In The Process Of Synchronisation

[10:46] <Dorian> [The 16th of March- a cloudy, dreary Monday. It was 5 PM; School had finished two hours ago, and the clubs- Swimming and Judo- had just finished for the day. The school itself was ghostly and deserted; by 5 PM, most people had gone off to part time jobs, or home. For the pilots of the Evangelions, of course, Monday- it was when their weekly Synchronisation Test was scheduled, at 6 PM.]
[10:51] * Yanmei was content to commute to NERV HQ for her part. She hadn't participated in either Judo or Swimming, although she did stop off at the latter club meeting to get sense of which way the captain's support was leaning in the upcoming election. Then there were flyers to make so that they could be handed out,
[10:51] <Yanmei> and other things to fill her mind with to drown out the approach of the dreaded testing hour. It arrived anyway, like it or not. Slowly she gathered her things and stared off.
[11:00] * Aline of course was a member of the swimming club, and she was already done with that - and due to the need to get to NERV HQ fairly quickly, Aline had left her swimsuit packed in a small bag that she carted with her. She… hadn't noticed Yanmei wandering in, though, during club activities. This was probably because she was busy doing laps and her eyes and ears were underwater most of
[11:00] * Aline the time. While Yanmei rode… Aline continued to walk. It was cheaper and easier~
[11:04] <Dorian> [Time passed for both Pilots. Before long, they'd be riding an elevator on the long, long journey from the exterior of the Geofront to the command centre in Central Dogma. It was custom for the pilots to marshall there during their Synch Tests- Sera, it turned out, hadn't been summoned. 01 was still being viewed with suspicion after its last stunt.-
[11:05] <Dorian> [The command centre was quiet, yet oddly tense. Not the same sort of tension that permeated the place during an attack, but… Something else. The Bunnies occasionally glanced up at the command tower, where Commander Fontaine sat, Leon Thomas at her shoulder.]
[11:09] <Yanmei> The words that Yanmei exchanged with Aline on the way down were cheerful ones. Stuff about school, mostly… what so and so had been up to, as the daily soap opera that was high school progressed. As they reached HQ proper, however, her chatter tapered off a bit…
[11:10] * Aline had walked into the command center, and… She was a bit uncertain about what the mood was about, but knew it probably had something to do with 01. At least… at least 00 was still behaving. Right?
[11:13] * Dorian turned as the pilots entered. His uniform, it should be noted, was slightly different, his rank indicator changing from 'Captain' to 'Major' due to his promotion. He tapped the tips of his fingers together. "Good. You're both here. I know we've been having some issues with the Evangelions recently, but Dr. Riel and I, and a few associates, have spent a lot of time in the past week-
[11:14] <Dorian> "Making sure everything goes smoothly. So you two don't need to worry one bit." He flashed what he hoped was an encouraging smile. "We should start soon, nevertheless. No doubt the pair of you want to get home quick."
[11:15] <Dorian> [The command centre had been repaired, it must be noted. The splintered glass and buckling bulkheads that had signified 01's furious assault had been smoothly replaced.]
[11:17] * Yanmei kept her smile on. Like hell she would wear her worries on her sleeve with everyone watching like this. "I'm sure there's nothing to worry about? It's routine test. Not… whatever it is that happened last week."
[11:19] * Aline nodded calmly… "No, no, that was something else entirely, so I heard. This should be quick and fine, right?"
[11:21] <Dorian> "That's right." Said Dorian, nodding. "Routine tests under controlled conditions. Everything will go smoothly."
[11:22] <Dorian> ["Are you sure, Major?" Came the gravelly voice of Vice-Commander Thomas. "I understand you're eager to get the Evangelions ready for action, but I think this is hasty. How certain are you?"-
[11:24] <Dorian> ["The Major is completely certain." Came the voice of Commander Fontaine, her tone like fingernails scraped across a blackboard. "Dr. Riel and the MAGI confirmed their readiness. We even had the good fortune to have Dr. Ikari confirm that conclusion- how many experts do you need before you're satisfied?"-
[11:25] <Dorian> ["I would be a bit more comfortable if those experts weren't the same ones who said we could abort a berserk status." Growled the VC.]
