In The Company Of A Family

[20:50] <Freya‘Solheim> [The 4th of April, 2015. As an Easter sun shines high in the sky above Paris-2, a particular building- a nondescript rooftop with a railing and a rooftop elevator, with a fire escape and ladder, sits innocuously amongst the throng of buildings. Upon this rooftop, however, a curious meeting will soon be held.]
[20:54] * Aline had to ask Sera about where exactly this place was, after earlier discussions on it… But she had arrived early, possibly before all of the others, possibly with Sera to guide her there, that’s not important. What -was- was that the girl came up with a big cooler full of food and beverages, wrapped in the canvas she intended to toss onto the roof proper… and with a heap of blankets
[20:54] * Aline to deal with the cold. It sort of looked… silly, to see her tromping out of the elevator with all of that! But it got things -done-. This was going to be serious business. Serious business cannot be done on empty stomachs!… That and she had openly told many of them that it was a special pilots-and-Freya-because-she's-like-Sept's-mom picnic, though implying that that -was- something of
[20:54] * Aline a cover.
[20:57] * Freya‘Solheim had gone with Aline to show her to this place. As Sept’s… Well, not mother, but -caretaker-, perhaps, she knew Sept's places just as well as he did. She even helped out with the picnic goods.
[20:59] * Aline was definitely glad for the help, and the setup was quick! Surely, it would soon be time for the others to arrive. …Aline did, though, fail to resist an urge, one that had her standing before the railing, hair loose in the wind, just -waiting- for the moment of this all starting.
[21:01] <Yanmei> It would not be long before the elevator doors opened with a chime, and Zhang Yanmei stepped out onto the roof with a flap of her coat and matching scarf. It was technically already spring, but the weather was cool enough to call for such accessories. "Huh. Earlier than expected?" She blinked at the blankets and the spread, and shooting away a curious pidgeon, drifted closer to them. "No eating until everyone arrives, I suppose."
[21:02] <Sept> "Right, so you support yourself on the rails-" *rattle* "-jump up to the lamp, and hoist-" *clang* "-yourself on the window, and then you can just reach the edge!" A hand, and soon after another, emerged from below and took hold of the railing… opposite the side of the fire escape that Freya and Aline had used. Soon enough, Sera had cleared the railing and was standing safely on the
[21:02] <Sept> roof. "Hello, Freya. Hello, Aline." He leaned back over the rail and yelled down. "See, Asuka? Now you try!"
[21:03] * Aline staaaared down. "…Seeeeeept, why are you ruining my dramatic poooooose."
[21:06] <Sept> "Oh. I'm sorry, Aline." He looked for the aforementioned pose for a few moments, looking confused, before returning his attention to his companion below.
[21:07] * Aline shrugged her shoulders. "Oh, ah… well, hi, anyway. It was nothing. I wanted to be able to do…" And she turned around with a whip of her hair, to greet Yanmei. "This. Hello, Yanmei. I've been w-a-i-t-i-n-g."
[21:08] <Freya‘Solheim> ["What kind of joke is this, Fifth Child!?" Came the unmistakeable cry of a certain ’energetic' German pilot. "Hut!" The sound of rattling. "Huuut!" A clang! "Huuuuuut!" A few moments later, a hand appeared on that very same rails- followed by another, and then finally the red-haired head of Asuka Langley-Soryu, who did, wisely, have her hair tied back just for this. A few moments later she jumps over the side-
[21:09] <Freya‘Solheim> [Ripping off her scrunchie and letting her hair blow just as dramatically as Aline. "Too easy, too easy, Fifth Ch-" Her closed eyes snap open again as she eyes Aline. How dare she steal Asuka’s pose.]
[21:10] * Aline …hid the smirk. "Ah, I guess we're all being a bit dramatic… hm. Where's Tsubaki-chan?"
[21:12] * Yanmei snickered, and gave a light applause, settling down one one of the blankets. "Drama all around. Too bad we're not being filmed? Get away, you horrible thing!" The last cry was designated for the pigeon, who was fluttering just close enough to spoil the -mature and sophisticated- ambiance she was setting up by calmly sitting there amid the posturing.
[21:12] <Freya‘Solheim> "Well, I showed her where to go… She should be here pretty soon! Sept~"
[21:14] <Sept> "Not many people could do that right away, Asuka." Smiile. And then a turn toward Freya. "Hmm?"
[21:14] * Aline wagged her finger. "Ah, but decreasing the chance of being filmed is the entire point of doing it here. Because as I hope my vague innuendo in the invitations implied, there is much, much more seriousness to this than just a picnic on one of the…" She glanced down at the rooftop. "…traditionally hideous standard buildings of Paris-2."
[21:15] <Freya`Solheim> "We’re gonna have a picnic! I brought -buttered croissants-~"-
[21:16] <Freya‘Solheim> [The elevator doors slowly opened. A white-haired girl stood in the gloomy interior, looking as though she had genuinely forgotten why she had even come here. After a moment, she stepped out. "Hello…" She said in flat English.]
