God Sleeps Fitfully In His Nightmares

[07:26] <Minaplo> [NEON GENESIS EVANGELION. Date: 30th of December, 2017. Episode Title: God Sleeps Fitfully In His Nightmares.-
[07:31] <Minaplo> [Since Christmas Day, the situation in Paris-2 had deteriorated rapidly. What were once street fights and riots was dissolving into a city of anarchy and chaos.-
[07:33] <Minaplo> [The army had been called in two days ago, but this had only exacerbated the situation- gunshots could now be heard daily throughout the city streets. At some point, Paris-2 had become a proper warzone.-
[07:34] <Minaplo> [The sky overhead had become dark and red and angry, full of clouds and humid heat that only served to make people angrier.-
[07:35] <Minaplo> [For their own safety, the pilots and some of their family members- Raphael and Suzanne, Yanmei and Lizzie- had been shifted to a safehouse on the outskirts of the city. Four hours ago, Aline had been called away- and this had resulted in the deployment of EVA-00 half an hour later. Any questions were rebuffed. The pilots were simply told… To stay put.]
[07:43] * Sept was coping fairly well with the situation. Even if he hadn't been the picture of relaxation these past months, he wasn't any worse off now. Since their transfer to the safehouse, he'd been sleeping a lot of the time, and quite soundly at that. He was awake now, staring at a window from his vantage point on the couch.
[07:45] * Yanmei‘ was curled up in a chair, staring darkly at one of her cell phones. She wasn’t -sulking- per say… but damn if she didn't hate this situation. One of the books she had brought along lay open, unread, in her lap, and the TV nearby had been had been put to use with more dvds featuring the sort of brightly-colored puppets that toddlers loved.
[07:47] <Raphael> Raphael had been stalking from room to room aimlessly for the past hour, hands lightly clenched into fists by his sides. Occasionally he would pause to peer carefully from a window, as if expecting to spot the cause of all of this beyond. This had been in keeping with his mood the past few days, which had been gradually worsening as the situation in the city escalated. Whatever tension was
[07:47] <Raphael> swallowing up the city, he was certainly not immune…
[07:49] <Minaplo> [William had remained calm, however, not snapping or growing sullen. He'd been spending a lot of his time with Brother Joseph, playing cards, making food or doing their best to keep the others entertained.-
[07:50] <Minaplo> [There was the distant sound of a door opening- the S2 Agents usually used a door near the kitchens. An Agent- a tanned blonde man named Gamelin. "I… I have an announcement."]
[07:53] * Yanmei‘ looked up suddenly. Put the useless book aside. "Thank god. Information! What’s happening out there?"
[07:54] * Raphael emerged from a doorway into the kitchen, looking at the agent with an expectant air.
[07:55] * Sept slowly got up to a sitting position, rubbed his temples and looked toward the kitchen and the voices, out of sight of the Agent..
[08:01] <Minaplo> ["Ahem." He coughed. "All pilots, including Guillory, are to be transferred to the Geofront immediately."]
[08:02] * Raphael frowns. "And the children?"
[08:04] <Sept> "Mobs spreading out this far?" Sera wandered over to the doorway. "How are we going to get there?"
[08:05] <Yanmei‘> Yanmei’s expression darkened. That was no better than the current situation. And it wasn't information, exactly.
[08:05] <Minaplo> ["The children will be protected, sir. And- we're going by VTOL."]
[08:07] <Sept> "If they want us there, they want us there. Let's get it over with." Sera took his coat and began to head outside.
[08:10] <Raphael> "… Of course." Raphael nods, taking a deep breath and forcing the edge out of his voice with some difficulty. There was no point in snapping at the agent, after all. "You'll be alright, sweetheart?" He asks Suzie, looking over to her seat at the kitchen table.
[08:11] <Minaplo> ["Uh-huh!"-
[08:11] <Minaplo> ["She'll be fine with me, Guillory." Said Joseph, tilting his hat. "I mean, she'll lose a whole lot-"-
[08:11] <Minaplo> ["Will not!"-
[08:12] <Minaplo> ["Will too-"-
[08:12] <Minaplo> ["You two have fun." Said William, grabbing his overcoat.]
[08:13] * Raphael gives Joe a small, tense smile. "Much appreciated, Brother." He says, giving Suzie a quick kiss before grabbing his own coat and heading for the door.
[08:14] <Yanmei‘> Yanmei deliberately dragged her feet, choosing to spend a bit of time saying goodbye to Elizabeth first. Forehead-kisses and hair stroking. She wondered how much she even noticed, what with the dvd being on at the time. Eventually - when she was good and ready, damn it - she went for her own coat.
[08:16] <Minaplo> [Of course Lizzie noticed. She’d been actually playing with Reggie a lot, and… She clung to her mother a little. She was scared of something. "Maamaa…"]
[08:18] <Yanmei‘> "Hm? It’ll be okay, Lizzie." Yanmei tried to comfort her one last time. "Brother Joe will check under your bed for you at night if I'm not back."
[08:19] <Minaplo> ["Ok, maamaa…"]
[08:21] * Yanmei‘ kissed her again. "Be a good girl. I’ll bring you a treat if I can. Cheer up."
[08:26] <Minaplo> ["Ok, maamaa! Love you!"-
[08:27] <Minaplo> [The VTOL was ready and waiting- and they were ferried across Paris-2. Below, the city was smoking, several buildings on fire. The Louvre was burning, mobs of angry people rushing through the empty shell- the interiors had long since Recessed. Tanks and infantry fought a bloody battle to reassert order.-
[08:28] <Minaplo> [The VTOL landed on the top of a tower- one of the Geofront landing pads. The doors opened, and Gamelin nodded. "Just into the elevator- and then you'll get your orders."]
[08:30] * Sept cast a quick, hesitant glance back at the skyline before making for the entrance wordlessly.
[08:30] <Yanmei‘> "Right." Yanmei nodded, advancing for the elevator as instructed. If the sight of Paris burning had troubled her, it wasn’t on her face at the moment.
[08:31] <Raphael> Raphael was silent as he walks towards the elevator, keeping pace with Yanmei as he chews on his lip.
[08:34] <Minaplo> [William was last, entering a second before the doors closed.-
[08:34] <Minaplo> [The elevator started to progress slowly towards HQ…-
[08:34] <Minaplo> ["Paris is a mess." Mumbled Will.]
[08:34] <Yanmei‘> "So it is."
[08:38] <Sept> "Hasn’t changed that much. It's just a little aberration."
[08:39] * Raphael nods mutely to William, his attention focused on the wall in front of him. There's a careful rhythm to his breathing that gives away how hard he's working to keep it calm… Which Sept's comment doesn't do much to help.
[08:39] <Minaplo> [William turns around and promptly throws a fist into the wall a foot from Sera's head. "How the hell can you say that?! There are people losing their lives out there!"]
[08:42] <Sept> "It's just that they're doing it in the streets now," Sera muttered barely audibly, looking downward. "It was always a mess they just weren't supposed to notice it."
[08:43] <Minaplo> ["No. I won't have any of that social decay-"-
[08:43] <Minaplo> ["De…" William frowned.-
[08:43] <Minaplo> ["… This elevator's going a little fast, isn't it?"]
[08:44] * Yanmei‘ inclined her head slightly. "What the…?"
[08:45] * Sept blinked. "I remember this. You’re ri—"
[08:47] * Raphael already has his mouth open to shout at the two, lip drawn back in something like a snarl, but that's cut off cleanly as he takes a look at the elevator display. "… Shit. We need to-"
[08:49] <Minaplo> [A second later, the lights went out.-
[08:50] <Minaplo> [Three seconds later, the elevator smashed to a stop, slamming people into the ground hard- with an impact that'd cause more than light bruises.-
[08:50] <Minaplo> [One second after that, low-power emergency lighting activated, giving the area a reddish hue.]
[08:56] <Raphael> Not enough time to do anything useful, no time to prepare. The crash throws his head sharply against the door on the way down, opening up a shallow gash above his left eyebrow that's already leaving a black trail down his face in the emergency lights. It's enough to leave him dazed those first few seconds, but eventually he manages to lever himself up onto his elbows. "Is… are you all
[08:56] <Raphael> alright?"
[08:57] * Minaplo has quit IRC (Quit: [01:27] <Sept> You can pay the mafia. [01:27] Swans give no damn. | <Caster> THE GREATEST COOL!)
[09:01] * Minaplo has joined #nervfrance
[09:04] <Sept> There was a long silence from Sera, though his body shifting about on the floor implied he was still alive. "…alright. Can you… the doors?"
[09:05] * Yanmei‘ was muttering something. It was foreign and -angry-, but in the garish light she appeared okay, rubbing her arm gingerly. "I’m all right. Look, no. Just try the emergency phone. Find out what's going on and if they can get us unstuck."
[09:07] <Minaplo> [William shook his head groggily and got to his feet. "Good idea." He mumbled, taking the emergency phone and holding it up to his ear.-
[09:07] <Minaplo> ["… Dead."]
[09:08] * Yanmei‘ tried flipping open her own cell phone.
[09:08] <Minaplo> [No Service.]
[09:09] * Raphael pulls himself up slowly, starting to look more than a little angry himself as the pain faded enough to make room in his brain. "Alright. Pilot Xylander, can you help me with these?" He asks, positioning himself by the door.
[09:12] <Minaplo> ["On it."-
[09:14] <Minaplo> [The doors were heavy and bulky, and much like the elevators themselves, slow to open. But eventually they wrenched them open…-
[09:14] <Minaplo> ["… I don’t recognise this corridor."]
[09:19] <Yanmei‘> "Seriously?" Yanmei moved toward the door, squinting. "Well, we were headed down, right? So we should just look for a stairwell and keep going until we hit something familiar."
[09:21] <Minaplo> ["Alright." William nodded, deferring to Yanmei.]
[09:21] * Sept pulled himself up off the floor. "Yeah. We didn’t get too far… and god knows there's a lot of corridors here, on the map and otherwise."
[09:26] * Raphael adjusts the the strap of his bolter, knocked loose by the fall, and quickly checks the safety. "We don't know what's going on, or why we were called back." Raphael says tersely. "This isn't right."
[09:32] <Minaplo> ["…t right."-
[09:32] <Minaplo> ["… ight."-
[09:32] <Minaplo> ["… t."-
[09:32] <Minaplo> [It wasn't an echo, although it seemed like it at first. It felt as though Raphael's words were moving very slowly through the air…]
[09:34] <Sept> "No, it isn't. How the hell did we get here?"
[09:34] <Minaplo> ["What matters is how we get out." William drew his oversized revolver from his coat. "What do we do, Yanmei?"]
[09:38] <Yanmei‘> "Only thing we can?" Yanmei moved into into the hallway proper. "We go forward. Since it’ll take forever to get down to where we're needed by stairs, we should keep an eye out for alternative solutions. With luck, the power will turn back on before long anyway and save us some trouble."
[09:42] <Sept> "I… yes. Let's go."
[09:46] <Minaplo> [They progressed- slowly- down the hall, their footsteps echoing uncomfortably.-
[09:47] <Minaplo> [Scratchings at the walls had them all on edge- the idea of rats came to their minds, quite unbidden.-
[09:48] <Minaplo> [The corridor terminated in a corner, but upon turning, they ran into…-
[09:50] <Minaplo> [It was as though the air was so thick that it was forming shapes, forming people.-
[09:51] <Minaplo> [But what started as a trick of the light soon became a genuine threat. Entities were emerging- hovering, floating robes, no hands, cowls empty except for light blue flame.]
[09:54] <Raphael> Bang.-
[09:54] <Raphael> The sharp crack of a bolter comes from behind them before the shapes have even finished coalescing. It roars past the heads of the other pilots, the shell detonating the moment it struck the first shadow's 'face'… but it's only when the smoke clears that the shimmering haze of an AT field becomes visible, forming a shell around the shadow's head.-
[09:55] <Raphael> "… Small-scale AT fields." Raphael says. "Not as strong as an angel's. If we control our fire it's only a matter of time before one breaks through."
[09:56] <Minaplo> [… Which William quickly proved, his reactions as fast as Raphael's. The field deflects a heavy slug from his revolver, but his Bolt Revolver breaks though, ripping the entity's cloak- which calls to the ground, dissolving.]
[09:58] <Sept> Only the latter shot seemed to really get Sera's attention. "Positron weapons will work. I'll take point." And he was off, a medium-length blade in hand. Whatever the air was made of, the blade seemed to be burning it on contact…
[09:59] <Minaplo> [… Cutting through it and ripping apart some of the cloak, blue air hissing through the wound.]
[10:01] * Yanmei‘ followed up similarly, hefting a thick chainsword into view and into the enemy. It whirred viciously!
[10:02] <Minaplo> [And the fabric had no chance. It clung to the sword for a few seconds before dissolving.]
[10:04] <Minaplo> [However, before long the air around Yanmei would be hazy and smoky as bursts of fire shot out from the adjoining corridors, intent on her destruction…!]
[10:05] <Yanmei`> "Ha! Take…" Her words trailed off. There was movement and smoke. Her instincts kicked in, and she scrambled to and fro, to avoid whatever was coming at her. "Shit! Ambush!"
[10:10] <Sept> "We have to stand here to get through!"
[10:10] * Raphael ’s bolters roars again, a tight burst of shells detonating at the far end of the hall. One punches cleanly through one of the shadows' AT fields and rips away a chunk of shadow-flesh that vanishes like smoke.
[10:12] <Minaplo> [Which is finished off by William. "Tougher than they look…"]
[10:21] * Yanmei‘ pivoted, whipping out a second bolter in exchange for the sword and returning fire at one of the creatures to her left. "Keep at it! We’re doing fine-" More projectiles. She dodged desperately, barely sparing the time to assess how much damage her last attack had wrought.
[10:25] <Minaplo> [With a loud bolt shot, the last entity at the end of the main hall fell. Will moved up, opening fire on the ones to Yanmei's side.]
[10:32] * ZackSleep is now known as Zack
[10:38] * Sept ran down another corridor and lunged at the things blocking his path. "I don't know where you came from or if we're at the Geofront but you should not be here or be at all," he spoke under his breath. Though his admonishments seemed to fall on deaf ears, as suddenly a powerful wave of energy took him off his feet and threw him back toward where he'd come from. At that, Sera only
[10:38] * Sept managed a slight yelp of surprise.
[10:39] <Yanmei‘> Yanmei gave William a grateful look out of the corner of her eye, and broke into a sprint. The second bolter was tucked away. The Chainsword came out again, and sliced brutally into the slippery shadow, once, twice, a third aimed at the original’s partner after it fell.
[10:40] <Minaplo> [… But into William, who was knocked clean off his feet- barely managing to get back up in time to let off a few shots…]
[10:40] <Raphael> There was the clatter of boots somewhere above Sera as Raphael moves into view, firing a quick shot at the shadows who had sent him flying before moving to steady the pilot.
[10:44] <Yanmei‘> Retaliation. Something pushed hard against her, but Yanmei bent her knees and dug in, resisting it even as her clothes rippled under the wave. "You’ll have to do-" she raised her chainsword again. "-better than that!" And she brought it down again, over and over until there was nothing left.
[10:46] * Sept let out a yell as he scrambled back to his feet and dashed back down the hall toward the remaining monster.
[10:47] <Minaplo> [It tried to stop him now, but…]
[10:53] <Sept> But Sera managed to keep his centre of gravity elsewhere, the force only pushing him off to the side after a brief struggle, and Sera dove in past it, sticking the short blade clean through the thing, and immediately ripping it out at an angle.
[10:55] * Zack is now known as ZackAFK
[11:02] <Minaplo> ["Is… Is it over?"]
[11:03] <Yanmei‘> "Looks like it?" Yanmei put away the chainsword, breathing hard. "Nice work everyone. We should… should get going again."
[11:03] <Raphael> A tense moment as Raphael scans the corridors while holding his breath, before finally lowering the rifle. "… seems to be."
[11:04] <Sept> "There’s a door here. It claims to lead to supplies."
[11:06] * Raphael nods slowly, moving towards the indicated door. "Good. Supplies and armour couldn't go astray." He mutters. "… So, I suppose an angel attack is a foregone conclusion?"
[11:09] <Sept> "Maybe."
[11:09] * Yanmei‘ frowned at that. "Remember Eden base?"
[11:13] <Sept> "Remember Raphael? The question is what kind of Angel, and when the attack actually started."
[11:15] <Minaplo> ["We can answer those later." Said William, forcing the door open. "Right now, what I want to know is if this place has grenades."]
