He Said They Refuse To See They Ve Already Done That

[16:59] * Adrian and Sept headed out of the Geofront- a good 15-20 minute trip including the slow elevators- hitting topside as the sun was starting to set, turning the sky scarlet and gold. "Alright. I know a place."
[17:01] * Sept suddenly stopped scanning his mental map of Paris to find the most ideal spot and looked up at Adrian. "But… how long have you been here, again?"
[17:05] <Adrian> "About a week or two."
[17:06] <Sept> "And you already… oh, fine. Just make sure it's nothing too crowded, alright?"
[17:07] <Adrian> "Heh, don't worry. It's a bar used by the Air Force." He grinned and started to head off down the road. "It'll be fine."
[17:08] * Sept nodded and followed the man in silence.
[17:11] <Adrian> [The place- Antoine's Air Force Bar and Grill- was fairly quiet at this time of day. A few clients were dotted about, but it was still a few hours before the typical rush. It was a warm, well-stocked place, however, with wooden floors and walls decorated with memorabilia regarding the air force units based in Paris-2.]
[17:17] * Sept inspected the place carefully. "It… looks good, Adrian. So, what do we..?"
[17:21] <Adrian> "Well now we hit the bar." He grinned. "Come on, let's get over there."
[17:27] <Sept> "R-right. We'll do that." Sera glanced around at the other patrons a bit nervously.
[17:32] <Adrian> [There were a few around. Some in uniform- of various degrees of readiness, obviously- some not so much. There was of course an interesting fellow standing at the bar…-
[17:43] <Raphael> Raphael Guillory, unlike many at the bar, had made no attempt to loosen his NERV-issue uniform - it was still immaculate, even after a full day at work. He sat alone at the bar, sipping slowly at a glass of something that looked like whiskey, watching a late-afternoon news report playing on the TV mounted on the wall ahead.
[17:49] * Sept approached the bar and took his seat, leaving an empty one in between himself and the older man. He didn't look like he was here for Fun.
[17:50] * Adrian took the empty seat.-
[17:50] <Adrian> [The Bartender headed over- a middle-aged woman with platinum blonde hair- and peered at Adrian and Sept for a moment. She clearly recognised Sept, but didn't comment on it. "What can I get you?"]
[17:52] <Sept> "I'm at the mercy of this man's taste today, I'm afraid." Sept nodded toward Adrian with a smile.
[17:55] * Adrian grinned. "How about two beers then. Something German…"-
[17:55] <Adrian> ["'Something German'?"-
[17:55] <Adrian> "Madame, I trust your judgement. Surprise us."-
[17:55] <Adrian> [She stared at him, then smiled wryly. "Alright. Will you be wanting another after that, Raphael?" She asked, turning to Mr. Guillory.]
[18:02] * Raphael glances over to bartender. "Don't try to tempt me, Annette," he says with a smile. "I'm alright for the moment, I think."
[18:02] <Adrian> ["If you say so." Says Annette the Bartender with a small smirk as she heads off to enable underage alcoholism.-
[18:03] <Adrian> "See? You stick with me and everything goes as planned, mate."
[18:06] <Sept> "Haha, I wasn't worried about that, Adrian. Although…" A slightly worried face over the smile. "I don't know what they think of me. The Air Force people."
[18:06] <Adrian> "Well." Adrian turns to Raphael. "Excuse me."
[18:08] * Raphael looks over again, one eyebrow raised. "Mmm?"
[18:08] * Sept flailed to stop Adrian. "Nonono not like that..!"
[18:08] * Adrian is already grinning as he thumbs back towards Sept. "My mate here is worried about how you Air Force boys see him."
[18:09] * Sept tried to look away. He wasn't part of this conversation.
[18:16] * Raphael considers that for a moment, eying Sept thoughtfully. "… hmm. Well, we know he's done consistently well in combat situations, and shown a lot of guts in the process - We all what you did during the Qaphsiel battle to let Pilot Blanc take her shot. He doesn't exactly have the media presence of someone like Pilot Zhang, but we've seen enough of his piloting to get him a fair bit of
[18:16] * Raphael respect amongst a lot of us."-
[18:18] <Raphael> "So I'd say he's got a pretty good reputation. Enough to get him drinks in an air force bar while still a couple of years underage, at least." He smirks a little at that.
[18:18] <Adrian> "There, see?" Said Adrian brightly, turning to Sept.
[18:22] * Sept rejoined the conversation, but just shook his head insistently. "The Air Force has to cover for us every time before we get there because the preparations always take so long. And by the time we can neutralise the AT Field and they could actually do something, they're all… You know. And we can't protect you the same way we do for each other."
[18:31] <Raphael> "Nobody on those missions is blind to the risks. The attrition rates… well, they speak for themselves, and I've lost a lot of good men and women to them." Raphael pauses, draining the last of the whiskey from his glass. "But what we do is necessary, and most of us don't regret it."
[18:38] <Sept> "Should it matter if they know the risks or not? But… I can't argue if that's how you feel. Sorry for interrupting your night."
