He Said Drop The Drop

[15:54] <Marianne> [The First Superheavy Regiment Headquarters was abuzz with activity, even here in the 'backstage'. Here, the crew and notables of the Dreadnought team were milling about- or in some cases, running around doing last minute corrections- as they awaited the start of the Opening Ceremony.-
[16:01] * Marianne was standing primly somewhere near the front, looking resplendent in her NERV dress uniform: a long black skirt, reaching to mid-calf, over which she wore a double-breasted black jacket, with a thick folded red collar and red cuffs. If she was nervous, she didn't look it.
[16:09] * Raphael is standing right alongside her, his own uniform nearly matching Marianne's with the obvious exception of long black pants instead of a skirt. He's even wearing a variety of medals across his chest at the Captain's insistence. His expression is as stoic as ever as he eyes the stage, but he keeps straightening and brushing at his already pristine uniform as they wait…
[16:10] <Marianne> "…" She glances over at him. "So. Big day, huh?"
[16:13] * Raphael pauses in the middle of straightening his collar to look over at the Captain. "Certainly is, Captain. The Thruster team has everything in order?"
[16:14] <Marianne> "As well as they can. You look nice."
[16:17] <Raphael> "As do you, Captain," he says with a smile. He lets his hands fall back to his sides. "… but thankyou. I'm not used to these formal occasions, I'm afraid."
[16:21] <Marianne> "It'll be fine. There's only three generals in the crowd." She winks cruelly.
[16:23] * Raphael winces a little at that, letting out a cough. "… You always know what to say, ma'am."
[16:24] <Marianne> "It could be worse. You weren't there for the Thruster Solace unveiling."
[16:30] <Raphael> "… yes. I heard about that mess. Hopefully today's ceremony is a little less eventful."
[16:31] <Marianne> "So do I." She grins. "Although no doubt our friends in the Thruster Team will make it interesting."
[16:35] * Raphael nods, frowning out towards the stage as though it had personally wronged him. "The ones I've met certainly seem a lot less… professional than NERVs science division."
[16:37] * Marianne chuckles. "They're… Not what you expect, no." She shakes her head. "But they designed the Thruster Solace from top to bottom in two years, with a working supercomputer pilot, power plant, and advanced weaponry that we developed and they somehow -surpassed us in-. The day NERV hired them was a good day for us."
[16:40] * Raphael rubs at the back of his neck with one gloved hand. "I suppose if the job is done well I can forgive most of their eccentricities," he says, trying to sound sincere and not /quite/ managing it.
[16:42] <Marianne> "Hah. If Misato were here, she'd tell you to-"-
[16:42] <Marianne> [A youthful face in a turtleneck sweater poked around a doorway. "Um, hey, military dudes? You're up and stuff."
[16:42] <Marianne> ]
[16:49] * Raphael gives the man a very sharp look as the word 'dude' is uttered, but he manages to bite back whatever retort has halfway to his lips and glance over to Marianne. "Shall we, Captain?"
[16:53] * Marianne quirks the tiniest of forbidden smiles at Raphael's discomfort. "Yes, we shall. Call your 'dudes', Captain."
[17:01] <Raphael> "…" Marianne gets a very unamused look before turning to face the rest of the bustle going on backstage. "Alright! All members of the Superheavy Regiment please fall in. It looks like they're ready for us."
[17:13] <Marianne> [The others have scrubbed up in their dress uniforms as well, which are all in all much less fancier than the officers', but still fancy; this was the military, after all. They form up at a respectable two metres behind Raphael and the Captain.-
[17:14] <Marianne> [Hugues is centre, of course. "We're ready for 'em, too, Sir."]
[17:20] <Raphael> "Good. Let's show them all our best, eh?" He gives them all a quick grin and looks back towards Marianne. "Lead the way, ma'am."
