For The Love Of Life 1 5a

[15:41] <@Minaplo> ["We'll be arriving at the egg in twenty minutes." Said Marianne into her comms. The chatter from the pilots soon dissolved into irrelevant observations.-
[15:41] <@Minaplo> [Marianne turned in her chair. At the back of the bridge stood the leaders of her Ship Defense Force- Terence Savage, Jean-Baptiste Vimes, Hyuga Makoto, Mr. Blue and Raphael Guillory. Most of them, anyway- a few people were missing.-
[15:43] <@Minaplo> [There were of course also others in attendance- Raphael would see Misato and Harken, of course, as well as Surov's face on a nearby monitor. The camera was mechadendrite-controlled it seemed, since Surov wasn't deigning to stop in one place just to talk.-
[15:44] <@Minaplo> ["Our units are in position?" Asked Marianne of her leaders.]
[15:53] * Raphael stood by one of the nearest terminals with his arms folded. He's wearing an odd combination of the platemail he recovered from the Dirac Sea and his Red Shadow uniform - an outfit suggested by Technical and approved by command, much to his annoyance. Right now the helmet is off, tucked under one arm as he watches the scene.-
[15:53] <Raphael> "All assets are deployed, ma'am." He says. To the common observer he looked as calm and collected as he always had, but some - Misato, Marianne - would spot the dark circles under his eyes and slightly distant look that might suggest the mask was fraying. "We've put the bulk of our teams on standby at the likely breach positions, but as you're aware we can't precisely predict the situation
[15:53] <Raphael> once we pierce the Egg."
[15:56] <@Minaplo> ["Good. In a situation like this, flexibility is more important than rote planning-"-
[15:56] <@Minaplo> [("Bullshit!") exclaimed Frederic into a console, towards the Pilots.-
[15:57] <@Minaplo> ["… Are there any questions before I send you to your stations?"]
[16:02] <Raphael> Raphael allows himself to glance at Misato for a moment, his expression still carefully neutral, before looking back to Marianne and shaking his head. "I believe I'm prepared, Captain."
[16:06] <@Minaplo> [The sentiment was echoed by the rest.-
[16:06] <@Minaplo> [Marianne stared at them all one by one- then nodded. "To your posts."-
[16:10] <@Minaplo> [The crowd began to disperse, Misato giving Raphael a small, reassuring smile as he went.-
[16:10] <@Minaplo> [Blue was headed Raphael's way, although far from doing anything obnoxious like getting all up in Raphael's ribcage, he simply gave Raphael a short tip of the hat. "I should let you know, my squad's been replaced with Terry's in the replacement, so I'm next to you. No drama?"]
[16:18] * Raphael doesn't break his stride, but he fixes Blue with that same neutral, focused look and, after a moment, nods once. "It's fine." He murmurs, adjusting the seals on his helmet before putting it on. His voice instantly takes on a deep, synthetic note. "Not the time for squabbling."
[16:20] <@Minaplo> ["Yeah."-
[16:21] <@Minaplo> [Blue followed Raphael as they headed onto the elevator. "Oh, hey, I dunno how you like it, but." He reached into his coat, pulling out what looked like a small thermos, which he held out to Raphael. "S'just some coffee. I got some bourbon if you wanna give it a kick. Figured you could maybe use a drink with some kick."]
[16:32] * Raphael stands to one side to allow other on to the elevator, regarding the thermos - and Blue - with an insrutable visored stare. After a second he reaches out to accept the thermos, lifting the front of his helmet just enough to allow himself to drink. "… Thank you." He says, bringing the thermos to his lips.
[16:33] <@Minaplo> [Blue gives him a nod as the elevator begins its slow descent. He takes out a flask of his own.-
[16:34] <@Minaplo> ["Heard 'bout what happened earlier." Said Blue. "S'pretty shit."]
[16:38] * Raphael just nods, his throat working as he gulps down coffee.
[16:49] <@Minaplo> ["I dunno how much it'll help, but uh, drinks are on me after all this is done."]
[16:52] <Raphael> "…" Raphael hands the thermos back, allowing the helmet to drop back into place.-
[16:53] <Raphael> "It couldn't hurt." He says eventually, giving a small nod. "Thanks, Blue."
[16:53] <@Minaplo> ["S'cool."-
[16:56] <@Minaplo> [The elevator came to a stop, some decks away from their ultimate destination- this is a level given over to the science department.-
[17:00] <@Minaplo> [The elevator doors opened, revealing none other than Alphonse and Rei herself, the two of them locked in an extremely tender, passionate kiss. Alphonse was wearing power armour, adding several inches to his height; Rei looked small in his arms. They paused as the doors opened, breaking the kiss and glancing at the occupants, disappointment etched into Rei's expression.-
[17:03] <@Minaplo> ["I'll see you soon." Said Rei quietly, resting her head against his chest for a second before pulling away.-
[17:04] <@Minaplo> ["Yeah." Said Alphonse, gently reaching up to stroke her hair before he too pulled away, stepping onto the elevator. "It'll be over before you know it."-
[17:04] <@Minaplo> ["I hope so."-
[17:05] <@Minaplo> [And so the elevator doors closed, a despondent looking Rei watching them go, waving a little.]
[17:25] * Raphael allows the door to close before he reaches out, laying a hand on Rei's shoulder without saying anything.
[17:28] <Raphael> «Alphonse*»
[17:32] <@Minaplo> [Alphonse looks up at Raphael wordlessly, a disheartened expression on his face before a mask of professional neutrality spreads across it. He gives Raphael a nod.-
[17:34] <@Minaplo> ["Looking good." Said Mr. Blue, nodding to Alphonse's armour- which Raphael would notice pictured ornate engravings across its surface along with a barzilite mantle depicting the Federation flag. Blue held out that same thermos, which Alphonse took with a nod and began to drink.-
[17:35] <@Minaplo> ["It's probably a little soft for your tastes, but we can keep the absinthe until after." Said Blue.-
[17:35] <@Minaplo> ["Noted."]
[17:36] <Raphael> "You're set, Major?" Raphael asks, leaning against the side of the elevator now.
[17:37] <@Minaplo> ["All set." Said Alphonse, reaching behind him to pull his magnetised helmet off of his armour, where it had sat next to a sheathed long sword. He placed the helmet on and locked it into place.-
[17:40] <@Minaplo> [The armour was definitely impressive. Raphael, bereft of the extra height of power armour, was the smallest person in the elevator.-
[17:41] <@Minaplo> [The elevator reached its deck with a -ding-, the doors opening.-
[17:41] <@Minaplo> [Alphonse got off first. "Hopefully I'll see you after the battle and not during, Raphael. Blue- don't die too much."-
[17:41] <@Minaplo> ["Dick." Said Blue, getting off the elevator, allowing a small smirk to cross his face.]