[18:41] <Raphael> "No no, hold on a moment," Raphael says, holding up on hand and swivelling a little on his chair to get a better look at the pair. "You consider it your job to protect Pilots Zhang and Blanc, correct?"
[18:42] <Sept> "Well… yeah, of course." Sera had a bad feeling about this. He was being led into a logical trap again, he knew it.
[18:43] <Raphael> "And you'd give your life for that?" There's an odd look in the man's eyes now, curious and watchful.
[18:48] <Sept> "…Yeah, I would. But, I can't just throw my own life away, either. I-I'd definitely do it if it there was no other way, but…"
[18:49] <Raphael> "Of course," Raphael nodded. "Do you resent them for it? For having to protect them?"
[18:50] <Sept> "Of course not…"
[18:53] <Raphael> "It’s the same for us," Guillory said firmly. "I’ve been a soldier since the advent of Second Impact, Mr. de Pteres. I’ve seen my fair share of unnecessary deaths. But this is survival. You’re not the only one who has someone to protect - we’re here to make sure you have the time to get to your positions and save the rest of us. The rest of the world, if what the higher-ups say
[18:53] <Raphael> is true. If I lost my life in the service of that, I wouldn’t regret it for a moment."
[18:57] <Sept> "But even if we all want the same thing, it's still your people who die instead of me. It's… a lot of weight to put on someone."
[19:02] * Raphael nods slowly. "That I can certainly understand. Survivor's guilt is a nasty thing, but in the end it's a fact of war. And it's usually something you have to come to grips with on your own terms…"
[19:03] <Adrian> ["Here are your beers, boys. Don't drink it all at once." Said Annette, re-entering the conversation as she placed two mugs down on the bar. "Would you like anything to eat?"]
[19:08] <Sept> "No, I'm good. Thanks." Sept took hold of his beer and examined it. "I guess we know who we'll drink to, then, right?"
[19:11] * Raphael lets out a low chuckle. "If you'd like, sir," he says, grabbing his own empty glass. "Would you mind, Annette?"
[19:12] <Adrian> ["Never." She winked and grabbed a bottle, pouring the contents into the glass.-
[19:12] * Adrian grabbed his mug. "Alrighty."
[19:17] <Sept> "Right." Sera raised his mug. "To all the fuckers guilt tripping us from beyond the grave, you know who you are." He raised the mug to his lips and drank deeply. Which, admittedly, still wasn't all that much.
[19:23] * Raphael smiles again, nodding slightly before he takes a long sip of his own drink.
[19:23] * Adrian holds his own mug and cheerfully begins to quaff.
[19:27] * Sept grimaces at the aftertaste. "Ugh. What is it about this stuff that people so love?"
[19:27] * Adrian grins. "It's -soothing- in its own way."
[19:31] * Sept looks at Guillory dubiously. "Really? Besides the getting drunk part?"
[19:33] <Adrian> "You'll get used to it." He grins, turning to look at Raphael. "So what did you say your name was, sorry?"
[19:33] <Raphael> "It takes a while to get to that point. First you have to push beyond the early point where you're drinking it out of peer pressure."
[19:34] <Raphael> "Ah. I suppose we did miss the introductions, didn't we?" he says, offering his hand to Adrian. "Raphael Guillory."
[19:34] <Adrian> "Adrian Bellamy." He took the hand and shook it vigorously. "One half of the EVA-07 piloting team."
[19:38] <Sept> "I'm not drinking out of peer pressure…" Sera muttered defensively as the men introduced themselves, distracting himself with the draught.
[19:39] <Raphael> "… half? How does that work, exactly?" Sera does get a quick glance and a smirk, but is left to his sulking.
[19:40] <Adrian> "It's Dual Plug. Takes two pilots. I'm piloting it with my wife."
[19:43] <Sept> "I'm pretty sure he still doesn't know himself," Sera interjected.
[19:43] <Adrian> "What?" He turned back. "'Course I do."
[19:46] <Sept> "…right. Nevermind. It's something new they're trying, in any case."
[19:50] <Raphael> "Not too surprising, I suppose. The science divisions always seem to have /something/ new in the pipeline." He sat his glass back down on the surface of the bar. "So Adrian, if you don't mind… that accent. Australian?"
[19:52] <Adrian> "One and the same, mate. How'd you tell?"
[19:55] <Raphael> "Did two peacekeeping tours down there with the UN… hmm, I guess about a decade back now? Not one of my nicer periods in the military, truth be told."
[19:58] <Adrian> "Ah." Said Adrian a little awkwardly. "I can imagine."
[20:00] <Sept> "What exactly does that mean? How do you keep the peace if it's that bad already?"
[20:07] * Raphael chuckled at that. "Military terminology has a way of making a lot less sense when you actually bother to look at it. Mostly we were there to make sure the Indonesians didn't try and break their end of the Accords, along with the odd bit of work to try and help the locals rebuild. But everyone there knew we were trying to empty the ocean with a bucket. We simply didn't have the
[20:07] * Raphael manpower to make a dint in the damage Second Impact did to the east coast."
[20:09] * Adrian leans forward, resting his elbow and arm on the bar. "Heh. A decade ago- so you weren't around when the Libs started making their moves."
