Is There Anybody There Said The Traveller Knocking On The Mo

[13:02] <James‘Riel> [A day at the office. A few days after the intense, hectic clash at Valletta… Raphael would be in his office, quiet, alone.]
[13:09] <Raphael> Even after a few days there were still post-battle reports to be filed. Right now Raphael was mainly concerned with the filing a request for Marie Favager’s reconstructive surgery bills to be covered by NERV after the wounds she'd taken during the skirmish. Still, he was working fast, aware that his appointment was fast approaching…
[13:12] <James‘Riel> [His intercom hissed.-
[13:12] <James`Riel> ["Captain, Dr. Riel is here to see you."]
[13:14] * Raphael sighs deeply and tries to keep the frown from his face. "… Send her in, Sergeant."
[13:19] <James`Riel> ["Er… *cough*- right, sir."-
[13:19] <James`Riel> The door opened.-
[13:19] <James`Riel> "Group Captain Guillory? I don’t think we've met face to face before."-
[13:21] <James‘Riel> It wasn’t Luna Riel. Rather, it was her brother- James, the Tactical Operator for EVA-04 and a Technical Division liaison for the main bridge. He resembled his sister in a few ways- around the eyes and the nose, and the hair- but his face was rougher, with gritty stubble that looked as though it stubbornly refused to allow a razor to cut it. He stepped forward and held out his hand- the little finger was missing.-
[13:21] <James‘Riel> [Behind him was a young man- clearly around Mana’s age- wearing a white shirt and black trousers. He had pale skin, red eyes- a little like Rei's- and grey hair. He had a fey, catlike smile.]
[13:31] * Raphael is clearly a little surprised by all of this - though his shock at another Riel is quickly surpassed by the appearance of the young man following him - but he eventually stands to shake James' hand, his own missing ring finger making for a rather awkward handshake. "Ah… Pardon the confusion, sir. I've clearly had my wires crossed somewhat."
[13:33] <James‘Riel> "It happens. We should’ve specified. Ah." He stepped to the side. "This is Nagisa Kaworu- he's a friend and something of a jack of all trades. I figured he might be helpful."-
[13:33] <James‘Riel> ["How do you do?"]
[13:40] <Raphael> "Well enough, sir, paperwork aside." He says, examining those eyes for a few moments longer than could be considered proper.-
[13:41] * Raphael gestures towards a set of comfortable looking chairs opposite his desk. "Why don’t you both take a seat?"
[13:44] <James‘Riel> "Thanks. Don’t mind if I do."-
[13:44] <James‘Riel> James sat down, and Kaworu followed after.-
[13:45] <James`Riel> ["Your headquarters is rather impressive, Sir Guillory." Said Kaworu pleasantly.]
[13:48] * Raphael takes his own seat and turns off his computer monitor out of politeness. "Yes… NERV has been rather kind to us despite the fact that we’re something of an experiment. A bit of government funding on top of that has helped, of course."
[14:01] <James‘Riel> ["Indeed. You’ve been rather effective so far, as well."-
[14:01] <James‘Riel> ["… I must say, I’m actually rather envious."]
[14:02] <Raphael> "Is that so?"
[14:04] <James‘Riel> ["Oh yes." Kaworu smiled brightly. "Your secretary is very lovely."]
[14:13] <Raphael> "… Mmm." Raphael murmurs, one eyebrow raising just a fraction in a display of disapproval. He turns back to James. "So you said you have some news, Dr. Riel?"
[14:14] <James`Riel> "Yes. About the LN super-soldier you brought back from Valletta." James grinned. "Technical has a -lot- of things to say about it."
[14:20] <Raphael> "No doubt." Raphael nods. He’s giving James' face an appraising look as the man speaks, as if searching for some hint of Luna's failings there. Though he finds none, the resemblances to his sister do make him frown slightly. "What can you tell me?"
[14:23] <James‘Riel> "Well, first and foremost: it’s still alive."
[14:25] <Raphael> "… Excuse me?"
[14:26] <James‘Riel> "It’s not dead. You could slap a head on it tomorrow and boom! Terminator 2: Judgement Day."
[14:27] * Raphael stares at him blankly. "How is that even possible?"
