Mary S Trap

[07:50] <Minaplo> [After they witnessed Sera's unhanding, Isha took Yanmei back through the corridors, the busy bustling corridors…-
[07:52] <Minaplo> [Before long they came to another door, this one in the intensive care ward. Isha turned to Yanmei and nodded solemnly.]
[07:54] * Yanmei collected herself firmly. She had seen Isaiah in this state before, awful as it was, as much as she'd hoped it would only be a one-time thing. She thought back to those days as she pushed the door open.
[08:02] <Minaplo> [The scene was familiar. Isaiah was kept from her behind a glass wall and a heavy door; through the wall she saw doctors crowding about a barely-glimped figure on a bed within, a small city of machines connecting to it.]
[08:07] <Yanmei> She watched him from the window. Too many doctors shuffling around in there; she could practically smell the urgency drifting from them. She tried to make an assessment of his other injuries from there, but it wasn't working out very well between the bandages, bedsheets and bodies around him. "Will I be allowed to visit him regularly?"
[08:07] <Minaplo> ["Of course. We have a room prepared for you nearby."]
[08:09] * Yanmei blinked at that. For the first time since her arrival an actual smile came to her, however faint and gradual. "I was under the impression that I would be staying in a jail cell or something?" she said wryly.
[08:10] <Minaplo> [Isha glanced around nervously, and leaned in close until his face was barely two inches from Yanmei's ear. "Your hospitality is in my hands, and rather unlike my superiors I believe in innocence until proven guilty."]
[08:15] <Yanmei> The smile died just a little and her eyes grew a little more sober. "I appreciate it. It's as I stated during my arrest. Our actions were justified, and…" she backed away from the urge to say something about his superiors, but that wouldn't help in any way at all. "Anyway, thanks."
[08:25] <Minaplo> [Isha merely smiled as he stood up straight once again.-
[08:25] <Minaplo> ["We can wait here if you wish, for the doctor to return, or we can continue on."]
[08:26] <Yanmei> "Continue on where? To the room you mentioned?"
[08:34] <Minaplo> ["Yes."]
[08:36] * Yanmei nodded. "I think I should wait around to see what the doctor says, then?"
[08:40] <Minaplo> [And so time passed. It was excruciatingly slow going, or so it felt. Several hours passed, but to Yanmei it must've felt like much longer.-
[08:42] <Minaplo> [Eventually, the thicket of medical staff thinned. She'd see him- covered in a blanket, his hair limp and weak, his body pale, much of his face bandaged.-
[08:44] * ZackSleep is now known as ZackClass
[08:46] <Minaplo> [The head doctor came into their quarantine room, looking exhausted. He stripped off his gloves. "Well, he's stable."]
[08:52] * Yanmei stepped forward. She'd barely moved from the spot in front of the window for all that time, alternating between her troubled thoughts and calmer discussions with Isha. Now she had snapped sharply back into reality from wherever it was her thoughts had taken her, her eyes intense. "Any estimates on when he'll wake up?"
[08:59] <Minaplo> ["I'm afraid I don't know." Said the doctor wearily. "In all honesty he's lucky to be -alive- considering the injuries he's sustained." The doctor stared back through the window. "… I'd be surprised if he woke up again." He said tactlessly.]
[09:05] * Yanmei stared. Eventually, her gaze slipped aside and then toward the doctor again. "His heart stopped before. Earlier, during the accident, didn't it?" 'Accident'. She remembered how deliberately 22 had attacked the plug. "So I know it's bad. But… he really won't wake up again?"
[09:13] <Minaplo> ["It's possible that he might." Said the doctor. "But it's not likely. The damage he took would've killed an Iron Guard." The doctor looked back down at her. "It's possible he might have brain damage. If he does wake up, he might not remember you, or even his own name. It might be better if he never woke up, in that case."]
[09:19] * Yanmei looked away, then, with difficulty. She seemed to be withdrawing into herself for a long quiet moment… but whatever she found there apparently offered no relief. "I… see."
[09:27] <Minaplo> ["And even beyond that, if he does wake up and he does remember you, he might not walk again." Said the doctor. "The injury broke his third and fourth cervical vertebra, as well as half the bones in the rest of his body. There was significant damage dealt to his spinal cord. We're good, but we're not wizards. We'll be extremely careful, but all things considered, the chance of him healing
[09:27] <Minaplo> from -that- is low…"]
[09:32] <Yanmei> "…" She didn't say anythng to that. Not a thing. At her sides, her hands formed fists.
[09:33] <Minaplo> ["Anyway." The doctor coughed. "I have injured to tend to. If you'll excuse me."-
[09:34] <Minaplo> [Before long it was Isha and Yanmei, alone. "Doctor Stimm's technique is incredible, but I believe it comes at a cost to other areas of aptitude." Said Isha quietly.]
[09:36] <Yanmei> "We have people like that back in Paris too?" Yanmei muttered after a few silent beats had passed. "Just not on the medical staff."
[09:38] <Minaplo> ["I can imagine." He laid a hand on Yanmei's shoulder. "We should go. It's understandable that you wish to wait here, of course. But the sooner we go, the sooner we can get you some proper clothes and a hot meal."]
[09:41] <Yanmei> Yanmei's eyes didn't quite make it to the observation glass this time. Throughout it all, she had to remember where she was and who was watching and who she was with. If she stayed here any longer… "Yes. Yes, let's go."
