For The Love Of Life 1 4 13

[15:05] <Aline> To say that Aline felt anxious heading into the prison block of the battleship was something of an understatement. The girl was a bit jittery, even if she was mostly good at suppressing the outward signs of such. Still, she'd eventually make her way to the cell of a certain man, a… von Brandt. She had heard quite a bit about him as it was, really…
[15:12] <Minaplo> [von Brandt sat on his bed, leaning against the wall, staring up at the roof. The door to his cell was made of transparent surovite- he was supremely secure, even if it looked like a window.-
[15:13] <Minaplo> [As Aline arrived, von Brandt stood up, walking over to the door. He sat down on a small chair, picking up a phone receiver with his right hand, holding it up to his ear. There was another one on Aline's side, for her benefit.-
[15:13] <Minaplo> [von Brandt smiled.]
[15:24] * Aline picked up the phone, and smiled back, or at least tried to. "So… I'm on the list of people you wanted to talk to, then…?"
[15:32] <Minaplo> ["Indeed you are, my dear. How are you?"]
[15:36] * Aline tilted her head for a moment, before just… replying, a bit cordially. "I'm fairly alright, though I'm sure you're already well aware that there's significant stress in the day-to-day life here."
[15:37] <Minaplo> ["Oh, I understand that all too well, my dear, all too well. Yet you seem to be coping with it quite admirably, if I may say so."]
[15:38] * Aline gave a little nod. "Thank you. I can't lie and say that I'm /un/affected, but it's not crippling either."
[15:40] <Minaplo> ["It is good to see. What seems to give you the greatest trouble?"]
[15:48] <Aline> "…Hm. I have to wonder if this is just curiosity, gathering information, proving a hypothesis, or…?"
[15:56] <Minaplo> ["Answering a question with a question? You've been working at NERV for far too long, my dear."]
[15:57] * Aline folded an arm to lean on it. "Probably, but a healthy sense of skepticism is crucial to surviving the organization."
[16:00] <Minaplo> ["Verily."]
[16:04] * Aline nodded. "Either way… I may as well answer, though I'll hasten to note you didn't answer me in exchange." She seemed… less annoyed than the word choice suggested, even still smiling. "It is mostly relationship stress involving Shinji and the afflictions caused by Michael's Absolute Terror effect and other similar traumas. But we seem to be working through it…?"
[16:18] <Minaplo> ["Oh, I see. Michael affected you, my dear? What happened…?"]
[16:20] * Aline frowned a bit. "By affecting Shinji, to be exact. …Namely, he caused AT Field degeneration that lead to… er. I'm not sure what the proper term is, but a form of distorted vision based on the soul rather than the actual physical appearance? It was very disorienting for him."
[16:22] <Minaplo> ["Like with Bellamy."]
[16:22] * Aline nodded her head. "Exactly. Though I think she had more than just that."
[16:36] <Minaplo> ["Indeed. Curious, curious…"-
[16:36] <Minaplo> ["You know, I asked if I could speak to young Mr. Ikari, but Chancellor Zhang refused me. She didn't feel he could handle it."]
[16:37] * Aline blinked a few times. "…Even with him starting to get a bit of a grip on his mind again, I honestly might be inclined to agree, at the present time. It's a very precarious state, and you have a reputation for being… confronting, to talk to."
[16:41] <Minaplo> ["I do! In fact, there's a funny story about that…"]
[16:45] * Aline had a brief flash of uncertainty on her face, as if she didn't know if she'd regret pressing the subject or not. Yet… "Do tell…?"
[16:50] <Minaplo> ["Raphael Guillory came down here a few days ago. He was very angry. He told me he was going to ensure that you and the other pilots wouldn't be allowed to speak to me… Yet all the while claiming I wasn't as dangerous as some believed. A very interesting viewpoint."]