[14:28] <James‘Riel> "Allow me to explain. What you fought was… Take a human body." James made a shape in the air.-
[14:36] <James`Riel> "And now, genetically enhance it, implant unique organs into it to increase its abilities and rapidly grow it in a nutrient-rich vat for a period of time. That gives it incredible toughness and prodigious strength. Finally, augment it with cybernetic technology and encase it in a suit of powered armour."
[14:46] <Raphael> "… But how does any of that explain it still being alive? Unless the cybernetics replaced things like the heart and lungs, surely its organs would be long dead."
[14:50] <James`Riel> [Kaworu smiled. "The same ability that allows an Evangelion to live and be rebuilt even though it’s head has been removed. That is, the genetic enhancements done to these cyborg super-soldiers involve Angel DNA. They have cores."]
[14:55] * Raphael lets out a quick breath through his nose. "I should have guessed. Angel DNA…" He shakes his head. "It seems to be science's answer to every other damned question lately."
[15:01] <James‘Riel> ["As far as answers go, it -is- a fairly omnipotent one." Said Kaworu cheekily.-
[15:02] <James`Riel> "Nevertheless." Said James quickly. "You wrote in your report that your team accounted for four of these cyborgs- that’s an impressive feat, Captain."
[15:12] <Raphael> "Perhaps, but it's not one I'd care to try and repeat." He says, reaching for a cup of coffee that's long since gone cold. "Half of those kills only happened because we happened to have a battle tank and an Ayanami on our side. And even then we lost the tank."
[15:14] <James‘Riel> ["Better the tank than the Ayanami." Said Kaworu.-
[15:15] <James`Riel> "That said, I’d be careful. From what we've gleaned from our Cyborg friend, there's a very high chance that the Cyborgs you put down have been rebuilt- and they'll probably hold a grudge."
[15:17] <Raphael> "… /Ah/." Raphael mutters. "Well, is there anything we can do to destroy them on a slightly more permanent basis?"
[15:25] <James‘Riel> "Well, ultimately, in battle all you need to worry about is disabling them. You’d need to destroy the core, and there aren't many personal-scale weaponry that can do that. It'll be an issue in strike tasks like the one you just did, but a defensive or a sustained offensive? We'll just rip the cores out after we're done."
[15:37] <Raphael> "Right." Though the idea of leaving behind super-soldiers with grudges didn't sound particularly appealing to him. "These bodies… are they cloned? And is there any information on their level of autonomy?"
[15:49] <James‘Riel> "Well, they definitely seem to -operate- independently, even though they’re organised into squads. From the recordings we took from the thing's helmet, the Sergeant- the one you bagged- was sending out orders and receiving reports from the others. The brain was kind of… Ruined, so we really didn't get much data on whether they've been conditioned or not. Same with figuring out whether they're cloned. But we suspect there's a high chance of them being neurosurgically conditioned."
[15:53] <Raphael> "… Ah. Yes, I apologise for that." Raphael says, looking a little sheepish. "Still, some level of conditioning wouldn't surprise me. That definitely seemed to be the case with the rest of the LN troops, though I'm waiting on further reports on our POWs from Dr. Castillo Delgado before I can say anything concrete."
[15:58] <James‘Riel> ["Have you had a chance to question one of the officers you captured?"]
[16:04] <Raphael> "Mmm, not yet. UN intelligence claimed the right to question him first, so I’m still waiting on my own clearance. I hear it's not going all that well, though."
[16:07] <James‘Riel> "Oh?"
[16:09] <Raphael> "As I understand it, they’ve been working on him for two days now and yet he's barely said a word."
[16:09] <James‘Riel> ["Intriguing. Considering that he surrendered despite others of his rank fighting to the death…"]
[16:11] <Raphael> "Odd, isn’t it? His own soldiers tried to kill him when he did so."
[16:17] * James‘Riel frowned. "Yeah, I read that. It’s… Bizarre."-
[16:17] <James‘Riel> ["Perhaps he wants to talk only to the people who personally bettered him."]
[16:21] * Raphael nods slowly. "… I’ve wondered as much, yes. I suppose we'll see when the UN are done with him."
[16:23] <James‘Riel> [Kaworu nodded. "What did he seem like after he surrendered?"]