[11:15] <Yanmei`> "Or tasers!" Yanmei moved in after him eagerly.
[11:16] <Sept> "Start with the armor. Stock up on basics. Then look around, but keep moving."
[11:17] * Raphael ’s knuckles go white at the mention of Eden, and he frowns as he begins sorting through the armoury. "Tas-" Raphael begins, before shaking his head. He's already snatched a few clips of ammo from a rack on the wall as he makes a beeline for the armour.
[11:18] <Minaplo> [Within a few minutes, they're suited up, William wearing his coat over the armour. He stalks off, muttering angrily about a lack of high ordinance.]
[11:21] <Sept> "Okay. Everyone ready? Let's get back out there before more of those things come."
[11:22] <Minaplo> [They left the armory and its secrets behind, heading off towards…-
[11:22] <Minaplo> [… A hulking blast door. NERV design. Made to withstand a direct hit from a tank shell.]
[11:24] <Yanmei‘> "Hm…" Yanmei looked a bit odd, wearing a suit of armor with her own coat, knit dress and fashion boots. "Ah! There’s a key card slot there. Group Captain, you rank the highest out of all of us, right?"
[11:27] <Raphael> "Right." He says, fishing a ID card from his coat pocket and slipping it into the reader. Sure enough, a low rumble sounds as the door begins to slide away. "At least the emergency generators supply power to those doors…"
[11:28] * Sept sighed in relief at the noise after staring back at the corridors suspiciously, with his back toward the door. "Lucky. Keep going."
[11:29] <Minaplo> ["Alright. It looks clear. Sera, you and I will sweep the corridor."]
[11:31] <Sept> "Right. Stay close." Sera moved in.
[11:31] <Minaplo> [… The lights flickered.-
[11:31] <Minaplo> [… And when they came back on, Sera was gone.]
[11:33] <Yanmei‘> "…" Confusion, and then alarm swept through her. "De Pteres? Sera! Dammit, this is no time for hiding!"
[11:34] <Minaplo> ["There’s nowhere -to- hide. De Pteres! De Pteres!"]
[11:34] * Raphael is in the door like a shot, jaw clenched tight as he sweeps the corridor in long, smooth arcs. "Goddamnit. More of those shadow things?"
[11:34] <Minaplo> ["No, he's… He's just gone."]
[11:35] <Yanmei‘> "People just don’t vanish."
[11:36] <Raphael> "You vanished once." Raphael mutters.
[11:38] <Yanmei‘> "I-" But she didn’t know what to say to that. Her face colored slightly. "No one saw an abductor, right?"
[11:38] <Minaplo> ["The lights just went out for a second…" William shook his head. "If he's behind us, he'll catch up, but if he's not the only thing we can do is advance."]
[11:40] <Raphael> Raphael seemed to struggle with that in silence for a few moments, before nodding. "… He's right. I need to get you both to Command as soon as possible. As harsh as it is, there's no time to search."
[11:40] * Yanmei‘ didn’t like that, and it showed on her face. She looked around carefully one last time, and muttered under her breath before stalking forward and turning a corner. "We're all heading for the same place. So maybe… we'll run into each other again."
[11:41] <Raphael> "We will." Raphael said, not sounding much happier. "The minute I can get you two to safety, I'll search for him myself."
[11:45] <Minaplo> [And so they advanced, down the hall, a few metres…-
[11:46] <Minaplo> [It wouldn't take long for them to find Sera. He was lying on the ground, on his stomach, apparently asleep, just a few seconds from where they'd been.-
[11:47] <Minaplo> [A long gouge had been cut out of the wall, they saw now, starting from a little farther back in the hallway. Deep at first, it grew shallower and shallower, shakier and more erratic until finally it petered out a metre above where Sera was, the prog knife still embedded in the metal, barely.]
[11:51] <Yanmei‘> "Hmph. So he ran off to take a nap? How dare he make us worry!" The very strange prog knife stuff did temper that annoyance a bit. Just a bit. She folded her arms with a very loud huff. "Not that -I- was worried. But Group Captain Guillory clearly was. De Pteres! Wake up!"
[11:53] * Sept awoke with a start, yelling something incomprehensible and trying to roll away from the sound. He looked at Yanmei first, bleary and wild-eyed, then at William and Raphael. "You came back. No, there’d be others. You're still lost? -Shit-." Sera made to get up, a certain heaviness to his movement.
[11:53] <Raphael> "… Obviously, ma'am." Raphael didn't seem concerned about showing his relief, and a little bit of a smile shows through for a moment as he reaches up to yank the prog knife from the wall. He gives the gouge a long, thoughtful look.
[11:54] <Minaplo> ["Yanmei, stop." Said William softly. "Something strange is afoot. Sera? Are you alright?"]
[11:56] <Sept> "I'm… alright, I didn't run into any more of those things. But this isn't HQ, the corridors keep changing. I'm not sure if there -is- a way down."
[11:58] <Yanmei‘> "Not HQ?" Yanmei dropped her arms. "It has to be. The VTOL dropped us off right on the roof like always. If it’s not HQ, then where are we?"
[12:01] <Minaplo> ["If it's HQ, then-"-
[12:01] <Minaplo> [Footsteps, coming from nearby.]
[12:02] <Sept> "It's the building that's fighting us," Sera hissed, and stuck his hand out sharply toward Raphael, and his knife.
[12:02] <Raphael> "Angels have shown the ability to teleport before." Raphael says quietly, glancing back down the corridor. "Both themselves and others. And then there's the possibility of simple illusion-" He turns in what seems to be the direction of the footsteps, dropping smoothly to one knee and levelling the bolter.
[12:03] * Raphael quickly tosses Sept the knife, as well.
[12:03] * Yanmei‘ went for her chainsword at once, glaring in the direction of the sound. Friend or foe? Getting closer or going away?
[12:03] <Minaplo> [Coming closer, closer, coming around the corner-
[12:04] <Minaplo> [A dark grey button-up shirt, brown trousers, grimy labcoat, blonde hair marked with sweat and dirt, deep blue eyes, one hand around a hip flask, the other around a handheld computer.-
[12:05] <Minaplo> [Doctor Elijah Gabriel sees the group, lets out a moan of fear and dives back the way he came.]
[12:07] <Yanmei`> "W-what?!" Yanmei lowered her weapon, perhaps just as startled in her own way. "Dr Gabriel? Where are you going?! Come back!"
[12:07] <Minaplo> ["No guns!"]
[12:08] <Yanmei`> "Huh?" She glanced back to Raphael.
[12:09] * Raphael stares at her for a moment before lowering his gun with a small sigh. It doesn’t stray far from his hands, though.
[12:10] <Sept> "We're not going to fucking shoot you, okay? Come out!"
[12:11] <Minaplo> [Dr. Gabriel emerged, more or less crawling out of cover. "Oh God. It's you guys." He let out a sigh and sat down properly, against the wall, taking a swig from his flask. "Doctor Octopus sent me down here. He said he sensed movement down here. Guess he was right."]
[12:13] * Raphael stands slowly, eyeing Gabriel mistrustfully. "So the stairs /are/ still around. Can you get us back to them, sir?"
[12:14] <Minaplo> ["No, I can't. I'm lost."]
[12:16] * Raphael stares at the doctor in silence, before looking rather pointedly at the flask.
[12:17] <Minaplo> ["No, it's mine, get your own booze." He swigs from it.-
[12:17] <Minaplo> ["I can't lead you back to the stairs, but I think I can lead you back to where I was before I came down here. You guys know what's happening, right?"]
[12:18] <Sept> "Then… we go back the way he came from. How long have you been here, Elijah? And how long did you look around before you found me?"
[12:18] <Minaplo> ["Uh, my watch says I've been down here about twenty minutes, but it could be lying."]
[12:19] <Yanmei‘> "Not a thing. They didn’t tell us anything before dropping us off! Is it an Angel attack? Has one of the EVAs gone mad, like at Eden? Everything's too weird here!"
[12:20] <Minaplo> [Gabriel gave Yanmei a withering stare. "If Blanc were here, she'd know immediately. An Angel appeared in the Geofront. It spread a Dirac Sea. That's what we're in."-
[12:22] <Minaplo> ["HQ was made to weather a nuclear attack, N2 strike, plague- it's airtight, so we have air, but outside it's a void. Physics is defined only by what the Angel -wants- it to be. That's why the corridors don't make sense. A lot of them are warping and changing. Some places are safe- the Eva cages, for example, or any place with a lot of people, due to the reinforcing effect of their Fields,
[12:22] <Minaplo> but here? No, we're too exposed."]
[12:24] <Sept> "Then, we can't get out by ourselves?"
[12:25] <Minaplo> ["You want out, you find the Evas, you kill the Angel."]
[12:27] * Yanmei‘ was glaring back at Gabriel sullenly. "How do we find them when the hallways keep changing? The Angel could keep us going around in circles forever if it knew what we were trying to do!"
[12:28] <Minaplo> ["Surov will know. The Angel can’t move -you- or the Evas. If the Evas are a kilometre away now, the only way they'll be farther is if you're lead away from them. Surov has a way of permanently figuring out where they are, sort of like a compass to guide you."]
[12:29] <Yanmei‘> "And you’re keeping in touch with him using that." She eyed the handheld computer.
[12:30] <Minaplo> ["What? No. this thing lost its connection to MAGINet ages ago."]
[12:32] <Sept> "Then just keep it safe in case we need it and follow us. In case we need -you-. Let's go. I'm sick of this place, but if we're the only ones who can do anything…"
[12:33] <Yanmei‘> "We’re still on the right track, in any case?" She eyes the tiles beneath their feet as she started moving and frowned. "I wish we had a way to tunnel straight down. At least then, we'd know if we were getting closer."
[12:34] * Raphael nods to Sept. "Right." He says, glancing at Doctor Gabriel. "If you would please stay close to me, sir, I'll keep an eye on you."
[12:35] <Minaplo> ["Mmm." He got to his feet, placing his flask back on his hip. "I have a map here, I mean, it's probably near-useless, but it could still be of some use…"-
[12:39] <Minaplo> [He stayed close to Raphael and started to lead them through. It… Was slow going.-
[12:39] <Minaplo> [But progress was being made, according to Gabriel. Eventually they came to a blast door, at the end of a room dedicated to computers. Many of them were offline, but some were still functional.-
[12:41] <Minaplo> ["I think… I can use some of these. Surov should be up ahead, but if I can get these functioning again I can create a short-term local MAGINet replica that should allow me to speak to you guys via this." He handed his computer to Yanmei. "If I can get the internal imagery sensors working, I could generate maps for you four."]
[12:42] <Yanmei‘> "Right. Piece of cake, right?" said Yanmei hopefully. She took the computer.
[12:45] <Sept> "Give it a shot. Anything to get us somewhere…"
[12:45] <Raphael> "Will you be alright here, Doctor?" Raphael asks uncertainly.
[12:46] <Minaplo> ["I should be fine. Most of the dangers around here are static- it’s safer to stay in one place than it is to move, I think." He sat down and began tapping at a computer. The nearby door opened.-
[12:47] <Minaplo> ["Don't die, Zhang." Snarks Gabriel as he pulls himself closer to the table. "If you die, the boy will be unmanageable."]
[12:49] <Yanmei‘> "Aw, that was sweet. It almost sounded like some smidge of concern for our well being." Yanmei tucked the computer under one arm. "In any case, thank you~ I’ll be sure not to die."
[12:50] <Minaplo> [William stepped through the door, keeping his pistols ready. "Sera, up front."]
[12:50] * Raphael follows close behind.
[12:50] <Minaplo> [Gabriel didn't really respond to Yanmei's words, muttering something inaudible.]
[12:51] <Sept> "Got it. Take care, Elijah."
[12:52] * Yanmei‘ stepped through as well.
[12:52] <Minaplo> [The door closed behind them.-
[12:53] <Minaplo> [Three ways to go. William looked around around. "Which way do-"-
[12:53] <Minaplo> ["…" William frowned, straining his ears. "Does anyone else hear that?"]
[12:55] <Sept> "Don’t think so. I heard some… really strange things while I was lost, too."
[12:57] <Minaplo> ["No, wait, shh-hh…"-
[12:57] <Minaplo> [Silence…-
[12:58] <Minaplo> [And then they heard it. Faint words, sung in a quiet, high voice, girlish, a child's.-
[12:59] <Minaplo> ["Shteyt a bocher, shteyt un tracht~ tracht un tracht a gantze nacht…"]
[13:02] <Yanmei‘> "What’s… that language?" She didn't bother asking why a little kid would be here. Yanmei hefted her weapons closer. "Let's investigate."
[13:04] <Sept> "Are you sure that's a good idea? Elijah?"
[13:05] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[13:05] <Minaplo> ["He probably doesn't have the network up yet." Said William, frowning. "I don't recognise the words. Some, sort of, but- urgh. I know I've heard the tune before."]
[13:07] <Sept> "Yeah. Let's go. We're bound to run into -something- in there."
[13:08] <Yanmei‘> "The more people we collect, the better" Yanmei noodded. "Let’s go."
[13:08] <Minaplo> [And so they progressed down the hall.-
[13:09] * Raphael doesn't seem sold on the idea - perhaps, in his far off youth, he had seen a horror movie, and thus knew enough to avoid singing children in these situations. Still, he can't fault their logic, and so follows for now.
[13:09] <Minaplo> ["Vemen tsu nemen un nit farshemen? Vemen tsu nemen un nit farshemen?" The voice continued to sing, louder now. Behind a door that was easily forced open…-
[13:11] <Minaplo> ["Tumbala, tumbala, tumbalalaika~ Tumbala, tumbala, tumbalalaika~"-
[13:12] <Minaplo> [Within the room, pivoting around on the spot, was a girl. Or at least, it looked like a girl- it was hard to tell. She- or he- had messy brown hair and bright green eyes, with a long frilly white dress and a pretty green shawl over it. In her hands she held a hideous, hideous doll- a misshapen troll-like creature with a horrific, grinning face and wide empty eyes.-
[13:13] <Minaplo> ["tumbalalaika~ shpiel balaika~ tumbalalaika~ freylach zol zayn." She stopped, her last pivot leaving her facing the group.]
[13:16] <Yanmei‘> There was something off here. The causual disregard of the weirdness around them, or the doll, or the or -something-. Yanmei smiled nonetheless. "Hello, little girl. Do you speak French? English? What are you doing here?"
[13:17] * Sept didn’t let Yanmei wander too far off from him. He just stared at the room, eyes continuing to glance back toward the girl.
[13:18] <Minaplo> [The room itself was non-descript- it seemed to have served as some sort of checkpoint for security.-
[13:20] <Minaplo> ["Mother and Father want me to be here." Said the girl. She spun around. "Am I beautiful? I want very much to be beautiful."]
[13:20] * Raphael 's first instinct is to follow Yanmei, to try and work out how to help this girl, but the situation has him on edge. For now he remains towards the rear of the group, keeping his weapon ready and allowing Yanmei to see to try to communicate.
[13:21] <Minaplo> [William is next to Raphael, but he covers the rear specifically.]
[13:21] <Yanmei‘> "You’re very beautiful," Yanmei agreed, keeping that smile on. "Are your parents here? Nearby?"
[13:23] <Minaplo> ["I don't know. They told me to stay here."]
[13:24] * Sept pushed up his glasses, still trying not to look at the girl too much. "Where is here? That song is not from here."
[13:25] <Minaplo> ["Here is here." Said the girl simply. She began swaying from side to side. "Am I really beautiful? I have to be as beautiful as possible."]
[13:28] <Sept> "Yiddish. She must be a Slav… Mother and Father…"
[13:28] <Minaplo> ["She's speaking French, though." Said William.]
[13:29] * Raphael glances at Sept for just a moment, frowning, before returning his gaze to the girl. "Pilot Zhang, we need to get her somewhere safe. We can't stay here."
[13:30] <Sept> "The French could be part of the illusion. Who are you, girl?"
[13:33] <Yanmei‘> "Hm." Yanmei frowned. "I have to agree with Group Captain about moving on. Listen, little girl. Come with us? It’s not safe here."
[13:33] <Minaplo> [The girl looked at Sera uncertainly, as though he hadn't quite earned her trust- instead looking over at Yanmei. "Why isn't it safe?"]
[13:36] <Yanmei‘> "That’s hard to explain. There are weird forces that are making it really easy to get lost around here. Dangerous enemies are also appearing out of no where. It's like… a magic spell. But with science?" She ran a hand through a pigtail. -
[13:36] <Yanmei‘> "Anyway. It may be a really long time until your parents return. If you come with us, you can go someplace where there are lots of other people around? You’ll at least be taken care up until your parents reappear."