[17:45] * Raphael stares after them both, shaking his head very slightly as he follows them out.-
[17:45] <Raphael> "Be safe, Major Wellesley." He says. "… Good luck, Blue."
[17:47] <@Minaplo> ["You too." Said Blue.-
[17:47] <@Minaplo> [They went their separate ways after that.-
[17:49] <@Minaplo> [Raphael would find his people already set up in one of the outer defense rooms, the external defense walls already raised. There were some fifty people in here, all heavily armed. Perfect.-
[17:52] <@Minaplo> [The room itself was dominated by a 20-metre tall surovite statue of Silas Caine, armoured in medieval-style plate, hair and cape billowing in a nonexistent wind. A tapestry of a glorious mansion atop of a hill adorned the northern wall; if Raphael looked closely he'd spy the tiny little Brothers frolicking on its fields. A painting of a nude Silas Caine being waited on by small flying Silas cherubs adorned the south-western one.]
[18:02] <Raphael> On another day Raphael may have rolled his eyes at the decorations or the way they clashed with the heavily armed soldiers that surrounded them, but today he barely even seems to notice them. His attention is on the preparations, and he casts a careful eye over the arrayed teams as he strides towards his own.-
[18:03] <Raphael> "Everything's in order, Chief Sergeant?"
[18:05] <@Minaplo> [Hugues turns towards him- the man's wearing a custom-made suit of power armour that gives him a fearsome, gigantic appearance, each limb covered in segmented layers of thick armour. "Aye, General. We're all in place."]
[18:08] <Raphael> "Good." Raphael nods, bending over to inspect the crate that held his own weapons. "We have about ten minutes before we make contact with the Egg, but we don't know how long it will take to see some sort of response.
[18:08] <Raphael> "
[18:10] <@Minaplo> ["I've been trying to keep everyone fresh 'bout what it's like to fight Spawn." Said Hugues. "Been telling them about the common forms we've fought before…"-
[18:12] <@Minaplo> ["Such tactical gems as," Began Pai, "If you see a Reaper, shoot it in the head. If you see an Annihilator, shoot it in the head. If you see an Apocalypse Engine, call an Iron Guard and then shoot it in the head."-
[18:12] <@Minaplo> ["You smartass."]
[18:15] <Raphael> "He's not wrong." Raphael notes, lifting a bulky scoped bolter from the crate as if for emphasis.
[18:17] <@Minaplo> ["Maybe Metatron'll have a surprise for us." Said Pai. "What if we fight Spawn without heads, Monette? What're you gonna do then?"-
[18:19] <@Minaplo> [Marie, meanwhile, was setting up her heavy bolter on the barricade- which had small alcoves for just this purpose. Henri was looking the gun over, tapping it on the side speculatively.]
[18:21] * Raphael moves a little closer to the pair, giving Henri a gentle pat on the back. "How're you faring, Sergeant Duval?"
[18:21] <@Minaplo> ["Well enough, sir." Said Henri, turning around to give him a small grin. "You alright?"-
[18:22] <@Minaplo> [Marie pretended not to be listening, but the slight pause in her otherwise meticulous tethering of the gun betrayed her intent.]
[18:27] <Raphael> "I'm fine, Henri. I wanted to be sure you were feeling alright, but you… seem to be coping."
[18:29] <@Minaplo> ["Oh, yeah… Y-Y'know how it goes. You learn to pick yourself up, put it to one side…"]
[18:37] <Raphael> "Yeah, I know." He says, and somehow the vocal synthesiser conveys a note of tiredness. "I really do."-
[18:38] <Raphael> "We'll be keeping an eye on you, though. And someone has to watch out for Sergeant Favager, hmm?"
[18:38] <@Minaplo> ["My bolter watches out for me." Mutters Marie.-
[18:39] <@Minaplo> [Henri rolls his eyes. "Thanks, sir. We'll be fine."]
[18:41] <Raphael> "Good. We shouldn't be far from the Egg, so I ought to see to final preparations. Take care out there, both of you."
[18:42] <@Minaplo> [Nods.-
[18:42] <@Minaplo> [Blaise and Mana are talking, the latter clearly trying not to break down into laughs as Blaise shows off the engraved name on his grenade launcher- 'Duker'.-
[18:43] <@Minaplo> [And Euphrasie is busy stacking medical supplies, dedicated entirely to the job and not even a little tempted to glance over at Isidor, his profile standing out due to the bulky jump pack strapped to his armour.]
[18:49] * Raphael takes all of this in with a glance, and for a moment - a single, stomach-churning moment - feels the weight of the mission settle on him. The lives here, the lives they're trying to protect on Earth. The stakes that seem impossibly high.-
[18:50] <Raphael> It comes and goes. He can't allow that weight to slow him down, not now. And so he busies himself with the preparations as the ship draws ever closer to the Egg.
[22:08] <@Minaplo> [-
[22:54] <@Minaplo> [Ultimately, however, their efforts seemed to be for naught- for no Angelspawn set foot within the Battleship.-
[22:56] <@Minaplo> [The penetration of the egg had started off rough. They'd heard the cannons firing, the missiles being launched… But no reports were handed down to Raphael- all except one that said that the Pilots had continued deeper into the egg, where they could not follow.-
[22:58] <@Minaplo> [After that, it had become… Waiting. And waiting. Tense preparedness began to shift into irritation.-
[22:59] <@Minaplo> ["Angelspawn gonna be a no-show?" Asked Martins cautiously, after an hour of painful silence.]
[23:09] <Raphael> "No telling." Raphael replies. He's resting on the now-empty weapon crate, one rifle sitting across his knees and another magnetized to his back. He's barely moved or spoken in nearly half an hour, and with the mask in place had been impossible to tell what he was thinking. "Everything about this mission is an unknown."
[23:12] <@Minaplo> [The blast door to the south opens suddenly, and in comes Mr. Blue, pushing along a hot trolley. "Ding dong. Hot food, anyone hungry?"]
[23:21] * Raphael 's head snaps around. "You aren't at your post?"[23:22] <@Minaplo> ["Whoa whoa. Be chill." Said Blue. "Subbing for five minutes with Wellesley. He told me to take some of this delicious, delicious food, proper original Blue's Grill, around to all the teams to raise morale."-
[23:22] <@Minaplo> [And indeed the smell of grilled bacon, perfectly-cooked steaks, piles of pork chops and barrels of hot spicy sausages were tickling their noses…]
[23:28] <Raphael> … or they would be, for those not in fully sealed power armour. Unfortunately this made up a good portion of the room.-
[23:31] <Raphael> "… Alright then." Raphael says after a moment, settling back down into his previous position with a little sigh. "Pardon me. I suppose I'm a little tense."