[20:12] <Sept> "Right… I guess we're lucky they came up with the EVAs then, to help with rebuilding projects like that, right?" Sera winked.
[20:18] * Raphael opens his mouth to reply to Adrian… before Sept cuts in, causing Raphael to give a genuine, uninhibited laugh. "You know, I'd almost forgot about that. I'm sure you guys will be sent down there to start clearing rubble any day now," he says, grinning as he turns back to Adrian. "But yes, I was out of there long before the Libs got going. Heard about it from a few friends still
[20:18] * Raphael stationed down there, though. Nasty business."
[20:20] <Adrian> "They drafted me and my wife a few years back. It was before NERV recruited us, of course." Said Adrian with a grin.
[20:21] <Raphael> Both of Raphael's eyebrows go up at that. "NERV broke you out of the camp?"
[20:22] <Adrian> "No. We broke out ourselves."
[20:24] * Raphael gives Adrian a long, almost skeptical look before nodding slowly, some of the smile returning. "Huh. You two must be a talented pair, then. I hear it's hard enough surviving those camps, let alone escaping them."
[20:24] * Adrian took a mouthful of beer, a little smirk on his face. "Sera here has insight into the sort of people we are, hmm?"
[20:25] <Sept> "…huh? I-I was just thinking. How did you get away from the Libs? I mean, even if you got out of the camp, you were still basically in their territory, right?"
[20:29] <Adrian> "Yeah. It was part luck, part… Planning." He frowned slightly, taking another mouthful of beer. "Back then, the Libs weren't as powerful as they are now. There were local regions who rejected the UN but rejected the Libs too. At one point, an independent leader visited the camp we were stationed at…"
[20:33] <Sept> "…Ah." Sera drained the rest of his beer wordlessly, pushed the mug away. "What's next, Adrian?"
[20:36] <Adrian> "Well I'm getting something to eat. Maybe another drink too, and of course we socialise. In fact, we're doing that right now. Like so." He turned to look at Raphael. Adrian reached a hand into his back pocket, pulling out his wallet. "Would you like to see a picture of my daughter, Raphael?"
[20:40] <Raphael> "Daughter? You're definitely making an early start on a family, Mr. Bellamy," Raphael says amusedly, reaching out for the photo as it was offered.
[20:40] * Adrian flicked open the wallet, offering a picture to Raphael. It showed Isabelle as well, holding a little girl. "I know, right? I figured if it's between starting early and not at all…"
[20:46] * Sept signalled for a refill. He wasn't about to wait around for new extravagant options. "It's a lot of responsibility to have, in addition to piloting, though."
[20:50] <Adrian> [Annette took Sept's glass and headed off to refill it.-
[20:50] <Adrian> "Yeah, I know. But it's well worth it, let me tell ya."
[20:52] * Raphael takes a long look at the picture before handing it back. "She's a beautiful kid, Adrian. What's her name?"
[20:53] <Adrian> "Elizabeth. After me mum." He takes it back with a grin.
[20:58] <Sept> "How's your family, then, Raphael? Who do you keep safe?"
[21:13] <Raphael> "I lost most of my family in Second Impact, to tell the truth. My little brother and I made it through, though, and we've basically been watching each other's backs ever since. He followed me all the way through the military until 2009, but he lost one of his legs in a tour of Libya." His eyes go distant for a moment before he reaches down and grabs his glass, downing the rest of the whiskey.
[21:15] <Adrian> "It saddens me to hear that. What's he up to these days?"
[21:21] <Raphael> "Well, I got a discharge and brought him back to France. He made a pretty quick recovery, all told," he said. "He probably dealt with it better than I ever could. Stayed upbeat, met a nice woman. He's getting married in June, actually."
[21:25] <Sept> "That's nice. Does he live in Paris?"
[21:36] <Raphael> "He does, yes. He's got a small apartment a little west of Pont Royal."
[21:39] * Adrian nodded, acting as though he knew where that was. "So. He's found himself a wife- good to hear. What about you, Raphael? You have your eye on anyone?"
[21:45] * Raphael gives Adrian a long look, one corner of his lip twitching. "Not particularly. I'm the sort of man that tends to keep to himself." He waits until Annette passes again before raising his hand for a refill.
[21:51] * Sept laughs. "I can understand that. And you know how life tends to be. You find a person you think you could trust… and life has her kidnapped, kills the only one who could've protected her and throws her into a desert." Sip. "Typical."
[21:51] <Adrian> "Yep." Sip.
[21:51] <Adrian> "Wait, what?"
[21:51] <Adrian> [Raphael gets his refill, of course.]
[22:01] <Sept> "And it's not like with Shinji where we mobilise everyone and everything to bring him back! We could've looked for her on the same trip, but nooo we're scared of staying in Liberated Nations territory suddenly. I swear, it's like half of them aren't even trying…"
[22:02] * Adrian glances over at Raphael worriedly.
