He Said Then You Agree That They Are People

[11:26] <Ikari‘Gendo> [It was a few hours after the disastrous incident in the Mass Production Pilot room. Zhang Yanmei had been taken to a holding cell- which, in this case, was actually a guest office, which came with its own minibar, so she wasn’t exactly uncomfortable.-
[11:27] <Ikari‘Gendo> [She wasn’t alone, either. A curled up blonde-haired boy lay on the bed, staring at the wall, in the midst of an exhausted sleep.]
[11:30] * Yanmei wasn't sleeping any time soon, even though she too felt like it. She sat on the floor at the foot of the bed instead, knees drawn up to her chest, a number of very disturbing images flickering through her mind. -
[11:31] <Yanmei> If only Isaiah was still awake, or she could contact Asuka or Marianne to talk. She wanted to forget about that stuff.
[11:32] <Ikari‘Gendo> [The door opened.-
[11:32] * Ikari`Gendo was standing in the doorway.
[11:35] * Yanmei looked up and stared, more irritated at being caught in this defensive pose than she was about being interrupted. She got to her feet in little hurry, and tossed her hair, and offered a smile that would make the best of hostesses proud. "Commander Ikari. May I offer you a drink?"
[11:35] <Ikari`Gendo> "Nevermind. Let’s skip the pleasantries, Zhang."
[11:39] <Yanmei> So this was what she had to work with in terms of conversation. It was like a genie had granted her wish in the most troublesome manner imaginable. "All right. I'll do that." She gestured to a spare chair and sat on the edge of the bed herself, careful not to wake Isaiah. "How long are you planning to keep us here?"
[11:45] * Ikari‘Gendo pulled the chair out and sat on it backwards, the back of it between himself and Yanmei. "Not too long. I want to ask some questions and then the two of you may go."
[11:48] <Yanmei> "Fair enough. I’ll do my best to answer them, naturally~"
[11:50] <Ikari‘Gendo> "Mm." He folded his arms together. "Start from the beginning. What happened when Dr. Ikari brought you into the Mass Production Pilot Chamber?"
[11:55] <Yanmei> A little bit of sobriety made its way back onto her face, and she looked down a moment. God, he was going to make her remember the worst parts, wasn’t he? "She showed us the… the clones. The artifical pilots. And they all had Rei's face. No one had any idea what to do, not even me. It kept saying Isaiah's name over and over, and he…"-
[11:56] <Yanmei> Now she outright frowned. "Are you aware of the status of Isaiah's mental health in recent months, Commander?"
[11:59] <Ikari‘Gendo> "I am not, outside of the vaguest of details."
[12:02] <Yanmei> "It is not good. I have seen him suffer at least two emotional breakdowns in the past six months. Your wife’s pet project? triggered a third. He flipped out."
[12:06] <Ikari‘Gendo> "Mm…" Gendo paused. "Please continue. What happened after that?"
[12:11] <Yanmei> "He tried to strangle Doctor Ikari." She kept an eye on Ikari’s face, searching for clues. Surely, he had seen the security footage. A place like that horrible lab would -have- to have cameras mounted somewhere. "There was a lot of dissension about what to do when that was going on. People were either in shock or horrified or -glad-. But then Isaiah passed out, and de Pteres stepped up to… do something in his place."
[12:12] <Ikari‘Gendo> "What was he going to do?"
[12:16] <Yanmei> "Attack her? I can’t say what he was planning or how far he was going to go, but he was -angry-. Distressed, too. That's when Blanc intercepted him and tried to stop him."
[12:16] <Ikari‘Gendo> "Do you know why he was distressed?"
[12:19] * Yanmei hesitated. "You’d better get that part of the story from him. If I tried to explain I would botch it. Besides," Yanmei shook her head. "Sometimes his thoughts are hard to decipher even when he explains them aloud."
[12:20] <Ikari‘Gendo> "Mm. Fair enough. And Blanc tried to stop him?"