[11:25] * Dorian was silent, but he gave the pilots a look that clearly said 'Get moving'.
[11:29] * Yanmei would normally be more interested in the exchange, but today was different. She gave the Major a quick little salute before turning, for the changing room. "I guess there's no helping it today? Let's go."
[11:32] * Aline frowned, and… turned around. She knew better than to try to correct the top commanders. Though she wanted to. Really, really really wanted… Whatever. Let's just get this done with.
[11:35] * Yanmei took her time getting ready. Dragging her feet? In any case, by the time she was in her plugsuit and climbing the platforms to get into position, her heart was pounding hard. Why couldn't they have put this off for a bit longer? Sure it was inevitable, but…
[11:36] <Dorian> [00 and 04 were prepared, the False Plugs having been removed a few minutes ago. Their backs remained open, their respective spinal cords visible. The Entry Plugs sat in the boarding locks, ready for the pilots.]
[11:38] * Aline had suited up much faster, and… well, just wasn't as disquieted. She did, though, glance at Yanmei. "…Look. It'll be alright. Just quick, no fighting." She began to head into her plug.
[11:40] <Yanmei> "Oh, I know, I know." She gave a little smile, but it felt a little… off. Anyway, time to get it over with, already. She regarded her own plug with an oddly intense feeling of revulsion before climbing into it and resting back.
[11:48] <Dorian> [The plugs were lifted into the air- they'd feel the lift, that moment of weightlessness, before being inserted into the cavity in their respective Evas' spine. ("Beginning first level connection-") They felt the familiar, yet potentially disconcerting feeling of LCL filling their plugs, and their lungs.-
[11:49] <Dorian> [("Let's do this textbook, Bunnies.") ("Entering second level contact. Connecting to A10 nerve-") ("Initial stage of contact, no problems detected.") The flash of kaleidoscopic rainbow light, fractal patterns, a starry field- then… ("Bidirectional circuirts are open. Synchronisation complete.")]
[11:53] * Aline felt somewhat comfortable, again. The smell and the transition to liquid-breathing was still awkward, but… well, she was in the swim club anyway. Floating in a fluid was eminently natural to her.
[11:58] * Yanmei tried not to think too much, shutting her eyes against distractions.
[12:00] <Dorian> [("Report, Major.") ("All harmonics values are normal. Everything is under control, Commander.")]
[12:07] * Aline seemed to be nodding to something, almost instinctively… but she stopped herself, knowing the gesture was useless here.
[12:08] <Dorian> [("How's it going, Aline?") Asked Sophie tentatively.]
[12:10] * Aline turned around, and smiled. "Great, Sophie. I don't mean to be rude to the other pilots or the other Evas, but things seem to be a lot more serene in this plug."
[12:11] <Dorian> [("Yeah, we've- we've noticed. 00's still cool, right…?")]
[12:12] <Dorian> ("'Cool'…?")
[12:14] <Aline> "Yes. Uh, yeah, always relatively chill and thoughtful." …A brief pause, while she tried to 'partition' her thoughts to be able to keep two trains of thought going. "Is that because of what I've said, or do you know for some other reason? Forgetful~"
[12:14] <Dorian> [("Well, 00's pulses seem to be very regular, all the time…")]
[12:15] <Aline> "Ah! I see. I didn't know you could monitor that. But yes, yes. Quite."
[12:17] <Dorian> [("W-well, in any case, I'm glad that he's chill…") Sophie's voice was very… Hopeful. And relieved.]
[12:19] * Aline nodded, starting to realize why Sophie was asking, in a way. "I know. And we're doing what we can. We're doing… what we can." Slightly distracted!
[12:24] <Dorian> [("…. Yanmei?") Came Marianne's voice. ("How is it going in there?")]
[12:26] <Yanmei> "… just fine!" her voice was unnaturally cheery, even for her. "Everything's just fine. A routine!"
