In The Party Of Power

[19:25] <Dorian> [[SESSION 7: Neon Genesis Evangelion. Date: 6th of May, 2015. Episode Title: In the Party of Power.-
[19:28] <Dorian> [It's 8 PM in the city of Paris-2. A cold, but marvellously clear sky; above the urban jungle, the stars twinkle above bright and clear behind the fat, white full moon.-
[19:29] <Dorian> [Far below the celestial circus, a shiny black limousine smoothly glides upon its way toward NERV HQ, where several people are waiting- the famous heroes: the Pilots of Paris-2, and their partners for the evening.]
[19:34] * Yanmei dilligently checked her makeup. The theme for the evening was green: Emerald strapless ball gown with a satiny sheen, and matching heels. A white clutch purse was tucked under an arm, simple silver dangled from her ears and neck, and her hair fell to her shoulders in soft waves, the pigtails done away with for once.
[19:38] <Dorian> [Patrice was standing nearby Yanmei, with an expression that belongs to the man who knows he's out of place, yet is willing to make the most of it. His rather long black hair has been trimmed back and combed neatly for this, and he's looking remarkably presentable in a well-fitting tuxedo. He has shiny black dress shoes, as well.]
[19:45] * Sept fiddled with his suit. It wasn't right, it restricted his movement. What if he had to run? What if he had to -fight-? Sera was dressed in a plain-looking black tuxedo (he had had no ballroom-patterned camowear), and he kept eyeing the exit.
[19:49] * Aline stood more attentive at the road, rather than focused on maintaining her outfit… but such an outfit. The most obvious part was a silken mid-shade blue dress left open in the front, whose two halves (while contiguous on the back), were joined in the front only by a pair of crossing same-color ribbons that glided down the neckline, to tie off somewhere in the back (Sophie had to
[19:49] * Aline help her with that!). Underneath that, was a lighter violet dress, in fact -very- light, also silken. It was proper and modest, but it seemed a rather gentle garment comparatively. Aline wore small gold earrings, and kept her hair as it always was - wispy, long, and unrestrained. She seemed to have dispensed with a purse, though.
[19:53] <Dorian> [Viviane was eyeing Sept. She herself had come in a classy black dress with a collar sitting snugly around the neck, doing away with anything akin to decolletage. She supplemented the look with a pair of long, elbow-length white gloves that contrasted nicely with the dress. Sept's fidgeting, however, was starting to make -her- nervous as well.]
[19:57] * Sept cast glances toward Viviane every now and then, too, sometimes mixing in a barely recognizable attempt at an "it's gonna be OK" smile.
[19:57] <Dorian> ["I still love that dress, Allie." said Lillian cheerily, peering appreciatively at the ensemble. Her own ensemble, as it were, was rather less extravagant, staying with a strapless dark red dress that matched her hair rather well; which was worn down in a long, elaborate ponytail, today, as opposed to the usual dual pigtails. She did, in fact, have a black purse along.]
[19:58] * Aline nodded again. "Ah, ah, thank you~ I… well, It looked interesting. Had to piece it together a bit though… But, ah. Everyone's picked something appropriate to themselves."
[19:59] <Dorian> [Freya had gone in the wildly opposite direction. Indulging in the wonderful breakdown of tradition that 2I had imposed, she was wearing… A tuxedo. A men's tuxedo; and what a tux it was. A crisp, form-fitting white shirt, with a glossy black coat; her blonde hair kept short and cropped around her face. She had somehow acquired a cane.]
[20:00] <Yanmei> "Sorry for this." Yanmei closed her compact with a grin, turning to her guest. It was one of those unfortunate circumstances in which she had to bring along someone she didn't know all that well for the sake of bringing someone. "It'll probably be a pretty tame evening. Lots of standing around and talking? How're you feeling?"
[20:01] <Dorian> ["I'm alright!" Said Patrice, smiling at Yanmei to show he didn't mind. "I mean, a little nervous, but I should probably get used to this sort of thing… You look nice, by the way."
[20:01] <Dorian> ]
[20:04] * Dorian emerged now, from a nearby NERV exit. He looked -quite- impressive. In fact, this was the first time they'd probably seen him in his full dress uniform. It was smart and uniform black, with gold edging on the hems, and gold frogging on the front, where he also bore an impressive collection of medals, service bars and honours. The NERV ranking clasps shone in red outlines on his chest and shoulders. He dispensed-
[20:04] <Dorian> With his sunglasses. As he wheeled out, he looked around at the pilots. "You all feeling ok?" He asked, with a wry smile. He seemed a little preoccupied.
[20:05] <Aline> "Ah… Alright, alright mostly. A bit nervous, if nothing else."
[20:06] <Dorian> [The black limousine pulled up, as expected. They could enter when ready.]
[20:06] <Yanmei> "Thanks," she winked at Patrice. "You too. And speaking of nice… well done, Major."
[20:06] <Sept> "…" Memories of the press conference. Sept seemed hesitant, to say the least.
[20:07] <Dorian> ["Oh, is that the major? Your commander?" Asked Viviane to Sept.]
[20:11] <Sept> "Major..? But wasn't he a, nevermind. Yes, that's Dorian."
[20:12] <Aline> "Ah, yes, yes. I guess he got a promotion." A light smile, though punctuated by slight glances at the uniform. That /uniform/. "But yeah, Dorian Lachapelle, chief Operations Director for the three EVAs stationed in Paris-2!"
[20:12] <Dorian> ["So that's what he looks like?" Said Lillian wonderingly.]
[20:13] <Dorian> "Thanks, Yanmei." Said Dorian, nodding at her solemnly. "Alright. Should we get this over with?"
[20:15] * Aline tapped a finger. "…Well. He normally wears shades. And this is a dress uniform." The flat tone that she said 'dress uniform' with implied that she thought that a massive understatment. "But… yes, let's."
[20:15] <Yanmei> To the limo! Yanmei was in a bright enough mood. Or… perhaps bright compared to the nervousness floating around. It was clear that something was bugging Dorian, too. "C'mon, now. We can make this fun."
[20:18] <Dorian> ["Right!" Said Patrice, nodding enthusiastically. Trying to get into the spirit, he hopped over to the limousine and opened the door. "Madames and mademoiselles, please enter within~" "No one's married here, Patrice!" "Don't quibble, Lilly."]
[20:19] <Sept> Fidget fidget. "Fun. …yeah. I guess we'll be off then, Viviane?"
[20:20] <Dorian> ["Right!" Said Viviane. "Hey, just- just- we'll manage, Sera. Don't you worry. Hey, maybe there'll be an orchestra there!"]
[20:20] * Aline just entered the limo. Best not to load it down too much with circumstance.
[20:22] <Dorian> [Lillian would enter shortly after Aline, sitting next to her partner- followed by Freya, and Dorian, who was neatly slotted in at the back.]
[20:22] * Yanmei in the meantime, couldn't help but giggle a little at Patrice's antics. At least there were people here that he knew and could band together with if the night got too boring? Well… that was providing they couldn't make it interesting, in any case.
[20:26] <Sept> Sera's expression changed momentarily at the mention of an orchestra, but he just got on the limo wordlessly.
[20:28] <Dorian> ["Cheer up a little, Sept!" Said Freya cheerfully as she climbed in as well, followed by Viviane. And with that… They drove.-
[20:29] <Dorian> [It wasn't a particularly long drive. Dorian nevertheless spent most of it being dead silent, responding only when directly spoken to. Viviane was nervous, but it was quickly being converted into a nervous excitability that was making her bounce just a little; which is nothing compared to the fact that Patrice was now talking quite fast and Lillian was starting to -announce- instead of speak.-
[20:39] <Dorian> [Their destination; the Palais de l'Etoile, one of the most opulent and grandiose palaces of the city of Paris-2. A massive building in the style of French Baroque that sat in the centre of the city, near the President's residence, it was surrounded on all sides by long, green gardens, with fountains, hedges and flowers in every conceivable colour; the building itself was a multitude of storeys high-
[20:40] <Dorian> [With elaborate palatial balconies and exceptionally detailed walls, with statues and emblems carved into every supporting column and pillar. A military guard unit was on duty out the front, ushering the guests inside the cavernous, imperial building.]
[20:45] * Yanmei had been wrapped up in the conversations until then, only breaking briefly and discreetly to glance at less talkative members to see how they were doing. Now, however, she stopped and stared, the magnitude of the evening hitting her fully. This… really was where they were going to meet the president of the country, among other people. She had to regather her resolve, throwing her shoulders back a little.
[20:48] * Sept was intently watching their surroundings after his first overly careful peek revealed nothing particularly suspicious. "Is… this it?"
[20:49] * Aline wasn't really talking that much in the car, save a -little- to Lillian. Though… "Yeah, pretty sure it is." It -was- a nice building, that much was certain. But she knew what she didn't know was in store, there. And that knowledge of ignorance bothered her.
[20:49] <Dorian> ["This has to be." Said Viviane, her voice trilling with excitement.]
[20:51] <Dorian> ["Oh God. Oh God this is -real-." Said Patrice quickly. A giant grin was affixed to his face.]
[20:51] <Dorian> "Let's get going." Said Dorian quietly, pushing open the back door, letting down the ramp and rolling out.
[20:55] <Sept> "Yeah." Sept nodded to Freya and Viviane, and prepared to leave as well.
[20:56] <Yanmei> "Thats right," said Yanmei with a bit more enthusiasm, and was not long to follow, clinging tightly to her clutch. Right, then. Time to put on a show?
[20:57] * Aline headed inwards as well, moving with as much grace as she could muster. Heck, her top dress even flicked left and right sometimes~
[20:58] <Dorian> [Lillian seemed, for a moment, to hesitate as Aline moved, but she quickly bounded out, grabbing onto Aline's arm- before just as quickly letting go. "Ack, what's the protocol here…?"]
[20:59] * Aline shrugged helplessly. "I don't actually -know-. Just… stay… not-silly?" It was a rather defeated shrug.
[21:00] <Dorian> [Patrice shook his head a little in disbelief as he heard Lillian, smiling a little. As goofy as he could honestly be, he sort of knew this stuff- he held out his arm to Yanmei. "Best to enter well, yes?"]