[21:16] * Sept nodded gravely. "Croissants are serious business." "Oh. Hello, Tsubaki."
[21:17] * Aline waved~ "Ah, hi! …And by the by." She nodded curtly, not as an affirmative, but as an ’important statement, but cheerily so' signal. "Ground rule 1, we speak in English from here on out, since it's the one language we all share universally."
[21:18] <Yanmei> "Welcome," Yanmei's brilliant smile flourished - and then switched to English. "Very well. It will be good practice?"
[21:20] <Sept> "Yes, that's a good idea. So, what are our plans?"
[21:20] <Freya‘Solheim> [Asuka put her hands on her hips, quietly smirking as the little people recognised their superior. Of course, such recognition was quickly starting to bleed away now that other things were happening. She stepped forward, peering down at the picnic. "Do we need the Fourth Child here? She’s… Eh…" she waved her hand idly. "Sort of a little broken."]
[21:21] <Freya‘Solheim> [Said Fourth Child was now, padding out of the elevator and staring around as people said their welcomes, to which she hardly seemed to acknowledge. She instead walked over to Sept, slowly waving her hands together. "Brother~"]
[21:21] * Aline shook her head. "Actually, she’s necessary. You may not realize it, but… this world is conspiring to break us, or at least it looks like it. She just got a head start."
[21:22] <Sept> Break us..? "Do you… mean the conference and stuff, Aline?"
[21:23] <Aline> "No. It's more complicated than that. I want to let everyone get settled first, but… There's lots going on. Much of it we are explicitly not being told."
[21:23] <Freya‘Solheim> "Oh dear." Said Freya conversationally, sitting down next to Yanmei. "This is going to be a memorable meeting, isn’t it?" She said as an aside to the pilot.
[21:25] * Yanmei kept up a pleasant smile throughout all of this. "I'd assume so? No wonder she picked an out of the way location like this one. We would probably draw a lot of stares, otherwise."
[21:26] * Sept just listened intently.
[21:26] <Freya‘Solheim> [Asuka quirked an eyebrow at Aline, before deciding to settle down. She eyed the picnic spread with interest, because food is a universal language.]
[21:27] * Aline took a deep breath, and spoke like she was on the podium. "We should all speak truthfully, even if we don’t understand it at first-" her eyes glanced at Tsubaki, "-even if it brings up terrible wounds-" to Yanmei, "-even if we think it'd make us weak to admit-" Asuka, "-even if we've gone ahead without knowing the extent of what happens around us-" Sept, "…And even if we're
[21:27] * Aline terrified to even speak about it." the last glance, down to herself. <c>
[21:29] * Aline frowned, at first… but then got her breath back again. "The first question is this. Have any of you noticed how your Eva unit acts while synchronized? For example, 00 is calm, collected, and has a certain air about its personality - one that leads to the conclusion I'm heading towards by asking this."
[21:31] <Sept> "Uh. Mmh." Sera stared at his feet. "Yeah, I… don't really know, but I think I might…"
[21:32] * Yanmei tilted an ear toward the rest of the guests, trying to look laid-back about it. It couldn't just be the three of them, could it? "I've certainly noticed. It's very hard not to."
[21:32] * Aline nodded, so far. "Right, right. I'll wait for the full answer, but it ties into this fact."
[21:34] <Freya‘Solheim> ["How it acts…?" Asuka folded her arms. "It does what I tell it to do- it doesn’t act on its own." She looked over at Yanmei for a moment. "That's a berserk."]
[21:34] * Aline wagged her finger. "Okay, maybe I said it wrong. What about what it… says? Feels?"
[21:35] <Yanmei> "You're simplifying things, Miss Langley-Soryu." Yanmei smiled back at her. "Or perhaps simply being less observant than the rest of us?"
[21:37] <Sept> "I thought it was just… voices at first, but. When we fight, it's… it feels annoyed. Angry." Still staring at his feet.
[21:37] <Freya‘Solheim> ["Or, keeping things straight and easy." Said Asuka, who nevertheless closed her eyes and thought. "It feels… Like me? It doesn’t feel like anything else. It just feels like me."]
[21:38] <Freya‘Solheim> [Tsubaki was quiet, having sat down. She was staring at a nearby container with a blue lid.]
[21:40] * Aline tilted her head… "Well, interesting, that will change how the theory works. Though… Tsubaki-chan! Haven’t you felt anything from 03? Please, this is sort of important, even if you don't want to talk at all right away." But… a sigh. "Either way, the thing is this - Even unit 00, which I will remind you has not actually berserked at any time, exhibits a personality. 04 does,
[21:40] * Aline even when not berserk. And it appears 01 does as well. Normally, I might have dismissed this as something that was ironed out during the testing phases, if I didn't have other information…" Intentional pause.