[12:24] <Yanmei> "Yes. It turned into a fistfight soon enough. Ikari Shinji got involved at some point too. She was his mother, after all." Yanmei shrugged. "Isaiah started to come to, and I had my hands full trying to drag him someplace where he wouldn’t get stepped on and calm him down because, god, he was in hysterics. Then de Pteres drew a knife and Blanc did something strange. It was like she… just grew an AT field. A strong one, like th
[12:25] <Yanmei> -the ones used by EVAs."
[12:26] <Ikari‘Gendo> "And why did that happen?"
[12:28] <Yanmei> "I’m not sure."
[12:30] <Ikari‘Gendo> "Indeed?" Asked Gendo. "Perhaps Isaiah will have a better idea." He stood up.
[12:32] <Yanmei> "Wait!" Yanmei shifted in place. A grimace. "There’s no need for that."
[12:33] <Ikari‘Gendo> "…" Gendo stared down at her and sat down again. "Then tell me the truth."
[12:35] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei glanced away. "I never knew about the field, or the powers. Not until then, anyway. But a few days ago, Blanc and I talked. She’s not an Angel, okay? But…"
[12:36] <Ikari‘Gendo> "But?"
[12:39] <Yanmei> "…she said that a fragment from one of the more.. erm, psyche-oriented Angels we had fought with recently had made its way into her mind after the actual Angel had died. This is something that you can confirm with Commander Fontaine. Probably."
[12:40] <Ikari`Gendo> "I -see-. That is unsettling." Said Gendo with a frown. "What happened then?"
[12:42] <Yanmei> "More fighting? de Pteres managed to get to Doctor Ikari and was trying to get her to kill the Ayanami project. At knifepoint, granted, but it looked like things were reaching a conclusion. Then he just… started stuttering, and threw his knife away."
[12:43] <Ikari`Gendo> "Hm… I see. And then?"
[12:45] <Yanmei> "The Angel took over Blanc." Yanmei knitted her fingers together, brow creased slightly. "Back then, when she told me about the Angel in her head, Blanc said she was worried about it doing something like that. She wanted me to take care of things if that ever happened, because she was sure I would at least use nonlethal force. So I took care of it."
[12:48] <Ikari`Gendo> "And after?"
[12:49] <Yanmei> "And after, you guys showed up. Isaiah snapped out of it long enough to help in the last half of the fight, but after things calmed down he started slipping back into hysterics again. It took a long time for him to fall alseep…"
[12:55] <Ikari`Gendo> "I see."
[12:57] * Yanmei had turned back to gaze at Isaiah to see if he was indeed still sleeping, and then faced forward again with a sigh. "Does that answer your questions, Commander?"
[13:00] <Ikari`Gendo> "Mm… That tells me what happened from your perspective, but." He clasped his hands together. "Let me ask you a question. What is your opinion on the nature of the Ayanami Project?"
[13:07] <Yanmei> "A controversial matter that is certain to attract fire for ethical reasons, and praise for solving a difficult problem that had plagued NERV since its creation." There. That was practically a byline.
[13:13] <Ikari`Gendo> "… What is your opinion, Zhang?"
[13:18] <Yanmei> "I’m… still trying to decide what to feel," she said carefully.
[13:20] <Ikari‘Gendo> "Indeed?"
[13:25] <Yanmei> "Yes." She gave her most convincing stare.
[13:34] <Ikari`Gendo> "Then tell me everything you’re thinking. Leave nothing out, even if it conflicts. I want to hear your initial reactions to the project, your thoughts as to my wife… Everything."
[13:36] <Yanmei> Persistent guy. Yanmei almost shifted to a glare. Almost. -
[13:43] <Yanmei> "Logic would suggest that NERV growing its own pilots would relieve a lot of strain placed on those unwillingly trained or selected for the positions. The Neospartan Program and projects of its like wouldn't have to exist at all. In that way, it's admirable."-
[13:43] <Yanmei> "But your wife was clearly not thinking of those goals when she was working on this."