[12:27] * Aline …peered over. "Are you… sure?" She knew that tone when she heard it. "There's also a difference between discomfort, and a berserk-state."
[12:27] <Dorian> [("… Yanmei…")]
[12:30] <Yanmei> A chuckle. "Don't you worry. I've been around long enough to know what simple discomfort's like? -I'm fine, Marianne. Please stop worrying."
[12:31] <Dorian> [("Major, Yanmei's Synch Ratio…")-
[12:31] * Aline scratched her chin. "…Remind me, how much longer will this take?"
[12:33] <Dorian> ("I see it. Yanmei, your Synch Ratio is lower than usual.") A pause. ("Another five minutes. Just to be positive. We need to test the feedback dampers and the pulse rate, and the MAGI wants plenty of data for that.")
[12:36] <Yanmei> "Sorry. I'll try to concentrate harder?" She drifted off into silence again, brow wrinkling slightly.
[12:39] * Aline slowly nodded. "…Ah, alright then. Sorry to bother you."
[12:46] <Dorian> [("Everything seems to be going well then, everyone?") Dr. Riel's voice. ("Even 04 is behaving… That's fortuitous.")]
[12:50] <Yanmei> "For once," Yanmei muttered under her breath. She wondered if she'd managed to raise her ratio if only by a little?
[12:55] <Dorian> [Time continued to pass. One minute stretched out into two and three, until finally… ("Alright. I think we're ready to pack this up now. Fifteen minutes with no incidents. Well done, pilots. Well done, Bunnies, Dr. Riel, myself. You girls ready to finish?")]
[12:56] * Aline nodded, though she seemed… a bit… preoccupied. "Ah… Ah! Yes, that's fine."
[12:57] <Yanmei> "Yes!!" … "Since we're finished and all," she added mildly.
[12:59] <Dorian> [("Synchronisation ended.")]
[13:03] * Yanmei exhaled slowly, getting used to the feeling of being herself again, floating in the LCL.
[13:04] <Dorian> ("How're we feeling?")
[13:05] * Aline sort of whirled about in her LCL pool. "O~kay~"
[13:06] <Yanmei> "Yeah. I guess we did okay this time?"
[13:08] <Dorian> ("Yeah…")-
[13:08] <Dorian> [The entry plugs hissed, sliding smoothly out of the spinal cavity. Before long, the LCL was drained and the pilots were once again free.]
[13:09] <Dorian> [("I told you that there was no danger, Vice-Commander.") ("Even so… Hmph. Well, if this can be maintained on the battlefield, then fine.")]
[13:10] <Yanmei> Free at last~ Yanmei fought the urge to sprint from prying eyes, into the showers, where she could rinse off the smell of blood and stop smiling.
[13:11] <Yanmei> Instead, very deliberate and proper steps, forcing herself to make time for any followup speeches to be had, or Aline, if she wanted to walk back with her.
[13:14] * Aline on the other hand was quuuuuiiiite fine, and brushed her hair slightly. It still smelled horrid. And then…? She looked up at the command tower. "It's complicated, ma'am and sir. Unfortunately, the Evas themselves can have as varying a temperment as the children who must pilot them… Us, that is. I think I may try to make things easier on all of us…" She looked to Yanmei slightly.
[13:14] * Aline "But it will take time, and has uncertain success. If you have any questions, feel free to ask, but… I think Pilot Yanmei will want to get clean. The smell of LCL puts her off more than it does myself." …She didn't bother to -completely- mask the white lie.
[13:16] <Dorian> [("… Understood. I guess.") ("Admirable of you, Pilot Blanc.") Thomas and Dr. Riel, respectively.]
[13:18] * Yanmei blinked at Aline. She couldn't quite bring herself to show it so obviously, but there was something in her gaze that shifted gratefully. "That's our Blanc. She really does know a lot," she beamed. "I'll just get going, then…" Somehow, she would have to make this up to her.