[22:06] * Raphael frowns slightly. "With respect, Mr. de Pteres, I suspect the only reason NERV made the decision to pursue Shinji was the Evangelion that was taken along with him. Without that…"
[22:14] <Sept> "And you're saying Gendo had absolutely nothing to do with it? He hasn't sent Tsubaki to back us up on any other mission! And of course 05 was part of the reason - but only exactly as much as Shinji was! He's just covering up for his mad scientist wife, else without her kids she'll finally snap and stop producing all those toys for NERV!" Sera ragegulped the beer down, and another glass
[22:14] <Sept> was done.
[22:26] <Raphael> "…" Raphael accepts most of this without a change of expression, sipping on his whiskey and politely waiting for Sept to finish. He only moves to speak when the boy sets down his glass again. "While I… cannot comment on most of that, Mr de Pteres - largely because I have to admit I'm not familiar with exactly what you're talking about - I'm quite sure Major Lachapelle has discussed why
[22:26] <Raphael> Pilot Akagi hasn't been able to assist. You know of the Vatican Treaty, correct?"
[22:26] <Raphael> «Colonel*»
[22:30] <Sept> "…by now, sure," Sera admitted reluctantly.
[22:34] <Raphael> "Then you're aware if another active Evangelion sets foot in France we'll be in breach of it. And that's no small matter, diplomatically speaking."
[22:38] <Sept> "Which means we're only allowed to group the Evangelions on foreign, unsecured territory. That's stupid, tactically speaking. Right?"
[22:39] <Adrian> "Er, might I interject for just a second?"
[22:39] * Raphael nods.
[22:41] <Sept> "Yes, Adrian?"
[22:41] <Adrian> "The Vatican Treaty tends to apply in most cases to countries with bases. So, er…" he rubbed his chin. "How is that tactically stupid?"
[22:47] <Sept> "Let me put it this way. Because of the tactical treaty, we can't use more of the EVAs together in places where we've already confirmed Angel attacks. Places that are otherwise safe and well-equipped for Evangelion combat. But we -are- allowed to risk more units at a time if we're sending them into what can only be defined as enemy territory. Out there, the chances of something catastrophically
[22:47] <Sept> bad happening to most or all of the units and even pilots involved are much, much higher."
[22:47] <Adrian> "… So wouldn't that mean it'd be better to send out more units?"
[22:51] <Sept> "What can any number of units do if they get into a position to drop N2 charges on us, or we walk into another kind of trap? I don't think the optimal strategy for a possible enemy trap is to just feed it more men than it can kill."
[22:53] * Adrian looks back at Raphael for a second, then back to Sept. "So the answer is to feed it as many men than it can kill and not solve the problem?"
[22:57] <Sept> "What? No! Of course there are other ways to do that! It -always- depends on the situation, but what I was saying is if we can trust several EVAs to work together while facing the very real risk of falling into enemy hands in case of failure… we -should- be able to trust them to work together against the -real- enemy, no matter where they'll show up!"
[22:58] * Adrian let out a quiet sigh and called for another beer.
[23:00] <Sept> "What? Why is that so unreasonable? What am I missing?"
[23:01] <Adrian> "Because that's not the idea behind the treaty…"
[23:03] <Raphael> "The thing is," Raphael says, finally speaking up as he finished his drink, "The Vatican Treaty has little to do with not trusting pilots to work together and everything to do with minimizing the possibilities of a war for control over the units."
[23:04] <Raphael> "It's a diplomatic issue, not a tactical one."
[23:04] <Adrian> "Yeah. Thank you, Raphael."
[23:05] * Sept sighed, and drank. "And that's the point I was trying to make… The treaty is something that belongs to the governments and NERV branch directors! It -should- be an agreement between pilots. There's nothing they can do with the units without us."
[23:08] <Raphael> "Whether I believe that's true or not, Mr. de Pteres, the international community does not make a habit of trusting decisions regarding weapons of mass destruction to a group of teenagers."
[23:12] <Sept> "And we come full circle. They refuse to see they've already done that."
[23:14] * Adrian drank slowly. "Nooot really."
[23:15] <Sept> "Hmm?"
[23:16] <Adrian> "They let us pilot them, mate, but they never said anything about trusting us." Adrian grinned slowly.
[23:21] <Sept> "Just letting us pilot is more than they can completely control, as I'm sure you'll find out. This has never been just a job for anyone, Adrian. But sure, they're working to remove, replace and control us as well as they can. It's no secret. That's why we keep our eyes open."
[23:24] * Adrian shrugs, leans back and drinks. "It's too much effort to spend all me time searching for all the evil NERV spooks instead of just letting myself be controlled. I'm just gonna sit back and do what I'm told, when I told, like the good little soldier I promised to become. Hell, it's paying for my family's future. It's practically win-win for me."
[23:31] <Sept> "I'm sure it is, Adrian. That's… good for you." Back to drinking. At least they might finally break out from this topic..?
[23:34] <Adrian> "So! Raphael." Started Adrian. "What do you do for fun, mate?"
[17:30] <Raphael> "You're looking at it," Raphael says, spinning his glass a little on the sheen of condensation building upon the bar. "I don't get much in the way of free time, so it's nice to take some time to breathe when I do get off-duty. I suppose I'm a boring old man at heart, hmm?"
[17:35] <Adrian‘Bellamy> "Sounds like you need us." Said Adrian.
