Isabelle S Fate

[06:06] <Minaplo> [When a person entered the Geofront of Paris-2 for the first time, usually they could not help being awed at the sight. A gleaming pyramid in admist a green paradise, a huge vibrant space glowing with the gathered light of the sun.-
[06:08] <Minaplo> [The Synfront beneath Nairobi-2 could not be more different. The pyramid still sat in the middle, but in every other direction- factories and buildings and machines larger than Evas, whirring and hammering away, the whole cavernous space filled with the sound of industry on an unimaginable scale. It dominated the entire space utterly.-
[06:08] <Minaplo> [It was intimidating and confronting. It didn't feel safe.-
[06:08] <Minaplo> [At Yanmei's side, Lizzie clung a little tighter to her hand as the elevator (with window) trundled toward the pyramid. In Lizzie's free hand was General Bear, clutche close to her chest.]
[06:12] * Yanmei gave her hand a comforting little squeeze and smiled down at her. Her own anxiety had started rearing it head long before they'd made it to this point. It was because her mind kept skipping back to the things they'd left behind in Paris, and de Orleans' words about the Synfront during their last conversation. -
[06:16] <Yanmei> Words about Isabelle Bellamy. She'd managed to keep it off her face, at least. Kids were pretty sensitive to things like tension, and she didn't want it spreading to Lizzie. Composure, composure… "Is it always this noisy?" She offered a similar smile to the armored figures sharing the elevator with them.
[06:16] * SyntaxTerror is now known as Sept
[06:17] <Minaplo> ["HQ is soundproofed, ma'am!" Replied one.-
[06:17] <Minaplo> ["The factories never stop, ma'am." Said the other.]
[06:19] <Yanmei> "Never? Is it all automated?" She eyed the factories, feeling somehow a little dizzy from it all. "They're probably off-limits to visitors, huh?"
[06:20] <Minaplo> ["The factories run themselves, ma'am." Said the other guard. "Even down to expansion and self-maintenance."-
[06:20] <Minaplo> ["Authorised personnel only, ma'am!" Said the first guard.]
[06:23] <Yanmei> "I thought so?" She muttered. Most of this was probably Azariah's - built long before NERV took over and made it their own. How far had his crazy research gone?
[06:30] <Minaplo> [Closer to the pyramid, Yanmei would be able to see the thoroughfares and roads between the machines and factories. The roads were rather expansive and wide, but overshadowed from afar by the monolithic surroundings.-
[06:33] <Minaplo> [She saw supplies being shifted between buildings and camps in vehicles far beyond the technological level of, say, France's military; they looked smooth and sleek and elegant. Soldiers marched through the streets as well on drill, in numbers beyond Yanmei's ability to count easily.]
[06:37] <Yanmei> "How did you guys come to be soldiers here? If you don't mind me asking." The recruitment campaigns in this area must have been massive. They couldn't have all been local, though?
[06:38] <Minaplo> ["I was a pro-UN guerilla, ma'am!" Said the first soldier.-
[06:39] <Minaplo> ["Drawn from the British Army, ma'am. Many soldiers are either recruited locally or drawn from Valentine forces." Said the other.-
[06:39] <Minaplo> ["They pay well, and there are other benefits." He added.-
[06:39] <Minaplo> ["Two million men under invincible arms and counting!" Said the first guard.]
[06:45] <Yanmei> Million? Yeah, she could believe that when she gazed out over everything. "Invincible. Everything - your armor and weapons - is made down here, I bet? Everything's so… different to the equipment we have in Europe and Asia."
[06:48] <Minaplo> ["It's the best, ma'am!"-
[06:48] <Minaplo> ["That's enough, private." Said the other soldier gruffly. The Elevator's view was quickly vanishing as it entered the gigantic pyramid. A minute later it came to a stop, the doors opening.]
[06:50] <Yanmei> Still holding Lizzie's hand, Yanmei stepped out and to the side, waiting for the soldiers to take the lead and guide them to… well, wherever the welcoming committee was? She peered around, not expecting it to be much like the Geofront on the inside either.
