Is It To Lose The Glory Of The Form The Lustre Of The Eye

[17:23] <Voriel> [A day after Marianne's visit…-
[17:25] <Voriel> [Raphael was taken out of his room, taken through the corridors of the Geofront and to somewhere else- part of the Technical Division. It was a wide, empty chamber, dominated by the form of EVA-00. There was a small box-like balcony built into the side, and higher up, the observation deck. It was on this deck that Raphael had been taken- and where Aline, Sera and Dr. Riel's science team- including her brother- now resided.]
[17:28] * Aline stared at her own EVA, looking… the slighest bit nervous. This might end up going strangely. She was also sometimes peering over at Sera, as if a bit surprised that he'd come to watch.
[17:32] * Sept was unperturbed by the stares, and seemed content just to sit there for now, in thought. Now and again, he'd take his glasses off to rub some unseen stain off them.
[17:33] <Raphael> The discomfort Raphael was struggling with as he entered the observation deck looked undeniably strange on Ikari Gendo’s features. Still, Felix Castillo-Delgado had been kind enough to accept Raphael’s one request: The brand new NERV uniform Raphael was wearing had managed to bring with it a little bit of familiarity that made his trip through the halls of the Geofront a little less
[17:33] <Raphael> nerve-wracking.-
[17:33] * Raphael pulls away from his escort as soon as he’s able, nodding to the assembled technicians and murmuring a few greetings. But it’s Aline he’s focused on. "… Are you sure you want to do this, Pilot Blanc?"
[17:35] * Aline bowed her head rather firmly. "You can't go on living like this, and it's approved anyway." Her gaze rose again. "I'd think your say is the more important one, anyway."
[17:39] * Raphael folds his hands across his stomach and stands a little straighter. "I need to help Rei, and I can't do it like this. What other options are there?"
[17:40] <Sept> "Just be certain it -is- what you want. There's a lot of responsibility on you here, too. Things could go wrong." He had his glasses off again, and he was staring at them intensely.
[17:41] * Aline extended a hand and moved it around a bit, obviously as a mere gesture rather than something more ~dramatic~. "Then I have no other options either, do I? Let's just focus on making this work, eh?"
[17:44] * Raphael looks over at Sept and frowns for a moment, and while he may have looked at the boy on the way in it's quite clear he's only truly noticing him there now. "What I want is my body back without risk, Pilot de Pteres, but I don't think that's likely to happen. But this is what I -need- to do, and that will have to suffice." He looks back over at Aline and nods. "What do you need me to
[17:44] * Raphael do?"
[17:52] * Aline shot a glance over at the tech team behind her. "…You should just need to stay put and brace yourself. /I/ on the other hand need to get synchronized and ready."
[17:54] <Voriel> [James nodded. "We're taking you to the observation box, Sir Guillory. That's where the magic'll happen. Best for it to be an isolated place. Away from us."]
[17:56] <Sept> "I'd imagine it would help to try and keep your mind clear in all this, Raphael. How're you with meditation?"
[17:58] * Raphael gives the technician a wan smile before looking over at Sept. "It's not something I have much experience with, sir."
[18:00] * Aline waved her hand around a bit more. "I guess you'll have to just be calm. Like… think of your breathing, or do something that isn't thinking about other people?" Another glance back at the science team. "Are we, otherwise, a go?
[18:02] <Sept> "This'll be excellent practice, then." Sera gave Aline a brief nod.
[18:04] <Voriel> [Dr. Riel looks over. "Yes, Blanc. Go to your Plug and we'll begin synch procedures now. James can fill in Guillory as they go."]
[18:05] <Aline> "Alright!" …For a second, Aline tensed as if to dash, but, in the end… decided to just walk at a semi-brisk pace, outside to the catwalks that'd lead to where she could get to the entry plug.
[18:07] <Voriel> [James headed over to Raphael. "Ready to get going?"]
[18:10] * Raphael nods. "Yes sir. Lead the way."
[18:13] <Voriel> [James nodded, and led Raphael off through a corridor, down a flight of steps. "Thanks to the data from the MAGI, we figured out the rough outline of what the Nineteenth did. So our first step will be to allow EVA-00 to attune its AT Field with your own, which, luckily, Aline already knows how to do. She'll have to be careful, of course, but she should manage it. Once that's one, she'll start taking it step by step, starting with morphing your coins away, then finally your body."-
[18:13] <Voriel> [Meanwhile, Aline would've reached the Plug at this point. It was ready for her.]
