Melbourne S Aftermath Pt 3
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Day 10-11

[11:36] <Yanmei> The next day came all too soon. Before she knew it, Yanmei was standing before the same group of Runners that she had trained the day before, running drills to keep them in shape. "Let's go! Move those legs!"-
[11:38] <Yanmei> She couldn't see where Isha had taken his own group of soldiers for the day. They had been carrying firearms, so she assumed it was to a place where they couldn't accidentally kill anyone. Albus too was gone someplace to the south, although he promised he would be easy to find in case the Saints came back.
[11:42] <Minaplo> [Eventually, a Runner would approach Yanmei. "Oi, marm! The Demons' boss is 'ere to yak, marm!"]
[11:44] <Yanmei> "Thanks. I'll go talk to her?" She raised her voice. "Take five, you lot! I'll be back!"
[11:46] <Minaplo> [And so, Yanmei would find Lucy and a small band of Demons lolling about under a copse of trees.-
[11:47] <Minaplo> ["Nice place." Said Lucy with a smirk as Yanmei approached. "I really like the slag-filled river, adds a bit of homely touch to it all."]
[11:50] <Yanmei> "Laugh it up." Yanmei tossed her hair smugly. "After a few weeks under our care, this place will look like the courtyards of a palace. You'll be begging to come look at it."
[11:50] <Minaplo> ["I doubt that." Lucy snorted. "Anyway, I came to offer a few deals."]
[11:52] <Yanmei> "All right. Let's hear them?"
[11:53] <Minaplo> ["I want to trade. I'm not interested in fighting your boy scouts." She folded her arms. "We'll let you buy some of our rare stuff and all that. Also, if your lot are in my lands, or the other way around, we'll call it pax and not start shooting. Yea or nay?"]
[11:54] <Yanmei> "Yea. Sounds fine to me." Yanmei nodded.
[11:54] <Minaplo> ["Second- I've noticed you're having a few problems. A few firebug-related problems."]
[11:57] <Yanmei> "So you've heard, huh?" She held back a groan. "It's only been two days, and they've been just awful."
[12:03] <Minaplo> ["They're bad neighbours. But, you know, funny thing."]
[12:05] <Yanmei> "Hm? What?"
[12:06] <Minaplo> ["They've been breathing down my neck for ages, but now that you're here they're slacking off a lot… I'm thankful for that, even if you don't intend it, but we could always take it a step further. An agreement to work together to grind Luna and her wankers into the dust?"]
[12:10] <Yanmei> Something in her eye brightened significantly. "Think we can do it? There are a lot of them."
[12:11] <Minaplo> ["Sure. You're all slow as shit now, but give your lot a few days and you should have the numbers."]
[12:20] <Yanmei> "The fewer there are of them around, the better?" Yanmei thought hard. They couldn't afford to just act defensively against them forever. "All right. You have yourself a deal… if you can wait on us, that is?"
[12:21] <Minaplo> ["That's fine. I do have a few- er- territorial demands though."]
[12:21] <Yanmei> "Yeah?" she said cautiously.
[12:22] <Minaplo> ["Way back when, the Demons used to control a lot of this area. We controlled a lot of the land 'round the river, see. It's only fair that we take that land back. So we want the coastal area- you can have the rest. Sound good?"]
[12:25] <Yanmei> "There's a lot of land to the south of that." Yanmei said, and then nodded. "Fine."
[12:28] <Minaplo> ["Goodo. And, last thing. You know that philandering poncy fairy-tale wanker who lives up in the big ol' uni?"]
[12:29] * Yanmei sighed. "You two are still not getting along, I see."
[12:30] <Minaplo> ["Damn right we're not. He keeps marching into land that belongs to the fuckin' Demons. Shit, yesterday I drove the arse from the middle of the city. Fought him in one-on-one too. Got him good." A smirk.]
[13:14] <Yanmei> "Congratulations on the victory." Yanmei patted her shoulder lightly. "Why'd you bring him up, anyway? Have something in mind?"
[13:17] <Minaplo> ["Well, I don't want him getting any help, see. The more help he gets, the more men I lose and the more my Runners have to suffer replacing those losses. So it'd be in my best interests- and yours- if you promised not to help him in any way."]
[13:36] <Yanmei> "Well…" Her eyes darted aside and back again. "Thing is, there are only so many guys who'll actually trade with us? Blues are one of them. Truth is, when thinking about toughening up my guys up to march on the Saints, the first thing that came to mind was strapping them into some tough armor."
[13:37] <Minaplo> ["… Ah, I get it." Said Lucy, her smile fading. "Those tins are pretty tough- unless you've got a demon sword." She shrugged. "Can't change your mind?"]
[13:41] <Yanmei> "Not right now. They say situtions are always changing, so… Maybe after we beat the Saints or something."
[13:41] <Minaplo> ["Hm, fair enough. Welp, I have no more reason to stay here. Pleasure doing biz." She gave a little wave and began to stalk off.]
[13:42] * Yanmei waved back. "Don't be a stranger, yeah?" she called after her.
[09:36] <Minaplo> [But just a few hours later, she'd get another Runner, telling her that someone -else- had appeared- the Blue Prince.]
[09:37] <Yanmei> And Yanmei accepted the visit from him too, walking out to greet him personally.
[09:51] <Minaplo> [The Prince was sitting elegantly on a foldout chair as though it were a throne. He stood and bowed to Yanmei as she approached. "Truly, although this place is inhospitable and decayed your very presence is so beautiful as to make it a garden."]
[09:55] * Yanmei politely bobbed her head. That Prince… that was more like a half-flirt, half-insult! "Thanks. We've been so busy fighting that we haven't the time to turn it into something nicer? But I'm sure you didn't come all this way for the view."
[09:58] <Minaplo> ["I wouldn't be so sure. It's a lovely view." He said admiringly, gazing at Yanmei's eyes…-
[09:58] <Minaplo> [And, well, let's be honest. Not just her eyes.]
[10:00] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei cleared her throat rather -loudly-. "You wanted to talk, right? Checkers Lucy was here too, not too long ago."
[10:00] <Minaplo> [And suddenly he was sitting up much straighter, a hand going to his left side. "S-She was? That fire-blooded she-devil…!"]
[10:02] <Yanmei> "You guys got into a nasty fight yesterday, huh?" She gave him a sympathetic look. "Are you okay?"
[10:04] <Minaplo> ["She wounded me, and took the lives of some of my best, but I'll get her back twicefold…"-
[10:04] <Minaplo> [He glowered at the nearby lake. It responded by bubbling disgustingly.-
[10:04] <Minaplo> ["… But. I came here to discuss other, more pleasant matters. Your Lions have been doing well, I hear…"]
[10:05] <Yanmei> "We've been doing our best. We don't have your numbers, of course, so it's been difficult? But we'll manage."
[10:07] <Minaplo> ["Yes, I noticed that. I decided to help a little."]
[10:08] <Yanmei> "Oh…?"
[10:09] <Minaplo> ["I sent word out to some of my associates, allies, tinkerers, so on and so forth, that you are a person of good character and that they should try to support you. It won't mean much in the long run, but it ought to swell your numbers a little."]
[10:14] * Yanmei smiled, genuinely and warmly. "Wow… I wasn't expecting that? It's really generous of you! Thank you!"
[10:17] <Minaplo> ["You are welcome. Of course, I did not come all this way to present a gift. I wondered to myself, 'Who would be so gracious and wise to accept a few mutually beneficial deals'? And of course, I thought of you straight away."]
[10:18] * ZackClass is now known as Zack
[10:20] <Yanmei> "I see," she said cordially. "And what deals did you have in mind, Mr. Prince?"
[10:26] <Minaplo> ["An agreement to trade and free passage? As an aperitif."]
[10:29] <Yanmei> "Certainly. We're on good terms, after all?"
[10:32] <Minaplo> ["Excellent." He tapped his hands together. "Secondly, regarding those lunatic Bombers…"]
[10:33] <Yanmei> That seemed to catch her off guard. "The Bombers? What have they been up to?"
[10:34] <Minaplo> ["Harassing my men and my Runners, as per usual, and they seek to overrun Central Melbourne and all that if they can. Well, I don't want that to happen…"]
[10:38] <Yanmei> "No, of course not." Yanmei shook her head. "You're trying to summon reinforcements from other friendly factions?"
[10:39] <Minaplo> ["Nothing so drastic. I'm sure I can handle the Bombers by myself, so long as they don't get assistance. So I'm hoping certain intelligent and beautiful leaders would agree to forbid any aid for the Mosquito and his insects."]
[10:43] * Yanmei mulled that over cautiously. Limiting contact with the people who had all those great grenades. She didn't like it, but it was better than declaring open war against them, wasn't it?
[10:47] <Minaplo> [The Prince watched her curiously. "I can see you're conflicted. Alright, then let's start somewhere more palatable: how about forbidding access with the Magpies?"]
[10:49] <Yanmei> "…That I can do," she said after a moment. How much could she even offer those guys anyway?
[10:54] <Minaplo> ["And what about doing the same for that hellish succubus in Flinders?"]
[10:55] <Yanmei> "Lucy? You're a little too late when it comes to her. We already struck up a deal?"
[10:56] <Minaplo> ["Hmph." He glowered and tossed his lovely hair. "But she's- evil."]
[10:59] <Yanmei> "She's helping me with the Saints? Even before Severus gave me this position, she helped me out with a lot of things. Please try to understand."
[11:04] <Minaplo> ["Hm. What if I were to offer you all the territory around the River, on both sides?"]
[11:04] * Yanmei shook her head. "Sorry."
[11:08] <Minaplo> ["Not even if I were to lend you troops to help you fight the Tigers?"]
[11:10] * Yanmei shook her head again. "Enraging the Demons on top of everyone else, even with additional loaned troops, would be the end of me. I really can't risk it."
[11:14] <Minaplo> ["Hmmmm. Fair enough. What about the Bombers?"]
[11:15] <Yanmei> "If you agree to not help out the Tigers in exchange for me not helping the Bombers, we might have a deal."
[11:19] <Minaplo> ["Oh, I like that." He said admiringly. "You know, the two of us together could conquer the whole world."]
[11:24] <Yanmei> "One region at a time first." She smirked at him and winked. "Was there anything else you wanted to sort out?"
[11:29] <Minaplo> ["There was, actually. You are no doubt aware of the mighty reputation of the Carlton Blue Knights…"]
[11:32] * Yanmei remembered Lucy's carefully chosen words from earlier about them and their leader in particular. "Naturally?"
[11:38] <Minaplo> ["I decided, as a token of my affection for you and proof of my enamorment with your seductive form, to grant you a gift." A few of his runners stepped forward, carrying large wooden chests. They strained with the weight as they dropped the chests, opening them to reveal boxes full of heavy armored plate.]
[11:44] <Yanmei> That introduction soured it a bit, but she held back a small gasp in the end. Armor that she didn't have to trade for! She stepped forward before she realized it, and then remembered to check herself carefully. -
[11:49] <Yanmei> "Ahem. Of course, you have our gratitude. It's really an excellent way to cement our new business relationship." -
[11:51] <Yanmei> "We don't have much to offer in exchange yet, but we definitely will soon! So please send a messanger if you need anything."