[23:33] <@Minaplo> ["Eat as you like. Got plates here…"-
[23:55] <@Minaplo> [The food was excellent, and after everyone had eaten their fill, Blue returned to whence he came.-
[23:55] <@Minaplo> [… The waiting continued.-
[19:25] <Minaplo> [After another few hours, the ship began to shake and tremble- down came the order from HQ- ("All hands brace for impact!")-
[19:34] <Minaplo> [The chaotic turbulence that followed was more than just a simple 'brace for impact' could account for.-
[19:36] <Minaplo> [Weapons were tossed aside, soldiers hurled into walls. For one terrifying moment it seemed as though the ship might shake itself apart…-
[19:36] <Minaplo> [But a second later- silence. Silence and calm and stillness.]
[19:42] * Raphael 's body wasn't as quick to rise as he wanted it to be, his legs a little unsteady. His impact against the wall had been bone-rattling, but he had been shielded from the worst of it by his armour. He casts a baleful eye at the weapons crate that had struck the wall next to him, barely a metre away from crushing him instead.-
[19:42] <Raphael> "Report!"
[19:49] <Minaplo> [Static crackling, then resolving a second later.-
[19:50] <Minaplo> [("This is Ops.") Came the voice from Marianne. ("All hands, we have cleared the Singularity Egg and our Evas have been recovered. Mission complete- I repeat, mission complete. The Angels are gone.")]
[20:54] <Minaplo> [19:49] <Minaplo> [Static crackling, then resolving a second later.-
[20:54] <Minaplo> [19:50] <Minaplo> [("This is Ops.") Came the voice from Marianne. ("All hands, we have cleared the Singularity Egg and our Evas have been recovered. Mission complete- I repeat, mission complete. The Angels are gone.")]
[23:23] * Raphael is still leaning on the wall for support while he helps Mana to her feet, but as the message comes across the comms he goes still all at once, even as the first cheers begin to echo through the ranks of his soldiers. The mix of feeling that rush through him are electric, nearly overwhelming him - Disbelief, excitement… relief.-
[23:23] <Raphael> A moment later he's cheering with them.
[00:03] <Minaplo> [Something solid smashes into him, and all of a sudden he's being swept up in the wild, riotous hugs from a bunch of people- Mana first, then Euphrasie, then Blaise and Hugues. He's swamped, nearly pulled apart- there are shouts in his ears and tears shed all around him…]
[00:08] <Raphael> For once - just this once - Raphael allows himself to be swept up in it all. If ever there was a time for it, it was now. He accepts the hugs, returns the slaps to the back, even lets out a few more honest cheers in between the muddled, excited conversations.
[00:15] <Minaplo> [The scrum broke up around him as the little molecules of his group split off, reforming with others. Hugues and Isidor shared giant back-slapping manhugs, whilst Henri and Marie began punching at each other's chests in celebration. Mana had spun off towards the exit, only to be swept up by Blaise and pulled into a sudden massive deep kiss, taking her completely off-guard.-
[00:17] <Minaplo> [At this point, Raphael would receive a communication request over his helmet- Admiral Katsuragi.]
[00:24] * Raphael is staring at Mana and Blaise in open bewilderment, enough so that he misses the comms request on its first beep. When he finally does notice, though, he's quick to turn away and try and put some distance between him and the crowd as he opens the link.
[01:02] <Minaplo> [("Raffy…? You're there, right?")]
[01:04] <Raphael> "I'm here, Misato." He says, and he realizes his voice is trembling slightly. "We did it? Are the Pilots…?"
[01:05] <Minaplo> ["They did it, Raphael." Murmured Misato. "They just came through- th-there's some casualties…"]
[01:14] <Raphael> "… Yeah." The tremble dropped out of his voice, a little bit of professionalism working its way back into. "Who?"
[07:55] <Minaplo> ["We've lost our entire Eva corps except 01, 04 and 13." Said Misato quietly. "Looks like… Elene Simonides has been critically injured, Sho's in intensive." A hesitation. "… Nana, Julie and Juu are dead."]
[08:01] <@Raphael> "… God damnit." Raphael mutters. The words come out very quietly against the background noise of the celebrations.
[08:01] <Minaplo> ["I-I'm sorry, Raphael."]
[08:05] <@Raphael> "It's alright. It had to be done." He says, taking a slow breath. It works in bringing his voice back onto an even keel if nothing else. "It… they were heroes all the same."
[08:09] <Minaplo> ["Y-Yeah."-
[08:09] <Minaplo> ["We… We haven't told Rei yet."]
[08:10] <@Raphael> "I'll see to it."
[08:30] <Minaplo> [("Alright. Thank you, Raphael. Is- is everyone alright down there?")]
06[08:35] * @Raphael glances back over his shoulder to festivities that were showing no sign of slowing down. His gaze passed over a rather indignant-looking Mana in conversation with Blaise, but it was the one spot where enthusiastic celebrations were not the order of the day.-
[08:35] <@Raphael> "Oh yes, I think so. What about on your end, ma'am?"
[08:39] <Minaplo> [("H-How dare you? How dare you?! That was my -first- kiss-")("I didn't-")("And -tongue-!? You pig-")-
[08:39] <Minaplo> [("Everyone's gone mad up here, too.") Said Misato.]
[08:42] <@Raphael> "Here as well." He agrees.-
[08:44] <@Raphael> "… Are the Evas recovered yet? I should find Rei before she hears."
[08:46] <Minaplo> [("Not yet.")]
[08:46] <@Raphael> "Right. I'll wait until the Colonel starts breaking up the defenses."-
[08:50] <@Raphael> "… No more Angels." Raphael says slowly. The raw elation of a few minutes before is gone now, but something else has replaced it. Some small hope. "You were right."
[08:53] <Minaplo> [("I was right…?")]
[08:55] <@Raphael> "There's a future."
[09:04] <Minaplo> [("Oh.") Misato began to laugh, a joyful, full laugh-
[09:05] <Minaplo> [… Which all of a sudden turned into a strangled gasp.]
[09:11] <@Raphael> "… Misato?" Raphael asks, alarmed by the sudden shift. He looks back towards his troops as if trying to spot the source of the problem.
[09:13] <Minaplo> [("… No.") She murmured, her voice a tremble. ("Raph-")-
[09:14] <Minaplo> [Raphael wouldn't be sure if the line went dead before the tremors hit, or after. Either way, something rocked the ship- no, rocked was too gentle a word. Something rattled the ship, shook it, belaboured it…-
[09:15] <Minaplo> [Raphael was thrown into the air, experiencing a moment of perfect weightlessness… Before he was thrown like a ragdoll square into a wall, six metres above the ground. All around him hurtled equipment and people and weapons…]
[09:27] <@Raphael> For a brief, crazed moment as he struck the wall he experienced vivid memories of some of the VTOL crashes he'd been involved with over the years. The weightlessness, the complete loss of bearings, the chaos…-
[09:27] <@Raphael> He was educated on the ways it differed a moment later as, without a harness to hold him in place, he was hurled into the floor again, striking masked face-first. "Ghk!"
