He Said What Would Batman Do

(12:40:59) Sept: [It was a quiet day at the Geofront. It seemed like a lot of the staff had gone missing - some type of excursion, maybe? Staff-only Fun? Sera counted on the all-seeing vigil of cameras and bugs never resting for Fun, and thus hoped to find Jeanne Simon in her office. There was a knock on the door of the Eyes of God.]
(12:42:08) Jeanne‘Simon: "Come in!"
(12:46:32) * Sept did. He was carrying a small bag that he set down beside his chair as he sat down. "Hello, Jeanne," he said in a patient, idle tone while eyeing the office again. There wouldn’t be much to see, of course, as this was hardly his first time visiting, but it was one of those things that he did.
(12:49:39) * Jeanne‘Simon had her legs up on the desk, a comic book firmly open, resting on her chest. She didn’t even bother to shift it. "Oh, hey, Sera. I was wondering when you'd swing by to visit little old me again." She peered over the book.
(13:00:08) Sept: "Hi. I had to return these, didn't I?" Sera lifted the bag slightly. Considering the context, it might be appropriate to conclude that a decent library of comics might fit in. "Did you… how was everything here while we were away?"
(13:02:18) Jeanne‘Simon: "Pretty quiet. Christmastime is always usually pretty quiet. Thanks! Did you enjoy them?"
(13:06:50) Sept: He took eye contact with Simon, now. "I did! I had some questions, but before that… I wanted to talk about what happened in Tokyo. I was wondering how much you knew of what happened. How much of the sharing was up to…" Gendo. "them," Sera concluded.
(13:10:05) Jeanne`Simon: "I know everything S2 in Tokyo-2 does." Said Jeanne. "We share pretty freely between the departments, and besides if they didn’t I could just pull rank."
(13:11:39) Sept: "Ah." He nodded. "No progress with the shooter, I guess?"
(13:14:05) Jeanne‘Simon: "Unfortunately not. I have a suspicion that it was an inside job, but nothing to back it up. Same with the sabotage attempt on EVA-04…" A sigh.
(13:16:30) Sept: "The bomb, yeah… Could you tell me more about it? I didn’t hear any details yet."
(13:18:09) Jeanne‘Simon: "Well. It was implanted into EVA-04’s left leg, just under the kneecap, buried halfway into the flesh, just under the armour sheath. The payload itself was a standard military high explosive with enough force to pulverise a bunker."
(13:25:18) Sept: "Mmh…" A worried face. "And you have no idea how it could've gotten there and who would've been involved?"
(13:27:26) Jeanne‘Simon: "Of course I have an idea." Said Jeanne. "The easiest place to do it would be in the Evangelion cages- or when the leg was being produced itself. So that narrows it down to China’s technical division, or our own, specifically our engineering and maintenance staff."
(13:29:05) Sept: "Right." And that's still way too long a list. He nodded. "Is there anything I can do to help?"
(14:18:54) Jeanne‘Simon: "Well… Not much, I’m afraid. Unless you have some sort of insight as to a suspect."
(14:57:16) Sept: "No… I don't know anything about her past, either, assuming this is even related to her directly. And considering that, it doesn't seem fair to consider the two incidents related with so little information, anyway. It'd be good if we could just narrow it down to either branch…"
(15:06:12) Jeanne‘Simon: "I’d agree. However…" She frowned slightly. "There are odd similarities between both cases that may be coincidence, but nevertheless may also be indicators of both incidents being caused by the same perpetrator."
(15:09:13) Sept: "Similarities? Beyond targeting something close to her..?"
(15:16:49) Jeanne‘Simon: "I’d hardly say 04 and Zhang are -close-, but that's right. Both of them tried very hard to avoid killing the Zhang herself. Both seemed to, whether by chance or luck, target her during periods where the emotional blow would be maximised, both seemed to heavily indicate inside work, and both could be explained by the same motivations."