[21:01] <Dorian> [Viviane and Freya headed out, Viviane surreptitiously taking a hold of Sept's left arm. Freya, on the other hand, was cheerfully tapping her cane on the marble pathway towards the door. "See, Sept? This place is so big and the crowd so thin, I bet you won't even feel like you're in public~"]
[21:02] <Dorian> ["S-stay not silly…?" Asked Lillian, confused by the less than helpful advice but honestly coming off as though the request itself were mystifying to the girl. She shook her head. "Right. Right! I can do that. Come on, Allie."]
[21:02] * Dorian was gliding along, quickly moving to the front of their little congregation at least.
[21:04] <Yanmei> "Oh, right! Sure." She took Patrice's arm, after a moment of surprise, and looked ahead. "If I see anyone I recognize, I'll introduce you, okay? But if things get too dull, don't be afraid to take off? Snag some wine, and duck out somewhere and watch the self-important people mill around from a distance or something."
[21:04] <Sept> "Yeah, I-I guess I can keep an eye on them…" Sera's hands were shaking ever so subtly.
[21:05] * Aline waved her hand a little as she moved forward. "Well, not -visibly-. A bit of, uh, levity is fine. Let's just not be loudish?… Or… I have no idea." She briefly eyed the Patrice-Yanmei setup, and with a shrug, grabbed Lillian's arm. "Whatever, let's go."
[21:05] <Dorian> ["Eep!" Lillian's arm was grabbed, and she fell into line.]
[21:05] * Yanmei eyed her right back, and shrugged herself.
[21:06] <Dorian> ["Hah. Sure, I can do that. Sounds like you've done this before." Said Patrice to Yanmei, quietly looking back as Yanmei did. He shot Lillian a little grin, which she returned.]
[21:09] <Dorian> [The path, of course, wasn't endless. And before long they're entering a wide, open plaza, lined with familiar statues of presidents and heroes… But, no self-respecting ball would happen outside in the chilly French… Early spring air. Instead, they'd be guided inside, into a lavish, wide room that seemed to almost glow, even without the lovely radiance of the chandelier that floated above.-
[21:10] <Dorian> [It was likely to be one of the largest rooms they'd ever been in, a good deal of it being dance floor that seemed to shine. Around the edges of the room were tables of food and drink, and at the moment was where people were congregating- people the pilots might very well recognise from the media.-
[21:11] <Dorian> [A small orchestral band were set up in the corner, playing a rather light and admittedly unusual song for people in their line of work: 'Fly Me To the Moon', as sung by a very pretty blonde lady in a blue dress.-
[21:12] <Dorian> [The room's scope and the fact that most of the people were along the walls made it feel quite empty indeed.]
[21:15] <Yanmei> "Hm? You'd think there would be at least a few more people dancing? Ah well." She tried to guide Patrice off to one of the tables, splitting off entirely from the rest of the group.
[21:15] * Aline …gaped at the sheer -size- of the room. "They certainly stopped at nothing when the original design of this thing was made." …and she totally didn't even notice Yanmei wandering off instantly.
[21:15] <Dorian> "They won't dance until the President formally opens the ball." Said Dorian whilst Yanmei broke off. The Major sat where he was, looking around for a familiar face.
[21:17] <Sept> "Right. So what do we, uh, until then?"
[21:17] <Dorian> "Mingle."
[21:19] <Dorian> [The table Yanmei guided her partner off to was rather lavishly spread with, as expected, a good deal of small, one-bite finger food- but very -good quality- finger food. At the same time, waiters and waitresses floated about with glasses of wine…]
[21:21] * Aline …blankstared at that.
[21:22] * Sept fiddled with his suit again, and looked for the most sparsely populated side of the room.
[21:22] <Yanmei> "Everyone's in a mood tonight," she muttered, perhaps a bit irritably, as she snagged a passing glass of wine. She didn't bother to sip it yet, but she could at least look cool holding it. "Even the Major. I apologise for that. I don't know what it is…"
[21:23] <Dorian> ["Oh, er, it's fine." Said Patrice, shooting her a grin. He took a glass as well. "What about you? Are you ok?"]
[21:26] <Yanmei> "Never better." Slight pause. "I'm glad you accepted the invitation, by the way. I never did get the chance to thank you for that?"
[21:28] <Dorian> Dorian idly brushed off the bottom of his uniform, before looking over at Aline and Lillian. "Would you like me to introduce you to someone?"
[21:28] * Aline looked at Lillian. "So uh. Give me uh… some tips here. How the hell do we mingle successfu-" …WHEN SUDDENLY. "Ah uh who could you possibly…?"
[21:29] <Dorian> [Viviane, of course, went off with Sept… As did Freya. "So- do you two want some drinks? I think you could probably do with a bit of wine, there, Septy."]
[21:30] <Dorian> ["Ohthankgod." Said Lillian, far too fast. "I have no idea what to do in this let's go with the good Major~~~"]
[21:31] <Sept> "Oh? Yeah, I guess. What'll you have, Viviane?"
[21:32] <Dorian> ["Oh, that's not a problem, Yanmei." Said Patrice with a grin. "I'm happy to keep you company if you ask me to big fancy outings~" He said, his grin widening. "Say- is that why you didn't bring Isaiah? I'm kinda guessing the little scamp wouldn't -flourish- in this sort of scenario…"]
[21:33] <Dorian> ["Oh, er. White." Said Viviane nervously. "That's ok, right?" "It'll be fine. I'll see you two soon~" And Freya faded away… Leaving the two alone. Metaphorically.]
[21:34] * Aline followed along, then! "Let's do that then! Though I will subject you to my terrible and nonspecific revenge if it's someone unsavory!"
[21:35] <Dorian> "I'll try." Said Dorian dryly. "Alright, you want someone savoury? Then… Ah, yes." He eyed someone in the crowd. "He's certainly vanilla enough… Let's go." Dorian wheeled off, followed along presumably by Lilly and Aline… Approaching a certain someone. "Atticus!"-
[21:36] <Sept> "I wonder if they'll be playing that kind of music all night…" Sera wondered aloud.
[21:38] <Yanmei> "Exactly. He's like de Pteres in that way. He wouldn't have fun, no matter what happened, so~" She snagged a finger sandwich with her other hand, peeking around to see who was there. "I think if you hadn't accepted, I would've just gone alone?"
[21:39] <Dorian> [The individual in question turned around. He was a handsome young man, wearing a very neat dress uniform- it was blue-grey, with gold braidings on the wrists and belt. A military cap was tucked under his arm; he looked to be quite young, easily under 20. "Oh, Major Lachapelle…!"-
[21:39] <Dorian> [He spoke with a slight British accent. "How're you doing?"-
[21:40] <Dorian> "Fine, fine." Dorian turned to the girls. "Aline, Lillian, this is Atticus Nelson. He's with Britain's air force, but he's NERV at heart."
[21:41] * Aline politely bowed her head. "Ah, hello, hello." She turned her glance briefly at Dorian, before looking back to Atticus. "At heart, eh?"
[21:41] <Dorian> ["I don't think so." Said Viviane to Sept. "See how some of the ones on strings aren't playing? I think we'll be getting a few more classical pieces later… Do you think they take requests?" She asked brightly.]
[21:42] <Dorian> ["Wise!" Said Patrice cheerfully, sipping his wine. "Y'know, you couldn't have gone alone. You never know what kind of crazies you get at these things. You'd be hit on by 40 year old men or something icky…"]
[21:45] <Dorian> ["That's right." Said Atticus, bowing. He had brown hair, rather long; with brown eyes and a pair of glasses. "I don't work for NERV now, but I was trained by them- I'm slated to become Britain's first Evangelion pilot, whenever we actually get one." He winked. "You must be the redoubtable Aline Blanc?"]
[21:45] <Dorian> ["Another Eva pilot…!" Murmured Lillian to herself, her eyes wide. "Oh, this is actually really cool!"]
[21:45] <Sept> "We… could find out? But maybe we should wait for Freya to come back first…"
[21:47] * Aline was taken a bit aback by that, but… then materialized a bit more of a reasonable appearance. "Ah! That could be interesting. I guess whenever they name a 05 or 06 0r 07 or -whatever-. Hope if you do get the job, it's a lucky number." …She couldn't do what she did to Evangeline. Not in public. Thoooough. "Ah, Lillian, he's just trained for it. Not to be rude, but you're not really
[21:47] * Aline a pilot until you have a unit of your own. Things… change a lot with the real thing."
[21:52] * Yanmei made a slight face. "You really think they would?" She skimmed the crowd, and then joking gestured to a figure. "That guy over there? The Mayor? He'd totally be the sort to hit on a highschool girl. It's the amicable old guy types that you have to look out for."
[21:53] <Dorian> ["Yeah, that's probably a good idea." Said Viviane… And then, they'd both realise that someone was speaking to them. A serious- no, -sombre- faced man with short black hair and keen eyes was talking to them. "Excuse me for interrupting. But are you Sera de Pteres?" He had quite the curious accent.]
[21:54] <Dorian> ["Oh, right!" Said Lillian, recovering quickly. "A pilot in potentia, then! That's a fair substitute."-
[21:55] <Sept> "Ehm." Shiftyeyes. All was still clear. "Yes, I'm Sera. You are..?"
[21:56] <Dorian> ["Quite." Said Atticus, smiling warmly. "Still, once the day comes, I very much will be a fully-fledged pilot, miss…?" "Durand. Lillian Durand." "Miss Durand. And I personally cannot wait."]
[21:57] <Dorian> [Patrice glanced over at Yanmei, then glanced over at the mayor in the distance. He grinned. "See, I was sort of joking. But… Yeah. You can really see him doing that, can't you? First it's all 'Well who is -thiiis- young lady' and then it's brandy in an office and…" Patrice shook his head theatrically. "Fifteen francs says he says that if he meets you?"]
[21:59] <Dorian> ["Ah, good." Said the man, nodding his head to Sera. He held out a hand. "Anwar Abd'Majid, Ambassador of Algeria to France. It's my honour to meet you."]
[21:59] <Yanmei> "A betting man, hm?" No surprise there, considering his brother. She grinned. "Why not? You're on."
[22:00] * Aline …smiled… and… nodded. "Ah… yeah. I suppose so. I guess when we hear about new EVA construction I'll have to talk with you a bit more." She chuckled, scratching the back of her head. At least she took a page from the de Pteres playbook and wore something she could easily move around in - by formal dress standards anyway. "All quiet on the western front, though, huh? I know
[22:00] * Aline Germany's pilot probably gets stir-crazy with how quiet it is there, at least. On a bad day, anyway. But you seem to be taking your… not-assignation with patience."