[09:28] <Minaplo> [His ears ring, his vision swims- if he hadn't been wearing the helmet, he might've suffered a concussion. As it stands he's only dazed for a moment, and before long someone's shaking him.-
[09:28] <Minaplo> ["… l? el? Ael?"-
[09:28] <Minaplo> [He hears a -snap- of fingers that seems to draw hidden parts of his brain to attention. "Raphael!"-
[09:28] <Minaplo> [Euphrasie.]
[09:31] <@Raphael> He blinks once, twice, three times before he finally manages to get his fingers to focus on the face looming above him. "H-hell. Ngh… I'm here, Euphrasie."
[09:33] <Minaplo> [She nods. "Up you get." She adds, before moving on.-
[09:34] <Minaplo> [Much of the room is in disarray, with several soldiers injured- one of them has been hurled onto the giant armoured statue in the middle, a jutting metal part of the sculpture tearing straight through his calf. He now hangs there, screaming, as blood gushes down the armour towards his face.-
[09:34] <Minaplo> [("… Ory? Come in!") Comes a voice- Alphonse's, tearing Raphael away from the sight of Isidor trying to pull the man free.]
06[09:41] * @Raphael scrambles to his feet, struck by the idea that it was the second time he'd been hurled into a wall in the last five minutes. He shakes his head again to try and clear it as he turns away from the scene at the statue. "I read you, Major. What's the situation?"
03[09:41] * Raphael sets mode: -o Raphael
[09:42] <Minaplo> [("Ambush. New World fleet jaunted in, opened fire. They have an AT Battleship, launching boarding torpedoes. We've been pegged. Be ready to repel boarders.")]
[09:48] <Raphael> "Understood." He snaps. It's all he has time to say before he's running towards their main defensive line, hurrying people to their feet as he goes.
[10:00] <Minaplo> [His soldiers began to muster, taking their positions crouched next to the barricades which covered the two doors that ran along the starboard hull. And not a moment too soon- they felt several heavy shudders as torpedoes impacted the hull, then-
[10:04] <Minaplo> [The doors opened, exposing dozens of Stormtroopers to sight. Raphael's defenders- many armed with bolters- levelled their weapons at the shoulder and fired. THe corridors were turned into killing fields.-
[10:06] <Minaplo> [The fighting took little more than a minute. The Stormtroopers returned fire as best they could, but were simply weighed down and pushed back by the sheer weight of fire that the bolters brought to bear. Many of the shots simply smote the barricades or were shrugged off by armour, and before long, Raphael's command point had been secured.-
[10:06] <Minaplo> ["General." Came Isidor's voice. "Looks like they've broken off on this side- they're heading to attack Blue."-
[10:07] <Minaplo> ["Same over here!" Shouted Marie. "Off towards Hyuga!"-
[10:07] <Minaplo> [Behind Raphael, the port-side door had jammed, the straining of the servos constantly causing it to shudder and shake.]
06[10:27] * Raphael 's harried attempts at communications had proven sufficient to confirm that whatever state Makoto was in, it wasn't a positive one. Blue was another matter entirely - he can still hear the man jabbering over the comms, to his enemies and his allies. "Macnair, Martins, I want you north to reinforce Captain Hyuga. Isidor, hit Blue's attackers from the rear. Take Marie with you."-
[10:28] <Raphael> "Everyone else comes with me. Sergeant Duval, I need that door open -now-. We need a line of retreat to the rally point if necessary."
[10:29] <Minaplo> ["It'll take me about five minutes, General!" Shouted Henri as he reached the door. He jammed his combi-tool into the narrow gap between wall and door-
[10:29] <Minaplo> [… The door suddenly -clicked-, springing open so fast that Henri barely had time to withdraw his hands.]
[10:34] <Raphael> "You underestimate yourself, Sergeant." Raphael yells, slapping the man on the back as he sprints out into the hall with the rest of the team in tow and leading them north to strike Hyuga's attackers from the opposite side.
[10:52] <Minaplo> [He was barely out the door when he heard another -crash- as a torpedo smashed into the vessel- this time coming from what sounded like Hyuga's strongpoint. Raphael's instincts would be proven right about ten seconds later as a group of Stormtroopers burst from the room's port side door, taking up position around a large statue- and firing straight down the hallway towards Raphael and
[10:52] <Minaplo> his men.]
[17:34] * Raphael lets off a burst of fire without breaking stride, bolter rounds detonating through the ranks of the stormtroopers as he grabs Henri by the arm and hurls them both into one of the adjoining corridors. Behind them others are following suit, and within moments the hall is turned into a bloody crossfire as both sides begin trading fire.
[17:47] <Minaplo> [Still, the intersection itself is firmly entrenched, and it is taking -time- for the necessary soldiers to be brought up to mount an appropriate assault.-
[17:48] <Minaplo> [After a few exchange volleys of fire, something- unexpected happens.-
[17:49] <Minaplo> [To Raphael's eyes, it'd look as though shimmers of rainbow light would tear through the Stormtrooper unit. Lovely, but with major consequences as bodies were torn apart and weapons ruined. A few seconds later, the roar of heavy bolter fire is added to the din, tearing through the unit and forcing the survivors to fall back as quickly as possible.-
[17:50] <Minaplo> [The source of the intervention emerges a few seconds later from the left-hand pathway. Four girls, all with the same body type and eyes…-
[17:51] <Minaplo> [At the lead is Chiisana, her armoured dress billowing about her, a massive greatsword held between her hands. She marches into the intersection, her expression fierce and utterly -icy- with rage, the air around her warping and shimmering as she went. Before her were three other Ayanamis- San and Ni, and finally Hachi with the bolter.]
[17:54] * Raphael lets out a tiny sigh of relief, snapping off a couple of quick shots as the stormtroopers retreat before turning and gesturing to those in cover behind him. "Move up! Hugues, Sergeant Kirishima, give them some assistance!"
[18:08] <Minaplo> [The two of them ran up the corridor to the Ayanamis, Mana moving skilfully over the collapsed rubble and broken ground around the statue- a part of the roof had caved in, here.-
[18:10] <Minaplo> [They were passed in the way by a pathetically small group of fleeing Marines, their armour rent and covered in bloody wounds. Euphrasie ran off to get them under control.-
[18:11] <Minaplo> [The battle was more or less done shortly after that, but Raphael could see the massive damage that had been wrought on Hyuga's group. Dozens of bodies- Marines- littered the floor, rent asunder; the room was trashed, splattered with blood and burn marks. Hyuga himself was unarmed, but over half of his unit was dead and many of them had broken- although if the pile of dead Troopers was anything to go by, Hyuga's 'last stand' had been one of incredible ferocity.-
[18:14] <Minaplo> <unharmed*>
[18:20] <Minaplo> [His grim expression gave way to dim surprise at his continual survival- followed by sudden wonder and amazement as he turned to look at Chiisana, standing in the doorway, radiant fury hanging around her like an aura. "Chii-?"]