[09:44] <Minaplo> [Back through the corridors. If Yanmei thought they'd thin out, she was wrong; the worst injuries from all the Storm Trooper units below the equator were being flown here, and the corridors were being choked with casualties, the air drowning in the cries of pain and the harried commands of doctors.-
[09:47] <Minaplo> [Yanmei wouldn't have to suffer it for long, however. They soon arrived in a far quieter 'residential area', one could say. In fact it was like a hotel. There was a restaurant, a bar…-
[09:47] <Minaplo> [And three people waiting for her. Looking old and tired was Gilles de Orleans. He smiled wanly at her as she approached.-
[09:48] <Minaplo> [Next to him was Mary Caine.-
[09:52] <Minaplo> [Her icy eyes glittered with some unfathomable emotion. Triumph or disgust? Her face was otherwise the image of calm. Even through Yanmei's clouds of hate and fury, however, seeing her in person would suddenly make Yanmei's knees weak with fear.-
[09:53] <Minaplo> [… And holding onto Caine's right hand, looking troubled and scared, was Lizzie. "M..Maa?"]
[10:00] <Yanmei> She stopped dead in her tracks, heart pounding unfathomably loud, her gaze locked on Lizze, not believing her eyes. Marianne had said that they were taking her to the ship! To someplace safe…
[10:11] <Minaplo> ["You look surprised." Said Caine. She released Lizzie and promptly walked past Yanmei- and out the door.-
[10:11] <Minaplo> [Lizzie ran straight to Yanmei, clapping her hands around Yanmei's knees. "Maamaaaamaaamaa…"-
[10:11] <Minaplo> [Isha took the moment to wipe some cold sweat off of his brow.]
[10:14] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei went down on one knee to comfort her, wrapping her into a hug and rubbing her back. After a while, she glanced up at de Orleans again. "What's going on here? Tell me…"
[10:15] <Minaplo> ["Perhaps it's best if we discuss this in your room. I've already brought food up."]
[10:18] <Yanmei> "No. No, please. We can't sit around eating! You have to…" She shook her head, forcing her voice to become more even. "…you have to take Lizzie out of here. Get her far away, at least to the Battleship."
[10:19] <Minaplo> ["I'm sorry, Yanmei." Said de Orleans sadly. "That isn't something any of us can do. Caine intends to keep all of you here for a very long time. It's best if we calm down and take stock of the situation."]
[10:25] <Yanmei> "Calm down?" Her hold around Lizzie tightened slightly and her jawline tensed. Eventually, however, she shut her eyes and pulled away, taking the little girl's hand instead. -
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[10:26] <Yanmei> "Fine," Her voice was strained. "I'm… let's just do this."
[10:26] * ZackClass is now known as Zack
[10:37] <Minaplo> [de Orleans gave her an apologetic look as he led her away. Before long they came to a hotel room- it was well-equipped, even lavish, outstripping Yanmei's apartment back home multiple times over.-
[10:37] <Minaplo> [Fried pork in butter curry on rice sat around a central table. It smelled incredible.]
[10:37] * SyntaxPhone has quit IRC (Client exited)
[10:40] <Yanmei> It didn't make sense for her to be hungry after everything she had just seen, but she was, just a little bit, like it or not. How many hours had it been since she had eaten or slept…? She went for the table first, making sure that Lizzie, at least, was set up with her rice and pork and a little spoon first.
[10:45] <Minaplo> [Isha and de Orleans joined them as well. It might as well have been a pleasant dinner and not one of the worst days in Yanmei's life.-
[10:45] <Minaplo> ["Can I get you something to drink, Yanmei?" Asked de Orleans. "Wine?"]
[10:46] <Yanmei> "Water, please. I… would rather keep my head clear."
[10:47] <Minaplo> [He nodded, and placed an ice-cold pitcher of water on the table accompanied by several glasses.-
[10:47] <Minaplo> [Lizzie dug into her meal, eating it enthusiastically. And a little messily.-
[10:47] <Minaplo> ["I heard about Isaiah." Said de Orleans softly. "I am so sorry…"]
[10:49] * Yanmei gazed down at her plate. She just sort of nodded, trying to think of something hopeful to say… but nothing came to her.
[10:50] <Minaplo> ["He's woken the other times." Said de Orleans encouragingly. "I know he'll wake this time, too."-
[10:50] <Minaplo> ["It's not all lost." Said Isha. "With someone as important as an Evangelion pilot, I'm sure the resources could be spared to clone his body, Lieutenant Zhang."]
[10:52] <Yanmei> "That's not something I want to do."
[10:54] <Minaplo> [Isha nodded slowly, uncertain but not intending to push the issue.-
[10:54] <Minaplo> [Lizzie looked up. "Daadaa?"]
[10:56] * Yanmei froze slightly, and then thawed, peering down at the girl. "Daddy's very sick, sweetie. He's somewhere else, sleeping right now."
[10:58] <Minaplo> ["Daadaa sick…" Lizzie looked upset, sinking her head down against her chest. She thought for a moment, then grabbed her bowl of food. "Food daadaa?" She said hopefully.]
[11:02] <Yanmei> "…" For a split second, it looked as if she might finally break. She ran a hand through her own hair, and then, rather gently through Lizzie's, and her face smoothed out again. "I gave him some earlier. It's ok." She smiled, now, warmly. "Daddy's being taken care of well."
[12:05] <Minaplo> [Isha gave the a child a mournful look.-
[12:06] <Minaplo> ["You should eat up." Said de Orleans. "Take a shower, get dressed, take your time before we talk. If you need to sleep, we can wait."]
