Henri S Date

[21:38] <AdEvaGM> ["Alright, try it at 85% now…"-
[21:40] <AdEvaGM> [The hum of energy, and the smell of ozone. Within the spacious Superheavy hangar, the Grendel stood, the unusual Positron weapon strapped to its back charging up.-
[21:41] <AdEvaGM> [Below, Julien's team watched behind a protective screen, their expressions of anticipatory apprehension hidden by their helmets.-
[21:41] <AdEvaGM> [A second later, with a cracking sound, the cannon fired, a cohesive, continual beam of energy striking into a massive ablative plate opposite the vehicle.-
[21:41] <AdEvaGM> [Five seconds passed. Then ten seconds.-
[21:42] <AdEvaGM> ["Cut it, cut it!" Shouted Julien. The beam cut off suddenly.-
[21:42] <AdEvaGM> ["How's the ablative plating?" He asked a nearby teammate.-
[21:42] <AdEvaGM> ["Hardly scratched."-
[21:42] <AdEvaGM> ["For fuck's sake." Julien whipped off his helmet. "Alright everyone, that's enough for now, let's take an hour's break."-
[21:43] <AdEvaGM> [It was a Saturday- a day off for most of the crew, except the scientists- who liked working- and Raphael Guillory, who had been asked to stay behind. Not to pilot the Grendel- they had a scientist to do that- but mostly to help out administratively. This time he'd been invited to watch the demonstration- although no one had yet been told what was going on.]
[21:52] * Raphael was standing by one of the monitors with his hands clasped behind his back, examining the readouts with mild interest. Both the power draw and heat output seemed… inefficient to say the least. However when he had mentioned as much to one of the Thruster scientists he'd been subjected to an exceptionally animated fifteen minute explanation of which he understood, at best, about
[21:52] * Raphael half of what was said. Lesson learned, he'd watched the rest of the experiments in relative silence.
[21:57] <AdEvaGM> ["I don't know how the hell Doctor Octopus expects me to get this to work within a week." Said Julien, looking positively grumpy as he headed over to Raphael's side. "You got time for lunch?"]
[22:03] <Raphael> "I don't think I've ever seen you upset while in the presence of capital-grade weapons and antimatter, Mr. Lafabre." Raphael says mildly, turning away from the readouts to raise an eyebrow at Julien.
[22:05] <AdEvaGM> ["My friend, think of it like this: when someone offers you a capital-grade antimatter cannon and promises you that it can create a dramatically bigger level of boomosity than any other weapon of its size, and its level of boomosity is actually lower than standard, you feel a little blue-balled."]
[22:21] <Raphael> "Mmm." Raphael murmurs, crossing his arms and fixing Julien with a curious look. "… I suppose I have time for lunch, if that's what you want. I assume there's something you needed me for anyway."
[22:28] <AdEvaGM> ["I just wanted to talk, really."-
[22:28] <AdEvaGM> [He tossed his helmet down on one of the tables and opened the door for Raphael. "The problem is entirely within the power and heat outputs."]
[22:31] * Raphael removes his own helmet and nods, his lip only twitching slightly. "… I see."
[22:33] <AdEvaGM> ["Here's the thing- the weapon's a scavenged prototype from the Dorian Lachapelle's stores- a work in progress. The idea is that the cannon can fire a beam with the strength of your average Positron Cannon, but sustain it indefinitely. With your average cannon, it can fire for about two, three seconds before it burns out its fuses." He turned to Raphel, his face animated.-
[22:36] <AdEvaGM> ["But the new cannon can barely do better. When built to specs, it can sustain a beam for about four, five seconds. What you saw today was a version we fucked around with. It's a success- kind of. As you can see, it -can- produce a sustained beam for longer than a few seconds. But the power is barely enough to scratch self-replicating ablative gel- but the actual power output rapidly outstrips a normal cannon. It'd be more efficient to just use a regular gun."]
[22:41] <Raphael> "But this… Doctor Octopus fellow wants you to fix that." Raphael says thoughtfully, leading the way towards the door.
[22:45] <AdEvaGM> ["Doctor Surov, yes. He wants a cannon that can be mounted on an Evangelion chassis, can uplink into an Evangelion power supply, hook into its firing computers… Within a week. And we haven't even worked out how to make the fuses work at full power…"]
[22:53] <Raphael> "Do you think it's possible to fix it?"