[07:01] <Minaplo> [In this she'd be somewhat mistaken; the interior was very similar to NERV HQ; at least architecturally. There were no familiar faces here, and a lot more soldiers walking through the corridors.-
[07:01] <Minaplo> ["Where to, ma'am?" Asked the older guard.]
[07:05] <Yanmei> "Hm… Well, there's a Bridge here, isn't there? Let's drop by there first."
[07:09] <Minaplo> ["Very good, ma'am."-
[07:11] <Minaplo> [A short walk and elevator ride later, and they found themselves on the bridge. Getting on was more complex than at home; Yanmei's ID didn't have security clearance for the locks.-
[07:13] <Minaplo> [No one turned or noticed her as she entered; the bridge crew were focused on their consoles and the holographic screen. A tall, dark fellow in an officer's uniform stared up at the screen, hands behind his back. "Any word from the mobile artillery units?" "They're ready and waiting, sir." "Tell them to move to Drillspace 09."]
[07:16] <Yanmei> Were they in the middle of some operation? She frowned, standing by, trying to get a sense of what was going on… or at least to pick out a familiar face out of all the unfamiliar ones.
[07:19] <Minaplo> [There weren't any familiar faces here, sadly.-
[07:20] <Minaplo> ["Ahem." The old soldier cleared his voice. "VIP from Paris-2 on site, sir."-
[07:23] <Minaplo> [The commander here- presumably the Operations Director- turned to look at her, along with a majority of the crew. "Ah. Zhang Yanmei. Welcome to the Synfront." He said in a voice that could be unashamedly described as mellifluous. It was in an accent Yanmei had never heard before.]
[07:27] <Yanmei> "Sir." Yanmei saluted. "Thank you. It's a pleasure for us to be here."
[07:32] <Minaplo> [He nodded. "You understand, of course, that the Synfront is always at a state of combat readiness. You will need to verify your identification at all checkpoints, and you will not be permitted to enter certain areas without escort."]
[07:35] <Yanmei> "Yes, of course. I was planning to meet with Isabelle Bellamy during my stay here. Am I correct in assuming that she's residing in one such high-security area?"
[07:38] <Minaplo> ["In the Astrotelepath Administrative Quarter, yes." He said.]
[07:46] <Yanmei> She nearly raised an eyebrow at the name of that section, but she kept her thoughts on it to herself. "I see. Thank you. Of course, the two escorts assigned to us have done an excellent job so far. We'll get out of your hair for a bit and leave you to your work."
[07:58] <Minaplo> ["Thank you. Have a good day, Mademoiselle Zhang."-
[07:58] <Minaplo> [The soldiers saluted.-
[07:58] <Minaplo> ["Any trouble topside?" Asked the OD.-
[07:58] <Minaplo> ["No, Magistrate, it's mostly quiet."-
[07:58] <Minaplo> ["Good. You may go."]
[08:02] * Yanmei gave a final salute herself with a "Goodbye for now, sir," and turned away for the door once more. Once in the hallway again, she hm'd to herself. "Astrotelepath Administrative Quarter. I guess that's our next stop? After that, we'll say hello to the Director and then find someplace to rest. It's a lot for one day, isn't it Lizzie?"
[08:06] <Minaplo> ["Walk walk…"-
[08:06] <Minaplo> ["Should we guide you to the Astro Quarter, ma'am?"]
[08:07] <Yanmei> "Yes, please, if you don't mind?"
[08:09] <Minaplo> [The old soldier nodded, and began to guide Yanmei along.-
[08:09] <Minaplo> [… But they wouldn't reach their destination without event. As they came to one elevator, they heard chatter behind them- loud and energetic, so unlike the rest of HQ.-
[08:10] <Minaplo> ["… Hey." Called out a voice- a familiar female one. One of the Simonides twins! "Isn't that Yanmei?"-
[08:10] <Minaplo> ["It is!"]
[08:17] * Yanmei swiveled, grinning, recognizing the voices at once. She lifted a hand to wave. "You guys! Long time no see!"