[12:10] <Yanmei> "I can sleep later." Yanmei pulled her hand away, leaving Lizzie to finish her meal. "What does Caine want? Is this retribution? Is it a control thing?" She paused, considering something. "Is it more of a control thing than usual?" she amended. "What does she plan to gain from all this?"
[12:10] <Minaplo> ["Information." Said de Orleans. "She intends to force you to divulge everything you know about Elisha Caine and his plans."]
[12:12] <Yanmei> "But I don't know anything about that."
[12:16] <Minaplo> ["That won't be good enough." Said de Orleans. "She will make you synchronise with EVA-04 if that's what it takes. And trust me this time, Yanmei, you'll want to do everything she says."]
[12:19] <Yanmei> "Even if I do? She'll be trying to wring blood from a stone," she muttered, glancing over to Lizzie. "What should I do…?"
[12:20] <Minaplo> ["Is there anything you haven't already told her?" Asked Isha quietly.]
[12:22] <Yanmei> "I don't know? I don't think so."
[12:25] <Minaplo> ["If there is, she'll have it from you. The more you struggle, the more you'll suffer." Said Isha. "The Universal Law has no place here anymore, not as a protection. She's able to do anything she deems necessary."-
[12:25] <Minaplo> ["If you resist, she'll start killing. Caine doesn't bluff. She'll kill Elizabeth right in front of you if she feels she must." Said de Orleans.]
[12:29] <Yanmei> "I know that very well already." Yanmei rubbed her forehead. The plate in front of her was untouched, more or less forgotten about. "I can't let that happen."
[12:31] <Minaplo> ["De Pteres is on her side." Said de Orleans.]
[12:32] <Yanmei> "…I wasn't sure, but I had a feeling he might be."
[12:35] <Minaplo> ["You have to understand that Caine planned all of this. Metatron's attack included."]
[12:37] <Yanmei> "I knew that Eva-22's appearence was no coincidence in this fight. But the Angel too…? It was all just a trap?"
[12:37] <Minaplo> ["That's right. It's a long story." Said de Orleans, shifting in his seat. "Do you want me to explain how? There are… Unhappy truths within."]
[12:38] <Yanmei> "I'd like to hear it, please." Yanmei let her hand settle around her water glass.
[12:39] <Minaplo> ["A short while ago, before this all happened, Metatron sent out a broadcast that only the Synfront could detect. It was… A request for diplomacy."]
[12:40] <Yanmei> Yanmei's eyes went a little wider. "Really?"
[12:41] <Minaplo> ["Yes. Caine agreed, and Metatron dispatched a representative- the Herald. You may remember him as Azrael. Of course, his form was only the size of a human being this time."]
[12:42] <Yanmei> "I remember that one, yes." She thought of the Imperial Herald almost reflexively.
[12:43] <Minaplo> ["The Herald was and is Metatron's A-Type, her eternal consort and the father of her children." Said de Orleans. "So when he perished, his soul returned to her, and that's how he was kept safe by Metatron."]
[12:49] <Yanmei> "…" Her face shifted. "Oh. Uh… so I guess the peace attempt broke down?"
[12:52] <Minaplo> ["Not exactly. The terms were more or less agreed upon. Adam would go to the Angels, who would leave and never return."]
[12:53] <Yanmei> Confusion now. "So the attack we saw just now, was that a part of the terms? Caine and Metatron working together, with Adam being the incentive for the Angels?"
[12:55] <Minaplo> ["No." Said de Orleans. "After the terms were agreed upon, Caine brought the Herald before EVA-22, then incapacitated the Herald. The body was taken to the science labs, its soul removed and sealed, and the body fed to some animals."]
[12:57] <Yanmei> "…" To… animals. On top of everything else. "-Why-?"
[13:01] <Minaplo> ["Because it meant the Herald would die, but his soul would not return to Metatron. What would you do if Caine stole Isaiah's soul for her own purposes, and you had access to a fully operational Evangelion?"]
[13:03] <Yanmei> "Don't tempt me, Mr de Orleans." Yanmei smiled wryly. "So Metatron was furious, and decided to visit Caine personally. And that's what we stumbled across."
[13:05] <Minaplo> ["Yes. Caine knew how Metatron would react, of course, and so by the time Metatron arrived, the only force capable of stopping her was, of course, your unit."-
[13:05] <Minaplo> ["After EVA-22 was deployed, Caine released the Herald's soul, which fled to Metatron, who, having got what she came for, and noticing the power of the EVA-22, fled."]
[13:07] <Yanmei> "She released the Herald?" Yanmei looked a little less worried now. "So we don't have to worry about her coming back here. At least not for a few days. But. This still bothers me?" -
[13:10] <Yanmei> "Why was this so elaborate? If she wanted this information of hers, she could have simply taken the pilots away and done… whatever it was she wanted to them until they told? But in an event like this one, using Universal Law as a thin premise, she would have had the clearance to confiscate the units too."
[13:11] <Minaplo> ["She believes that the Paris Branch is conspiring against her, as are certain other branches. In this way she was able to decisively defeat the Evangelions and weaken any such conspiracy's hand considerably."]
[13:13] <Yanmei> "Is there really no way to get us back home?"
[07:32] <Minaplo> ["Not without Caine's permit." Said de Orleans.]
[07:34] <Yanmei> "How is my mother taking this news?"