[17:23] * Marianne gives him a firm nod. "Certainly, Group Captain." She about-faces and proceeds to march them out through the door in precision.-
[17:25] <Marianne> [The room beyond is, well, the main hangar bay, a massive 800-by-600 metre room with eight giant bays, four to a wall, large armory cabinets, machinery… Most of it has been swept aside for now to make room for the scrubbed-up maintenance crews, journalists, military staff and the like. In the very centre of the room stands the Thruster Dreadnought 01, staring at the presentation stage…-
[17:31] <Marianne> [… Obscured under a giant black tarpaulin.-
[17:34] <Marianne> [The presentation stage was about a metre and a half high, and it was onto this that they emerged. It was occupied by a podium, with a microphone; the 'brain trust' of the Thruster Team, that is, ten bookish, harmless-looking men of rather young ages, wearing a various assortment of clothes that jarred with the flashy military around them (one of them was wearing a lavender scarf); and finally, three ranking generals of the French military were present, in chairs.-
[17:35] <Marianne> [The head of the Thruster Team, Julienne Lafabre, a rail-thin blonde man who never took his labcoat off- had been making a speech- as the Military Squad emerged he abruptly broke off to throw Raphael a big thumbs up and a wink.]
[17:44] * Raphael just stares at Julienne disapprovingly for a moment from his place on the stage, eventually responding… well, it /was/ a nod, but it only had the barest amount of movement required to qualify as one. His gaze avoids lingering too long on the crowd.
[17:51] <Marianne> ["Right!" Says the scientist. "Now that everything's ready and Captain Amatore-Deforest and Group Captain Guillory's here, I can stop trying to find things to stall with and turn it over to them." He steps aside and gestures them forward.-
[17:51] <Marianne> "I'll speak first." Whispers Marianne.
[17:53] * Raphael 's eyes widen a little. "First…? But what, do I… no-"
[18:05] * Marianne smiles serenely and steps forward over to the podium. "Thank you all for coming to witness this day. When I first joined NERV as a graduate fresh from cadethood, I never imagined that within such a short time I'd go from that humble beginning to being made the commanding officer of a regiment. Certainly not such a unique and sophisticated regiment as the First Superheavy. I feel privileged, but more than that, I feel as though I have realised a great dream for myself. By accepting this command, I also accept responsibility for its actions- its victories, its record, and the grand history it will forge for our nation, and for our entire species." She stepped to the side. "I now call Captain Guillory to come forward and officially request the unveilling of the Thruster Dreadnought 01."
[18:29] * Raphael shifts uncomfortably as his name is called, but orders are orders. A moment later he's stepped up to the podium, looking a little more uncertain of himself than usual. "… Thank you, Captain. On behalf of the rest of the soldiers of the First Superheavy Regiment of Paris and the UN Armed Force at large, it's my absolute honour to officially welcome the first Thruster Dreadnought
[18:29] * Raphael into our care. May it be another tool to use in our sworn duty to protect the citizens of Paris-2." He gives a little nod to those waiting by the tarpaulin. "Gentlemen, if you would…"
[18:31] <Marianne> ["Yessir!" Cries a Thruster mechanic with exceptional enthusiasm. With a tug, the tarpaulin is pulled off…-
[18:37] <Marianne> [It's no Evangelion. Whereas an Eva is 40-50 metres tall, armoured in interlocking plates, gracefully slender and surprisingly fluid in form and function, the Dreadnought… Is not. It's squat, about 18-20 metres tall, with a thick, sturdy body built like a brick attached to a rotating pelvis. The pelvis is held up by two stubby thickly-armored legs and feet that are basically just four large prehensile metal blocks. From its left blocky shoulder is a heavy looking cylinder with four massive, if short claws protruding from the edges. The right shoulder terminates in a massive six-chambered rotating assault cannon. The armored surfaces are bright- incredibly bright- white that gleams in the light, and the edges are shining gold. The horrible, grinning, armored head of one of Malchediel's Reapers has been grafted onto the cockpit, and the shoulder pads bear an insignia- a lovingly-painted image of a stylised Dreadnought gripping a dismembered Gazardiel's head in its right arm, shooting hordes of Banshees with its left, and standing with its knee bent on a pile of Angelic corpses. The insignia bears the name "1st Superheavy Regiment- 'Reapers'".]