[08:17] <Minaplo> ["Hyah!"-
[08:18] <Minaplo> [Yanmei would find herself being hoisted up in one of Elene's 'special hugs'; that is, slung over a shoulder and spun around. "You're late! You were supposed to be here like months ago, you sneaky little liar!"-
[08:18] <Minaplo> [Sophia made sure to grab Lizzie as well, scooping her up into a more genuine, and more cuddly hug. "Oh, you're cuter every time I see you~"-
[08:18] <Minaplo> ["Maa!"]
[08:21] <Yanmei> "Gwah!! L-lemme down!" Flailing and struggling were not dignified behavior, especially in front of spectators, but she couldn't help it. "I'm lucky we got permission to come at all!"
[08:25] <Minaplo> [She was spun around, which allowed Sophia to ruffle her hair- tickled- and most indignantly, smacked on the rear before Elene set her down, throwing an arm around her shoulders. "But no, seriously. There was going to be a cake and everything. But we didn't even get any word… God, you're so mean."]
[08:32] * Yanmei tried to smooth down her hair, perhaps a little sulkily avoiding eye contact with the two soldiers. "There were all those emergencies, so the date kept getting pushed back? Even now, this was a pretty rushed trip. Some… weird things are happening back home."
[08:34] <Minaplo> ["We heard that there's been problems." Said Sophia, looking concerned, even as she placed Lizzie on her shoulders. "Anything involving you?"]
[08:38] <Yanmei> "Yeah, I guess. We're all being effected one way or the other. You've heard about the Angel breach, and how short-staffed we are because of it?"
[08:38] <Minaplo> ["Vaguely." Said Elene, frowning.]
[08:44] <Yanmei> "Hm. Well, the story is that the Geofront was enveloped by a Dirac Sea. Within it, all of these awful creatured kept spawning. We eventually managed to subdue the Angel, but it took out a lot of people first. S2 is barely on its feet. -
[08:44] <Yanmei> ^creatures
[08:44] <Yanmei> "The Med division and the Bridge and some other places were trashed. On the surface, Paris was in flames due to rioting caused by the Angel's presence. Some type of emotional manipulation? Anyway, we were there in the Geofront while it was going on. The pilots, sans Blanc."
[08:46] <Minaplo> ["Blanc was in England. I heard that much." Said Sophia.-
[08:46] <Minaplo> ["You guys are lucky you didn't bite it." Said Elene. "That we -didn't- all bite it." She added darkly.]
[08:48] <Yanmei> "It was a close one," she admitted. "But we're still here! And, ah. Actually there were some things I wanted to ask you. They're kinda personal, though?"
[08:49] <Minaplo> ["Maamaa~" Lizzie waved wildly from Sophia's shoulders.-
[08:49] <Minaplo> ["… Personal?" Asked Elene curiously.]
[08:51] * Yanmei waved back at her even though they were only a few feet apart, chuckling. "Stuff about the days before you joined NERV."
[08:52] <Minaplo> ["Oh? You thinking of a criminal career?" Asked Elene with a smirk.]
[08:55] <Yanmei> "As if!" She huffed. "I'm totally upstanding? I'm more interested in finding out how to combat guys like that."
[08:57] <Minaplo> ["How to combat criminals…?" Sophia frowned. "Why?"]
[09:02] <Yanmei> "They've been pretty active in Paris lately. It's getting… uncomfortable. I've mentioned it to S2, but like I've said, they're pretty weak right now."
[09:07] <Minaplo> ["I see." Elene rubbed her chin. "But aren't you pretty good at fighting anyway?"]
[09:09] <Yanmei> "Yeah, but it'll be a problem if I'm confronted by a group or something. And then there's Lizzie…" She gazed at the little girl in concern. "I'm thinking about sending her to a safe babysitter as a temporary solution when we get back to the city."
[09:12] <Minaplo> ["I see." Sophia nodded slowly.-
[09:13] <Minaplo> ["Ma'am, sorry to eavesdrop, but-" the old soldier moved forward. "Wasn't Ninth Company assigned to Paris-2 recently?"]
[09:15] <Yanmei> "That's right. The Geofront itself is secure because of them, but they're restricted from acting outside of it so Paris itself is a different story."
[09:16] <Minaplo> ["I see, ma'am. Sorry for my intrusion."]
