Komm Susser Tod 2 2 6

[20:02] <Raphael> Raphael was not pleased.-
[20:02] <Raphael> This was not an uncommon condition on the Dorian right now - After all, they were trapped on the surface of Mars in bitter cold with minimal supplies and thousands of dead. And while Raphael was suitably bothered by all of this, right now his primary concern lay with trying to track down a missing Suzanne.-
[20:02] <Raphael> Her arrival on the Dorian had come with strict concessions, and one of those had been an agreement that she was not to stray from their dormitory without supervision. Even then, he'd required her to leave a note. So returning to the room after over 24 hours on-shift to find her missing had caused him considerable irritation.-
[20:02] <Raphael> It was only after nearly an hour of asking around that he had found someone with a clear idea of her destination, and by then he had been struggling to keep his anger in check. And so it was that Raphael stomped towards the Engineering bay, following the supposed path of Suzie and the Peaceknight and trying to force himself to relax.
[20:10] <Minaplo> [They wouldn't be hard to find in the end.-
[20:11] <Minaplo> [The Peaceknight stood out, being as tall was it was, over the near the far end of the bay. Its front of was open, Suzie sitting in the cockpit, the Suit otherwise laying dormant.-
[20:12] <Minaplo> [Opposite her were two people- Sarasvati and Navah. Navah had, for once, dispensed with her giant dresses, instead wearing a plain Engineering jumpsuit in her size with a tiny little labcoat. She was sitting on Sarasvati's shoulders (who was more or less dressed in the same manner, albeit to scale). At Sarasvati's feet was a small ball, about the size of a soccer ball.-
[20:12] <Minaplo> ["Ready?" Asked Sarasvati.-
[20:12] <Minaplo> ["Yep!" "Yep!"-
[20:14] <Minaplo> [Sarasvati kicked the soccer ball up vertically into the air, before pulling Navah off and -tossing- her upwards as well. She pirouetted, and as the soccer ball fell she ended her pirouette with a snap-kick, catching it in mid-air and sending it hurtling towards Suzie. Suzie barely caught it, whilst Sarasvati did another pirouette and ended in the perfect position to catch a falling Navah.-
[20:14] <Minaplo> [A second later the soccer ball was hurled violently at Sarasvati's head, who barely moved it out of the way.-
[20:14] <Minaplo> ["Nearly got you then!" Shouted Suzie.-
[20:15] <Minaplo> ["We need to make it harder." Said Navah thoughtfully, crawling back up onto Sarasvati's shoulders. "Maybe if we had you juggle masguns at the same time?"-
[20:15] <Minaplo> ["No juggling small arms." Said Sarasvati with a smile. "Only small children."-
[20:15] <Minaplo> ["Thbbbbt."]
[20:24] <Raphael> The scene earns a moment's hesitation from Raphael as he crosses into the bay, but exhaustion and the circumstances of the past few days have left his newfound anger with too much inertia to stop it so easily.-
[20:24] <Raphael> Suzanne." He calls, stopping a short distance away with his hands behind his back. His tone manages to avoid outright anger, but it's -distinctly- stern.
[20:25] <Raphael> <"Suzanne.">
[20:28] <Minaplo> [Uh oh. Full name. Suzie, Navah and Sarasvati all turn at that, looking at him. Sarasvati straightens up.-
[20:28] <Minaplo> ["Hi." Said Suzie cautiously from her perch.-
[20:29] <Minaplo> ["Hiya, Raffy." Said Navah.]
[20:33] <Raphael> "Miss Navah. Miss Sarasvati." Raphael says, all while keeping his stare firmly locked on Suzie. "Suzanne, we had an -agreement-. It's time to go."
[21:09] <Minaplo> ["But…" Suzie looked utterly stricken. "But I-"-
[21:09] <Minaplo> ["She can't." Said Navah boldly. "Sorry. Peaceknight's in a maintenance cycle. Can't be moved for another three hours. If you interrupt it, it could go berserk and kill us all."-
[21:11] <Minaplo> ["Navah." Said Sarasvati, reaching up to smack at her foot. "The berseker AI narrative is offensive."-
[21:11] <Minaplo> ["Eh? I was just-"-
[21:11] <Minaplo> ["You were telling lies, which is even worse." Said Sarasvati coolly. "Suzanne, it seems as though it's time for you to go."-
[21:12] <Minaplo> ["Oh my god, you total quisling." Snarled Navah. "Why don't you shoot a puppy whilst you're at it?!"-
[21:13] <Minaplo> [I am not a Norwegian nazi sympathiser." Said Sarasvati. "I find that double offensive." She smacked Navah's foot again- or tried, Navah pulled it away a second before impact- before she turned to face Raphael. "I am sorry to have caused you trouble, captain."]