[11:52] <Minaplo> ["Well, there is one thing I need…"]
[11:54] <Yanmei> "Something that will help your gang?" she asked. There was a certain firmness behind those words.
[11:54] <Minaplo> [He laughed. "Whatever do you mean to imply?"]
[11:57] <Yanmei> "Who, me? Nothing at all." She smiled innocently at him.
[11:58] <Minaplo> ["I see." He laughed, getting to his feet. A Runner scrabbled towards him to fold up his chair. "With that, then, I bid you adieu."]
[11:59] <Yanmei> "Of course. See you later!" And she saw him off with a small wave.
[12:01] <Minaplo> [And so he departed.-
[12:02] <Minaplo> [But before long, Yanmei would start to see a few results of his visit- dozens of newly-equipped and trained ganger warriors, sporting guns and blades, began to stream into the park, turning it into a sort of mini-city of tents.]
[12:06] <Yanmei> So he hadn't been lying about it. Yanmei walked through them all personally, greeting and welcoming them and mentally sorting them.
[12:06] <Minaplo> ["What do we think?" Asked Albus, who was sitting behind a makeshift desk with a pile of papers.]
[12:08] <Yanmei> With her rounds done, she found a place to sit near him. "I think we actually have a chance against the Saints now," she replied and… paused and stared at the desk a moment, wondering where and when he had gotten it.
[12:11] <Minaplo> ["Yes. We have fewer forces, but we have better leaders and better soldiers. I think we can hold our own against a force of Saints even twice our size."]
[12:13] <Yanmei> "We'll have to put it to the test pretty soon? The Demons want our help with driving the Saints back and eliminating them. We could start with their least-fortfied places along our border and leave the West to Lucy."
[12:14] <Minaplo> ["That is one way." Said Albus. "There is an alternative, however…"]
[12:14] <Yanmei> "Oh?"
[12:17] <Minaplo> ["Well, the Saints have the bridge that leads to Flinders. So if the Demons want to invade the South Bank area they need to pass a deadly killing ground- bridges are nasty business. However, a joint attack on the area- we flank the bridge forts, allowing them to flow in- and we can destroy their largest force between us. It's a 'Decisive Battle' doctrine."-
[12:17] <Minaplo> ["That's one way." Said Isha, returning from training. Behind him, the Guardsmen- their best troops- were showing off their flash new pulse rifles.-
[12:19] <Minaplo> ["But another way is force the Saints to dedicate much of their forces to the defense of South Bank whilst we send forces to tie up and raid their other regions. If they move out of South Bank, we can attack it, but if they don't, then we can block their supply. It's a basic 'Siege' doctrine."]
[12:23] <Yanmei> "The Siege doctrine sounds less risky to me? If we block their supplies and tie up reinforcements, it will help Lucy out a lot. As it stands, she's starting her invasion way over on Batman Bridge, and we can't really get to that spot easily anyway."
[12:24] <Minaplo> ["It'll also take longer." Said Albus.-
[12:25] <Minaplo> [The sound of a rumbling vehicle engine could be heard dimly, but becoming sharper…]
[12:25] <Yanmei> "…?!" Yanmei stood up sharply. Tigers?!
[12:28] <Minaplo> [But no, it was a truck bearing the lion flags, filled to the brim with rowdy Runners singing incoherently. Isaiah could be seen in the cabin, grinning to himself- a Runner was driving for him.]
[12:30] <Yanmei> "Oh…" she sagged with relief. She'd almost forgotten about that big truck! She waved at them.
[12:35] <Minaplo> [The truck came to a stop outside their little base-shrine, and Isaiah hopped out, heading up the steps. He flashed her a delightful smile. "Hi."]
[12:36] <Yanmei> "Hey!" She came down the steps to greet him. "Going to do a little searching for Hermione?"
[12:37] <Minaplo> ["Mmhmm~" He reached out and grabbed her hand, squeezing it. As always, he felt very warm.-
[12:37] <Minaplo> ["How's it going on the front?"]
[12:39] <Yanmei> "Yesterday was exhausting? But look! We have a lot more new recruits now!" She waved an arm at the fresh tents, showing them off. "We'll send some people back to HQ soon? But for now it looks like we won't have to stretch ourselves quite so thin over here."
[12:40] <Minaplo> ["That's good, because I have even better news~"]
[12:40] <Yanmei> "Oh yeah~?"
[12:44] <Minaplo> ["Something's spooked the Tigers. Some Runners hanging out by the bridge said so- all their fighters have flocked to the north. They probably think we aren't ready to fight yet, so they're ignoring us for now."]
[12:46] * Yanmei grinned. "Must be the Magpies, then? Or something else." A sharp pang of worry at the 'something else'. "It's a nice break, at least."
[12:47] <Minaplo> ["That means that we have a break to dedicate forces to a Decisive Battle." Said Albus. "The longer we wait, the longer the Tigers have to bring forces back down on us."]
[12:49] <Yanmei> "You really want to go that route, don't you?" Yanmei muttered.
[12:51] <Minaplo> ["It is the purpose of advisors such as myself to argue our case as best we can, so you can have all the facts and choose the action that best suits you." He shrugged. "I am not being obstinate, this is how I was trained."]
[12:54] <Yanmei> "I understand. Sorry. We'll figure out what to do and start doing it before Isaiah and his group get back home?" She resisted the urge to snuggle Isaiah. There were surrounded by troops, after all, and they would probably get teased for it.
[12:55] <Minaplo> [He stared back at her with obvious bedroom eyes, but blinked and looked back at his truck. "Yeah, we'd best be going if we want to catch the light…"]
[12:56] * Yanmei squeezed his hand. "Take care of yourselves."
[12:57] <Minaplo> ["You too." And then he was off, hopping in the truck- driving off into the sunset…]
[23:50] * Yanmei watched the truck until it was a tiny speck in the distance. She was quiet, trying to make sense of the fear she felt. It wasn't for Isaiah, but for the soldiers she was leading - a deep penetrating chill. -
[23:52] <Yanmei> But she took a deep, deep breath and spun back around to face Isha and Albus. "If the Decisive tactic you mentioned takes less time, then there will hopefully be fewer casualties on both sides than if we drew this out. Correct?"
Session Time: Wed Apr 03 00:00:00 2013
[00:08] <Minaplo> ["It's faster, but not necessarily less devastating." Said Albus. "Rather, it seeks to end the war in a single blow that wipes out most of the enemy force. But to do this, we need to devote most of our own force. If we fail, we'll be nearly wiped out."]
[00:14] <Yanmei> "It's risky? That's what I don't like about it. But as you said before, we only have a short time until the Tigers start paying attention to us again. And if we strike hard enough to cripple them, we could have a chance to grow peacefully for a few days without looming attacks from either of those two gangs."
[00:15] <Minaplo> ["It's risk versus reward." Said Albus. "We do have a strong force. We can definitely win if we're clever."]
[00:17] <Yanmei> "We'll need support from the Demons too, naturally. I hope Lucy's boys are as tough as she says they are?"
[00:17] <Minaplo> [Albus snorted.]
[00:18] <Yanmei> "Wh-what?"
[00:28] <Minaplo> ["You've never seen Demons fight. They've earned that name."]
[00:34] <Yanmei> "They're not as fierce as we are, I bet~" Yanmei faced the crowds with her hands on her hips. "We'll send a message to them explaining what our plan is. Then we wait for them to get into position. It won't be long."
[22:51] * Yanmei sent word and recieved a message back. They were to attack at the crack of dawn the next morning, which was fine and good, but it meant more waiting. -
[22:52] <Yanmei> She took it out on her trainees. Endless laps, and lunges, and more drills. -
[22:56] <Yanmei> But the anxiety didn't subside, even when she joined in. Eventually they stopped for the day, and Yanmei rested against a tree, tired to the bone. She watched the hills that Isaiah and the truck had vanished over earlier that day, and felt still more anxiety boil within her.
[23:00] <Minaplo> [There was a faint sound, a distant rumbling, however, coming from that direction…-
[23:00] <Minaplo> [A runner ran up to her, panting, sweating. "Boss! Boss! Scary!"]
[23:04] * Yanmei set her face. More UN troops? Angelspawn? She raised the alarm - a quick, sharp gesture in the direction of Isha and his men. "Calm down? What's the news, then?"
[23:04] <Minaplo> ["Tanks, boss!"]
[23:06] <Yanmei> "…tanks?" The UN for sure. If Idiot Blood had tanks of his own, he would have used them on her long ago. "Right. You and the other runners stand back and take cover? Mr. Isha!" she raised her voice. "Grenades! Quickly!"
[23:09] <Minaplo> ["Grenades?" He rushed over, holding out a grenade bandoleer. "What's the problem?"]
[23:10] <Yanmei> "Tanks are approaching." She strapped it on without hesitation. "This could be really messy?"
[23:12] <Minaplo> ["Tanks? Strange." he rubbed his chin. "Let me suit up."]
[23:13] <Yanmei> "Hurry, ok?"
[23:14] <Minaplo> [He nodded wordlessly and headed off.-
[23:15] <Minaplo> [Ten minutes later, Yanmei and Isha, suited up, waited at the bridge. The tanks were visible now, a pair of them, followed by other military vehicles, and…-
[23:15] <Minaplo> [A strangely familiar red truck.]
[23:17] <Yanmei> "…" A trojan horse? Did they have Isaiah, or had the improbable happened? "STOP!" She shouted.
[23:23] <Minaplo> [They stopped, just a little bit over the other side of the bridge.-
[23:23] <Minaplo> [Isaiah popped out of the turret hatch on the frontmost tank, wearing a slightly too large helmet. He was grinning.]
[23:25] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei stared incredulously. The improbable -had- happened. She summoned as much forced calm as she could. "Isaiah."
[23:33] <Minaplo> ["Heeeeey!" He shouted down the bridge length. "I brought you a wedding present!"]
[23:37] * Yanmei turned a deep, vibrant shade of red and tried to block out any peripheral snickers. "I s-see you… *ahem*" She tossed her hair, determined to regain her composure. -
[23:38] <Yanmei> "Well done! You really found all this there?"
[23:43] <Minaplo> ["And a lot more." He said, grinning.]
[23:46] <Yanmei> "Hermione will probably want to hug you for that. At the very least, she'l forgive you for leaving her to babysit~"
[23:50] <Minaplo> ["Oh? No hugs from you?"]
Session Time: Fri Apr 05 00:00:00 2013
[00:08] <Yanmei> "I might have a few for you later~" But a nervous sort of seriousness was edging in on he expression. "Seriously, though, did you run into any trouble out there?"
[00:09] <Minaplo> ["No. The Demons were suspicious but be blasted through their territory pretty quickly."-
[00:09] <Minaplo> ["I doubt the Parliament will like this at all…" Murmured Isha.]
[00:10] <Yanmei> "Probaby not?" Yanmei agreed. "But they can't really do anything to us, can they?"
[00:11] <Minaplo> ["Doubt underestimate them."]