[18:43] * Raphael … stares. There's no other way to describe it. It's not the usual look of stoic assessment, though - that's been forgotten in the face of outright shock and bafflement. Ever so slowly he turns to look at Marianne blankly.
[18:58] <Marianne> Marianne's eyes are wide as well, and she looks at him in open astonishment. She leans towards him.-
[18:58] <Marianne> "Didn't you want urban camo?" She hissed.-
[19:00] <Marianne> [… Julien leans over, grinning. "We saw the order, but we figured that urban camo was just too boring." He leans back up and gestures dramatically at the Dreadnought. "Alright, Mana, you ready? THIERRY, DROP THE DROP!"-
[19:01] <Marianne> ["Yes, sir!" Comes a young female voice, and the Dreadnought stamps around, facing towards the entrance of the Hangar. A massive crate, about 100 metres from the Dreadnought, drops…-
[19:02] <Marianne> [… And the Dreadnought opens fire with the Assault Cannon, a horribly loud noise that fills the entire hangar. The massive rounds rip through the crates and shred the hundred bottles of wine within- it goes absolutely everywhere, and there's the sound of astonishment from the crowd- and faint dismay as some people are splashed with wine.]
[19:24] * Raphael tenses as the sound of the Assault Cannon splits the air, one hand falling to his belt as he searches for his pistol on reflex. But then the hangar is still again… and Raphael slowly turns back to face Julien, his gaze hard. "… what on Earth are you doing?!"-
[19:24] <Raphael> He's moved closer to Marianne at the sound of the gunfire, managing to place himself between her and the Dreadnought before he recognized it wasn't a threat.
[19:26] <Marianne> [… But Raffy's question is barely heard because basically every Thruster mechanic in the room starts whooping like a madman, and before long everyone else is swept up in the tide of enthusiasm. Julien is an utter stranger to decorum and is cheering wildly. He turns to Raphael and just grins. "Ah, well, no opening ceremony is complete without a test of the weaponry, you know~" He turns to one of the other scientists. "Put it there, Jean!" "Too right, my man!" "Boosh!" They highfive.]
[19:27] * Marianne is still staring in shock, then slowly shakes her head, the tiniest of disapproving smiles emerging on her face. She steps to the side a little. "Nice reflexes there, Captain."
[19:30] * Raphael makes a little noise of anger as he watches the display, hands tensing for a moment before letting out a long breath. He gives Marianne a sheepish look. "Pardon, Captain. I suppose Eden Base has played havoc with my nerves."
[19:42] <Marianne> Her face softens, and she pats Raphael on the shoulder. "That's understandable. But these boys won't hurt anyone, even by accident. Even if they -are- enthusiastic…"-
[19:43] <Marianne> [Julien was waving his hands. "Alright everyone! Opening ceremony over! Go on! Go away! Pilots and techies and Sir Raffy's military brosisses, off to the reception room, chop chop~"]
[19:50] <Raphael> "… Right. Right." He lets out a sigh and some of the tension drains from his posture as he straightens up a little. "Did you know I went nearly 15 years without anyone calling me "Raffy", Captain? Now all of a sudden everyone's decided to do it." He gives her a smile and offers her his arm. "Come on. I could use a drink."
[19:54] <Marianne> "I blame Rei, myself. She does that with everyone." Marianne takes the arm gracefully. "She nicknamed Isaiah's wolf 'Lulu' and now everyone's stuck on it~"-
[19:58] <Marianne> [The Reception Room was well-stocked, with a large and excellent assortment of finger foods, pizzas, little dishes and drinks. The Thruster team had, however, mostly left the food to crowd around a table at the far end of the room- a table playing host to what looked like a diarama. They were rolling dice and moving little figurines around.-
[19:59] <Marianne> ["That didn't go too bad, now, did it, Captain?" Asked Blaise, a plate of pizza in his hand. "Can I get you something?"]