[18:24] * Raphael emerges in the doorway only a step behind her, his bolter barking once as he blows a bloody chunk out of a stormtrooper officer's chest, leading his unit to rout under the force of the combined assault a moment later. "See to him, Miss Chiisana."
[18:31] <Minaplo> [Raphael would feel a -presence- behind him as San peered over Raphael's shoulder. He could hear her whispering slightly. "Kiss her, kiss her…"-
[18:37] <Minaplo> [Chiisana stared at Hyuga for a moment, her eyebrows crooked into a ferocious frown.-
[18:40] <Minaplo> [Hyuga slowly stepped forward from his lines towards her, staring- then reached a hand out to her.-
[18:40] <Minaplo> [She took it for a moment, squeezed it, then, softly, said- "Get the hell to the rear line, you idiot."-
[18:40] <Minaplo> ["Yes, ma'am…"-
[18:40] <Minaplo> [("Captain Guillory? This is Rurikovich.")]
[18:43] <Raphael> "I'm here, Lieutenant." Raphael said as he pulls back behind a wall, nearly shouting to be heard over the throaty roar of Hachi's heavy bolter just a few paces away.
[18:44] <Minaplo> [("We've cut through to Blue's unit, although… Hold on.")-
[18:44] <Minaplo> [A muffled sound, before Raphael's comms is filled with the sound of ferocious chewing- then a swallow. ("Oh yeah, this is Blue. We were outnumbered 3-1 but we've driven them off. Like badasses.")]
[18:53] <Raphael> "Right. Good. I need you and Lieutenant Rurikovich to hold your positions to keep our lines open. To all other units, we need to pull back to the first and second rally points and hold there." He says quickly. There's a loud bang over the comms as he leans from cover to snap off another shot, followed by a scream. "Their numbers won't count for much in those halls."
[18:56] <Minaplo> [His target- a heavy burst cannon wielder- is definitely seriously injured, but his unit retreats shortly after, Raphael's quarry very much alive.-
[19:03] <Minaplo> [As Raphael's forces started to redeploy, he'd soon get a notification from Mana, following up next to him. "They move quietly, but I'm pretty sure I just saw some sort of commando unit move up towards the second rally." She said quietly.]
[19:07] <Raphael> "Hell. Blue, Lieutenant Rurikovich, can you engage?"
[19:19] <Minaplo> [("Yeah, trying!") Shouted Blue. ("Mother- we've been hit by a second wave, it's taking awhile to break through these stubborn fuckers!")]
[19:21] * Raphael frowns, setting off at a jog and motioning for the rest of his team to follow. There's further screams behind him as Chiisana and her sisters continue to deal with the stormtroopers that had assaulted Hyuga. "Understood. We'll deal with it. Sergeant Favager, I need you to-"
[19:24] <Minaplo> [Whatever Raphael was going to say is drowned out by a sudden impact that rattles the entire deck, knocking many to their feet.-
[19:25] <Minaplo> [A boarding torpedo had overpenetrated, shearing right through the exterior starboard corridor and bursting through to the internal residential area. It takes a few seconds for Raphael to get the ringing out of his ears-
[19:25] <Minaplo> [But when he does, he can clearly see a shape having emerged from one of the smoking ruins of one of the bedrooms.-
[19:26] <Minaplo> [About five metres tall, burst cannons strapped to its arms, a third burst cannon in its chest and what looks like a vastly oversized masgun in its hands.-
[19:27] <Minaplo> [A Lightning-class AC Suit. Rapid assault.]
[19:30] <Raphael> "Heavy armour sighted!" Raphael shouts, a note of genuine alarm finding its way into his voice. "I need heavy weapons deployed -now-. Mascannon teams and anti-armour weapons to the central corridor. Lieutenant Macnair, I need your men to hold that thing back until Martins gets in place or it's going to run straight up our flank!"
[19:36] <Minaplo> [("Never an easy job.") Grumbled Macnair, but he was quick to comply, his unit taking up positions around a central statue (naked Silas wrestles a lion).-
[19:43] <Minaplo> [("This is Pai. The torpedo just cut off our passage back to your command point, Captain.") Came Pai's voice. ("But the enemy line's giving way, and I think I can press port-side towards the second Rally point.")]
[13:36] <Raphael> "Any chance of you getting a shot in at the rear of that thing, Lieutenant?"
[13:50] <Minaplo> [("Getting a s- oh, shit. Uhhh, I'll see what I can do.")-
[13:52] <Minaplo> [Raphael would see Martins and her unit rush into the corridor. Martins- sporting a mascannon- and Lucy, her sergeant, sporting another- levelled their weapons at the front of the AC Suit and opened fire.-
[14:03] <Minaplo> [The twin lascannon beams struck the AC Suit, hitting two of its burst cannons. It staggered slightly- then orientated forward, levelled its main gun at Martins and her unit, and opened fire. Raphael saw the massive cannon light up with bright red flashes of energy, vaporising several members of Martins' unit.-
[14:03] <Minaplo> [They faltered, staring up at it- then wavered, turned and began to run.]
[15:05] <Raphael> And so they ran, scrabbling over the shattered remnants of the hallway's pillars and statues… only to run directly into Raphael Guillory, drawn up to his full (if admittedly meager) height, his face masked and inscrutable as he stares at the scene.-
[15:05] <Raphael> "Enough!" Raphael roars. The modulated voice… there's something strange about it. Some subtle, barely registered note that cuts through the din of battle. "You -will- hold that line if you want us to make it out of here alive!"
[15:32] <Minaplo> [His stance, his -voice-, his tone- it's enough to force them to suddenly grind to a halt. One of the soldiers steps forward and barely gets a 'But sir!' out before the rest of the unit starts to turn on the heel.-
[15:41] <Minaplo> [Behind them, the AC Suit continued to rampage, a stream of pulse bolts ripping through Macnair's squad, one of them striking one of his soldiers- the one Raphael knew as Warwick- in the gap between helmet and chestplate, killing him instantly.]
[15:43] <Raphael> "Sergeant Delacroix," He says, singling out Lucy from the crowd as he readies his own bolter, "Either get that mascannon ready or turn it over to someone who will."
[15:52] <Minaplo> ["Trying, sir." Snapped Lucy, hands running hastily over the gun carriage, trying to vent some of its excess heat.-
[15:58] <Minaplo> [The AC Suit raised its maser blaster cannon again- levelling it at Martins, who had remained behind directly before her enemy, working calmly on bringing her weapon back online. A powerful blast bursts forth from the barrel a second later, striking one of the AC Suit's weapons. There was a split second moment for Raphael- a single shot from his bolter, aimed at the maser blaster…]
[16:06] <Raphael> The bolt strikes just below the barrel of the blaster a moment later, burying itself deeply into the delicate workings of the weapon before detonating, leaving a ruined mess of metal and wire behind.