[18:14] <Raphael> "Is there any risk to her in all of this?"
[18:15] * Aline was, during this explanation, starting to board the entry plug, and get seated and comfortable. Quite the familiar routine for her by now.
[18:17] <Voriel> ["To her? No."]
[18:18] <Raphael> "Good." Raphael nods. If he had noticed the unspoken note to that answer he didn't see fit to show it.
[18:19] <Voriel> [James led him to a door- which opened up, revealing the painfully sparse observation room. "Well, this is it."]
[18:22] <Raphael> "So it would seem." Raphael says quietly, taking a quick look around from the threshold before stepping inside. "Thank you, Doctor. I appreciate the help."
[18:24] <Voriel> ["No worries. Good luck, Guillory." He shut the door behind him- it locked.-
[18:24] <Voriel> [Back up on the science deck, EVA-00 and its pilot were being run through synchronisation.-
[18:25] <Voriel> ["Second level contact is underway… Success. Synchronisation complete."-
[18:25] <Voriel> ["How are you feeling, Blanc?" Asked Dr. Riel.]
[18:26] * Aline gently waved, knowing she was probably on camera. "Doing okay. It… feels like my numbers are normal."
[18:29] * Raphael stared at the door for a long few seconds after that tell-tale click, but he sucks in a deep breath and moves over to one of the chairs on the far side of the deck. A moment later his face has gone still, and his breathing has slipped into a slow, calm rhythm.
[18:55] * Aline twitched her arm slightly, and at first… "Preparing AT Field." …at first a tiny shimmer rose around 00, the slighest glimmer, rather than the raging force she normally opened with.
[18:58] <Voriel> ["Guillory, try to keep calm." Came a voice over a speaker. "You'll feel some strange sensations, but that's normal."-
[18:59] <Voriel> ["Alright. Aline, let's begin Phase One."]
[19:01] * Aline nodded. "Right!" …slowly, slowly it expanded, a twinkly glow pushing slowly, slowly towards Raphael. Due to the movement of the field, he could actually /see/ it slowly push… right into his face. "Beginning mutual synchronization…" Aline intoned, as things may start to get… odd.
[19:03] <Sept> Elsewhere, Sera watched the instruments of the observation deck intently, filling in as the vice-Gendo with steepled hands.
[19:05] * Raphael keeps his eyes open long enough to see the slow expansion of the AT Field before he shuts his eyes, devoting his concentration to what little of this process he can control.
[19:14] * Aline grit her teeth for a second, but fell into deep thought…
[19:15] <Voriel> ["Phase One complete." Said Dr. Riel, turning to James. "She's moving to Phase Two…"]
[19:22] * Raphael ‘s shoulders tense, his hands clutching tighter at his thighs as he fights the first flutter of panic. Still, his breathing is carefully calm…
[19:23] <Voriel> [Pain would spike through Raphael's right hand, now. A burning, agonising feeling.]
[19:24] * Aline on the other hand looked overly calm, almost /intensely/ calm. Deep meditation…
[19:25] <Raphael> The suddenness of it makes him flinch, but he forces himself to count out the space between each breath. It's something simple, something easy to focus on.
[19:31] <Voriel> [The sensation spreads up his body, now, up his arms- across the back of his neck- and down his front.]
[19:33] * Aline was breathing heavier, but seemed under control. Her eyes were shut, but seemed to flutter back and forth in this seeming rhythm… in truth, it matched the motion of the sensation, but only a tiny amount of people might even be in a position to see the correlation.
[19:37] <Raphael> It’s getting harder to keep the tension out of his posture now. As the wave of pain spreads across his upper body it leaves every muscle pulled taut. And even then his face remains calm, except for the tension in his jaw that gives away how tightly he’s gritting his teeth.
[19:40] <Voriel> [The pain came to an end, quite suddenly.-
[19:40] <Voriel> ["Phase Two complete. Sir Guillory, please check your status."]
[19:44] * Raphael takes a moment to catch his breath before setting to work on checking for changes with the coins…
[19:46] <Voriel> [They're gone. The ones on his hands- the ones on his neck- down his arms, his torso…]
[19:49] <Raphael> "…" A slow smile spreads across his face, and for a moment he almost feels like laughing. "… The coins are gone, sir."
[19:51] * Aline was still breathing in and out slowly, but managed to speak a reply. "That's, sadly, just the first part…"
[19:53] <Raphael> "I know." Raphael says, a little quieter this time. He slowly settles himself back into the chair. "I'm ready when you are, Pilot Blanc."
