Mina Seen

[15:51] <Yanmei> It was no surprise that there were no civilians in sight. -
[15:53] <Yanmei> Years of dealing with Angel attacks had perhaps made them wary of warning signs with or without the alarms sounding. Or so Yanmei hoped, as she edged along a dark alleyway, her visor concealing her eyes. -
[15:56] <Yanmei> Fortunately, this was no Malchediel attack. The troops weren't interested in attacking bystanders and were presumably all heading in the same direction. 'Presumably'. They hadn't been able to pinpoint their movements in this area. Which was why she was here. By herself.
[16:00] <Minaplo> [Ahead of her was the nearest main street, but a few metres away. She could hear sounds coming from it- the march of boots, distant but not -too- distant, and coming closer.]
[16:07] * Yanmei cringed, falling back a few steps. Right. Well, she should have known that this way wasn't safe? She glanced around hastily for a place to hide that was more solid than dumb shadows, and found a dumpster. -
[16:07] <Yanmei> "Ugh." But she ducked behind it anyway.
[16:09] <Minaplo> [The march came closer- closer- and eventually she saw the source as row upon row of cultists- wearing cloaks and hoods that concealed their weapons- march five abreast down the road…]
[16:12] <Yanmei> Like a real formation. They seemed endless… and she couldn't tear her eyes away from their brisk synchronized steps, their fluttering uniformed cloaks…
[16:19] <Minaplo> [Their weapons, she'd realise, weren't -perfectly- concealed- they were marching with their combi-bolters resting against their shoulders. More and more continued to march, at least 100…]
[16:26] <Yanmei> Like they owned the place or something. She tried to ignite some flicker of anger at that, but she barely got past a worrying mix of irritation and adrenaline. She pressed her lips together, trying to determine the route they were heading on from what she knew of their destination and starting point. -
[16:28] <Yanmei> With more equipment and professional operatives, they could have planned an ambush on the cultists. Maybe reroute them in a way that would buy the Geofront more time? It was a shame they had none of those things… and the plan as to what to do when they actually got the HQ was hazy.
[16:34] <Minaplo> [But right now probably wasn't the time to think. Her view of the soldiers was obscured by a shadow.-
[16:35] <Minaplo> [Not a shadow. A shape, a huge black colossal body, one clawed hand clutching the corner of one building- the masonry crumbling beneath its grasp- as it stared down the alleyway, its eyes but little blue pinpricks. It hadn't seen Yanmei…]
[16:39] <Yanmei> What. She stared up at it rigidly, barely comprehending how -quickly- the sharp and horrible downturn in her situation had come. Her fingers found one of the swords she was carrying, but she didn't move otherwise. Go away. Go away. Nothing to see here.
[16:41] <Minaplo> [Suddenly, its eyes brightened- she saw a spot on the wall suddenly glow blue, as though lit up by a blue flashlight. The spot roved- it was looking, lighting the alley up-
[16:42] <Minaplo> [Something hit its shoulder- a sharp little rock, barely noticeable, but enough to distract it. It looked about, down at the rock- then let go of the corner and began to walk off with the still-marching soldiers.]
[16:46] <Yanmei> What. She stared blankly at its giant back as to started moving off. Then down at the rock, half-expecting it to be glowing with magical powers or somesuch. Slowly, she started to remember how to breath.
[16:46] <Yanmei> ^as it started
[16:48] <Minaplo> [A boot stepped on the rock- and came to a stop. The person wasn't a soldier.-
[16:48] <Minaplo> [He was wearing a long light blue cloak, this one embroidered with golden symbols. Long, blonde hair cascaded from his hood, and his skin was tanned and red, marked with tattoos. He glanced down the alleyway- enough for Yanmei to recognise the face of Gamelin.]
[16:52] <Yanmei> WHAT. Unseen, her eyes widened. When she remembered herself, her other hand went for the bolter she was carrying, lightning quick. -
[16:54] <Yanmei> End everything now. She'd be mobbed by the marching cultists beyond him, but it would be fast. It would be -easy-. It… was it really going to be that easy?