[20:08] * Raphael has, in fact, already snatched a wineglass from a passing waitress and seems to be halfway through it. "The Dreadnoughts seem to be in order, at least, even if their creators are slightly…" A dark look towards the end of the hall and its strange little game. "But regardless. You still feeling comfortable with the idea of piloting, Sergeant?" He puts a little extra emphasis on the
[20:08] * Raphael last word, grinning a little.
[20:12] <Marianne> ["Ahaha. I gotta say, sir, I don't think it's really sunk in yet at all. I had no idea I'd be the sort of person considered to pilot one of those things."-
[20:13] <Marianne> "Your aptitude is rather high, Sergeant. Don't sell yourself short."
[20:18] <Raphael> "You scored well over 90% in the test frame simulations, Mr. Herriot, and you've got an exceptional record for a man of your age. I think you're exactly the sort of person we need." Raphael takes a sip of wine and gives Blaise a calm smile. "Still, if you have any concerns don't hesitate to bring them up with either myself or the Captain here. We're still an experimental unit, so feedback
[20:18] <Raphael> is critical."
[20:20] <Marianne> ["Yessir." Says Blaise. "… Actually, there was one thing I noticed that was a little odd, sir."]
[20:21] * Raphael raises an eyebrow. "What's that?"
[20:22] <Marianne> ["Well-"-
[20:22] <Marianne> [His expression abruptly changes, as if suddenly caught gossiping about someone by the very person he's gossiping about. There's a voice at Raphael's shoulder. "Group Captain Guillory, sir?"]
[20:29] * Raphael gives Blaise an amused look at the sudden change of expression, but his face is back in stoic mode by the time he turns to greet the new visitor. "That's right, ma'am."
[20:37] <Marianne> [The voice belongs to, well, a girl. She's about 5'3', with auburn hair. She's wearing the flight suit of the Dreadnought pilots, with a jacket hastily thrown over the top. She smiles and gives him a salute. "Sergeant Mana Kirishima reporting, sir."]
[20:43] * Raphael returns the salute without a second thought on habit alone, but he is giving her a rather curious look. "… Mana. You were the pilot in Dreadnought 01, correct?"
[20:46] <Marianne> "Ah…" Marianne murmurs to herself.-
[20:46] <Marianne> ["Yes, that's right, sir. Julien told me to introduce myself to you at some point, so here I am."]
[20:53] <Raphael> "Well it's nice to meet you, Sergeant," he says, shifting the wine glass into his damaged hand so that he can offer her a shake with the other. "You're with the UN forces?"
[20:56] <Marianne> ["That's right." She shakes his hand. "In fact I was just assigned to the Superheavy Regiment, sir. Before that I was part of the Thruster development team's testing group to make sure everything worked."]
[21:00] <Raphael> "… Ah," he says slowly, giving Marianne a quick, questioning glance. He seems to roll with it for the moment, though. "And are you happy with the results?"
[21:02] <Marianne> ["Yessir. The Thruster team really know their stuff. They're kind of marvellous, aren't they?" She looks down at the group with admiring eyes. Julien is staring smugly at the table, where a little plastic model tank seems to have caught a bad case of cotton-ball-flame. "So enthusiastic… Aheh." She looks back at Raphael sheepishly. "I shouldn't nerd out here though, sir. I can leave the official report for later."-
[21:02] <Marianne> "Sergeant Kirishima will have more than enough time to do that as your secretary, Sir Guillory." Says Marianne.
[21:04] * Raphael doesn't quite seem to know who to stare at first, but he eventually manages to settle on Marianne. "… Secretary, Captain?"
[21:05] <Marianne> "A person who takes care of your paperwork and things."
[21:07] <Raphael> "Yes, I-" He settles for just giving Marianne a very dark look indeed. "I'm not sure what /I personally/ need a secretary for, Captain."
[21:09] <Marianne> "You might be a pilot first and foremost, Guillory, but at the end of the day you're still my XO."-
[21:09] <Marianne> ["Plus, I'll be helping work as a liaison between yourself and the Thruster team, along with Mr. Duval, sir!"]
[21:15] * Raphael glances between the two for a moment and… sighs. He nods slowly. "If you insist, Captain. I suspect we will need all the liasons we can get."