[13:38] <Minaplo> [She considered this, then rushed at Yanmei- within a second she'd managed to climb up Yanmei's arm and onto her shoulders, the horrible little doll resting on her head.-
[13:38] <Minaplo> ["Tumbala tumbala tumbalalaika~"-
[13:38] <Minaplo> [William glanced at Raphael, then back down the corridor. "Raphael. Movement."]
[13:42] <Yanmei‘> Gah. That horrible thing was -touching- her! The doll, not the girl. Leaving it behind should have been a condition for her coming along. She turned - very awkardly - more questions rising to mind. But then… movement? They were in danger?
[13:42] <Raphael> "Right." Raphael murmurs, turning to face the threat. "Yanmei, Sera, get ready."
[13:43] <Sept> "I’m ready. You too, Yanmei. Don't let your guard down."
[13:43] <Minaplo> [Shapes appeared at the end of the hall.-
[13:43] <Minaplo> [A little person peeked out from behind the wall, just a pair of eyes and hair visible, before vanishing.-
[13:45] <Minaplo> [Then the person emerged fully- three feet tall, porcelain-pale skin and glassy black eyes, with synthetic violet pigtails and a plugsuit. The way she walked was strangely jerky and mechanical…-
[13:46] <Minaplo> [On the other side emerged a person of the same height, with black hair- quite like Raphael's, big blue eyes, and a loose kimono revealing a smooth, bare chest.-
[13:46] <Minaplo> [Behind them came two others, dancing, arms linked together- one had white hair, the other blonde.-
[13:46] <Minaplo> [And finally, still not fully revealed, was another with features that Sera found find all too familiar…]
[13:48] * Sept took an involuntary step back at the sight of the figures. He looked back at the others to make sure he wasn't alone in seeing them - or, god forbid, alone in general again.
[13:49] <Minaplo> [William was staring in horror and not a little disgust, his pistols raised at the figures.-
[13:49] <Minaplo> [The girl was swaying side to side, but when she saw them she gave a little clap and a giggle. "Oh my, my dolls! Aren't they pretty? I made them myself, they're ever so lovely…"]
[13:50] <Yanmei‘> "Group Captain." Yanmei’s voice was low and tense. "Can you open that door? The one that's behind us?"
[13:52] <Raphael> "…" Raphael lets out a sharp breath at the girl's words, glancing back at her with narrowed eyes. "I can. I need you to talk to her while I do, though. Sera, William, hold for now."
[13:53] * Yanmei‘ nodded sharply. She hoped that the motion would send the ugly troll doll tumbling to the ground. "You made these guys, huh? How? And… why?"
[13:54] <Minaplo> [The door was locked- it’d need Raphael's ID card and a low-level code, which he had, hopefully…-
[13:55] <Minaplo> ["I was lonely." Said the girl sadly, staring at them. "No one ever talks to me, ever, and if I make too much noise I get punished. All I can do is make pretty things and try to be beautiful, and then maybe… Maybe things will be better."]
[13:57] <Sept> "-We- are not your dolls, girl. Mother, Father, dolls… Mary, is that it? Is that who you are?!" Sera's raised voice, among a million other factors, betrayed his nerves. He had taken quite a few steps away from the dolls, now.
[13:59] * Raphael begins to jab the code in with his off hand, one eye focused on the girl on Yanmei's shoulders. "de Pteres." He says, his voice cold and sharp as a blade. "Be quiet."
[13:59] <Minaplo> ["That's not my name!" Retorted the girl.-
[14:00] <Minaplo> ["They're getting closer-"-
[14:00] <Minaplo> [WHAM.-
[14:00] <Minaplo> [The door visibly dented as some massive force smashed into its centre.-
[14:00] <Minaplo> [WHAM WHAM.-
[14:00] <Minaplo> [Two more dents. Something on the other side wanted to get through, and it was being violent about it.]
[14:06] * Yanmei‘ winced at that. "What the hell?! Leave the door! Oh god…" her mind was whirling. "Listen… they’re, ah. Very pretty. But we can't play with them right now, okay? Here, why don't you talk to us instead? Tell us about yourself. What -is- your name?"
[14:07] * Raphael removed his card from the machine hurriedly, only a moment before he would have sent the whole door rolling open. He backs away slowly, giving Yanmei an encouraging nod. "Start moving down the hall, all of you." He mutters. "There's not much time."
[14:10] <Minaplo> ["It's-" But another WHAM smashed against the door, and the little girl gave out a start of fear. The dolls began to murmur too, although their faces were set and could not show emotion beyond the glassy blankness of their faces.-
[14:11] <Minaplo> ["Don't let him in! Please don't let him in!" She cried, burying her head against Yanmei's hear, tears dropping down her face.]
[14:11] <Sept> "Yeah, fine. Just… what the hell do we do? You don't need these dolls anymore, since we're here, right?"
[14:13] <Minaplo> [04:11] <Minaplo> ["But they're my friends! You can't throw away friends!"]
[14:13] <Raphael> "You don't have to throw them away forever, but maybe they should go where it's safe for now, hmm?" Raphael says, forcing his voice to stay level and calm.
[14:14] <Minaplo> ["W-Where…?"]
[14:17] <Minaplo> [04:15] <Raphael> "Why don't you send them ahead? That way they'd be helping you, too. That's what friends do for one another, isn't it?"
[14:17] <Minaplo> [04:15] <Sept> "We have to find our Evangelions! Big room, with bigger dolls. It's our only chance."
[14:19] <Minaplo> ["Um…" She turned to the dolls. "G-Go!"-
[14:20] * Yanmei‘ has quit IRC (Ping timeout)
[14:20] <Minaplo> [They looked at each other, then back. "Friends." They said in unison, their voices empty and dead. "Navah. Friends. Navah…"-
[14:21] <Minaplo> [They began to march off, gait synchronised; chanting those two words over and over. "Friends. Navah…"-
[14:21] <Minaplo> [William began moving down the hall, looking positively relieved that they were gone. Behind them, the sound of whining metal as the door started to buckle.]
[14:22] <Yanmei> "Let’s move it!" Yanmei hurried forward once they were gone. "Get back to that intersection and try to outrun it."
[14:23] * Sept took a few moments to make sure the dolls were really moving away from them. "Go. Go!"
[14:25] <Minaplo> [William rushed down as well, turning to the right. "C'mon, Raphael!"]
[14:27] * Raphael looks fairly unsettled by the dolls as well, but he keeps his aim squarely on the door for a few moments longer until the pilots are clear. Only then does he take off after them.
[14:28] <Minaplo> [And not a moment too soon as the door clearly breaks apart, the sound agonizing, like fingernails on a blackboard.
[14:28] <Minaplo> -
[14:29] <Minaplo> ["Navah!" Cries a voice- a voice twisted with anger and loathing, but clearly audible and recognizable.-
[14:29] <Minaplo> ["Show yourself! Do not hide from me, you know it will not work!" Cries Barzilai Surov wrathfuly.]
[14:34] * ZackAFK is now known as Zack
[14:34] * Yanmei … slowed, her face twisting slightly in shock. "Is that…?"
[14:36] <Sept> "Most definitely. Do you think we can negotiate? I-I mean, he's not really here, right..?"
[14:36] <Minaplo> ["He broke the door down…"]
[14:36] <Raphael> "He seems real enough to be concerned."
[14:37] <Minaplo> [Navah was shaking her head, hiding most of it behind her doll.-
[14:37] <Minaplo> ["Whatever semblance of life you think you possess, I will crush it from you, Navah. Do not drag this out." Came Surov's voice, full of malice.-
[14:37] <Minaplo> ["… Wait. I see you. And…"-
[14:38] <Minaplo> ["…" His voice changed- not his usual dry tone, but more controlled. It just sounded tired now. "Zhang, de Pteres, Weiss, Guillory. What are you doing?"]
[14:40] * Raphael stares at Surov blankly. It was probably inappropriate to have a bolter trained on the Director of Science's chest, but right now he wasn't feeling very interested in fixing that. "Well, sir, I was wondering the same about you."
[14:40] <Sept> "Yeah, you tell us. You seem like you're on top of the situation."
[14:41] <Minaplo> [It should be noted that the image of Surov standing there- now that they can see him- is rather different.-
[14:42] <Minaplo> [His shirt his gone, his coat is gone, his hair down, his body covered in wounds and blood marks- a gash across his forehead sees blood stream across his face.-
[14:44] <Minaplo> [His body is muscular and toned, however, and criss-crossed with implants- a large vest-like coat of metal covers his upper vitals and reaches around to his back, where it terminates in the centre of his back as a kind of bolted-on plate. From this harness emerge four mechadendrites- two of them are maser carbines. The third is a large and threatening-looking drill. The other is a hefty,
[14:44] <Minaplo> powerful servo-arm- resembling a crane more than anything. It was this that apparently ripped open the door.-
[14:45] <Minaplo> [A complicated-looking device sits in his right hand. "I am hunting the entity that now sits upon Zhang's shoulders. I killed it once, and I will do so again, no matter how hard the Angel tries to bring it to life. Do you have a problem with that, Group Captain?"]
[14:46] <Yanmei> "You can't possibly think that that counts as an explanation." Yanmei scowled, trying desperately to take the… weirdness that was Surov in stride. "Details! For god's sake!"
[14:47] <Minaplo> ["Details! I am not here to spew exposition. What do you want, Zhang? Will a life story suffice, or do you want War and Peace?" Snapped Surov.]
[14:48] <Raphael> "It's sad the way some of us expect an explanation before we allow the murder of a child, isn't it , sir?" Raphael says mildly. His eyes are very, very cold.
[14:50] * Yanmei glared back at him. Were… her eyes growing a little brighter than before? She tried to blink the effect away hastily, and cleared her tightening throat. "What he said. I-If you expect cooperation of any sort, then stop beating around the bush."
[14:53] <Sept> "Maybe if he can prove he is who he says he is… I'm too tired to figure him out. But I… we might want to trust Surov."
[14:54] <Minaplo> ["De Pteres speaks some sense. In any case, whilst I am sure I could kill one or two of you before I died, I would rather not have to kill anyone I don't have to today, as I have already had my fill of combat."-
[14:54] <Minaplo> ["Navah is my birth name, Zhang. The name my father gave to me because he wanted a girl."]
[14:57] <Yanmei> "Your name? Then…" A realization dawned on her. A very unsettling one. "Then this kid you're chasing is some distortion of your past self?"
[14:59] <Minaplo> ["The area here has become weak. So weak that even a human's natural AT Field can shape it somewhat. Due to Navah's- place- in my subconscious, it was inevitable that she would be spawned."-
[15:01] <Minaplo> ["For 37 years I've had her. A hallucination, of that I was aware, a visual and audial trick of the senses, but that didn't stop her from reminding me. My mother wanted a smart child, but children cannot become experts overnight. She hated how slowly I learned. And my father wanted- a beautiful girl he could dress up like one of his dolls, a pretty shy thing that he could show off, an
[15:01] <Minaplo> expression of his idea of perfection. No matter how I combed or dyed my hair, or the dresses I wore, he barely even looked at me."-
[15:02] <Minaplo> ["So I discarded her. And I discarded that name. I made all of that weakness into something apart of me. And now it is here, and now I want to kill it."]
[15:06] <Sept> "How do you think… pilots are supposed to become perfect? What you're doing now is what the Neospartans did. Christ…"
[15:08] * Yanmei didn't say anything. Although, at least, by this point the tears in her eyes were at least under control.
[15:08] <Raphael> "…" Raphael shuts his eyes and takes a long, deep breath. When he opens them, he's not looking at Surov, but instead the child on Yanmei's shoulders. "And what do you think of this?"
[20:29] <AdEvaGM> [Nevah is… Hiding, as best she can, her face near-obscured by Yanmei's hair and the ugly doll, its face still leering out at the world. "I don't want to die!" She replies, balled hands rubbing at her eyes, wiping away tears. "Don't let me die…"]
[20:38] * Yanmei was trying not to look as uncomfortable as she felt. The sobbing child on her shoulders was in an awkward position for comforting, however. She gave her a tentative pat on the leg. "What do you think killing her is going to accomplish, anyway?"
[20:39] <Sept> "I… don't give a shit, Surov. We don't need you, perfect or otherwise. But I do expect better of you than to solve things by hurting yourself. Just get it over with somehow." And Sera turned his back on the whole sorry affair, heading back to the intersection, keeping his line of sight to the others.
[20:42] <AdEvaGM> ["Shut -up-, you idiot." Snarled William, who refused to let Sera walk away, grabbing his shoulder and pulling him back. "Can't you control yourself for one minute?! Were you even listening to Gabriel at all? If you want to go off by yourself, go right ahead, but when we find you later on curled up underneath a cut up wall, then I'll finish you off myself and be happier for it."-
[20:43] <AdEvaGM> ["And we entrust our future to these." Murmured Surov to himself. "I would think it's fairly obvious that there's no -perfect- pilot. None of you could ever be perfect, or anything close." He placed his hand over his face, letting out a long exhale. "What I think, Zhang, is that killing her would end the hallucinations once and for all."]
[20:45] <Raphael> "Enough." Raphael growls. He eyes Surov warily, seeming to come to a decision. "… Sir, we don’t have time for this. We can’t afford to pursue this when there’s a damned Angel inside the Geofront - and I mean that for both sides of this argument, regardless of my feelings on the matter."
[20:48] <Yanmei> "Surely, it can't be a simple as that, anyway?" Yanmei frowned, thinking. "You've been haunted by visions of the past you that you discarded for thirty-odd years. And you've 'killed' her before, yes? Either literally or symbolically, without it making a difference."
[20:52] * Sept just rolled his eyes, giving William a Look and sticking closer by while impatiently tapping a finger on the handle of a high-tech knife.
[20:55] <AdEvaGM> [Surov let out a hiss of annoyance. "Guillory is- correct. We can deal with this later. If you absolutely positively -have- to know, Zhang, the simple nutshell explanation is that she now bears a sliver of my AT Field." He approached Raphael and impatiently shoved the device at him. "This is a handheld model of the device used to scan for AT Fields globally. It's known as the AT Universal Sensor- Personal Scale Experimental edition. Technical calls it the 'Auspex' for short. It mostly runs itself, you don't have to press any buttons, so don't go fiddling."-
[20:57] <AdEvaGM> ["As for Nevah- take it with you. It may even be helpful, as I doubt it runs very fast." He turned around and began to stalk back the way he came- but it was clear now that he was injured somewhat in the leg. Without pure rage to sustain him he was starting to limp.]
[21:03] * Raphael nods once, keeping his gaze rather pointedly on the Auspex and watching Surov out of his peripheral vision until he rounds a corner. Only then does he look up. "Alright. We need to move." He says tersely. "Too much time spent here already."
[21:06] * Sept stared at Surov. "What, you're just going to…" Sera would've thrown his hands in the air if he'd been able to stalk off.
[21:06] * Yanmei watched him go without much sympathy. It only now occurred to her to wonder where he had gotten those injuries anyway. Was it from an earlier confrontation with Navah? "'s right," Yanmei muttered distractedly. She glanced toward their new 'compass' rather briefly, and glanced down the northern hallway. "We were going in this direction anyway."
[21:11] <AdEvaGM> [Surov ignored him, and it was clear that he had other things in mind- there was something he had to repair, it seemed, some kind of energy source. It looked rather dangerous.-
[21:12] <AdEvaGM> [The area around Surov looked like a warzone. Unsettlingly, corpses lay around, human ones, wielding weapons and covered in strange crude armour. The body of an Iron Guard was inexplicably here as well, his armour strange and distorted, his body dissected by what could only be a particularly violent twist from Surov's servo-arm.-
[21:12] <AdEvaGM> [Before long they came to another blast door…]
[21:14] * Raphael moves forward again, his keycard already out. "Cover me if you would, William."
[21:16] <AdEvaGM> ["Right." He has been carefully breathing in and out as he raises his pistol. "Ready."]
[21:16] <Sept> "Mmhm." Sera leaned on the wall by the door.
[21:16] * Raphael taps the code in quickly.