[22:01] <Dorian> ["Excellent." Said Patrice. This was going to be a lucrative night, he could tell.-
[22:02] <Dorian> [Meanwhile, Yanmei's ears would hear a certain voice in the background… "Ah… Of course. No no, mother couldn't come. She never comes. This? Ah, this is Edgar- Edgar Chevalier. I lost a bet, and so I have to drag this sorry busybody along…"]
[22:04] <Dorian> ["Ah, well." Atticus winked. "I'm kept busy. I'm currently working with the French Heavy Industries Unity Initiative on their special project!"]
[22:05] <Yanmei> Oh no. Oh noooo. She turned away from the voice hastily, hoping that Patrice hadn't heard it yet, and would be easily distracted, and that she herself was less recognizable from behind. "Hey, do you get along with your brother? I don't know him that well either, but you seem a lot alike?"
[22:05] <Sept> "Ah. Algeria, right?" Sera shook the man's hand. "Nice to meet you, Anwar." A moment of silence, before Sera thought to continue. "Oh. This is Viviane. Viviane Fournier. Viviane, Anwar, Anwar, Viviane." Yessss flawless social-fu.
[22:07] <Aline> "Really. Special project…?" She had half a mind to know she wouldn't get an answer. But she'd try. After all, this was new information! And if nothing else, Aline's gathering of information was becoming nigh-rote and nigh-ritualized. More data for the data god, more secrets for the secret throne, etc. etc.
[22:08] <Dorian> ["Er, yes. Good to meet you, sir." Said Viviane, suddenly thrust into the situation. "Er, Algeria, right? I've been there."-
[22:10] <Dorian> ["Indeed?" the Ambassador nodded slowly. "I daresay I hope you haven't been recently… Although I doubt the pair of you need me to elaborate upon that." He looked at them both dubiously.]
[22:11] <Dorian> ["Well, me and my bro are pretty close." Said Patrice, grinning. "You have to remember, I'm the head of the NERV Fanclub, and he works for NERV… Besides, it's not like I really have much else family-wise. He's just a cool guy."-
[22:12] <Dorian> [Meanwhile, Yanmei would be able to hear another, less familiar yet easily recognisable voice… "Me? I like, er, to run. Run! Nothing like getting the blood pumping there, Miss Finance. And of course Judo- gotta do judo, you know. It's the sport of men."]
[22:13] <Dorian> ["The Unity Initiative? That's kind of like a big work-together of companies, right?" Asked Lillian curiously.-
[22:13] <Dorian> ["That's right. But…" Atticus gave them a simple, honest smile. "They're developing something. The 'Thruster Solace'. They're heralding it as the cost effective, reliable answer to an Eva."]
[22:16] * Aline …twitched. "Ah… An… answer to… I'm… not entirely sure if that's a good use of the money." She paused. "Not to be rude. Surely, in your EVA training you've read up on Metaphysical Biology."
[22:16] <Yanmei> "Is that so? You and your brother? For a long time, before I came here, it was just me and my mom. Well… mostly me. She worked a whole lot?" Was it her imagination, or were they closer than she thought? Maybe it was just Egdar being loud, but… very casually, she tried to guide her guest away in another direction. Gotta avoid, gotta avoid!
[22:18] <Sept> "Oh? Oh. Sorry, I never visited. I haven't really been outside Paris-2 much, except for. Well. Belgium."
[22:20] <Dorian> ["Ah yeah." Patrice nodded. "Yeah, I know how you feel." Patrice was unwittingly being guided away! "Is it any better with Marianne, though? I mean, for me a lot of the time it's coming home to an empty apartment and a message on the answering machine."]
[22:22] <Dorian> [Perhaps to Aline's surprise, Atticus laughed. "You know, I've told them that. 'You can't consider these viable alternatives without an AT Field.' They keep trying to crack the theory, but instead they're mucking about with antimatter and positrons now… Heh. Want to know what I think?"]
[22:23] <Dorian> ["Well." The Ambassador grimaced. "My country is in a lot of turmoil right now, Sir de Pteres."]
[22:23] * Aline bridged her hands slightly. Given the setting we must point out that it was a high-angle bridging, definitely not Gendou material, her ties to the Ikari family notwithstanding. "Ah, sure, sure, I wouldn't mind hearing it. Hell, you might hear of me in connection to it, since 00's going to be the first EVA unit to field positron weaponry in actual battle conditions."
[22:25] <Yanmei> "She's gone a lot, yes. Working odd hours? But when she's home, she's really home." She laughed lightly. "I'm sure that sounded weird? But it's the best way to explain it." Still moving of course. How did he know that she stayed with Marianne? Well, gah, that answer was obvious, and hit almost after she wondered the question.
[22:28] <Sept> "Please, just Sera. And I'm sorry to hear that. I-if I could ask you to… to tell me more about it, maybe?"
[22:37] <Dorian> ["Ah yes. I've heard of that." Said Atticus, nodding. "That you chaps have Positron weapons done and dusted… Well." He leaned forward conspiratorially. Lillian did as well, easily being caught by this story. It would at this moment strike Aline that the young man had quite the pleasant fragrance… It was a vague, lavender-like scent. Coincidentally, Dorian was at this point nowhere nearby.-
[22:38] <Dorian> ["Well. I think the Unity is going to wrangle a little with the government. Try to get their hands on Positron technology via the UN and looots of deals. And then? Well." He winked. "The Solace is a tough machine. Nothing on an Eva, but it's a hell of a lot cheaper and could be fielded on campaigns… It's basically perfect for long-term mass production, in, say, armies."]
[22:40] <Dorian> ["Oh yeah?" Asked Patrice, amused. "I think I understand. Well. I don't -really- know, but I'm sort of picturing my brother… Just more, y'know, female." … "Say, can I hear Edgar Chevalier? It can't be…"]
[22:41] <Dorian> [Viviane looked at the two- the Ambassador, then to Sera. A sudden sense of feeling rather out of place struck her… Nevertheless, she'd persist.-
[22:42] <Yanmei> "Chevalier? No, no~ I can't hear anything. Must be your imagination~" She gave a bright and sunny smile.
[22:43] * Aline frowned deeply. "…And… well… that's perhaps… something to deal with after the Angels. Though." She shook her head, and… happened to notice that Dorian had left. A little bit more freedom. But not a lot. "Really, I don't have a good outlook on what a world after the Angel attacks have finished would look like. Not the least if Solace is as good as they want to believe it
[22:43] * Aline is. Even minor overwhelming of a weaker AT Field might be enough if the Evangelion is facing 10, or 20, or more of the things. And then? All the nations in the world will have hundreds of giant weapons, free of the inherent… oddities of the Evas, even if less powerful. Almost makes you think that the post-Impact Mutually Assured Destruction from the N2 Mine is nothing the world wants to
[22:43] * Aline keep up with." Aline sighed, though. "Ah, ah, I shouldn't be too glum at a party like this though, no?"
[22:44] <Dorian> ["Of course." Said Abd'Majid dourly. "My country is falling apart, Sir Sera. The so-called Liberated Nations are stirring all sorts of mischief up within our borders… And outside our borders aren't looking too good either… For the same reason. Nevermind, famines… Resources we could be using for our own benefit, being put into N- er, other programs." He leaned forward. "And that snake Mazarin, too…!"]
[22:48] <Dorian> ["No, I'm -sure-…" Patrice frowned quizzically, looking back over his shoulder- but to Yanmei's fortune, the redheaded judo enthusiast had been swallowed up by the crowd. "… Huh." He turned back to Yanmei. "So, seen anyone you recognise?"]
[22:49] * Sept frowned worriedly, and tried to make a point of remembering this for later. "Mazarin? You mean..?"
[22:49] <Dorian> [Lillian realised at this point that she'd been involuntarily drafted into what was basically turning into a discussion of post-Second Impact military-industrial politics. "Y-yeah, Aline." She nudged her friend playfully. "Talking about war at a time like this…!"-
[22:51] <Dorian> [Atticus chuckled. "No, no. That's true. That's true. Something to discuss later, maybe, but… Too early for now." He smiled. "So- what's it like being a pilot? I'd like to know what I'm in store for."]
[22:52] * Yanmei peered around, searching for familiar faces. A wave of relief crashed down on her.
[22:52] <Dorian> [The Ambassador nodded to Sept. "Yes. I don't mean any insult on your nation, Sir Sera. But your president…" He shook his head. "Algeria has long been in France's debt, monetarily. Now even moreso- but your president is having us pay it off in other ways. Industrial resources. Military access. Special treatment. My country is going the same way as Spain."]
[22:58] <Dorian> [The crowd… Well, Yanmei could obviously spot out her fellow pilots. Dorian was speaking to a very pretty-looking blonde woman in a black dress. He seemed half glum, half a little uncomfortable. Freya, who'd been holding two glasses of wine, had been waylaid and was cheerfully chatting to a stylish, grey-haired man. There were others, too; the Cabinet were present, as was the local Parliamentarian and a few others…]
[22:58] * Aline blushed, and from a more anime perspective, a sweatdrop would be rather big of a deal. "Well… Let's think here. Training, of course, as new techniques and weapons come around. A relatively large amount of downtime… Synchronization tests, where we go in the plugs and practice, well, synchronizing. They're finicky things, the Evas. And a lot of schmoozing and planning initiatives
[22:58] * Aline and regular school life and such, too." She tapped her chin with a finger, thinking if she was missing something else . "Aaaand then when we get an attack it's rush rush rush into HQ then going down the slooooowest escalator in the world - or at least it feels like it - and then getting a quick briefing while the techs say all sorts of jittery excited things about the Angel coming after
[22:58] * Aline us, then we get into the plugsuits and hop in and… Well. Get to the fighting. It's completely mental-control so for all intents and purposes, once synchronized, I might as well be hijacking 00's body. Don't think it minds, though. Pretty chill, that one." Whew! That was a mouthful. "Oh! Have you tried a plugsuit yet? They're kinda strange."
[23:02] <Yanmei> "Well, not really. No one that you haven't met. Ah… Dorian's chatting with someone interesting. An old flame, maybe?" That would explain his recent strangeness. "Shall we investigate?"
[23:02] <Dorian> [Lillian blinked, and for a moment she was almost open-mouthed. Then, something switched on in her head and the dreaded flame of inspiration came to her eyes.-
[23:03] <Dorian> ["Ah…" Atticus grinned. "No. I've not tried a plugsuit yet. I've done some synchronisation conditioning. Not with a real Eva, just a dummy. I didn't use a plugsuit for that."]