[16:55] <Minaplo> […-
[16:55] <Minaplo> [In any case, the second was lost- Gamelin had already left, leaving behind but a faint impression of glamour and unearthly dreamlike beauty behind him.]
[16:59] <Yanmei> "…" She clenched her teeth and shut her eyes a moment. Inside her head, she could swear as much and as loudly as she wanted, but she was a dead woman if she said it aloud. Right there… he had been RIGHT THERE.
[17:06] <Minaplo> [The sound- very light- of crumbling rocks from above. And perhaps the lightest of sounds, like a mouse, or the wind.]
[17:08] * Yanmei turned towards whatever that was sharply, bolter raised at the sound.
[17:09] <Minaplo> ["Bad touch." Said Mr. Blue, grabbing the bolt pistol and pushing it aside gently.]
[17:11] <Yanmei> "-!" She promptly went for Little Excalibur with the other hand.
[17:12] <Minaplo> ["Double-bad touch." Said Mr. Blue. He held out his other hand.-
[17:12] <Minaplo> [A knife. A very-sharp knife, too. He'd catch her throat before she'd have a chance to draw.]
[17:15] <Yanmei> The muscles along her jaw tightened. He had her. And he'd made it sound so… frustratingly effortless, too. She let her hand fall away from the hilt, her head swimming.
[17:17] <Minaplo> ["Now, that isn't a very nice hello, no no no. Not after I just saved you from Alien Space Pope and his giant beastie, hm? Oh, thanks for the rescue, have a bolt round. I thought the Chinese were hospitable."]
[17:19] <Yanmei> "Shut u-" She caught what he was actually saying and confusion flooded in fast. "That was you?"
[17:19] <Minaplo> ["Uh, yeah."]
[17:20] <Yanmei> "Why?"
[17:23] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, it's -totally- in my interests to let Space Pope have his way with you. Oh yeah, and I totally want him to wipe out the Geofront and end human civilization."-
[17:23] <Minaplo> ["That was a lie. I was lying. For comic purposes."-
[17:23] <Minaplo> ["In case you didn't get it."]
[17:29] <Yanmei> "Yeah, no offense? But it wasn't all that comedic." She eyed him warily. While she hadn't dropped the gun, she wasn't about to point it at him anytime soon either. "So what now, since you're looking out for your best interests? Gonna let me walk away, or what?"
[17:36] <Minaplo> ["I could kidnap you." Said Mr. Blue. "I mean, you're alone, you left your allies behind, you can't make a loud noise or else you'll get boltered so hard they'll bury you in a matchbox. Then I would be like, 'Yo, sup, I got Zhang Yanmei, pay me like, a billion francs'. It seems like a lot, but I've seen what you get up to, and honestly every day I keep you in captivity is another day they don't have to pay out like a trillion francs in insurance."-
[17:37] <Minaplo> ["Orrrr I could recognise the futility of pursuing material product, give this all up and retreat to the mountains to live a quiet life of contemplation."-
[17:37] <Minaplo> ["Or I could do something else."]
[17:41] <Yanmei> "Like what?" She hoped it would have something to do with lying in the path of a subway train or something. Insurance… grr…
[17:43] <Minaplo> ["Hell, I dunno, I'm making this up as I go along. You tell me."]
[17:51] <Yanmei> "Personally? I'd go with the mountain thing if I was in your shoes. A lot less trouble for everyone."
[17:55] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, but mountains are boring." Said Mr. Blue. "You're tryin' to stop Space Pope?"]
[18:00] <Yanmei> "Maybe I'm just trying to not get caught."
[18:04] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, you're totally trying not to get caught, which is why you broke off from your ludicrously dangerous posse to scout out an army of your enemies by yourself."-
[18:05] <Minaplo> ["Seriously, one of those guys has a grenade launcher, and your boyfriend has a sword the size of an SUV. What, he compensatin' for something?"]
[18:08] <Yanmei> "W-what do you know?" Yanmei tossed her hair and folded her arms. "How long have you been watching us, anyway?"
[18:09] <Minaplo> ["Eeeever since you left the apartment. The one you didn't set on fire and demolish."]