[21:17] <AdEvaGM> [With a beep, the door slides open…-
[21:19] <AdEvaGM> [There's a sudden rush of air. Instead of emerging into a corridor, they've emerged into a breached room, most of the floor eaten away by some kind of energy. The sheer force is irresistable, pushing them along, threatening to hurl them out into the void- and a void it is. Where the floor had once been was now nothing but a chasm, opening out on a huge expanse, where far below, pink and angry red energy roiled and crackled, hurting the eyes just to look upon.-
[21:20] <AdEvaGM> ["BREACH!" Shouts William in horror.]
[21:23] * Yanmei stared out over the void, her eyes wide. "No. Let's not go this way. What does the Auspex thing say? Do we have to?"
[21:27] * Sept nearly lost his balance from the sudden gale. "There's no reason we couldn't just open the door on the other side if we can cross it!"
[21:31] <Raphael> "Do you want to risk falling into that?" Raphael bellows over the howling wind, gesturing towards the roiling void as he moves to pull to reengage the blast door.
[21:36] <Sept> "Nobody's going to fall anywhere!" Sera tore off his body armor hastily and started to uncoil the cable from his grappling hook. "We lost too much goddamn time already!"
[21:43] <Yanmei> "'Nobody's going to fall anywhere'?!" Yanmei glared at him. "NO. Put that thing away. All it takes is one slip up and you're dead! We're going around."
[21:45] * Raphael just nods, pulling the keycard free and hammering the button that sends the door rolling back into place.
[21:46] <AdEvaGM> [… And the wind cuts off, the air feeling uncomfortably thin, the breach sealed.-
[21:46] <AdEvaGM> ["… Ok, so. Going around. Let's… Let's go." Mutters William.]
[21:47] <Raphael> "… Mmm." Raphael murmurs, picturing that strange crimson glow and suppressing a shudder. So that was a Dirac Sea?
[21:56] <AdEvaGM> [They trudged back the way they came, instead, passing the corpses and the distant patter of footsteps that Navah claimed happily were her friends, playing.-
[21:56] <AdEvaGM> [But as they walked, they entered an area of absolute silence…-
[21:58] <AdEvaGM> [And came to another blast door.-
[21:59] <AdEvaGM> ["NERV likes its doors." Mutters William.]
[22:00] <Raphael> "After what was waiting on the other side of that last one, I'm starting to understand why." Raphael says, stepping forward and running through the same process that has seen them through the last few doors of this kind.
[22:00] <AdEvaGM> ["Access Denied."]
[22:01] <Raphael> "… Hmm." Raphael mutters. He glances back at Yanmei. "Have you been able to raise Doctor Gabriel at all?"
[22:02] <Sept> Sera's deep, sullen silence continued as he brought up the rear, avoiding eye contact with the others, either intentionally or because he was so busy looking back down the corridor.
[22:03] <Yanmei> "Hm." Yanmei opened the little computer, and peered down at it. A cold sweat lingered on her after passing through the silent area, but her hands were still steady.
[22:04] <AdEvaGM> [A beeping client was present, someone trying to send the computer a message via MAGINet.-
[22:04] <AdEvaGM> ["I think…" William frowned at the door, peering closely. "It's a little open, I think…"]
[22:05] * Yanmei opened up the little MAGINet client.
[22:06] <AdEvaGM> ["Where on Earth have you been? I've been calling for ten minutes."]
[22:06] * Raphael leans forward as well, nodding slightly. He cautiously fits the finders of one hand into the gap, testing the space. "We'd need a lever of some sort. I don't think we'll have much luck pulling it."
[22:07] <Yanmei> "Sorry. We were distracted? There was this void, you see…" Yanmei unsheathed her chainsword and passed it to Raphael without missing a beat.
[22:09] <AdEvaGM> ["What do you want, now that you need me enough to answer?"]
[22:10] <Raphael> "Ah. Much obliged, ma'am." Raphael murmurs, taking the unwieldy weapon - for a moment he was surprised just how easily Yanmei fought with it - before slotting it into the gap.
[22:10] <Yanmei> "First, we're reporting our situation. We found Surov, and are advancing through the compound using his device. Also, we picked up an additional passenger. Say hello, Navah."
[22:11] <AdEvaGM> ["Hello!"-
[22:11] <AdEvaGM> ["What? Is that a child?"]
[22:12] <Yanmei> "Yes. She's Surov's."
[22:12] <AdEvaGM> ["What."-
[22:12] <AdEvaGM> ["Don't say that…"]
[22:15] * Yanmei pouted at William. "OK, not -really-. At least, not in that sense. It's complicated. Um. Seems that there are certain areas where the human consciousness - or some aspects - of it can shape a literal living form."
[22:26] <AdEvaGM> ["… Right. I see."]
[22:27] <Yanmei> "Anyway, that's the update. We'll be in touch if anything else happens to us, of course~ Are things still safe over on your end?"
[22:28] * Sept wordlessly moved up to the door, still glancing behind him at some unseen threat, and took hold of the sword, planting his feet firmly on the floor.
[22:28] <Raphael> A grunt from over by the door, where Raphael the muscles on Raphael's arms are pulled taut as he tries to peel back the door.
[22:28] <Raphael> "I could use a hand, Pilots."
[22:31] <Yanmei> "Ah. Shoot. Doctor, I'll be right back, okay?" Yanmei slipped the computer away. Wandering over to the sword, Yanmei gripped and pulled as well. Frowned, readjusted her grip and pulled even harder, straining.
[22:32] <AdEvaGM> [With a painful screeching of metal sliding unwillingly across other metal, the door strained open, finally allowing someone to walk through.-
[22:32] <AdEvaGM> ["Well done!" Clapped Navah. "You're really strong~"]
[22:33] <Yanmei> "Yeah, thanks." The sword went back into it's sheath. The computer came out again. "Anyway~ Like I said, we'll be in touch, Doctor."
[22:34] <AdEvaGM> ["Keep moving."]
[22:34] * Raphael seems to be a little red-faced, and not solely from the exertion. "A-alright. Let's get going."
[22:35] * Yanmei did just that, slipping through the space and onto the other side of the door.
[22:35] <AdEvaGM> [A small room lay ahead, some kind of storage room, but it looked positively ransacked.-
[22:38] <AdEvaGM> [As the last person- William- stepped through, the door slid shut. He glanced back at it, frowning. "…"-
[22:38] <AdEvaGM> [The door had not closed of its volition. Something was crawling up the door, shooting off dozens of tendrils that met and spread like drops of water.-
[22:39] <AdEvaGM> ["Shadows." He murmured. "Shadows, they're alive-"-
[22:39] <AdEvaGM> [The shadows crept up around the walls and the floors and the roof, the air growing heavy, and… Their bodies growing heavy as well, unbearably so.]
[22:42] <Yanmei> "What the hell is this?! Ugh…" Yanmei fumbled with the chest piece for her armor, trying to loosen it to allow for actual breathing. "We've… we've gotta get out of here!"
[22:46] <Raphael> "…" Raphael's gaze ran across the walls and floor, his gun coming up quickly as he reached for the straps of his armour. "… She's right. Everybody, move as fast as you can, but try and stay together. We need to get out of this hall." Leading by example he took off at… well, what was supposed to have been a sprint, had his legs not felt like leaden weights.
[22:46] <Sept> "Drop what you don't need," Sera panted. "Make a run for it… -alright-?" The last part was clearly meant for Yanmei.
[22:48] <AdEvaGM> [William didn't need to be told twice. His armour fell to the ground and he was off, but the shadows were faster. Just as they lashed at Raphael's legs and arms, a huge blade of darkness ripped into William's side. he let out a scream of pain, blood flicking against the walls.]
[22:49] * Raphael turns just for a moment as he leaps past the swipes of the shadow-things, bolter barking once as he fires at the shadows attacking William.
[22:51] <AdEvaGM> [The bolt rips through a shadow limb, splashing it apart, only for it to reform later, a tremendous Great White made of shadow ripping a huge gouge out of the space where Raphael was standing a second before.]
[22:52] <Sept> Exhausted as he is, Sera still manages to stay out of reach of the shadows for the opening stretch of the corridor. He's made more than one misstep, though.
[22:53] <Yanmei> It took a moment to drop off the rest of the armor completely. William's injury was enough to make her give another pause, hissing through her teeth, but soon she was right up behind him. "C'mon. You all right? Keep going!"
[22:54] * Raphael grits his teeth, shouldering the bolter and focusing on making it through the next part of the gauntlet unscathed.
[22:57] <AdEvaGM> [A hundred shadow spears beat down on Sera as he runs, forming a temporary wall, blocking and slowing him, whilst long tendrils grasp at Yanmei's legs, trying to trip her up. William manages to barely avoid having a spike rip through his head, rolling to the side and then off on the sprint.-
[22:58] <AdEvaGM> [Raphael's gauntlet becomes almost literal as a huge shadowy hand reaches from the wall to grab and crush him…]
[23:04] <Sept> "Just… a bit…" Sera gasps in between breaths, but keeps running, cursing the whole way.
[23:06] * Yanmei managed to slip free from the tendrils, eyes focused on the twists and turns ahead, muscles aready aching unbearably.
[23:07] <AdEvaGM> [William doesn't slow his pace, through the blood or the pain- but he reaches the end, slamming the control pad of a door, which opens. He stumbles through, clutching his chest.-
[23:07] * Raphael makes a desperate leap sideways to try and get around the hand, getting clear by mere inches as he scrambles to keep his balance. He's distantly aware of the Pilots around him, but he's unable to let his attention waver.
[23:07] <AdEvaGM> [The shadows begin to pull away from Raphael, for now, leaving him free to rush to the exit…-
[23:08] <AdEvaGM> [But Sera is nearly swallowed up as the corridor behind them seems to actually disintegrate. A thousand hands emerge from the tide, grabbing and grappling at him in an attempt to pull him into their embrace.-
[23:11] <AdEvaGM> [But it's Yanmei who feels it most- something bursts from the ground behind her, something the size of a dinner plate and made predominantly of claws. It catches her in the back, ripping through her coat. Searing pain shoots through her body as the creature tries to burrow into her, claws ripping at her stomach and back- she can feel the blood starting to trickle.-
[23:12] <AdEvaGM> ["It's behind you! Behind you!" Screams Navah.]
[23:16] * Yanmei doesn't scream. There's no time to react, save for staggers and gasps, and the growl that immediately follows as she gives another burst of speed, reeling for the escape door up ahead.
[23:17] * Raphael makes it through the door a second ahead of Yanmei, reaching back over the threshold as if to pull her through.
[23:18] <Yanmei> And Yanmei caught his hand with one of hers, the other swiping violently at the creature to throw it off, least she carry it through.
[23:19] <AdEvaGM> [By the time she's reaching for it, the creature, safe out of reach under her shirt, has climbed up her back, leaving blood and wounds as it goes, attempting to bite into Yanmei's neck. It's Navah- grabbing the creature and ripping it out- that lets Yanmei smack it back, allowing Yanmei to pass through.]
[23:23] * Raphael hauls Yanmei through the door with all his strength, unbalancing himself in the process and sending him stumbling. "William! Get ready on the door!"
[23:23] * Sept was not far ahead, and besides, he couldn't have put up much of a fight against any monster in the state he was in even if he'd had time to draw a weapon. He just panted there, all but crumpled on the floor.
[23:23] <AdEvaGM> [William slams the console, and the door slides shut.-
[23:23] <AdEvaGM> [Thud. Thud thud. The door takes the blows and holds.-
[23:24] <AdEvaGM> [There's just one other way out now- via the other door…]
[23:25] * Raphael slumps against one wall, hands on his knees as he gasps for breath. "Are you three…" He coughs, taking a deep breath and starting over. "How bad are your wounds?"
[23:26] <AdEvaGM> ["It's deep." Mutters Will, slumped against the wall. "I'll… Live."]
[23:27] * Sept didn't look up, just stood there doubled over, hands on his knees. "Hahh… hahh… fine."
[23:28] * Yanmei was content to lie where she had fallen when Raphael had pulled her through. Just… getting air back into her lungs. It's a moment before she answers. "'s allright… fuckin' stings, though?"
[23:28] <AdEvaGM> [Navah was sprawled across the ground, but she quickly gets back up, rushing to Yanmei's side, tugging on her arm. "Yanmei." She murmured urgently.]
[23:30] * Raphael is looking at William worriedly. "Will you be able to move?"
[23:31] <AdEvaGM> ["Yeah, I'll be good…"]
[23:32] <Yanmei> "Huh?" Yanmei rises a little, squinting at her. "What's wrong?"
[23:32] <AdEvaGM> ["We need to go. We really really really need to go-"-
[23:32] <AdEvaGM> [WHAM! A massive force slammed into the door, putting a huge dent into it. WHAM- WHAM-
[23:32] <AdEvaGM> [A pause.-
[23:33] <AdEvaGM> [The walls… Rippled for a second, the door frame expanding just enough to make the door loose. With one staggering slam, it fell, and revealed what stood behind it.-
[23:35] <AdEvaGM> [Huge head, incredible powerful jaw with teeth several feet long. Tiny arms attached to an extremely bulky body with a long, powerful tail and massive legs that would rival industrial pistons.-
[23:35] <AdEvaGM> [A Tyrannosaurus Rex, made of swirling shadow. It opened its mouth and roared, sending instinctual fear through the minds and bodies of everyone in the room- and shaking the room to boot.]
[23:40] <Yanmei> "Door." Yanmei said. It came out as a whisper, and she had to raise her voice and say it again. "Door!
[23:41] <Sept> "SHIT! GET THE DOOR!" Sera had to lean on the wall heavily to keep his balance between the exhaustion and the tremors.
[23:43] <Raphael> "Door." Raphael agreed, a few shades paler than before as he practically crosses the space to the console in a single, andrenaline-fueled leap. He jams the ID card in with his palm and types as fast as his lightly shaking hands will allow.
[23:43] <AdEvaGM> [The door slides open…-
[23:44] <AdEvaGM> [… But it doesn't open onto a corridor, or any structure at all.-
[23:44] <AdEvaGM> [The only thing the door opens up onto is a portal, a rippling field of energy bounded by blue light, into which a blurry shape can be seen- but not made out.]
[23:46] <Sept> "No. Fuck, no."
[23:46] <Raphael> "Everyone, get back as far as you can! I'll try and come back to tell you it's clear, but even if I don't…" Raphael says, his voice barely carrying over the roaring and rattling in the hall. And without allowing himself time to second-guess himself he passes through the portal - one arm first, followed a few heartbeats later by the rest of his body.
[23:47] <AdEvaGM> [… They cannot hear Raphael. But they can see him, as clear as crystal compared to the rest of the blurry image, and he looks fine.]
[23:49] <Raphael> … and a gloved hand returns through the portal, giving the group what seems to be a thumbs-up.
[23:50] <Yanmei> "Group Captain!" Her first impulse was to stop him, but… he was gone. And the image of him that remained behind the blue light seemed unharmed. A trick? The roars were still sending shakes through her. "That's all we need. Eeryone, go!" She was scrambling for the portal herself now, grasping Navah's arm.
[23:51] <AdEvaGM> [The Rex was charging now, the room shaking- above their heads the roof started to come apart.-
[23:51] <AdEvaGM> ["SERA! WE ARE LEAVING!" William grabs Sera's arm and begins to pull him towards the portal.]
[23:52] <Sept> "YEAH I GOT THAT," he screams and runs in with him.
[23:52] <AdEvaGM> [Yanmei and Navah are the last through…-
[23:53] <AdEvaGM> [The Rex a second away from biting off Yanmei's head- the roof caves in, crushing the Rex…-
[23:53] <AdEvaGM> [And leaving them on the other side of the portal, where the debris is obvious even through the blur.]
[23:58] * Sept stumbled away from the portal, quickly trying to figure out his surroundings.
[23:58] * Raphael is facing towards the portal, bolter raised as if it would ward off the thing had it made it through. He's breathing in long, slow breaths very carefully cleared of any shakiness. "… Well." He manages.
[00:00] <Yanmei> Yanmei didn't look back. If she did, it would probably make her sick. She'd felt it… breathing on her, for just a second between roars, but now she couldn't hear it at all, and no one else was panicking. Maybe they were safe? She looked around where they were now instead.