[19:54] <Sept> "Anything unexpected so far, Aline?"
[19:55] * Aline shook her head, though only a little. "Nothing unexpected yet, but… let's keep moving."
[19:55] <Voriel> ["Still, it's a good sign. It means this really is possible. Alright, we're ready to begin Phase Three when you're ready, Aline."]
[19:58] <Aline> "I'll need a moment, but otherwise… ready." She took a second to stretch, arms extended far out in front of herself, and hands knit together… then resumed a calm demeanor.
[20:09] <Raphael> … and it doesn't take long for whatever Aline's doing to break Raphael's expression of calm. However it's not the expected pain or fear that's showing on his face, but a frown of honest confusion even as his eyes remain shut.
[20:15] * Aline looked even further in thought, leaning forward almost, but… words slipped out, only slightly audible, but clearly mouthed. "Doing good… and removing evil… is the rectification of things…"
[20:16] <Voriel> [-Pain- rippled across Raphael's body. Pain that seemed unimaginable once- pain that he'd felt only once before. Every bone in his body seemed to snap at once. His skin burned, becoming supple, stretching…]
[20:21] * Raphael hits the ground as the first spasm hits, barely even grasping what's happening until he feels the impact. No amount of meditation can shield him from this sort of pain - it rips through the carefully built walls of concentration like paper. He's dimly aware that he's screaming again.
[20:36] <Voriel> [The pain builds. Blood boils and thins and thickens as the very composition of it changes. Muscles expand, stretching against the skin, before deflating again. Bones, broken, fuse together into new forms. Pain across his skin as new pores are opened and new hairs emerge…-
[20:36] <Voriel> [The sensation finally comes to an end.]
[20:41] <Raphael> Even with the sensation gone the most he can do is lie there, gasping for air as though he's been drowning.
[20:42] <Voriel> ["That was quite the power spike." Murmured James. "Guillory? You ok? What about you, Aline?"]
[20:43] * Aline was blinking, and taking deep breaths herself, seeming like she was waking up from a sudden and abrupt reverie. "…I'm done… here. How's he doing?"
[20:47] <Raphael> "I'm… fine." The words are barely more than gasps, but they're there. And they're no longer in the voice of Ikari Gendo.-
[20:50] <Raphael> Down on the observation deck Raphael was finally beginning to pull himself up into a sitting position and his first tentative checks as his vision begins to clear. Of course, even that's not quite required to notice that the new NERV uniform he's wearing - now quite thoroughly soaked with sweat - is suddenly vastly too big on him. Like a child wearing their parent's clothes.
[20:52] * Aline was leaning forward again, now intensely curious… "It's okay if you need time to get your breath back."
[20:57] <Raphael> "… Can you see me up there, Doctor Riel?" Raphael says slowly, his breathing beginning to fall back to an almost normal pace. The voice is quite recognizable now…
[20:58] <Voriel> ["Hold on, I'll set the cameras."-
[20:58] <Voriel> [The image of Raphael finally appears to plain view for everyone within the research deck- and Aline as well.-
[20:58] <Voriel> [A deep silence greets what they see.]
[20:59] * Aline …stared. and… shuddered.
[21:06] <Sept> A deep breath, of worry or disappointment, escaped Sera's lips as he leaned back in his chair.
[21:08] <Aline> What resulted was… well, obviously far younger than Raphael was, or even should be. Short brown - dark brown - hair in a somewhat scruffy (yet an endearing form of scruffy) cut, an exceedingly soft, feminine face that just /barely/ had the right jawline to still be considered taxonomically male. By a really thin line, maybe too thin. A body that, while it was built seemingly gently and
[21:08] <Aline> weakly, actually was surprisingly toned and fit, more like a lithe build than a muscular one. And those eyes! Soft, soft blue eyes, that took the stunning qualities that made people intrigued by Sera's eyes or even Gendo's eyes, yet… turned up even moreso, deep like whirling oceans, with complex interplays of very very subtle tones. It was… it was /like/ Shinji Ikari. Yet in summary…
[21:08] <Aline> softer, gentler, hiding ferocity just beneath the surface.
[21:10] <Raphael> "… who is it?" Raphael asks, a deep note of undisguised resignation there.
[21:10] <Voriel> ["It's… Er…" … "Aline, you can tell him." Said James.]