[21:41] <Freya‘Solheim> ["Love." Said Tsubaki quietly. A light pink came to her pale cheeks.]
[21:41] <Aline> "Namely. Dr. Ikari Yui, one of the scientists who worked at GEHIRN to build the Evangelions, confirmed that they all have personalities, based on unknown donor people. I am already suspecting that 00 inherits its personality from someone responsible for designing Paris-2 and its Geofront. All the others likely have personalities related to the founders of GEHIRN, which became NERV as we
[21:41] <Aline> know it today."
[21:42] * Aline blinked, suddenly. "…Thank you. That… that’s also just as interesting."
[21:43] <Sept> "Personalities of people..? How is that possible?"
[21:44] <Aline> "From what I was told, similar technology to what created the MAGI computer. Though, more organic."
[21:44] <Freya‘Solheim> ["That’s no surprise." Said Asuka. "Everyone knows the MAGI's personality is based off Dr. Sophie Riel's." She turned to Yanmei. "Hey, you never said about what -yours- feels like."]
[21:46] <Yanmei> "How very astute of you to notice," she said pleasantly. "And do we have any idea whose personality was assigned to which Eva? This is… very curious?"
[21:48] * Aline frowned. "It's hardly a laughing matter, nor a taunting matter, about 04. But… Unfortunately no. Normally, this'd just be a curiosity and nothing more. But what bothers me is that even Yui kept it like a confidential thing - like she just knew that I was reaching to where the brass would not lead me. I can't quite figure out why it's a secret, but…" Now it was her turn to blush.
[21:48] * Aline "00 showed me memories. Of painting. Of having a child, though unfortunately whatever the child looked like was obscured. This proves it, but it makes me wonder, again, why we weren't told straight-up."
[21:49] <Freya‘Solheim> ["It’s obvious, though." Said Asuka, grinning.]
[21:50] * Aline shrugged her shoulders. "Is it? You yourself said you didn't feel any other personality but your own. Either 02 is an anomaly, or it isn't obvious. But, ah. I will hear your theory." …Her smile was surprisingly serene.
[21:50] <Yanmei> "I'm more concerned with why they would put such a feature in war machines to begin with? And… what's obvious?"
[21:53] <Freya‘Solheim> ["Well, it’s obvious as to why you weren't told straight up. You're all a security risk!" Said Asuka as if it were the most blatant thing in the world. "Three kids who probably haven't even been through basic training, who haven't been trained to resist interrogation, and travel every day to school and back… Tch tch." Asuka shook her head and grinned.-
[21:53] <Freya‘Solheim> ["It’s be far too easy to nab any of you and extract those secrets out."]
[21:54] * Aline grinned. "…Then why don't you know? You clearly acted unfamiliar with the idea when I began to hint at it…"
[22:01] <Freya‘Solheim> ["Also obvious." Said Asuka. "I don’t -need- to know. Soldiers do as they're told without elaboration- we don't need to know everything. Just our orders and how to do 'em."]
[22:03] * Aline thought. "So… either you don't need to know, or you can't be told. Seems rather convenient. Anyway, I started easy in part because I was unsure how much you would accept what I have to say, and how much Yanmei was willing to say." A loooong sigh. "A bit disappointed on both counts. Oh well. Because now, I push forward my other fact about the Eva units!" She stood up dramatically,
[22:03] * Aline this needed top drama points. "The Evangelion units… are part Angel."
[22:06] <Sept> "Part… Angel? What does that mean?" The question had been a relevant one for much of the conversation, and he looked to Freya and Aline in turn for an answer.
[22:07] * Yanmei stared, at this latest bit of news, her smile broken momentarily. "Of course. To beat a monster, you have to become a monster? Or… something like that. Of course," she said again.
[22:09] * Freya‘Solheim had been about to crack open a bottle of cola. She paused. In fact she seemed frozen in that tableau. "… How -much- Angel?"
[22:11] <Freya`Solheim> [Tsubaki looked up at Aline. She blinked slowly. "Part Angel? …" She bowed her head. "… Sensible. It’s the AT Fields. And the biology… They both have cores."]
[22:12] <Freya‘Solheim> ["Wait." Asuka frowned. "Part Angel? But the Angels have only recently been attacking. After the Evangelions have been built."]
[22:14] * Sept stared. He understood enough to be worried.
[22:14] * Aline smiled. "Thank you, Tsubaki. That’s actually part of why. The other part… Think. All of you have probably been told by your Operations Director that what the schools taught about Second Impact was false. Remember? Extraterrestrial being? Quick thinking? The only extraterrestrials we know of are… Yes, Angels. There was indeed one that came before the ones recently attacking. In
[22:14] * Aline Antarctica. Based on the physiology, I can guess that this Impact-causing Angel was used as the genetic source." She then peered over at Freya. "The living parts, it seems. They have minds… perhaps souls… of humans, though. And are coated in technology, like the armor and the power systems."