[00:00] <AdEvaGM> ["Too close." William panted, looking up- and his jaw dropped.-
[00:03] <AdEvaGM> [The room- no, building- they were in was massive. In fact, it was probably larger than the entire Geofront. A massive chamber made of material like smooth marble stone to touch, but all of it reflected a dim white light that gave illumination, enough to see by. The building was focused upward- four colossal spires of this light-stone, each one probably wider than a kilometre each and rising five times that much, sharp-edged, leaving only perhaps a hundred metres of gap between them where they met. The spires formed a wall of sorts, with a huge empty area in the middle. Above them, the spires not-quite met at a single point, through which the clearest, brightest starry sky they had ever seen twinkled and shone above them, framed by an angry dull red moon.-
[00:04] <AdEvaGM> [Within the very centre of the room, floating five hundred metres above the ground, was a sphere, absolutely massive, made of red-glowing stone. Every minute, a pulse of energy rushed from the sky, down the gap between the pillars and infused itself into the sphere.]
[00:07] * Yanmei staggered back a bit. This was hardly what she had been expecting to find in a place like this… or anywhere, for that matter. It was like the interior of a castle or a temple, only so much bigger. This obviously no place built for regular people in mind. "That red thing. Does it remind you guys of something?"
[00:10] <Sept> "It… must be a core of some kind? We shouldn't be here."
[00:10] <AdEvaGM> [It was cold, here. Almost shiveringly so, and the air was thin…]
[00:13] <Yanmei> "How do we get out, is the question," Yanmei muttered.
[00:14] * Raphael stares upwards, eyes narrowed to try and assess any threat the room might pose. Still, it was impossible to avoid the feeling of awe that slipped through, cracking the professional facade. "… We'll have to look around. Sera's right, though, we shouldn't be here. Everyone stay together until we've made it to somewhere safer."
[00:14] <Sept> "Stick together. Look for an exit. Surov, you have anything to say about this place?"
[00:14] <AdEvaGM> [Navah clings to Yanmei's hand, clearly awed and frightened. "That's not my name. My name is Navah."-
[00:15] <AdEvaGM> ["There… Are ways out, I see. But they're rather far away, and there's no way of knowing if they lead anywhere." Said William, looking lost. "I…"]
[00:16] <Sept> "See? That's exactly what he keeps saying. Both just as stubborn. You can't just have one name. Not if you want to live."
[00:18] <AdEvaGM> ["Shut up, de Pteres." Snaps William. "Leave your words and your nonsense 'philosophies' away from the child."]
[00:20] <Raphael> "Pilots, I'm going to ask you politely to stop bickering. We do not have the time or collective patience for it." Raphael says, looking bitterly tired as the adrenaline from the incident with the shadows begins to fade. "Now, Pilot Xylander, where were these exits?"
[00:20] <AdEvaGM> [He points at the four gaps between the spires.]
[00:21] <Sept> "Just tell us if you sense anything, alright? Navah." Sera nodded. "Let's head out, then. -Stay together-."
[00:22] <Raphael> "Indeed." Raphael nods, beginning to advance on the gaps William had indicated as he steals a last look up at that starry sky.
[00:23] * Yanmei was frowning, not at the spire entrances, but at the floating red core above them. She opened the minicomputer just to see if they still had a connection to the outside world.
[00:23] <AdEvaGM> [Connection lost.-
[00:24] <AdEvaGM> [And so, they walked. It was a -long- walk, but apparently their portal had disgorged them very close to one of the spire walls, shortening the distance between them and the nearest gap.-
[00:28] <AdEvaGM> [Upon reaching it, they would see- buildings, a city. But this city was to Paris and Tokyo as Mount Everest is to an anthill. The buildings dominated the landscape, dominated it so utterly that it looked as though they had formed there, like a forest, not built. Incredibly tall spires, connected to others via graceful arches; huge ampitheatre-like buildings rising kilometres into the air. They were high, too- in fact, the only way out was a path connecting their strange configuration of spires to the rest of the city, the gap between the path and the rest of the ground obviously lethal.-
[00:30] <AdEvaGM> [The path led to the centre of the city directly, where the greatest and tallest of buildings sat. Like a spear it shot from the skyline, stretching over two thousand kilometres into the air- incredibly high. It was clearly smooth, but unlike the other buildings it did not glimmer but shone with full light, a visible beacon that would have been visible a continent away. A sole, shining light left in what was clearly a dark and empty city.]
[00:31] <Sept> "…FAR, Angels… or just something this one dreamed up?"
[00:35] <Yanmei> "It's bigge than even the Angels we've faced," Yanmei muttered. She turned her eyes away from the city, not liking the reminder of how insignificant they were in this place. "I -hope- it's just a dream."
[00:36] <Raphael> "…" Whatever mask of professionalism he'd been able to maintain through the shadow creatures, strange portals and alien skies finally cracked completely, leaving his jaw hanging just slightly. The sheer -scale- of it… he'd thought being on the ground during an angel attack was terrifying.
[00:36] <AdEvaGM> [Navah stared mutely with Yanmei, utterly, absolutely overawed, turning as she did.-
[00:37] <AdEvaGM> [But as Yanmei turned, she'd see the floating red Core suddenly pulse for a second with light. In the space between it and the ground, a fountain of red energy began to flow- and within the fountain formed a floating eye, which swivelled around the room before focusing on them.-
[00:37] <AdEvaGM> ["…" There were a thousand simultaneous sounds, a harmless red light flowing over them- then it, astoundingly, began to speak.-
[00:37] <AdEvaGM> ["It has been-"-
[00:38] <AdEvaGM> ["Three billion, forty-four million, one hundred and nine thousand, six hundred and fifty-nine point three hundred ninety nine years since last activation."-
[00:38] <AdEvaGM> ["Basic scans show-"-
[00:38] <AdEvaGM> ["Approximately sixty-two point nine quintillion sentient offspring-"-
[00:39] <AdEvaGM> ["Chantry Memory Primus- activated."]
[06:39] <Sept> "I… is that good?"
[06:41] <Yanmei> "It's… I have no idea." Yanmei stared back at the eye. It said 'Chantry'. The original FAR Chantry? "What is your. Um. Primary function?"
[06:42] <Raphael> "I'm not going to take the chance." Raphael says tightly to Sera, putting himself between the core and the children. His voice is a lot less even than it had been before.
[06:47] <AdEvaGM> [The eye's gaze moved from one face to the other, before focusing back on Yanmei. "The primary functions of Chantry Memory Primus is to store the collected data of the Chantry of Light and to form the nexus of the Celestial Way."]
[06:48] * Raphael stares silently at the orb for a moment or two before shooting Yanmei an openly confused look.
[06:52] <Sept> "What is… the Celestial Way?"
[06:52] * Yanmei looked a little confused herself. "Good question. Ah… when you say 'Chantry of Light'? Do you mean a Chantry used by the race that used to exist here? Do you have data on the individuals who used it?" She caught Raphael's expression and shrugged.
[06:55] <AdEvaGM> [The eye focused on Sera. "The Celestial Way is a network of paths linked between Chantry Memory Primus, the Seven Houses of the Seeds and other places of interest." Back on Yanmei. "Yes."]
[06:58] * Yanmei didn't relax, so much as drop her shoulders a tiny bit to imply relaxation. She turned back to Raphael and William. "It's a supercomputer. And it has information on the common ancestors of humans and the Angels… the First Ancestrial Race. So we can ask it questions and stuff about that?"
[07:02] <Sept> "With the Angel still at large… is there a way we could take your information with us?"
[07:04] <Raphael> The blank stares continue, this time directed at Yanmei. "… Common anscestors." Raphael says flatly, with a slow shake of his head. Questions for later. "Sept is right, Yanmei. If we can't simply take this information with us, we need to be quick."
[07:07] <AdEvaGM> ["The information can only be given verbally to ones such as yourselves. Only one of Those With Thought can receive all of the information."]
[07:10] * Raphael nods again. "Then ask what you must, Pilot Zhang." Raphael still looks wholly distrustful of the entire affair.
[07:13] <Sept> "Can you be certain about that? I've sorted through other people's memories before." Beyond that, Sera left the opening questions to Yanmei.
[07:13] <AdEvaGM> ["Yes."]
[07:14] <Yanmei> "Yes, right." She gazed back at the eye, suddenly painfully aware of how much there was to ask. "Verbal should be okay, right?" She shut her eyes a moment, trying to decide. "Is there a way for beings such as ourselves to thwart Destiny as determined by our Progenitor, Lilith?"
[07:16] <AdEvaGM> ["This unit does not understand the question."]
[07:18] * Yanmei frowned. Different terminology? "We'll come back to it, then. A different question: the faction we are combating is using a Chantry of its own. One that's likely on a much smaller scale than yours, between much fewer nodes. How do we disrupt it?"
[07:20] <AdEvaGM> ["Combat?" If alarm could enter the monotone of that voice, it probably would have. The eye flicked away towards the Core, which pulsed for a second, glowing brightly, almost blindingly so. William covered his eyes.-
[07:22] <AdEvaGM> ["Why is combat occurring? There should be no combat. The Enemy is dormant." Primus flicked its gaze back to Yanmei. "Are you attacking another Offspring Species? This was not part of the plan, Watcher."]
[07:23] <Sept> "That's an understatement."
[07:26] * Yanmei bristled at the use of that name, but she shook her head, letting it drop. "Two Offpring Species are in combat, yes, to determine who will dominate a single planet. Two Seeds landed on the same one, and have bothe remained dormant for many years. Mostly. You don't know this?"
[07:28] * Raphael had managed to force the look of confusion from his face, but the fact that he was only grasping a portion of this conversation still seemed painfully clear.
[07:29] <AdEvaGM> ["No, Watcher. The plan was for all seven Seeds to possess their own world." The eye's vision flickered over Sera, then Raphael, focusing on him for a second, before flicking towards where the portal had been. "According to the trace, your Seed landed on the world promised to the Youthful King. Why did your Seed change the course?" Flicking back towards Sera, now, the eye focusing on him
[07:29] <AdEvaGM> to the point where the air around him grew somewhat warmer.]
[07:34] <Sept> "I… don't have that kind of information. What reason could there be?"
[07:36] <AdEvaGM> ["Unknown. The potential exists for the course change to be due to an unforseen circumstance, such as an accident."]
[07:37] <Yanmei> "Guess that would have to be it, then?" Yanmei sounded frustrated. "Look. Can't you just answer my question?"
[07:44] <AdEvaGM> ["Disrupting a Chantry requires Light equal to the strength of the Chantry master."]
[07:48] <Sept> "What kind of thing or being would be capable of that?"
[07:48] <Yanmei> "Oh." Her brow crinkled. "What can you tell us of the strongest of the Youthful King's children, then? We call it Metatron, but that can't be its true name. What was it like when it existed in this city?"
[07:50] <AdEvaGM> ["A being possessing Light equal to the strength of the Chantry master." Said Primus in response to Sera's question… A little slower, this time.-
[07:58] <AdEvaGM> [Then back to Yanmei. "There were two powerful Offspring assigned to the Youthful King, powerful in different ways. The First Child of the Youthful King was officially declared to be the Silver-Clad Empress. The Silver-Clad Empress was one of the leaders of Those With Thought. Many thought her wise and extremely beautiful. She was your mother, Watcher, along with the Seer of the Shadows,
[07:58] <AdEvaGM> and the mother of your five siblings as well."]
[08:02] <Yanmei> "What." Her blood ran cold. "Mother…? Seer of…?" Had they fought someone like that yet? Ugh… how was she supposed to remember them outside of their humanity-given names?! She struggled to collect herself. "What do you mean by siblings?"
[08:03] <AdEvaGM> ["You share the same mother and father." Said Primus slowly.]
[08:03] <Yanmei> "Yes, thank you," she said sarcastically. "I meant, 'who are the siblings'?"
[08:04] * Raphael cracks a very slight smile.
[08:07] * Sept had to suppress a smirk, too, but there were more grave undertones there. He would've killed for a chance like this, and probably had.
[08:16] <AdEvaGM> ["You are the eldest. The others- they are Librarian- assigned to your Seed, the Dawn Maiden, then Pathfinder, assigned to the Laughing Lord- then Master of Secrets, assigned to Prince of the Summers- then Creator of Mysteries, who was slain by the Enemy eons ago. Finally there is the youngest, Young Huntress, who was assigned to Eyes of Stars."]
[08:18] * Yanmei processed this quietly. "You said there was someone else who was on Meta- uh, the Silver Clad Empresses' level of power who was also born to the Youthful King. Who is that?"
[08:24] <AdEvaGM> ["The Warmaster."]
[08:27] <Yanmei> "Sounds… powerful. What are the Warmaster's strengths? And is there anyone born to our Seed who is as powerful or more powerful than the Warmaster or the Empress?"
[08:29] <Sept> Sera muttered to himself while staring at Primus intently. "The Librarian is Aline, of course… But the others. God, if we only had time to make sense of this shit…"
[08:32] <AdEvaGM> ["It is difficult to say. This unit's data stems from time before the Great Reincarnation. The Solemn Exarch was considered the greatest amongst Those With Thought, but his assignment to the People of Knowledge means that the data is not applicable to the current situation. The Warmaster was considered the arbitrator of conflicts, who understood all the principles of war and the means of
[08:32] <AdEvaGM> its execution. The Warmaster also possessed items of great power, including the Sphere of Life Everlasting, but the ultimate fate of these things is unknown."]
[08:33] <Sept> "The People of Knowledge?"
[08:34] * Yanmei just nodded. There was a certain second shock of realizing that the Librarian was Blanc's name, and that they had been related in some very distant past life.
[08:36] <AdEvaGM> ["The ones who were decreed to be the bearers of Knowledge over that of Light."]
[08:41] <Sept> "If Elisha was assigned there, he'd need someone from Light for his plans. But if the Chantry represents Light, does that mean they're all Angels..?"
[08:47] <Yanmei> "Um. Huh. I guess so? I mean, unless there's some aberration that can also use it? Like, what would you classify Silas Caine's last form as?" Yanmei toyed with her hair absently while she thought, and glanced at William speculatively. "You've been pretty quiet? Have anything of your own to ask?"
[08:49] <AdEvaGM> ["N… Not really." Said William, who had been at Raphael's side, keeping quiet, a look of flat astonishment on his face.-
[08:50] <AdEvaGM> [Primus flicked its gaze between Watcher and the fragment of the Solemn Exarch. "This unit is unsure as to what it is being asked."]
[08:52] <Yanmei> -Yanmei- grinned. "Mine was a rhetorical question. Don't worry about it. But…" she glanced to Sept, as if anticipating his own response.
[08:53] <Sept> "Is the difference between the bearers of Knowledge and Light the same as the Seed designations of souls?"
[08:59] <AdEvaGM> [Primus focused on Sera. "this unit must disregard part of your question as it does not understand. The Bearers of Knowledge and Light are Offspring, created by dividing Those Who Thought into two overarching categories, from which were created four Knowledge Seeds and three Light Seeds. Their souls are, fundamentally, identical to Those Who Thought. Those Who Thought and the Offspring are
[08:59] <AdEvaGM> all part of the same species. However, there are variations between Knowledge and Light, and further variations between Seeds, to ensure that they developed along different paths."]
[09:01] * Raphael glances back at the others, frowning. "I… can tell this is important to you two, but we can't stay here much longer. We have know way of knowing that this isn't a ploy by the angel."
[09:03] <AdEvaGM> ["Wasn't the Angel siccing a T. Rex on us?" Asked William. "Why waste time on ploys when it could've just killed us?"]
[09:05] <Raphael> "… Mmm." He murmurs, clearly lacking a decent answer to that question. "Still. There are people relying on the three of you making it to the Evangelions."
[09:05] <Sept> "Of course, of course. We have no way of knowing how time flows here, either. Could be days already, for all we know. Primus. What way is there for Offspring to regain memories from before? I know the Exarch found something like this."
[09:06] * Yanmei frowned. "I'm out of questions myself? Let's wait for de Pteres to finish up his own and then ask it how to get back"
[09:09] <AdEvaGM> ["Unknown. According to this unit's records, the reincarnated Offspring would all have natural ways of accessing their original memories. These Offspring would have grown and spread in a culture where the Seed would play a large part. Ask the Dawn Maiden for assistance."]
[09:12] <Yanmei> The Dawn Maiden again. "That would be…?" She looked to Sera questioningly. He'd known about her and Blanc, after all…
[09:12] <AdEvaGM> ["… Your Seed."]
[09:13] <Yanmei> "…" An expression of open astonishment crossed her face.
[09:14] <Sept> "Yeah. That's… not going to happen. One more question, then. What can you tell us about him?" He nodded toward William.
[09:15] <AdEvaGM> ["Me? Huh?" William blinked in surprise.-
[09:18] <AdEvaGM> [Primus turned its gaze on William. "The Peacekeeper. Before the Great Reincarnation, the Peacekeeper was the keeper of the laws and codes of conduct."]