[23:04] <Dorian> ["An old flame, huh…" Patrice pondered for a moment. "Alright, sure. Let's take a look- are you sure we can't put some sort of wager in for this?"]
[23:06] <Sept> "Ah." That was all Sept had at this point. He didn't have much in the way of geopolitical retorts. "I just have to believe things will get better if we keep winning. If we just follow our orders well enough."
[23:07] <Dorian> ["I see." Said the Ambassador levelly. "Well, that's an admirable attitude. But I was hoping you, Sir Sera, might do me a favour…"]
[23:08] <Sept> "Me? I, I don't really know what I could..?"
[23:09] <Dorian> ["You can speak to him." Said the Ambassador encouragingly. "You're a Pilot, you have influence. You could try to dissuade him from going through with what amounts to the wholesale purchase of my homeland."]
[23:09] <Yanmei> "A bit too obvious? But all right. I'll bet 15 francs that it's an old love interest that he's been pining for." Yanmei chuckled. "Let's go!" Taking his arm again, she led the way, waving cheerfully to Dorian as they approached.
[23:09] * Aline looked… a bit worried at that look in Lillian's face. But slowly turned back to Atticus. "Huh. I guess the conditioning doesn't need them? Hm. But uh. Maybe since you're a guy you might not be as embarassed, but it feels really weird to put one on, because of how they seal up and then the tightener button goes all -woosh- and then it's like reeeeally tight. I half-worry that
[23:09] * Aline there's already dirty pictures somewhere out there based on me and Yanmei wearing them. Or, I guess, Asuka and Tsubaki… maybe Sera, if they're into that, though usually the skintight… nnn. But anyway I'm glad we have normal NERV uniforms for military-formal outings."
[23:13] <Dorian> ["Interesting. I've seen them, actually- they actually use you and Pilot Zhang in manuals now, in plugsuits and all- and I can certainly see why you would think that." Atticus winked yet again. "It's better than nothing, which is what yours truly was conditioned with."-
[23:15] <Dorian> [Lillian blushed at the image, but Atticus pressed on. "You didn't wear your uniform, though, I see- although this is an -interesting- dress, I have to admit. Is that silk? I can't quite tell…"]
[23:19] * Aline nodded happily. "It is~ At least the top one is. Lower one's synthetics, though." She tilted to the side a bit, revealing one side had a slit. "Maybe I've been listening to Sera too much, but I thought 'I want something really pretty, not all militaristic… that I can /move around in/' The boy keeps making weird calls. Did you know that he went to the NERV interdivisional games in
[23:19] * Aline /urban camo/? He is, though, insanely good at le parkour so I guess it comes with the territory."
[23:19] * Sept thought it over for some time. "…I'm sorry", he finally concluded. "There's no way I'd be able to do that. I don't, I can't talk to people like that. I, I know other people who might, so I could talk with them, or you could, but I'm really the wrong person…"
[23:20] <Dorian> [Thusly, Yanmei and Patrice crossed the room, and were before long in the presence of Dorian and his potential old flame.-
[23:20] <Dorian> "No. No, I'm fine. Just- work. A bit preoccupied, Ariadne. That's all." Murmured Dorian. Neither of them had seen the pair yet.
[23:21] <Dorian> [Atticus took a moment to admire Aline's dress, before nodding as she continued on. "Ah, I see. A lad with a practical turn of mind." Said Atticus. "Is he here…?"]
[23:23] <Dorian> [The Ambassador didn't reply. He merely gave Sept a look. It was desperate and sad and pleading and yet, marked with a sort of individualistic pride at the same time. But that's all he did.]
[23:25] <Aline> "Yes, actually!… He's… okay, somewhere, he…" Aline raised up on her toes (slippers, like -hell- she wasn't going to learn how to walk in heels now) and looked around. Did she see an awkward-looking teenage boy who looked like Sera did?
[23:25] <Yanmei> "Hello, Major!" Yanmei chirped, drifting closer. Why the long face? He was with a really nice looking lady. "Enjoying yourself?"
[23:25] <Dorian> [Teenage boys are in short supply at this ball, so she does indeed spot the dear penguin in conversation with a very sombre individual.]
[23:26] * Aline pointed, pointed to the escapee from the biggest melting event in the world! "Ah, right over there! Talking to some really moody guy."
[23:27] <Dorian> "Hm?" Dorian looked over at Yanmei, frowning slightly. "Oh, Yanmei… And you too, Patrice… Eh. I'd rather be elsewhere." He said.-
[23:28] <Dorian> ["Aren't you going to introduce us, Dory?" Asked the woman sweetly.-
[23:28] <Dorian> "You already know who she is." Muttered Dorian. "Fine. Yanmei, this is Ariadne. She works for the United Nations. Ariadne, this is Yanmei. You might've heard of her. She likes long walks on the beach and piloting a weapon of mass destruction."]
[23:29] <Dorian> ["Ah, I see." Said Atticus, nodding as he looked over. "What's he like, really? I've heard less about him than the other pilots."]
[23:33] <Yanmei> "A pleasure," she reached out to shake hands with the lady. The UN, huh? "This is my esteemed guest, Patrice Gosselin. Ah…" It seemed as if she wanted to say more to Dorian in particular, but stayed her tongue.
[23:34] <Dorian> ["A pleasure." Said Ariadne, shaking Yanmei's hand. "And you too, young Mr. Gosselin. I believe your brother works for NERV?" "That's right! I see even you've heard of his splendour~" "Aha, that's one way of putting it."-
[23:34] <Dorian> "Are you having fun here, Yanmei?" Asked Dorian.
[23:34] <Aline> "It's… hard to explain." She tapped her fingers together. "I haven't heard a ton myself, but from what it looks like, I -think- NERV took him off the streets. I was actually there at the time - he turned up during 01's unveiling parade, and it reacted to him. That is a rare rare rare event, so he was tested, set up for training, and passed." Aline did vaguely look around to see if she
[23:34] <Aline> spotted Yanmei, and then gave Lillian a sort of 'let me know if I'm boring you' look, before continuing. "He's quiet at times, and not the sharpest knife in the drawer, sadly… Actually has -real- big problems with crowds, so I think he's lucky the turnout here is sort of small. Other than that, uh… well, the camo thing, the parkour thing, I think he even recquisitioned stealth gear for
[23:34] <Aline> -01-. That takes dedication! But… ah, let's see. He can be a bit naive, too, but also serious." Tap tap tap. Was she missing anything? "Ah! And he has this tight bond with 01, it makes me wonder…"
[23:38] * Aline did, after she said that, seem like she was lost in thought. Maybe even mulling over something deep and shocking, since her expression continued to change in her silence.
[23:38] <Dorian> [Aline did, of course, spot Yanmei! With Patrice, gabbing with Dorian and a blonde lady. Lillian, however, seemed perfectly happy to have Aline continue.-
[23:39] <Yanmei> "Well, it's okay. Nothing's really happened so far?" She leaned in a little closer, spotting the opportunity to whisper in private while Ariadne and Patrice exchanged pleasantries. "A party like this is bound to have a ton of security? And everyone seems mostly well-behaved. If you ducked out for a while, I think that we could manage."
[23:40] <Dorian> ["Ah! Well, it takes all types. Although I wonder why NERV didn't snap him up earlier?" Asked Atticus wonderingly. "I would've thought the Marduk Report would've been a bit more thorough than to miss someone who's so compatible with his Eva." He eyed Aline, tilting his head curiously. "Everything alright in there, Miss Blanc?"]
[23:41] <Sept> After an infinity of awkward silence. "Anwar, I'll… see what I can do, I'll talk to the other pilots… I'm sorry. Please have a good evening." Sera gave the Ambassador a quick nod, took Viviane's hand and made to leave. Try not to stand out, and find someone you know. Anyone. Where -was- everyone?
[23:41] <Dorian> "Huhn. No, it's fine. I'll wait until the ball actually starts." Said Dorian. "Then I'll grab some wine and a bit of fresh air…"
[23:42] <Dorian> ["Er, nice meeting you!" Said Viviane hastily as she was suddenly grabbed. She hurriedly followed on after Sept.-
[23:43] <Dorian> [Sept would be easily able to see the others. Aline and Lillian, talking to a handsome young man; meanwhile Yanmei, Dorian and Patrice were talking to a pretty blonde woman. That damn unreliable Freya had just managed to tear herself away from an apparently enthralling conversation, and was now looking for Sept.]
[23:46] <Dorian> [It would be at this moment that a sound- a sound that shouldn't normally be that loud, yet was- echoed around the room. The sound of a door opening. Atop a flight of stairs at the far end of the room, a door had opened; from which emerged a tall man. He had black hair with a meticulously kept goatee and moustache; he was a rather lean man, too, looking quite thin in his tuxedo. He had a sharp, gimlet-eyed stare;-
[23:46] <Dorian> [You could feel his gaze as he looked about. Everything seemed to his satisfaction. And as the silence continued, he smiled, lifted a hand, and said, "Begin."-
[23:47] <Dorian> [And with that, the ball was opened. The crowd on all sides of the wall started to stream into the middle of the room (although some obviously stuck to the sides) to begin dancing. The band started with an upbeat classical piece, one that even Sept might recognise.]
[23:50] * Aline snapped up suddenly, and looked a bit surprised that she was so transparent. "Ah!… Uh, yeah. I was just thinking about something. But, ah, maybe it's a mystery surrounding the nature of 01?" She… did turn to see the events begin. "Ah, I guess things are starting now."
[23:50] <Yanmei> "And… it looks like it's begun?" Yanmei straightened up smiling, eyes flickering from Dorian to the man with the goatee, who she presumed was Mazarin.
[23:51] <Dorian> "Yep." Said Dorian, looking up at Mazarin with a cool look. "Well, I'm off for wine." Without ceremony, he rolled away… Leaving Yanmei with Patrice and Ariadne.]
[23:53] <Dorian> ["Ah, I see." Said Atticus, nodding, before turning to look up at the President. With a smile, he turned his gaze back to the pair. "Indeed they are. Miss Durand, would you care to dance?" "Me? You - alright, sure, I'll do that!" "Beg pardon, Miss Blanc!" "I'll see you soon, Allie!" … The two of them disappeared into the mass.]
