You're infertile. You remember that little girl, Eevi? Same for her. No offspring, and the only way we can make more Guard is through that expensive, damned unstable method that created us."]
(20:50:44) Sept: "Yeah, you can spin that both ways." Sera drained the last of the vile drink in front of him, grimacing and taking a pause for dramatic effect.-
(20:51:41) Sept: "Maybe rebuilding and being constructive cogs is your only way of leaving a legacy. But maybe not having children means your fucked with your legacy anyway, so why bother?"
(20:54:01) Minaplo: ["I'm not really focused on legacy right now, not in the way you mean. Legacy is for people who fear mortality, and Iron Guard do not die of old age." Said Terry.-
(20:55:47) Minaplo: ["I'm thinking of the well-being of the Iron Guard as a whole. It's not about leaving a legacy. Every loss we take, every Guard proper killed, is irreplaceable. We're hard to kill, but not impossible to kill."-
(20:57:02) Minaplo: ["So that's my first point. Integration means more, both to others and to ourselves, with that fact hanging over our heads."-
(20:59:06) Minaplo: ["My second point is this: Impact turned the world into one of war, one of chaos. That's the fire we were born in, and it's the fire we're most suited to, but it's not going to continue forever. The big players are dying, one by one. Soon it'll all be over. Soon, all the lawless shitholes my brothers rule will start to be reclaimed. We'll be relics."]
(21:07:01) Sept: "You think we'll run out of space? Population's gone down quite a bit, it'll take a while."
(21:12:22) Minaplo: ["It's not about space. Consider Australia. The fucking outback was nearly empty before Impact and it'll be nearly empty after. But do you think Australia tolerated roving warlords fighting in its territory? Not a chance. There'll just be no more room for that. No more warlording. No more fighting."-
(21:13:27) Minaplo: ["Again, it comes to integration. We'd be a boon. We're strong. We're smart. We're tough, fucking tough. But we're geared for fighting, for war, and there's things in our head that make us revel in it. To enjoy that tangible challenge. It's all we've known, and it's not going to be easy coping with a peaceful world, not for us."-
(21:14:00) Minaplo: ["… Yeah. I get it." Asuka muttered. "It's like us Neospartans. We were trained to be warriors, right? Not many of us really adapted to other roles all that well."-
(21:14:06) Minaplo: ["I adapted ok." Muttered Alex.-
(21:14:12) Minaplo: ["Yeah, but you were all groomed and shit."]
(21:24:18) Sept: "Yeah, but… there's still variation. Just like Alex, you see some worth in rising to the challenge of beating that conditioning. Is it right to impose that on everyone else, even if it will lead to their ruin in the long run?"
(21:43:53) Minaplo: ["Yes." Said Terry bluntly. "Trying to beat conditioning by yourself is hard. It requires help from others. Most freedoms require help from others. As it stands, right now they're free to waste away. Free to be slaves. That's all they'll be without my interference, my imposition. Break their chains, and give them the freedom of opportunity, instead of the freedom to die without interference."]

-con'td-

(13:22:58) Sept: "Yeah, alright. That sounds an awful lot like what I was advocating for the Neos years back while some giant belittled my intentions."
(13:22:59) » Minaplo|Out is now known as Minaplo
(13:27:26) Minaplo: [Terry laughed.-
(13:28:12) Minaplo: ["One: if that's what you wanted, you argued your case like a drunken cow. And two: I was just fuckin' with you back then to feel you out."]
(13:34:09) Sept: An expression of distaste. "Drunken cow, paranoid lilimspawn, same difference. You weren't on my list of potential allies, so I just wanted to establish superiority."-
(13:34:38) Sept: "So how do you plan to get through to them?"
(13:38:12) Minaplo: [There were snorts from the rest of the table, although it was impossible to discern who exactly was snorting.-
(13:44:22) Minaplo: ["Well," Said Terry, "I figure we start off with what I've been doing so far: bringing them together. Some of it I've done with words, some with a bit of force, a bit of bargaining… Once we're all a single unit again, then I can start giving back their true pride instead of this shit they have going on now. Get them working as a unit and a community. Convincing them to fight'll be easy,
(13:44:23) Minaplo: but convincing them to believe in the cause'll be fuckin' hard. But it's gotta be done. Once that belief's established, I can start to get them believing in supporting the cause in ways that aren't just about putting bolt shells through heads."]
(13:53:05) Sept: "Mm. Anything we could realistically help with? Other than their God Emperor Yanmei going down there to order them together."