[09:21] <Yanmei> "Sounds fitting?" Yanmei muttered, eying him.
[09:22] * Sept ran through several starkly different emotions in the space of a second, settling on outrage. "What? -No-. That was Leon! Peacekeeper is dead!"
[09:22] <AdEvaGM> ["I wouldn't call myself a lawy- wha-"-
[09:22] * Raphael raises an eyebrow.
[09:22] <AdEvaGM> ["This unit does not lie." Said Primus, turning its gaze upon Sera. "Not has it suffered data corruption."]
[09:23] <AdEvaGM> <Nor*>
[09:23] <Sept> <Irony>
[09:27] * Yanmei looked concerned, quickly turning a steady gaze to Sera.
[09:28] <Sept> "I'm such an -idiot-! To even… augh! We're -through- here. How do we get back, Primus?"
[09:29] <AdEvaGM> ["The Celestial Way."]
[09:32] <Yanmei> "Please be more specific? We don't know how to use that intuitively. We're not even sure how we got here. Isn't there some door or portal…?"
[09:34] <AdEvaGM> ["You came here via the Celestial Way." Said Primus slowly. "You should know how to use it. This unit is not scheduled to activate the Great Resummoning Pulse for another four thousand sixty-nine years."]
[09:36] <Raphael> "Our home is currently under assault by one of these… offspring. While escaping from its creations, we fled through a door and wound up here." Raphael says, speaking up to the AI for the first time.
[09:37] <AdEvaGM> [The eye of Primus turned on Raphael. "Your Seed attacked that world. It is not your assigned world."]
[09:38] <Raphael> "… I don't really claim to know the details, sir." Raphael replies, slipping into professionalism for lack of a better approach. "I simply mean to say we didn't arrive here on purpose."
[09:44] <AdEvaGM> [Primus didn't seem to know how to respond to this. It looked between Raphael, Sera and Yanmei restlessly.]
[09:46] <Sept> "It doesn't matter how it -should- have been, just tell us! How -did- we get here?"
[09:46] <AdEvaGM> ["Via the Celestial Way gate in Dawn Maiden's Seedship."]
[09:46] <Raphael> "Can we return via the same path?"
[09:48] <Sept> "I think it'd be difficult to get through there, now. Is there a way to take that same gate to elsewhere on our world?"
[09:48] <AdEvaGM> ["To the Youthful King's Seedship."]
[09:49] <AdEvaGM> <Scratch>
[09:49] <AdEvaGM> ["No."]
[09:54] <Yanmei> "We'll deal with the blocked hallway when we get back. Let's just figure out how to get back to the Geofront, all right?" She gazed at the AI. "Can you please open a connection to that gate? That's all we're asking for?"
[09:58] <AdEvaGM> ["This unit is not supposed to open connections until the Great Resummoning Pulse or if the Enemy reawakens."]
[10:00] <Yanmei> "Then give us instructions on how to open it." She looked around. "Is there some giant button or lever or whatever? …wait, what enemy?"
[10:00] <Sept> "We've got more than enough enemies on Earth, just take your pick!"
[10:04] <AdEvaGM> ["The Enemy." Said Primus. "A powerful entity from beyond our plane of existence. It devastated most of the life in the galaxy and was the only entity capable of rivaling the power of Those With Thought. Those With Thought were nearly vanquished; a temporary victory was all that was achievable at the time. The Solemn Exarch's plan of Great Reincarnation was partially created in the hope that the Offspring would help
[10:04] <AdEvaGM> defeat the Enemy. A Plan that was endangered by your Seed." The eye flicked back towards Raphael for one second, before flicking back to Yanmei.-
[10:04] <AdEvaGM> ["The Gates can only be opened by this unit."]
[10:09] <Yanmei> "That's not true. Because if it was true? We wouldn't be here, now would we?" Yanmei glared, hands on her hips. "If you won't open them directly? Then perhaps you can think of a way to remotely force that stupid Angel tormenting us back on our planet to do it. Come on. It can't be -that- hard, can it?"
[10:12] <AdEvaGM> ["This unit is unable to affect events beyond the scope of this planet. The world on which your Seed landed is 51,202 light years away." Said Primus. "This unit is only able to activate the gates on this side."]
[10:19] <Sept> "Then how can you or we know if the Enemy has awakened?" Sera demanded impatiently.
[10:19] <AdEvaGM> ["The unit is unable to affect events, but its perception is galaxy-wide."]
[10:24] <Yanmei> "Under whose orders are you operating, anyway?"
[10:28] <AdEvaGM> ["I operate under orders from the Solemn Exarch."]
[10:29] <Sept> "But it's his plan you're ruining if you're going to keep us here! He's -on our side-!"
[10:31] <Yanmei> "He's right! If you see everything galaxy-wide, then you must be able to determine his current state and deduce what it is he wants."
[10:36] <AdEvaGM> ["…" Primus flicked its gaze between Yanmei and Sera. "This unit- This unit is unable to understand, this unit was not chosen for intuitive decisions."]
[10:40] <Yanmei> "The Solemn Exarch wants to become stronger in anticipation of the Emeney's awakening. However, he's been divided into pieces. In order to become stronger, he needs to be reunited with us. He can't do much as he is now, you see?"
[10:42] <Sept> "There's nothing intuitive about this! I'm the closest thing he has to an incarnation right now, and I -command- you to open that gate for us!"
[10:45] <AdEvaGM> ["…"-
[10:46] <AdEvaGM> [The Core of Primus began to glow, sending a pure stream of red light into the sky. The light split and slammed into the pillars, which all began to glow.-
[10:47] <AdEvaGM> [At the base of the four pillars, ripples in space began to open- portals. Seven of them.-
[10:47] <AdEvaGM> ["This unit has prematurely activated the Great Resummoning Pulse. It will reset its functions in one minute."]
[10:48] <Yanmei> "One minute! Which one is the portal that leads home?"
[10:52] <AdEvaGM> ["It's this one!" Said Navah, grabbing Yanmei's hand and pointing to a specific portal. It didn't look any different…]
[10:54] * Sept headed the way she'd pointed, still yelling at the floating core. "Primus! Is she right? Answer!"
[10:55] <Yanmei> "You can tell?!" Yanmei was running for it too. Not much time…
[10:56] <AdEvaGM> ["She is correct."-
[10:57] <AdEvaGM> ["Time to go." Muttered William, tapping Raphael's arm.-
[10:57] <AdEvaGM> [Navah was more or less pulled along with Yanmei.-
[10:57] <AdEvaGM> [… They'd start to note five of the other portals starting to show movement, shapes appearing on the other side as though through a foggy window.]
[10:58] * Raphael nods once, frowning up at the orb for a moment. "Best of luck." He says, before setting off towards the gate at a jog.
[11:00] * Yanmei eyed the shapes but didn't dally. For the first time in a while, however, she was reminded of the human shape they had seen before passing through through own portal into this world and the unsettling implications. She dove through before she could sort it out in her head.
[11:00] <Yanmei> ^their own
[11:00] <Sept> "Shit… this'll come back to haunt us. Hope it was worth it."
[11:02] <AdEvaGM> ["Resetting…"-
[11:06] <AdEvaGM> [… The last person through was William, and about a second later the gate rippled shut.-
[11:07] <AdEvaGM> [They weren't in the collapsed corridor anymore- rather, in a wide empty room…]
[11:09] * Yanmei exhaled slowly, leaning against one of the very solid-looking walls, pleased with being back in a place that was human-scale. "Thank god that worked?"
[11:11] * Sept took account of his surroundings and promptly began heading for the exit. "Yeah." He cast a glance at William before looking to see what was behind the first corner.
[11:18] <AdEvaGM> [Just an empty corridor…]
[11:20] * Raphael is casting faintly bewildered looks back at the space behind them where the now-vanished gate had been. "When we get clear of this, one of you will have to explain to me what that was all about." He mutters. "But for now, we need to hurry."
[11:22] <Yanmei> "Yeah, we'll talk if we can find someplace to." Yanmei agreed, and she followed along, some of her weariness starting to bleed through her expression.
[11:24] <Sept> "Mmh. Sure. Stay vigilant. No telling how much longer we have to wander around here."
[11:30] <AdEvaGM> [… The corridor gave a sudden lurch, the roof buckling a little as though some great weight had fallen on it.-
[11:30] <AdEvaGM> [Clunk. Clunk.-
[11:30] <AdEvaGM> ["… Is that-" Murmured William.]
[11:33] <Sept> "It's come f-for us," Sera said quietly, in an almost resigned voice.
[11:34] * Yanmei stared upward, paling more than a little. "No. Keep going," she muttered, lowering her voice significantly. "It hasn't attacked just yet."
[11:36] <Sept> "R-right," Sera whispered back, though reacting in no other way for some time. "Right," he repeated again, and took a careful step forwards.
[11:36] <Raphael> "She's right." Raphael murmurs, the bolter returning to his hands as he lowers himself into a partial crouch. "Quickly and quietly, Pilots. We have some time."
[11:38] <AdEvaGM> ["…" William crosses himself and murmurs a Latin prayer before lowering himself down. Navah looked petrified, and clung to Yanmei's hand.]
[11:58] * Yanmei eased forward as well, guiding Navah along. Inspite of the urge for speed, she was going more slowly than the others, struggling not to make sounds with her now-regretful choice in hard-soled footwear.
[12:01] <Sept> It took all Sera had not to sprint down the corridor. But as long as he could convince himself it was more dangerous for the Angel to notice him, he could make himself keep pace with the others.
[12:07] <AdEvaGM> [William crept along, not quite at a crouched jog, but almost. He kept throwing glances up at the roof, his hand clutched firmly around a crucifix.]
[12:15] * Raphael is hurrying along, every muscle held taut as he works to keep his breathing steady. His gaze is fixed on the edge of the corridor ahead, only pausing occasionally to throw glances around at the others.
[12:22] <Sept> The feeling of dread began to lift, ever so slowly, as Sera inched along the edge of the corridor, and he finally let himself start to breathe again.
[12:26] <AdEvaGM> [Joined by William next, who similarly let out a gasp of relief. He turned and made encouraging motions to Yanmei.]
[12:27] * Yanmei lifted her head to give him a small grin back - and promptly stumbled over a patch of seemingly slipperly floor tile. CLACKCLACKCLACK. She caught her balance and went frozen, her breath caught in her throat.
[12:28] * Raphael reaches the end next, letting out a relieved noise of his own as he turns back to check on Yanmei… and immediately seems to struggle against the urge to rush back to help.
[12:32] <AdEvaGM> [Silence.-
[12:34] <AdEvaGM> [It wasn't a force that the human mind could imagine at first. A skull-splitting scream of noise, pure noise, followed by the ripping of metal as a stream of black energy shore through the corridor, splitting it in half. The other side gave way entirely, basically disintegrating, whilst their half shuddered and shook and began to bend. A rush of air pushed them towards the breach as the
[12:34] <AdEvaGM> corridor started to sag.-
[12:35] <AdEvaGM> ["YANMEI!" Screamed William in horror.]
[12:35] <Raphael> "Zhang!" Raphael shouts, having to square himself to avoid losing his footing as the depressurisation tries to yank his feet out from under him. He turns quickly, looking at Sera with a hint of panic. "Sera, I hope you still have that grappling hook!"
[12:39] <Yanmei> Further back down the sagging corridor, a pair of violet pigtails flapped wildly as a figure crouched down after landing. She was still in one piece, an arm still around Navah… but she was struggling and failing to even move forward as the wind yanked at her. Some tiny bit of traction kept her from toppling over and sliding back… for now.
[12:39] <Sept> This more or less woke Sept up from where he was desperately hugging the wall. Still somewhat reluctantly, he let go and began to pull at the end of the hook, remembering to release its lock after a few tries. He wound the length around his other arm and, after some time, tossed it toward Yanmei, the clatter drowning in the noise.
[12:46] <Yanmei> It took her a moment to realize that something was coming toward her - she was busy trying to protect her face from the force and debris with her free arm. A chance glance and the glinty metal changed that… and she reached out frantically, twisting the rope beyone the sharp hook around her arm after grabbing it.
[12:51] * Sept nodded hastily and began to reel the cable back in - somehow thoroughly surprised that he couldn't -just do it-. He stopped for a moment, the weight threatening to throw him into the ruptured corridor as well, but with a bit more effort, the cable started moving again.
[12:55] * Yanmei tried her best to keep it from swaying in her end, inching forward with her feet whenever she could. Finally, she was with the others, gasping tiredly, and wordlessly going for the heavy steel door that would protect them from the elements. She pushed a few buttons on the side panel, hesitating over the last one as if unsure of something.
[12:55] <AdEvaGM> ["Yanmei!" Navah reached over and- pushed the one next to it.-
[12:56] <AdEvaGM> [The door slid shut with a solid and reassuring -clang-.-
[12:57] <AdEvaGM> ["…" William fell to his knees. "This is bullshit. Just- total bullshit." He was shaking horribly.]
[12:58] * Raphael lays a firm hand on William's shoulder, looking a little shaken himself. "Well done, Sera. Are you alright, Pilot Zhang?" He asks, giving her a concerned look.
[13:00] * Yanmei didn't look so good. She was, at least, holding herself together a little better than William was, even trying to encourage him with a smile. "We made it, though? We made it!" She turned to Raphael. "No injuries. Y-yeah, I'm okay. Thank you, de Pteres…"
[13:02] * Raphael nods slowly, the look of concern remaining quite fixed. "And well done with those buttons, Miss Navah." Raphael murmurs, giving the girl a thin smile.
[13:05] <AdEvaGM> ["Th… Thanks." She said, rubbing a hand across her forehead.]
[13:05] <Sept> "I hate it when you do that," Sera muttered. "almost dying." He cast a quick, nasty look at Navah, too, but just as soon as he had the hook neatly packed up again, he took off down the corridor again.
[13:06] * Raphael shoots a dark look at Sept's back before he can stop himself, but turns back to William and Yanmei with a frustrated sigh. "Come on. I'd like to give you time to catch your breath, but that last corridor proves that we can't risk you staying on foot."
[13:09] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei scowled at Sera too as he left, not sure of how to respond to that, and then glanced up at the ceiling warily again at Raphael's words. She tossed her hair. "We've been walking forever. Surely must have made some progress." She started down the hallway as well.
[13:11] <AdEvaGM> [William shook his head and got to his feet, heading on after them.-
[13:11] <AdEvaGM> [The corridor soon came to an end in another large door, although this one was a simple hit-the-button.]
[13:12] * Sept positioned himself by the button, his tech expertise finally sufficient for an obstacle. "Everyone ready?"
[13:14] <AdEvaGM> [William raised his pistol in response.]
[13:15] * Raphael 's bolter is raised as well.
[13:15] * Yanmei did the same with her own bolt pistol. "Yeah."
[13:16] * Sept hit the button and leaned closer to the door.
[13:16] <AdEvaGM> [The door slid open, revealing…-
[13:16] <AdEvaGM> [Not much of anything, at first. A wide, dark room, the walls barely visible. William took a step forward-
[13:17] <AdEvaGM> [… Only to jerk back suddenly as a shape emerged from the gloom.-
[13:19] <AdEvaGM> [It was human, or appeared so. Tall, pale-skinned, with burning blue eyes and long black hair; features that echoed Sera's perfectly, albeit a little older, sharper. He wore armour, green armour with faint orange highlights across poetic and intricate engravings along the armour's features. A cape sat around his shoulders, green, with the inside orange. A pale spear was held in his right
[13:19] <AdEvaGM> hand. He was bright, yet did not illuminate the space around him.-
[13:21] * Sept took a few steps forward. "Do we have to go through this again?"
[13:22] <AdEvaGM> [… And Sera immediately vanished into the gloom, along with the image.]
[13:23] <Yanmei> "No!" Yanmei stepped toward where he had been a moment ago without thinking about it. "Not again! De Pteres!"
[13:27] <AdEvaGM> [… And as Yanmei stepped forward another shape appeared. A cold woman with pale violet hair, eyes covered by a visor; armoured in body with dark plate with a robe that blended into the shadow around her. A sword was held in her right hand, and as Yanmei stepped forward unthinkingly she vanished, taking the woman with her.]
[13:30] <Raphael> "Damn it!" Raphael growls, sweeping his hand in front of William to keep himself between the Pilot and the the room ahead, keeping his bolter dead ahead. "Don't move, William."
[13:30] <AdEvaGM> ["Wh-what, you think I'm going in there?" Muttered William.]