[00:11] <Minaplo> <Don't*>
[00:12] <Yanmei> "Come on. I've never heard of them outright marching on anyone? Besides, Severus started this whole thing. He should be -happy- for us."
[00:13] <Minaplo> ["Let's ask Albus when we get back. Come on."]
[00:15] * Yanmei nodded. "Isaiah, join us. You can lead your boys back to the HQ with this stuff tomorrow morning."
[00:17] <Minaplo> [The next morning would come soon enough. A lot of supplies had been delivered- stacks of weapons, armor, ammo, even missiles…-
[00:17] <Minaplo> [The vehicles were impressive, but Isaiah noted grimly that almost the entire store of Lions' petrol had been exhausted just getting the gas-hungry beasts home.]
[00:19] <Yanmei> "I doubt we'll find extra shells for them anytime soon either?" Yanmei rubbed her chin thoughtfully. "So they're more trump cards than anything else right now. And even that's incredibly useful."
[00:41] * ZackAFK is now known as Zack
[01:12] <Minaplo> ["Indeed. At least, they can be used as cover in the right circumstances…"-
[01:12] <Minaplo> [Albus stared up at the sun. "It's time to move out."]
[01:31] <Yanmei> "Yeah." Yanmei stretched. She parted ways with Isaiah reluctantly, and with an embrace or two or three, muttering quiet things to him
[01:31] <Yanmei> And before long, they were marching West, behind enemy lines.
[07:45] <Yanmei> The battle was difficult. As expected. -
[07:47] <Yanmei> The enemy was difficult to get to. One could spot a cluster of them manning mounted machine guns at the bridge immediately, but they were surrounded by buildings with gunmen of their own. -
[07:48] <Yanmei> This became immediately apparent after the first bullets started flying at the Lion's army units. They rallied, found cover of their own, and shot back. -
[07:54] <Yanmei> Between this and the Demon hordes boldly advancing from the other side of the bridge despite the machine gun fire, confusion and panic began to plainly sweep through the enemy troops. Before long, half of them were fleeing chaotically. The braver ones stuck around until their frightfully-masked leader gave the official order to retreat, their gunfire constant.
[08:11] <Minaplo> [It wouldn't be long before the Demons overran the place, throwing up flags around the bridge and pulling down the gun towers that had kept their approach away.-
[08:11] <Minaplo> [Lucy sought Yanmei out, petting her on the head fondly. "You did good, little sis. Your cubs are stronger than I expected…"]
[08:18] <Yanmei> "Of course they're strong?" Yanmei puffed up proudly. "They're Lions! We train to be the best."
[08:41] <Minaplo> ["Aww, you're adorable." Ruffle ruffle. "Little Miss Lioness wants to play with the big girls~"]
[08:43] <Yanmei> "W-what are you doing?!" She flailed a bit, and then tried to smooth her hair down. "Don't treat your important allies like they're little kids!"
[08:47] <Minaplo> ["But I can't help it. You're so cute and little." She taller woman rested her arm on Yanmei's head as though she were an armrest. "Look, maybe one day you'll grow up and fill out a bit, but until then, you're just my little kid sis."]
[09:04] * Yanmei took a big step away. The plan was get her off balance so that she could fall down, unsupported. What did she mean by 'fill out'?! "What's your plan now, anyway?" she demanded, trying to look as mature and professional as she obviously and clearly was.
[07:23] <Minaplo> [Lucy played along, easily keeping her balance -and- keeping Yanmei as an armrest. "I think we've got the momentum." Said Lucy after a moment of thoughtful expressions. "Best to use it. It's time to keep pushing as hard as we can."]
[08:23] * Yanmei took another big step, this time to the side, swiveling around. "Stop that! And fine. This land had better be worth it?"
[08:26] <Minaplo> ["It -is- part of our deal."]
[08:28] <Yanmei> "Well, yeah, I know. Let's give our boys a few to catch their breath, and then we'll keep going?"
[08:29] <Minaplo> [And so their men had a breather before the push continued.-
[08:30] <Minaplo> [At first they made great progress as whole swathes of area fell to the allies without a fight, but eventually their forward scouts would report a grim sight- near the full might of the Saints marshalled all at once, a powerful army fortified behind imposing gun towers.]
[08:32] * Yanmei took this news considerably well, smiling grimly. "So that's why they haven't been pushing back much? Alright." She worked out a plan with Isha and Albus before running a messenger over to Lucy. -
[08:34] <Yanmei> They would advance, going cover-to-cover, while Isha in the AC Suit would disable the gun towers. Either way, it looked like a nasty open brawl was unavoidable.
[20:55] <Minaplo> [The battle was brutal, but the casualties suffered by the Saints far outstripped that suffered by the Demons or Lions. Before long, squads of Demons were cleaning out buildings, their massive swords cutting swathes through the faltering Saint line.-
[20:55] <Minaplo> [Before long, the battlefield was once again ruled by the Demons and Lions.-
[20:56] <Minaplo> ["Finally." Muttered Lucy as the leaders met after the battle to plan their next move. "I've been waiting for this for you have no idea how many years."]
[20:59] * Yanmei smirked a little at her. She had been watching from a distance as her men patched themselves up. "It won't be long now. If we push ourselves, we could end everything by sundown?"
[21:00] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, we could. Wanna?"]
[21:02] <Yanmei> "Lets. We hurt them badly this time? We don't want them to recover from that."
[21:06] <Minaplo> ["Alright, then. Let's move out!"-
[21:06] <Minaplo> [And so they marched on with high spirits, the Lions and the Demons laughing, cracking jokes, singing snatches of songs.-
[21:08] <Minaplo> [But before long, they would come to their destination. And their spirits would dampen as they saw what they saw, even in the poor light.-
[21:09] <Minaplo> [The Saints' HQ was a fortress, with a tangle of stone and metal walls standing ten metres high, the path barred by huge gates, machine guns sitting atop the walls. The buildings around the fortress had been completely smashed down to deny cover to the enemy.-
[21:09] <Minaplo> [And the walls were covered in lights- torches, letting Yanmei see the hundreds of Saints manning the wall.]
[21:13] <Yanmei> "…" She wanted to curse. Of course it would be that difficult! She called Isha and Albus together briefly for ideas. "It's not like the strategy we used last time will work?" She grumbled. "And we only have one sniper rifle? So it'll take forever to thin them out from a distance."
[21:17] <Minaplo> ["We could starve them out." Said Albus.-
[21:17] <Minaplo> ["Or we could assault the walls. I'm sure our men can climb up it, although it will be hard and many will die. There is another alternative…"]
[21:18] <Yanmei> "What would that be? The tanks?"
[21:21] <Minaplo> ["Yes. Use their cannons to blow a hole in the wall."]
[21:26] <Yanmei> "It will take a while for one to arrive, and it will barely have enough fuel to get back to our territory. I think it's our best shot, though? We'll send a messenger to Lucy first, and then to Isaiah."
[21:31] <Minaplo> ["Understood."-
[21:33] <Minaplo> [A message was sent to Lucy, who responded with acknowledgement, before Isha hopped into his AC Suit and flew off to the east.-
[21:34] <Minaplo> [The sunlight was almost entirely gone when Isha returned, accompanied by Isaiah- and a battletank, loaded and fuelled up. He was grinning as they approached.]
[21:38] <Yanmei> Yanmei had been chatting with the soldiers until they appeared, and she stood up, dusting off her pants. "Don't tell me he came personally…"
[21:42] <Minaplo> ["So it seems." Said Albus dryly.-
[21:42] <Minaplo> [The tank lurched to a stop next to Yanmei, Isaiah waving down at her. "You needed a big gun, I hear?"]
[21:47] <Yanmei> "You heard right." Yanmei patted the armor side of the tank briefly with on hand. "Shall we get underway? If it's dark, they'll have a harder time aiming and returning fire at us."
[21:47] <Yanmei> ^with one
[21:50] <Minaplo> ["Alright."-
[21:50] <Minaplo> [Isaiah dropped into the tank, closing the hatch as he did so- and the steel behemoth rumbled forward, treads squeaking, the cannon levelling itself out toward the wall of the fortress.]
[21:57] * Yanmei in the meantime got her men to attention with a few loud bellows. "We'll charge when the wall starts to crumble," she said to Albus and Isha in a much quieter voice. "Keep your eyes open and send a messenge before doing anything."
[22:04] <Minaplo> [There were nods of understanding.-
[22:06] <Minaplo> [The tank slowed to a crawl, and then a full stop. The battle lines were tense, the Demons and Lions ready to charge, the urge to charge there, but keeping it restrained for now.-
[22:08] <Minaplo> [The suspense continued to ramp up, growing stronger and stronger, the only movements being the twitching of the tank's cannon as it moved up and down…-
[22:09] <Minaplo> [Before it fired, an absolutely deafening sound that drove the thoughts from Yanmei's head. The explosve shell hurtled across the killing field, smashing into the wall- which exploded outwards into the inner courtyard, sending metal and stone and debris in all directions, accompanied by the screams of dying men.]
[22:14] * Yanmei kept herself from wincing, staring straight ahead and trying assess the damage. That was fast. She sent signals to the others. Now was the time to charge!
[22:22] <Minaplo> ["Charge!"-
[22:23] <Minaplo> [The Lions surged forward, guns at the ready, whilst the Demons sprinted ahead, their vicious blades drawn, all heading for the breach in the wall, capitalising on the smoke, confusion and darkness.-
[22:24] <Minaplo> [With a burst of light, the AC Suit took into the air, cutting through the sky and landing on other, undamaged parts of the wall, squashing an unlucky Saint and knocking several others over. It readied its cannons and began firing mercilessly to both sides, the ramparts of the walls making excellent killing fields…]
[22:27] * Yanmei was doing her part in the battle beyond the hole in the wall, of course, tearing up and struggling to see amid the smoke and darkness, but slashing out at any Sants uniforms she could find. After a little while, she lifted her head, trying to catch glimpses of Lucy or Saint Luna herself or anyone else she recognized.
[22:33] <Minaplo> [Lucy was in there, of course, laughing as she cut her way through the enemy ranks…-
[22:34] <Minaplo> [But…-
[22:34] <Minaplo> [Yanmei would feel it before she saw it. A strange crawling across her skin, a sudden spike of insecurity. A horrible feeling of wrongness…-
[22:35] <Minaplo> [Looking up, she'd see, shining brightly in the dark sky, a sudden new shape- two swords, joined at the pommel, one pointing up, the other down.]
[22:40] * Yanmei stared up at it, not understanding at first. Surely, she couldn't be the only one to see it? She screamed a sudden warning to Lucy! "We have to pull back!"
[22:49] <Minaplo> [But Lucy couldn't hear. And in any case, by then it was too late.-
[22:49] <Minaplo> [The glowing symbol dissolved into the aether like a mist; and from that mist was…-
[22:52] <Minaplo> [It had the same vague shape as an Evangelion, the same broad outline, but it was -off-. It was as though someone had tried to describe an Evangelion to someone else, but the first person didn't really understand the details and the second person was a disturbed sculptor.-
[22:54] <Minaplo> [It was white, with armour plates that, Yanmei realised, looked more like ossified bone- Angelic style- than the metal plating of an Eva. Like so, it was shaped around pulsating red growths along its arms and legs.-
[22:54] <Minaplo> [It was slightly hunched over, giving it a strange, bird-like predatory look; its face was flat and elongated, with a beak-like ending and white gaping black eyes.-
[22:59] <Minaplo> [Spines ran down its arms, and it was constantly jerking about… Looking for something.-
[23:00] <Minaplo> [By now, Yanmei didn't need to shout. The fighters around her had seen for themselves. The fighting came to a stop, slowly, as they stared…-
[23:00] <Minaplo> [Before it started to become a stampede.]