[21:20] * Marianne chuckles. "Yes, it does seem that way, doesn't it? Anyway. Mana, did you know Blaise here has been studying up on the Dreadnought? In fact he scored more than 90% on the aptitude tests. The two of you really have a lot in common…"-
[21:21] <Marianne> ["Er, well." Blaise disapproved heartily of being dragged into this conversation. "That's true. 94% in fact."-
[21:21] <Marianne> ["Huh. Really? That's pretty uncommon for someone of your age." Says Mana, completely innocently.-
[21:21] <Marianne> ["… Quite."-
[21:22] <Marianne> ["Have you had a chance to speak to Julien one on one? He's a pretty good guy, just mind the references. You won't get them, probably, but everything else is worth listening to-"-
[21:22] <Marianne> ["If you… Say so! Pardon me, Captain, Captain"-
[21:22] <Marianne> ["It was a pleasure to meet you, sir."]
[21:29] * Raphael watches them as they vanish into the crowd, sipping at his wine and looking exceptionally bemused. "… poor boy."
[21:32] <Marianne> "… Heh." Marianne shakes her head a little. "That's only to be expected. Mana's very lonely, unsurprisingly."
[21:34] <Raphael> "She can't be more than sixteen, Marianne. What on Earth's she doing with the UN?" There's an odd edge to his voice as he continues sipping at his drink. Memories of Algeria…
[21:35] <Marianne> "She's a Neospartan." A pause. "… Sort of. Her training was cut short. But she still has the genetic enhancements that give her an edge in things like combat."
[21:41] <Raphael> "…" Raphael grits his teeth for a moment before draining what remains of his wine in one long pull and sets it down on the table they're standing alongside. His face remains composed as he spends a few moments staring out into the crowd, but Marianne would get the distinct sense that this was what passed for fuming with him. "… I assaulted a superior officer." He blurts out, without
[21:41] <Raphael> bothering with something as pedestrian as preamble.
[21:42] <Marianne> "You- what? Who?" Marianne's face is one of clear surprise.
[21:42] <Raphael> "Doctor Riel. During the Eden Base recon."
[21:43] <Marianne> "…" Marianne's face becomes even more surprised, and it darkens a little. "Was it… Some kind of mental attack?"
[21:46] <Raphael> "Of a sort. I put it all in the report, Captain." He's being surprisingly calm about all this.
[21:47] <Marianne> "I… Wasn't actually allowed to read it."
[21:48] <Raphael> "You…" He… actually slumps a little at that. Suddenly he looks very tired. "… No, I suppose you wouldn't have been."
[21:49] <Marianne> "Raphael, is everything alright?" Marianne's face becomes worried now. "If you need to talk…"
[21:54] <Raphael> "No… it's fine. I suspect it might be best if I left you out of it, Captain."
[21:57] <Marianne> "… Ah. I understand." Says Marianne, nodding slowly. "It really… Wasn't pleasant, was it? Eden Base." She shook her head. "Those kids… I don't really know what happened. But I hope those kids get the support they need."
[22:09] <Raphael> "I'd like to say that I'll make sure they do, but I do not exactly hold a lot of sway with the higher-ups," Raphael says.
[22:11] * Marianne nods. "I know I'll be trying to nudge the Colonel into doing his damnedest. But I think you might be somewhat happy with what's been worked out so far, Raphael."
[12:35] * Raphael brightens a little at that. "Well that's something, at least. What have they arranged?"
[12:40] <Marianne> "They're going to try to ask NERV employees- first in Paris-2, then at the other city branches- if they'd like to adopt some of them."
[12:44] <Raphael> "Do we have enough hands to make sure all the right checks are made?"
[12:47] <Marianne> "Oh, yes. NERV is rather accomplished when it comes to background checks." Says Marianne slyly.
[12:55] <Raphael> "… No doubt," Raphael muttered, giving her a bit of a smirk. "Still… if there's anything I can do in regards to giving one or two of them temporary shelter, let me know. I wish I could offer something more long-term."