[17:37] <Raphael> "Is that so?"
[17:39] <Adrian`Bellamy> "Well, I wouldn’t say need, mate. But perhaps, given enough time and persuasion, wouldn't not -want- to be around." He winked.
[17:43] <Sept> "How do you mean, Adrian?" Sera was the best wingman.
[17:43] <Adrian‘Bellamy> "I’m glad you asked, Sera my lad." Said Adrian.-
[17:44] <Adrian‘Bellamy> "You see, my friends, tonight I’m drinking- something I do often- with two people. One of them is in their comfort zone, the other is not, and I say we follow the initiative of the latter."
[17:45] * Raphael gives Adrian an odd look. "This is, of course, discounting the fact that I should really report you /both/ for underage drinking," he says with a faint smirk.
[17:47] <Adrian‘Bellamy> "You should, Raphael." Says Adrian. "But you won’t, because I think you see the stormcloud of mad shenanigans on the horizon and you're just a liiiittle tempted to see what happens, deep down." He grins. It's a dangerous grin, but not because it's threatening.
[17:48] <Sept> "And besides, they don't care about underage gun control, so why would they care about drinking?" Sera tried to take a sip of his drink, but was interrupted by his brain interpreting Adrian's words. "Mad -what-?"
[17:48] <Raphael> "/Or/ it's simply because I know that Section 2 agents would have already reported you the moment you stepped in here," Raphael says without missing a beat.
[17:51] <Adrian‘Bellamy> "That’s a good point, my friend." Says Adrian. "I knew you were a sharp one." He turns back to Sept. "Well, we're special in that regard. NERV employees and all." Back to Raphael. "So then, as you can tell, whatever mad shenanigans I operate, they'll have all the fun of mad shenanigans without the messy part."
[17:55] <Raphael> "You're an odd one, Pilot Bellamy," Raphael says as he sips away at his drink, which seems to have found yet another refill thanks to the bar-based prowess of Annette.
[17:56] <Adrian‘Bellamy> "Odd good or odd bad?"
[17:56] * Sept would not be ignored. Or maybe he would. "I thought we were supposed to just drink Adrian what are these shenanigans"
[17:57] <Raphael> "I haven’t made up my mind yet."
[17:58] * Adrian‘Bellamy grins. Good enough. He turns back to Sept. "Yeah, but I figured we could have some other fun. Something Raphael hasn’t tried. Like pool."
[18:02] <Raphael> "I /have/ played pool before, Adrian," says Raphael with a small frown. "Drinking alone does not mean I was not a young man once."
[18:04] <Adrian‘Bellamy> "Oh good, you can show us, then."
[18:04] * Sept nodded to the older man. "I think I’d like that."
[18:08] * Raphael drains the rest of the glass in one easy motion and stands, nodding slowly. "I'm sure I can do that. Hopefully neither of you are the competitive type, though…"
[18:09] <Adrian‘Bellamy> "I prefer it laid back~"
[18:10] <Sept> "I’m not very good at pool, anyway. It'd be tough to be competitive like that."
[18:12] <Raphael> "Good to know," Raphael says, smiling slightly as he leads them towards the bar's pool table.
[18:13] <Adrian‘Bellamy> [It’s a fine pool table. Hasn't been used too much recently, and it's vacant now.]
[18:18] * Sept would help set up the table, but didn't look like he'd be participating otherwise. He sipped at his brew, looking at the men expectantly.
[18:19] * Raphael grabs a pool cue and manages to find one of the old, worn down cubes of chalk to apply to it. He makes a motion to Sera to follow his lead. "Do you know enough to rack up, Pilot Bellamy?"
[18:22] <Adrian‘Bellamy> "Yessir." He grabs the rack and places it upon the table, filling it with balls.
[18:29] <Raphael> "Alright. Since you seem to be the newest to this, Mr. de Pteres, how about you break? I’ll help you out."
[18:32] <Sept> "Oh. I can do that, at least." Sera grabbed a cue, inspected it, and set himself up at the far end of the table. "Just hit the middle one, right?"
[18:34] * Raphael nods. "That's right. Try and hit the cue ball just below the centre if you can."
[18:37] <Sept> "Right." Sera aimed for a bit. His grip was just a bit off. It was clear he'd been taught the game before, but he seemed to be out of practice pretty badly. The break ended up barely legal, with quite a bit less force than would've been ideal.
[18:59] <Raphael> "Not too bad for a start," Raphael says, stepping up alongside Sera and altering the pilot's hand placement just so before stepping back again. "Just need to shift your grip a little. Here, try again like that."
[19:05] * Sept adjusted appropriately, and the cue seemed to stay in place much more steadily. A few seconds and a loud, sharp 'clack' noise later, the balls were much better scattered around the table. "Huh. I see."
[19:12] <Adrian‘Bellamy> "He’s a quick learner, this one."
[19:13] <Raphael> "So it seems. Have you played much before, de Pteres?"
[19:15] <Sept> "A little. But I could never win against the guys who taught me."
[19:18] * Raphael leans against the rail to let Sera continue to take his shots. "And who was that? I know I could never seem to take a win from my brother."