[23:04] * Yanmei was running too! "Back to base! Hurry up!"
[23:18] <Minaplo> [There was a sudden rush of wind that buffeted Yanmei as the giant predator slammed into the ground with one foot, landing about ten metres away from Yanmei, sending the ground shaking. Many were thrown to their feet, others still crushed beneath the foot.-
[23:19] <Minaplo> [But the beast didn't land. Instead it remained hovering scant metres above the crush of people, slamming down continuously with its feet against its prey, killing more people. A massive jam had formed at the breach, giving the creature a lot of targets.]
[23:23] * Yanmei screamed - a sound of outrage and horror. -Her men-! The fury began to overwhelm the horror. "No!! Scatter! Don't bunch up!"
[23:34] <Minaplo> [Miraculously, her words were heard, and it even cut through the terror her men felt in their minds. They began to scatter- sluggishly, but less were falling beneath the feet of the beast and each other.-
[23:36] <Minaplo> [A blaze of light smashed into the earth, just metres away from Yanmei…-
[23:36] <Minaplo> [A figure was standing there, revealed slowly as the smoke cleared. Long violet hair in tails. A tight black military coat over trousers, a white cape.-
[23:37] <Minaplo> ["Found you."-
[23:37] <Minaplo> [It was Joan. And she looked -furious-.]
[23:44] <Yanmei> "You…" In another time and place, she would have smirked at that expression. Presently, there was much much more to worry about. The lives of the soldiers and allies with her, the fate of this godforsaken city as a whole, and rather sharp memories of her recent time in Caine's care. -
[23:53] <Yanmei> Instead of gloating, she drew a sidearm and broke into a sudden sprint, skipping over debris and bodies in a beeline for the couryard.
[23:54] <Minaplo> ["How dare you run!"-
[23:54] <Minaplo> [Joan leapt after Yanmei, her augmented legs quickly eating the distance between them. Joan leapt in front- it was less crowded here, at least.-
[23:56] <Minaplo> ["I spent -hours- on Pluto looking for you and your stupid lover! A place so far away the sun is just a very bright star! Even -I- felt cold there! So the least you can do is stop running, you cow!"]
[00:02] <Yanmei> "You're the cow! Get of my way!" She fired at her! "I don't know what the hell that thing's supposed to be? But you're crazy if you think I'm going -anywhere- with you!"
[00:19] <Minaplo> [The shot hurtled harmlessly into the distance. "What was that?" Said Joan, savage glee in her livid voice. "That such a shitty shot gave me such a hard time…"-
[00:20] <Minaplo> ["I'll give you one more warning? give yourself up, and your lover too. If you do, I'll even let most of your people live, even that little girl. If you don't, though…"]
[00:33] <Yanmei> "And what happens then? We both rot in prison?" She drew the more reliable surovite blade. "Poor you, having to search all of Pluto just to satisfy Caine's petty grudges~"
[00:37] <Minaplo> [A group of Demons had fled into this area, and were milling about aimlessly behind Joan.-
[00:38] <Minaplo> [She turned halfway and gestured towards them. Her hand flared with rainbow light, and a massive burst of AT Energy ripped through the courtyard, vaporising them all in a half-second.-
[00:38] <Minaplo> ["I don't have time for your Lilim bullshit, Yanmei! If you don't surrender, I'll feed your little girl to my Dysangelion!"]
[00:46] <Yanmei> "Dys-" That term made her stop for a fraction of a second. Her upper lip curled. "God, you people make me sick."
[00:53] <Minaplo> ["Don't be boring? Like you're any better."-
[00:56] <Minaplo> ["You know what? I don't even want you to surrender." Said Joan, tossing her hair. "No. Conquest is a lot more fun? I like it when I work for my pleasure. So I'll give you one minute head start, alright? Better get going~?"]
[00:58] <Yanmei> "Tch…" She sneered at her, but she didn't waste the opportunity either. Isaiah was…?
[00:59] <Minaplo> [Presumably still outside…-
[01:00] <Minaplo> ["Fifty-nine, fifty-eight…"]
[01:04] * Yanmei was off, through the breach. What she wouldn't give for some sort of short-range comm!
[01:10] <Minaplo> [Squeezing through the breach and the mass of humanity. Fifty seconds…-
[01:12] <Minaplo> [She'd witness the Dysangelion, still stamping on the crowds, turn its head towards the AC Suit on the wall- and backhand the entire wall, shattering it with utter ease, sending the AC Suit careening into the urban wasteland- back where there were still full buildings, smashing through walls and floors until it was out of sight.-
[01:13] <Minaplo> [Isaiah was there, aiming the cannon up at the Dysangelion. He was waiting for her…-
[01:13] <Minaplo> [Forty seconds.]
[01:17] <Yanmei> She put on the afterburners, reaching him and clamboring on top of the tank. "…saih…Isaiah," she panted, and fought with the hatch. She took a deep breath. "It's not alone! Is 08…?"
[01:19] <Minaplo> ["I don't know! I-I can't feel it…" He dropped down into the tank, grabbing the driving controls. "Fasten yourself up! We need to go!"-
[01:19] <Minaplo> [The tank rumbled forward for a minute before pulling a slow u-turn- at which point Isaiah hit the engines as hard as he could forward. The tank began to laboriously pick up speed…-
[01:19] <Minaplo> [Thirty seconds.]
[01:25] * Yanmei drew in another deep breath. This wasn't going to work. If they had a getaway car or even the speedy AC suit… "Isha's… fuck. Lemme think." She stared at Isaiah a moment, their final hope for actually getting out of here. "I could buy you some time. If I had grenades and a machine gun…"
[01:27] <Minaplo> ["It won't work." Said Isaiah grimly. "We need a way to neutralise. O-Or something. Dammit. What I wouldn't give for Rei to be here right now."-
[01:27] <Minaplo> [Twenty-five seconds. The buildings were coming closer now.-
[01:29] <Minaplo> ["Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit. Am I gonna…?"]
[01:34] <Yanmei> "Gonna what?" Yanmei eyed the gun controls and reached out for them in anticipation. "Here. You handle the steering and I'll try to do this?"
[01:38] <Minaplo> ["Alright."-
[01:38] <Minaplo> [Twenty…]
[01:39] <Yanmei> A sudden thought. "This tank doesn't have a built-in radio system, does it?"
[01:40] <Minaplo> ["It does, yeah."]
[01:44] <Yanmei> She turned and hunched over said system for a moment. It crackled noisily. "Can anyone out there hear me? Mr. Isha?"
[01:45] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[01:45] <Minaplo> ["… Y…anmei?"-
[01:45] <Minaplo> [Fifteen seconds.]
[01:56] <Yanmei> Alive! She exhaled. "Mr. Isha! There's not much time. The enemy's about to engage? I need you to send another SOS message to… your contacts with Vercingetorix. Or hell, broadcast it openly? After that, I need you to regroup with the others at HQ. If Isaiah and I don't make it back, I want you to look after Lizzie for a while."
[01:57] <Minaplo> ["I… I will try. There are no promises, much of my- - - - - - damaged."]
[01:59] <Yanmei> "I understand. Do your best?" She gave a thin smile, even though he couldn't see it. "It was good working with you, Mr. Isha. You're a good man, and I hope you take care of yourself."
[02:01] <Minaplo> ["And you, Yanmei. Thank you."-
[02:01] <Minaplo> [Five seconds. The tank was surrounded by buildings on both sides, now…-
[02:02] <Minaplo> [But they felt something approaching. Something forceful and powerful. Yanmei would see the Dysangelion hovering above them, lifting one of its legs, Joan on its shoulder…!]
[02:07] * Yanmei swiveled, adjusting the tank's cannon, aiming and firing for whichever part of the Dysengelion -or Joan - that she could hit from their current positioning.
[02:08] <Minaplo> [The shell hit the Dysangelion's left foot- to no effect at all.-
[02:10] <Minaplo> [The foot came down on the tank. Not with enough force to crush it- it was holding back. But the foot forced the tank to a halt, the painful screech of the spinning treads hurting Yanmei's ears. Above her head, the roof nearly caved in- the turret was definitely crushed.-
[02:10] <Minaplo> ["Ze~ro!" Said Joan gleefully. "You better get out of there, Yanmei~"]
[02:12] * Yanmei briefly ground her teeth. She peeled her hands away from where they were tightly clutching the controls. "God, I hate her. Isaiah…"
[02:13] <Minaplo> ["We have to get out." He said quietly, grimly. "The tank can't move. Side hatch! Go!"]
[02:15] * Yanmei opened it, grunting through the resistance, and then slipping out and scrambling for cover immediately.
[02:15] <Minaplo> [Isaiah was right after her- and mere seconds later the tank was ground into the asphalt beneath the Dysangelion's heel.-
[02:17] <Minaplo> [Joan didn't act until they were in cover. And then she started…-
[02:17] <Minaplo> [To laugh.-
[02:20] <Minaplo> ["Now it's fun? Alright…"-
[02:20] <Minaplo> ["Dyssie, get them, ok~? I want you to smash them up real good. Yeah, we're supposed to bring them alive, right? But…"-
[02:21] <Minaplo> ["It's ok. Just go wild. So long as the head's still intact, I can keep them alive."-
[02:22] <Minaplo> [The Dysangelion let out an utterly painful, soul-terrifying screech as it brought its fist down on the building that Yanmei was hiding within.]
[02:29] * Yanmei somehow cleared the falling wreckage, springing and rolling with her hands over her head. Even as the tremor from the attack nearly brought her to her knees, she shot a look over her shoulder to see how Isaiah was faring.
[02:33] <Minaplo> [He, too, had rolled out of the way, but the tremor was too much for him and he tumbled, smacking his face into a broken tiled floor face-first, his cheek sliced on shards of rock.-
[02:42] <Minaplo> [The keening of the Dysangelion filled their ears as it lifted its fist…]
[02:45] * Yanmei closed the distance between Isaiah and herself swiftly, catching his arm just as he was getting to his feet and racing onward behind yet another building that had been much smaller than their previous cover.
[02:48] <Minaplo> [They didn't even bother stopping now. The fist ripped through the wall, nearly catching Yanmei as she went. The entire western side of the building crumbled, teetered, then crashed in a landslide of concrete, brick and metal.-
[02:49] <Minaplo> [Dodging a rusted steel girder, Isaiah and Yanmei made it to the next building…!]
[02:57] * Yanmei pressed her back against a wall and peered hopefully out into the dust cloud that the last collapsing building had made. The air was thick with it, and there was a hush between attacks. Maybe they'd lost them…?