[16:10] <Minaplo> [The energy pack of the Blaster overloads, a massive discharge of energy wreathing the AC Suit in smoke and flame for a moment. When it clears, the unit is properly aflame, creeping up its torso and along the arms. The faint sound of screaming can be heard from within its hull.-
[16:11] <Minaplo> [Two things happen after this very close together, enough to be mistaken as the same thing.-
[16:11] <Minaplo> [First, the deck shudders again, much more violently than usual- Raphael is nearly knocked off his feet, and he can hear someone crying over his comms. ("BREACHING TORPEDO IN GUILLORY COMMAND POINT!")-
[16:12] <Minaplo> [At almost the same time, he can hear Pai murmur ("Taking the shot.")-
[16:15] <Minaplo> [The AC Suit starts to shine with a massive red light that permeates cracks in its armour, gaps in its joints, its optics… The surface buckles and splits, its chest cannon bursts into a gout of flame, and its knees give out. A half second later it -explodes-, a wave of force knocking half of Macnair and Martins's unit off their feet, sending shrapnel and mechanics and torn metal plating and the fragments of bone in all directions. A part of the roof caves in, filling the ground around the intersection with debris and wreckage.]
[16:30] <Raphael> "What the h-" Is all Raphael manages to blurt out before the blast strikes him, sending him stumbling backwards and very nearly hurling him aside for the third time. He feels the blast all the way to his bones, and when he speaks again he sounds a little shaken.-
[16:30] <Raphael> "… You have heavy weapons, Lieutenant?"
[16:32] <Minaplo> [("No, sir. Just managed to hit a power containment field, I think.") Said Pai thoughtfully. ("Moving towards the second rally now, sir.")]
[16:35] <Raphael> "… Right. Yes." Raphael manages. "Lieutenant Martins and Sergeants Herriot and Kirishima, please deal with the the new arrivals at the second command point. Everyone else, keep pulling back to those rally positions."
[16:49] <Minaplo> [("Got it.") ("Will do.") ("Yessi-oof.")-
[16:50] <Minaplo> [Raphael would turn in time to see Mana catch her foot on the cabling from an errant burst cannon. She tripped and fell, throwing her elbow out to absorb the impact of the fall.-
[16:50] <Minaplo> [("Ah, shit.") Came Marie's voice. ("These guys have heavy weapons!")-
[16:51] <Minaplo> [("Sir, this is Pai. We're under attack- there's a sizeable enemy force at the second point. Enemy type is unknown. I repeat: enemy type is not on record!")-
[16:51] <Minaplo> [("This is Wellesley to all units. The blast door to the fourth defense line is under attack by heavy weapons. Move to intercept!")]
[17:06] * Raphael curses quietly, weaving through the flaming rubble to help Mana to her feet. "Reinforcements are on the way, sir." He says, before letting out a small sigh. "… You there, Blue?"
[17:17] <Minaplo> [The sound of chewing fills Raphael's comms again, before Blue finally starts to speak. ("Yep, I'm good. Just punched a magistrate in the face, he's out cold. Totally got a captive officer, you proud of me yet?")]
[17:19] <Raphael> … There was a lengthy pause before Raphael continued.-
[17:19] <Raphael> "I need you to take all the forces you have and hit them as hard as you can from your side and I'll bring everything I can spare from mine. We need that position cleared."
[17:20] <Minaplo> [("Got it. Yo, Drunkenski, let's go!")]
[17:26] <Raphael> "…"-
[17:27] <Raphael> No time for further questions. Raphael glanced around at the forces left to him and begins ordering soldiers to the next flashpoint.
[17:35] <Minaplo> [The deck shook once again- another torpedo, more distant?-
[17:35] <Minaplo> [("Ahh. Fuck. Fuck.") Pai's voice, sounding surprisingly panicked. ("We're being cut down over here- sir, I can see the new torpedo probe! We have an Iron Guard, I repeat, an Iron Guard has been sighted!")]
[19:06] <Raphael> "-Shit-." Raphael hisses. "… Alright. Give up your position. I want you, Lieutenant Isidor and Blue just behind junction T8. I'll meet you there with reinforcements and we'll hold them at the bottleneck."-
[19:08] <Raphael> "Major? When I give you the signal I'm going to need you to open those blast doors and do as much damage to the attackers as you can. I'll time it so that we're in position to provide support - hopefully the chaos you make will let us get past their defenses."
[19:14] <Minaplo> [("Understood.") Came Alphonse's voice.-
[19:15] <Minaplo> [("Alright, sir. Blue! Isidor! Let's pull back!")-
[19:16] <Minaplo> [Raphael would see Pai, Isidor and Blue file into the corridor to his south, along with their soldiers. Raphael would see that Blue had a Magistrate, armour and all, thrown over one shoulder, as well as several cords of pork sausages around the Magistrate's neck.]
[19:51] * Raphael arrived on the scene a moment later with San and Martins' unit in tow, giving Blue a blank look as he steps up alongside him. "… why?" He asks flatly, gesturing to the Magistrate and the meat products.
[19:55] <Minaplo> ["Be too dangerous to wrap the sausages around -my- throat, obviously." Muttered Blue.-
[19:56] <Minaplo> [Pai's men exchange some shots down the hall as they go, but after that, there is a momentary lull in the battle… So long as one doesn't discount the constant dull sound of clashing metal from the Guillory Point.-
[19:56] <Minaplo> ["There's more than a few of 'em." Muttered Pai.]
[19:57] <Raphael> "Try a good guess for me, Lieutenant."
[20:02] <Minaplo> ["Four burst cannons, about two hundred foot, three or four magistrates, two robed figures."-
[20:02] <Minaplo> ["That's some guess." Snorted Blue.]
[20:03] <Raphael> "The Lieutenant has a good eye." Raphael says mildly.-
[20:04] <Raphael> "Alright!" He calls. "Dig in! We have to hold this point until Major Wellesley retakes the rally or we'll lose this side of the ship."
[20:08] <Minaplo> ["Got it." Said Blue, shucking off the magistrate. "Alright, you shits! Grab some furniture from the nearby rooms and form some barricades like it's 1871! Get to it!"-
[20:09] <Minaplo> ["Not so sure about how we go about dealing with that Guard." Muttered Pai.]
[20:19] <Raphael> "Quite…" Raphael replies.-
[20:20] <Raphael> "Although…" He murmurs thoughtfully, tapping his comms again. "Sergeant Duval? Any chance you could get our cargo elevators operational again?"