[13:19] * Aline nodded to Yanmei… and blushed a bit at Dr. Riel's praise… but for now, waited to see for a moment if anything else would be said. If not, she'd just politely bow her head and wander off herself~
[13:22] <Dorian> [("Ah, the Synchronisation tests just finished?") Came a voice that Aline might recognise. ("Yes, Dr. Ikari. We had no problems, which you probably already know due to the fact that we're all still alive.") ("So cynical! Hello, Aline!")]
[13:23] * Aline suddenly turned her head in surprise! "…Oh, ah, uh, hi Dr. Ikari! You were watching, or…?"
[13:28] <Dorian> [("Not quite. I just came in… Ah, but. It's probably best you clean yourself up, Aline. We can talk later, but for now…")]
[13:28] * Yanmei hasn't quite slowed down. She did pause just long enough to offer a slight nod of acknowledgement toward the command tower (that was where the camera/speakers were, right?). But the showers awaited! The safe, quiet showers.
[13:29] * Aline nodded. "Of course, thank you!" …and she went ahead with the little bow, and heading off! Probably trying to rendezvous with Yanmei.
[13:35] * Yanmei was already stripping down by the time that Aline caught up, wasting no time as soon as she found herself behind a privacy curtain. She didn't peek out when she heard the door. "That you, Blanc?"
[13:36] * Aline called back, as she was getting out of her own clothes. "Yes~"
[13:39] <Yanmei> "Um… thank you for that. Just now. Do you want to drop by my place for dinner later? It's going to be chicken noodle soup, and something else. I'm not sure what, but I can do requests!"
[13:44] <Aline> "Ah, I don't really care what else you fix! And… it's fine, it's fine. I had got the sense of it to begin with."
[13:48] * Yanmei nodded behind her curtain. "All right, then." There's a pause, the sound of padding feet. One of the showers turn on, and she stood beneath the stream of water with a sigh. "That's much better." Her hands shook badly, but she didn't have to hide them now. "S-so the Evangelion have different temperments, huh?"
[13:51] * Aline nodded. "Yes. 00 is very calm, and we were actually having a decent uh… mind-discussion." She turned on her own shower. "And I have been hearing that 04 is pretty bad. Not even 00 knows what to do with him, her, whichever. Though… I do know what to do with you. We need to figure out what's wrong with 04, together. If we can try to heal it…"
[13:55] <Yanmei> "I'm… a little surprised. I didn't realize that they gossiped about each other?" she giggled a little. Felt a little better. But then she sobered right back up again. "I don't know how to heal something like that, Blanc. It's…" she struggled for the right words in French. "I don't know *what* it is."
[13:58] * Aline frowned. "…And I can't find out without trying to sync with it… Do you have any odd little tidbits? I mean… 00 showed me things just now. Memories. Of having a child, of painting and sculpting and doing art. It makes me wonder…"
[14:01] <Yanmei> Yanmei's hand froze around her bar of soap. "Your -Eva- had those memories?"
[14:03] <Aline> "Yes. It's… very strange. I certainly know -I- haven't had any children, anyway! So…" She thought long and hard - even the sound of the shower-water dispersing with her movements stopped. "…There must be something. Something I don't know yet, that none of us know yet. I can't put my finger on it exactly, though. But we haven't been told the truth about whatever those came from - and
[14:03] <Aline> they have no way of knowing that we know now, short of… well, surveillance."
[14:07] <Yanmei> "I wouldn't put it past them, even if this is a shower." She frowned up at her showerhead, and tried to collect her thoughts. "04 hates NERV. 04 hates EVERYTHING, though, so I don't know if that helps even a little. It doesn't share things like that with me. Half the time, we're too busy fighting each other, and when we're not, it's 'kill kill kill'."-
[14:10] <Yanmei> "It did let me in on how much it enjoyed itself during the last battle with that Angel? God, I…" she shuddered. "God. You know, I couldn't even remember half of it until then? I…" She trailed off, feeling violently ill.
[14:15] * Aline sounded reeeeally downed about that. "00 was saddened… -I- was saddened. It's… it's not a good thing, at all, to have to deal with. I want to protect you, and while I don't know what to do with 04, I have to protect you from it, too, as best I can! Maybe once everyone's calmed down after the whole weird thing with 01, I should try to ask if I can sync with it. Before that,
[14:15] * Aline though… Maybe I can take a profile to Dr. Delgado, and see if he has anything to say? If we don't do something, this'll keep happening!" …Her voice was starting to crack from her emotions. Was she upset?