[21:12] * Aline was quivering and blushing brilliant red. Red enough that it made her (admittedly already dull) similarly-red plugsuit look practically washed-out and grey in comparison. "S-sir… I think I accidentally turned you into Shinji. Ikari Shinji." Beat. "You do look a little bit different though."
[21:16] <Sept> "Looks like that's the best we can do. Without a way to sterilise the link, at least."
[21:17] * Raphael lets out a long sigh and begins rolling up his sleeves to compensate for almost a foot of lost height… and then quickly checking along his wrist and chest. "… No coins, though." He noted. He sounds annoyed, certainly, but… strangely there's not that utter misery that accompanied wearing Gendo's body.
[21:17] <Voriel> [James glances over at Sera quizzically, then back to Raphael. "No. Er… No coins. It's progress! Yay progress." Mumbles James.]
[21:18] <Voriel> [Dr. Riel swats James across the shoulder. "Stop that. This is a serious issue- the attempt has failed."]
[21:18] * Aline looked left and right. "I'm… so sorry. I'm not sure if anyone can really do this perfectly. Human biases."
[21:21] <Voriel> ["That's alright. We couldn't have known." Said Dr. Riel. "Guillory? How's your sense of movement? If it's a completely new body, you're probably still unfamiliar…"]
[21:24] <Raphael> "It -is- progress." Raphael said flatly, getting to his feet and approaching the window. "It's not your fault, Pilot Blanc. I might not like this shape, but I can live with it if I must. That's some small step forward…"-
[21:26] <Raphael> But at Riel's words he frowns and looks back towards the space on the floor he'd been occupying a few moments before. "… No, I'm not actually. Movement feels perfectly normal."
[21:26] <Voriel> ["… Really?"]
[21:27] <Raphael> "Mmm."
[21:27] * Aline seemed, somehow, less surprised at that than Riel was, but managed to hide it under a distracted expression.
[21:32] <Sept> "Hmmh. So you're fine with these results? Riel? Raphael?"
[21:33] <Voriel> ["Well…" Dr. Riel clapped James on the shoulder. "I'm not going to risk any more changes. Raphael can walk and act normally, which means he's battleworthy."]
[21:34] * Aline nodded, though she now looked distant… and slightly irked. Though Aline /did/ manage to comment - shyly, which was at odds with her brow-furrowed expression - "…And adorable."
[21:35] <Voriel> [Dr. Riel coughed politely.-
[21:35] <Raphael> "I don't have any other choice, Pilot de Pt- … sorry?"
[21:35] <Voriel> ["… Well, yes. He has rather lovely eyes, doesn't he?"]
[21:37] * Aline shook her head. "It's uh. Nothing."
[21:38] <Sept> "In that case, I only have one experiment I would borrow the Group Captain for."
[21:38] <Voriel> [Dr. Riel peered at him. "Oh?"]
[21:39] * Aline was beginning to look a little mortified now.
[21:40] * Sept made sure Guillory heard him, as well. "I'd like to see if Annette'll still serve him. A stress test, if you will."
[21:41] * Raphael is still frowning at the last set of comments when Sept speaks up… and this time it's his turn to look a little horrified. "… Doctor Riel. I believe I will need a new ID."
[21:42] <Voriel> ["Who's Annette?" Asked Dr. Riel curiously. "And of course, that seems fair."]
[21:46] <Sept> "Well." Sera got up from his chair, pushing up his glasses. "That's settled, then. I'll see you in two days, Raphael." …and he was out the door.
[21:47] * Aline was just as confused as to who that was. But then again, that's natural, considering her history with drink…
[21:47] <Voriel> ["James, go get the good sir."-
[21:47] <Voriel> ["Yes, sis."-
[21:47] <Voriel> ["Doctor."-
[21:47] <Voriel> ["Doctor sis." James stood up- and a few minutes later, Raphael would hear the door unlock and open.]
[21:52] <Raphael> "R-right." Raphael said as Sept departed, trying to find a serious tone that did not clash absurdly with his new voice. But then the locks slide back on the door and Raphael emerges out into the hall, practically swimming in his too-big uniform. "Doctor."
[21:53] <Voriel> ["Captain." James is smirking behind his back. Trying to fight it, but…-
[21:55] <Voriel> [Before long they're back on the bridge, in time to hear Dr. Riel tell Aline, "Ok, you can desynch now and get out." She turned to look at Raphael.-
[21:55] <Voriel> [… Her face softens mildly just by looking at him. "How are you feeling?"]