[20:41] <Minaplo> [("I'm on it, sir.")-
[20:50] <Minaplo> [The minutes ticked by. The blast door began to gave way. The Iron Guard's forces remained unmoving. Henri continued to work on the local power systems, disabling some things, enabling others. The constant -tink- of clashing blades continued to sound from the Guillory Point.-
[20:52] <Minaplo> [Then all hell broke loose. The blast door slid open, Alphonse and his forces taking the initiative. Raphael could hear the incredibly loud retort of massed bolter fire, mixed in with low dull hums. Over the comms, Alphonse roared encouragement and exhortations.-
[20:52] <Minaplo> [("Cargo elevator active! We're trying to bring in that heavy equipment now-)"-
[20:53] <Minaplo> [Raphael would hear, from two different directions, the distinct -clang clang- of something massive and bulky doing something as simple as talking -steps-. One source was from Alphonse's side, the other from… the Iron Guard.-
[20:54] <Minaplo> [("Nngh- hold on, Al!") Shouted Rei over the comms. ("I can see their leader- just let me at it-")-
[20:57] <Minaplo> [The halls in front of Raphael, however, would be filled with different foes- shouting, recklessly-charging Stormtroopers. There were indeed at least two hundred of them, bearing a large collection of heavy weaponry. Other dangerous specialists were sprinkled amongst their number- Raphael would see three that he recognised as wearing the garb of Solomon Knights.-
[20:58] <Minaplo> [Most alarmingly, however, the Iron Guard commander had run right past their position, screened by his ground troops. He was heading for Alphonse…!]
[21:06] <Raphael> "Damn. Damn!" Raphael growls. Raphael's takes aim with his bolter and fires, blowing a hole in the chest of a Stormtrooper wielding a sleek, multi-barreled cannon. "Iron Guard inbound on your position, Major!"
[21:10] <Minaplo> [("Son of a bitch. It's -him-.")-
[21:10] <Minaplo> [("I'll hold him off, Al! Hold on-")-
[21:10] <Minaplo> [("Rei, wait! Be careful-")-
[21:15] <Minaplo> [The fighting grew fiercer on Raphael's end. A formation of Troopers broke before Isidor's unit, only for enemy fire to gouge his men, several going down beneath the weight of fire.-
[21:16] <Minaplo> [("Cargo elevator open! We have heavy reinforcements-")-
[21:16] <Minaplo> [And Raphael could very much hear and feel the heavy footsteps of a fully-laden Assault Wolf in the distance.-
[21:16] <Minaplo> [But would it be enough…?-
[21:23] <Minaplo> [His forces were starting to surge forth now. One magistrate was isolated as his unit fell around him- Blue leapt through the air, hooked his legs around the man's shoulders, and smacked him in the throat twice with his hands. As the Magistrate crumpled, Blue performed an elaborate backflip, releasing his pin on the stunned man and send him flying through the air, where he landed in a pile next to Blue's other stunned Magistrate.-
[21:24] <Minaplo> ["Raf!" he shouted, ducking hastily beneath the whizzling blue-shrouded blade of a Knight. "Help please!"]
[21:51] * Raphael was further back, ducking and weaving around pieces of cover to take shots at valuable targets. Somewhere nearby San and Pai were busy doing the same. The shout from Blue provided enough distraction to let his current target (A particularly ethereal-looking Adept) escape, prompting a small sigh of annoyance.-
[21:52] <Raphael> Still, he shifted his aim, finding Blue amongst the chaos.-
[21:52] <Raphael> The bolter barked twice, though the sound was impossible to separate from the din of innumerable similar sounds throughout the hall. The first shot caught the Knight in the shoulder, the force of the impact spinning him practically 180. The second blew a healthy gouge from the Solomon's helmeted head. "Done."
[22:05] <Minaplo> ["Ta!"-
[22:05] <Minaplo> [The comms were filled momentarily with the sound of Rei crying out in pain- the Guard was making more headway than they'd hoped.-
[22:08] <Minaplo> [Another Knight appeared- this one bearing the subtle hallmarks of a feminine frame. She slashed at Blue- who sidestepped. A stray bolt shell caught her in the chest, and she stumbled.-
[22:09] <Minaplo> [Blue stepped up, performing a rapid legsweep that knocked her off her feet entirely, before rising from his crouch, lifting his other leg and bringing it down on her head- before she'd even hit the ground.-
[22:10] <Minaplo> [The Stormtrooper line was starting to break, now, beneath the spearhead that was Isidor and his armoured unit. Split so, the Federation forces began to swarm forward- and Raphael would have a chance to bring the Guard into his sights.]
[22:18] <Raphael> The massed bolter fire and Isidor's charge have left a glut of power armoured corpses all down the hall, making it slow work just to press forward. There's nothing organized about the combat now, and here and there Fed and Stormtroopers alike are locked in small-scale brawls, only for the fighting to be inevitably broken up by another charge from one of two of Isidor's assault troops.-
[22:19] <Raphael> Eventually, though, he'd make it to the next intersection. The Federation troops had already begun to dig in, and it wasn't hard for Raphael to get a safe sightline on the brutal combat taking place between Rei and the Guard.
[22:28] <Minaplo> [Raphael would find it hard to focus on a single element of this fight. Was it the constant anti-tank weaponry pouring into the melee, striking the Iron Guard, only to be shrugged off?-
[22:29] <Minaplo> [Would it be the Assault Wolf, a massive bolter in its hands, each firing causing Raphael's ears to ring slightly?-
[22:34] <Minaplo> [Or perhaps it'd be the figure of Rei herself, encased in a suit of armour nine feet tall, legs as thick as tree trunks, its shoulder line slightly above the bear-like helmet? Every step Rei took as she shifted her stance was as heavy as the steps of the Assault Wolf nearby.-
[22:38] <Minaplo> [The Guard swung a massive sword at Rei- she parried the first blow with her shield, and the second, but the third struck her chestplate, staggering her slightly- Raphael heard her grunt of pain.]
[23:02] * Raphael lets out a little hiss of horror, hurrying to add his own fire to the barrage bearing down on the Iron Guard.-
[23:02] <Raphael> The sheer -size- of his target should have made this an easy enough task, but the speed with which the two combatants moved and the dazzling blasts and explosions that constantly interrupted them made it nearly impossible - nevermind that he knew from experience just how few areas on an Iron Guard were actually succeptible to personal arms fire.