[03:06] <Minaplo> [A mighty fist demolished the building above them, sending masonry and dust down upon them- Yanmei narrowly avoiding a falling cinder block. The dust settled on their hair and clothes-
[03:06] <Minaplo> [But now the baleful eyes of the Dysangelion were clear on them, and the debris had formed an uneven wall cutting them off from more cover.-
[03:06] <Minaplo> [On the other hand, it wouldn't be impossible for them to climb higher if they needed to throw the Dysangelion off.]
[03:09] * Yanmei only had a moment to stare back before yelping. A chuck of drywall slammed into her from above, knocking her down.
[03:14] <Minaplo> ["Yanmei! No!" Isaiah grabbed her, roughly pushing them over a low wall of concrete- just seconds before the Dysangelion's foot slammed down metres away, shattering the flimsy earth below.]
[13:47] <Yanmei> It was a second before Yanmei could lift her head and look around, her vision was spinning so much. But the titanic creature was still right there, entirely too close for comfort. "Here-!" she forced herself to her feet, clasping Isaiah's arm, and took off running as hard as she could.
[14:03] <Minaplo> [There was the catastrophic sound of a building being smashed down behind them as the Dysangelion followed, looking about, scanning- and slowing in mild confusion.]
[14:11] * Yanmei didn't slow down for a second. A flight of unsteady stairs caught her eye just by chance, and she came to a screeching, switching directions and pulling Isaiah along for the ride. Up they went, to a broken floor of an apartment building. She ducked down, hiding herself from view behind one of its three remaining walls, and tried to catch her breath.
[14:12] <Minaplo> [Isaiah promptly clapped a hand over her mouth, and for good reason.-
[14:13] <Minaplo> [There was a footstep nearby, and one of the still-remaining walls of the building gave way completely, exposing them on two sides now. There was still a wall between them and the Dysangelion, but…-
[14:14] <Minaplo> [A giant white hand now emerged, gripping that wall lightly, followed by the giant, birdlike head.-
[14:14] <Minaplo> [It jerked left, it jerked right, like an owl, or an eagle looking for prey, its black eyes unblinking. It was -metres- away, and if it saw them…]
[14:32] * Yanmei tried to go perfectly still, but she was shaking too much for that. She managed to still her breath, at least, rooted to the spot for now.
[14:39] <Minaplo> [Its neck twitched.-
[14:39] <Minaplo> [The head began looking about faster, angrily, before withdrawing. A nearby building was crushed by its fury.]
[14:44] <Yanmei> It was a small diversion… and one that they desperately needed. -Now- she could exhale. Nearby, there was a ramp that was completely exposed linking this brumbling building to another that seemed… less crumbly. She moved first, patting Isaiah's hand to get him to follow. Over the ramp, trying desperately not to look down or to the side, where the Dysangelion rampaged.
[14:45] <Yanmei> ^crumbling building
[14:48] <Minaplo> [Isaiah followed. The Dysangelion was still looking for them, and still not finding them, rampaging through an apartment block.-
[14:48] <Minaplo> [Isaiah let out a deep breath. "I think we're safe."-
[14:52] <Minaplo> [At that very second, the wall to their left gave way, directly behind Isaiah. A black and violet shape ripped through the wall, catching him in the middle. Yanmei would see his face for just a second- full of shock and surprise- as both Isaiah and the new threat smashed through the opposing wall and vanished into the street below.]
[14:55] * ZackStudy is now known as Zack
[15:12] <Yanmei> Yanmei's jaw dropped open. Without a word, she climbed to her feet and went after them. Midway through the fall, she realized what she was doing and flailed for some desperate too-late correction. A split second after that, her back collided with the windshield of a parked, abandoned car, and she groaned trying to free herself from it. "I-Isaiah…"
[15:35] <Minaplo> ["… Man."-
[15:36] <Minaplo> [Joan was standing by Isaiah, who was lying on the ground, groaning, seemingly unable to move.-
[15:36] <Minaplo> ["That was terrible? Was that your big plan? To fall off a building? Ugh… This isn't fun at all. Get up already."]
[15:40] <Yanmei> "Shut.. up." Yanmei rolled off the car and gave a pained cough. "Your… entertainment is hardly our problem?"
[15:49] <Minaplo> ["Heh."-
[15:50] <Minaplo> ["I don't even need a weapon for this." She threw out her hands, bringing them up into a fighting stance. "Come to Joan~"]
[16:11] * Yanmei gave her a withering look. "Are you stupid? I just said no one's going to entertain you. Get a TV like everyone else." She tossed her hair. "Or does Caine not even want to let you far enough off your leash to do that much~? Some Angel…"
[16:24] <Minaplo> [Joan crossed the few metres between them in less than a second.-
[16:24] <Minaplo> [two rapid jabs to the chest and leg, before a high swinging kick into Yanmei's right arm. The impact-
[16:25] <Minaplo> [The impact brought tears to her eyes. For a moment she wondered if the arm was broken- the attack sent Yanmei tumbling to the side- the surovite sword dropping away.-
[16:25] <Minaplo> ["You're wrong." Said Joan.-
[16:25] <Minaplo> ["You're going to entertain me just fine? Your participation is not needed, or even wanted. It's better this way."]
[16:47] <Yanmei> "You…!" She swiped up the sword again, smooth as silk, and sliced at her. The air around her, anyway, as her AT Field brushed the blows aside. "Who the hell do you think you are!" She sprang away again, furious.
[16:50] <Minaplo> ["Interesting question. I'd rather know who -you- think you are, my little peach."-
[16:50] <Minaplo> [Joan turned, slowly, facing Yanmei, a sickly smile on her face.-
[16:50] <Minaplo> ["Man… It's kind of sad? The Watcher turned into this."-
[16:50] <Minaplo> ["Let's find out about you a little."-
[16:51] <Minaplo> [Joan closed her eyes, putting her hands together like a prayer.-
[16:51] <Minaplo> [But…-
[16:51] <Minaplo> [There was something in her forehead, shifting and pulsating under the flesh, writhing and coiling about, distorting and stretching the skin.]
[16:58] <Yanmei> A disgusted expression flashed across Yanmei's face. She decided not to stick around to see exactly what she was trying to do and went for Isaiah, struggling with his weight at first as she tried to put more distance between them and Joan.
[17:01] <Minaplo> [Joan smirked.-
[17:01] <Minaplo> [She separated her hands, then placed them in front of her face, one over the other. Focusing her AT Field inward, she suddenly ripped her hands apart, tearing at the skin on her forehead.-
[17:02] <Minaplo> [A bulging, giant, perfectly round eye, milky-white with a pure black pupil, stared out at the world, the full force of the Angel of Death concentrated on a single point.-
[17:03] <Minaplo> [The force of its gaze unleashed a distortion through the air, rippling across the pitiful few metres, determined to strike Yanmei and render her helpless…]
[17:12] <Yanmei> It almost worked. She felt it strike her body and tear relentlessly into her mind. She thought she might scream, but the faintest of movement in her arms made her choke it back. Priorities… -responsibilities-. She turned to run.
[17:14] <Minaplo> ["… -You-!"-
[17:15] <Minaplo> [Joan cursed, the fury exploding out of her body, a wave of real force that disintegrated loose rocks and debris around her. "Kill them! Kill them now!"-
[17:16] <Minaplo> [The ground beneath them trembled.-
[17:16] <Minaplo> [A massive shape flew across the sky, dwarfing them, shrouding them in its titanic shadow. It landed, a foot cutting off Yanmei's line of escape.-
[17:17] <Minaplo> [The force, combined with her sprinting, was enough to send her toppling, now. She slammed into the ground, Isaiah falling with her.-
[17:18] <Minaplo> [There wasn't time to escape now. The Dysangelion was there, reaching out a massive hand to crush the life from Yanmei. It was but metres away.-
[17:18] <Minaplo> [She was going to die.]
[17:21] <Yanmei> No… She saw it coming, but she couldn't move. Not to save herself, or to even try to block Isaiah from what was to come next. It was as if her entire body had turned to stone.
[17:36] <Minaplo> [The force of the fist coming- she could feel it on her face, her hair, billowing behind her, for a split second-
[17:36] <Minaplo> [… The sound of a mighty fist hitting home echoed around the city.-
[17:36] <Minaplo> [But Yanmei never felt the blow.-
[17:37] <Minaplo> [Standing over Yanmei, armour cracked, eye exposed, chest revealed, was EVA-08, its left arm having caught the Dysangelion in a perfect uppercut, smashing it through a building block.]
[17:42] <Yanmei> Another thick cloud of white dust washed over her and Isaiah, blown back by the impact. As it settled, Yanmei felt the life come back to her limbs and… remembered the perils of being practically underfoot in a fight of this scale. She went for Isaiah again arms shaking frantically.
[17:43] <Minaplo> [His eyes slid open, and a hazy, nearly drunken smile crossed his face. "It worked… Oh, good."-
[17:43] <Minaplo> ["Y… Yanmei, hurry." He said, groggily getting to his feet, pointing to a nearby building. "Get in there for a second, c'mon."]
[17:46] <Yanmei> "…There?" Was that any less dangerous than being out in the open? She stepped in to support him. "You're coming too."
[17:49] <Minaplo> ["Yes, c'mon!"]
[17:51] <Yanmei> She slipped an arm around his waist and wasted no time, moving as quickly as she could under the circumstances and kicking the door in once they were close enough to it.
[17:52] <Minaplo> [Isaiah propelled himself against a wall as they entered, putting his back to it and turning around. "Yanmei. I need to be with 08 properly. She- she isn't in the best condition, so I need to focus as best I can. But you need to fight Joan as well."]
[17:53] <Yanmei> "Hmph. Gladly? But that AT Field of hers…"
[17:56] <Minaplo> ["… I have a solution. It might not work, but… It's the best we can do. You probably won't like it…"]
[17:57] * Yanmei eyed him cautiously, waiting for his continuation.
[18:03] <Minaplo> ["I… I think I can use our AT Fields, the Libido effect, t-to create you something. It'll be a bit of a weird thing to do, and you might, er… Feel a bit weirded out by it." He seemed weirdly bashful. "But I think using a type of Dirac Sea and a few other things, I can give you what you need."]
[18:07] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei's brow furrowed. She already felt… odd. If only because he was acting odd about it. "It won't effect your and 08's fight, will it?"
[18:08] <Minaplo> ["It won't, no. Are you ready?"]
[18:08] <Yanmei> "…yes?"
[18:09] <Minaplo> [He took off his shirt. His skin was marked with cuts and bruises here and there.-
[18:10] <Minaplo> ["Put your hand on my chest. Over my heart, if you would."]
[18:11] * Yanmei held back a deep frown. They would have to see about getting him patched up the very instant this was over. She hesitated, as if any additional pressure might bruise him further, and then placed a hand very gently over his heart.
[18:11] <Minaplo> ["Push."]
[18:12] * Yanmei did so. Again, very gently.
[18:13] <Minaplo> ["No, Yanmei, I need you to push harder than that."]
[18:15] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei gazed into his eyes. "I'm going to," she warned. "Don't… fall down and stuff, okay?" She counted to three in her head, and then pushed more roughly.