[16:55] * Aline thought about that. …Wondered if it was even her business to ask Raphael about that /whenever/ she saw him next. Yet… "That's certainly odd. I imagine some kind of event surrounding you got him angry for personal reasons, but he yet believed others were exaggerating? It's either some kind of cognitive dissonance going on between the notion of your alleged danger and its
[16:55] * Aline exaggeration, and what affected him… Or the reputed dangers were worse than whatever befell him." She, honestly, was almost intrigued. She wasn't stupid enough to think 'oh, this guy's not really bothering me that much', but she did seem to be treating this as an actually stimulating conversation. "Not that I /quite/ want to pry into his life, if only because the, er… relationship grid
[16:55] * Aline is dense on that one."
[17:01] <Minaplo> ["He was angry, yes. I gave Chiisana Himesama some hard advice."]
[17:05] * Aline let her lips curl slightly to show some negative emotion, but also maybe to indicate she had some idea. …if a very vague one. "Ah yes, the Ayanami-daddy part of him. Well, I can see how that'd anger him, yes… If nothing else, I get the feeling 'hard advice' and 'uncomfortable truths' are basically your proverbial bread-and-butter vis a vis that reputation."
[17:07] <Minaplo> ["Few people like uncomfortable truths. Uncomfortable truths that people like are just called truths, I think."]
[17:09] * Aline pursed her lips… the arm she was leaning on raised to put a finger to said lips. "L… ikely, really. It's still a distinction worth making, if only to understand behavior."
[17:19] <Minaplo> ["Quite right. Nevertheless, I'm afraid I was forced to give Raphael Guillory a few hard truths of his own. I don't think he appreciated it, but you can verify the results for yourself. I think you may find that he's taking a more active, paternal hand in the affairs of our dear Ayanami friends."]
[17:23] * Aline sort of tilted her head. "I have to wonder just how 'forced' you were. Or, put more broadly… just… what kind of motives do you really go over in saying things like that? You're obviously schooled in the sciences of the mind, but I just find it… maybe slightly odd that you're trying to interfere in, and supposedly repair, the relationships of the people holding you prisoner?…
[17:23] * Aline even if it's in a harsh, confronting way."
[17:27] <Minaplo> ["What motive do you think I have?"]
[17:30] * Aline shrugged a bit. "Were you to ask me before I came in here, I would've said 'to get away with crushing their egos and delusions to make them suffer, by allowing yourself to yet still feel right in helping them'." An… almost-smirk. "Yet what I'm /actually getting/ here, is something more along the lines of an uncompromising enactment of how you think they should relate, on the people
[17:30] * Aline around you. It /seems/ to be based on an actual framework of good relationships, though?"
[17:35] <Minaplo> ["I don't break people down for their own sake." Said von Brandt with a smile. "That's just petty sadism, no no no. I encourage that framework, as you say, and sometimes I have to be 'hard' when it comes to that encouragement. Sometimes, my dear, people aren't aware of the damage they can do to one another when blinded by carelessness or love."]
[17:45] * Aline nodded. "…I generally need a lot of evidence of being, colloquially speaking, 'fucked in the head' before I can accept petty malice like sadism as a motivation. Most of it comes from being misguided, working from bad data sets, simply holding another perspective…" A long sigh. "Being 'evil' intrinsically is nonsense."
[17:46] <Minaplo> ["Exactly."]
[17:50] <Aline> "…Now, of course… The question of this war between the Federation and the New World - or the war between humanity and the Angels for that matter… lingers, under that context." Aline leaned backwards a little. "I expect the chance of you expounding on just what 'your side' truly wants, without getting a lot of things - like these conversations, if Yanmei was correct - in return is low.
[17:50] <Aline> But… It's the big gap in understanding what the hell is going on. The Angel War… I know where that broke down."
[17:51] <Minaplo> ["Oh?"]
[17:58] * Aline decided to make a 'tactical' decision and avoid the /current/ breakdown - Michael's diplomacy, Mary rejecting Azrael and Metatron's truce, all that. "For whatever reason, Lilith and Adam were 'selfish', and ended up fighting after First Impact, rather than one helping the other to depart for their destination. Maybe it was necessary insofar as Lilith couldn't actually leave anymore,
[17:58] * Aline but… Not that I know why that happened, but the two Seeds' actions germinated within both kinds for billions of years to produce the war started by Second Impact."
[17:59] <Minaplo> ["Accurate. In fact, because you have been so helpful I will give you another piece of that particular puzzle to help fine-tune your knowledge."]