[22:19] <Freya‘Solheim> ["The Katsuragi Expedition." Said Tsubaki, suddenly.]
[22:20] * Aline noticed this, but said nothing yet. Were this more comedic, there’d be a '!' complete with little 'pwing!' sound involved.
[22:27] <Freya‘Solheim> [Asuka seemed to consider this. She nodded. "It makes sense that the biological parts would be Angel, then. It’s not like there's anything else like that on Earth, and genetics engineering isn't -that- capable yet with just human DNA."]
[22:28] <Aline> "Yeah. And while all humans exhibit AT fields, they're so weak in signal that it literally evaded scientific notice until Angelic biology could be latched onto."
[22:29] <Sept> "Humans with AT fields..?"
[22:29] <Freya‘Solheim> ["Eh? AT Fields?"]
[22:31] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei rolled her drink from hand to hand, processing.
[22:32] * Aline nodded a few times quickly. "Mmm-hm. Yui told me that it was required for us - maybe for all the universe - to keep stable and consistent. Like… like… some kind of law of metaphysics, that -defines- what’s real. That's why the Angels don't fall apart despite physics telling us something that huge made of flesh can't possibly stand. That's why we can do ludicrous things like
[22:32] * Aline block energy bolts with them or fire trees at things with telekinetic force. Because we are re-defining that aspect of the world."
[22:36] <Freya‘Solheim> [Tsubaki reached out, grabbing that blue container. She struggled with the lid for a moment, before cracking it open. Before long she was feasting on little ham sandwiches. "Angels have AT Fields." She pointed out. "Evas have AT Fields. Humans have AT Fields." She nibbled the sandwich. "Do sandwiches have AT Fields?"]
[22:36] <Freya`Solheim> ["That’s-" Asuka paused to absorb Tsubaki's comment, which she promptly discarded. "That's… Not very scientific at -all-."]
[22:36] * Sept continued seeking solace from the croissants, finding only some.
[22:37] * Tao has quit IRC (Quit: )
[22:40] * Aline frowns. "That's what I'd sort of think too, but… Again. Since when is anything we do as pilots, and I mean seriously do, that coherent in reality? Once you leave the military hardware, the training, the combat… It all starts to become rather nonsensical, no? Mentally-powered forcefields of ambiguous nature, telekinesis, super speed, flight in defiance of any means to do so,
[22:40] * Aline impossibly-sized creatures, seeing from the perspective of 40m-tall warmachines by wearing funny hairclips and sitting in goo… How much of this is scientific in the sense that anyone pre-Impact would recognize?" She shrugged, almost helplessly. "They even acknowledge how insane this is. The study of AT Fields, if you remember that trivia game, is metaphysical biology."
[22:42] <Freya‘Solheim> ["Metaphysical Biology also covers souls and all that sort of thing." Asuka let out a long-suffering sigh. "Second Impact really screwed stuff up if -this- counts as modern science… Even if it is true."]
[22:44] <Yanmei> "Regardless, this is a bit much to take in, Blanc." Yanme was very nearly frowning now, her eyes closed in thought. "And while I imagine it’s useful information… what are we supposed to do with it, exactly? We know what the Evas are, and what they can do. But it still doesn't change our roles in this fight very much?"
[22:44] <Freya‘Solheim> [Asuka smirked a little. The delicious sound of vindication.]
[22:46] <Yanmei> "Even if we’re piloting part-Angels, and even if it's dangerous, they'll still make us fight," she muttered, a little more quietly now. "That's just the way things are?"
[22:47] <Sept> "Yeah, I… I don't really know either. It's the only way we'll be able to keep everything safe… isn't it?"
[22:48] <Aline> "No, I suppose, at the beginning, it doesn't. But as I alluded to in that little speech about all of the reasons this might be hard for one or the other of us… I fear much. NERV had reason not to tell us this. And I think that the further down this path we go… the more we'll see why." But, a small, -very- small smile. "Nonetheless, I have a practical reason. For the very reasons that
[22:48] <Aline> Tsubaki seems to only sometimes pay attention to the world around her. For the very reasons 04 went berserk… We need to help one another. I am convinced that as things take their toll on us psychologically, we will need to make up for it. If we can -heal- the torments of those who feel them, we'll stand taller. To do this, we must know that the Evas are wracked by whatever alien impulses
[22:48] <Aline> the Angels feel. That they have personalities drawn from NERV's past, with their own wants, desires, and troubles. And that we are being led around with potentially false premises. I know I sound paranoid. I know it sounds like I'm wasting your time, but…"
[22:49] * Aline looked desperate, now. "Please. At least try to think of why all of this means anything to me. Why I think there's something more. Maybe you too will find something from it."
[22:54] <Sept> It clearly meant a lot to Aline… but Sera just didn't get it. It was 01 all over again. "Why does it always come to this..?" Sera examined his croissant.