[21:24] * Raphael gives Navah a frosty look. It can't possibly compare to the ones she regularly receives from her progenitor, but so it goes. "It's fine, Miss Sarasvati. Thank you for taking time out of your schedule."
[21:25] <Minaplo> ["No time, captain. Fortunately my current work can be performed remotely. I was happy to host Suzanne with me." She said. "And would be happy to do so again at a time more convenient to yourself."]
[21:30] * Raphael nods once, turning his attention back to Suzanne. She'd have seen him stern before, and there had been plenty of times when a firm hand was required, but she'd rarely seen it paired with honest anger. "Now please, Suzie."
[21:32] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[21:33] <Minaplo> [The front hatch shifts, and seals her inside. A second later the AC Suit activates, stands up, and turns to face him.-
[21:33] <Minaplo> ["Bye, Suzie." Said Navah.-
[21:33] <Minaplo> ["Bye."]
[21:50] * Raphael suppresses a small sigh while the AC Suit powers up, reaching up to rub at the dark circles that have beem blooming below his eyes. "Goodbye, you two." Raphael says, giving Navah and Sara a small nod before turning away to head towards the door. He took up a position nearby where Suzie would be forced to exit and waited.
[21:52] <Minaplo> [The Iron Guard keeping watch over the chamber- which was still irradiated, much to everyone's great annoyance- lets them through, making sure the helmet is secured properly on Raphael's suit before they go through. Suzie goes first, the Peaceknight's steps not as loud as one might expect.]
[21:54] <Raphael> It wasn't really possible to keep pace with the Peaceknight on foot at the best of times, let alone when Raphael was dressed in a full radiation suit. Suzie did not seem particularly interested in making things easier on him, either. This made keeping the appearance of an authority figure markedly difficult.-
[21:55] <Raphael> Still, it wouldn't be long before they were on the other side, through the decontamination stations and Raphael is able to remove the bulky protective gear.
[21:58] <Minaplo> [An Iron Guard armoured in red is there to greet them, giving them a thumbs up as they go. "Damn, that's a hella -sweet- ride. If we had more of those two years ago, you'd be Lib citizens." He says, in a tone that is more jovial than anything. "Keep on keeping on, little girl!"-
[21:59] <Minaplo> ["Thanks, Duncan." Says Suzie, her voice still pretty dispirited. She waits for Raphael, following him wherever he goes.]#
[22:36] <Raphael> … there wouldn't be any small talk as he led them back to their dormitory room, currently being shared with Euphrasie, Isidor and Euphrasie's son Simon. The space is empty for now, with Isidor and Euphrasie on their shifts and Simon assisting with light duties in Logistics under the watchful eye of Chiisana.-
[22:38] <Raphael> Even then it's a while before he breaks the silence. Fitting the Peaceknight through the door is tricky, even in a room chosen for that purpose, and Raphael takes the opportunity to take a few breaths and consider his words before he speaks. "… How often have you been going out?"
[22:41] <Minaplo> ["T-That was only the second time." Said Suzie quickly. "But the first time doesn't really count, because I didn't really -mean- it, it just happened- someone asked for help moving something…"]
[22:43] <Raphael> "Uh huh." Raphael says evenly, walking over to tap on the cockpit hatch. "Out of the Peaceknight so we can have a proper discussion, please."
[22:47] <Minaplo> [There was an unusually long pause before Suzie sighed. A second later the Peaceknight crouched down, its hatch opening, Suzie sitting in the cockpit.]
[22:53] <Raphael> "Thank you. Now, remind me of the things we agreed on when I moved you to the Dorian and said you could use the Peaceknight."
[22:58] <Minaplo> ["… That I'm not supposed to leave without supervision." She said quietly.]
[22:59] <Raphael> "And?"
[23:00] <Minaplo> ["That I had to follow orders from a grown-up without question."]
[23:01] <Raphael> "You didn't even leave a note telling me where you were, Suzie. I was worried. Do I need to get Lucas or Emma over here to keep an eye on you?" He says with a small frown.