[18:03] * Aline tilted her head subtly. "…Ah?"
[18:05] <Minaplo> ["Have you ever considered the Caines? Curious family. Mary, Azariah, Elisha- the first two A-Types, the third an E-Type. All in one family! Considering that there are only 4,000 A-Types and 7 E-Types at any given time, for two A-Types and an E to appear within the same generation of a family, as siblings- the odds would be astronomically low, yes?"]
[18:07] * Aline nodded. "…I will freely admit I hadn't know that about Mary or Azariah until now, though I /suppose/ it's reasonable enough now that I do… Hmn. That implies manipulation, as you no doubt were leading me to."
[18:08] <Minaplo> ["Indeed. Lilith's manipulations. Extraordinary individuals placed at just the right time and place to bring out the goal that she desired."]
[18:13] * Aline nodded, as if she had been about to mention Lilith before he did, but had decided to let him say it. "Pretty much my thinking on it. She has her tool of Destiny, and her control of the cycle of reproduction - why not use it? Naturally, it's hard for a human to really track the course of Destiny, and harder still to see it directly in action, but… after learning of it I've certainly
[18:13] * Aline /tried/."
[18:13] <Minaplo> ["Indeed?"]
[18:16] * Aline nodded. "Mostly in trying to see how all these Third Impact plans might tie into it - which, after all, is effectively a study of Caines when you consider humanity. …Though, heh. The Angels are on many levels products of /Adam's/ Destiny, so… enh."
[18:18] <Minaplo> ["Of course, Lilith meant for someone to find Adam and thus bring that about. That is the problem, I think. If the Caines did not exist, then someone else would have been the instrument. A strange fate."]
[18:23] * Aline furrowed her brow a little bit. "Essentially, as long as Lilith is at the board, any piece will do."
[18:43] <Minaplo> ["Exactly."]
[18:47] <Aline> "So it is…" Aline said, needing a moment to change subject a bit. "Yet in the end, that brings us to an end on that matter. Yet… surely, not just picking my brain about the nature of Destiny and fun facts about other people who came to talk before me, is on your mind in putting me on said list…?"
[18:50] <Minaplo> ["Why do you think you're on my list, my dear?"]
[18:55] * Aline made a little 'pfeh' noise away from the phone, only her lips moving to indicate it ever happened. "Well. You gave lessons to Raphael. You challenged something about Chiisana's relationships I think?… and Yanmei just had an all-in-all bad time that I don't quite get the details of. I am /currently/ operating under the assumption that you think there's something about me either
[18:55] * Aline socially or in personality that you need to alter."
[18:59] <Minaplo> ["Possible. On the other hand…"-
[18:59] <Minaplo> ["What is different between you and dear Zhang Yanmei?"]
[19:04] * Aline had a very awkward half-smile. "So many things. I'd actually want to know if you had a /particular area/ of personality to focus on, maybe. I mean, on the surface, though… she gets angry or at least indignant very often, and very meticulously tries - operative word maybe being 'tries' - to create a perfectly friendly shell to hide her various biases and flaws. In comparison, I'm
[19:04] * Aline usually neither of those two things, as much as I have my own, mostly-unrelated-to-Yanmei failings and virtues."
[19:14] <Minaplo> [He chuckled. "And what about you and Raphael Guillory?"]
[19:16] * Aline pondered that longer than she did Yanmei. "…He's a lot more world-weary and cynical than I am. It's very very easy to be more cynical than I am, though. Also invested in professionalism and parental behavior, as well as clinging to the idea of adulthood. And in a different way than Yanmei does."
[19:16] <Minaplo> ["Ahaha. And you and Chiisana Himesama."]
[19:21] * Aline almost felt like this was a routine, now! "She's very focused on proper decorum and image where I'm not, honestly has - by her very nature as an Ayanami sister - less experience with the world… and that propriety carries very far in other realms too, I imagine? I don't quite know her life that well though."
[19:22] <Minaplo> ["All three of them so invested in presenting an image."]
[19:25] <Aline> "…Am I that far from that, really? I try to look upright and competent, or at least I think so." A frown crossed Aline's face. "I'll be fairly honest, my mind's eye blurs as much as my physical ones do when I look too far inwards."