[13:31] <Raphael> "Good man." He murmurs. He shoves a hand into his coat, coming out with a coin which he hurls into the room.
[13:32] <AdEvaGM> [The coin spins out of the room again, smacking Raphael straight between the eyes.-
[13:34] <AdEvaGM> [The coin had been deflected by another figure- bearing the face he now wore, armoured as well but in gleaming white- a flowing heroic cape falling to his ankles. He held a long sword shining sword in hand, the same sword that had deflected the coin.-
[13:34] <AdEvaGM> [As the coin fell to the ground, Raphael realised it wouldn't be the gold 1 Franc coin he'd tossed in, but rather a small, silver coin, horribly familiar, bearing a single word.]
[13:38] * Raphael lets out a low, wordless growl, finger tensing around the trigger but not quite firing. "… William, I have to go in after them. Wait here, alright? I'll be right back."
[13:38] <AdEvaGM> ["… ck."-
[13:38] <AdEvaGM> ["…"-
[13:38] <AdEvaGM> [And he and his strange opponent vanished as well, leaving Navah and William alone.-
[13:39] <AdEvaGM> ["W-Wait." William shook his head. "Wait, no! Raphael! Yanmei? Come… Come back…"-
[13:39] <AdEvaGM> ["T-There's something in there." Murmured Navah.-
[13:39] <AdEvaGM> ["What? Where? Wh-" he looked into the gloom.-
[13:40] <AdEvaGM> [The familiar dull cocking sound of a gun reached his ears. He saw…]
[01:56] <Minaplo> [… And a second later, they stirred once more, lying in a NERV room, a normal NERV room… Together, safe.-
[01:58] <Minaplo> [William was with them as well, looking ashen and a little ill. His clothes had changed, strangely- he was now wearing a long, imposing-looking black coat with a strange, metallic-like silver vest over his chest.-
[01:58] <Minaplo> [Navah was sitting at Yanmei's side, looking bewildered and baffled, but once Yanmei awoke she threw herself at Yanmei, sobbing into her chest.-
[01:59] <Minaplo> [A second of awareness would tell Raphael, Yanmei and Sera that something about -them- had changed as well. Each of them now wore… Armour. Identical to the sets worn by those shadows.]
[02:05] <Yanmei> The greeting Yanmei got threw her off twice in as many seconds. Groggily, she lifted a hand and patted Navah on the head, and with time, she eyed the shiny new William, squinting at him through what felt like slightly altered eyes. "Where did you…?" She checked herself. Breastplate. Black, black, black everywhere. Her vision was off because she was wearing something over her eyes. "Oh."
[02:08] * Raphael is blind to the armour for now, though. He’s staring down at his empty arms, looking utterly grief-stricken, tears leaving wide gashes in the grime and dirt that had built up over their journey. Eventually he catches sight of them all and tries to straighten up and wipe at his face, to hide the emotions as well as the tears, but it’s not fast enough. "… P-pilots." He manages
[02:08] * Raphael weakly. "It’s… good to see you safe."
[02:10] * Sept was tapping a finger on a tough plate on a glove, looking thoughtful and a little… dissatisfied. "Yeah. Wanna go on, or..?"
[02:11] <Minaplo> ["Do we have a choice?" Asked William roughly, getting to his feet.]
[02:12] * Yanmei got up as well slowly. She felt… a little better than she had before. Physically, at least. "So everyone's okay? Group Captain?"
[02:13] <Minaplo> [Navah rushed over to Raphael's side next, and mutely held out a little lace handkerchief for him.]
[02:15] <Raphael> "Of course." Raphael says, managing to sound more like his normal self this time. Navah's offering catches him off-guard, though, and he's left staring at the girl blankly for a moment before accepting her offering with a small nod, making as if to wipe away the dirt on his cheeks. "Are we ready?"
[02:17] <Yanmei> Yanmei's gaze lingerd on him uncertainly, but she soon straightened up herself and nodded, approaching the door.
[02:18] <Minaplo> [The door opened with a simple button-press, opening up onto a corridor.-
[02:18] <Minaplo> [The corridor actually looked familiar, but it also looked like it had seen better days. Damage criss-crossed it, burn marks lined the roof and floor.-
[02:19] <Minaplo> [The corridor ended in a corner, but was intersected by another corridor roughly halfway between the group and the end, turning it into a crossroads. Heavy footsteps could be heard from somewhere within…-
[02:20] <Minaplo> [… Thunk. Thunk. Followed by far heavier crossroads. From around the corner- the shaking, trembling corner- appeared a new - or rather, old threat.-
[02:20] <Minaplo> [The Shadow T. Rex saw them. It paused.-
[02:20] <Minaplo> [And it roared.]
[02:22] * Sept cursed under his breath, but didn't move this way or that quite yet. "Your call, Yanmei."
[02:26] <Yanmei> "It's really not? We're trapped here," Yanmei scowled. "Navah, stay back and take cover." She gripped her chainsword more tightly. Was this the right move?
[02:28] <Raphael> "For God's sake!" Raphael shouts, his newly arranged emotional facade shattering like glass. He moves to place himself between the children and the beast, for whatever good it would do. "No other choice, then."
[02:28] <Minaplo> ["Except to fight." William levelled his pistol.-
[02:29] <Minaplo> [The T. Rex lowered its head and began to charge. Thud. Thud. Thud. Down the corridor, each step reverberating in their stomachs.-
[02:29] <Minaplo> ["Oh God." William swore. "Oh God, we're dead-"-
[02:29] <Minaplo> [Closer, and closer, the roar still shaking the air as it reached the crossroads-
[02:30] <Minaplo> ["YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!" Irresistable force- a hulking, armoured figure, messy red hair flowing like a mane. Captain Savage hurled himself into the beast's torso, sending it stumbling- he leapt up onto it's back. "BRUCE! NOW!"-
[02:31] <Minaplo> [Another scream- and the uniformed, masked appearance of Bruce Savage leapt out from the other end, fist ready, just as Bruce punched down-
[02:31] <Minaplo> [Their fists met in amidst the Rex's skull, knuckles smacking knuckles.-
[02:32] <Minaplo> [The head exploded, ripping to pieces from within, sending the entire cursed beast crashing to the ground, and sending Terence tumbling down the corridor.-
[02:32] <Minaplo> ["…" He sat up. "Where the fuck have you all been?"]
[02:34] <Yanmei> "There…" Yanmei was having trouble with a dangling jaw, it seemed, and her words were numb, absent. "There is no easy way to answer that?"
[02:35] * Sept sighed, lowered his blades and started walking toward - and past - the two. "Fuck you, Terence."
[02:36] <Minaplo> ["Fuck you! That is the sixth beastie of that size I've had to put down today." He got to his feet. "We don't have time for pleasantries, though. We need you all to hustle."]
[02:37] * Raphael gives the man a blank look, wiping an errant piece of tyrannosaur skull from his armour. "… This has been a ridiculous day." He mutters.
[02:38] <Minaplo> ["Yes, it is." Terence glanced at their armour but he bore the expression of a man who believed that once you began to punch Shadow T. Rexes, anything went.-
[02:38] <Minaplo> ["Castiel- the Angel- it's inside Terminal Dogma."]
[02:40] <Yanmei> "What?!" Just as she had begun to collect herself, it call came tumbling apart again. "Damn it! The EVAs! How close are we?"
[02:40] <Yanmei> ^all came
[02:41] <Minaplo> ["It's no good." Said Terence, shaking his head. "The Angel knew enough to block us out of the cages. None of the entrances work anymore, and from what we see it's trying to devour the Evas in shadow. Command… Has another idea."]
[02:42] <Raphael> "… Right." He says crisply, managing to fight back all the exhaustion and pain of the day now that it's clear what's at stake. "What do they do?"
[02:44] <Minaplo> ["Dogma has cannons in it. Proper anti-Angel weapons, but they can't get through the Dirac Sea. We sent a team down to try to secure the area, to try to neutralise it, but the Angel has some way to… To manifest an avatar. Hurting the avatar weakens the Sea, and we -can- hurt it."]
[02:45] <Raphael> "Any survivors?"
[02:46] <Yanmei> "So, what, then? We help to finish off this avatar and let the cannons do their job? Will it be enough?"
[02:46] <Minaplo> ["No survivors- and it should." Said Terence. "It's the best we have. It's not the greatest plan, but- there's nothing for it. We need to move."]
[02:47] <Raphael> "… You intend to use the pilots for this?"
[02:48] * Raphael is moving all the same.
[02:48] <Sept> "No survivors," Sera repeated. "Let's go."
[02:49] <Minaplo> [As is Terence. "We have almost literally no one left. Security's pinned down in the Command room. Gosselin led a strike team in one area and we haven't heard from him since. Not even I can go- ever since we cleared the elevator we've been under attack non-stop. Best I can do is keep it clear for you guys."]
[02:50] * Yanmei was moving as well. "Where's Blanc?"
[02:51] <Minaplo> [The elevator is a short ways away, in a small cleared-out room. The elevator, surprisingly, is still lit- a porta-generator hooked up to the console giving it temporary power. S2 agents in body armour sit at makeshit cover, looking tired. Several are wounded and more are dead. Bruce is clearing out the body of one of those strange, twisted Iron Guard- the same sort that Surov killed.-
[02:52] <Minaplo> ["Britain." Said Terence shortly. "After the riots began, the Angels launched a huge spawn attack, but the one in Britain was especially ferocious. They sent Blanc and the battleship out, but we haven't heard back." He gestured to the elevator. "Go!"]
[02:55] <Yanmei> "Going." Yanmei stepped inside and checked the ammo in one of her bolters. "Strategy suggestions? Capabilities to look out for?"
[02:56] * Sept followed inside, savoring the slightly less oppressive air for as long as it would last.
[02:58] * Raphael gives Terence a nod and steps inside the elevator, readying his own weapon.
[03:01] <Minaplo> [Navah gave them a nod. "Good luck!" She shouted- William had advised her to stay behind. William himself slipped in and hit the button, just as the cries of 'Crazies to the east! Ready weapons!' reached their ears.-
[03:02] <Minaplo> [It was a long trip, even by NERV's excruciating standards. Each creak seemed to risk a snapped cable, each sound a potential ambush.-
[03:03] <Minaplo> [Eventually, they arrived at the most remote, guarded place in NERV HQ: Terminal Dogma.-
[03:04] <Minaplo> [The layers of security doors that had kept the area safe were open. Between them lay the bodies of S2 agents. Beyond that they could see the platforms suspended over the LCL-
[03:04] <Minaplo> [And beyond that, Lilith, lying in her unnatural sleep, the Lance of Longinus in her chest.-
[03:05] <Minaplo> [Around her were the Twelve Disciples, and around them huge cannons, all trained on the same spot- a sphere of darkness hovering in front of Lilith's mask.]
[03:12] * Raphael moves in slowly, willing himself not to glance up at the silent forms of the Disciples, or their mother. His attention is devoted to scanning the platforms ahead, breaking occasionally to glance up at the dark sphere above.
[03:13] * Yanmei was quick to follow, carefully brushing past the bodies strewn about. Her eyes zipped every which way.
[03:15] * Sept seemed a bit more bothered with the bodies than the unnatural surroundings they'd found themselves in. But he made his way forward all the same.
[03:15] <Minaplo> [Their emergence goes unreacted to, at first. But a few seconds of being in the 'open' sees the black sphere start to convulse.-
[03:15] <Minaplo> [With a horrible splashing sound, a bulge appears on the surface- before it rips open, revealing a black eye. It stares down at them- flicking from Sera to Raphael to William, then finally on Yanmei…-
[03:16] <Minaplo> [A crackle of light burst from Yanmei's eyes, swirled into the air and then into Castiel.-
[03:17] <Minaplo> [The eye began to bleed horrible black ooze, which dropped like water onto the middle-most platform, forming a pool. A second later the eye plunged itself back into its inky sea.-
[03:18] <Minaplo> [A shape began to form from the ink. A spindly body emerging first, hunched over, from which black wings burst out, unfolding like a flower. Its morphic body shaking, the entity turned to look at them.-
[03:18] <Minaplo> [Its face was a white mask, with gaping black eyesockets and a slashed smile for a mouth. A sword flew from the ink and into its hand.]
[03:22] <Sept> "Fight it like any Angel. Nothing's different. Right?"
[03:22] * Yanmei had screamed, unable to contain herself under the agony of having whatever it was torn from her, a hand clapping over her visor while the bolter clattered to the ground. She missed the beginning of the its formation. But she knew it was there before she was able to peek out again. -
[03:24] <Yanmei> Long, thin, unnatural body… that mask. The mask. They saw it, didn't they? She… she wasn't crazy. She… was -shaking uncontrollably-. "No… nonono… no… Not again…"
[03:32] <Raphael> Raphael doesn’t quite have the same reaction as Yanmei, but his face is suddenly chalk white, and he’s left feeling as though he’s been dunked in ice water. Thankfully he manages to keep his grip on his bolter, though, and he steps forward with it quickly. "William, keep her safe for now. Will you help me hold it back, Sera?"
[03:33] <Minaplo> [William puts an arm around Yanmei's shoulders. "Can do. Steady now, Yanmei. Isaiah, think of Isaiah, and Lizzie…"]
[03:35] <Sept> "Will do. Go!" And Sera leapt forward toward the first piece of cover.
[06:39] <Marionette> [The Marionette focused on them, tilting its head for a second before straightening up to its full height, back completely straight. A sudden… It wasn't sound, but it was as though thoughts within their heads were forming against their will, speaking with a cold monotone.-
[06:40] <Marionette> Not even an Absolute Defense is such here, in the weakest of spaces. How dizzying you lilim must feel as space bends to your wills…
[06:51] <Raphael> Raphael rushes forward, vaulting one low wall on the way to planting himself behind another. He has the bolter braced against the wall when the sound creeps into his mind, and he's helpless to stop the shiver of fear that comes with it.-
[06:51] <Raphael> And yet… he can't see any way to bring the thing down, not with the heat-haze shimmer of an AT field he can already see clinging to the manifestation. He furrows his brow and begins searching for something - anything - that can punch through that cursed barrier.
[06:52] <Marionette> [The Marionette's words rang out once again.-
[06:52] <Marionette> Watcher? Is that you, Watcher? Come a-closer, so that I may look upon your face unmasked.
[06:56] <Yanmei> "Shut up! Don't call me that!" Yanmei was straightening up again, hissing, brushing William's arm away. But her body was moving forward anyway, a certain vacancy first creeping into her eyes and being struggled against. -
[06:58] <Yanmei> She managed, at least, to detour behind a wall, pressing her forehead against the cold material briefly. "Damn it… damn! We can't get too close to it, or…"
[07:02] <Marionette> ["Ranged is fine with me!" William took careful aim, opening fire with his revolver…-
[07:02] <Marionette> [And the Marionette's sword swung up at phenomenal speed, smacking the round away.]
[07:03] * Sept slid into cover beside her, glaring at the Angel, back straight. "Or what?! What's to stop it from escaping, or charging us if we don't move in?"
[07:04] <Marionette> [Raphael, ever-sensitive to hated AT Fields, would notice that it wasn't relying on its deflection… Could it be that something was answering his prayers? The haze that usually accompanied a field did seem much thinner…]
[07:05] <Yanmei> "He'll tear us to ribbons, de Pteres. That's its specialty." Her voice seemed to be regaining some of its old firmness. She shook her head as if to clear it, forming a glare of her own at it.
[07:10] * Raphael frowns, listening to the shouting ahead even as he lines up a shot. "If Yanmei knows what she's talking about, keep your distance until we know what we're dealing with!" He calls, before sucking in a deep breath and holding it. A second later the roar of his own bolter joins William's.
[07:10] <Marionette> [The sword flashes up once more, and a nanosecond before the round would strike that head, it is deflected into the void.-
[07:14] <Marionette> That almost hit, Lilim. I am surprised; your aptitude with those simplicity tools would surely impress one of your hirsute ancestors.
[07:17] <Yanmei> At that moment, something would cause the AT Field to dim further, and bolter shell sailed out from behind Yanmei's cover, exploding against the creature's narrow midsection.
[07:18] <Marionette> [Marionette didn't even flinch, although it was obvious that a wound had been scored.]
[07:22] * Sept reluctantly relinquished his hold on his prog knife to pull out the pistol he'd looted from the armory earlier. And his dissatisfaction only grew deeper when the shots just wouldn't seem to go where they were supposed to, in this bizarre space.