[07:38] <Minaplo> ["She's trying as best she can to argue on your behalf, of course."]
[07:40] <Yanmei> A little bit of relief now. Yes, of course she would… "I'd feel better if there was someone with her to support her? You or Mazarin or someone…"
[07:41] <Minaplo> ["Mazarin has been on in continual contact the moment he heard, especially with your mother."]
[07:45] <Yanmei> "He has? I'm glad." Yanmei picked up her fork, hesitating before using it to eat. A terrible thought came to her a little too late now. Could she trust the food in this place? What if it was drugged? She glanced at Elizabeth worriedly.
[07:46] <Minaplo> [Lizzie was chomping through the food enthusiastically.-
[07:47] <Minaplo> ["The food won't be poisoned." Said Isha, sensing her intent. "You'll be here for weeks, so if you don't eat, then you'll stave."]
[07:50] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei scrutinized him a moment as if trying to decide if she should believe it or not, but in the end, she decided that he had a point. She didn't exactly have the option of ordering from a Roman Pizza from here. She took up a small mouthful and chewed it. It tasted amazing. -
[07:54] <Yanmei> "Let's… talk about the conditions of my stay, then? Will I be placed under guard from now on? Or can I go wherever I want to within reason? I'd like to see the others after I've changed clothes."
[07:58] <Minaplo> ["You will not be placed under guard, but I have been assigned to one of the bedrooms here." Said Isha. "I am to be your escort, so wherever you go, I go. But besides that… You're free to go wherever you like, yes. Within reason."]
[08:02] <Yanmei> "I understand," she said simply.
[08:03] <Minaplo> ["Of course, you may have visitors as well."]
[08:04] <Yanmei> "If they're able to come, of course."
[08:06] <Minaplo> ["… Yes."]
[08:07] <Yanmei> "Will you be staying down here long too?" She glanced to de Orleans, perhaps a little hopefully.
[08:08] <Minaplo> ["As long as I can. Which may not be very long at all…"]
[08:11] * Yanmei nodded again with a bit more of that relief. "It was kind of you to come all the way here at all."
[08:11] <Minaplo> ["Fortunately, I was here when the battle began. Well. For a certain level of fortunate."]
[08:12] <Yanmei> "So you watched it unfold, then."
[08:13] <Minaplo> ["Yes." He shook his head. "It was terrible."]
[08:16] <Yanmei> "Yeah, it was." She thought of the hallways of the Synfront, now crammed with wounded dying and grieving. How many had they passed just on their short walks?
[08:18] <Minaplo> ["Even worse, I had Padma here with me, too…"]
[08:20] <Yanmei> "Padma's here?" She was trying not to sound alarmed at that.
[08:21] <Minaplo> ["Yes indeed."]
[08:21] <Yanmei> "But she's not with you now…"
[08:23] <Minaplo> ["No. She's in my room."]
[08:28] * Yanmei exhaled. Their room. Of course. She was… getting worked up about nothing, now.
[08:28] <Minaplo> ["So who do you intend to see first?" Asked Isha.]
[08:31] <Yanmei> "De Pteres will need a few days to recover, I think. William, on the other hand, is well enough to comprehend our situation and to probably be worried? So he's up first."
[08:33] <Minaplo> [A nod.-
[08:34] <Minaplo> ["What about the Simonides?" Asked de Orleans. "Sophia is very injured…"]
[08:36] <Yanmei> "I heard. They're also a high priority?"
[08:39] <Minaplo> [A slow nod.]
[08:46] <Yanmei> It wasn't long before Yanmei had worked through her plate, and leaving Lizzie briefly to play with the guests, had gone into the attached bathroom to change into the lone outfit provided for her in the bedside closet. -
[08:51] <Yanmei> It was nothing to pose in - thick, durable khaki-colored pants and a plain black t-shirt. Heavy boots and socks, as well. She emerged with the greatcoat folded under one arm, and offered it back to Isha a little sheepishly.
[08:51] <Minaplo> ["Ah." Isha took the coat and smiled. "I hope it served you well."]
[08:54] <Yanmei> "It did. Thanks again." She waved Lizzie over. There was no way she could leave her unattended, could she? Despite all the uncomfortable things they were going to see out there. "Let's go?"
[08:54] <Minaplo> [Lizzie ran over, latching onto Yanmei's arm tightly. "Maaa!"-
[08:54] <Minaplo> [Isha stood, throwing his greatcoat back on.]
[08:56] * Yanmei led the way out the door. "Will you be joining us, Monsieur de Orleans?"
[08:57] <Minaplo> ["I don't think so. I'm rather worn out by all this. I might retire to the bar for a drink or two."]
[08:58] * Yanmei nodded understandingly. "I don't blame you? We'll be in touch in the morning, of course."
[09:02] <Minaplo> ["Yes, the same to you." He got up out of his seat.]
[09:05] <Yanmei> In the hallway, they parted with him, and Yanmei let Isha take the lead, clasping Lizzie's hand properly. First stop: William's room.
[09:09] <Minaplo> [Isha led the way.-
[09:09] <Minaplo> [William was staying in a weird mini-hotel like Yanmei was. Isha led her straight to the room- then stepped aside so Yanmei could proceed.]
[09:10] * Yanmei nodded her appreciation, straightened her shoulders and knocked firmly. "William?"
[09:15] <Minaplo> ["Come in."]
[09:16] <Yanmei> So Yanmei opened the door and did just that. "Hey. How are you feeling?"