[19:30] <Minaplo> ["But you are." Said von Brandt. "Do you know how terrified Zhang Yanmei becomes when her mask is removed? She panics, she lashes out… But you've just admitted that not only can you quantify your image, but you can admit that to others… If I were to remove your mask, how might you react, my dear? I daresay not nearly so much as Zhang Yanmei might."]
[19:37] * Aline widened her eyes, not out of fear or shock, but out of realization. "…I'd be upset, since that'd mean you'd have to reveal me doing wrong morally, or being wrong intellectually. Dorian had done that at least once, even… but I see your point. I'd try to fix it, yes. I'd feel bad about not living up to my self-image. But… I wouldn't strain or even break."
[19:43] <Minaplo> ["Exactly. And that's what I like about you, my dear." Said von Brandt with a warm, even -paternal- smile. "These others, I try to show them how their image, their mask, their approach hurts them, turns their efforts against themselves, and they see it as an attack. But you… Understand."-
[19:44] <Minaplo> ["It is a rare trait, and it is one that I appreciate."]
[19:48] * Aline nodded her head, trying to reconcile the man's praise, with all she had heard. It made her smile quivery and uncertain, but it was true smile beyond that. "…As strange as the expectations built around you are, I appreciate such honest praise, Dr. von Brandt."
[19:54] <Minaplo> ["You're very welcome, my dear."-
[19:55] <Minaplo> ["You also know your fair share about Lilith- and Destiny, I think. You seem to have put a good deal of thought into what all of it means."]
[20:00] <Aline> "It's… I feel, almost my /job/ to do so, if you entertain the notion of 'pilot solidarity' and take it far enough to start exerting division of labor." A small chuckle from Aline at that, though.
[20:06] <Minaplo> [A mirrored chuckle. "Where would that leave the others?"]
[20:09] <Aline> "Aha, various roles. Yanmei to cultivate political relationships, Sera to drive on with sheer stubborn gall, Tsubaki as… almost a person to center the others with her 'cute' attitude, and so on. …It's usually more a concept of the 'Trinity Pilots', and Sera especially, even if others get brought into it."
[20:09] <Minaplo> ["Trinity pilots… You, Sera de Pteres and Zhang Yanmei?"]
[20:12] * Aline smiled softly. "That's correct. It seems fitting, given the rampant religious symbolism NERV is known for. I think I'm mostly responsible for coining the term, though, aheh…"
[20:16] <Minaplo> ["What do the others think of the concept?"]
[20:18] * Aline drummed her fingers on the little desk-like platform there to lean on. "Not sure. They don't react too strongly to it, and sometimes use the term… but I wouldn't be surprised if Yanmei thinks it's a bit pretentious, Sera has internalized it into his mythic thought-process, and… I'm honestly not sure about the other pilots. Being often deployed away from them until the whole
[20:18] * Aline Federation business makes it hard to tell."
[20:22] <Minaplo> ["Mythic thought-process?"]
[20:31] * Aline waved her hand a little bit. "Probably me making stuff up, but… To understand Sera, you need to remember that he often thinks, when he reaches to /goals/, in terms of a mythic narrative. Sort of. …Like duty and heroism, the vagaries of fate - effectivelly a more poetic word for Destiny on some levels, for his purposes, not that he's /ignorant/ of the concept - and using the
[20:31] * Aline supernatural symbolism inherent in…" A sort of broader hand wave. "…all of this, to fuse it together. So pilot solidarity, swearing his allegiance to repay a sin or to further a goal, those kinds of almost… olden notions."
[20:32] <Minaplo> ["You make it sound like he's chivalrous."]
[20:35] * Aline smirked. "He certainly makes the attempt, from my reckoning. If nothing else, it shows better now that he's… maybe either reaching the end of his rope, or coming out of the tunnel - pick the metaphor you think is more accurate, really."
[20:35] <Minaplo> ["End of his rope- he's having problems?"]
[20:38] <Aline> "Who isn't? But… years of Angelic mental assault, the strain of war and realizing one's identity… surely, there's some /give/ there, non?"