[09:20] <Yanmei> "No, no, it's no trouble at all." She smiled at him. "I don't care about bringing down criminals all that much, but I wants us to stay safe from them. So I think we should have some options if - heaven forbid - S2 falls through."
[09:22] <Minaplo> ["That's not a bad idea." Sophia plucked Lizzie from her shoulders and gave her a huge snuggly cuddle, Lizzie giggling.-
[09:24] <Minaplo> ["You want to keep little girls like this safe from bad men~" She cooed.-
[09:24] <Minaplo> [There was a laugh-cough from one of the soldiers, quickly stifled.]
[09:36] <Yanmei> "A-anyway…" Yanmei cleared her throat, trying desperately to sound professional. "When you were with them - the mafia - you must have seen how they fought other groups, right?"
[09:36] <Minaplo> ["Yeah." Said Elene, with a nod.]
[09:37] <Yanmei> "How was it? Were they stealthy about it? Like following targets around and stuff before striking? Or did they just randomly swarm and attack with sheer numbers?"
[09:43] <Minaplo> ["Depends." Said Elene with a shrug. "Sometimes if it was one or two people they'd sneak up and take them out, but there were times they did drive-bys to shoot up a whole bunch of hits."]
[09:48] * Yanmei paled a bit at that. "Any deterrents? The police probably couldn't do anything to them, but what about appeals to rival gangs or more powerful groups for protection?"
[09:53] <Minaplo> ["You're with NERV, that -should- count." Said Elene with a slight frown.-
[09:53] <Minaplo> ["Appealing to other groups might help, but only if you have something to offer, and even then it can be tricky." Said Sophia with a cautious tone.]
[09:58] <Yanmei> "I see." She frowned. "I'm sure NERV does count, or at least it did at some point. Lately I've been told that they'd be idiots to try anything fishy while NERV was around. Maybe we just need to make another display of power to make them back off again."
[10:08] <Minaplo> ["Maybe." Said Elene.-
[10:08] <Minaplo> ["Hey, where are you headed now, Yanmei?" Asked Sophia.]
[10:12] * Raphael has quit IRC (Quit: <AdEvaGM> Saber is very patient. <Shirou> What is going onnnnnnnn <Saber> Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. You shouldn't speak. You're an idiot.)
[10:18] <Yanmei> "To Isabelle Bellamy's place. Want to come with?"
[10:19] * ZackSleep is now known as ZackSkyfall
[10:21] <Minaplo> [They paused, and glanced at each other. "Er… Maybe we shouldn't. Tell ya what, swing by our rooms after you're done. We'll find lunch for you and we can talk."]
[10:22] <Yanmei> The reaction made her heart sink. Was Isabelle really that bad off? "All right! That sounds like a plan. Thanks."
[10:25] <Minaplo> [Sophia put Lizzie down. "See you later, Yanmei. Bye, Lizzie!"-
[10:25] <Minaplo> ["Byebye!"]
[10:27] <Yanmei> "See you guys." She saw them off with a nod, and then gently ruffled Lizzie's hair. "On to the Astro-place."
[10:31] <Minaplo> [Lizzie grasped Yanmei's hand and followed her onto the elevator.-
[10:31] <Minaplo> [A short trip and a walk later- through a high security door- and into the Astrotelepath Administration District. Immediately the atmosphere changed.-
[10:32] <Minaplo> [There were hardly any soldiers here, except the ones posted at the door, and they seemed tense even through their armour. It was… Eerily quiet.]
[10:37] <Yanmei> The natural hush of a Very Important Place. Maybe. It made her check her footsteps to see if they were too loud as they walked on.
[10:40] <Minaplo> [Even Lizzie seemed quieter.-
[10:40] <Minaplo> [The guards guided Yanmei to a specific room- a room labelled "Astrotelepathic Focus Room".-
[10:40] <Minaplo> ["Miss Bellamy is in here, ma'am!"]
[10:44] <Yanmei> She almost jumped a little. His voice didn't sound -loud- exactly… just jarring in the cold stillness of their surroundings. "Right. Thanks." She lifted a hand and knocked softly.