[09:24] <Minaplo> [The room was much like Yanmei's. William was in the kitchen. He looked… Sleepy. Like he'd just woken up. "Oh, uh. Hey."]
[09:27] * Yanmei let go of Lizzie's hand, smirking a little. "Did we interrupt your nap? Geez, I thought you'd be a little more worried?"
[09:28] <Minaplo> ["I was exhausted." He muttered. "I-It's not like I wasn't worried!" He said sheepishly.]
[09:32] <Yanmei> "Uh huh~ Well, at least they gave you a pretty nice place to sleep in. They gave us a similar room, you know." She folded her arms and glanced about. Did William have a babysitter staying with him as well?
[09:32] <Minaplo> [No babysitter…-
[09:32] <Minaplo> ["Really? That's good news."]
[09:39] * Yanmei glanced over her shoulder, then. "I wanted to introduce you to someone. Lieutenant Isha Misra, the local Junior Magistrate. He's… going to be accompanying me around here a lot, you see."
[09:41] <Minaplo> [Isha stepped into the room. "Pleased to meet you, Pilot Weiss-Xylander."-
[09:41] <Minaplo> ["And the same." Said William, looking a little bemused. "This… Has to do with the charges, doesn't it?" He asked quietly, looking at Yanmei.]
[09:42] <Yanmei> "You could say that. So someone filled you in already?"
[09:44] <Minaplo> ["Yeah. Here and there."]
[09:48] * Yanmei nodded, sobriety encroaching. "Looks like we're stuck here for a while. You, at least, don't seem to have any charges against you? I'd be surprised if Akagi did either."
[09:48] <Minaplo> ["Tsubaki got charged with Obstruction of Justice." Said William. "But other than that she's clean."]
[09:50] <Yanmei> "Obstruction-?" Ugh, that petty woman. Yanmei rubbed her forehead. "What do you think? About, well. Everything?"
[09:51] <Minaplo> ["W-Well…"]
[09:56] * Yanmei watched him curiously, arms still folded. "It's a lot to take in, I know, but. I want an unbiased opinion about the battle and about our current situation. And…" she hesitated a moment. "I want to fill in any gaps that I can."
[09:57] <Minaplo> [He frowned, looking down at the kitchen bench in front of him. "… I-It is. A lot to take in. Elena…"]
[10:00] <Yanmei> "…" Elena. What could one possibly say about that. "I'm sorry…"
[10:01] <Minaplo> ["It's… It's another pilot dead." He mumbled. "Another right in front of me…"]
[10:04] <Yanmei> "William… There was nothing else we could do."
[10:05] <Minaplo> ["T-There could've been." Said William. "If… If we'd just surrendered…"]
[10:07] * Yanmei gazed at him in quiet disappointment. "Do you really thing we should have?"
[10:09] <Minaplo> ["Why not? What exactly did fighting get us, Yanmei?" He snapped. "A dead pilot and a wrecked Evangelion."]
[10:14] <Yanmei> "You saw that thing. It was a bigger threat to everyone than even the Angel was! Elena…" She frowned. "Things didn't work out the way I'd hoped for either. If we'd just been able to disable it conventionally…"
[10:16] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, if only." Muttered William. "But we weren't. Of course, you never liked Elena much. You probably didn't care if she died or not." He growled.]
[10:17] * ZackSleep is now known as ZackClass
[10:22] <Yanmei> Yanmei's gaze turned frosty at once. She counted to ten quietly in her head, and when that didn't work, she turned her back to him. "It was probably a mistake to drop by so soon. Come see me later, when you're feeling a bit calmer."
[10:23] <Minaplo> ["N-No, Yanmei, wait…" He covered his face with his hands. "I-I'm sorry. I didn't… I-It's not even your fault, I…"]
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[10:29] * Yanmei paused. She took a deep breath, but her voice was still lace through with anger. "I really did try. You damn well know that."
[10:29] <Yanmei> ^laced
[10:30] <Minaplo> ["I… I know…" But there were sobs in his voice now. It was hard to hear what else h said.]
[10:34] * Yanmei made a noise between a groan and a sigh. She turned back around to glare, but his hurt was far too apparent. It nagged at her. Reminded her of something she'd witnessed before. "Look at me for a second. William."
[10:37] <Minaplo> [He slowly peeked up at her, his eyes puffy and red. He still had his hands over much of his face…]
[10:39] <Yanmei> "It's… a hard situation. I know that. So I'm not mad at you? Just…" -
[10:43] <Yanmei> She felt clumsy. She tried to rally. "I'm not in… the best place myself. Let's try to calm down together, okay?"
[10:44] <Minaplo> ["Y-Yeah." He walked around the bench and hurriedly threw his arms around her shoulders. "I-I'm so sorry…"]
[10:48] <Yanmei> "It's okay. It's okay." She murmured and hugged him back.
[10:49] <Minaplo> ["Isaiah…" Sniffle. He mumbled something, but all she could understand was 'pray' and 'heal'.]
[10:50] * Yanmei got the gist of it. She made a quiet smile. "Thank you."
[10:55] <Minaplo> He took a step back, wiping at his eyes. "Sorry. Tha-thanks."]
[10:56] * Yanmei nodded. There was something different in her eyes now, something troubled. "A lot of people got hurt. I was going to visit the twins in a minute. Sophia isn't doing so well?"
[10:57] <Minaplo> ["That's… Not good at all." Said Will. "Do you want me to come?"]