[19:19] <Adrian‘Bellamy> "I know I could never beat Isabelle for the longest time."
[19:32] <Sept> "Oh, I… don’t think I ever knew his name." Sera completely idly plucked the cue ball from the table, setting it down at a different part of the table. He picked up a few other balls and shuffled them around as well. "He always had a different one every night, at least." The cue ball was now set in a straight line with two others - the eight at the other end, another ball in the middle.
[19:32] <Sept> There was about a third of the table's length between the cue and the eight. Sera leaned over the table and held the cue vertically over the white ball, concentrating. "Some days he'd treat everyone to a round. Other times he wouldn't show up for weeks at a time." The stick fell on the ball at a notable speed, stopping fractions after hitting the ball, never getting even close to scratching
[19:32] <Sept> the fabric. The cue ball made a flawless arc across the table toward the eight ball, which promptly sunk into a corner pocket. "His face was in the papers one day. We never saw him again. No one wanted to talk about him, either."
[19:34] * Adrian‘Bellamy quirks his eyebrows quietly at that. "… Interesting."
[19:40] * Raphael lets out a small round of completely genuine applause after that last shot, his smile broadening a little. "’I'm not very good at pool'," Raphael repeats, glancing over at Adrian, "Either he's a natural or we've been played."
[20:07] <Sept> "He always said you should never let others know everything you can do." A little smile. "I do miss him."
[20:13] * Adrian‘Bellamy lets out a low chuckle. "Oh, I was -right- about this."
[20:16] <Sept> "…what?"
[20:16] <Adrian`Bellamy> "This -is- gonna be fun, s’all."
[20:18] <Sept> "Oh. If you say so, Adrian."
[16:30] <Raphael> "I thought you liked it to be laid back, Mr Bellamy," Raphael says with a smirk, leaning against his cue.
[16:31] <Adrian‘Bellamy> "Never said I didn’t like it hot either, mate."
[16:36] <Sept> "So, were the two of you going to play?"
[16:36] <Adrian‘Bellamy> "Sure." He grabbed a cue stick.
[16:39] <Sept> "I really would like to just watch, if it’s okay. I think pool's more interesting that way."
[16:42] * Raphael raises an eyebrow. "If that's what you'd prefer, Sera," he says, watching as Adrian sets up for his shot, "But I must admit, I'm not sure what you gain by just watching."
[16:46] <Sept> "It's just…" Sera stalled with his drink, then waved dismissively. "No, nevermind. It's just fun, that's all."
[16:47] * Adrian‘Bellamy chuckled at some hidden joke as he lined up the cue, took his shot and bounced a ball off the side, narrowly missing a pocket. "Blast."
[16:53] * Raphael takes a moment to sip at his own drink before stepping up to the table for his own turn. The soldier’s obviously a little rusty, and he doesn't bother with any of Sera's flair, but he's competent enough - By the time he's done he's sunk three of the stripes before getting a bad break on a fourth, sending it ricocheting off the corner the rail and back towards the centre of the table.
[16:53] * Raphael "We both need a bit of practice, it seems."
[17:00] <Sept> "It's just that they're like people," Sera blurted. "They start at the same place and are then thrown around, everyone in their unique direction even though it's the same force acting on them, and some of them disappear off the table sooner than others but eventually every one of them does." Another sip. "That's all."
[17:04] <Adrian‘Bellamy> "And then they all come back on for another round." Said Adrian with a grin, striking and sending a solid tumbling away. "The Cycle of Reincarnation in a nut shell." He took a mouthful of beer, revelling in the sheer atmosphere of what could only be described as ’half-tipsy university philosphical discussion' before hitting the cue into another solid. Finally, his third shot failed to sink anything, but it -did- disturb a stripe.
[17:06] <Sept> "Oh. I never heard of that part. I guess so." Sera nodded, approving of the theory.
[17:08] * Raphael is quiet for a moment at that, eyeing Sera thoughtfully. Eventually he cracks a little smile. "Meanwhile they're all colliding with one another, the movement of one altering the final course of another," he says, neatly pocketing the stripe Adrian disturbed. His second shot comes to nothing… very nearly pocketing one of Adrian's solids, in fact. "An interesting philosophy."
[17:11] <Sept> "Even if you copied a person completely… their body, their personality… you could never completely recreate their circumstances, could you?"
[17:13] <Adrian‘Bellamy> "I think, if you could copy the person like that, the circumstances might not matter." Said Adrian. "The thing you can’t control are the circumstances after that."
[17:14] <Sept> "Yeah. They'd be their own person, no matter how many times you tried."
[17:14] <Raphael> "Mmm. We're a product of our prior experiences, according to people far more intelligent than I. Even if two identical entities started off in the same place, that doesn't ensure they'd remain identical for long."
[17:15] <Sept> "That's cool."
[17:15] * Adrian‘Bellamy pockets the Solid, then promptly scratches. "Fff."
[17:20] * Raphael cuckles. "I can see why you could never beat that Isabelle of yours," he says, promptly sinking one stripe… and then a stripe and a solid off the same shot. He frowns slightly, but there’s a wry smirk on his lips. "… I forget that it's wise to hold back on teasing until /after/ I've taken a shot."