(15:18:40) Sept: A slow nod. "Also. I'd like to know what happened to the other… Reis."
[16:00] <Jeanne‘Simon> "Well…" Jeanne folded her arms. "They’re in the last minute customisation and correction phase, then they'll be assigned to their various branches."
[16:06] * Sept sighed. "Already..? I thought we'd have more time. Weren't they supposed to see how Rei did first?"
[16:07] <Jeanne‘Simon> "They’re pretty confident in her abilities."
[16:10] <Sept> "I noticed… How many of them do you think Tsubaki could take on?"
[16:10] * Jeanne‘Simon looked up at the roof.-
[16:10] <Jeanne`Simon> "… Half of one, maybe? I dunno, she lost to Aline Blanc last year."
[16:13] * Sept frowned. "That was just Aline’s luck. I've sparred with Tsubaki. She hits much harder than that."
[16:18] <Jeanne‘Simon> "And you -also- beat Tsubaki." Said Jeanne. "And REI beat you. Food chain!"
[16:24] <Sept> "No! She -didn’t- 'beat' me, that's stupid! I was tired from, from trying to calm down Aline -without hurting her-, not to mention the rest of the situation!"
[16:25] <Jeanne‘Simon> "Yeah, it was your physical state that caused your ribs to break." Said Jeanne, smirking a little. "Surely the flying kick was merely incidental."
[16:30] * Sept was not amused. "I’ve taken much more than that, and could take more. You've seen the tapes, you know I have. Stop fucking around and claiming me fighting one of her while she assaults me from elsewhere makes her better than me. She's a simple Ikari toy who I could never trust with anything in a fight."
[16:31] <Jeanne‘Simon> "Well, ok. She’s better than you because she's superior in every way, genetically, mentally, tactically? How about that?"
[16:36] <Sept> "So your expert opinion is we should just say 'fuck it', give the EVAs Angel souls and Angel pilots and hope for the best? Hell, what do we even need the EVA for? Would you like me to save us both the time and just go back to stealing bread to eat until either one of those sides wins and fucks up our world?"
[16:38] * Jeanne‘Simon was still leaning back in her chair. She didn’t seem much ruffled.-
[16:39] <Jeanne‘Simon> "My expert opinion is that it isn’t my problem, actually, and that they're pilots, and my job is to keep them safe from external threats. I haven't questioned NERV's methods before, why would I start now? I'm not the one with 'Doctor' in front of my name. And I don't claim to be, either. I know my place, and I know what I'm good at."
[16:42] <Sept> "External threats? What about internal? If the Ikaris are allowed to plant soldiers answering exclusively to them in practically every other branch, someone taking pot shots at Isaiah will be the least of our problems!"
[16:43] * Jeanne‘Simon reached over behind her, the chair balancing on two legs.-
[16:43] <Jeanne`Simon> She grabbed a folder out from its cabinet, and opened it up. She read.-
[16:46] <Jeanne`Simon> "Ikari Gendo, born 29th of April, 1967 in Tokyo, Japan. Occupation: Director of NERV Japan. Previous Occupation: Metaphysical Biologist, assigned to Projects A, E under GEHIRN. Affiliation: NERV." She glanced up at Sept, closed the folder. Reached behind her and grabbed another.-
[16:48] <Jeanne`Simon> "Jeanne Simon, born… Classified, in Bordeaux, France. Occupation: Chief Director of NERV Security Division. Previous Occupation: Agent for the General Directorate of External Security. Affiliation: NERV." She closed the folder, placed it on top of the other.-
[16:49] <Jeanne`Simon> "The Ikaris are part of NERV. Have been since before I was. Back before it was NERV. Nothing I have suggests they’re disloyal. So note my occupation and my affiliation. To me, the Ikaris 'planting' soldiers answering 'exclusively' to them is not really a giant concern."