[10:58] <Yanmei> "Up to you. I'm sure her sister could use any support she can get right now."
[10:59] <Minaplo> ["Alright. I'll come along."]
[11:01] * Yanmei nodded. She held a hand out to Lizzie. "Let's move on, then?"
[14:31] <Firgrim> [Lizzie took it, looking up at Yanmei with a worried expression. "Maamaa sad…"]
[14:37] <Yanmei> "…" Perceptive little tyke. Yanmei ruffled her hair a bit. "Mama's just worried. About Daddy and Will and lots of other people. But! I'll be alright, so don't you worry?" She smiled at her. "Things will turn out okay."
[14:38] <Firgrim> ["Maamaa, want Fino."]
[14:40] <Yanmei> "F-?!" Yanmei made a face - an exaggered one for Lizzie's sake. "That silly old bird! He can stay at home."
[14:43] <Firgrim> ["F-Fino…" Lizzie made a crumpled sad face.]
[14:45] <Yanmei> Ohshit. She stopped and knelt down at that, and gave Lizzie a little kiss on the forehead. "I didn't mean it," she sighed. "You like him that much, huh? Because he makes you laugh?"
[14:47] <Firgrim> ["Fino nice. Fino, mineminemineminemine. Birds fly away but Fino fly back. Reggie go grr-grr, leap around!"]
[14:49] <Yanmei> Oh Reggie. So useless for all of his cuteness. -
[14:51] <Yanmei> "We'll get to see them play again? I know you don't like this place, but we'll try to find some fun things here too."
[14:56] <Firgrim> ["Uuuu…"-
[14:56] <Firgrim> [But she continued on silently.]
[14:57] <Yanmei> And Yanmei… worried. It was only their first day here, and de Orleans had made it sound like they might be stuck here for weeks. -
[14:58] <Yanmei> If only there was a way to get her away from here. The ship had Reggie on it, at least. He would have cheered her up. -
[15:00] <Yanmei> And what's more, it was -safe-. It should have been, anyway. Maybe if she begged someone… de Orleans, or the OD of this branch. Called in some favors… She continued along herself, quietly.
[15:00] <Firgrim> [… And ran into Lilly Norling.]
[15:04] * Yanmei stared, not quite comprehending. "You…!" She looked around them hastily, as if for a trap or prying eyes, or… something unpleasant.
[15:06] <Firgrim> ["Me." Said Lilly. "Heard you broke a bunch of laws and tried to kill an E-Des pilot. Good job."]
[15:08] <Yanmei> "Is that what you heard?" Yanmei stepped aside in an attempt to get around her. "Try getting your facts straight?"
[15:09] <Firgrim> [Lilly sidestepped. "So how did that E-Des lose an arm? Was it just you flailing about? Hm, actually…"]
[15:10] <Yanmei> "Did you hear that the pilot opened fire on us first? Or did you just leave that out to make it easier to snark at me." Yanmei rolled her eyes and tried stepping around the other way.
[15:15] <Firgrim> [Lilly sidestepped again. "Oh yeah, maybe she wouldn't have done that if your stupid albino hadn't caught her and two thousand others in an Anti AT Field."]
[15:16] <Yanmei> "Don't you have something -else- to do? Why are you even here?"
[15:21] <Firgrim> ["Oh, I just wanted to bring a little treat for Lizzie~" Said Lilly with a gloating smirk. She pulled a candy bar out of her jacket and held it out to Lizzie. "Since she was such a good girl for me on the ride over here, weren't you, Lizzie?"-
[15:21] <Firgrim> [Lizzie sank back, hiding behind Yanmei's leg.]
[15:27] <Yanmei> SLAP The candy bar sailed aside, crashing into one of the hallway's walls. Yanmei had drawn up to her full height, chin up, eyes practically on -fire-.
[15:29] <Firgrim> [SLAP! Lilly backhanded Yanmei across the cheek hard with the full force of her hate. "You want a fight, you bitch, you got it." She snarled, her horrible smile gone.]
[15:37] * Yanmei staggered back a step or two, a red mark now blazing on her cheek… and then promptly retailiated, not once, but multiple times, slapping hard. "I'll see you dead for what you did!" she hissed.
[15:41] <Firgrim> [But Lilly was fighting properly now. She intercepted Yanmei's hands and struck back with a fierce elbow, headed for the nose!]
[15:46] <Yanmei> It missed as Yanmei shifted aside! She drew back her own arm for a proper punch.
[15:47] <Firgrim> [… And her arm was grabbed by Isha, who smoothly stepped in to roughly shove Lilly away. "No fighting!"-
[15:47] <Firgrim> [Behind Yanmei, Lizzie was screaming and crying…-
[15:50] <Firgrim> ["This is childish and absurd! You are both military officers and I expect better!" Isha's tone was identical to the one he had used to reduce a trooper to tears. "What would your parents think!? What would your mothers think if they could see you acting like a bunch of brawlers in a bar?! Are you brawlers?! Or are you soldiers with steel and discipline in your spines and souls!? Separate and get a hold of yourselves or I will whip you both myself, do you understand me!?"]
[15:54] * Yanmei had opened her mouth to snap back, but somewhere during the speech, her points got lost. She glanced past him, toward Lizzie, and let her arm grow slack again.