[22:56] <Yanmei> "Please relax, Blanc." Yanmei's smile returned, and she placed her drink down at last, folding her hands in her lap. "NERV is…" She hesitated. Even if they were on a remote rooftop, there was still a chance of being heard, wasn't there? "Well. It's become apparent that there are some things that we can't comepletely rely on it for. This information is difficult to swallow, yes. But you've done some very good detective work, here."-
[22:57] <Yanmei> "It's just figuring out how to apply it in a practical sense. That is, if we're talking about making piloting a little more bearable for the five of us."
[22:59] <Aline> "…Yeah. I just thought knowing would help us keep our psyches together. I mean. Again. I can't even begin to imagine what it was like for you then. I'm just -waiting- for something terrible to happen to me. If we know why everything's happening…" There was that smile again, but it looked tired. "…We might know how to reach people. Like if we researched who 04 was, we might get it to
[22:59] <Aline> calm the hell down, for even just a second."
[23:01] * Yanmei smirked. "Ambitious goal, that."
[23:01] * Freya‘Solheim smiled a little. She passed Asuka a cup of cold cola. "I understand, Leenie. I think it’s a pretty reasonable goal- I mean, this is a pretty confronting situation. It's very mature to organise something like this to combat the potential effects!"
[23:03] * Aline staaarted to get her composure back. "Yeah! It's like some of us have been saying. We're pilots. We should be like family. After all…" She then winked at Asuka. "Aren't the best squads of soldiers referred to as brothers-in-arms? I mean, we're more like sisters-and-a-brother, but close enough!"
[23:03] <Sept> "Y…yeah, she's right. I mean, anything to help each other out, right?"
[23:04] <Freya‘Solheim> [Asuka took the cola unquestioningly. "Well, I guess if you’re afraid of that kind of thing happening…" Asuka smirked a little. "'Family'… Heh. Y'know, you'd have saved a lot of time if you just said 'I'm scared and I want your help' from the first, First Child." Said Asuka, knocking back that cola with the hand of an experienced cola guzzler.-
[23:05] <Freya‘Solheim> ["Don’t think I'm your 'sister' or anything yet, though, First Child. Brothers-in-arms are forged together like swords, not through… Picnics." That smirk widened. "But since you need someone mature to help you…"]
[23:08] * Aline thought of contesting that… but instead just smiled serenely. "Aye. And well… we haven't fought alongside one another yet, so I understand you saying that. But when the time comes… I will, no matter my origin, stand for the fires of the forge anyway."
[23:11] <Freya‘Solheim> [Tsubaki, who, to her credit, had been listening (whilst quietly chewing away and sandwiches) looked up at Aline. "Family…" She seemed to ponder this deeply.]
[23:11] <Sept> "Fires…" Bad memories. "Yeah. I’ll be ready for it too."
[23:14] <Yanmei> "Such warm and inspiring sentiments," Yanmei beamed. She glanced at the food, not feeling particularly hungry, but compelled to start on something anyway. "I suppose it's all for one and one for all, then?"
[23:14] <Aline> "Or something like that!" …Three Musketeers. Smooth. Literary points awarded.
[23:18] <Freya‘Solheim> ["So, are you gonna do this to the pilots of 05 and 06, too?" Asked Asuka with a smirk.]
[23:20] * Aline nodded. "Ah, so you heard about that too. Yes, if they’ll let me. You seem magnanimous enough to let me, so…" Grin~ "Yeah, I'd arrange it. We're the Pilots. Even if NERV gives us the EVAs, even if they keep the infrastructure running… it's -our- hands that the world is in. Only together will we guide it the right way." A pause. "…That probably sounds too idealistic. But I
[23:20] * Aline don't care, I'll believe it anyway!"
[23:21] <Yanmei> 05 and 06. Yanmei let her ears perk up a little, but said nothing. Very interesting…
[23:25] <Freya‘Solheim> ["Family…" Tsubaki murmured the word again. "You’re all going to meet mother?" She turned, tugging on Sept's sleeve.]
[23:26] <Aline> Now it was Aline's turn to perk up in curiosity. "…Who's mother…?"
[23:27] <Sept> "Hmm. I'd rather just take it as it comes, but… I'm sure your plan will work, Aline. I'll try and trust you on this." … "Heh. Maybe we will, Tsubaki."
[23:27] <Freya‘Solheim> ["My mother."]
[23:28] * Aline blushed. "Ohhhh… We might! In time." …She began to wonder what she meant. She had her suspicions…
[23:34] * Yanmei almost broke her smile again to sigh aloud. What a weird girl… "Parents, now? They… might not let us leave the country for circumstances like that? But I suppose anything’s possible?"
[23:35] <Freya‘Solheim> ["What about competitions?"]
[23:37] * Aline nodded. "…Possible. Or failing that, she could come here. Maybe, if the circumstances are right." Suspicion suspicion.