[18:16] <Minaplo> [He didn't fall back.-
[18:16] <Minaplo> [But with some resistance, her hand -sank- into his chest as though it were a sort of putty, right up to her wrist. The feeling was strange, like hot bread dough…]
[18:19] * Yanmei took this as well as could be expected. Her face twisted with horror, every ounce of color evaporating from it fast. "I-I-I-Isa-Isaiah…"
[18:25] <Minaplo> ["It's alright." Said Isaiah, closing his eyes. He took a breath, and Yanmei felt it all down her arm.-
[18:26] <Minaplo> [Slowly, Yanmei's arm began to glow softly, starting at her wrist and proceeding up to her elbow, then creeping up to her shoulder…-
[18:26] <Minaplo> ["You know that it's dangerous to draw the sword, right?"]
[18:29] <Yanmei> "Sword? …how did you know?" Her head swam. "I have to do it either way? Because I haven't figured out how not to yet."
[18:30] <Minaplo> ["But you're scared, right? You're scared you'll do the wrong thing if you do."]
[18:35] <Yanmei> "Yes. This isn't the time to be afraid. You use a sword to cut things down. If she comes at me, then that's what I'll do?" If sounded so refreshingly simple in the midst of this fight.
[18:36] <Minaplo> ["If you falter even a second, she'll have you. You know that, right?"]
[18:37] <Yanmei> "Yeah. I know that."
[18:37] <Minaplo> ["… Then if I were the one to tell you to take the blade, if I were the one to tell you I trusted you, would you falter even once?"]
[18:42] <Yanmei> "If it's you, then not for second."
[18:48] <Minaplo> ["Then I want you to take the sword, Yanmei. And become my protector and my conqueror."]
[18:51] <Yanmei> There was something in her hand. Something hadn't been there until now, and probably -shouldn't- have been. She pulled it, throwing her trepidation aside.
[18:55] <Minaplo> […-
[18:56] <Minaplo> [Joan scanned the skies, the rooftops, frowning furiously to herself. Her third eye had sunk back into her head, the 'wound' closed up. Nevertheless, she was livid. Yanmei was gone.-
[18:57] <Minaplo> [She looked to her left, to her right. Somehow the appearance of that stupid Evangelion had ruined everything. She was sure the Dysangelion could kill it, but…-
[18:58] <Minaplo> [She landed on a road, deliberately with enough force to splinter it. She stared at a nearby building- then, with a short grin that turned into fierce, bloodthirsty glower, sprinted around the corner…-
[18:58] <Minaplo> […-
[18:58] <Minaplo> ["WHAT?!"]
[19:08] <Yanmei> Her own image reflected back at her. Not a a 'mirror' image, per se. She wore black armor with fine detailing swirling along the edges of her greaves, gauntlets and cheastplate. A thick black cloak draped from her shoulders to well down her back, flashing a deeply saturated violet lining as she shifted forward slightly. -
[19:17] <Yanmei> The black visor she wore completely hid her eyes, and gripped in one hand was a sword. It was different from the one she had been using earlier, but it was easy enough to identify from the -feel- it gave off more than anything. It was a straight-edged sword with a cresent-shaped crossguard, and it gleamed with an impossible platinum brightness…
[19:18] <Minaplo> ["… No. No way. There's no way you had that here."-
[19:18] <Minaplo> ["That sword. That sword- tha-that sword! How?! How how how how how how how how how how how how do you have it?!?!"-
[19:19] <Minaplo> [Joan's eyes were popping, either with fear ot pure frenzied hate. Her hands were clenched so tightly she was ripping through some of the leather of her glove.-
[19:19] <Minaplo> ["There's no way… You? It's you?! But you're not-"-
[19:20] <Minaplo> ["… It's not a real…"-
[19:20] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[19:20] <Minaplo> ["So even a Lilin like you-?!"-
[19:21] <Minaplo> [She stopped speaking, her shoulders heaving, staring straight at Yanmei, trying to meet her gaze through the helm. "I don't believe this. This is…"-
[19:21] <Minaplo> ["This is bullshit!"]
[19:27] <Yanmei> It was more than the sword getting to Joan, that was obvious. Yanmei didn't bother to parse her words, because she was too busy dealing with her own surprise. It was just like the equipment she had left behind on the landship weeks ago, only nicer, and she couldn't quite explain any of it. "Well~?" -
[19:28] <Yanmei> "Are you going to attack? Or are you going to withdraw~?"
[19:29] <Minaplo> ["You…"-
[19:30] <Minaplo> ["…" Joan straightened up fully, giving Yanmei a twisted smirk. "So you got a cute costume and a toy sword and you think you're a superhero? Heh. Right. Well, I don't have time for this Sailor Moon horseshit. If you're dressed like that, that means you want me to go all out on you."-
[19:32] <Minaplo> [Joan placed her hands on her uniform, and with a sudden, violent movement, ripped the outfit off, the ribbons of fabric hurtled away. For a half second, Joan was completely naked in the street, except for a single red angry gem in her chest, which was starting to ooze a very fast, frictionless gel-
[19:32] <Minaplo> [The second finished, and Joan was completely armoured in that eerie, ghost-like armour; an ornate golden mask and a flowing red robe. She held her hand out, and a heavy scythe appeared, the edge glowing dark purple.-
[19:33] <Minaplo> ["When this ends, you'll belong to -me- in heart, body and soul."-
[19:33] <Minaplo> [She lifted her scythe and prepared to charge.]
[14:29] * Yanmei moved to do the same, but she couldn't match Joan's speed!
[15:59] <Minaplo> [And it showed. That brutal scythe lashed out, once, twice, three times, and Yanmei wasn't fast enough to avoid all three. A blow cut across Yanmei's chest, a clearly lethal blow-
[15:59] <Minaplo> [But all the damage it did was to melt off a thin layer of armour.]
[16:27] * Yanmei countered at openings she found, but they were fleeting ones. She caught her legs once or twice, the moments passing so quickly that it was hard to tell how much damage it left behind.
[16:47] <Minaplo> ["Hrrg." Joan jumped backward, a component on her helm sliding open, revealing that eye once again…!]
[16:59] * Yanmei hissed a curse through her teeth. She saw the distortion again and felt the same wave of dread as before… but she managed to breath free from it, gasping and slicing at Joan once more! "You -stop- that!!"
[17:03] <Minaplo> ["Why-?!"-
[17:06] <Minaplo> [The attack ripped across Joan's arm, a spasm dropping her scythe to the ground with a clatter Joan tumbled backwards, gripping her bleeding arm, trying to staunch the sudden flow of blood.-
[17:06] <Minaplo> ["Why -you-…?"]
[17:09] * Yanmei scowled at her, readying another strike. "What are you even on about?"
[17:13] <Minaplo> ["Why did the Ever-Slaying Sword choose you?! You're just- just some lilin! There's no way the Sword would give itself to you…"]
[17:16] <Yanmei> "Jealous~?" A certain savage smugness worked its way onto her face. "Too bad~ Maybe I'm a lot greater than you thought I was."
[17:21] <Minaplo> ["You…" Joan's mask glowered at Yanmei.-
[17:21] <Minaplo> ["You've seen it. You keep seeing it around, don't you?"]
[17:25] <Yanmei> "Now what in the hell makes you think I'm going to answer your questions?" She actually smirked now. "You can just keep wondering, for all I care?"
[17:30] <Minaplo> ["I can see what you're thinking." She smirked, now, her third eye blinking.-
[17:30] <Minaplo> ["The Sword's inside you and you don't even really get that…"]
[17:33] <Yanmei> "Yeah, okay. That doesn't even make sense?"
[17:44] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, so you just magically found that sword?"]
[17:49] * Yanmei glared at her. "You're just trying to distract me. I suggest that you stop?"
[17:53] <Minaplo> ["Why else would you see it around when no one else does?" Asks Joan quietly. "You can see it because it's becoming an extension of you. It's not a real soul, it's a construct- like a robot or something? So it can belong to anyone, even a lilin."]
[17:59] <Yanmei> "That's not… That's wrong. It's supposed to be sentient." She shook her head. "Anyway, it already has an owner. Loaning itself out temporarily in its owner's absence is one thing, but that's way too much!"
[18:01] <Minaplo> ["Heh. You don't really understand. It's your lilin head? Something like that can have multiple people it treats as owners if the prime owner wishes it."-
[18:02] <Minaplo> [Joan's scythe vanished.-
[18:04] <Minaplo> ["Well, lucky you, I guess? It's kind of boring. Now I have a -reason- to want your body- it isn't so fun like this." She placed a hand over her wound. "I can't really fight much more, and if I stick around I'll just get killed. Dys can't fight both your boy and his mother."]
[18:07] <Yanmei> "That's exactly why you're not going anywhere!" Yanmei raised Excalibur again, preparing for another strike!
[18:10] <Minaplo> [But Excalibur would strike nothing but thin air, Joan vanishing with a distinctive sucking sound.-
[18:12] <Minaplo> [Above, EVA-08 and the Dysangelion, locked in a deadly grapple, pushed back and forth. The Dysangelion misstepped, falling halfway into the river, the sludgy, tar-like river sucking at the leg, slowing it down for a reaction of a second- just long enough for EVA-08 to clamp its jaw down on the Dysangelion's collarbone, ripping out a mouthful of white-grey flesh blood. The Dysangelion screamed-
[18:12] <Minaplo> [And a second later, it too vanished into the mists.]
[18:17] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei stared at where it had been moments before. It was rattling, seeing something that massive and vicious suddenly being there and then not being there the next second. But something rattled her even more than that. She stared down at the Excalibur replica's replica…

[09:58] <Yanmei> The shrine was still intact. Indeed, it seemed as if the hell Joan had unleashed on the city was mainly focused in Saint territory. -
[10:05] <Yanmei> Remembrance park was quiet except for this one little spot, where a handful of Lions Army leaders had gathered. Yanmei was there, of course, still sweaty and grimy from the fight and the journey back to their own land. She was sitting cross-legged against a wall, gazing at the others tiredly.
[10:14] <Minaplo> [Slowly, visible only by the light of torches and the odd flashlight, were others. Regrouping Lions, distraught Saints; The Demons were coming as well, lead by a harrowed-looking Lucy, as well as an unknown group from the north.-
[10:14] <Minaplo> [Above them all, EVA-08 stood, not moving, a silent but unmistakeable sign of power.-
[10:15] <Minaplo> [Isaiah was at Yanmei's side, looking completely exhausted himself. Lizzie was bundled up against his side, along with Daji.]
[10:22] <Yanmei> As the newcomers closed in, Yanmei stood up to make herself more visible. "Welcome everyone," she called out to them. "Come, rest. Ask me your questions. I know you have a lot of them?" Her eyes lingered on Lucy in particular. How bad were things looking for the Demons -or- the Saints after that chaos? She hadn't even been given a count of her own missing men yet.
[10:24] <Minaplo> [Lucy wasn't waiting. "What -was- all that?"]
[10:32] <Yanmei> "What you see before you is called an Evangelion." Yanmei gestured up at 08. "It's a weapon of mass destruction that was developed by the UN for special case senarios. The thing that attacked us was a relatively new variation of it called a Dysangelion."