[23:53] * Yanmei gave a little parting wave as he wheeled away, and then transitioned back into conversation. "So! Miss Ariadne. You must get to travel a lot if you're in the UN? To a lot of fascinating places, I hope?"
[23:55] <Sept> Sera's grip on Viviane's hand tightened reflexively as the motion began. He led the two of them to the periphery of the new formation, before relaxing slightly again, being able to concentrate on the music a bit.. "Ah. You were right."
[23:56] <Dorian> ["Oh, yes." Said Ariadne. "I've just gotten back from my last posting in Riyadh-2, actually. My next assignment will be a month or two in Boston, then- then you'll be seeing a lot more of me." She gave Yanmei a very warm smile. "Say, would the two of you like to grab a bit of food now that the great masses have shifted their great bulk?"]
[23:58] <Dorian> ["Ee…" Viviane blushed slightly at the tight grip on her hand, even if she knew it was, essentially, due to Sept's fear. "I… I was?"]
[23:59] * Aline …was now left alone. Well, on the upswing she didn't have to dance with some friendly-but-unknown guy. Downswing… alone! Now just what was she going to do now? What else? Wander around in her thoughts and hope dearly that she didn't run into someone… unfortunate. Aline would stay at the edges, though, to try to avoid having to dodge dancers.
[00:00] <Yanmei> "Well, that sounds fine to me?" She was still holding her glass of wine, which made her feel sophisticated even when standing next to her. "Are you originally from France?"
[00:04] <Dorian> [So Aline would stay to the edges… And try to avoid the dancers. A worthy, worthy goal. Of course, before long, she'd suddenly hear a voice… "Excuse me." It was a cool, silken voice. A voice that was used to authority.]
[00:04] <Dorian> ["I am. Actually, I used to be an old friend of your Major's." Said Ariadne, who followed Yanmei and Patrice.-
[00:05] <Dorian> ["An old friend?" Asked Patrice curiously. "Yes. We went to high school together."]
[00:05] <Sept> "The music. And weren't you playing this just the other day..? In the club?" Sera was eyeing the orchestra on the far edge of the room.
[00:05] <Dorian> ["Oh. Oh right!" Viviane nodded suddenly. "That's right… Ah. Was I any good?"]
[00:06] * Aline tuuuurned to see where the voice came from. "Yes…?"
[00:07] <Yanmei> "Huh? You knew him when he was our age?" So hard to keep the surprise out of her voice. "I mean… the Major is so mature and cool-headed and everything that it's hard to imagine him as a student." Since she was an old friend, it was important to make him sound good, wasn't it?
[00:09] <Dorian> [It takes a special kind of man to have everyone's eyes on you, then cleverly slip through the entire group unnoticed. "These little Roman Pizzas. Are they any good?" Asked President Mazarin, lifting a small, fun-size square of pizza up.]
[00:09] * Sept laughed a little. "Of course! Every bit as good as these ones. Maybe better? Would I still be in the club listening to you every time otherwise? I mean.. ohlookthere'sFreya." And they were off again.
[00:14] <Dorian> ["Indeed? I had no idea you were such a strong admirer." Said Ariadne with a snicker. "Well. He was certainly interesting in school. Arrogant, as you might expect. Of course, he hardly ever studied, yet still did amazingly well, so perhaps that's deserved." Ariadne sighed a little, remembering to earlier days. "Got into trouble a lot; his personality rarely made him friends."]
[00:14] <Dorian> [Viviane barely had time to blush before they were, once again, propelled forth. Freya looked over as they approached. "Oh, damnit, -there- you are. I was wondering where you got to… Here you go." She held out two glasses of wine.]
[00:16] <Yanmei> "What sort of trouble?" She was careful not to say it too brightly. The second part made her a little sober, though. "Few friends, hm? That's a shame. He's pretty charming now. Sometimes. When he wants to be. How did the two of you meet?"
[00:18] <Dorian> ["Fights, mostly. Some jerk would try to slag off, and he'd not back down, and… He never did learn to back down. Of course, that included other areas too. Talked back to the teachers a lot when they gave him reason to do so." She snickered. "And… How we met? Well, it's a funny story. Let's grab something to eat first."]
[00:20] * Aline …really blinked at that one. "I… Actually don't… have a lot of… pizza. But I guess it…" She stared. Cheese, optimal. Crust, looks a bit poor. Toppings? Decent but not worth writing home about. "…Could be better, for the restaurant bracket it comes from."
[00:21] <Sept> "Hello, Freya. Thank you." Sera accepted the glass and immediately took a few gulps from it. "There was the ambassador of Ald- Algeria, and he… I couldn't help them and, and it feels horrible maybe I should find Yanmei…"
[00:21] <Yanmei> "Certainly!" Smiling, Yanmei followed, and along the way she took note of the people in the crowds and along the sides, taking inventory of more familiar faces.
[00:26] <Dorian> ["Hm." The President peered at the pizza for a moment, and took a sample. A moment passed. "You're right, young lady. I shall have a word with the caterers." Those poor dumb bastards. He offered her his hand. "You pay them ten thousand francs a year, and for what? For second rate pizza hors d'oeurves." Said the President, in the same dry, cool tone. "Mediocre samples aside- enjoying the evening, young lady?"]
[00:28] * Aline just uh… stood there, for now. President or not, an offer of a hand was a -significant- gesture. "Erm, for a palatial gala, isn't it a bit odd that the caterers were even shopping there?" Nerves nerves nerves NERVs nerves wait a sec. "I did have a nice talk with a lovely…" Beat. "…young man from the British air force."
[00:29] <Dorian> ["Hey now. Hey, Sept. Calm down, explain- no. Viviane, what happened?" "Ah, the Ambassador of Algeria asked Sera to talk to the President about how he's going to buy his country." "… Aha." Freya turned to Sept sympathetically. "Sept, listen. Just… Let's not think about that right just now. We can think it over later, alright?"]
[00:33] <Dorian> [Yanmei, Patrice and Ariadne found themselves a nice table, where Patrice sampled a bit of sushi. Ariadne, meanwhile, took a little pastry and turned to her new companions. "Well. It was… Grade 2. I was a little girl, and he'd just transferred in. And he was having a rough time of it, too." Said Ariadne. "He really didn't want to ask anyone for help, but this just made the other kids pick on him.-
[00:34] <Dorian> ["Eventually I managed to help him. But he was so proud he swore me to secrecy about the whole thing… I think I was the only person who he'd let help him after that, so we became friends."]
[00:35] <Dorian> ["Well done." Said the President to Aline. "Would that be Captain Nelson, by any chance?"]
[00:37] * Aline slooooooowly nodded. So damn slowly. "Yes, it was." More wheels seemed to be turning, mentally. It was visible in the sort of neutral, pensive look on her face.
[00:38] <Sept> "-just wanted to keep Paris-2-", Sera muttered in a small voice, and drained his glass. He didn't have to stare at the empty glass wistfully for long before a waiter came by, allowing Sept to help himself to another. He sipped on this one at a slightly more appropriate pace. "I'm sorry, Viviane, you probably expected something else entirely of this. Is there anything you would like to do
[00:38] <Sept> while we're here?"
[00:39] <Dorian> ["No surprise there." Said the President. "Ah. I've just ascertained what went wrong with these horrible little pizzas."]
[00:40] <Dorian> ["Well." Viviane went pink. "I would've liked to dance, but… It's ok. I know it's not really your thing."]
[00:41] <Yanmei> "That's such a sweet story." Yanmei grinned at her. "The Major doesn't speak a lot about his past, so…" she trailed off for a moment, wondering, and finally taking a little sip of her wine. "He seems a bit down tonight? I thought he liked parties."
[00:41] * Aline blinked yet again. "Ah?… Some… time to think on it and you figured out?…"
[00:42] <Dorian> ["Indeed. At 0800 today I requested that the caterers acquire some 'Roman Pizzas' for the gala. Unfortunately, I was not aware that instead of making Roman-style pizzas, they would proceed to go and bulk purchase replacement pizzas from a nearby pizza chain." The President tsked slightly and shook his head regretfully. "Miscommunication kills, young lady. Surely you are already aware of that fact."]
[00:44] * Aline twitched her lip a little. This was so out of her concept of reality. "…Potentially, but actually, uh. Refusal to acknowledge, or personalities opposed to the uh… mutual good, actually cause more damage over time." Soooome of her courage was coming back. "Psychology is a big part of piloting the Evangelions, it seems."
[00:46] <Dorian> ["He used to." Said Ariadne. "Before he hurt his leg, he used to dance an awful lot. We were something of an item back then. Even after Impact, he's enjoyed his parties, but… Something's got him down today."]
[00:46] <Dorian> [Patrice quietly winced.]
[00:47] <Dorian> ["Fascinating." Said the President, mulling on this point a moment. "Then are you suggesting it's conceivable that my caterers are conspiring against me to sabotage my gala appetisers and aperatifs?" He asked sombrely.]
[00:54] * Aline shook her head. "That actually, uh, has nothing to do with what I said?" She was soooo cold-sweating now. "I was actually talking about a situation that caterers would never get into. And… f… furthermore… What that actually meant was, ah, stubborn people for example. I think this was just… a harmless misinterpretation. There are surely many other appetisers that are of
[00:54] * Aline appropriate quality, no? And besides. I be-… I imagine that the various young escorts we pilots brought would actually prefer something of the sort of these. I'm slightly more discerning. But, the tastes of the young are different from the tastes of the old?" …She got stupidly bold, then. Maybe stupidly. "Maybe, ah, it'd be better to… roll with it, then… hold people accountable…
[00:54] * Aline as long as it happens once, and… people don't literally die?"
[00:57] * Yanmei pondered this quietly - and noticed Patrice's reaction for the won 15 francs with a little bit of fleeting triumph. "Pretty sure he'd tell me to back off if asked outright. But… you're an old flame of his! Certainly, he'd have a soft enough spot to tell you what was troubling him?"
[00:57] <Dorian> ["I asked him already." Said Ariadne disappointedly. "He just said he was preoccupied. Work or something."]
[00:59] <Dorian> [The President, meanwhile, was peering at Aline, his little gimlet eyes boring straight into hers. You could just see the kill squads emerging from the reflective pools of his eyes…-
[01:00] <Yanmei> "Oh. Yanmei almost seemed disappointed too. "Well! He's gone off someplace anyway? Thank you for humoring our curiosity, though!"