[23:38] <Yanmei> "France has been attacked twice now. As a result, we’re presumably on a higher level of alert than Germany and Japan are? In other words~ It's more important for the three of us to stay because we're needed here."
[23:38] <Freya‘Solheim> ["It would be awkward to bring Sangouki here." Said Tsubaki, peeling open a sandwich.]
[23:38] <Freya`Solheim> "Two attacks on Paris-2, no attacks elsewhere. That’s weird."
[23:39] * Aline blinked deeply at that. "San…gouki…" Think, Aline, think! "Yeah, it is. I don't know how much I can dig out, but I'm going to try to investigate that too. Given the nature of the Angels… it can't be as simple as the excuse we gave at the press conference."
[23:40] <Freya‘Solheim> ["Sangouki is the Japanese designation for EVA 03." Said Asuka.-
[23:40] <Freya`Solheim> ["… Wait…"]
[23:40] <Yanmei> "Certainly not," Yanmei agreed. "…"
[23:42] * Aline shook her fist. "I -knew it-. As soon as mother and love and… See? So…" She shook her head. "Tsubaki, does that mean your mother died once, and is now in the EVA?"
[23:46] * Sept gaspchoked on his croissant. It took a long time for him to recover physically, but the shock didn’t look like it'd be going away anytime soon.
[23:46] * Yanmei looks… uneasy at this. First 00 having memories of being a parent, and now this…
[23:47] <Freya‘Solheim> [Tsubaki nodded. "My mother is Akagi Naoki. There was an accident once. Then, when I synchronised with Sangouki…" She closed her eyes and shuddered a little. "I cannot explain it…"]
[23:48] * Aline slowly lowered her head. "Take your time. The words must be hard to find, especially in English…"
[23:50] <Freya`Solheim> ["This is weird…" Muttered Asuka.-
[23:52] <Freya`Solheim> [Tsubaki’s eyes opened again, but there was a wistful expression- and a little smile. "It is hard to explain. It is like, imagine a person thought of nothing but love of you? To make you happy and healthy and being cuddly and snuggly~" She accompanied this with the appropriate gestures. "And then… You know what synchronisation is like. Imagine if everything you felt were those thoughts, in your head, all the time."]
[23:54] * Aline was… now slack-jawed. "…I… and… 00 is just… distant, I…" And Aline tried to close her eyes and shrug off the shock. "I envy you."
[23:54] * Sept stares down again. He had -some- idea…
[23:56] * Yanmei kept her smile on like a mask. "It certainly does sound nice!"
[23:58] * Freya‘Solheim really doesn’t quite know what it's like to synchronise. "Maybe I'll find out what that's like some day." She said levelly.
[23:58] <Freya‘Solheim> [Asuka, on the other hand, shoots to her feet. "That’s- that's wrong." She snaps.]
[00:00] * Aline blinked, looking up… with concern. "What? Do you really mean to say that?…"
[00:01] <Yanmei> "What's wrong about it?" Yanmei took another sip of her drink, being unconcerned and cool, and nowhere near wanting to crush the can in her fist. Certainly not.
[00:01] <Freya‘Solheim> ["Have -any- of you been in love? You, First Child?" She looked at Aline for a moment, paused, then looked over at Sept. "Wh- nah, you’re too boring." She turns to Yanmei. "What about you, Third Child?"]
[00:02] * Sept stares, frowning… maybe even insulted?
[00:02] * Freya‘Solheim frowned. "I don’t think he's boring at all!"
[00:02] <Aline> "A mother's love is not the same as romance! What are you talking about?!" She stood up, now!
[00:02] <Freya‘Solheim> ["Shhhh! Answer the question!"]
[00:03] * Aline narrowed her eyes. Ploy failed. "…Yes."
[00:03] <Freya`Solheim> ["Right. And how does it make you feel?"]
[00:06] * Aline sounded like she was struggling against her misgivings - probably about where the control of the conversation went. "Satisfied. Giddy. Willing to do things and say things I normally don’t have the will to do or say in my daily life. Cheer and friendliness where before, it would not exist. You live in Germany, so you wouldn't know, but I have depression, I have to live about half of
[00:06] * Aline all my waking life in a constant heavy fog of apathy. This love… gives me something that makes that not even matter."
[00:07] <Freya‘Solheim> [Asuka nodded. She turned to Yanmei now, to see if she’d corroborate or not.]
[00:09] <Yanmei> "There are upsides and downsides to it. It's a complicated feeling, love is." Yanmei had narrowed her eyes a little, reminded of something… unpleasant. "You're giddy and euphoric? But also worried a lot. Afraid that something will disrupt that romance. And when it does…" The can creaked in her hand, just a little.
[00:10] <Freya‘Solheim> [Asuka nodded, satisfied. "Giddy and euphoric. Now, this -isn’t- romantic love, it's parental love, so that same sort of worry isn't there. But…" She turned to Aline now. "How much do you know about NeoSpartan training?"]