[23:00] <AdEvaGM> ["I think it's possible. Do I think it's possible in a week? We'll see."]
[23:10] <Raphael> "Fair." He nods. "Still, I trust you have all the expertise to achieve what's necessary."
[23:13] <AdEvaGM> ["Let's hope so." Door closed behind them.-
[23:13] <AdEvaGM> ["So how's things with you?"]
[23:21] <Raphael> "… Quieter than I'm used to." He says after a moment's thought. "With the Dreadnoughts gone and everything that's been happening in China… With everything that's happened since the creation of the Superheavy unit, it's strange to be left this far away from the main conflict."
[23:26] <AdEvaGM> ["Which do you prefer? To be in the action or not?"]
[23:43] * Raphael hesitates at that, looking down at the floor as they walk past a gaggle of technicians heading in the other direction. "The action is a means to an end. Doing something good, or, more often, simply necessary is what I look for. Still, I'm beginning to find ways to achieve that without a gun in my hands."
[23:45] <AdEvaGM> [Julien nodded enthusiastically. "Good, good. That's good."-
[23:58] <AdEvaGM> [They entered the lunch room- and into a commotion. The crews were being uncommonly roudy, and the source was all too obvious- Henri Duval was standing at a table, dressed in a waistcoat, white dress shirt, black pants- with a very fashionable hat. "I can't really tell you about her too much-"-
[23:58] <AdEvaGM> ["What's this?" Murmured Julien.]
[00:11] <Raphael> "Pardon me for a moment, Mr. Lafabre." Raphael says politely as he heads towards the thickest part of the crowd around Henri, largely unnoticed amid the jeering and laughter.-
[00:12] <Raphael> Or at least he was, until…-
[00:12] <Raphael> "Tell us about who, Sergeant Duval?" Raphael's voice is as benign and pleasant as the smile he's now wearing, which would likely be a lot less alarming had he not found appeared just inches behind Henri's shoulder.
[00:14] <AdEvaGM> ["Huh?" Henri turned around quite suddenly- and fumbling a little upon seeing who it is, his hat slipping from his head. He catches it- barely- and jams it onto his head. "I've a date tonight, sir!"]
[00:26] <Raphael> "And it seems the rest of the unit is as excited about it as you are." Raphael says sternly, although a hint of a smile is tugging at the corner of his lips as he glances around the lunch room.
[00:28] <AdEvaGM> ["We're just glad little Henri's growing up." Says one, which results in a gale of laughter.-
[00:29] <AdEvaGM> ["Yeah, this means there's still hope for Herriot."-
[00:29] <AdEvaGM> ["Don't get your hopes up." Retorts another- leading to another raucous fit of laughter.]
[00:40] <Raphael> "Yes, well… congratulations, Sergeant. It's nobody I know, I take it?"
[00:41] <AdEvaGM> ["I don't know, sir." Says Duval seriously. "I'm never sure when it comes to women and you-"-
[00:41] <AdEvaGM> [This, too, is met with hoots of laughter.]
[17:41] * Raphael 's smile widens with the laughter, although it doesn't quite make it up to his eyes. "Don't let the shock of finding a date make you forget your rank, Henri."
[17:42] <@AdEvaGM> [There's a low 'oooooooh' from the crowd at that, and Henri flushes red.-
[17:43] <@AdEvaGM> ["What's this rabble?!" Comes a harsh new voice that bypasses the ears and goes straight to boot camp. Leon Thomas is standing in the doorway, his face taut.]
[17:49] * Raphael stands up a little straighter, swiping the hat from Henri's head and turning on his heel in a single smooth movement. "Just some of the unit letting off steam, Vice Commander, sir. Nothing to worry about."
[17:49] <@AdEvaGM> ["Guillory! Give that goddamned hat back, you're wanted outside! Now!"]
[17:53] * Raphael coughs with as much composure as he can manage and hands the hat back, giving the assembled rabble a collective nod. "Good luck with your date, Sergeant. Do try to avoid repeating the Eloise Incident, hmm?" He says quietly, giving Henri a good natured grin before heading towards the door.
