In The Office Of The Ice Queen

[19:33] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> [The Date: 17th of February, 2015. The Location: Paris-2.]
[19:40] * Sept was out running again after his first decent night’s sleep in days. He was recovering from the press conference, however slowly. An Angel attack? No problem. Being thrown into such a crowd without warning? Serious re-evaluation of lifestyle. He'd made sure to visit all of his favorite spots, but even though his footing was without error through all of his leaps and split-second
[19:40] * Sept shortcuts, he lacked some of the energy he usually had.-
[19:42] <Sept> On a normal day, he might have made an attempt to scale the wall to his (he still wasn't entirely comfortable with having a single static place of residence) balcony, but today he simply caved to social norms and used the stairs.
[19:44] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> [It would be, at this point, that Sept’s NERV Mobile Phone, wherever it was- the GM does not trust Sept not to leave it somewhere lying around- would start beeping.]
[19:52] * Sept instantly pressed against the wall of the corridor, holding his breath. It took a few more beeps to convince Sera of the possibility that it was his phone and not someone else's in the apartment. Carefully, he unlocked the door… and then threw it open and rolled inside. The possibility was now proven as fact. The boy went back to close the door, and then picked up the beeping
[19:52] * Sept nuisance.
[19:55] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> [Somewhere, a bunch of NERV agents watching remote feeds burst into laughter.-
[19:56] <Ginevre`Fontaine> [The phone’s beeping, nevertheless, told him he had One New Message.]
[19:57] * Sept checks the message.
[19:58] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> ["Come to my office. G. Fontaine"]
[20:13] * Sept headed out after a brief shower, and a change of clothes. His pace was quite leisurely this time.
[20:20] <Ginevre`Fontaine> [It’s a fairly long walk in sheer distance travelled, although a good deal of it is elevator. Sera has to head out to one of the service elevators operated by NERV- one of them is relatively close, luckily- and go on the long elevator-and-escalator trip to NERV HQ.-
[20:20] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> [Before long he’s standing in front of one of the elevators that will take him especially to the Commander's office.]
[20:23] * Sept calls the elevator and takes several steps back. Who knows what could be behind those doors.
[20:24] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> [The elevator opens. It’s empty, pristine and clean.]
[20:26] * Sept enters, orders elevator to take him to the office of the Commander.
[20:28] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> [Dumdum. Dumdum. The elevator rises at a steady pace. It rises for a -long- time.-
[20:30] <Ginevre`Fontaine> [Eventually, the doors open, revealing a -massive- … It can’t even be called an office. It's a room that you could fit a house into. Potentially, two houses. Most of it is empty and wide, with glass windows making up the walls. An office sits directly in the middle…-
[20:32] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> [But unlike what might be expected, there seem to be other desks or tables around, usually along the back walls near the elevator. A glowing set of arcane symbols sit on the roof - a collection of circles connected by lines- not something Sept recognised, probably. And in the middle sat the Commander herself, at her desk.-
[20:33] <Ginevre`Fontaine> "Good morning, Mr. de Pteres." Said Ginevre Fontaine, Commander of NERV, and the most powerful woman in the world. Her long dark brown hair was meticulously-combed back across her shoulders, and she wore the dark blue of a NERV officer’s uniform. "Do come in."
[20:42] <Sept> "Hello, Ginevre." The boy smiled, and entered, settling for standing more or less in the middle of the office, looking straight at the commander. Just staring, in silence.
[20:44] * Ginevre‘Fontaine stared back at that, before gesturing to a chair in front of her desk. "Will you sit down?"
[20:46] * Sept blinked, thinking. "Yes. Thank you."
[20:49] * Ginevre`Fontaine waited until Sept had sat down before continuing. "What would you like me to call you?"
[20:53] <Sept> "Sera, if you want to."