[10:52] <Minaplo> [The door opened, seemingly of its own accord.-
[10:53] <Minaplo> [The room within was entirely unlike any other room Yanmei had seen. It had a strangely velvet feel to it, a light-headed musk about it. The tiled ground turned to soft carpet, and ethereal silky drapes lined the walls. Yanmei could -almost- hear music, yet when she tried to concentrate on the sound it vanished.-
[10:56] <Minaplo> [In the middle of this room was a chair, more like a throne on a raised dais. It was lined with velvet cushions. Sitting in the chair was a pale woman, wearing a long lavender robe that fell to her ankles, revealing simple shoes; sleeves that fell beyond the wrists, and a hood that fell so low it covered her face, everything above the mouth.-
[10:56] <Minaplo> [It would take Yanmei a second to recognise Isabelle.]
[11:00] <Yanmei> She faltered. The decor, the not-music, the throne… it was gorgeous and alien at the same time. She cleared her throat quietly. "Isabelle? Is that you?" A few steps closer on the thick carpet. "Sorry if I'm interrupting? It's me, Zhang Yanmei."
[11:02] <Minaplo> ["I know." She said. "I saw you come in."]
[11:08] <Yanmei> "Oh." For a moment she stared hard at the hood covering Isabelle's eyes. "I meant to come earlier, really, I did! So much stuff happened, and I had to push the trip back a few weeks. We're only here now because I got special permission. Ah… Lizzie's here as well. Say hello, Sweetie."
[11:10] <Minaplo> [Lizzie shook her head, staring fearfully at Isabelle.-
[11:10] <Minaplo> ["I can see her, too. She is starting to become." Said Isabelle quietly. "She is happy and loved."]
[11:12] <Yanmei> Lizzie… Yanmei gazed at her and then over at Isabelle again, worried. "I've tried," she said. "I've tried my best. You… how are you doing here?"
[11:15] <Minaplo> ["I am treated well. The handmaidens see to my needs, although they fear me."-
[11:16] <Minaplo> [Someone shifted uncomfortably behind Yanmei, who'd realise that it had been one of these who had opened the door.]
[11:18] * Yanmei glanced back at them, and nodded to them with halfhearted politeness. Her real concern here was Isabelle. "It must be isolating."
[11:19] <Minaplo> ["Yes, it can be." She said impassively. "Although I stil see Adrian sometimes."]
[11:22] <Yanmei> "And how is Adrian?"
[11:23] <Minaplo> ["He is sorrowful."]
[11:24] <Yanmei> "Because he misses you and Lizzie?"
[11:24] <Minaplo> ["Because he sees the suffering and terrible sickness that is coming." She muttered darkly.]
[11:26] <Yanmei> "S-sickness? You mean the stuff that's going on in London? Or is it something else?"
[11:27] <Minaplo> ["Suffering and death, a great doom falling upon the shoulders of the world. Yes, I think humanity might be beyond saving at this late juncture."]
[11:30] <Yanmei> "I can't believe that," said Yanmei firmly. "There has to be something we can do."
[11:30] <Minaplo> [Isabelle let out a sigh.]
[11:32] <Yanmei> "What? Is that weird?"
[11:32] <Minaplo> ["You wouldn't understand."]
[11:33] <Yanmei> "Why not?" She was glaring, now, before she realized it.
[11:34] <Minaplo> ["You can't see. You're blind."]
[11:38] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei's glare settled elsewhere as she waited for her frustration to subside. "Humor me, won't you?"
[11:41] <Minaplo> ["You say there is something you can do, but what if there is not? What if the future is set already?"]
[11:44] <Yanmei> "If that's true, then there's no point to anything we've done up until now."
[11:45] <Minaplo> ["You fear that, don't you? That you struggle for nothing, that you can't change anything."]
[11:49] <Yanmei> "I'm not afraid. I just have a visceral loathing for that concept. It means… what? That we're all helpless puppets dancing for forces beyond our control?"
[11:50] <Minaplo> ["That is what it might mean."]
[11:52] <Yanmei> "You don't find that cruel or demeaning or hopeless?"
[11:53] <Minaplo> ["What is, is." Said Isabelle. "I've long been without control of my own destiny."]
[11:56] <Yanmei> Yanmei's face shifted, her eyes growing sad. "Why do you say that?"