[13:44] <Ikari‘Gendo> "Oh?"
[13:46] <Yanmei> "Why would she implant the memories of her 6-year old daughter in the prototype?"
[13:49] <Ikari`Gendo> "Why do you think?"
[13:58] <Yanmei> "…" A slight shadow passed over her face. "05 was bad enough. I’m tempted to say that at this point she's fixated on torturing the girl instead of letting her rest in peace. But that would imply that she cared more about her being in pain than she did about playing with biology. Moreover, the introduction to the project did not include any mention of unwilling pilots. Only the implied troubles of locating compatable ones.
[14:02] <Yanmei> "In light of that, I don't believe it's an aspect of the project that she's thought much about at all?"
[14:03] <Ikari‘Gendo> "I see…" Said Gendo. The man… Reached up and took off his glasses. Very slowly. Very precise. He had very blue eyes.-
[14:03] <Ikari`Gendo> "I would like to tell you about what I think, from my perspective."
[14:04] <Yanmei> "Of course, Commander." She had a sinking feeling. Perhaps she should have held back…
[14:07] <Ikari`Gendo> "Let us go back a while. to 2010. You are Ikari Yui, head of NERV Tokyo-2’s branch's Technical Division. You are also the mother of a one year old girl."
[14:08] * Yanmei nodded politely.
[14:10] <Ikari‘Gendo> "Your husband works long hours and rarely spends as much time with you as he used to. Your son, whom you love very much, has become distant, withdrawn and introverted. You balance your work hours out with looking after your child. And she is a very lovely child."
[14:11] * Yanmei nodded once again.
[14:17] <Ikari`Gendo> "You have wanted your daughter to have the best chance in life, so you have ensured with your unique talents of science that she is healthy and hale, and destined to grow to the peak of human ability- because to you, there’s no difference between that and the typical raising of children. They both have the same goals. But you love your daughter very much, and over time, as she grows and learns, as your son grows distant and your husband's workload increases… She becomes the one person in your family you can always rely on to spend time with and love."
[14:19] * Yanmei started to look vaguely uncomfortable, but she nodded all the same.
[14:21] <Ikari‘Gendo> "Over time you come to the conclusion every person who has a loving family, or a partner… So on and so forth reach: that a life without that person would be incredibly difficult, perhaps impossible. But that seems so far away, as your son is falling in love and your daughter is making friends. She is even connecting with her father, something your son could never do."
[14:25] <Yanmei> "That’s her justification for doing those things?"
[14:26] <Ikari‘Gendo> "Let me finish." Said Gendo, raising his palm.
[14:28] * Yanmei nodded, holding deeper frowns off for now.
[14:31] <Ikari`Gendo> "When your daughter is killed, she is killed in the worst way possible. Shot at point blank range by a terrorist, a situation you have no control over. Isn’t that an unfair death? For her to die so young?"
[14:33] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei glanced aside again. "Yes, I know…"
[14:35] <Ikari‘Gendo> "She felt that she had the power to set things right. Humanity has always sought for the elixir of life, the ability to revive the dead. She believed she had found it. Her Rei… She missed her Rei. She broke down many times, emotionally, and was completely unable to be helped."
[14:41] <Yanmei> "I can understand that." She didn’t look at Isaiah even though she wanted to.
[14:44] <Ikari‘Gendo> "I understand your reaction." Said Gendo, placing his glasses back on. "I am not going to try to defend her actions. All I ask is that you remember that she is a woman in incredible pain right now."
[14:49] <Yanmei> "I see. I appreciate the input Commander. But just understanding another person’s motives doesn't necessarily lead to forgiveness. At least, not immediately."
[14:50] <Ikari‘Gendo> "Mm." Said Gendo. "But at least, understand that she meant no one any harm. In fact she was… This was the entire reason she invited Gabriel-Wei here, because she genuinely believed he’d be happy to see Rei again. She wanted to give that back to him."