[01:01] <Dorian> [… And then he started to laugh. It was a genuine, warm laugh, and the chilly air he'd been exuding was rapidly dispelled. "Well done, Miss blanc. Well done. Don't worry. No one is going to die today." He lifted the little pizza up again, took another bite. "In reality, I did actually intend for this. I have a soft spot for the old Roman pizzas, and I do love seeing the overly cultivated scorn them at these things."]
[01:03] <Dorian> ["That's alright, Miss Zhang." Said Ariadne. "Although-
[01:03] * Aline … … … And it went on like this for a few seconds. "I'm maybe not entirely sure what we just did, but I'll take this as a success of some sort?" Yeah, you might need to give her a metaphorical hand here.
[01:04] <Sept> "Dance? Oh." Sept looked around, and found that a notable portion of the people were already doing the same. "I can do that. There's still a lot of time, and… I don't think we'll be running out of music, either." Sera finished his second glass, and held out his hand. "May I?"
[01:04] <Dorian> ["Ah, Miss Lorraine-Arkroyal." Came a sudden voice that Yanmei would be familiar with.-
[01:06] <Dorian> […Luckily for her, it would not be the dreaded spectre Alexandre Fontaine, but rather the Mayor of Paris-2. Mr. Ambroise Dupont entered the conversation - or rather ripped it open for his own admission. "I wasn't expecting to see you here at all…" The man swivelled around, taking in the other two there.-
[01:06] <Dorian> [With a sort of comedic false surprise, he settled on Yanmei. "Well! Who is -this- young lady?"]
[01:07] <Dorian> [Patrice grinned.]
[01:07] <Dorian> ["E-eh, Sept, you're really gonna dance?" Asked Freya in surprise… Surprise, right? Meanwhile, Viviane blushed deeply, and took Sept's hand. "That would be lovely."]
[01:08] <Dorian> ["Don't worry, Miss Blanc." Said the President, amused. "I wanted to see how you would react in those circumstances. I daresay it was an alien situation on your behalf."]
[01:12] * Sept led the pair closer to the bulk of the crowd - close enough to blend in with the other dancing people, yet Far Enough - and listened. He knew the music, but…
[01:13] <Aline> "…Oh." She slow-nodded, again. At least this time she didn't look super-leery. "Care to say why, or… just for intellectual curiosity?"
[01:13] * Yanmei chuckled at that, rolling with it, even though it kind of made her want to roll her eyes. Also, damn that Patrice. "Come now, Mayor Dupont. I don't think I've changed -that- much since NERV's press conference, have I? This this my friend, Patrice Gosselin."
[01:15] <Dorian> ["You're young and intelligent, Miss Blanc. Surely you can recognise that there are people you -want- to speak with, and then there is everyone else. I wished to see what category you fitted into."]
[01:16] <Dorian> [Viviane followed Sept in. She wasn't exactly a dancer- she knew a little dancing, but she wasn't going to win any contests. She tried to gently shepherd Sept into the right position.]
[01:18] <Dorian> ["Of course not, Miss Zhang, of course not." He winked at her egregiously. "Ah yes, a pleasure, my son, a pleasure, ahewhew." Guffawed the Mayor, shaking Patrice's hand. "One of the best, our Zhang Yanmei is, I've always said, one of the best, ahewhew. Enjoying the evening?"]
[01:19] <Aline> "That does make sense, then. Though I…" She shrugged. "I might not always be able to grasp the flow of a social environment, but I try." Aline paused for a moment, to try to figure out how to start things over. "So. Given the subterfuge, I imagine you remain cautious about the type of people a gathering like this brings?"
[01:21] <Dorian> ["Naturally. Some of them are guilty of being politicians."]
[01:24] <Yanmei> "It's been wonderful. Certainly a nice change from school and work." She threw the 'school' thing in to remind him and surrounding parties of her age. "What of yourself? I imagine that you'd have to be at a lot of social functions in your position?"
[01:24] * Sept remembered, eventually, the position and steps involved, and led the both of them into the motion. It did raise his spirits a bit right away; it felt like he'd accomplished something, no matter how small.
[01:28] <Dorian> [Viviane's face lit up as they started to move into the dance. "We're really dancing at a ball." She murmured.]
[01:28] * Aline tched audibly. "Quite the guilt to carry indeed. And I know I sit in the seat of their most coveted thing, each time Paris-2 goes underground." Aline looked positively repulsed at the idea that it was coveted.
[01:30] <Dorian> ["Oh, naturally, naturally, a hewhew. School openings- school reopenings- school rereopenings. That was a joke." He winked. "But not so many as grand as this… Say, have you seen de Pteres about? Such a robust boy, salt of the earth I say. Did he come?"]
[01:33] <Dorian> [The President chuckled as he started on another pizza. "Good gracious. And to think you keep doing it." He peered down at her with a wry smile. It was strangely uncle-like. "Necessity, no? Here's an example. See that gloomy chap over there?" He nodded towards the Algerian Ambassador, who was talking with the Viceroy of Spain.]
[01:33] <Yanmei> "Well, yes! We all came in together and will probably leave together too. Let's see…" She peered about, trying to spot him.
[01:33] <Dorian> [Yanmei would, of course, spot Sept dancing~]
[01:34] * Yanmei raised her eyebrows high. Dancing? How about that? "Right over there! He looks a little busy…? But I'm sure he'll finish soon."
[01:35] <Sept> "Mmh…" He could feel the music, swaying with her, and with everyone. After a while, his eyes drifted shut and his movements became more fluid as he was further entranced by the orchestra.
[01:35] <Dorian> ["Oh, well, you're only young once, ahewhew. And besides, it's springtime- the perfect time for romance." Said the mayor.-
[01:36] * Aline peered towards said ambassador. "Yes, I do. Sera was talking to him earlier. What's his politics about, then?" …She eyed with more scrutiny, now.
[01:36] <Dorian> ["Oh, that reminds me. Speaking of romance… A little birdie told me you've been getting cozy with the son of the Commander, Miss Zhang." Said Ariadne with a devilish wink.]
[01:39] <Dorian> ["He's the Ambassador of a nation that is not going to survive the year." Said the President. "If his country collapses, it'll fall to anti-UN forces, who'll then try to invade Europe." The President swallowed the rest of his pizza. "Every day, his country's debts become greater, and I'm having them pay it off through favours- favours that coincidentally happen to actually assist them.-
[01:40] <Dorian> ["You ask for permission to put a hundred thousand men in Algeria, and, oh, we'll cancel ten billion dollars of debt. They get stronger, they become protected, everyone wins. Yet give him a knife and he'd as soon as cut out my heart."]
[01:40] <Yanmei> "…I'm certain that he was just joking! You know how he -loves- jokes." Yanmei bared her teeth. In a smile, naturally. "The Commander's son and I don't look at each other in that way."
[01:46] <Sept> The motion continued. Sept could hear the feet of the nearby dancers, guiding the two of them around and away, and he felt the flow of the music. It almost reminded him of something just out of reach for his mind. But he didn't care at that moment.
[01:47] * Aline shook her head a little, trying to think of it. "…I know why, though, he objects. Even a failing state… ah, clings to the idea of power. And I think recalling pre-Impact history, the more threatened the state, the more it strikes out at those that contribute to it." Aline tried to think of how to put it. "Has anyone actually said, straight-up, to the government of Algeria that
[01:47] * Aline these measures are to prevent a collapse of the present world order, and that objections on grounds of sovereignity could be talked over?" Ah, if only it was that easy.
[01:50] <Dorian> [Across the entire ballroom, things were happening. The President opened his mouth to reply. Ariadne prepared to tease Yanmei a little more, whilst Viviane was simply enjoying the moment of sublime magic at hand…-
[01:51] <Dorian> [… And then, the ground shook. It shook for a good five seconds, violent and heavy enough to push people to the ground, topple some tables and cause cries of fear.]
[01:52] <Dorian> [Viviane was one of those who was thrown off-balance, suddenly falling forward. The President reached out to grab a table, whilst the mayor suddenly toppled as well…]
[01:54] * Yanmei tried to brace herself, but the heels she wore made it difficult. She ended up hunched over a table, clinging, but still on her feet. Earthquake? Her eyes widened, shot through with fear and disbelief. "No…"
[01:57] * Aline slipped a little, and crouched on the ground, just barely managing to catch her fall with one knee! "Wha-Iyaaa!~" …She knew it was totally and utterly useless to try, but in a strange reflex that has slowly been replacing her normal adrenal response, Aline tried to reach out with… …Damnit, Aline, you are not piloting 00 right now, there is no way you could try to sense an AT
[01:57] * Aline Field. You don't even know the right way to do that! Maybe it's just a mundane earthquake.
[02:08] <Sept> As Sera's waking dream shattered, he found himself falling to the floor, still holding onto Viviane. His reflexes told him to let go and roll away, but… he couldn't do that, and instead took the fall for the both of them. "Wh-" Sera gasped for air like a grounded fish for a few moments. "Viviane, what's going- oh god. We need to *cough* get out."
[02:09] <Dorian> "No, no… No… NO…" Dorian wheeled himself back in, his face set deeply in horror. "YANMEI! SERA! ALINE!" He roared. "GET YOUR PEOPLE, LET'S GO!"
[02:10] <Dorian> ["S-Sera…" Viviane was stunned for a moment from the fall, but she nodded quickly. She quickly got herself to her feet, pulling Sept up with her.]
[02:11] * Aline …stared, and then immediately looked around. "Lillian! LILLIAN! You heard him, come on, I… I think this is the real thing! I don't mean an earthquake!" …She ran to the center of the dance hall, moving as fast as she could, though with a bit of an ache from the fall. Where was Lillian? She had to have been near Atticus!
[02:12] <Yanmei> Knew it! Yanmei had -just- started to claw through her purse as the tremors died, when she heard the yell, and her fears were realized. Setting her jaw, she gave the Mayor and UN agent a brief nod, and whirled, catching Patrice by the wrist. "Let's go!"
[02:12] <Dorian> [Luckily, Aline's partner would quickly emerge from the masses, looking around- looking genuinely terrified. She quickly ran to Aline's side, grabbing her arm. "A-An attack?"]
[02:13] <Dorian> [The President righted himself once more. "… Then we must evacuate…"]
[02:13] <Dorian> [Patrice was quickly dragged along, and he went, nearly tripping over his own feet.]