[23:06] <Minaplo> ["No." She mumbles.]
[23:28] <Raphael> "Then I need you to keep to your word or I'll have to.
[23:28] <Raphael> <"*>
[23:29] <Minaplo> ["But I've been in here all day." She said desperately. "And then when dumb Simon's here he's always going on about how he's been helping and what he's been up to, and I'm left here feeling like a useless idiot."]
[23:39] <Raphael> "We've had this conversation, Suzie." Raphael sighs. "Simon's working in Logistics. I'd be happy to put you there too, but you'd have to go without the Peaceknight."
[23:42] <Minaplo> ["But I can't -do- anything without the Peaceknight." Said Suzie. "I… I could work in Engineering. I could lift heavy stuff around…"]
[23:46] <Raphael> "Hey, you can do plenty without the Peaceknight." He says, and for a moment any sign of anger is hidden beneath a little flash of worry. "If we put you in a proper wheelchair for a few hours each day and got you to go down and work with Chiisana that would do a /lot/ to help."
[23:56] <Minaplo> ["I don't want to be in a wheelchair. They're too… Nnnn."]
[23:57] <Raphael> "Nnn?" He prods.
[23:58] <Minaplo> ["They…" She gave him a pained look.-
[23:58] <Minaplo> ["You choose between a tank or a jeep, which would -you- pick?" She said defensively. "Wheelchairs are -slow-, and they're… they… They're -open-."]
[00:11] <Raphael> "… ah." Raphael says carefully, and with that a good portion of his anger seems to fade. He moves close to Suzie and the dormant Peaceknight, using the AC Suit's bent knee as a makeshift perch. "Well, I might pick the tank -sometimes-, but there'd be times I knew it wasn't the best choice, or the safest choice, or the choice that let me do what I wanted or needed to do."
[00:12] <Minaplo> ["But isn't it always safer? It's got armour and everything… And a big gun… And lots of little guns…" She mumbled, looking down at her lap and fidgetting.]
[00:13] <Raphael> "It might be safer for you, but it'd also be much easier to accidentally hurt someone else, don't you think?"
[00:14] <Minaplo> [She began rubbing at her right eye. "N-Not if I were really careful…"]
[00:17] <Raphael> "Well, maybe. Even good drivers can make mistakes, but you might be right. There's still those other reasons to think about."
[00:21] <Minaplo> [Her breathing became a little quicker. "B-But…"]
[00:45] <Raphael> "It's ok, little one." He says. "You can drive whatever you want to drive. I'm just saying it makes some things difficult, hmm?"
[00:46] <Minaplo> ["It does get in the way sometimes." She mumbled. "And sometimes it freaks people out in the hallways…"]

—-

<Raphael> "Yeah. The Peaceknight might be your friend, and if it makes you more comfortable right now that's ok, but there's a reason we had to make those rules. It's still an AC Suit built for combat, and there's a lot of scared people on both ships right now…"
<Minaplo> ["I… W-What do I do…?" She looked as though she were close to tears.]
<Raphael> "Hey now…" He murmurs gently, reaching out to take a hold of her hand. "It's ok. Why don't you try telling me what you're worried about, and what you -want- to do, and we can go from there? I have a pretty good idea, but getting it out in the open might be a good start."
<Minaplo> [She held his hand tightly with her own, the other still rubbing at her eyes. "When I'm out of the Peaceknight, I feel- I dunno… I feel slow, like if I needed to go somewhere really quickly, I wouldn't be able to, and…" She took a breath, and looked down at her knees. "The Battlechair wasn't fast enough…"]
<Raphael> "…" Raphael grips her hand in silence for a while, looking down at the floor. "I think I understand where you're coming from, hon."
<Minaplo> ["They had me test out the Peaceknight and the Peacecraft a few hours before the attack." She said smally. "If I'd just asked Julien to let me stay in it, I coulda saved Rosie. I coulda saved him."]
*Raphael manages to conceal a wince, but he's not quite able to stop it. "Suzie… sweetheart, you can't make this your fault. It's -not-."
<Minaplo> ["B-But how else do I stop it from happening again?"]
<Raphael> "Some things…" He pauses, sighs and shuts his eyes for just long enough to gather his thoughts. "Some terrible, terrible things are bigger than anything one person can stop, hon, even with an AC Suit or a Superheavy. Stopping anything like that from happening again doesn't rest on your shoulders."