[15:56] <Firgrim> [Presumably the same thoughts had gone through Lilly's mind. She reeled as if struck, suddenly going a deep, shameful red. She looked down at her feet.-
[15:57] <Firgrim> ["Now then." Isha took a step back, releasing Yanmei and suddenly he was the genteel calm man who had escorted Yanmei throughout the corridors. "Good soldiers shake hands, apologise and go on their way. Even if they detest each other."]
[15:58] <Yanmei> "I will not shake hands with a kidnapper."
[16:00] <Firgrim> [It was Lilly's turn to become angry now. "How dare you! I am -not- a kidnapper. I was ordered to take her here! I was told there were enemy agents on the Battleship who might try to hurt her! I was protecting her!"]
[16:03] <Yanmei> "You-! You have no idea what you've done, have you? The people who will hurt her are in the Synfront! They were the ones ordering you to bring her here and… and now you've cost me -everything-, you -idiot-!"
[16:04] <Firgrim> [Isha promptly stepped forward and slapped them both.-
[16:04] <Firgrim> [It wasn't a violent slap. It was gentle. A chiding slap across the side of the head. It instantly invoked a mother's hand. Which was the idea.]
[16:06] <Firgrim> [William, meanwhile, had scooped up Lizzie and was whispering to her gently.]
[16:09] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei once again found her words lost. She slowly closed her mouth, face tense with a desperate sort of frustration.
[16:12] <Firgrim> ["If you can shake the hand of someone you hate, then you are strong inside." Said Isha. "Please. Think of your mothers."]
[16:16] <Yanmei> Her mother… off arguing on her behalf. She felt a second wave of shame, but it didn't throw off her anger. "…"
[16:17] <Firgrim> ["Tch." Lilly frowned deeply, but held out her right hand.]
[16:19] * Yanmei stared at it. For a long moment it seemed like she would, perhaps, fold her arms and turn her nose up. Eventually, however… she reached out to grip it instead. "Fine. I apologize for having to hit you."
[16:20] <Firgrim> ["Likewise." Said Lilly, smiling tightly. She let go and then quickly stormed off.-
[16:20] <Firgrim> [Isha let out a tiny sigh. "Pardon my sternness, Lieutenant."]
[16:22] <Yanmei> "It's… fine." She let her hand rest by her side. "It probably would have been worse if one of us had injured the other?"
[16:22] <Firgrim> ["Quite."-
[16:23] <Firgrim> ["Maaamaa mad…" Said Lizzie quietly.]
[16:24] * Yanmei looked back at Lizzie, the guilt spreading plainly across her face.
[16:25] <Firgrim> ["No harm done." Said Isha, picking up the discarded chocolate bar. "This is rather expensive." He said in surprise, unwrapping it and holding it out to Lizzie. "There you go, little miss. Let's continue on, Lieutenant."]
[16:28] <Yanmei> "Right…" She left Lizzie to William now, and his ways of soothing little children. He was much better at it than she was.
[16:34] <Firgrim> ["Maaamaaa." Lizzie held her hands out to Yanmei. "Maaamaa cuddle…"]
[16:38] * Yanmei stopped in mid-stride. She abruptly turned around and went over to them, and gathered Lizzie in her own arms. She was getting harder to carry these days, but this was fine for now. She gently touched her forehead to Lizzie's. "Eat up, okay? Mama's sorry for losing her temper at the mean lady."
[16:40] <Firgrim> ["Love maamaa." Lizzie held the chocolate bar out. "Choc-choc good, maama have, maamaa happy!"]
[16:44] * Yanmei appeased her with a small bite while Lizzie held it out. "Mmmm, that is good! I feel much better. You're such a good sharer." A quick subtle glance around, and she pecked her on the cheek when it seemed like neither Isha nor William were watching. "You can have the rest? It's good!"
[16:45] <Firgrim> ["Ok, maamaa!"-
[16:45] <Firgrim> [And so off they went…-
[16:46] <Firgrim> [And back to the medical district, which was still in chaos. Lizzie nibbled on her chocolate meekly, clearly scared and spooked by the yells and screams. At one point she came eye-to-eye with a crippled soldier- after that she nestled herself against her mother, head under her chin, face pressed against her breast.-
[16:46] <Firgrim> ["We're close, now." Said Isha.]
[16:47] <Yanmei> "Right." Yanmei kept up with him, stroking Lizzie's hair and trying to soothe her. Maybe she should have left her with de Orleans after all…
[16:55] <Firgrim> [But before long the noise faded as Isha took them to a silent area.-
[16:56] <Firgrim> [This was an intensive care ward that had clearly been able to relax a little. Within, lying in a room much like Isaiah's, was Sophia Simonides, her eyes closed, her gorgeous red hair singed and laying like a mess on her pillow. Elene was sitting inside the room, beyond the glass divider.]
[16:59] <Yanmei> Elene! Yanmei waved through the glass as they approached, happy for another familiar face that wasn't quite so punchable. But… poor Sophia.
[17:01] <Firgrim> [Elene looked over. She looked as though she'd been allowed to have a shower, although she was worn looking. When she saw Yanmei, her face set, and she stood up, opening the door. "Yanmei." She said firmly. She looked as though she was about to kick Yanmei.]
[17:05] * Yanmei saw enough to know to set Lizzie down. She resisted sparing a glance at Isha, the memory of his stern reaction to violence still fresh in her mind. "Elene," she said slowly. "We came to see how you guys were?"
[17:09] <Firgrim> [Elene stared. And stared. And then she rushed Yanmei.-
[17:09] <Firgrim> [She threw her arms around Yanmei's shoulders and squeezed her tight as she started to sob.]