[07:29] * Raphael 's eyebrow raises a fraction of an inch at the unexpectedly childish barb, but before he can return to preparing his next shot he notices that the words don't seem to be fading away - if anything the psychic echo seems to be growing louder, growing distorted and distracting. He tries to shake it off and fire another burst, but only one bullet comes close enough for the Marinette to
[07:29] * Raphael bother parrying.
[07:34] <Marionette> [The Marionette's gaze is on Raphael for only a second longer, before it turns to Sera. For such a large creature, the Marionette has a dancer's speed and grace, and a second later it's towering over Sera.-
[07:35] <Marionette> A fragment of the Solemn Exarch? I almost do not wish to fight you. In his prime the Exarch could snuff out the very stars; now he is a halfman, a fragmented spirit of a fragmented people.-
[07:36] <Marionette> [The Marionette's hand snatched out and gripped Sera's neck, suspending him two metres into the air.]
[07:43] * Yanmei was on the Marionette at once, lashing out desperately with her growling chainsword.
[07:44] <Sept> Sera let out a strangled yell as he was picked so easily from his place of safety. "You'll…" He fumbled for his prog knife, trying to squirm out of the thing's grip. "…be an expert on fragments…"
[07:45] <Marionette> Shh. Do not speak just yet, fragment. It is not time for such merry exchanges.-
[07:45] <Marionette> [Although Yanmei's sword dug into the Marionette's body, she'd find her second swing leaving a huge gouge across Sera's armour- the Marionette had shifted him in between them!]
[07:47] * Yanmei let out another hiss. If he hadn't been wearing armor, she might have… She skipped backward, bracing herself to try something else next.
[07:54] * Sept continued to struggle, slowly running out of air. But his fingers finally found the grip of the knife, and he brought it up toward the arm while redoubling his efforts to get loose. Even if it wouldn't penetrate its field…
[07:55] <Marionette> [… It was enough to force the creature to release its grip. Sera was sent to earth once more.]
[07:56] <Sept> Where he promptly gasped for air, found his pistol and set to scrambling away from the Marionette.
[07:57] <Raphael> Sera had only been clear for a second when a pair of bolt shells struck the Marionette in the back, finding their way past both AT fields and lightning-fast swords to tear away wide chunks of whatever passed for flesh on the creature’s limbs. Behind his little bit of cover Raphael lets out a quiet breath, looking faintly satisfied by the results.
[08:04] <Marionette> [The Marionette probably would've hissed if it could make proper noise- instead it stared down at the wound, ichor spreading across the ground, its empty eyesockets focusing on Raphael for a second, before back at Sera.-
[08:06] <Marionette> The Youthful King claimed me at the eve of the Star Cataclysm against the Enemy. In His hand I struck down their masters; in His hand entire worlds were reduced to dust.-
[08:07] <Marionette> [The Marionette's sword began to flicker and hum; dark energy ran up its surface. Holding the blade above its head with both hands.-
[08:07] <Marionette> Quiet, now. I will return you to your broken soul.-
[08:09] <Marionette> [The sword swung down, the dark energy bursting forth. For a second, the scene was obscured; however, the platform shook as the sword sheared a perfect cut through it, the energy rippling through the LCL, dividing it as Moses parted the Red Sea. A second later, the LCL flooded back together- and Sera…]
[08:38] <Sept> Wasn't there. The blade was mesmerising, its trajectory and contact seemingly inevitable, but still he'd managed to make himself move away, to continue fighting. "The Exarch wasn't me…" he muttered, forcing himself to his feet and going at the Angel with a flurry of attacks, each backed with a triumphant shout.
[08:39] <Raphael> Another flurry of bullets strike through the Angel's AT Field to cause grievous damage to the creature as it continues to threaten Sera. Behind cover Raphael's face is set as he waits for the inevitable counterattack.
[08:40] <Yanmei> A third flurry came from Yanmei, who skipped back out of its reach immediately after.
[08:43] <Marionette> [And the sword matched each of Sera's strikes, parrying them away before forcing him back with its own swings- but it was clear that the combined attacks from Yanmei and Raphael were doing their job. (William, not so much.)-
[08:44] <Marionette> [The Marionette let loose with wide, area-clearing swings, forcing people back. It shivered for a moment, the wounds on its body sealing shut. It turned on Raphael now, staring at him with empty eyes and slashed smile.-
[08:45] <Marionette> I see you have no name I recognise. Nameless lilim, a new soul created by the Dawn Maiden. Are you ready to return to her womb, nameless lilim? It will be a short journey.-
[08:55] <Marionette> [At range, the Marionette was mostly just an overlarge target, but up close it was a nightmare of shadow, sword and rapidly fast limbs. An arm shot out to block Raphael's escape, and then- two murderous swings from the sword, one cracking a layer of Raphael's armour, the other biting through- whilst the clawed hand set into his leg.]
[09:06] <Raphael> The blade and claws sing through the air, and against them the armour he’d been granted by his earlier encounter was about as useful as mist. He staggers back and goes to one knee with a low, choked scream as blood splashes onto the grating below him and pours down into the LCL below. Still, he looks up at the thing with undisguised hate.-
[09:07] <Raphael> "You're the…" He manages to breathe, though it takes effort. Too slowly he's getting back to his feet. "You're the thing I saw in Rei's dream." He manages. "I haven't forgotten. And I'm… n-not giving up a chance to finish you that easily." And then he's back on his feet, ready to face the nightmare again.
[09:08] <Yanmei> "Fall back! William, Group Captain!" She couldn't tell what was happening - the bulk of the thing was blocking her view, but the screams gave her at least a hint. -
[09:11] <Yanmei> She glanced briefly over at Sera before streaking forward with her chainsword and striking again and again, managing another wound to the leg. Not good enough. The team was split in half, and their damage was scattered. Her head felt heavy and hot as she tried to work out how to turn the situation around.
[09:31] * Sept at least made sure the Angel was suitably distracted with his attacks so that Yanmei would continue to have those openings.
[09:35] <Marionette> [Marionette swatted at Sera, before- the air around it grew dark, and it stood taller than ever. Its four wings fanned out, giving it an intimidatingly huge appearance.-
[09:36] <Marionette> [The four points of the wings glowed with that same dark energy- which burst forth, shooting into the air and arcing back down at Raphael, Sera, Yanmei and Will. But it didn't wait for the strikes to land, instead flinging itself towards Yanmei with unnatural grace.-
[09:37] <Marionette> [From its eyesockets came two bursts of shadow, which splashed against the floor and began to grow.-
[09:39] <Marionette> You sadden me, Watcher. You possess but a glimmer of your martial prowess. I remember when you avenged one of your brothers, holding in your hand one of mybrothers, one of the Twelve Ever-Slaying Swords. I remembered how you made the Fourth Sword sing with murder as it slaughtered the Enemy as they came. I remember how you tore asunder one of their leaders.-
[09:40] <Marionette> Yet but a glimmer I still perceive that glorious skill with death. You are as a newly-found diamond, brilliant but uncut.-
[09:40] <Marionette> Uncut no longer.-
[09:41] <Marionette> [The sword lashed out, like a hammer against an anvil it struck Yanmei- before she could react, the claw ripped at her right arm, flaying the flesh and exposing tendon and even bone beneath it.]
[09:45] <Yanmei> There was a moment of utter silence after the blow, in which she failed to register that it was even her arm. Ragged flesh, parts exposed that she had never seen there before… she was more concerned with her landing, as the blow sent her flying back and crashing into the ground. And then the white hot agony set in fast as blood pooled quickly around her.
[09:49] * Sept hadn't been waiting, either. Practically at the same time as the Marionette had begun to move, Sera had as well, essentially scaling half the Angel just to get past it and try to hold it back for a split second. Maybe it had worked. But there was a neat set of cuts through Sera's side, now, the red blood staining the armor beneath.
[09:56] <Yanmei> "Ah…hah…" Yanmei choked on her own breath, as she struggled to push herself up with her good arm. She left the bolter she'd been carrying it on the ground, opting for the bloodsplattered sword instead. An adjust of the grip, and she was launching herself back at the blurry, black form still towering above her, her blows now awkward and slow.
[09:58] <Marionette> [Marionette easily avoided them, lazily pushing her sword aside and striking forward, trying to finish her off.]
[10:01] <Yanmei> She saw it coming enough to slip out of its path. "D-doesn't matter," she was mumbling, half to herself. "Can't give it up. 'Stand tall,' right?"
[10:03] <Marionette> Stand Tall?-
[10:04] <Marionette> [The words seemed to stymie Marionette momentarily, just long enough…]
[10:05] <Sept> For Sera to get back up and come at it again, the noise of the knife mingling with his voice.
[10:06] <Marionette> [The AT Field shimmered to life, only to shatter beneath Sera's knife.-
[10:07] <Marionette> [William tossed his bolt revolver into the air, raising By the Sword in one smooth motion. He fired- just as he caught the bolt revolver, immediately snapping off another shot. The two bolts hit simultaneously, stumbling the creature. "Raphael, now!"]
[10:10] <Raphael> The shot comes a moment later. It's a hammer-blow to the manifestation's chest, punching through shadow-stuff before detonating flawlessly in the centre of its mass to blast a hole as wide as a handspan. From the back of the room, Raphael mutters something as he adjusts for recoil, just in case he's forced to fire again. Only the words 'nameless lilim' can be made out.
[10:11] <Marionette> [The blow near severs the Marionette's torso, and it sags, obvious weakness in its form now. Its legs collapse beneath it; its wings fold in on each other. It maintains balance by leaning on its sword, but barely.-
[10:13] <Marionette> And so it ends. The words- you spoke the words of my Master, Watcher. Could it be that you recall His glory from the days of old? Or is the Youthful King close? I am unsure. I yearn for his hand once again, my rightful Master, who is close, yet I know not where.-
[10:14] <Marionette> [The Marionette began to dissolve, but it tosses its sword down.-
[10:14] <Marionette> I yield. You have earned your victory, for now, but the day in which my Master reclaims me is ever approaching. Take this pale reflection, Watcher, until that day arrives. You will need it more than I.-
[10:15] <Marionette> [And with little thoroughfare the Marionette disintegrated completely like smoke in the wind, leaving behind only the sword.]
[10:21] * Yanmei didn't approach it just yet. She sort of sagged herself now, tiredly, slinking down onto the platform, eyes still on the spot where the Marionette had been standing. "We actually…?"
[10:24] <Sept> "Of course we did," Sera replied after a few deep breaths. "Raphael, William, can you..?" He was looking at Yanmei's arm worriedly.
[10:27] <Raphael> The sound of quick, uneven footsteps give away Raphael's approach as he appears by Yanmei and Sera's side, managing to still look focussed despite how pale his wounds have left him. He gives Yanmei's arm a worried look of his own, nodding to Sera. "I'll do my best." He says, his words coming out slowly and carefully enunciated. "The best I'll be able to do i-is… to slow the bleeding."
[10:29] <Yanmei> "It's fine. If it's over, we can just scrounge the Med division for someone who can fix it properly. You're bleeding yourself, you know." Yanmei was trying not to look directly at the arm in question. She swung her gaze up toward Lilith. "-Is- it over?"
[10:30] <Marionette> [An ear-splitting sound rent the air.-
[10:31] <Marionette> [The black space around Castiel had boiled away, leaving behind only a core suspended in the air. Immediately the heavy-duty cannons focused on the Core. The air began to hum as they charged- and began to fire. Bolt after bolt of positron energy began to score hits on Castiel, immediately causing cracks to spread across the red surface.-
[10:31] <Marionette> [William was at Yanmei's side as well, having gone over with Raphael. He paled and holstered his guns. "We should go. Right now."]
[10:34] <Yanmei> "Yes, we should." Yanmei collected her own weapons, which involved staggering back to her feet and snatching the new, alien sword from where it had fallen. "Back to the elevator."
[10:34] <Sept> "Yeah. This… place is bad, anyway. Come on."
[10:35] <Marionette> [William was quick to support Yanmei, but otherwise he was fleeing to the elevator at top speed.]
[10:35] <Raphael> "Indeed." Raphael says, slinging the bolter over his shoulder and helping support Yanmei if needed. His eyes linger on the Disciples for a moment before making his own, slightly slower way back to the elevator.
[10:39] <Marionette> [Behind them, the sounds of a core starting to crack grew louder and more troubling.-
[10:41] <Marionette> [They made it to the elevator just in time- a lucky positron bolt split the core in half, and an epic explosion rocked the entire room. The hallway lit up with blinding light, the platforms on which they'd been standing just a minute ago completely vaporised.-
[10:45] <Marionette> [The explosion rocked the hallway, and they fell and stumbled- Yanmei toppled over, smashing her ripped and torn arm into the ground.-
[10:47] <Marionette> [Above them, too, there was a huge shaking and rocking as NERV HQ was shunted back into realspace. Within seconds, endless miles of warped and twisted corridors snapped into their original form, many of them shattering and ripping apart; in some areas, people were injured or even killed.]
[10:51] <Yanmei> A strangled cry. More blood. Yanmei rolled onto her back gasping, her eyes squeezed shut, waiting for the world to stop shaking and the swirling lights behind her eyelids to fade.
[10:55] * Raphael is thrown back against the wall, and by that point it's easier - and considering the shaking, perhaps safer - to simply slump down to the floor. His right hand is pulled into a fist, fingernails digging into his palms, but with the other hand he reaches out to lay a hand carefully on Yanmei's shoulder. For now there's not much else that he can do.
[10:56] <Marionette> [William stares at Yanmei, his face pale, his eyes dim. He hits a button on the elevator- and it starts to ascend.-
[10:57] * Sept was already sitting down against the wall, so the rocking only caused him to knock his head on the wall and flail about, disoriented, for a while.
[10:59] <Marionette> [The first thing they noticed upon arriving at their destination was that the lights were back on- allowing them to see clearly just what had happened. Terry and a diminished squad of soldiers had defended the area- but most of the soldiers were now either collapsed or heavily wounded. Doctors were on the scene, applying triage and trying to carry away the most injured- and in their midst,
[10:59] <Marionette> helping them, her lovely lacy dress stained with blood, was, against all the odds of her very existence, Navah.-
[10:59] <Marionette> [Frederic was lying against a wall, looking utterly exhausted, his shirt open, a huge gash from navel to right shoulder visible. He looked up blearily as the elevator doors opened. "Mission accomplished, huh?"]
[11:05] <Raphael> "So it seems, Captain." Raphael manages from his own position against the elevator wall, trying to take in the scene. "We'll need a medic for Miss Zhang in a hurry, sir."
[11:09] <Yanmei> "Look." Yanmei lolled to the side and made a vague flopping motion once or twice before managing to sit up properly. "Still alive. Not in critical condition."
[11:11] <Raphael> "Doctors tend to frown on exposed muscle and bone, ma'am."
[11:13] * Sept manages a cough of laughter at that. "I wonder what the Director wanted to tell us."
[11:13] <Marionette> ["She wanted to dispatch you." Said Frederic. "Shit's going down overseas."-
[11:14] <Marionette> ["Yanmei!" Came a voice as Doctor Clement- looking exhausted and wounded- entered the scene. "I stored some biogel away just in case any of you suffered serious injuries. Come with me."]
[11:16] <Yanmei> "R-right." She made it to her feet and started wobbling after him, parting from the others with a nod. "I'll be back soon?"
[11:18] <Marionette> ["Take it easy." William nudges Raphael as well. "You too. You'll bleed out at this rate."]
[11:21] <Raphael> Raphael's lip twists with annoyance, looking around at the other injured. "I'm fine, sir. Other people need i-" He's cut off by a long, unpleasant sounding cough that leaves him doubled over for a few seconds. "… M-maybe I'll… just make sure Pilot Zhang makes it there safely." He manages, slowly getting to his feet.
[11:22] <Sept> "Yeah, go ahead. Do you want us to meet at the hangars, Frederic? Is Aline alright?"
[11:22] <Marionette> [Frederic shakes his head. "Not a clue. We can't get to the hangars yet, I think. Damage to the corridors or something. You should get looked over too. I need to make my way to command…"]
[11:28] <Sept> "…right. I'll see you."
[11:28] <Marionette> ["Right." Frederic nodded, and limped off to the command centre. He arrived about ten minutes later- it was almost empty, except for himself and Sophie.-
[11:28] <Marionette> ["Do we have externals? What's the situation outside?"-
[11:29] <Marionette> [Sophie stared up at the flickering holoprojector. "The riots have quieted, mostly. People have just… Lost the fire." She sighed.-
[11:29] <Marionette> ["It's raining…"]

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