[11:59] <Minaplo> ["Because it's true."-
[11:59] <Minaplo> ["I do not know the future, Yanmei. I cannot truly say if what you do can change it. But to me it feels like I have lost my own will."]
[12:07] <Yanmei> "I'm sorry," Yanmei said, and shook her head. Of course she would feel that way. "I really am sorry. Isn't there anything that could help you reclaim it?"
[12:08] <Minaplo> ["Death."]
[12:08] <Yanmei> "…"
[12:11] <Minaplo> ["Death is not so bad. We've all died. Many times."-
[12:12] <Minaplo> [There was a cough from behind the throne- and Yanmei would see now that behind the veils was another door- one that had been opened. "Isabelle, it's time for the seeing."]
[12:14] <Yanmei> She didn't know what that meant. Something to do with the Chantry, maybe? She tried to shake off the blow Isabelle's words had left. "Do you need us to leave? We can come back later."
[12:15] <Minaplo> [Isabelle stood- and paused. "No. You should see."]
[12:17] * Yanmei nodded distractedly. "Lizzie too?"
[12:17] <Minaplo> ["Better to leave her with the handmaidens."]
[12:19] * Yanmei nodded again, turning to the ladies by the visible door. "Do you mind looking after her for a bit?"
[12:23] <Minaplo> ["Not at all." Said one, stepping forward to offer her hand to Lizzie. Elizabeth eyed her warily, looking up at Yanyan for guidance. "Maamaa?"-
[12:23] <Minaplo> [Behind Yanmei, Isabelle stiffened even as she walked towards the back of the room.]
[12:26] <Yanmei> "It's okay. The nice ladies will play with you." Yanmei tried to play it smoothly with a smile and hair-ruffle, although Isabelle's reaction wasn't exactly lost on her either. "I have to go with her, but I'll only be a little while. Why don't you show them your bear?"
[23:01] <Minaplo> ["Maa…" Lizzie looked uncertain in this strangest of strange places, but hesitantly, reluctantly she stepped away from Yanmei, holding the bear out cautiously towrds the handmaidens. "Bear-bear…"]
[23:04] <Yanmei> "There's a good girl!" She beamed at her, and then gave the handmaidens a final look before turning and heading after Isabelle. "I won't be long."
[23:05] <Minaplo> [A handmaiden smiled and took Lizzie's hand- the little girl gave Yanmei a last worried look.-
[23:05] <Minaplo> [Isabelle had vanished through the door behind the throne, which was open- waiting for Yanmei to follow.]
[23:06] * Yanmei gave Lizzie a little wave before stepping through the door.
[23:12] <Minaplo> [The door opened into a huge chamber- unlike the previous one the room was unadorned, bare metal walls and hard tiled walls stretching all around Yanmei. In the centre of a room was a massive machine, built into the wall; it put Yanmei in the mind of an entry plug of some kind, albeit one built into what looked like a huge steel ribcage. Tendrils of cables criss-crossed this contraption.-
[23:13] <Minaplo> [In front of the machine was a chair, facing the door; the chair resembled an execution chair, with ankle and wrist cuffs- and a strange helmet, connected to the machine via wires.]
[23:16] * Yanmei regarded it in silence for a time, feeling her anxiety levels creeping higher. What were those restraints for? "Isabelle?"
[23:23] <Minaplo> ["Yes?"]
[23:24] <Yanmei> "Is… is this what you use to see into the Chantry?"
[23:27] <Minaplo> ["Yes." Said Isabelle, walking steadily towards the chair.-
[23:27] <Minaplo> [There was another woman here, a tall, severe-looking one. She didn't look like a handmaiden.]
[23:31] * Yanmei blinked at the woman for a moment, and then bobbed her head politely. "Lieutenant Zhang Yanmei, ma'am. Are you the Nairobi branch's Director of Science?"
[23:31] <Minaplo> ["No. I am Bellamy's Interpreter."]
[23:34] <Yanmei> "Interpreter? I… see. It's good to meet you." Of course there would be a language barrier. But it was strange. Which audience was she interpreting for? She skimmed around the room briefly for scientists and the like.