(14:01:12) Minaplo: ["That actually would help. Some of the holdouts say they refuse to fight for someone they've never met… Which is where I figured you might come in. You're no Yanmei, but in their eyes you're not far away. Iron Guard respect strength and bravery, and there's few things braver than an Eva pilot- someone with an unstoppable weapon that they alone control- deliberately meeting them without
(14:01:13) Minaplo: that weapon."]
(14:08:56) Sept: "Eh. Really? But they wouldn't be fighting for anyone at this table, except you, maybe. We're not the generals."
(14:16:10) Minaplo: ["Baby steps. We bring them into line now, and we can set something up with Yanmei later."]
(14:21:55) Sept: "Oh yeah, you know I'm all about the baby steps." Sera fiddled with his glass again, making sure it was empty. "Sure, I could give it a shot. Mine and 01's condition permitting."
(14:24:43) Minaplo: ["Sounds good."-
(14:25:01) Minaplo: ["I'm back with your dessert." Came Armin's voice to Sera's right.]
(14:37:55) Sept: "Ah. How do we do this, Tsubaki?"
(14:41:22) Minaplo: ["I can feed you, onii-chan!"-
(14:41:26) Minaplo: ["I can help too." Said Armin happily.]
(14:49:46) * Sept covered his face with a hand and laughed. "Yet I can't have both."
(14:52:09) Minaplo: ["We can take it in turns." Said Tsubaki sincerely.-
(14:52:21) Minaplo: ["Ooh, scandal." Said Asuka gleefully.]
(15:03:50) Sept: "Do you… -want- to take it in turns?"
(15:05:38) Minaplo: ["It'd be messy if we did it both at the same time." Said Tsubaki doubtfully.]
(15:13:00) Sept: "Yeah… fine? We're in no hurry."
(15:14:15) Minaplo: ["But if we take too long, it'll all melt…"]
(15:16:23) Sept: "Then it's good we have Armin here to help."
(15:21:33) Minaplo: ["You want me to eat this?" Asked Armin.]
(15:30:59) Sept: "I don't mind. Do -you- want to have some?"
(15:33:24) Minaplo: [Across the table, Sera could hear the sotto-voce gasping that was someone laughing so hard they couldn't make noise.-
(15:33:32) Minaplo: ["I think I should." Said Armin solemnly.]
(15:35:14) Sept: "You guys fine over there?"
(15:37:26) Minaplo: ["We're good. Shut up." Said Alex.-
(15:37:32) Minaplo: [More breathless laughter.-
(15:37:47) Minaplo: [He heard something digging about in front of him, then… "'Aaa', onii-chan."]
(15:40:14) * Sept just opened his mouth, then, leaning forwards ever so slightly. She'd get hers.
(15:48:43) Minaplo: [He felt it pushed into his mouth. An explosion of tastes and textures, cold and creamy with the rich tang of caramel and the light, fluffy, soft taste of strawberry.]
(15:50:14) Sept: "Mm!" Sera covered his mouth again, making… noises. "That's really good!" he finally managed.
(15:54:02) Minaplo: [There was a gasping breath from across the table, then…-
(15:54:22) Minaplo: ["Aaaaaaaaaahahahahahahaha…" Asuka pounded on the table, gagging on her own laughter. "Ahahahahahaha…"-
(15:54:30) Minaplo: ["I think she's laughing at you, my friend." Said Armin seriously.]
(15:56:47) Sept: "And that's fine. I'll just kick her ass on the field. An Eva doesn't need eyes, anyway."
(15:58:35) Minaplo: ["Hahahahahahaha…"-
(15:58:58) Minaplo: ["I think you will find that eyes are a huge help for an Eva." Said Alex.]
(16:02:20) Sept: "Between AT beacon enemies, OTIS and strategic links, I doubt it'd slow me down much at all?"
(16:04:17) Minaplo: ["Are your AT senses on par with Aline's?"]
(16:05:54) Sept: "Of course not. Killing Angelspawn isn't work requiring high precision."
(16:09:44) Minaplo: ["Let's pray you only encounter Angelspawn, then." Said Alex mildly, his voice replaced by the sound of gulping.]
(16:13:19) Sept: "Hah. That'd be great."
(16:14:32) Minaplo: ["Two Angels left, huh." Said Asuka, having regained control of herself. "Ugh. Last time really didn't go as well as I'd have liked."]
(16:23:48) Sept: "Shouldn't be surprised. We've still been exceeding expectations so far, considering."
(16:25:53) Minaplo: ["Oh?"]