[23:15] <Minaplo> [He wouldn't be in time.-
[23:16] <Minaplo> [Fortunately, he wouldn't need to be. Rei's shield-arm swung about, her armoured hand fastening tightly over the Guard's hand. He tried to pull away- to no avail.-
[23:17] <Minaplo> [Rei raised her crackling hammer, its head the size of Raphael's chest. The light caught its surface, and for a second the hallway was filled with a bluish hue.-
[23:17] <Minaplo> [Then- wham! Down onto his head. Once. Twice. Three times.-
[23:17] <Minaplo> [On the first hit he staggered. On the second his knees buckled, and on the third his helmet cracked open at the top, the surface of the hammer punching straight through into his head.-
[23:18] <Minaplo> [The fighting- the gunfire, the wrestling, the myriad little laser sight dots- slowed, then paused.-
[23:18] <Minaplo> [The hammer hadn't sunk into the Guard's brain. It had been stopped on the way by his skull.-
[23:19] <Minaplo> [But it was more than enough to take the fight out of him. Rei pulled her hammer out with a solid tug, and the Guard collapsed against the wall, sliding down its surface, raising a shaking hand to his head and his now blood-covered face.-
[23:20] <Minaplo> [The few surviving New World soldiers quickly began throwing their rifles to the ground, hands thrown into the air.]
[23:32] * Raphael lets out a sigh of relief, slumping a little. "… Good work, Rei." He murmured.-
[23:32] <Raphael> He'd regain his composure a moment later, standing straight and gesturing with one hand. "Isidor, Blue, round them up. All other units, report!"
[23:33] <Minaplo> [("This is Hugues. Enemy commando units neutralised. Got a prisoner.")-
[23:33] <Minaplo> [("This is Euphrasie. We've reached the second rally point.")-
[23:34] <Minaplo> [Raphael would see- Leon Thomas, emerging from the shadow of the AC Suit, clad in thick power armour and surrounded by a company of Marines who looked as though they'd drawn tank-killing duty.-
[23:34] <Minaplo> ["Here in time to clean up, as per fucking usual." Muttered Leon.-
[23:35] <Minaplo> [Raphael would suddenly hear Alphonse's voice, quiet, over a subvocalised secret frequency. ("Guillory, come here. I want you to look at this.")]
[23:45] <Raphael> Even in the best circumstances a statement like that might have drawn a moment of unease, and these were not the best circumstances.-
[23:47] <Raphael> Alphonse's unit was only a "block" or two away, but with the time it took to arrange the mop-up of the New World troops it would be a few minutes before he arrived at Major Wellesley's position.
Session Time: Mon Sep 15 00:00:00 2014
[00:00] <Minaplo> [The second rally point was… A rather shocking sight. Euphrasie, Hyuga, Hachi, Marie and Chii were all here, with their soldiers. The room's gilded fountain- topped off with a bronze armoured Silas statue- had shattered, spraying water all over the ground. The water mixed in with blood- blood caused by the copious dead bodies that littered the room.-
[00:03] <Minaplo> [Alphonse, meanwhile, was standing outside of the command room with Rei. She towered over him in her heavy armour. Her helmet had been removed, and her head looked oddly tiny and disproportionate compared to the armoured frame.-
[00:06] <Minaplo> [Their expressions were quite… Foreboding. As Raphael approached, Alphonse turned, reaching up as best he could to stroke Rei's cheek. "I'll be done soon, kitten." He said.-
[00:06] <Minaplo> ["Alright." She looked over at Raphael. "Hi, Raffy."-
[00:07] <Minaplo> [Alphonse, meanwhile, was heading to the room -across- from the command centre… This room had been set up as a forward triage. "In here, captain."]
[00:19] * Raphael is not blind to the mood, but he does pause long enough to offer Rei a small wave and a smile - although the latter gesture is made useless by his helmet. After that he follows along behind Alphonse in similarly grim silence.
[00:29] <Minaplo> [Unsurprisingly, the triage is full with the injured and dying… Of both sides. Raphael can see Doctor Tenma tending to the injured, as well as Doctor Clement and even Dr. Castillo… As well as a small army of nurses and medics.-
[00:43] <Minaplo> [Alphonse led him over to one of the captured foes lying on a stretcher. The prisoner was encased in an elegant suit of armour- it didn't reflect the light, instead reacting as a suit of cotton or linen might. Yet it also looked hard and, considering the fragments of bolter shrapnel that had done little more than cut the armour slightly in some places, was very hard indeed.-
[00:46] <Minaplo> [However, it's the prisoner's head that draws their attention- for the shattered helmet had been removed so the doctors could apply bandages and first aid. It was a girl…-
[00:46] <Minaplo> [Her head may have been wrapped in bandages around her left eye and around her crown, but the light blue hair and the glittering single red eye- staring up at them blankly- left nothing to conjecture. This was an Ayanami.]
[21:13] <Raphael> "…" Raphael is still and silent, staring down into those expressionless eyes for what seems like a long span of time.-
[21:14] <Raphael> "… does Rei know?" The modulation makes picking out any subtle emotion difficult, but he sounds almost ill.
[21:49] <@Minaplo> ["Yeah." Said Alphonse. "I told her first."-
[21:51] <@Minaplo> [Almost unconsciously, he reached down with a gauntleted hand to smooth down some of her bloodstained hair. The wounded Ayanami responded to it, closing her open eye, her head leaning against his hand in an odd, comfortable gesture.-
[21:52] <@Minaplo> [He pulled his hand away quickly, as though burned; her head simply lolled against the pillow. She'd lost consciousness.-
[21:53] <@Minaplo> ["We hit them pretty hard." Said Alphonse, his voice pained. He seemed unsure as to whether or not to settle on rage or guilt as his main expression. "Rei forced their leader to surrender, and when the leader went down they all dropped their weapons and knelt down as meek as you like."]
[21:55] <Raphael> "Their leader. Another Ayanami?"
[21:55] <@Minaplo> ["No, actually."]
[21:56] * Raphael looks at Al, his head tilted in a way that served to suggest confusion.
[21:58] <@Minaplo> ["She's… Just some blonde woman." Said Alphonse. "No one I recognise."]
[22:01] * Raphael takes a deep breath, his gauntleted hands balled into fists. He makes a vague gesture as if to strike at surgical trolley sitting alongside the bed, something to vent his anger, but a look at the work taking place around him seems to make him think better of it. "…"-
[22:01] <Raphael> "-Fuck- Caine." He spits.
[22:04] <@Minaplo> [Alphonse places a hand on Raphael's shoulder and squeezes gently. "Fuck Caine."-
[22:05] <@Minaplo> [("Attention all hands! Prepare for Dirac Jump in one minute!")-
[22:05] <@Minaplo> ["Oh, is -finally- jumptime." Snapped a medic, brushing past Raphael's shoulder… A rather familiar one. "Would have been useful maybe twenty minutes ago!"]
[22:21] <Raphael> "… That's our time up. We'll deal with this later." He mutters, shaking his head. "The leader's secured in the short-term?"
[22:25] <@Minaplo> ["I've got her under guard." Said Alphonse. "See you on the other side."]
[22:33] <Raphael> "Good luck, Major." Raphael says, clapping the boy on the shoulder once as he sweeps out of triage. He's out of sight before the final alarm blares.

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