[10:33] <Minaplo> ["Jesus. The UN has things like -this-? How many are there?"]
[10:36] <Yanmei> "It has 20 functioning Evangelions, excluding the one that is in our hands. As for the Dysangelions and other variations… I don't know."
[10:39] <Minaplo> ["Twenty?!"]
[10:41] <Yanmei> "Twenty."
[10:41] <Minaplo> ["That's… Fuck." Lucy muttered, falling silent.]
[10:45] <Yanmei> "They won't send them all here to try to wipe the city out. That's a terrible use of resources, and flies in the face of what they were made for. The Dysengelion will probably return soon? And probably not alone." She regarded 08 again with a frown.
[10:49] <Minaplo> ["So wh-"-
[10:49] <Minaplo> [Albus stepped forward. "Yanmei. We've identified the group approaching- it's Reynolds and the Bombers. There are also reports of Parliament troops heading our way as well, accompanied by tanks."]
[10:54] <Yanmei> "Fantastic?" Yanmei rubbed her eyes. "We'll leave the Bombers alone. That Severus, though… How many tanks are we talking about here?"
[10:54] <Minaplo> ["Three."]
[10:56] <Yanmei> "We can repel them. I'd rather first try to resolve matters without inflicting violence."
[10:57] <Minaplo> ["Understood."-
[10:57] <Minaplo> [Mosquito was the first to arrive, followed by a decidedly ragtag group of gangers, even by Melbourne's standards.-
[10:58] <Minaplo> [He looked at Yanmei, then up to the Eva, then back down to Yanmei. He slowly reached up and puffed on his cigarette.-
[10:59] <Minaplo> ["Well, I was coming to see if yer needed a hand, but yer seem to have tamed some sorta giant war machine of death, which, uh… Rubs out my bargaining chips, then."]
[11:03] <Yanmei> "Don't be so hasty? We appreciate any offers of help at all."
[11:07] <Minaplo> ["Oh, well."-
[11:07] <Minaplo> [A draw on his cigarette.-
[11:07] <Minaplo> ["That's good, then."-
[11:08] <Minaplo> ["So Severus is coming." Murmured Albus.]
[11:09] <Yanmei> "I know, I know. Isaiah? Can you still move 08?"
[11:16] <Minaplo> ["Yeah. Want me to crush him?"]
[11:23] <Yanmei> "Not until we're unable to resolve the situation with words?" Yanmei started forward. "And even with that case, I'd like to keep the casualties low. Follow me." And she raised her voice to address the rest of those gathered. "I'm going out to greet him before he wrecks this meeting. If you don't want to get involved, please stay here!"
[11:26] <Minaplo> [One Lion soldier raised his hand. "Question, miss?"]
[11:26] <Yanmei> "Yes?"
[11:26] <Minaplo> ["Wot if, loike, we dun wanna get -involved- pursay, but loike, we jus' wanna watch in case somethin' bonzer goes down?"]
[11:30] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei hid any laughter behind a quiet cough. "*Ahem* In that case, you can follow at your own risk?"
[11:30] <Minaplo> ["Wicked."-
[11:31] <Minaplo> [And so the group moved off, with a small contingent of Lions following Yanmei. No one important elected to stay behind.]
[11:37] <Yanmei> They waited at the bridge to the Remembrance Park, Yanmei out in front, her arms folded. Her visor remained up so that one could see her expression clearly - and it was a tired but firm one.
[11:43] <Minaplo> [And the Parliament troops came. Grim-faced, well-drilled, led by three tanks…-
[11:44] <Minaplo> [And another vehicle, a fast armoured vehicle that had been converted into a sort of portable throne for Severus. It was from this throne that Severus now stared at them, his eyes popping.-
[11:46] <Minaplo> ["ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLBUS!" He roared, quivering with pure fury. "YOU ABANDON ME?! AFTER ALL THIS TIME?! YOU HALF-WIT, YOU LEAVE ME FOR THIS… THING?" He gestured at Yanmei furiously. "I DIDN'T ORDER YOU TO FALL FOR HER SEDUCTIONS, FOOL!"-
[11:46] <Minaplo> ["Oh fuck off." Sighed Albus.]
[11:54] <Yanmei> Thing? Seduction? Yanmei's eyebrow visibly twitched. "Lord Governor! Send your troops back -immediately-! It's been too long of a day for me to put up with any of your aggression! If you've come to talk, then fine, but otherwise…"
[11:55] <Minaplo> ["Talk, talk, talk. I'm surprised in you."]
[11:55] <Yanmei> "What's that supposed to mean?"
[11:56] <Minaplo> ["Men don't go to you for your -words-, harlot."-
[11:57] <Minaplo> [Almost instantly, there was a crashing sound as EVA-08 took a huge leap forward, sending the ground shaking with the force of its landing. Isaiah glowered at Severus, face pale with fury.]
[11:59] <Yanmei> "Right, then. Grab the car," she said to him briskly.
[12:00] <Minaplo> [The Eva's right arm lashed out, becoming long and disturbingly stretched, its hand grabbing the war car around the middle.-
[12:00] <Minaplo> [Severus let out a horrible squeal of fear. "My pants! My pants!"]
[12:00] <Yanmei> "I will ask you again. Send your troops back."
[12:01] <Minaplo> ["Pull back! Pull back!"]
[12:03] <Yanmei> "Good." Yanmei smiled, waiting and giving them time for the retreat. She didn't however, give the order for 08 to release him.
[12:04] <Minaplo> ["Let me go! Lemmego!"-
[12:04] <Minaplo> [The Parliament soldiers began to warily withdraw, including the tanks, even though the tanks' cannons were trained on the Eva.]
[12:06] <Yanmei> "Lord Governor Severus, you are invited to attend a peaceful discussion that we're having about the nature of today's attack. Of course, you're welcome to decline if you see fit? What say you?"
[12:07] <Minaplo> ["Yes! Yes! I agree!"]
[12:10] <Yanmei> "Wonderful!" Yanmei beamed now. "Let's retire back to the shrine, then. Ah, 08, since the Lord Governor likes being carried from place to place so much, would you please do the honors of taking him there?" Yanmei pivoted in the direction of the shrine and moved off toward it.
[12:12] <Minaplo> [The sounds of squealing filled the air as EVA-08 hoisted the car, Governor and hapless driver all, into the air.-
[12:12] <Minaplo> ["You enjoyed that." Said Albus at Yanmei's side.]
[12:13] <Yanmei> "Like you didn't?"
[12:14] <Minaplo> [It was, all in all, a quick trip back to the bridge.]
[12:19] * Yanmei bade Isaiah to rest the car on the outskirts of the group and she promptly resumed her previous place addressing the assembly. -
[12:19] <Yanmei> "Now, then." She straightened her cape. "The situation is this: The UN sent one of their weapons here, and the Evangelion that you see here today fended it off. I sincerely doubt that attacking the people living here was part of the enemy pilot's original objective? But she is - speaking plainly - completely out of her mind. What we need to do now is to decide where to go from here."
[12:21] <Minaplo> [Reynolds took a drag from his cigarette.-
[12:21] <Minaplo> ["Somewhere else."]
[12:22] <Yanmei> "I… don't think moving the entire city will work?"
[12:23] <Minaplo> ["The people in it, I mean."]
[12:25] <Yanmei> "Yeah, but where to? And how? Is there an evacuation procedure in place?" she eyed Severus.
[12:26] <Minaplo> ["No." Said Severus, jumpy.-
[12:26] <Minaplo> ["So why -are- they here?" Asked Lucy.]
[12:29] <Yanmei> "They're looking for something."
[12:32] <Minaplo> ["That?" She nodded at EVA-08.]
[12:34] * ZackSleep is now known as ZackAFK
[12:35] <Yanmei> "Yes. And… and also us." she said with difficulty. "I don't want to see any more casualties. The easiest way to prevent that is leaving the city and taking the Eva with us."
[12:36] <Minaplo> ["Then it seems like a simple answer." Said Lucy.]
[12:40] <Yanmei> "It does. I want to thank you for your support, Miss Lucy. And you guys too." She gazed at the Lions who were gathered around. "I've already chosen a strong, capable, compassionate person to take my place. I know she'll do an execellent job."
[12:40] <Minaplo> ["…?" Hermione looked over, surprised.]
[12:43] * Yanmei grinned and stepped over, clapping her on the shoulder. "We'll head back to HQ and make it official after this. Congratulations."
[12:49] <Minaplo> ["… Me? You're sure? Compassionate?"]
[12:51] <Yanmei> "Yup. You're pretty bad at showing it, though~"
[12:55] <Minaplo> ["…" Hermione nudged her in the ribs. "Stop that. You're making me embarrassed."]
[12:59] <Yanmei> "But it's true? I wouldn't pick someone who didn't really understand our guys or want to care for them, you know?" She even went so far as to attempt to ruffle her hair. "We leave at dawn. That should be plenty of time to transfer or tie up loose ends."
[13:01] <Minaplo> [She jabbed Yanmei even harder in the ribs. "W-Well, alright, if you say so. If I fuck up, make sure you come back to kick my ass."]
[13:04] <Yanmei> "Oof." Yanmei dropped the hair-ruffling at once and held her ribs. "It's a deal?"
[13:06] <Minaplo> ["Deal." She grabbed Yanmei's shoulder and squeezed it firmly. "You've changed this city already, just by bein' here, you know."]
[13:11] <Yanmei> "Thanks. It just sort of happened, but… I hope I won't be forgotten too quickly?" She grinned at her before addressing the assembled gangers. "Of course, I'd also like to thank Severus for giving me the opportunity to start the Lions in the first place."
[13:13] <Minaplo> [He gave her a bloodshot glare.]
[13:18] * Yanmei beamed at him. "Now, then. We should probably address the damages from earlier. That awful thing killed a lot of people and destroyed a lot of buildings…"
[10:06] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, they did. I lost a lot of men in there." Said Lucy, straightening up.]
[10:08] <Yanmei> "We're likely all in the same boat?" she eyed the few Saints scattered about. How odd that their boss hadn't joined them…
[10:10] <Minaplo> ["We lost a few less men than we could've." Said Albus slowly. "And we didn't have many men to begin with, so we're probably the best off of all the combatants."]
[10:12] <Yanmei> "What about bystanders? Please tell me that the buildings that thing was wrecking were mainly abandoned…"
[10:12] <Minaplo> ["They were." Said Lucy. "What, you expect people to live in those during a proper gang war?"]
[10:16] <Yanmei> "Shelter's shelter, isn't it? Anyway, now's the time for rest and recuperation."
[10:18] <Minaplo> ["We don't want to try to finish the job with the Saints?"]
[10:20] <Yanmei> "Eh? You just said that you lost a lot of people. You don't want to wait a little?"
[10:21] <Minaplo> ["The Saints probably lost more." Said Albus. "And they lost their fortress. They had almost their entire strength centred on that place."-
[10:21] <Minaplo> ["But if we attack too soon we could exhaust ourselves…" Said Isha.-
[10:21] <Minaplo> ["You could always help out just a little." Said Lucy slyly.]