[20:56] * Ginevre`Fontaine nodded slightly. "Sera it is. You have already decided to call me Ginevre, it seems, so it looks like we’re on equal terms." She clasps her hands together. "Firstly, allow me to apologise. Forcing you to undertake the press conference was a cruel action on my part."
[21:00] <Sept> "I… well, thank you."
[21:03] * Ginevre‘Fontaine inclines her head. "I admit, you performed well enough. I don’t suppose you've read some of the articles about you in the newspapers?"
[21:09] <Sept> "About… me? No, I haven't."
[21:14] * Ginevre‘Fontaine reaches into her desk and pulls out a newspaper. She doesn’t break eye contact until the newspaper is sitting on her desk. Then, she finally looks down and reads. "'An eccentric young man who nevertheless presented a sort of goofy charm… Inseperable from the attractive young lady at his side, upon whom he apparently relied… His discomfort was plain to see-
[21:14] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> "’But didn't prevent him from giving the audience reasonable answers…'" She looked up, smiling slightly. "It is mostly benevolent. People seem to like you."
[21:20] <Sept> A silence. "Oh. That's… good?"
[21:23] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> "It is good. It shows me you can perform well, despite considerable pressure and intense personal aversion. Such traits are admirable, especially in an organisation such as NERV. There will be times where we have to do things we don’t want to do." She said softly. "So then. Let us discuss the Evangelion. According to the Captain, you essentially volunteered, yes?"
[21:29] <Sept> "Yes. I think… I explained the reasons in the conference. Yes. I did."
[21:34] * Ginevre‘Fontaine nods slowly, leaning forward. "It was a good explanation. But I’m curious- why did you seem so enamoured with the Evangelion? Even before joining, you could often visit it in its cage. Why?"
[21:40] <Sept> "I guess I just noticed there was something… special about h— it." Pause. "And besides… Freya wanted us to be friends, and uh. I didn't want to let her down."
[21:42] * Ginevre‘Fontaine quirks an eyebrow. "Him?"
[21:51] <Sept> Guess there was no way out of it. "…in the square, after the ceremonies. He looked at me."
[21:53] * Ginevre`Fontaine nods slowly. "The Evangelions have been known to move by themselves. It is… Rare, however. And discouraged, for certain reasons. But that’s what happens when you create living weapons, isn't it?"
[21:57] * Sept nods, even slower. He really wouldn't know if that was what happens. "Did you create them? The Evangelions?"
[22:01] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> "Yes. Not by myself, of course." She said, smiling. "But I have been with Project Eva since it was created. From its conception on a drawing board to it being piloted by you- and the others, of course…- I have been with it every step of the way. It has been a draining experience." She said quietly, as if admitting something shameful. "But necessary."
[22:12] <Sept> "Ah. I never knew my parents. It’s good to know he did…" Sera blushed, and looked down. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to imply… You know."
[22:20] * Ginevre‘Fontaine lets out a little laugh. It’s a gentle, warm sound. "An intriguing implication. But you shouldn't worry- I'm not offended. Dare I say, it's a tad flattering." She stood up. "I'm about to have some lunch- would you care to join me?"
[22:27] <Sept> "I wouldn't mind some lunch, no."
[22:30] * Ginevre‘Fontaine walks off… Off into one of the more shadowy parts of the office, which light up as she approaches- revealing a table with a pair of dishes on it. Before long she’s back, setting down a plate along with a fork for Sept- before sitting down and setting her own plate down. "Chicken curry on a bed of rice. I haven't cooked in a very long time, so forgive me if it ends up less than satisfying."
[22:40] * Sept waited in silence, idly examining the office, and began eating once the commander returned with the dishes. "It tastes good, Ginevre." He proclaimed, after a few mouthfuls.
[22:41] * Ginevre‘Fontaine smiles sweetly. "Yes, it always was an easy dish." She said warmly, sampling a bit of it herself before continuing.-
[22:41] <Ginevre`Fontaine> "So- how’re you finding piloting the Evangelion?"