[17:54] <@AdEvaGM> [Henri colours a little more at that, and mumbles inaudibly as he places the hat back on his head.-
[17:56] <@AdEvaGM> ["Heh." Once the door is closed behind Raphael, Thomas becomes more relaxed, the drill sergeant persona quietly tucked away. "Good to keep 'em on their toes, don't want any garrison troops slacking up… Come along, Group Captain. There's a VTOL waiting outside- someone wants a word with you."]
[18:02] <Raphael> "… Of course, sir." Raphael says, not seeming particularly perturbed by the change in persona - after all, he'd had call to use it from time to time himself. They've turned three corners in the maze of corridors that made up the base before Raphael bothered to bring up the elephant in the room. "I take it that you can't be any more specifics about this someone, Vice Commander?"
[18:03] <@AdEvaGM> ["He wouldn't like it." Said Thomas dubiously.-
[18:03] <Raphael> «bothers*»
[18:04] <@AdEvaGM> [They exited the building, where, as Thomas had promised, a NERV VTOL sat in the courtyard, engine still purring in an idle state.-
[18:04] <@AdEvaGM> ["This is where we part, Group Captain."]
[18:11] * Raphael gives the VTOL a curious look and nods. "Understood. Thanks for fetching me, sir. I won't keep you longer than necessary." He says, saluting sharply.
[18:12] <@AdEvaGM> [The salute is returned. "Good man. Godspeed, Captain."]
[18:16] * Raphael turns towards the VTOL without looking back, and the air being forced from the engines is enough to ruffle his shape's dark hair back into its natural state of disarray as he pulls open the cabin door and climbs inside.
[18:18] <@AdEvaGM> [And the 'guest' is revealed, sitting on one of the seats, wearing his NERV uniform- jacket undone as always- glasses shining opaque in the sun.-
[18:19] <@AdEvaGM> [Gendo Ikari observes Raphael for a second, before raising a white mug- bearing the legend "#1 Dad" on its side- and sipping from it. He lowers it.-
[18:19] <@AdEvaGM> ["Sit down, Guillory."]
[18:27] * Raphael doesn't seem particularly surprised to see his visitor, but as he moves to sit his gaze seems to linger on the mug for a moment before he can stop it. Which was almost certainly the point. "Good day, Commander." He says mildly.
[18:29] <@AdEvaGM> [He gestures- barely- to a drinks cabinet built into a compartment. "Have a drink, Guillory."]
[18:35] <Raphael> A moment of silence ticks by as Raphael considers the mirrored lenses of Gendo's glasses, his own expression almost as unreadable as Ikari's as he reaches into the compartment to collect one of the individual bottles of spring water. "Very kind of you, sir."
[18:38] <@AdEvaGM> [The VTOL took off. The engine could barely be heard at all in Ikari's own VTOL.-
[18:38] <@AdEvaGM> ["Do you want me dead, Guillory?"]
[18:46] * Raphael blinks once. There's a low snapping sound as he twists the cap from the bottle and takes a sip, eyes focused on Gendo all the while. "… The death of a Regional Commander would destabilize the organization and threaten our ability to coordinate ourselves against the angels." Raphael says eventually.
[18:49] <@AdEvaGM> ["Even if he were a disloyal commander?"]
[18:52] <Raphael> "Not a question that applies to you, surely?" Raphael asks politely.
[18:52] <@AdEvaGM> [Gendo sips from his mug.-
[18:53] <@AdEvaGM> ["How much do you know of the Human Instrumentality Committee?"]
[18:59] <Raphael> "They're a selection committee for Eva pilots, at least outwardly. From what you've mentioned in the past they also had a role in the creation of the Ayanami sisters, which implies a stronger presence behind the scenes than the public is aware of." Another sip.
[19:01] <@AdEvaGM> ["
[19:01] <@AdEvaGM> <OH YEAH GO ME>
[19:02] <Raphael> «THE CURSE IS SPREADING»
[19:02] <@AdEvaGM> ["Correct. They are my superiors, the implement by which the UN controls NERV. They are also our enemies."]
[19:04] <Raphael> " A much longer silence at that as Raphael regards Gendo carefully, wariness showing through now. "And how is that, sir?"
[19:05] <@AdEvaGM> ["Before I continue, you must understand that nothing you hear will go beyond this vehicle. Apart from being extremely sensitive, your possession of this knowledge, should it become known to the Committee, will see you marked for death."]