[17:20] <Raphael> «Chuckles*»
[17:29] * Adrian‘Bellamy grins. "I’d like to see you play her one day. I think you'd get along with her, although she can be pretty intense." A gentle cap of the cue ball leaves a solid pocketed and the white little leader teetering on the edge of a pocket. He taps it out into the centre for sportsman's sake.
[17:32] <Sept> "That might be fun to see, too." A moment of ponderous silence at the situation of the pool table. "Does she share your passion for laid back hot too, Adrian?"
[17:54] * Adrian‘Bellamy stares at Sera for a moment, quirking an eyebrow, before he lets a sly little grin flourish. "Maybe."
[17:57] <Sept> "I mean, do you ever go drinking together? Or do you prefer something else..?"
[18:00] * Raphael glances from Sera to Adrian and back again before just shaking his head and moving to line up his shot. There’s only one more stripe left in play…
[18:02] <Adrian‘Bellamy> "We do all sorts of things together. Drinking sometimes." He watches Raphael set it up. "Sometimes we spar- she’s good at that, and it lets her relax a little. A lot of our time's spent on looking after Elizabeth, but before Lizzie, well, we were quite active…"
[18:06] <Raphael> "Do you find it difficult? A lot of people your age would find that sort of lack of free time stifling," Raphael says, drawing back the cue and… not -quite- managing to pocket his last target. "Hmm."
[18:08] <Adrian‘Bellamy> "Mmm, you’d think so." Adrian lines up a shot. "But the fact of the matter is, Isabelle and I have never really had that much free time anyway. So by the time we had Elizabeth, we were basically in that sweet spot where we had enough money and food to support a child comfortably, but before we had time to get used to the cushy newness of that life." He shoots- and sinks two solids, bringing them up to par. He grins. "Truth is, we're pretty disciplined in our own way. And we support each other a -lot-. The result is that whilst it's hard…" He misses with his second shot. "We find it more rewarding than anything. She's always wanted kids. Loves 'em."
[18:12] <Sept> "Why? …I mean. If I may ask."
[18:12] <Raphael> "It sounds like the two of you have a rather enviable relationship, Mr Bellamy," Raphael says, "Even most people my age can't claim to have that sort of bond."
[18:16] * Adrian‘Bellamy grins. "Our bond is unique. Science says so." He tilts to look at Sept. "I dunno, it’s not something that you can really take apart and look at? But most people want kids sooner or later. She just happens to want them sooner." He peers at the table. "I know I wanted one because… Well, honestly, my first thought was, if you have a choice between this world, or a world with a beautiful little girl in it who's going to grow up to be a wonderful, even more beautiful young lady, and then who lives her own life, and -you're- the one who's responsible… I picked the latter, you know?"
[18:27] * Sept frowned deeply. "…science? I thought those things couldn't be quantified like that."
[18:27] <Adrian‘Bellamy> "Ah, it’s a sort of sly joke. Isabelle and I share an AT quirk called the Libido Effect."
[18:28] <Sept> "AT?" Sera sharpened up. "Is that why you're piloting? What does it do?"
[18:31] <Raphael> Another sharp thocking sound as Raphael takes another turn, but the point of impact on the last solid is a little off and it simple bounces off the corner rail.
[18:31] <Adrian‘Bellamy> "It forms a permanent connection between our two AT Fields. Emotions- strong ones- can be transferred, as can sensations sometimes. Intense pain and injury can be transferred too, and if we concentrate we can sense a sort of gist of the other’s thoughts, and hear their heartbeat."
[18:33] <Sept> "That sounds… scary. All the time?"
[18:34] <Adrian‘Bellamy> "All the time. Some of the more intense effects have physical range limits, but things like the emotional transfer are unbreakable." He lines up the cue, and sinks the last solid- then, with a smirk, lines up to sink the 8. "And we need to actively concentrate on some of the other stuff." Thok! The 8 ball goes down. "Nicely played, Mr. Guillory."
[18:36] <Raphael> "Quite," Raphael says, offering his hand out to Adrian with a grin.
[18:36] * Adrian`Bellamy takes it firmly and shakes.
[18:38] * Sept seems very distracted, staring into his half-empty beer.
[18:40] <Adrian`Bellamy> "What’s got your knickers in a knot there, Sera?"
[18:44] <Sept> "Oh. Sorry. Um. Bad memories. I just don't think I could handle something like that, someone else in… my head."
[18:46] <Adrian‘Bellamy> "Well, it’s sort of less like… She's in my head, it's more like she and I are mentally meeting in a place that belongs to both of us." He pats Sept on the shoulder. "Relax, mate. The chance of this happening to you are extraordinarily low."
[18:47] <Sept> A dry laugh. "So something worse would be even lower? Guess I should start using my allowance on lottery tickets."
[18:47] <Raphael> "And how -did- it happen, if you don't mind my asking? Was it a natural quirk, a product of some sort of experimentation, or…?"