<Minaplo> [She hangs her head. She's silent for a few minutes, then…-
<Minaplo> ["I wish I were like Zeruel."]
<Raphael> "… you want to be an Angel?" He asks, eyebrow raised.
<Minaplo> ["N- I don't mean that, but Vercingthingy was telling me that if you cut off Zeruel's arms they just grow back, and how it can breathe underwater and in space and can fly and can teleport, and it can see everything around it, and it's tough and strong and everything. Strong enough to protect other people…"]
*Raphael squeezes her hand a little. "… Can I tell you a story?"
<Minaplo> ["Uh-huh…"]
<Raphael> "I know I don't really talk about it, but you know I had sisters who passed away?"
<Minaplo> ["Y-Yeah…"]
*Raphael nods slightly. "I was the oldest of the four of us, so when my parents died during Impact I was the one in charge. We managed to get away from the flooding, but we were still in a small town near the coast. We had to travel a long way to get to proper help, and even when we got there we were just a few refugees among many. Not enough food and medicine to go around, not with the rest of the world how it was."-
<Raphael> "Caitlin and Marie both died during that time. For a long time… no, in a way, I -still- think that it was my fault." He's not looking at Suzie now, and though his voice is steady there's an odd, flat affect to it. "A lot of people tried to tell me it wasn't, but I didn't want to listen. That would have meant there was nobody to blame."-
<Raphael> "So I stayed that way for a long, long time. I committed myself to the army and NERV to try and protect people, and when I failed I blamed myself for that too. I stayed that way until I met you, and it still hasn't left me entirely."-
<Raphael> "I… don't want that for you, Suzie." He looks at her now, and there's a strange look in his eye that she wouldn't have seen before. "You can protect people. You -should- protect people. Just don't do it to try and make up for something that was never really your fault in the first place."
<Minaplo> [Suzie's bottom lip began to tremble, and before she could stop herself tears were pouring down her cheeks. She stood up shakily, long enough to throw her arms around Raffy's neck.-
<Minaplo> ["D-Dumb Raffy-" She managed to get out before she began to sob.]
*Raphael hugs the girl fiercely with his eyes tightly shut, but his words have left him for the moment.
<Minaplo> ["I-I'm sorry…"]
<Raphael> "You don't have a thing to be sorry for." He says, tightening the hug a little as if for emphasis.
<Minaplo> ["I don't w-want you to be sad, Raffy…"]
<Raphael> "And you're helping that. You've -all- helped that. All I'm trying to do is make sure you get that help now instead of later, ok?"
<Minaplo> ["O…O-Okay…"]
<Raphael> "… I'm so sorry you have to go through all of this, sweetheart." He murmurs, and this time there -is- a faint tremor in his voice.
<Minaplo> ["I-It'll be okay, r-right? With you helping me?"]
<Raphael> "Yes. Eventually it will."
<Minaplo> [Suzie was quiet for awhile after that, just clinging to him, tears and dribble staining his shirt.-
<Minaplo> ["D-Do you want me to work with Chii?"]
<Raphael> "I want you to do whatever you need to do to start feeling better. If that's holing up in your room for a while, I understand that. If you want to do something active and help Chii out, then I understand that too." He pauses, a little hesitant. "… and if what you need is to go and play with your friends, then I'm really sorry for being such a grump. I… it's been a long day, and I lost my temper in a way I shouldn't have.
<Raphael> You're hurting too."
<Minaplo> ["I-I wanna do all of those things. But I'm sorry for scaring you."]
*Raphael gives her a small smile. "That's alright. We'll -both- try to communicate a little better from now on."
<Minaplo> ["O-Okay."]
<Raphael> "Okay." He agrees. "Do you want to keep using the Peaceknight for now, or should I see if I can find you a wheelchair. Maybe even just for short trips?"
<Minaplo> ["I-I think you should…"]
*Raphael smiles again, giving her a quick kiss as best as he can without letting her go. "You're such a brave girl."
<Minaplo> ["T-Thanks." Her cheeks went a little pink. "H-Hey, Raffy?"]
<Raphael> "Yeah?"
<Minaplo> ["D-Do you think we could talk to Zeruel some time?"]
<Raphael> "Hmm. I don't think he really -talks-, Suzie."
<Minaplo> ["Then how does he tell Vercywhatsit things?"]
<Raphael> "Vercingetorix." Raphael says. "And… I think it's something to do with their AT Fields. I'm not entirely sure."