[19:18] * Raphael takes another sip of water and glances out the window, playing for time as his mind races. "… I see. And I assume you have a good reason to trust me with the information."
[19:20] <@AdEvaGM> ["I believe you are uniquely placed to serve a role to our benefit."]
[19:23] <Raphael> "Mmm." Raphael looks back now, barely bothering to hide his dislike of the man across from him. "Well then, sir, consider me informed."
[19:29] <@AdEvaGM> ["Good."-
[19:31] <@AdEvaGM> ["I take it you are aware of NERV's predecessor organisation, GEHIRN. The two organisations form a triad with a third secret society known as SEELE. GEHIRN, NERV, SEELE- mind, body, soul. The mind formulates the plans, the body executes them, and the soul directs the other two."]
[19:38] * Raphael nods slowly and continues to listen, watching Gendo closely.
[19:41] <@AdEvaGM> ["SEELE was created shortly before the Second World War by the head of an influential family in Germany known as the Caines- Jeremiah Caine. He created the society, made of the wealthy and moderately powerful, out of a common desire to find artefacts, scriptures and other such things pertaining to ancient Judaic culture."]
[19:25] <Raphael> "Caine…" Raphael repeats, pieces fitting together slowly as he listens. He nods. "I see. So their history with the organization goes that deep."
[19:27] <AdEvaGM> ["Yes. It is accurate to state that they are that organisation."-
[19:27] <AdEvaGM> ["He was young at the time, not yet into his twenties."]
[19:29] <Raphael> Another nod as he continues to sip at the remains of his bottle of water.
[19:31] <AdEvaGM> ["The original mindset of the organisation is not known to me. I know that some were simply curious, others had a more devout reason, and others had yet more occult purposes for their actions. Caine's father was close to death at the time and believed that finding some ancient artefact- for example, the Ark of the Covenant- might save his life."]
[19:37] * Raphael frowns very slightly. "Mmm. And did he have any success? I assume he must have, if the organization survived all those years after the war."
[19:40] <AdEvaGM> ["He never found the Ark." Said Ikari, smirking. "No. The organisation underwent a change during the Second World War, especially after Jeremiah Senior died. Caine took it into the shadows to evade detection, but it also used its influential members to spread its membership- after the end of the War, it used that influence to fill in 'the gaps' in post-war Europe. A secret society, if you will."-
[19:41] <AdEvaGM> ["But no. Ultimately it did not have much success with its original purpose until the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947."]
[20:09] * Raphael gives Gendo a skeptical look, but considering the rest of the things he's seen in his time at NERV… "Well, I suppose that would go towards fulfilling their original purpose." He says noncommittally.
[20:15] <AdEvaGM> ["Yes. Although, the Dead Sea Scrolls released to the public are only the parts that Caine felt weren't important. That is because there was information found there far older than Judaism- or indeed, older than Earth-bound organic life. They found flawless tablets containing information- information about what would be known as the AT Field, information about an an ancient godlike species that dwelled amongst the stars, who created the progenitor of the human race. It's from those tablets that we gain all of our information on these things, including the Marduk Report."]
[20:18] * Raphael 's look of skepticism remains, but there's something darker there too. "They spoke about the angels?"
[20:21] <AdEvaGM> ["Indirectly. The tablets were, in essence, manuals for the Seeds. The tablets noted that if two Seeds of differing types were to land on the same planet, conflict would be inevitable. At the time, there was no proof that this had happened, but SEELE poured its resources into trying to find the progenitor of humanity."-
[20:24] <AdEvaGM> ["Caine, however, became fixated on a certain detail. He noted that before humanity was created, we were stored within what is now the Geofront- stored within our Seed as disembodied souls living inside a single gestalt consciousness. Whatever it was humanity had become, it was not what had been planned."]
[20:26] <Raphael> "…" Raphael's posture changes suddenly, eyes narrowed to slits. "The Eden experiments." He says flatly.
[20:29] <AdEvaGM> ["That is correct. It was a proof of concept, one that was ultimately proven. Jeremiah Caine is dead, but he had three children in the hopes that one would continue his legacy. Elisha and Azariah Caine refused him. But Mary Caine- his eldest- has not. She is the heir to Jeremiah both physically and philosophically, and she has inherited her father's grand goal: to create a world-wide gestalt consciousness, controlled directly by SEELE- human instrumentality."]