[20:42] <Minaplo> ["The Eva pilots, especially the older, more experienced veterans such as yourself and Sera de Pteres, have all had to deal with threats and pains that the newer recruits have not. True?"]
[20:43] <Aline> "True." Aline said simply, even if she leaned forward curiously.
[20:45] <Minaplo> ["Yet on the outside, one could assume he handles it quite well. Perhaps his 'chivalry' is his own way of coping?"]
[20:46] <Aline> "Not just possible, but likely." Aline concluded almost casually. "Rituals create a sense of stability in the mind, after all, and a code of conduct is, maybe, one of the most social-positive forms of ritualism I can think of."
[20:48] <Minaplo> ["True. So long as it avoids being self-contradictory, or neglectful of one's own needs…"]
[20:53] * Aline pursed her lips again. "…He /is/ self-sacrificing at times… Though that's almost a definition of his combat role, if a definition forged by the presence of people like him and Rei in that role."
[20:56] <Minaplo> ["Some sort of point-taker."]
[21:01] * Aline wisely decided against introducing the confounding factor of MMORPG terminology. "Exactly. He can sometimes neglect himself because of it, but… I feel things like Tsubaki's presence can ground him."
[21:03] <Minaplo> ["Akagi Tsubaki? Ikari Gendo's lovechild?"]
[21:07] <Aline> "…Uh. I mentioned her before, and you didn't really react!" Aline said with a bit of surprise. …Though she did search her mind a bit to see if she had ever been told /that/ little gem before, a pensive look drawing over her face as she did so. "…But um. Yes. Her."
[21:09] <Minaplo> ["You mentioned her earlier, yes, but not in conjunction with Sera de Pteres, it wasn't- you did know that, right?"]
[21:10] * Aline furrowed her brow slightly. "…I don't actually know? It sort of explains… …not as much as I thought when I started that sentence. It seems a very Gendo thing to do. Fucked up, though." The sheer fact that she had a train of thought derail may have meant that it was a bit of a sting.
[21:11] <Minaplo> ["It does, doesn't it? Does Ikari Shinji know that he has an older sister?"]
[21:14] * Aline glanced this way and that. "…Probably not. I haven't even the faintest inkling on how to bring up the topic, though." …then Aline remembered. "…Okay, yeah, I did know that already. It just was a vague surmising so I was still a bit surprised." But soon she sighed and slumped back away from the snap realization. "But yeeeeeah. That's not going to be fun, even if it's arguably
[21:14] * Aline necessary."
[21:18] <Minaplo> ["Is this a sensitive topic for him?"]
[21:20] * Aline blinked once. Ohhhhh shit. If ever he actually talked to Shinji, this would be /ammunition/. Still… "The idea of forgotten family members because of illicit affairs and/or suspicious gene donor choices - I don't even /know/ - that are then hidden from you?… Yeah, I'd imagine it's sensitive."
[21:22] <Minaplo> ["It was an affair, by the way."]
[21:24] * Aline quirked a brow. "…You have a vaguely disturbing amount of knowledge about these things, but… uh. I see."
[21:25] <Minaplo> ["Pardon. It is my role to know these things."]
[21:27] * Aline …slowly nodded. "I sort of… figured."
[21:28] <Minaplo> ["Look at us, getting all off track. You were discussing Sera de Pteres and his being 'grounded' by Akagi Tsubaki?" he chuckled.-
[21:28] <Minaplo> ["Forgive me, but Akagi Tsubaki seems to have trouble grounding herself sometimes…"]
[21:33] * Aline cleared her throat a bit, as if to ensure returning to track. "It's… the concept of having someone who seems 'innocent', that he can dote over like a younger sister. And that /is/ basically how she acts towards him, right down to honorifics. A moral center, as it were."
[21:42] <Minaplo> ["Giving him that sense of social belonging and affection that is so important."]
[15:42] <Aline> "Basically. In this way, even a personality that does /not/ necessarily look all that focused, all that 'mature', can end up being vitally important to have."
[15:45] <Minaplo> ["Pardon my presumptuousness, but it sounds to me as though you speak from experience of your own there as well."]
[15:51] * Aline canted her head subtly at that. "I'm honestly not sure. Maybe that's subconsciously evoking my… more excessive behavior in the past."