[22:46] <Sept> "It's… new. Quick movements are still awkward. I'm not sure if I can fix that with training. Maybe the Evangelions are just too big."
[22:53] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> "It’s not a case of size, in this instance." Says Ginevre mildly. "It's certainly an issue you can handle with training. Once your synchronisation ratio increases, I feel it'll become much more natural. An Eva can do anything a human can- and more, of course." She said, taking a delicate mouthful of curry chicken.-
[22:54] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> "Have you experienced any oddities or noteworthy experiences during synchronisation, Sera?"
[22:59] <Sept> "Oddities? I remember hearing sounds, like voices, a few times, but… they always disappeared when I tried to look for them."
[23:00] * Ginevre`Fontaine tilted her head. "Voices?"
[23:05] <Sept> "Someone called it… interference? I think. It was starting to make me uneasy, but… there’s been less of it recently."
[23:06] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> "’Interference'…" An uneasy look spread across Ginevre's face for a split second. "I imagine it was mostly garbled nonsense, then?"
[23:12] <Sept> "I can't really say. I can never seem to remember exactly what they sounded like… Sorry."
[23:14] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> "Hm… Well, it’s not necessary, although I am curious. I suppose you could say it's my nature as…" She smiled. "As their mother."
[23:15] <Sept> "Oh. I'll tell you if I notice it again, then."
[23:16] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> "I would like that." She said, nodding her head slightly. … "How’re you feeling, Sera?"
[23:21] <Sept> "I'm doing alright, thank you."
[23:23] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> "Really? I wonder if you aren’t feeling awkward. I think I would be."
[23:25] <Sept> "I don't think I follow."
[23:28] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> "Sometimes, people can feel wrong-footed in situations like this. I rarely invite people into my office except for business, yet this has been a curiously informal meeting. Some people would find the informality challenging."
[23:37] <Sept> "Hmm. I guess I don’t really… think like normal people, do I."
[23:40] * Ginevre‘Fontaine chuckles, shrugging slightly. "It takes a particular kind of person to pilot an Eva, so that is, at least, right." She said, smiling. "So- you begin your first day of school tomorrow, yes? You must feel excited."
[23:49] <Sept> "Not quite the word…" he muttered, before concluding, a bit louder, with "It will be new."
[23:51] <Ginevre`Fontaine> "Ah, I see… Worried, then?"
[23:56] <Sept> "You know what happened at the conference. I don’t see how this is different."
[23:58] * Ginevre‘Fontaine shrugged, a little apologetically. "The school population has been reduced drastically in the wake of the Angel attack. Most of your classes shouldn’t have more than 10, 15 students at most. You saw more people than that on your way to my office, surely?"
[00:01] <Sept> "…a few at a time, and not all around me."
[00:02] * Ginevre‘Fontaine stares at Sera for a few more seconds, then sighs. "I am sorry, but you’ll simply have to get used to it. I really do not have a choice in this matter."
[00:11] <Sept> "I understand. I think. You don't need to convince me here."
[00:15] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> [A bit of time passes. With any hope, before long the plates are cleaned of their curry.-
[00:17] * Ginevre`Fontaine takes the plates back over to whence they came, before returning to her desk. "Well then. I think that all went rather well for a dish I haven’t cooked in a few years." She said with a small smile. "I won't keep you any longer, Sera. Hopefully my company wasn't too painful."
[00:24] <Sept> "It… was not. Thank you for the meal."
[00:25] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> "You’re welcome." She said, standing up. "Would you be opposed to this becoming a regular thing? I'm interested in your progress, after all."
[00:44] * Sept had moved to leave, but stopped at the question. Wasn't everything moving too fast? He'd been standing still all his life, and enjoying it. ..but if the meetings would help her understand the Evas..? "It's fine with me, Ginevre. Goodbye."
[00:45] <Ginevre`Fontaine> "Goodbye, Sera."

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