[23:34] <Minaplo> [No one but the two of them.-
[23:35] <Minaplo> ["My findings can be hard to understand." Said Isabelle. "The Interpreter records what I say so it can be understood."]
[23:37] * Yanmei nodded. "I get it. But, ah, aside from her you pretty much do this unsupervised?"
[23:38] <Minaplo> ["Yes."]
[23:41] <Yanmei> "I'm a little confused? I guess I was expecting an EVA and a team of scientists to help protect you. Is this machine safe?"
[23:42] <Minaplo> ["Nothing is safe." Said Isabelle. She reached up to her hood and pulled it back.-
[23:43] <Minaplo> [It was obvious to see why she wore the hood, now. Pure white, empty eyes dominated her face- and yet they unerringly stared at Yanmei. Her hair was gone, as if it had all fallen out, leaving a smooth, bald round head.]
[23:48] <Yanmei> And yet, how easy was it to recall the Isabelle that had once been? The one with the smiling husband and the baby pram, her wavy blonde hair neatly styled. During the Thunderdome, it had looked as if that Isabelle might have been making a comeback. But then… her own eyes flicked between her and the machine in silent distress.
[23:52] <Minaplo> [Isabelle picked the helmet up and sat in the chair. She placed it upon her own head, where once again her eyes were shielded; it clicked into place with a disturbing -clack-.-
[23:52] <Minaplo> ["Cuff me."-
[23:53] <Minaplo> [The Interpreter moved in and cuffed Isabelle tightly to the chair.]
[23:55] * Yanmei shifted forward slightly, as if inclined to stop them, but she made herself stop. They had done this at least half a dozen times before. She was an outsider, no? An observer?
[23:57] <Minaplo> ["They'll activate the machine in one minute, Isabelle. Prepare yourself."]
Session Time: Sun Nov 18 00:00:00 2012
[00:00] <Yanmei> Those restraints… she narrowed her eyes. 'Prepare yourself'? Oh god… "Is this normal? Has it always been like this?!"
[00:02] <Minaplo> ["Of course." Said the Interpreter irritably. She took a step back.]
[00:04] <Yanmei> "Isabelle! Are you really okay with this?"
[00:11] <Minaplo> ["It's all I can do." Said Isabelle.]
[00:17] <Yanmei> "I just never thought…" she muttered, but trailed off.
[00:20] <Minaplo> ["It's starting." Said the Interpreter.-
[00:21] <Minaplo> [The Plug-like object began to spin, slowly; it started to sink into the ground.]
[00:25] * Yanmei watched it go. She was bracing herself as well, for troubling sights that she was sure would come.
[00:26] <Minaplo> [Isabelle began to take deep breaths.-
[00:27] <Minaplo> [The plug finished its descent- it locked into place, red light starting to shine through ports in its exterior. Isabelle stiffened, suddenly, her body going rigid.]
[00:32] * Yanmei kept watching, anxiously. It was all she could do right now.
[00:35] <Minaplo> [And then it happened- Isabelle hurled herself back into the chair, -hard-, her head snapping back. She let out a pained cry.]
[00:39] * Yanmei winced. She stole a glance at the Interpreter, trying to gauge her own concern.
[00:42] * ZackAFK is now known as Zack
[00:43] <Minaplo> [The Interpreter watched impassively, clearly not bothered or stirred.-
[00:44] <Minaplo> ["Ng…" Isabelle began to pant. She yanked at her right arm forcefully- it wouldn't move beneath the cuffs. She strained, the metal starting to dig into the flesh.-
[00:44] <Minaplo> ["What do you see, Isabelle?" Asked the Interpreter.-
[00:44] <Minaplo> ["Can't… So few… Small… Hard to hide…"]
[00:48] * Yanmei remained quiet, just watching this disconcerting scene. What the hell? She didn't care?