[15:52] <Minaplo> ["Excessive behaviour?"]
[15:53] * Aline blinked now, realizing she was being randomly loose now. "Of the sort parodied by the animated film. Grandiose proclamations, short-sighted complexes, that ilk."
[15:55] <Minaplo> ["I see… But do you lack that same 'centre' to ground you that Sera possesses, then?"]
[16:07] * Aline had to ponder that for a long time, maybe even too long. "…It's entirely possible that I either do, or I use various people - Shinji, ironically Sera himself sometimes - as needed for that role."
[16:12] <Minaplo> ["Sera? Indeed?"]
[16:13] <Aline> "Maternal instinct. I almost don't even need to say anything else."
[16:36] <Minaplo> [von Brandt chuckled. "I see."-
[16:37] <Minaplo> ["It's interesting, I think. I thought perhaps your family might play a larger role…"]
[16:39] <Aline> "It's quite interesting, isn't it?" Aline said… before tilting her head slightly. "Still, it's not like they /aren't/ important to me."
[17:02] <Minaplo> ["Large questions would have to be raised if you said they weren't, I believe."]
[17:03] <Aline> "Oh, definitely." Aline agreed. "Even people who have had horrible childhoods never completely abandon their families in their mind."
[17:05] <Minaplo> ["Or seek out new ones."]
[17:06] * Aline nodded her head. "Okay, yeah."
[17:09] <Minaplo> ["If you're wondering," He said, with a wink, "It was the latter for me."]
[17:10] * Aline smirked lightly. "I wasn't, but that doesn't make being told less intriguing."
[17:14] <Minaplo> ["Are you in the mood for a story, then?"]
[17:17] * Aline folded her not-phone arm gently. "I could stand to listen to a story, yeah."
[17:30] <Minaplo> ["Now, I should be clear that my early life was hardly painful or horrible. It was perfectly peaceful and average and very middle-class. I was born in Frankfurt am Main in 1965… In what was then West Germany."]
[17:34] <Aline> "Yeah, I remember reading aobut the Germany split… thing. And honestly, my early life was about as average middle-class as immediate post-Impact gets, so I sort of know how it goes, and how it can be a bit strange to recount to the people that, you know, had to face knife-toting gangs of scavengers, died in nuclear attacks or from complications thereof, all that."
[17:44] <Minaplo> ["Ah, yes. Impact… One of the many little disconnects between your generation and that of your parents', yes?"]
[17:47] <Aline> "As much as someone would complain that Impact is too big to lower like that… can't that be said of all generations? I can scarce imagine how parents who fought in world war 2 acted towards their children that lived on a world equal parts paranoia and distance from real bloodshed."
[17:52] <Minaplo> ["Such as -my- parents."]
[17:56] * Aline did /not/ smirk. "Yeah. It /is/ a convenient fact that it's still a big vast generation gap that yet is /so/ topical."
[18:05] <Minaplo> [He inclined his head.-
[18:14] <Minaplo> ["But yes, my parents were involved in the Second World War. My father was a tank commander with the 3rd and, later, 15th Panzer Corps. He survived the war- obviously. My mother was… A housewife. Not very surprising, of course- it was a different time. The idea of a military organisation such as your own, dominated at the strategic, tactical and operational levels by women- fantasy."]
[18:23] <Aline> "…The idea of most of my life after the teen years is basically patently fantasy." Aline sort of almost-ruefully noted. "But demographics are different, lines were permanently crossed, too much strain happened /too broadly/ for the global society to remain the same. Even the tiny details like people noticing that a period piece that was worth its salt for the 90s penned now would give
[18:23] <Aline> their characters less pockets… all shaped by an uncompromisingly vast change."
[18:30] <Minaplo> ["Yes. I think that is one major difference between the challenges my parents' generation faced, as opposed to your parents' generation." Said von Brandt. "The Second World War simply didn't match the scale of Impact- although if you dig deeply enough, you can see some parallels."]
[18:36] <Aline> "Even the bit about women. The military came with my parents' generation, but many parts of the workforce often ended up coming with yours." Aline calmly explained. "Matters of scale can sometimes break the other definition of scale… but sometimes it's just the same changes taken to another level."