[14:53] <Yanmei> "I had hoped that Doctor Ikari had a better grasp on people's feelings." She sounded a touch depressed now. "All she did was hurt him in the end. Coincidentally, Commander, I don't think we'll be visiting 05 after all while we're here. It's just not a good idea."
[14:54] <Ikari‘Gendo> "I see." Said Gendo, nodding once. "For what it’s worth, I told Yui that Isaiah would react poorly."
[15:00] <Yanmei> "I appreciate that." Too bad her own skepticism was starting to spike. Hadn't this man been plotting something with her, Isaiah and 05 not too long ago? "I hope she feels better soon," she added, only because it seemed like the sort of lie you told for manners sake.
[15:01] <Ikari‘Gendo> "Mm." Said Gendo. "Tell me something."
[15:01] <Yanmei> "Yes?"
[15:02] <Ikari`Gendo> "If the young boy on that bed were to be taken from you, suddenly, without warning. Shot, say, like Rei was. And he died. And you were offered the chance to bring him back. Would you take it?"
[15:04] * Yanmei stared at him a moment, feeling significantly creeped out by memories of a dream she’d once had. "I don't know. It wouldn't be the same Isaiah if I did, would it?"
[15:05] <Ikari‘Gendo> "That depends. You could give him the same body. The same memories. He would still feel the same."
[15:06] <Yanmei> "Does that make him the same?"
[15:07] <Ikari`Gendo> "The questions you should ask: What -would- make him the same? And secondly… If he were gone from you forever, would it make a difference?"
[15:11] <Yanmei> "…I don’t know," she said again, and her eyes narrowed ever so slightly. "But I'm not like Elisha Caine or Ikari Yui. Whatever choice I make, I'd hope would be different from theirs."
[15:12] <Ikari‘Gendo> "Oh?"
[15:21] <Yanmei> "Unfortunately? I’m only human," she muttered dryly. "And it's not like I could create the elixar to life, either. I wonder if I would change the way I thought if I did."
[15:26] <Ikari‘Gendo> "I suspect you would. Access to power of that nature can change people. Look at your companions."
[15:26] <Yanmei> "I’d rather not," she muttered. "Sometimes it's like they're both insane."
[15:29] <Ikari‘Gendo> "Hnhm." Gendo smirked slightly. "So. What would you want done with the Mass Production Pilots now?"
[15:32] <Yanmei> "No idea. The decision will likely be made by the Directors anyway. Unless you’re asking for my advice?"
[15:33] <Ikari‘Gendo> "Sure, let’s say that."
[15:37] <Yanmei> "Why not ask them what -they- want? Presuming that they are capable of answering."
[15:38] <Ikari‘Gendo> "So you recognise them as people."
[15:42] <Yanmei> "They’re like the EVAs. You don't have to be human to have an opinion."
[15:43] <Ikari‘Gendo> "So you -don’t- recognise them as people, then."
[15:47] <Yanmei> "No. They're not human," she said again more firmly after a long pause.
[15:48] <Ikari‘Gendo> "And why do you say that?"
[15:53] <Yanmei> "They’re just man-made things with pre-existing memories and personalities forced onto them. It's… hard to work out. But that's definately the way I feel."
[15:54] <Ikari‘Gendo> "If that is the case, asking their opinions, according to you, would be fruitless. So what would you have done with them?"
[16:05] <Yanmei> How annoying. She had to say something in response, though, so she struggled to. "Look, you seem to regard the EVAs highly, don’t you? But they're created in the same manner. Artificial body. Personality imprints. They're no where near human, and yet the way you talked about them before suggested that they are instrumental to humanity's 'destiny'." That term almost made her want to roll her eyes.-
[16:06] <Yanmei> "In other words, they have a will. Doesn't it stand to reason that the Mass Produced Pilots are the same too? Neither being people nor objects?"
[16:09] <Ikari‘Gendo> "Very well." Said Gendo. "And what if MP-REI wishes to have a normal life. Go to school, work, marry, have children."
[16:12] <Yanmei> "Then… then way not let them?"