[16:27] <Raphael> "Rather unperturbed. He attempted to woo my medic." Raphael says mildly, glancing over at Kaworu. It’s only then that a rather important thought seems to strike him. "… So are you with NERV, Mr. Nagisa?"
[16:28] <James‘Riel> ["Oh, yes." Kaworu said sweetly, taking out his wallet, flipping it open and flicking an S2 ID card onto the table in one unending motion.]
[16:39] * Raphael gives the card a quick once-over, trying to hide the realization that he has very little idea of what he’s looking for - He really hasn't seen many of these IDs up-close. After he's given it what feels like the proper amount of scrutiny, Raphael hands it back. "Fair enough, sir."
[16:40] <James‘Riel> [Kaworu takes it back and puts it away. "No harm done."-
[16:43] <James`Riel> "Anyway." James took out a manila folder and handed it to Raphael. "This! You’ll like this. Inside are files detailing some of the things we've found that could help you. Armor weak points, suggested strategies and weapons, that sort of thing."
[16:47] * Raphael actually smiles a little at that, taking the folder with a murmur of thanks and opening it in front of him. "Much obliged, Doctor. As I said, I'd prefer that our people didn't have to engage those things again, but I don't have high hopes. This could save somebody's life."
[16:52] <James‘Riel> "Not a worry." He grinned. "Oh, and in the spirit of NERV, this has also led to us starting a project or two of our own…"
[16:55] <Raphael> … and that stops him dead. His eyes are on James’, his face having taken on that unsettling, impassive look in a heartbeat. "… What -kind- of project, Doctor Riel?" He asks calmly.
[17:00] <James‘Riel> "Well, we figured that if we get a few more samples of that armor, we might be able to make reverse-engineered copies that could be used by even unaugmented humans like you or me." Says James cheerfully.#
[20:44] * Raphael blinks, his shoulders visibly relaxing. "Oh. Of course, Doctor." He says, trying to force himself back into the rhythm of conversation. "I’m sure we can try and procure you some more of those."
[20:51] <James‘Riel> "Excellent. I think you’d be rather pleased with what they can do. I mean, you've seen the obvious effects- it's tough as hell, and boosts the user's strength- but the broken, shattered remains of what was once a helmet at some point hints at rather fascinating hardware."
[20:55] <Raphael> "Such as?" He asks, privately wondering whether Riel would have been any more careful had the hulking cyborg been aiming a bolter at -his- head.
[21:10] <James‘Riel> "A full communication package that can be set to open pre-selected channels that can be selected via voice command or possibly via a neural uplink. Let’s see… An advanced sensor display that we believe can be set to detect heat, null problems caused by low light, filter for things like fog or smoke… A HUD that assists with target selection and shooting… And finally, it automates the suit's automatic medical subroutines."
[21:18] <Raphael> "Hmmm. All good things to know if we happen to skirmish with them again, as well as potentially useful if we can replicate them. We'll try to find what you need, Doctor."
[21:21] * James‘Riel nodded. "Good good."-
[21:21] <James`Riel> ["Ah. If I may interject?"]
[21:21] <Raphael> "… Of course."#
[21:26] <James`Riel> ["Whilst the basic suits are dangerous, we have reason to believe that some of the suits are adapted for personal flight. Keep an eye out for that."]
[21:33] <Raphael> "Good to know, sir. I’ll let my people know."
[21:34] <James‘Riel> [Kaworu nodded.-
[21:34] <James`Riel> "Alright! I think that’s everything- you let me know if you have any questions, and I'll do my best to answer them." He stood up.
[21:37] * Raphael nods, pushing back his own chair. "Thank you, Doctor. And if any of these prisoners have anything notable to say I'll be sure to pass it on to Technical."
[21:39] <James‘Riel> "Excellent." He grinned, nodding. "Have a good day. C’mon, Kaworu, let's go."-
[21:39] <James‘Riel> ["I’ll need five minutes." Said Kaworu as they headed out.-
[21:39] <James‘Riel> "What for-"-
[21:39] <James`Riel> [A snippet of Kaworu’s voice as James closed the door: "And what might your name be, pretty miss?"]#

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