[21:57] * Aline began to do that, going through the steps with the equipment, and starting to get out. She was /still/ blushing brightly, though…
[21:58] <Raphael> Though the reverse is hardly true. Raphael's face shows a brief moment of obvious distaste at her reaction. "… Better. The pain has passed. The experience was… certainly different to what I remember of last time, though."
[21:59] <Voriel> ["Different how…?"]
[22:01] <Raphael> "The presence of a second mind, largely. An active one." … "There were a series of odd sensations, too." He adds with a frown.
[22:01] * Aline came in more or less right after the question mark in Riel's sentence, her hair still a bit matted with LCL, and that damnable blush still on her face - indeed, it got worse now that she was nearer… Yet was that bashfulness, not just mortified embarrassment…?
[22:05] <Voriel> ["Hmm." She looked over at EVA-00. "Odd sensations? Elaborate."]
[22:06] * Aline did insert a side-quip. "I… can help elaborate on what I was doing, if it's still confusing…?"
[22:07] <Voriel> [Dr. Riel turned, nodding once to show assent.]
[22:08] * Raphael 's frown deepens as he tries to get a handle on the memory-… only to lose his grip on it as Aline speaks up. He turns to face her and gives her a small, tired smile. "Ah, Pilot Blanc. I hadn't seen you there."
[22:10] * Aline looked left and right shiftily, then nodded. "It's fine… please, try to remember."
[22:20] * Raphael nods once - It really is strange to see Shinji's face move that way - and concentrates again. "It was… some sort of emotional tipping point. Like I was waiting for something amazing to happen, or something amazing -was- happening…" He shakes his head. "I don’t really know. It’s dimly familiar, but I can’t place it."
[22:23] * Aline shook her head a little. "I was trying to lock onto your happiness, your naturalness. I thought of it as… I don't know how to put it other than 'walking through' being in a natural body."
[22:25] <Raphael> "Mmm. That makes sense, ma'am." He says, but he's still frowning slightly.
[22:35] <Voriel> ["Well…"-
[22:35] <Voriel> [Dr. Riel nodded. "For now, I guess this will do. I'm sure we can find you a uniform in your size, Captain Guillory. Thank you for your help, Blanc."]
[22:36] * Aline veeeery slowly nodded. "You're, welcome."
[22:40] <Raphael> "Right, of course. Thank you both." Raphael says, giving Riel a curt nod and Aline a proper smile. "… As much as I'd like to go home, I may have to arrange a cab for the moment."
[22:41] <Voriel> ["I could drive you!" Said Dr. Riel.-
[22:41] <Voriel> ["… I mean, James. Drive him home."-
[22:41] <Voriel> ["What?"-
[22:41] <Voriel> ["That's an order."]
[22:41] <Raphael> "…"
[22:42] <Voriel> ["I…"-
[22:42] <Voriel> ["Do it. I have- research to do."-
[22:42] <Voriel> ["Fine." James stands up. "Come on, Sir Guillory."]
[22:43] * Aline blushed. "I'd offer my moped but it's… small and I doubt you'd be comfortable…" She said, perhaps a bit lost in the sudden whirlwind of speech. "…Actually that'd be horribly awkward. … Yeah."
[22:44] <Raphael> "… Yes sir." Raphael says slowly. "Uh… Yes. Thank you for the thought at any rate, ma'am."
[22:48] <Aline> "Uh-huh." Blush. Quiver. Hell, even a look at the ceiling with a strange expression on her lips for good measure!
[22:49] <Raphael> "… It may be a good idea for you to mention all of this to Pilot Ikari."
[22:51] * Aline nodded a bit faster. "Oh, definitely."
[22:52] * Raphael coughs. Perhaps all of the blushing has not gone unnoticed. "Good. Excellent." … "… Let's go, Doctor."
[22:55] <Voriel> ["Right, right." James is already off.]
[22:57] * Raphael follows a moment later after a quick and unsuccessful attempt to stop the legs of his pants from dragging under the heels of his shoes.
[22:59] * Aline …managed to /not/ watch them leave in a 'staaaaaare' kind of way. It took willpower! "That… could've been worse."
[23:00] <Voriel> ["Much worse." Agreed Dr. Riel. "All things considered, I can live with this result."]
[23:00] <Aline> "And judging from the lack of suicidal intent, so can he." Aline quickly added. You could tell it was quick.
[23:01] <Voriel> ["Win-win, really."]

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