[00:53] <Minaplo> [The Interpreter was typing on a small computer, indifferent to Isabelle's plight. Veins were sticking out on her hands and face as she strained fruitlessly. "World- city- fire- river, slave monsters-"-
[00:54] <Minaplo> ["That will be Paris, I think." Said the Interpreter promptly.-
[00:54] <Minaplo> ["Destroy- from within…"]
[00:59] <Yanmei> What? Between that and Isabelle's struggles, she felt suddenly sick to her stomach. Destroying it from within… Something that was small and hard to pinpoint…
[01:01] <Minaplo> ["A… A beast, a beast, and… Something beautiful, it hurts my eyes, too much for my eyes, please, let me go-"-
[01:01] <Minaplo> ["Focus, Isabelle."-
[01:02] <Minaplo> ["So beautiful- I can't feel… Anything else." Isabelle was starting to gibber to herself, mad nursery rhymes spilling from her lips.-
[01:02] <Minaplo> ["Can't- feel- any threat- properly- no- it doesn't want to speak… Oh… Please, please-"-
[01:02] <Minaplo> ["Isabelle-"-
[01:03] <Minaplo> ["Let me out! Let me out! Let me out!" She screamed, now, a keening cry of agony.]
[01:05] <Yanmei> "Ma'am! Please! Can't you…?"
[01:07] <Minaplo> ["No."-
[01:08] <Minaplo> [Isabelle started to thrash wildly now, her head snapping back and forth as she tried to escape the machine. Yanmei would see thin rivers of blood start to flow down Isabelle's pale cheeks.-
[01:10] <Minaplo> ["Can't- see them- don't know, river fire- like- snake… beast, hungry beast, I don't know-"-
[01:10] <Minaplo> [The Interpreter sighed, and shot a glance up toward the roof. Abruptly, the machine came to a sudden halt- Isabelle slumped forward.]
[01:16] * Yanmei heaved her own sigh now; while it contained none of the exasperation the Interpreter's had, it didn't have much relief behind it either. "Does she need a doctor?"
[01:18] <Minaplo> ["She'll be fine with rest." Said the Interpreter. She walked over and released the cuffs- Isabelle fell onto the ground, sobbing to herself.-
[01:19] <Minaplo> [A pair of handmaidens swiftly passed Yanmei; they headed for Isabelle, gently taking each arm with their own.]
[01:24] * Yanmei quietly watched them collect her. She wanted to say something, but she didn't think it would help. Why had Isabelle wanted her to see all that? -
[01:24] <Yanmei> "Did we learn much?" She eyed the Interpreter hopefully.
[01:25] <Minaplo> ["Nothing too much we didn't already know. Today wasn't a good day." Said the Interpreter, giving Yanmei a reproachful look.]
[01:26] <Yanmei> "…you guys were aware that something was targeting Paris 'from the inside'? Does the Commander know?"
[01:32] * Raphael has joined #nervfrance
[01:33] <Minaplo> ["Of course." Said the Interpreter severely.-
[01:37] <Minaplo> [The handmaidens began to guide Isabelle away- the girl still sobbing. They pulled her hood over her face once more.]
[01:45] <Yanmei> "There are Angelspawn in that city. And if they're trying to bring it down, they're probably targeting VIPs. Like the pilots." She turned to follow Isabelle. "I don't think you care, but some of us have actually noticed them?" she added over her shoulder.
[01:48] <Minaplo> [The Interpreter simply gave Yanmei an indifferent look. Before long, Isabelle and her handmaidens had passed through into the antechamber.]
[01:51] * Yanmei joined them, searching around for little Lizzie.
[01:52] <Minaplo> [Lizzie was with another handmaiden, sitting on a plush velvet couch against one of the walls- she was staring at Isabelle, looking scared and near to tears.]
[01:54] * Yanmei joined her, reaching out to take her hand and pat it. She gazed at the handmaiden. "Should we give Isabelle some time alone?"
[01:56] <Minaplo> [The handmaiden nodded. "Miss Bellamy will need at least twelve hours of sleep."-
[01:57] <Minaplo> [Lizzie slipped off the couch and clung to Yanmei's hand, hiding herself behind Yanmei's legs.]
[01:59] <Yanmei> "We'll go ahead and retire to our own room. It's… been a long day. Tell her I'll see her in the morning."
[02:00] <Minaplo> ["Of course, ma'am."]
[02:01] * Yanmei stooped down and hoisted Lizzie up and carried her to the door, patting her back comfortingly as they went.

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