[12:56] <Marianne> "I'm actually surprised you haven't tried to adopt one, you big ol' softie, you. Give Suzanne a little brother or sister~"
[12:59] * Raphael chuckles. "I think I need a little more time to be certain I'm the right choice for Suzanne before I take in even more children, Captain."
[13:00] * Marianne grins. "I'm sure you'll do fine, Raphael. And if you're still doubtful, I'm sure Hugues will be glad to give you a few pointers."-
[13:01] <Marianne> [The Chief Sergeant had been conducting a raid on the buffet table when a Thruster team scientist had somehow convinced him to spectate. The Sergeant was now staring at the elaborate diarama with a baffled expession.]
[13:03] <Raphael> "… there's not a lot I can do to escape Hugues's advice whether I want it or not. I speak from experience."
[13:10] * Marianne chuckled. "Yes, I can imagine. He's a man who has an awful lot of advice. Which is a good thing, of course. But…" She clapped him on the shoulder. "It'll work out, one way or another. The Colonel won't let them slip through- he's got a huge soft spot for kids, even though he hides it well."
[13:17] <Raphael> "Mmm. The Colonel's a good man behind it all." His gaze goes back out to the crowd, a hint of a scowl there. "… Please make certain that whomever takes in those kids gets a proper briefing on the Neospartan program, Marianne. Those children need parents who understand. They haven't even had the years to deal with it that someone like Mr. Fontaine has."
[13:19] * Marianne nods slowly. "Agreed, Raphael. That was part of the reason NERV employees were considered for the first round. It's easier to accept a genetically enhanced orphan child when you work for us."
[13:30] <Raphael> "It's easier to accept a lot of things," he mutters, pinching tiredly at the bridge of his nose. "It bothers me that I haven't reconsidered my loyalties after seeing the history of Eden Base."
[13:31] <Marianne> "I know how you feel." Says Marianne. "But I'm also not surprised, either. At the end of the day, most of NERV is made up of decent people who just want to protect the world- and we're the only ones who can."
[13:38] * Raphael nods. "My duty is to France, in the end. I won't let these people suffer because of NERV's actions, for good or ill."
[13:48] <Marianne> "I'd expect nothing less, Sir Guillory."
[13:58] * Raphael lets out a long sigh that he seems to have been holding in for a while. He turns back to face her, smiling again. "Ah, and Captain - I know we've both been busy over the last few days, but I wanted to thank you for the lovely evening last week."
[14:00] <Marianne> "…" Marianne goes through an assortment of expressions and emotions at that. She blushes at first, then looks away, then turns her gaze back on him with a firm look. "You've got a lot of guts, you playboy."
[14:02] * Raphael seems genuinely baffled at that. "… I'm, uh… sorry, Captain?"
[14:04] <Marianne> "I wake up in my bed to find a… Message scrawled over my vanity mirror in lipstick of all things, and then later I hear you made out with Misato- Misato of all people!- in my living room. Seriously, Captain…"
[14:12] <Raphael> "… … /ah/." Very slowly his hands come up in a defensive position, and his voice takes on the careful tone of one dealing with a dangerous animal. "I assure you, Captain, there were extenuating circumstances."
[14:13] <Marianne> "Oh yes? Besides the fifty or so cans of beer?"
[14:13] <Raphael> "…"
[14:13] <Raphael> "Well yes, but…"
[14:14] <Marianne> "Go on."
[14:15] <Raphael> "… what did Pilot Zhang - And I have to assume it was her - tell you, precisely?"
[14:15] * Raphael is, meanwhile, scanning the crowd for any hope of assistance.
[14:20] <Marianne> [No such luck. Hugues is muttering to a Thruster scientist; Euphrasie is speaking to a general with an expression Raphael would recognise as barely-contained apprehension. Henri and Marie were quietly bickering over by the drinks table; and Blaise was still accompanying Mana, who was in a riveting conversation with Julien; Blaise was, against his own wishes, it seems, actually enjoying the result.-
[14:21] <Marianne> "She said you-" Marianne reddened. "Were giving Misato a full-on French kiss with tongue and everything, and then you two 'went for a walk'…"
[14:25] <Raphael> "There was no tongue, ma'a-… actually, that's not important." He shifts a little. "I'm not saying it was my finest moment, Captain, but I'm not certain whether explaining further would be a breach of Yanmei's privacy…"
[14:26] <Marianne> "…" A dubious look came over Marianne's face and Raphael could -see- the cogs turning… "… You weren't trying to impress her, weren't you?" She asked darkly.