[18:14] <Yanmei> "If you were watching, you'd know that the cultists were responsible for that, not us," she corrected primly. "In any case, quit following us. Even if you're not with Gamelin, you're still not an ally."
[18:15] <Minaplo> ["Oh, so I shouldn't have distracted your big friend the walking floodlight?"]
[18:17] <Yanmei> "…" It was hard to see, but her eyes were averted. "I could have handled it," she muttered. "Just what do you want, anyway?"
[18:20] <Minaplo> ["Three things."]
[18:21] * Yanmei eyed him again expectantly.
[18:25] <Minaplo> ["One. To show you this." He held out a feather to Yanmei.]
[18:27] <Yanmei> "What about it?" She didn't move to take it from him.
[18:28] <Minaplo> ["It's a feather."]
[18:32] <Yanmei> "I see. And why are you showing me feathers?"
[14:54] <Minaplo> ["What drops feathers?"]
[14:56] <Yanmei> "…you kidnapped my roommate's pet bird?" Her voice ended in an odd note, as if she didn't know whether or not to be happy or angry.
[15:00] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, ok, if that's your answer, the bird's got more brains than you. Look at this stupid feather." He waved it.-
[15:01] <Minaplo> [It ws a very pretty feather, white with golden tips. It was also as long as Yanmei's arm, she now saw.]
[15:05] <Yanmei> "Ugh. So it's from a really huge bird, or some kind of monster or something? One of Gamelin's? Or…?"
[15:06] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, absolutely." Said Mr. Blue, his face perfectly sombre.-
[15:07] <Minaplo> ["I mean, he's invading the Geofront. Lots of twisty-turny narrow corridors with low roofs. When I want to invade cramped subterranean spaces, do you know what I think? I think, 'Man, this would be way easier with a giant fuck-off bird getting in the way'."]
[15:10] * Yanmei bristled. "Are you going to be a jerk about this, or are you going to get to the point? I don't -have- to stand here listening to you, you know."
[15:14] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, but you're gonna. Is it really so hard to think? What else drops feathers?"]
[15:20] <Yanmei> "Outside of clothing accessories? Things with wings. …wait. You're not going to tell me it's something like an Angel or something?"
[15:21] <Minaplo> ["Ohhhhh, wow. Einstein's caught up!"]
[15:23] <Yanmei> "Because you made your hints so perfectly clear?" Yanmei tossed her hair again. "How did you get it, anyway?"
[15:26] <Minaplo> ["It was lyin' around Space Pope's Space Vatican."]
[15:27] <Yanmei> "You were in his base? When? Why? How?"
[15:30] <Minaplo> ["Yep, this mornin', sneakin', by bein' awesome."]
[15:35] <Yanmei> "This is creepy. Snooping around Gamelin's dangerous place and then spying on us? What are you up to? Seriously?"
[15:36] <Minaplo> ["Secret." He said. "Take the feather. May it light the way for you in dark places."]
[15:39] * Yanmei raised an eyebrow and extended a reluctant hand for the thing.
[15:39] <Minaplo> [He dropped it into her hand. It was warm.-
[15:40] <Minaplo> ["Oh yeah, by the way, I totally figured out what Space Pope's entire plan is. That's thing numero dos."]
[15:40] <Yanmei> "Did you?" She frowned down at the feather.
[15:44] <Minaplo> ["Yup. Ok, first thing. Two Bombs One 'Front, right?"]
[15:44] <Yanmei> "Right…" Why did he know that?
[15:45] <Minaplo> ["No, not right!" he rapped her on the head. "It's One Bomb One Front."]
[15:53] <Yanmei> "What are you talking about?" she snapped, flapping angrily at his hand. "He has two of them! What else is he going to use it on if not something itside the Geofront? One to bypass the security he can't get through, and another to, what? Try to blow up the Evas or something? The only other possibility is using it on that battleship, but that just seems unnecessary?"
[15:54] <Minaplo> ["… You're kind of stupid, but I guess some guys dig that. Ok. He doesn't -need- bombs to get through security, ok? He's using the bomb in the Geofront to blow up HQ. Completely. BOOM! Whoosh!"]