[16:12] * Oat (ua.moc.tensutpo.wsn.lsd.13-832-632-022d|ilE#ua.moc.tensutpo.wsn.lsd.13-832-632-022d|ilE) Quit (Quit: <Mina`Haplo> ’T' is for Tao, who is Tsundere as hell :|)
[16:13] <Ikari‘Gendo> "But I thought you said they weren’t people." Said Gendo, smirking. "If they are not people, but they are allowed to live the lives of a normal person, at where do we draw the line between 'non-person' and 'person'?"
[16:15] * Yanmei blinked at him, and then shifted her gaze elsewhere in thought. "I don't know," she admitted finally. "What would you classify them as, Commander?"
[16:18] <Ikari‘Gendo> "Question in return: What defines a person’s life more? The birth, or the events that happen from then until death?"
[16:20] <Yanmei> Th-these questions didn't sound like they belonged in an interrogation or as a means for getting advice! "The events? Amazing things have happened to people who were born in modest circumstances, so…"
[16:22] <Ikari‘Gendo> "… Then clearly the fact that the MP-Pilots were grown in a NERV laboratory should not barr them from counting as people, am I mistaken?"
[16:23] <Yanmei> "I … guess so?"
[16:23] <Ikari`Gendo> "Then you agree that they are people."
[16:26] <Yanmei> "Um." She seemed to be having some sort of fierce internal debate, or at the least scrabbling to come up with a counter for that.
[16:27] <Ikari`Gendo> "You seem to think they should be treated as people by us, but at the same time you seem to think they’re less than human. That sounds like a hypocrisy."
[16:31] <Yanmei> "That's… that's not…" Not fair! How did she end up in a corner like this? She cleared her throat and collected her composure again. "Then it makes sense that I admit that they're… people." Said a bit stiffly compared to what she was going for, but surely it still had a mature air to it.
[16:35] <Ikari‘Gendo> "Do you actually -believe- that, though? You don’t. You can admit the logic but deep down you still bear an instinctual disquiet with them." Said Gendo quietly. "You could have gone the other way. If you acknowledged their status as non-people. But that would -still- leave you with the choice of what to do with them."
[11:25] <Yanmei> "There are still two other options open to me, though." Yanmei folded her arms and tappped an index finger against the elbow of the other arm. "The first is to conclude that it's okay to treat people as non-people and to determine what they will do with their lives. But -that- is out of the question. The other option is just to change my true beliefs to match this logical conclusion. Then there would be no problem, right?"
[11:28] * Ikari‘Gendo nods slowly. "Indeed."
[11:28] <Yanmei> "Are you asking me to do that, Commander?"
[11:29] <Ikari`Gendo> "No." Said Gendo. "I’m asking whether you want to do that."
[11:34] <Yanmei> "I beg your pardon, but I have no real incentive to." She smiled pleasantly. "Maybe later, when the project is complete and the Paris-2 team finds itself having to cooperate with MP-REIs. It would be necessary to change, wouldn't it? Maybe set an example for other pilots, or the public."
[11:36] <Ikari‘Gendo> "I thought as much." Said Gendo. "I was hoping to find a pilot willing to act as a foster for some of the MP-Pilots now that they are mostly active… I won’t find that with you, will I."
[11:40] <Yanmei> It felt… like a missed opportunity for influence. She couldn't backtrack, however, without making herself look like a fool. "I'm flattered that you thought of me. If you found no one else to take that roll, I would volunteer. But it seems like you still would have a lot of other candidates."
[11:43] <Ikari‘Gendo> "I suspect Blanc would be only too happy to volunteer, despite her reaction to MP-REI herself…" Gendo was starting at Yanmei, seemingly lost in thought.
[11:46] <Yanmei> "Probably. Langley-Soryu and Volkova and perhaps even Akagi might also do it if you asked them to." The Staring. She smiled again in spite of it. "Is there anything wrong, Commander?"