[00:12] * Aline seemed almost… surprised. Not like she thought it was impossible, but more that she didn't even consider it. But the question snapped her back into reality. "Only vague parts I've been told. That it was repurposed for Evangelion piloting afterr that became the goal… that it relies on harsh competition as a teaching method…" She paused. "…And that it is one of the few training
[00:12] * Aline programs in the modern era to boast a /casualty rate/."
[00:14] <Freya‘Solheim> [Asuka nodded. "Out of 13 soldiers, in my class, 9 survived." She didn’t mention that the soldiers were 8 at the time. "Tsubaki used to be depressed a lot. That's 'cause she was an orphan, like the others. She never had any parents. She never really had love."-
[00:15] <Freya‘Solheim> ["But she used to be -alive-, too. Not that broken doll over there." Her eyes narrowed. "What do -you- think happens when you hook a girl who’s never, ever experienced love up to a machine that synchronises directly with your brain? With the intensity only an Eva-to-human sensation can do."]
[00:16] <Sept> "But…" Sera thought twice, and lowered his head.
[00:17] <Freya‘Solheim> [Asuka turns to Sept. "What?"]
[00:17] * Aline shook her head. "…The problem is… none of us are alike, there."
[00:19] <Sept> "But what’s so wrong with wanting love… it's not fair for something bad to happen because of it…"
[00:22] <Freya‘Solheim> [Asuka folded her arms. "There’s nothing wrong with wanting love, Fifth Child. Just like there's nothing wrong with…" She considered an appropriate metaphor. "Wanting a glass of wine. But then you drink too much wine, you get drunk- then you have a hangover, and -then-…"]
[00:23] <Yanmei> "It's… about breaking under exposure to intense stimuli. It could have been any emotion," Yanmei tried to take over the explanation. "Too much of it when you're not flexible enough to handle it."
[00:25] <Sept> "I… see."
[00:25] * Aline nodded. "Yeah, that's what she means." She internally cringed at the mention of too much wine. "That… It will take months. I might fail. But making her live again is something I want to do. We by and large didn't choose the circumstances of our childhood. Some of us had it gentle. Some of us did not. But that's the past, this is the present…"
[00:30] <Freya‘Solheim> [Asuka looked over at Tsubaki. She was quietly reassembling that sandwich- she hadn’t even looked up once. With a sigh, Asuka turned back to Aline. "Good luck."]
[00:31] * Yanmei blinked at Aline. It seemed like she wanted to help -everyone- no matter how implausible it might be. "Now, now… anything is worth a shot at this point? How could it get much worse."
[00:32] * Aline frowned. "…Easily. But… no, no. I have to. I -must-."
[00:33] <Freya‘Solheim> [Asuka looked back over at Tsubaki with an expression of mingled disappointment and disgust. Abruptly, she sat back down again. "I’m hungry. What do we have here?"]
[00:33] * Sept seemed to get even more depressed at the mention of childhood. "Yeah, maybe we should just… focus on the picnic for now?"
[00:35] <Aline> "Probably." A handsweep revealed various little things. More sandwich fixings, a small battery-powered travel pan (really) with a small box of… pasta? Aline had brought that herself. Probably a leftover from an RPG Club meeting. And, of course, anything the others deigned to contribute (mostly, what Freya or Sept might have wanted.)
[00:42] <Freya‘Solheim> [Asuka busies herself with a plate of pasta.]
[00:44] * Aline on the other hand is probably eating something she wasn’t responsible for bringing. That's the fun of potluck, innit?
[00:46] <Sept> "I don't suppose there'd be any… chicken curry, would there?"
[00:46] * Yanmei took a sandwich for herself- and stared at Sept, apparently finding some meaning it that. She very nearly frowned again.
[00:47] <Freya‘Solheim> "Weeeell. Since chicken curry is so popular~" She beamed at Yanmei and Sept, "I did in fact grab a bit of it." She pushed two containers forward. "For you, Yanyan, and you too, Sept."
[00:47] * Aline was, by the by, revealed to be eating some
[00:48] <Aline> *kind of more fancy sandwich. Mysterious.
[00:48] <Yanmei> "Ah… thank you~" she rallied again, and helped herself. "For the record, what did you two think of Alexandre Fontaine? And the rest of our staff too? You’ve had to spend your time surrounded by them, so~"
[00:51] <Freya‘Solheim> [Asuka shrugged. "Alex is Alex. He’s gotten a bit grumpier now, but he's mostly like he used to be." She shrugged. "The others… Ehm. Dr. Riel is pretty reliable. I've spoken to her before. I didn't speak much with your doctor, though. But I did prove one thing from talking with the head of your security."]
[00:52] * Aline was rather curious, since things about Jeanne were things of interest to her. "…And what's that?"