[17:14] * Yanmei had gone a little stiff, bracing herself, but it turned out to be for nothing. After the initial shock, she… well, it was hard to move, but she tried to circle her arms around her back. "Oh Elene…"
[17:15] <Firgrim> ["The-the attack set her insides on fire, o-or something, her stomach and heart and lungs, t-they're all burned up on the inside…"]
[17:24] <Yanmei> "So awful…" She looked at the glass again. The lung damage she herself have gotten seemed so minor in comparison. "The doctors. They're giving her treatments?"
[17:25] <Firgrim> ["T-They had some thing where they put biogel inside her, I d-dunno how it works, but she was… She was in so much pain, I had to pull her from the Plug, she could hardly breathe…"]
[17:30] <Yanmei> "That's not surprising if what they said is true. With their help, she can still recover from this? But… you've been sitting here by yourself, worrying for all these hours, haven't you?"
[17:31] <Firgrim> [She nodded.]
[17:34] <Yanmei> "I'm sorry, I wish we'd gotten here sooner. Here, let's sit and take a rest?" she led her toward a hard bench lining the wall opposite to the observation window.
[17:45] <Firgrim> [Elene sat down next to Yanmei, leaning on her shoulder. "This… This sucks, I can't -do- anything… I-I should've…"]
[17:48] <Yanmei> "No. You saved her. The one who pulled her from the plug was you." Yanmei's voice was firm. "And now you're keeping watch over her as she demonstrates her own strength. You're an amazing sister."
[17:54] <Firgrim> ["B-But… I should've- I should've been -faster-, smarter… I could've stopped her… From getting hurt!"]
[18:00] <Yanmei> "No, no…" Yanmei shook her head. "There is nothing that you should be blaming yourself for. What would she think if she heard you?"
[22:48] <Minaplo> ["I-I…" Elene rubbed her eyes. "She keeps saying, like, it's not my fault, in her mind, but…"-
[22:49] <Minaplo> [Lizzie slid off the chair and ran over to Elene, wrapping her stubby little arms around Elene's legs. "Is ok. Is ok! No cry, no cry…"]
[22:52] <Yanmei> "You should listen to her. Well, both of them." She couldn't help smiling down at Lizzie. Even though she was still so little…
[22:59] <Minaplo> ["…" Elene picked Lizzie up, hoisting her into the air before bringing her down into her lap, cuddling the little girl close. "I'm just scared. I hate it. I hate being so scared. You know what it feels like, right? Like, you're standing… Standing on this cliff or whatever, and you don't wanna fall off, but everything seems to be pushing you…"]
[23:06] <Yanmei> Did she want to admit it? Out loud? "This has been Isaiah's third or fourth coma," was what she said instead. "You still have a link to her. You can hear her? And she can hear you and your encouragement too. So you have to stay strong."
[23:18] <Minaplo> ["Miss daadaa." Said Lizzie sadly, patting Elene's hand. "Daadaa sleep? But see Daadaa soon, give daadaa big hugs! No cry. No cry."-
[23:20] <Minaplo> ["…" Elene gave Lizzie a trumulous look, then cuddled her closer. "Oh, you're such a big strong girl. When you grow up, auntie Elene's gonna teach you how to beat people up when they give you crap." She wiped one of her eyes free of tears. "Sophia's… Never been hurt like this, not so severely. I can't fix it this time. All I can do is wait. S-So that's… That's what I gotta do, huh?
[23:20] <Minaplo> Just wait and encourage her and stay strong?"-
[23:20] <Minaplo> ["It… Sucks, but I've just gotta do it…"]
[23:24] <Yanmei> "We know you can do it." Yanmei grinned. She stood up. "You'll see. She'll be on her feet again in no time?"
[23:28] <Minaplo> ["Let's hope." Sniffled Elene. "You guys should be getting on. You're probably all tired."-
[23:28] <Minaplo> [William shook his head. "I can stay with you for a while yet, I'm fine."]
[23:30] <Yanmei> "Hm…" Yanmei glanced to Lizzie, looking for signs of tiredness. She loathed to drag her back through the hallways after all this.
[23:33] <Minaplo> [Lizzie wasn't exactly bouncing around. She was just sitting in Elene's lap, her hands resting on Elene's arms, mumbling a confused sentence about Daadaa and Fino and Reggie and Marimari.]
[23:36] <Yanmei> "I guess we should be heading back, then." She reached out to take her. "Mr. Isha? Is there, maybe, a quieter route back to our quarters?"
[23:45] <Minaplo> [Lizzie slid off Elene's lap and took Yanmei's hand.-
[23:45] <Minaplo> ["Yes, I think so." Said Isha slowly.]
[23:48] <Yanmei> "Perfect. I'll be in touch with you both, then, tomorrow." She clapped a hand against Elene's shoulder before moving off. "Keep your heads up?"
[23:49] <Minaplo> ["Y-Yeah, I will. Thanks, Yanmei." Said Elene.-
[23:49] <Minaplo> [William gave her a nod. "Get some rest. You'll need it."]
[23:51] <Yanmei> "I don't doubt that?" She hefted Lizzie up so that she could carry her in her arms and let Isha take the lead. "Goodnight!"
[23:55] <Minaplo> ["Night, Yanmei."-
[23:55] <Minaplo> [Isha opened for the door for her.]
[23:56] * Yanmei stepped out, leaving her companions behind.

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