[20:31] * Raphael has gone very still. "And they are the hand that controls NERV?"
[20:34] <AdEvaGM> ["They are the hand that tries. Before he died, Elisha Caine charged Ginevre Fontaine and myself with the mission of thwarting their plans. I have spent a great deal of time playing the double agent- with my father-in-law a lesser member of SEELE, I was able to present myself as a loyal accomplice to their plans, wanting the same things they want, whilst undermining them at the same time."-
[20:34] <AdEvaGM> ["They've realised, however, ever since I became the supreme director of NERV, that I am no longer their pawn. So now I suspect they will try to kill me very soon, and replace me with one of their cronies."]
[20:42] * Raphael eyes seem fixed on Gendo's, the seconds ticking by in silence as he weighs the options and the costs that come with them, chewing on the inside of his lip. "What do you need me to do?" He asks eventually, his voice still quite calm.
[20:42] <AdEvaGM> ["Nothing, for now." Said Ikari. "Your role comes into effect after I am done away with."]
[20:47] <Raphael> "… You're certain?" He asks… and, even with their less-than-friendly history, there's the faint hint of concern underneath the calm.
[20:48] <AdEvaGM> ["I am. Don't worry." Gendo smiled. "I don't intend to actually die, just to give the appearance of doing so."]
[20:50] * Raphael watches Gendo for a moment longer before letting out a quiet bark of laughter. "Noted, sir."
[20:51] <AdEvaGM> [Gendo's smile does not fade.-
[20:55] <AdEvaGM> ["In any case, once I am replaced, I want you to present yourself to the replacement as someone they can use. Attempt to earn their confidence. At the same time, I will be relying on you to act as a tangible presence in places I myself cannot act. They will be quick to trust you, as you are ever the loyal soldier and there is no love lost between us- to this end, some sort of dramatic presentation- a public brawl, perhaps- might help." He says, almost to himself. "Pretend to be gullible. You have the peculiar ability to be a model soldier yet somehow dig up information far above your security clearance, so in that, you're something of an asset."]
[21:06] * Raphael 's cheek twitches. "I'm not sure what you mean, Commander." Raphael says calmly, capping the plastic bottle and sitting it back in the bar. "Understood, in any case. Do you have any idea of who they'd send to replace you?"
[21:08] <AdEvaGM> ["I do not, but if I know the sort of person Mary Caine relies on, then my suspicion is that they will be competent, but lacking imagination, utterly subservient, and ultimately unlikeable."]
[21:33] * Raphael glances down at the floor, tapping gently on the wood panelling of an armrest. "… While my instinct is to believe you in this case, Commander, it hasn't escaped my notice that I only have your word on any of these matters."
[21:33] <AdEvaGM> ["My word, in a secure VTOL, is the only thing that is safe, Raphael."]
[21:40] <Raphael> "And I believe that, unless I'm ever shown evidence to the contrary." He says politely. "It seems that it's in the world's best interest to assist you, Ikari."
[21:42] <AdEvaGM> ["Indeed."-
[21:42] <AdEvaGM> [Gendo looks down at his wrist, where a watch sits. "That is all. Where should we drop you?"]
[21:50] * Raphael glances out the window, looking for local landmarks. The Seine is passing by below them, and sitting just ahead… "Ah. Somewhere over by Pont Royal, if you wouldn't mind, sir."
[21:53] <AdEvaGM> [He picks up a phone receiver by his side. "Take us down to Pont Royal," He says.-
[21:53] <AdEvaGM> [Within a few minutes they've settled down at the destination.]
[21:57] <Raphael> "If you hear any more I trust you'll find a way to pass on word. Any information I have ahead of time would be helpful." Raphael says, rolling his shoulders as he stands and shuffles towards the cabin door.
[21:58] <AdEvaGM> ["Mm."]
[21:59] * Raphael nods once, clambering out of the VTOL and turning to salute out of long-standing habit before finally closing the door between them.-
[22:01] <Raphael> He waits until the VTOL has retreated back into the sky before he moves again, watching it thoughtfully with his hands in his pockets and a frown on his face before finally turning and making his way down the banks of the Seine.

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