[11:46] <Ikari`Gendo> "You were Rei’s favourite pilot. Did you know that?"
[11:49] <Yanmei> "Was I?" Now it was Yanmei's turn to stare… but she broke it off, blinking aside. "She spent more time with Blanc, so I just assumed…"
[11:53] <Ikari‘Gendo> "Mm, true, but she saw Aline more as her big brother’s lover. You were, to her… Someone more accessible in a way. You were who she wanted to be like when she grew up, because you were brave, and strong, and protected her from wolves."
[11:56] <Yanmei> "I remember that." Her face softened ever so slightly. She remembered the snowball fight too. "She had guts. If she had grown to be a pilot, she would have been a good, but reckless one." Now, a slight firming again. "The MP-Pilots are not Rei."
[11:57] <Ikari‘Gendo> "No. They’re not." Said Gendo heavily. "But MP-REI -feels- like she is."
[12:01] <Yanmei> "…I don't owe her anything," Yanmei was frowning, "even if she feels like that…" Not her time or home. Not Isaiah, either.
[12:03] <Ikari‘Gendo> "Of course not." Said Gendo. "One more question."
[12:03] <Yanmei> "Yes?"
[12:03] <Ikari`Gendo> "How does he feel about them?"
[12:05] <Yanmei> Something in her gaze abruptly sharpened. "He was crying. A lot. That’s all I know."
[12:09] <Ikari‘Gendo> "Mm. Perhaps I should ask him later."
[12:11] * Yanmei bristled inwardly. "I would like to hear that myself. I hope you won’t mind if I listen in as well?"
[12:12] <Ikari‘Gendo> "No reason to deny you."
[12:13] <Yanmei> "Thank you, Commander Ikari. May I ask one more thing before you leave?"
[12:13] <Ikari`Gendo> "What?"
[12:19] <Yanmei> "Is it true that you had an alterior motive when you invited Isaiah and me to visit EVA Unit-05?"
[12:20] <Ikari`Gendo> "Yes."
[12:21] <Yanmei> "Is there an alterior motive behind the discussion you’re planning to have with Isaiah later on?"
[12:22] <Ikari‘Gendo> "I see." Gendo smirked. "A good connection to make, but nothing that I haven’t already mentioned. I want to see what he thinks of the project, and at the very least, whether he would be willing to assist Rei in civilian matters."
[12:25] <Yanmei> "I see." Yanmei smiled at him again. "It does make sense. I suppose you'll go and pose those questions to everyone involved in the incident? In any case, thank you for your honesty."
[12:26] <Ikari‘Gendo> "Yes. I will. Thank you for being a little forthright." Said Gendo, standing up.
[12:27] * Yanmei stood up with him, politely. "This means we’re free to go, I assume? I'd like to go back to our hotel after Isaiah wakes up."
[12:30] <Ikari‘Gendo> "You are free." Said Gendo. "… For what it’s worth, I apologise for the part I had in inflicting this experience on you both."
[12:35] <Yanmei> "I'd think that the mess everyone left you to clean up would serve as something of a penence already." She chuckled. Wondered if she should explain that she was joking, as she didn't quite trust him to chuckle at it too.
[12:36] <Ikari‘Gendo> "Huhn." Gendo let out a sort of sardonic half-chuckle. "Enjoy the rest of your stay in Tokyo-2, Zhang."
[12:37] <Yanmei> "Why thank you! I will." She kept a smile on, waiting for the door to open and then close behind him.
[12:39] * Ikari`Gendo left without any ado. A quiet click of the door.
[12:41] <Yanmei> The smile dropped -abruptly-. Sighing, Yanmei went over to the mini bar, and grabbed a little drink for herself, taking up the once-again unoccupied chair. "What do you think, Isaiah," she murmered. Not that he would answer her.-
[12:45] <Yanmei> What a difficult guy to read. Even if she watched him closely, it wouldn’t put her heart at ease. She took a sip and stared at the wall. "Well," she muttered to herself. "We'll see what happens…"

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