[14:30] <Raphael> "W-what?! No! Captain… God above, Marianne." Raphael lets out a long sigh, shaking his head incredulously. "Pilot Zhang and Isaiah arrived home while Captain Katsuragi and I were still chatting. It sounded like the two of them were in the process of becoming… intimate."
[14:30] <Marianne> "…"-
[14:35] <Marianne> "Oh-ho-." Marianne grins in a manner that is entirely too triumphant. "So I see. let me guess. Misato made some move to tease them or… Something, as she is wont to do, and you, in your alcohol-drenched wisdom, decided that she couldn't say anything if her tongue was already occupied?"
[14:37] <Raphael> "… I do seem to recall thinking something along those lines, yes ma'am." Is he… actually blushing? Surely not.
[14:38] <Marianne> "So." Marianne leans forward.-
[14:38] <Marianne> "What did she do?"
[14:39] <Raphael> "Y-… Yanmei?"
[14:39] <Raphael> He sounds a little hopeful.
[14:40] <Marianne> "Misato."-
[14:40] * Marianne sounds a little gleeful.
[14:41] <Raphael> "… You're enjoying this a little too much, Captain."
[14:42] <Marianne> "Wait until you see me the next time I see Yanmei." Says Misato happily. "But go on."
[14:45] <Raphael> "-Please- don't let on that you know about this, Captain," Raphael says, face becoming deathly serious all at once. "Embarassing her was exactly what I was trying to avoid in the first place, if in an incredibly inappropriate fashion."
[14:46] <Marianne> "Oh sure." She frowns suddenly. "I'm not allowed to tease Yanmei, but I'm fair game for the mean little girl's barbs about how some drunken playboy pilot scrawled suggestive messages on my mirror…"
[14:47] <Raphael> "… I was just trying to be polite…" he mumbles.
[14:48] * Marianne chuckles, patting Raffy on the shoulder. "I know, Raphael. I'm only teasing. I won't make fun of poor Yanmei." She says. "… Unless she fires first, then it's mutually assured destruction."
[14:50] <Raphael> "… I suppose that's the most I can hope for," Raphael mutters… before a little hint of a smirk turns up the corners of his lips. "It's not as though you escaped the evening unscathed either, Captain."
[14:51] <Marianne> "… What do you mean?"
[14:52] <Raphael> "I believe you wanted me to know that nothing could match my flair, ma'am."
[14:53] <Marianne> "…" Marianne gave him a dangerous look.
[14:54] <Raphael> "… Right. Consider it forgotten."
[14:54] <Marianne> "Oh no no. You don't get off that easy, Captain. I have new orders for you."
[14:55] * Raphael sighs. "I suppose I should have known better than to tease a CO."
[14:56] <Marianne> "Worse. You should've known better than to tease a friend of Misato Katsuragi." She beamed. "The day is young, Group Captain. And we in the Superheavy Regiment should form close ties with our allies. Why don't you spend today- and tomorrow- getting to know Julien and the others on the Thruster team? Perhaps spend a lot of time with them, get involved in their activities…"
[14:57] <Raphael> "…" … "… Please, Captain-"
[14:58] <Marianne> "You have your orders, Captain."
[15:01] <Raphael> "… Yes ma'am," he says regretfully, straightening a little to give her a salute.
[15:02] * Marianne gives him the salute in return.
[15:02] * Marianne is also beaming.
[15:03] * Raphael is composed, but his posture as he begins walking towards the games table is that of a man walking down death row. He is resigned to his fate.
[15:04] * Marianne is just so fucking gleeful that she has gained a new punishment that looks respectable on a report. Once Raphael is safely out of earshot she doubles over and just cackles to herself.

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