[02:15] <Aline> "Y-y-yes, I think so! We have to get out of here! I don't know what we'll do with you and Patrice and Viviane but…" She turned to the president. "Yes, and quickly! And goddamnit if anyone starts a stampede we might -all- die!" …Worth noting that Aline was sprinting out of the the place with Lillian in tow in the middle of that second speech.
[02:15] <Dorian> [The President reacted quickly. As the pilots started to run- frantic cries and panic suddenly blossoming behind them- they'd hear his voice cry out. A voice not to be argued with- a voice that would restore order.]
[02:16] * Sept allowed Viviane to interrupt his scramble to get up, and immediately took Viviane's hand again, heading perhaps a little too fast toward where he thought he heard his friends' voices, but not before casting a glance toward the nearest exit. (("Stupid idiot coward what would One think"))
[02:16] * Dorian , once he saw the pilots moving, immediately turned and started rushing as fast as he could back to the car.
[02:20] * Aline was not built for that kind of running. She wasn't Sera, she wasn't even Yanmei (okay she did have both legs functioning without undue pain)… but she had enough -spirit- to get through this! While dragging Lillian along was what happened for most of it, the final stretch had Aline nearly -leaping- into her seat.
[02:21] <Sept> "Please stay with me I'll keep you safe I'll definitely do it" Sept kept yelling half-intelligible words to the Viviane barely hanging on behind him.
[02:23] * Yanmei was, of course, not far behind. It was only when she reached the doors and the car beyond it that she realized that the front of her dress was now stained badly from whatever delicious treats had been on the table she had grabbed. Funnily, it didn't seem to matter. "HQ is incredibly safe. You'll be fine." She did at least have enough wit left to murmer that to Patrice as they got to their destination.-
[02:23] <Yanmei> The door was alreadt presumably open, so she sprang in.
[02:25] <Dorian> [The dates quickly piled back in, Patrice looking grim and Lillian looking panicky. Viviane seemed to be in a sort of nervous calm. Freya was silent. The moment everyone was in, the car took off immediately. A trip that had taken fifteen minutes at first now took a scant six minutes.-
[02:26] <Dorian> [The limousine pulled up outside of the HQ Elevator. Dorian immediately rolled out. "NERV employees, with me! Driver, take the others home." He snapped. In the distance, another car could be seen approaching.]
[02:28] <Sept> "Home?! The Geofront's big enough to keep them for now! It's a completely unnecessary risk, Dorian!"
[02:29] * Aline leapt out again, this time, the upper dress flapping practically like a cape as she hopped out. And just a few weeks back, she was play-acting a scene from her idea of what a magical-girl anime would be like - now wearing this dress right when terrible things were happening made her feel like things were getting more real in that vein! "Huh-wha-uh well don't they… uh… We should
[02:29] * Aline hurry while explaining. Quickly, quickly!"
[02:29] <Dorian> "They'll be safe there for now!" Yelled Dorian as he moved. He pulled himself into the elevator.
[02:31] * Sept winced, looking at Viviane, and then Dorian. "I'm sorry", he mumbled before running after Dorian, fighting back tears.
[02:31] <Dorian> ["We'll be ok." Cried out Viviane. "I'll look after them. Just… Look after yourself, Sept."]
[02:31] * Yanmei managed at least a parting nod to the others before joining the pilots and Dorian at the elevator. "Don't worry! Leave it to us!"
[02:32] * Aline frowned, but got into the elevator. "Once this is all over you'd better give more detail. But now, faster in the plug, faster this gets over with!" She did stop to glance at Lillian once more. "…I guess it's time for the real adventures, then. Wish us luck!"
[02:32] <Dorian> [The elevator started to move. God it seemed slow. "Listen to me." Said Dorian, trying to keep his voice level. "We haven't been attacked."]
[02:33] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei's expression froze for a moment. "God. Please tell me that this was not a drill or.. or… a -prank-."
[02:33] * Aline …blinked. "…Then… what the hell happened to make… but… Just explain it, these damn elevators take forever!"
[02:34] <Dorian> "It's…" Dorian… Choked up. "… You'll see."
[02:34] * Sept leaned on one of the walls, just staring at Dorian with a mixture of homogenised terror, hatred and confusion.
[02:34] * Aline twitched. But she didn't say anything else.
[02:35] * Yanmei was also staring. His composure was breaking? -His-? She felt funny. A little sick, and terrified. She swallowed, and set her jaw again, arms folded, trying not to show it.
[02:36] <Dorian> [The elevator came to a final stop. Dorian immediately rolled out- the entirety of the Command Centre was before them; the Bunnies on duty, looking ashen faced.-
[02:36] <Dorian> "Report!" Shouted Dorian. "Fill in the pilots, too."-
[02:41] <Dorian> [Marianne stood up, saluting Dorian. "We've just downloaded the full recordings now. Satellite images have been recorded." She turned to the pilots. "At 2 PM today, NERV AT Detection picked up a signal in the Baltic Sea. We weren't able to get a visual, so we were worried it was a mechanical error. However, at 4 PM, we detected another signal in the Oresund, and finally, at 6 PM, a signal in the German state of Brandenburg."-
[02:42] <Dorian> [An image flared onto the holographic viewscreen. It was an Angel. It had no legs, or no arms; it seemed to be a head, shrouded in blue, icy wings, sheathed in a pulsing aura of energy and light. Across the top of the image were the words: "Object: Sixth Angel. Codename: QAPHSIEL".]
[02:45] * Aline …stared at it. "…So if it's not an attack… why was there a… quake? Thump? Somesuch."
[02:45] <Sept> Intruder. Something to take everything out on. "…where is it?"
[02:45] <Yanmei> "That can't be everything." This was no ordinary attack. Not with the way that Dorian was acting. She squared her shoulders. "What -is- going on?"
[02:47] <Dorian> ["It's… Not everything, no." Said Marianne. "At 7:00 PM the Angel vanished. At 8:20 PM it appeared above Berlin-2." She took a deep breath in. "Play the feed, Fred."-
[02:47] <Dorian> [The holographic image changed, turning instead into an official NERV recording. The pilots had seen these before; each battle with an Angel had an after-action report, recorded by remote cameras.-
[02:48] <Dorian> [The first image they'd seen of the Angel hadn't put it into scale. The thing was massive. It was around 110 metres tall; and 120 metres wide, from tip to tip. Its wings were still enfolded up for now.-
[02:51] <Dorian> [A section of road; an obvious NERV deployment elevator; opened up, a large, four-eyed, red Evangelion being launched out of it. A familiar female voice cried out- although it was in German, the words 'EVA-02' were obvious.-
[02:52] <Dorian> [The voice spoke again, this time in wonder, then eagerness. The voice of the German Operations Director came over the line; a familiar chatter in the background, at least for the pilots. Even if it was in German. Asuka acknowledged, and started to run forward, grabbing a giant chainsword from a nearby supply cache.-
[02:53] <Dorian> [A rippling field of energy expanded from Qaphsiel, and once it reached a certain point… Two shapes were moulded out of the energy. They were a fleshy white, tall, solid creatures, with a primal air about them; they had no eyes, only massive maws. They were each as tall as an Evangelion.-
[02:55] <Dorian> [Asuka let out a derisive laugh, and immediately moved to engage. With a swift, precise strike, she hewed one of the spawn in half, whipping around to parry the other. With a deft kick, she smashed it into a building, impaling it on the teeth of her blade. Laughing with euphoria now, Asuka turned, running toward Qaphsiel.-
[02:56] <Dorian> [The red Evangelion looked small, compared to the creature, but that didn't deter her for a moment. She slammed her chainsword into the wings of the creature, cutting in.. Only for the skin to reform around the blade, locking it tightly. "E-eh?!" She cried out. The Operations Director yelled orders as the Chainsword started to melt.-
[02:57] <Dorian> [EVA-02 sprang back, instead deploying a Prog Knife from one of the wing docks. She sprang forward, gripping one of the wings in her hands. She cried out in sudden pain, but gritted her teeth and kept at it. She pulled. And pulled- steam started to rise from EVA-02's hands. Another video-window opened, showing Asuka in her plug; her face was tight with concentration and grit.-
[02:58] <Dorian> [Encouraging cries came from the Command Centre as the wings started to pry open… And then, cries of alarm. The two spawn Asuka had left behind… Had reformed.-
[02:59] <Dorian> [Asuka was distracted with Qaphsiel. She didn't notice the Spawn until they were on top of her. Each Spawn grabbed one of EVA-02's arms, prying it off Qaphsiel, pinning it back, unable to strike forth. EVA-02 struggled- Asuka roared in anger.-
[02:59] <Dorian> [The Command Centre was alive with cries and shouts.-
[02:59] <Dorian> [Then, Qaphsiel opened.-
[03:00] <Dorian> [Its core was revealed, the horrific iris of a giant, milky-white sphere on its chest… No. An -eye-.-
[03:00] <Dorian> [The core started to glow. Asuka struggled.-
[03:00] <Dorian> [Asuka let out one final cry of defiance, ripping her arms free of the Spawn. She struck out with the Prog Knife…-
[03:01] <Dorian> [It never got close enough. A bright, actinic beam flared into life from the core, ripping through the knife, the arms, ripping straight through the entire body of EVA-02 and out the other end. Asuka's cry of defiance turned into a scream- a bloody scream of abject and utter agony and pain as the LCL started to boil at temperatures that would roast her.-
[03:03] <Dorian> [The Angel rose into the air, now, its core shining again… Another eyesearing blast ripping through EVA-02's head, this time, vaporising it completely. EVA-02 toppled backwards.-
[03:03] <Dorian> [The Spawn bent down, grabbing the fallen Eva. One of them lifted an arm into the air and bit into it- Asuka screamed ever louder.-
[03:04] <Dorian> [The Angel continued to rise, now, framed from behind by the white full moon. Its core started to shine again. Brighter, this time. It continued to shine, growing ever wider and thicker…-
[03:05] <Dorian> [A beam, brighter and stronger than anything else it had fired, struck the earth. It ripped right through it, the sounds of the Command crew screaming in fear and horror. The beam pulsed, and -exploded-, spreading out from the epicentre to consume the entirety of Berlin-2.-
[03:05] <Dorian> [There was silence, now, except for the words of the German Operations Director. They didn't know what he was saying, but it was obvious that he was begging for help.-
[03:05] <Dorian> [Then, the feed went dead. It was immediately replaced with a satellite image of Berlin-2.-
[03:06] <Dorian> [… Nothing remained. Buildings had been levelled. There was a massive, burning hole in the very ground.-
[03:06] <Dorian> ["At 8:45 PM, the Angel Qaphsiel tore through the Berlin-2 Geofront and completely destroyed it. We have lost contact with the city. We don't know if there are any survivors…"]
[03:08] * Sept slumped onto the ground, both hands on his forehead. It wasn't particularly clear outward if the boy was even breathing.