[16:57] * Sept looked like he was going to retort, but finally just rested his face in his hands. "Pilots should be able to think for themselves. I'm not convinced the Ikari clones have that. Rei Ayanami, maybe. But if you're going to do nothing…" He shook his head slowly and sighed in resignation.
[16:58] <Jeanne‘Simon> "Wow. You’re really bitter about getting your ass kicked, huh?"
[17:02] <Sept> "Hmph. You're just jealous because you don't have the will or integrity to doubt those who say they're your superiors just because they've been around longer."
[17:03] <Jeanne‘Simon> "Oh? Who should be my superior? You?" She peered over her knees at him. "I -dare- you to master me, buddy boy."
[17:07] <Sept> "No. That’s stupid. Can't we just be friends? I don't see what's so hard about that with people…"
[17:08] <Jeanne‘Simon> "Hahaha. Of course we can." Said Jeanne easily. She leaned forward and offered Sera her fist.
[17:11] * Sept bumped it, slightly reluctantly, still somewhat sour from the exchange.
[17:13] <Jeanne`Simon> "Hey. Wait until you hear what the alternative was. Ever heard of Dummy Plugs?"
[17:16] <Sept> "You still haven’t told me why we need an alternative to pilots, but… whatever, go on."
[17:17] <Jeanne‘Simon> "AI computers controlling Evangelions. That’s what a Dummy Plug is."
[17:18] <Sept> "Where do they get these ideas? That's even more stupid… Goddamnit, NERV."
[17:19] <Jeanne‘Simon> "It should be obvious." Said Jeanne. "Do you know how many people are opposed to the idea of having giant war machines piloted by children?"
[17:22] <Sept> "Those people are not pilots! And if NERV keeps pursuing ideas like that instead of helping us, the problem will probably just be resolved by itself when our equipment breaks down mid-fight."
[17:24] <Jeanne`Simon> "Hey, don’t look at me." Said Jeanne neutrally, shrugging. "I'm just saying, sensible people expect adult soldiers to fight wars. That's all."
[17:26] <Sept> "I'd say that's an external threat to our existence."
[17:28] <Jeanne‘Simon> "Well that’s not your job." Said Jeanne primly. "I mean, you really should talk to Dr Castillo or Clement on the intracacies, but let me put it to you like this. I'll flip it for you: You still haven't told me why we need child pilots."
[17:39] <Sept> "Because we aren't children, by practically any standard. Because we know what we've gotten into, and we've shown you we're up to it. And regarding the pilots for the newer units… What's the point of NeoSpartans, otherwise? They're here, and… you put us all in the same school so we could be friends, didn't you? We've shown you we can work together, and do it well. Why throw that away?"
[17:45] <Jeanne‘Simon> "Actually, you’re all underage." Said Jeanne. "You might be teenagers, but you're still -minors-, at least. And as for the NeoSpartans." She tapped her knees. "We put you in the same school to keep an eye on them. A significant portion of St. Louis's population are pilot-stock, so it's a good way to keep tabs on NERV's 'assets'. And hey, it's not my choice about who pilots who doesn't." She shrugged. "But the Committee isn't fond of the NeoSpartan program anymore. Too risky, too unpredictable, too dangerous with its lead programmer now being our sworn enemy. A mid-battle defection is bad news."
[17:51] * Sept shook his head neutrally. "Atticus was different, and Silas isn't going to come back. What are they going to do until they start using the Reis, then? Hire more complete strangers off the street? I think if we knew the pilot well, it'd offset any risk they might have because of their past. I think we've demonstrated that as well, just by the three of us."
[17:54] <Jeanne‘Simon> "Well, there are only two more units that’ll be produced before the MP-Pilots and their units are used. 07 already has its pilots and 08 is in the candidacy stage now."
[18:00] * Sept cocked his head. "'Pilots'?"
[18:01] <Jeanne‘Simon> "EVA-07 is a Dual Plug model. A one-off experimental model that uses two pilots at once."