[10:25] <Yanmei> "We're not using the Eva for that," said Yanmei firmly.
[10:25] <Minaplo> [Reynolds puffed on his cigarette.-
[10:25] <Minaplo> ["Give me and my boys some food and beds and we'll help out."]
[10:34] <Yanmei> "Hmm. Lucy, would you be willing to shelter them for now? We can provide the necessary food if it's done indirectly, through trade or aid given to the Demons."
[10:38] <Minaplo> ["What, me help a Bomber?" Asked Lucy distastefully. "Why can't you do it?"]
[10:40] <Yanmei> "We're in a treaty with the Blues that forbids it," she said with a frown.
[10:42] <Minaplo> ["Tch…" Lucy glowered. "Fine. You and your 'boys' can have some of the food the Saints probably left behind."]
[10:50] <Yanmei> "Thank you." Yanmei smiled hopefully at them both. -
[10:54] <Yanmei> Soon enough, however, they were wrapping up business with handshakes and farewells, the Demons and remaining Bombers drifting back over the northern bridge for now. The sullen Severus was soon gone as well, and the remaining Lions went back to their Headquarters proper for a meeting that saw Hermione taking up the leadership mantle. -
[11:00] <Yanmei> Yanmei talked to them for a while about her pleasure from working with them, and her hopes for the future, and advice that she hoped would stick with them. "This gang is your gang, and the land that it sits on belongs to you as Gangers -and- Runners… as equals that the group can't function without. Use that land and that power to defend the helpless and to make a world where everyone can walk around with their heads held up high!" -
[11:01] <Yanmei> - up high!" -
[11:03] <Yanmei> When she at last stepped down, it was through rowdy cheers and congratulations to Hermione and well wishes, and it was a while before she could regroup with her advisors and her little family to talk properly.
[11:06] <Minaplo> [And there they were. Isaiah, looking worn out; Lizzie sitting at Isaiah's side, along with her friends- Daji the fox, Skippy the Kangaroo and Saladin the camel. Isha was there at Saladin's side; Albus was standing a little away.-
[11:06] <Minaplo> [And of course, EVA-08 was there to finish the set.]
[11:10] * Yanmei smiled as she approached. It was a tired and sad smile. "So here we are," she said. "We can go and do whatever we want? But we can't stay here."
[11:13] <Minaplo> ["And thank God for that." Said Albus heartily.]
[11:19] <Yanmei> "Don't celebrate yet. If we move toward civilization, we'll encounter people who will try to betray us to the UN, or who will hold grudges from the last big war and try to capture us themselves. We have to be careful? Maybe we can contact someone trustworthy to get some insight on what to do."
[11:25] <Minaplo> ["Someone trustworthy?" Asked Albus.]
[11:30] <Yanmei> "We could try someone in NERV. Or someone a little more removed from the situation who works with the UN. People who might help to repay old debts… a man in particular who said that he would help me, politically, and advise me when I needed it."
[11:40] <Minaplo> ["Alright." Said Isha. "That's a good idea, so long as we can contact them."]
[11:44] <Yanmei> "Is the radio on the AC suit still in bad shape?"
[11:45] <Minaplo> ["It is." Said Isha.-
[11:45] <Minaplo> ["We could always pluck the radio system from Parliament." Volunteered Albus.]
[11:45] <Yanmei> "After the way we just treated Severus? Very risky."
[11:48] <Minaplo> ["Then what?" Asked Albus.]
[11:55] <Yanmei> "…I don't know," she admitted, and stood, thinking hard. No entry plug radio. No AC Suit radio. Moving off to find a radio in another city was just as risky as making their next move blind. "… if we did go for the radio in Parliament, could we get to it without a fuss? You know people on the inside who could probably slip us in or out… or do the same with any of the its interfaces."
[12:00] <Minaplo> ["I could, yes." He said slowly.]
[12:03] <Yanmei> "We'd have to do it tonight. And we don't have to carry the radio with us? Just use it for a bit."
[12:05] <Minaplo> ["If we're doing this, we should head off right now." Said Isha.]
[12:17] * Yanmei nodded firmly. "We'll leave the Eva a few miles outside of Parliament's territory. Isaiah, you stay with it and watch Lizzie, okay?"
[12:18] <Minaplo> ["Alright."]
[12:22] <Yanmei> Soon, very soon, after a short trip, some negotiations and a few sharp orders from Albus, Yanmei was facing down a radio. -
[12:24] <Yanmei> Isha and Albus were with her, of course, and all around them was communications equipment - some of it broken. The headset that Yanmei was wearing was rather old and bulky and dusty. -
[12:28] <Yanmei> As she worked with it, she scribbled down quick notes to leave behind. Instructions for soldiers who didn't know how to use it, although there were probably at least a few who had received -some- training on it. One would hope, anyway? -
[12:29] <Yanmei> "Hello?" She said to one of the static-filled voices that eventually greeted her. "Incoming message for Colonel von Leitzkau."
[12:32] <Minaplo> ["This is… Valentine Relay Station Q43. Please transmit authorization codes, over."]
[12:55] <Yanmei> "Alpine-six-six-nine-zero-Jade-three-three-seven-six-Hangman-zero-zero-four-zero."
[12:59] <Minaplo> [There was a pause.-
[13:00] <Minaplo> ["Authorization codes confirmed, patching you through to Colonel von Leitzkau now, sir. Over and out."-
[13:00] <Minaplo> ["Nicely done." Said Isha warmly.]
[13:02] * Yanmei grinned at him, placing a hand over her mic. "I know a bit more than I let on, don't I~?"
[13:07] <Minaplo> ["That you do…"-
[13:08] <Minaplo> [A voice, crackly, but audible, over the radio. "This is Colonel von Leitzkau. Do I have the pleasure of speaking to the Australian Ambassador to Germany?"]
[23:43] <Yanmei> "I'm sorry to disappoint, Colonel? This is Lieutenant Zhang Yanmei. It's been a long time. Are you doing well?"
[23:46] <Minaplo> ["…?!?"-
[23:46] <Minaplo> ["What are you doing, Lieutenant?" He asked in a hushed, agitated tone.]
[23:53] <Yanmei> "Ah… well, I wish I could have contacted you using another method, but my options are a bit limited right now. I apologise. I don't blame you for being a little shocked?"
[23:56] <Minaplo> ["Out of all the methods, a military-diplomatic line from Oceania is- no, I shouldn't even ask questions…"]
[00:03] * Yanmei shrugged helplessly, glancing briefly up at Isha before returning to the control panel. "I'll ask you to use your best judgement, sir, even if that means disconnecting from the transmission. I've called to ask for advice, but I don't want to cause trouble for you either."
[00:11] <Minaplo> ["… I did promise Dorian that I would help you if you needed it, and you definitely need help right now."]
[00:13] <Yanmei> "Thank you very much, sir." Yanmei held in a sigh of relief. "You've heard about my current situation, I take it?"
[00:17] <Minaplo> ["I have."]
[00:18] <Yanmei> "Including the Evangelion battle in Melbourne that took place just earlier today?"
[00:20] <Minaplo> ["… No, I did not know that."]
[00:25] <Yanmei> "I would be surprised if anyone did? But here's the gist of it. My comrades and I have been residing in the city of Melbourne for the past week and a half. Today, the UN dispatched one of their projects - a recently constructed Dysangelion - to our location to search for and recover me and my comrades. We repelled them, but they now know their location and will be returning shortly."
[00:34] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[00:35] <Minaplo> ["The UN showed you confessing in front of the Tribunal. I suspected it may have been faked, but…"]
[00:37] <Yanmei> "They -what-?!"
[00:42] <Minaplo> ["It's true. It was broadcast globally…"]
[00:48] <Yanmei> "Globally!" Yanmei jerked to her feet. That meant everyone saw it. -Everyone-. Her mother and friends back home… she clenched her jaw, glaring at the shiny buttons in front of her. "Those… We were long gone before the hearing was scheduled to begin! Even if we hadn't, they originally told us not to show up for it at all. -
[00:48] <Yanmei> ^hadn't escaped
[00:49] <Yanmei> "And now you're saying they had someone there pretending to be me who confessed to their… their -fabricated- charges?! Was that their plan all along?!"
[00:50] <Minaplo> ["It… Seems so."]
[00:53] <Yanmei> "-Why-?! My reputation…"
[00:58] <Minaplo> ["Look on the bright side." Said Albus. "Once it's revealed that you're innocent, your reputation will be even further enhanced."]
[01:05] <Yanmei> "And how is that going to happen?" She glowered at him. "We can't just create our own global broadcast to explain things to the public! Especially not when we're running from Caine like this?"
[01:08] <Minaplo> ["But we will be able to, eventually." Said Albus patiently.]
[01:10] <Yanmei> "Eventually?! That will take forever!"
[01:14] <Minaplo> ["Yanmei. We need to focus." Warned Isha.]
[01:19] <Yanmei> "…" She glared at him too, as if she wanted to scream at him… but she pressed her lips together instead. It took a few minutes, but she resumed, her voice a lot stiffer and more restrained now. "I apologise for the outburst, Colonel."
[01:29] <Minaplo> ["Not a problem. What do you need?"]
[01:32] <Yanmei> "We have been operating under the assumption that all UN and allied forces were aware of our escape and would attack or capture us on sight. From what you've just said, however, that must not be the case."
[01:35] <Minaplo> ["No. It's been quiet. They must've dedicated secret special forces to your case."]
[01:43] <Yanmei> "Our largest problem would be figuring out where to go next now that our location is no longer a secret? This revelation makes the situation a little easier for us, but we still need to determine who would or wouldn't habor us safely from our pursuers."
[01:51] <Minaplo> ["The United States might be able to help if you did it right."]
[01:56] <Yanmei> "Maybe." She sounded thoughtful. Getting in touch with Minerva Linden first and foremost, perhaps. But would that just be handing Caine a pretense to attack and subjugate the State properly? "I'll look into it. This must be handled delicately."
[01:56] <Minaplo> ["There also potential resistance movements that could help…"]
[01:59] <Yanmei> "Like, former LN members and the like? They probably wouldn't surrender us to Caine, but I doubt they'll treat us very well either? It would be better than going back to the Synfront, though."
[02:00] <Minaplo> ["Yes. The most powerful is probably Vercingetorix, but…"]
[02:13] <Yanmei> "Yes, we've heard of them. There are a lot of others, too? There are some coming to mind right."
[02:13] <Yanmei> ^right now
[02:21] <Minaplo> ["That is true…"]
[02:23] <Yanmei> "Thank you very much, Colonel. You've given me some good ideas. If we make it through, I'll have to think of a way to repay you."
[02:27] <Minaplo> ["I -am- partial to cognac…"]
[02:28] <Yanmei> "I'll promise the very best that I can find."
[02:40] <Minaplo> ["Good hunting, Lieutenant."]
[02:41] <Yanmei> "Thank you, Colonel. Goodbye for now."
[02:47] <Yanmei> When they disconnected, Yanmei dropped the headset back on its stand and rubbed her ears. "Okay. We have a few hours until dawn to say the last of our goodbyes? Let's make the most of it."

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