[14:21] <Yanmei> There was a long pause from Yanmei's stall. She covered her face with her hands and waited to calm down. "I don't know," she sighed. "I don't know if it's a good idea for you to sync with that monster, Aline. Do you really think Delgado can help? He's a part of NERV too, so…"
[14:25] * Aline was getting a bit more frantic. "He can't sync with it anyway, and I'd only do it if there was no other choice! But he's a psychologist. He has to know something. Even if he just points me to the right part of a library to look it up on my own, he's the one person in NERV who has the best chance of helping. He's not in command, he doesn't want to see things hurt, and he's the one
[14:25] * Aline that knows how a mind works. And if what 00 revealed to me is true… they might not be as alien as we think."
[14:30] <Yanmei> "I still have my doubts about that," Yanmei muttered. "00 might be special, you know? The only way to confirm that is by talking to the Evas further, or to dig up where they came from. 00 sounds… sane, so maybe more mind discussions with it could help us figure out how to handle things."-
[14:33] <Yanmei> "De Pteres might know some things to? He's always with his Eva whenever he can get the chance. Maybe it's safeway sane too?"
[14:34] * Aline looked to be calming down a bit, and had restarted the latter parts of washing. "Maybe. Something happened to make it try to break the glass to the control room, but… it's obviously not to the point where he dreads synchronizing. We should try to ask him what the deal is. If we can find a line of normalcy…" Aline's tone lightened. "Then we might have a chance."
[14:41] <Yanmei> "Yes. That's a start, anyway." Yanmei shut her eyes. "It's probably pretty important that we don't alert anyone outside the three of us about it yet. Maybe Freya too. NERV might try to stop us if they think we're digging around in places we're not supposed to." She opened her eyes and then smiled. "Bit by bit, I'll find a way to handle 04 until we know what's happening. It's my job, even if I don't like it."
[14:46] * Aline began to finish washing… "Right! After all. Helping it, helps you, helps everyone else here, and… helps humanity. Saving the world with psychoanalysis! Who'd have thought it?"
[14:47] <Yanmei> "You might be hanging out with Dr. Delgado to much," Yanmei chuckled. "Although I guess I can't talk either?"
[14:55] * Aline giggled back. "Well, yeah. I just have to use whatever disciplines come up! One day it's psychology, but who knows? Maybe a good knowledge of which layer felsites emerge in rock faces will save us the next!" She paused. "…The igneous layer, if you're wondering."
[15:00] <Yanmei> "Oh." What? She turned off her faucet and after drying, wrapped herself in a towel. "Well, you keep thinking about rock faces. I'll keep my mind on dinner for tonight~ Baked dessert, like cinnamon rolls. That sounds pretty good, after a day like today."
[15:03] * Aline dried off as well… seeming to spend a bit longer in the stall. Probably all that hair! "Ah, that would be lovely indeed! I like the icing on those~"
[15:07] <Yanmei> "I think I can arrange that!" Yanmei beamed. There were noises of her getting dressed. She opened closed a locker a few times, and then emerged in her school uniform, tugging a comb through her hair. "Marianne's usually a sucker for buns too. It's bound to put her in a good mood!"
[15:11] * Aline came out, and fiddled with her own locker - slightly in view, too - and changed into her own school uniform relatively quickly, also picking up her swimsuit bag again. "Ah! That would be nice, then. We could talk about other stuff than what we did here with her, to reassure her, then."
[15:13] <Yanmei> "I like the way you think, Blanc." She pulled her school bag onto her shoulder. And before swiveling to leave, doubled back to her locker for something that looked like a small, black, hard briefcase. "OK. Let's move out!"
[15:14] * Aline made a cute little point-forward with her whole arm. "Atten-shun~ Mooove out!~" …and headed out with her fellow pilot!

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