<Minaplo> ["O-Oh."]
<Raphael> "We can at least go up and see him, though."
<Minaplo> ["O-Okay. Should I use the Peaceknight?"]
<Raphael> "It's up to you, kiddo."
<Minaplo> ["Okay."]
*Raphael smiles a little. "Did you know I met Zeruel a few years ago? In a way, at least."
<Minaplo> ["… W-What?"]
<Raphael> "Do you remember the Angel with the tentacles that helped us during the fight against Remliel? The one that carried around my Dreadnought?"
<Raphael> <Ramliel*>
<Minaplo> ["Yeah?"]
<Raphael> "That was Zeruel." He says. "Vercingetorix managed to bring it back because he knew it wanted to help us."
<Minaplo> ["Huh?! So you and Zeruel fought together too?"]
<Raphael> "I guess so." He chuckles. "Sounds like you fared better than I did, though."
<Minaplo> ["Wow… He really -is- awesome."]
<Raphael> "You're blushing." Raphael smirked.
<Minaplo> ["S-So what?"]
<Raphael> "So nothing."
<Minaplo> ["Mmph."]
*Raphael laughs again, ruffling her hair a little.-
<Raphael> "I don't know if Miss Sarasvati told you, but they've started working on fixing up the Peacecraft."
<Minaplo> ["R-Really?!"]
*Raphael nods. "Slowly, at least. Most of our resources are still going to fixing the ship."
<Minaplo> ["Hmm… Well. Will I get a rank and uniform too? Maybe- wait, yeah, you can put a blue sash on mine, and my mask will have fire streaks on it!"]
*Raphael goes still at that, but manages to hold back the groan that he feels building in his throat. "That was what I wanted to talk to you about…"
<Minaplo> [She bops him on the head. "Raffy, don't be dumb. I know I can't -really- pilot the Peacecraft yet."-
<Minaplo> ["So I'll let you borrow it for awhile." She said, folding her arms. "Borrow it."]
<Raphael> … and this time there /is/ a groan. "Now you're going to start tricking me for fun as well? I already have Rei and Misato to deal with."
<Minaplo> ["And Minerva." Said Suzie.]
<Raphael> "And Minerva." Raphael admits. "And plenty of others."-
<Raphael> "… you might get the rank, though. Or at least Yanmei is asking to give you a medal."
<Minaplo> ["A-A medal?"]
<Raphael> "For what you and the Peaceknight did to protect Asgard."
<Minaplo> ["W-Well, the Peaceknight did most of the work, so it should get the medal."]
<Raphael> "I told Yanmei you might say that." He says gently. "She seems happy enough to give you both one."
<Minaplo> ["O-Okay." She said, looking… Well, bashful.]
<Raphael> "Excellent. Here I was expecting to have to convince you." He says, undercut a little by his own proud smile.
<Minaplo> ["M-mmph."]
<Minaplo> ["W-Wait."]
<Raphael> "Hmm?"
<Minaplo> ["Zeruel has to get a medal too." Said Suzie firmly. "Otherwise it's discyminination."]
*Raphael can't seem to decide whether to be amused or dumbstruck. "That… I, uh, think that might be a more difficult request. Maybe you should ask Yanmei yourself?"-
<Raphael> He has to suppress the urge to laugh, imagining Yanmei trying to convince the girl otherwise. It was a cruel joke, in its way.
<Minaplo> ["Then I will!"]
<Raphael> "… Where would an Angel even put a medal?" Raphael asks after a moment of quiet contemplation.
<Minaplo> ["On its body?" She said, with the tone that suggested that this was the obvious answer and he was an idiot for not realising it. "Or we could make him a giant uniform!"]
<Raphael> "Its body is made up largely of enormous flexible razorblades." Raphael says mildly.
<Minaplo> ["Then its core."]
<Raphael> "I… guess?"
<Minaplo> [She nodded firmly.]
*Raphael hugs her again. "I have to get some rest before my next shift. Do you want me to see if I can get someone to walk you down to Engineering? Maybe those two are still there."
<Minaplo> ["Ok. But, um. They don't make radiation suits in my size…"]
<Raphael> "Yeah. Why don't you take the Peaceknight this time, at least?"
<Minaplo> ["Okay!"]
<Raphael> And so it went. Supervision was secured within a reasonable span of time, and Raphael would watch his little girl disappear out into the halls happier and, he hoped at least, healthier.

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