[03:08] * Aline futily rushed forwards at the screen, the sudden dash seeming to trigger the earlier ache from the 'quake'. "D… D-d-dad! No!" …dear god, if Aline was bad when she was depressed -normally-, now she was a ruined little heap of tears and incoherent grunts.
[03:10] <Dorian> [Frederic himself had tears in his eyes too. As did Sophie. Marianne fought them back only through a force of will. Behind the pilots, the sound of the sort of painful sobs that come rarely and with agony to those who don't cry, from a voice that hadn't been in the room before.]
[03:14] * Yanmei was still staring in wide-eyed shock at the satellite image, as if she was having trouble processing exactly what she had -seen-. Somehow, her eyes gravitated away, toward Sept and - god - Aline, and she opened her mouth to say something, but couldn't find any words. At a complete loss now, she could only stare, glassy-eyed.
[03:16] <Dorian> [Frederic spoke up now. "W-we've picked up the Angel's signal. It's approaching us now. At it's current projected speed, we expect it will arrive in the sky above Paris-2 in 22 hours."]
[03:18] * Aline …didn't even look up. Or back. Or anywhere but down. And she continued to sob, hard, curling up into a sort of ball sitting there on the floor. The click of her glasses being set down on the ground could be barely heard over said sobs, as well as Frederic's report. It would probably still be a bit longer before she even did anything else…
[03:19] <Sept> "W-." The sound caught in Sera's throat. "W-w." Coughs, and a gagging sound. "We'll kill it before it gets here. Get me my suit."
[03:19] <Dorian> ["No." Said another voice. Ginevre's, from her command module.]
[03:21] <Sept> "No?" Sera sounded insulted, and got to his feet.
[03:21] <Dorian> [Freya was leaning against the wall, her hands covering her eyes. She was taking deep breaths… Alexandre was in the room, too. He'd been the one sobbing so painfully…-
[03:23] <Dorian> ["No." Said Ginevre. "The Angel moves in an erratic pattern, using its AT Field to teleport long distances." Her voice was calm, controlled. "We can't be certain where it can appear next, and thus, we cannot effectively deploy you until its location is fixed. That is, when it appears here."]
[03:26] * Aline shuddered a little, and rocked back and forth on the splayed heap of her dress. In her shaking, a slow, repetitive muttered phrase could be hear amidst the tears and loud chokes on her own grief. "I must be calm, I must be calm, I must be calm, I must be calm…"
[03:30] <Sept> "We could've been there… we could've been there…" Sera walked over to the part of the command centre overlooking the hangars, and stared at 01, both hands pressed on the glass. "WE COULD'VE BEEN THERE!!" Sera -slammed- his head onto the glass. There was a morbid irony here, but it was forever lost on the pilot. He did it again, and again, and again, until he collapsed to the floor,
[03:30] <Sept> exhausted and bleeding, still muttering the words.
[03:31] <Dorian> ["The Commander of Berlin-2 refused aid." Said Ginevre, in that same cold tone. "On the logic that if we arrived in Berlin-2 too early, then we would leave Paris-2 vulnerable. Similarly, if we arrived at Berlin-2 too late, we would be in a poor position to attack the Angel."]
[03:32] <Dorian> [Freya, shakily, reached out, grabbing Sept. She pulled him away from the window, touched his blood. "S-Sept…"]
[03:32] <Yanmei> "Appearing. Here." Numb. All over. "And. Berlin. Here and Berlin. Here and… …"
[03:33] <Dorian> ["The MAGI Supercomputers predicts that the threshold percentage for NERV survival here is 5.66666% recurring." Said Ginevre.-
[03:34] <Dorian> ["With the authority vested in me by the United Nations and the NERV Charter, set out at its inception, I am hereby declaring this as an Imperative One situation." She pushed a button on her console.-
[03:35] <Dorian> [Across Paris-2, important terminals and televisions flickered to life. Bunker screens activated, and massive monitors on buildings turned on, each one displaying the same message- the same one recited by Ginevre right now in HQ.-
[03:37] <Dorian> ["As of now, the Department of Ile-de-France is now considered to be under an Imperative One situation. All military units in the department are now assumed under NERV's control. All civilian institutions have been suspended, with their powers now turned over to NERV HQ. Martial Law is now in place, and all civilians are to be immediately evacuated to the adjacent departments."]
[03:37] <Sept> Tears were streaming from Sera's eyes, mixing with the blood. "Not.. tive one… ris-2… keep it alive."
[03:38] * Aline suddenly snapped up her head at Sera's outburst. "NO MATTER W-… …" She didn't really have the composure to look embarassed at that. "We need to stay as calm as we can… did… did you see what Asuka did? She-she rushed in and… was too… headstrong. We must be calm! …We must be calm. Without… thinking ahead, far ahead, it'll beat us. Then… Then it'll kill us. It'll kill
[03:38] * Aline everyone. But if we actually… focus on a plan…" She couldn't really bring herself to finish that, instead changing tack. "I… I need to save us all. Don't leave me. D-don't make me do it alone!"
[03:39] <Sept> "We… already did. It's too late, it's too late for anything we left her to die"
[03:40] <Dorian> [Aline would find sudden arms around her body- the arms of Sophie. The girl was sobbing as well, but she still tried to give comfort.-
[03:42] <Dorian> [Ginevre looked down at the scene. Sept was a mess… Aline was a mess. Yanmei was nearly catatonic. Her own son was sobbing in the hallways and her command crew falling apart. She took a deep breath. And another, closing her eyes. "Dorian. You have twenty two hours to come up with a plan that will kill this Angel." Said Ginevre. "This is your top priority." She paused-
[03:43] <Dorian> [Turning her gaze towards the pilots. It was… Softer, now. She especially gazed at Sept. "I'm sorry. I know this is hard for you all to bear." A moment. And then, her voice hardened. "But this is war. That's exactly what this is. The Angels are waging a war of total annihilation upon our entire species and you've just seen what they can do.-
[03:44] <Dorian> ["One life lost to kill an Angel is a tragedy. But if that's the price we have to pay, then we have to pay it. A million lives lost to kill an Angel is a tragedy, but if that's the price we have to pay then by God we will pay it. The alternative is extinction."-
[03:45] <Dorian> ["If you want to avenge those who lost their lives today, then listen to Dorian. If you want to live to see your own children grow up, then listen to Dorian and harden your hearts. You want to be angry? You want to rage? Save it for when the Angel gets here."]
[03:47] * Sept spoke no more. He just sobbed, sobbed away, clinging onto Freya with all of his remaining strength.
[03:49] <Dorian> [She clung back. By God she clung back.]
[03:51] * Aline nodded. "…I… must be calm… And… yes, that… we can't." She finally stood up, a whip of her hand carrying her glasses with them. "We can't even do that in front of the Angel! Asuka didn't know what she was up against, and she screwed up! We'll need to go over everything, make sure we won't be caught unaware, get… every possible advantage! Every! There were mistakes there,
[03:51] * Aline I already saw them. She had no chance of knowing, but now /we/ know." …Aline's voice was starting to crack and almost break, even as Sophie hung on. All that sobbing and then a dramatic speech? That throat can't handle that kind of voice power! "I'm standing again. Won't you stand with me? Please?" She looked at Yanmei and Sera, and… couldn't help but look sad, again. "We can't give up
[03:51] * Aline now. We can't give up…"
[03:51] <Yanmei> "We'll win." Low voice. Something had squeezed back into place within her, painfully. The blood, maybe. Sept blood, streaked brightly on the glass, because she had been staring at it during the announcments and speeches without hearing many of the words. It felt like this had happened before. "We'll win. We're going to win!" There was desperation there. Rage, too…? Her eyes were unnaturally bright now.
[03:53] * Dorian let out a rattling breath. He was going to have to make some phone calls. "Freya… Take him home." Dorian rubbed his temples. He turned his gaze back to Yanmei and Aline… All of them… Willing to fight. What was it that made them do that? Was it their youth? Or… Was it just some human thing, that made a person fight even though they knew they were probably going to die?-
[03:54] <Dorian> "You guys should get home, too." He said to Aline and Yanmei. "Go home. Go sleep. For Heaven's sake, talk to the people you love. Say those things you would never say usually 'cause you might never get another chance." Said Dorian quietly.
[04:00] * Sept was calming down… for now. Or, at least, the sobs were getting fewer in frequency.
[04:01] <Yanmei> "I'm staying here." Because Marianne was probably staying here too. Because there -would- be another chance. Because was no way in hell she would spend her last hours in this dump. She clenched her fists.
[04:02] <Dorian> [Quietly, Freya half-picked, half-dragged the poor Sept away. She'd look after him.]
[04:02] * Aline lowered her head. "…Yeah. I thought sleep would be put first. I'll be really busy with the phones, I guess." She lifted a fold of the overdress to wipe off her glasses. "Let's make this last rest count. We'll need all the energy we can get! Come morning I'll… I'll… I'll start helping to draft the plans. I meant it. I saw what Asuka was doing wrong as it played out in front of
[04:02] * Aline us." Yanmei's words, though, gave her pause. "Please. Even if you don't go home, sleep. Eat. Make last words. If we're not at peace… it'll just fall apart. We're the last line before the world goes."
[04:05] <Dorian> ["A-Asuka…" Alexandre gasped painfully, the tears still coming for him. "… She's invincible, though… S-she is. She d-doesn't get tired or sore or -anything…" He bowed his head, making his pain a private one.]
[04:05] <Yanmei> "I know that," she said quietly. "I already know that." She closed her eyes briefly. What went wrong…? "If she'd had someone to watch her back…" She shook her head. Opened her eyes to stare at Alexandre Fontaine.
[04:08] <Dorian> "Bunnies. You can leave in an hour. I'll have the hares take over for the next 14 hours." Said Dorian quietly. He paused for a moment. He felt like he should say something… Profound? Some speech? He was too tired for that. He rolled over to a nearby console, grabbing a phone. He punched in a number. "… Yes. It's me, Dorian. I want the prototype."]
[04:09] <Dorian> [TO BE CONTINUED.]

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