[18:52] <Minaplo> ["Precisely, my dear. But we've become slightly sidetracked. We were discussing my upbringing…"]
[18:54] <Aline> "Well yes, we were." Aline admitted, politely agreeing.
[19:05] <Minaplo> ["Let's see. After the War, my father spent some time as a mechanic before he returned to his career- this time in the West German defense force. I was conceived, born, raised… I enrolled into the Wolfgang von Goethe Frankfurt University, where I pursued… Guess."]
[19:07] * Aline …almost smirked. But… "Psychology? I mean, given that reputation we've been over, and more besides…"
[19:18] <Minaplo> ["Nuclear physics."]
[19:19] * Aline paused. "Quite the shift."
[19:21] <Minaplo> ["I was only there for a year. I was competent in my studies, although not brilliant. I should have chosen psychology, it's true."-
[19:22] <Minaplo> ["See, all my life, I had been- sensitive. Sensitive to others, their thoughts. I could guess what a person would say before they said it, just like -that-." He clicked his fingers.]
[19:27] * Aline tilted her head at that. "Uncanny. …Though considering what I've heard about A-Types pre-Impact…" An accusatory glance, the kind you made when you were trying to jokingly point out the unspoken conclusion, not the kind when you think they just ate your daughter's entrails.
[19:33] <Minaplo> ["And what have you heard about pre-impact A-Types, my dear?"]
[19:34] <Aline> "Magic voodoo powers that are actually AT field manipulation." Was the rapid answer.
[19:40] <Minaplo> [He chuckled. "That's one way of putting it, but… Yes, you're quite right. And yes, I was one of them."]
[19:43] * Aline nodded. "So, basically, some kind of empathic awareness of minds, which might've lead to even more applications - I can't say I know /tons/ about the whole thing, since my primary AT Field experience is Evangelion and Angelic."
[19:46] <Minaplo> ["More focused. I possessed the ability to sense thoughts, and change them. At first it was very, very general and broad- I attributed it to my own perceptiveness and persuasiveness, but… Yes."-
[19:47] <Minaplo> ["The turning point came when I attended a museum exhibit showcasing examples of East and Central Asian sculpture."]
[19:49] * Aline had the awkward expression of trying to make the connection to sculpture. "…What ended up happening there?"
[20:00] <Minaplo> ["I was observing a small set of Uighur figurines- figurines of various Buddhas. As I watched them, all of a sudden one of the figurines turned to me and said, 'Seek the Lord of Heaven in the Celestial Mountains'."]
[20:08] * Aline tilted her head. That seemed so odd. And Aline, ever the 'Scully' that her player was fond of portraying, immediately jumped to the scientific explanation. "…Someone else just… er. Affected you, at that moment, didn't they?"
[20:15] <Minaplo> ["More or less." Said von Brandt. "I was shocked, confused… But the message keep coming. I would see it spoken on the television, by photographs… I feared I was going mad at first."-
[20:23] <Minaplo> ["Then one day, after a lecture, I stumbled across a book in one of the campus libraries. Literally tripped over it. It was an atlas of Chinese geography, and it had been left open on a page detailing the Tian Shan mountains in western China. Or in English, the Celestial Mountains."]
[20:23] <Aline> "Very dedicated… …recruitment efforts?"
[20:25] <Minaplo> ["It was simply a coincidence. Yet not at the same time."]
[20:28] * Aline nodded, even if she then went on to basically disagree. Or agree. It was hard to tell. "It, even without extrapolating from narrative structure, is pretty blatantly engineered. Even if it /was/ you going mad… it'd mean a very specific madness that could end up being traced."
[20:28] <Minaplo> [He chuckled. "An engineered coincidence, then."]
[20:30] * Aline extended her not-phone-arm in a half-shrug. "Splitting hairs on my part."
[20:30] <Minaplo> [He nodded.-
[20:35] <Minaplo> ["Either way, I said goodbye to my parents and told them that I intended to travel. It was a long journey to Tian Shan, but suffice it to say, I made it, and there I encountered something known as the Shangri-La Settlement."]

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