[00:53] <Yanmei> "…what do you mean 'used to be'? You've met before?"
[00:54] <Freya‘Solheim> ["All Section 2 directors are creepy jerks." Said Asuka, shaking her head. "I don’t trust yours at all. She always feels like she knows something about me." She frowned for a minute, chewing on her pasta, before turning to Yanmei with an amused look. "Of course. Alexandre was the leader of my NeoSpartan class."]
[00:55] <Yanmei> *CHOKE* Cough cough. A nearby pigeon took off at the unpleasant sounds.
[00:55] <Sept> "Alexandre is… a friend." … "Oh, you were in the same… class?"
[00:55] * Aline was surprisingly unsurprised about the revelation about Jeanne. A bit more surprised at that. "…Someone like him. In… He… He doesn't carry himself… Gah." She was rather unsure what to say about that.
[00:59] <Freya‘Solheim> ["You ok there, Third Child?" Asked Asuka with a smirk. She turned to Sept. "Yup. Alex was the… ’Class President', if you want to use the class metaphor. But it's more accurate to call him a sergeant." She turned to Aline. "Doesn't carry himself?"]
[00:59] <Freya‘Solheim> ["Alex was going to pilot Yongouki." Said Tsubaki, nibbling on a sandwich. She tugged on Sept’s shirt again. "Did you bring milkshakes?"]
[01:01] <Sept> "Oh. No, I didn't, but..?" Sept looked hopefully to Freya, while continuing with his curry.
[01:02] <Freya‘Solheim> "Er…" Freya has the food version of the ’When Suddenly' power, but she's all out of fate points. She offers them both cold cola instead. "Sorry." She giggles a little.
[01:03] * Aline shook her head… "I mean he… well, doesn't seem to carry himself with the attitude that someone would, at least based on what I know of you."
[01:06] * Sept nodded. "It's alright, you've done enough." He offered Tsubaki a consolatory smile.
[01:07] <Freya‘Solheim> ["I’m Asuka Langley-Soryu before I'm a soldier. And I'm one of a kind." She says proudly, tossing her head. "Besides, some of us came out differently after the project. Some of us were conditioned to act more like civilians, especially after they started phasing the Project out." She grinned conspiratorially. "Some of them were even mentally programmed to forget any conscious memories of their training."]
[01:07] * Yanmei in the meantime has placed her container of curry down, and rather hard at that, some of it sloshing over the side. A wild spark of something flared up in her eye, but it settled back down again, as she found her composure. "Well," the note of disgust in her voice also faded, submerging beneath her usual pleasantries, "this has been a wonderful meal. We simply -must- do it again sometime."
[01:08] * Aline tilted her head, there. "…Well that doesn't sound ominous at all." But, a sigh. "Interesting that I haven't heard anything odd about my own unit. I'm… almost baffled why I'm considered First Child, why mine is the prototype."
[01:09] <Freya‘Solheim> "Hey, Yanyan- you’re gonna leave?" Asked Freya, frowning. "What's up?"
[01:11] <Yanmei> "There are some errands I need to take care of before tonight, that's all." She nodded to Freya. "Thank you very much for the food? It was delicious! And, thank you for arranging this too, Blanc."
[01:13] * Freya‘Solheim promptly stood up. "I’ll go with you! You can do it faster with me, I'm sure~"
[01:13] <Sept> "Yeah, it was fun. To have everyone here. Well, almost." Sera glanced toward a -certain square-.
[01:14] <Aline> "Ah… Yes. Errands." She waved her fingers, not quite making air-quotes, but almost looking like she was going to. "I've… ah… er, enh… …Nevermind."
[01:16] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei did her trick, in which she manages to look a touch scarier without shifting her smile as she gazed at Aline. To Freya, she shrugged. "If you're certain you want to leave early too? It hardly seems fair."
[01:18] <Freya‘Solheim> "It’s ok. I had a pretty big lunch."
[01:18] <Freya‘Solheim> [Asuka frowned as she looked at Yanmei, then over to Aline.]
[01:20] * Aline sighed. "…Whatever. I started this picnic, damned if I don’t get my fair share of the food!"
[01:22] <Yanmei> "All right. That's fine, then?" A nod to the group at large. "Sorry for this. Miss Langley-Soryu and Miss Akagi, I'll find out your departure plans and see you both off later. Or, at the very least, visit again so that we can say goodbye properly. Thank you all." She swiveled to go.
[01:23] <Sept> "Goodbye, Yanmei!" The curry is almost gone, and accordingly, Sept's mood is almost fully restored again.
[01:24] <Freya`Solheim> ["Seeya, Third Child." "Goodbye, Sister Violet~"]
[01:24] * Freya`Solheim waves to them. "Enjoy it, ok? I might be back sooner than you guys think, so-~" She turns and cheerfully heads after Yanmei.
[01:27] * Aline nodded, trying to calm back down.

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