[18:48] <Adrian‘Bellamy> "Well, in your line of work, that sort of shit just treats you like a magnet. But this is different." He looks over at Raphael. "Natural quirk. Kinda. A Libido Effect happens when two people with two different, very rare genes conceive."
[18:56] <Raphael> "… very interesting. And I imagine all this played a significant role in your selection for pilot status?"
[18:56] <Adrian`Bellamy> "Yessir."
[18:58] * Raphael nods slowly, wearing the deep frown of someone wrestling with unfamiliar metaphysical concepts as he returns his cue to the rack and begins work on collecting the billiard balls.
[18:59] <Adrian`Bellamy> "Alright. Sera, why don’t you have a go now. I'm going to go grab another deer."-
[18:59] <Adrian‘Bellamy> "… Beer."
[19:03] <Sept> "Alright, Adrian." Sera helped Raphael set up the table and relocated the cue he’d used earlier.
[19:08] <Raphael> "…" Raphael simply continues setting up in silence for a few moments with Sera's assistance. But eventually… "He seems like a good man."
[19:12] <Sept> "…yeah. He just wants to raise his kid and live with his family. It's… not going to be like that, though. There's always something else. And we'll eventually have bigger problems than Angels. He -has- to know that, but he's just so… upbeat all the time."
[19:17] <Raphael> "I am absolutely certain he's aware of that.. But people have their own ways of coping with the harshness of the world - Sometimes's it's rage, sometimes it's numbing your own emotions… sometimes it's something as simple as sheer bloody-minded optimism. And given his childhood, Mr Bellamy has had plenty of time to hone his own method."
[19:25] <Sept> "That makes sense. I guess they'll need it, if they're going to be by themselves in Algeria."
[19:25] <Adrian‘Bellamy> "Baaack!" Adrian returns, holding two bottles of beer.
[19:32] * Raphael gives Sera a long look in response to that, but he’s interrupted by Adrian's return just as he's putting the finishing touches on the reset of the table. "Not planning on slowing down, are you?" Raphael says as he eyes the pair of bottles.
[19:33] * Adrian‘Bellamy moves one of the bottles to Sera. "Never."
[19:35] <Raphael> "Sera and I were just talking… he mentioned you were being stationed in Algeria?"
[19:36] <Adrian`Bellamy> "Oh yeah. That’s right. Down at Eden Base."
[19:36] * Sept makes no effort to quickly finish off his current one, taking his time with the brew. "Yeah. How do you feel about it? I mean, it'll be just the two of you again, won't it?"
[19:37] <Adrian‘Bellamy> "Two of us and a base of scientists and soldiers. We’re fairly used to that, all told."
[19:39] <Sept> "That doesn't answer my question, though."
[19:40] * Adrian‘Bellamy opens his new beer and takes a swig. "I don’t care either way, honestly."
[19:44] <Sept> "Oh. Fair enough. A real professional, then."
[19:46] <Adrian‘Bellamy> "Eh, not really. It’s not really a case of it being professional, it's more… One place is just as good as another, you know? Sure, Paris-2 is nice, but I'm sure Eden Base'll suit us well too."
[19:48] <Sept> "Right. Let's begin. Go ahead and break, Raphael."
[19:55] <Raphael> "Right." Raphael gets into position, leaning out over the table for a moment before making a nice, clean break, one solid rolling into the middle pocket. His follow-up doesn't show as much luck, though.
[19:56] <Sept> "Mmh. Don't worry, I'm -really- no better than anyone else at this. I just learned that one shot." Sera positioned himself… and cleanly pocketed a well-positioned stripe, leaving the cue ball in a good spot to make a second one follow. Sera nodded and hummed, satisfied.
[20:03] * Raphael smirks at Sept, but shoots a glance at Adrian on his way to the next shot. "You know, I've flown as protection for a couple of convoys on the way to Eden Base. The region is something of a mess at the moment, but from what I saw of the staff there they have good people. Friendly too, but it's hard to say how much of that is just their remoteness." He strikes the cue ball again, but
[20:03] * Raphael it does nothing but scatter a clump of billiards towards the centre of the table.-
[20:03] <Raphael> "I think the alcohol is catching up with me," he mutters.
[20:04] <Adrian‘Bellamy> "Glad to hear it." Says Adrian with a grin.
[20:04] * Adrian`Bellamy doesn’t clarify what, exactly, he is responding to with that line.
[20:04] <Sept> "Haha, or age." Sept takes his turn… missing, as well. "Or the alcohol."
[20:07] <Adrian‘Bellamy> "Ouch."
[20:09] * Raphael gives Sept a flat stare, but he’s smiling again by the time he heads to the table. He takes a bit more time this go around, staring down the length of the cue before sinking drawing back. He sinks one… then another… then a third before finally making a mistake. "Just for you whippersnappers."
[20:14] * Sept would find the cue ball blocked off quite effectively, and it was all he could do to get it to touch a stripe, let alone sinking one.
[20:14] <Sept> "I apologise most deeply, mister."
[20:19] * Raphael laughs, but in the end he doesn't do much better. One of the solids comes close to the pocket, but doesn't have quite enough force behind it to make it all the way. "Forgiven, de Pteres."

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