[18:02] <Sept> "Mmh. And 08? Is there anything we can do about who they nominate or pick?"
[18:03] <Jeanne`Simon> "No. That’s entirely up to the Committee. They'll just go through the Marduk Report, collate it with Synch Tests for those who have Synch Tests and pick whomever. I know who the current candidate is though."
[18:10] <Sept> "You do? But 08 was one of the ones deployed further away, wasn't it?"
[18:11] <Jeanne‘Simon> "In Boston, yeah. Or it will be."
[18:12] <Sept> "I’m guessing the pilot's from there, as well?"
[18:13] <Jeanne‘Simon> "No."
[18:13] <Sept> "Where, then?"
[18:14] <Jeanne`Simon> "He’s from China. Actually, his father's French. His name's Isaiah Gabriel-Wei? You might know of him."
[18:19] <Sept> "…Isaiah." There was incredulity in his voice, but also a fair hint of ire. "They'd take -him- over everyone else?"
[18:20] <Jeanne‘Simon> "Why not? He has good test results, he’s already a NERV employee, and he's guaranteed to work well with nearly all the pilots."
[18:23] * Sept scoffed at the last part. "Hah. He's a liability. At least he'd be out of our way with that. Does Yanmei know?"
[18:24] <Jeanne‘Simon> "I don’t think so." She frowned a little. "Why is he a liability? He's no more a liability than you were."
[18:32] * Sept examined Jeanne's face for a while. "I'm worried about his relationship with Yanmei. But that's my problem, isn't it? He isn't an external threat to the pilots, after all."
[18:33] <Jeanne‘Simon> "No, he’s not." Said Jeanne. "And I haven't seen anything to suggest his relationship with Yanmei is anything but healthy." She tilted her head.-
[18:34] <Jeanne‘Simon> "If you’re jealous of him, you should just ask Yanmei out instead of bitching about her boy behind her back."
[18:39] * Sept laughed a little at that. "Right. There was… something else I came to ask you about."
[18:40] <Jeanne‘Simon> "Oh?"
[18:42] * Sept lifted the bag of COMICS and put it on Jeanne’s desk. "Yeah. Something far more serious."
[18:42] <Jeanne‘Simon> "… Oh?"
[19:10] * Sept -did- still sound serious, strangely enough. "You know that unfinished crossover arc where Bruce Wayne gets thrown into another dimension and has to join forces with Tony Stark to find his way back to his world?"
[19:12] * Jeanne`Simon tittered slightly distastefully. "Yeah."
[19:24] <Sept> "And it turns out they’re basically interdimensional brothers, changed only by their environments and have to face the weight of all they've done and take responsibility for the state of their worlds." Sera blinked. "I think I just realised why they didn't finish it. Anyway… the ending of the latest part, where the aliens invade and capture Tony just as everything's ready for the only
[19:24] <Sept> chance to use their portal generator. And Bruce has to decide if he'll stay and essentially take Tony's role or return home to his own people, who might not even accept him anymore if they knew who he was. But, since you know more about all of it than I do… What would Batman do, Jeanne?"
[19:28] <Jeanne‘Simon> "Take Tony back."
[19:31] <Sept> "Take him back..? Why?"
[19:34] <Jeanne`Simon> "From the aliens, I mean." Said Jeanne. "Batman belongs in Gotham, even if they won’t accept him- it's never stopped him before. And as much as he should try to protect Tony's world… He can't, because it's not -his- world to protect. He can't fill Tony's role, because he knows that he isn't Tony Stark. The only solution: Bring Tony back to Tony's world, and Batman returns to his."
[19:37] <Sept> "But he'd have to trust Tony to figure out another way for him to return."
[19:39] <Jeanne‘Simon> "He would. To him there isn’t any other choice: abandoning Tony is the wrong thing."
[19:41] <Sept> "I guess." Sera nodded. "Thanks. I would've hated not finding out what happened."

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