(16:30:42) Sept: "We've had -a- line of defense the whole time. Even if it might feel like we've been on our back foot the entire time, we haven't had to back off from fights."
(16:32:07) Minaplo: ["This is true…"]
(16:34:10) Sept: "Damn straight it is!"
(16:38:47) Minaplo: ["Still." Alex was the one to speak up now. "Two Angels. And between you and me, I don't envy the pilots who run into Azrael."]
(16:40:57) Sept: "Mm."
(16:45:54) Minaplo: ["I won't be out there fighting." Said Tsubaki. "I'll be inside the battleship, inside super-03."]
(16:46:39) Sept: "And we're relying on you to keep the ship safe. Or as close as possible."
(16:47:02) Minaplo: ["I can do it! Super-03 has super-shields!"-
(16:47:15) Minaplo: ["Open wide, my friend." Said Armin gently. "Delights incoming."]
(16:51:34) * Sept did, with no comment.
(16:53:37) Minaplo: [Another delicious spoonful. This was almost as lovely as curry.-
(16:57:11) Minaplo: ["Well." Asuka's voice. "For your own sake, Sera, try to stay away from Azrael~"]
(16:57:42) Sept: "Whyzat?"
(16:59:47) Minaplo: ["Wouldn't want your unit to leak."]
(17:01:06) Sept: "Wow, really? Maybe -you- should stay back, with no spare eyes left."
(17:05:30) Minaplo: ["Oh yeah? Big words for a guy who I could beat with my one eye -closed-."]
(17:06:50) Sept: "Is that a challenge to some kind of blind duel?"
(17:11:00) Minaplo: ["Oh my god." Said Alex. "Please say yes. That sounds stupid enough to be entertaining."-
(17:13:21) Minaplo: ["S-Shut up. It's not stupid." Said Asuka. "I could totally take you in a blind duel."]
(17:17:51) Sept: "Weapons would be pointless."
(17:19:50) Minaplo: ["I could take you no weapons, anything. Naked."]
(17:21:54) * Sept squinted at her. "Why naked..?"
(17:23:37) Minaplo: ["Yes, dear, why naked?" Asked Alex, letting out a long and tired sigh.-
(17:25:46) Minaplo: ["I meant-" She paused. "I meant without armour or equipment. Obviously. I wouldn't let him sneak a peek-"-
(17:26:02) Minaplo: ["How would he if he's blind?" Asked Armin, genuinely curious in his tone.-
(17:26:17) Minaplo: ["Well- shut up!"]
(17:31:55) Sept: "Freudian?"
(17:32:29) Minaplo: ["W-What?"-
(17:32:53) Minaplo: ["It'd be a shame to waste such loveliness on the blind, too." Mulled Armin wistfully.-
(17:32:55) Minaplo: ["What?!"]
(17:40:18) Sept: "So are we fighting or not? We don't have -that- much time before the op."
(17:40:58) Minaplo: ["Damn s-"-
(17:41:04) Minaplo: ["Veto." Said Alex immediately.-
(17:41:06) Minaplo: ["What?!"]
(17:44:46) Sept: "You have that kind of power?"
(17:47:39) Minaplo: ["Yes." Said Alex. "I'm not going to let two important pilots potentially injure each other in a stupid, really stupid fight before the most important undertaking in human history."]
(17:48:53) Sept: "My injuries will hardly matter. Are you saying I could debilitatingly injure her?"
(17:56:06) Minaplo: ["I'm saying she could probably debilitatingly injure herself-"-
(17:56:12) Minaplo: [There was a rather meaty -thwack-.-
(17:56:16) Minaplo: ["Ow, mother-fucker-!"]
(18:00:15) Sept: It was Sera's turn to laugh. "Alright, we can postpone it."
(18:03:53) Minaplo: ["You'll have to do it right after you return." Said Terry gravely.]
(18:04:09) Sept: "Hm?"
(18:04:44) Minaplo: ["We'll be leaving shortly after, after all!"]
(18:05:48) Sept: "Plenty of time after if we can't."
(18:11:44) Minaplo: ["Mm."-
(18:12:34) Minaplo: ["Onii-chan. We need to hurry." Said Tsubaki worriedly. "Or else it'll all be melted up. Come on! Aaa!"]
(18:13:18) * Sept complied. Serious business.
(18:16:51) Minaplo: [And so Sera would find himself, for perhaps the next ten or fifteen minutes, being double-fed by his two sincere companions… All to the amusement of his much wrier ones across the table.]

-fin-

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