[16:03] <Yanmei> "…that's stupid! What's the point of even gathering the materials he needs to send his followers in there? Why not figure out a way to slip the bomb into the place and denotate it remotely? Isn't there something he needs down there?"
[16:07] <Minaplo> ["One: it's safer to just invade the place, plant the bomb, and then let it go off. Two: If he does need something, then uh, won't it survive a simple positron bomb?"]
[16:12] <Yanmei> That narrowed it down a lot. She frowned deeply. -
[16:13] <Yanmei> "So what about the other one?"
[16:15] <Minaplo> ["Well, assume that Space Pope's not here to take and hold, he's clearing a way for his Space Jesus, right? So he's going to want to clear all the opposition. Now I know for a fact that he's sent most of his dudes off to the Geofront. Yet some other dudes were sent elsewhere. In fact, they're fightin' right now, on the Battleship."]
[16:18] <Yanmei> "We heard that too. So he's actually going to use it on them, huh?"
[16:19] <Minaplo> ["His dudes can't hold the Battleship, they can't even take it. Best they can do is create a beachhead, load down the bomb, and blow a giant hole in it. Then when Space Jesus comes down, no battleship, no Geofront, no pilots, nothin' to stop it from waltzin' in and lootin' everything ever."]
[16:23] <Yanmei> "…" Her frowned deepened, and her eyebrows, marginally seen above her visor, knit slightly. "All right," she said after a moment. "There was a third thing you wanted to bring up, right?"
[16:25] <Minaplo> ["Yeah. You have other allies, y'know. I can tell you where to meet 'em."]
[16:26] <Yanmei> "Who? Who are they?"
[16:28] <Minaplo> ["President Jailbait and 200 US Heavy Rangers."]
[16:31] <Yanmei> "…and they're on French soil. Right now, as we're speaking?"
[16:33] <Minaplo> ["They're headin' to the Geofront as we speak. But they might be heading into a trap on the way. I can tell you where they are and how to stop the trap on one condition."]
[16:35] <Yanmei> Condition… that wariness came back fast. "What did you have in mind?"
[16:35] <Minaplo> ["Drink my blooooooooooooooood."]
[16:37] <Yanmei> Yanmei's mouth formed a thin, flat disapproving line. "We're running short on time, you know."
[16:38] <Minaplo> ["No, seriously. It is -absolutely critical- that you partake of my hemoglobin. Right now." He held out his arm and held his knife to it. "Don't worry, I'm clean."]
[16:47] * Yanmei stared blankly at the knife, following it up his arm to his face again. "You… y-you… what sort of gross fantasies are you into?! Think of something else!"
[16:48] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, ok, you're bein' stupid again." He flicked the knife around and slashed it across his arm.-
[16:49] <Minaplo> [Blood splattered across his skin, across the walls- it was clear he had hit an artery, for the blood was bright. He calmly let his knife be covered in the unceasing torrent of blood.-
[16:49] <Minaplo> ["You can either lick this, or you can cut yourself with it, but either way, my blood is gettin' into your system before I tell you how to stop the deaths of 200 American soldiers that you -desperately need- on your side."]
[16:58] <Yanmei> No way… no way noway, why was he acting so -calm-?! Something other than human… she stared at the bloody knife. "They… were closing in on Gamelin's position. All we have to do is go back the way they came, and we'll find them close by. Or…" Or follow Gamelin's troops until the two groups intersected. Yeah. Yeah, they didn't need this guy! "Anyway, I refuse."
[16:59] <Minaplo> ["Space Pope set up traps and ambushes all along that way. If you follow 'em you'll get yourself killed."-
[17:00] <Minaplo> ["Three seconds or else I cut you with the blade." He held the knife out. "Three…"]
[17:06] <Minaplo> ["Two…"]
[17:09] <Yanmei> "Why?! At least tell me why!" she burst out, breaking her horrified silence.
[17:09] <Minaplo> ["It's special blood. One…!"]
[17:11] <Yanmei> "Nnngh…. give me the knife."
[17:11] <Minaplo> ["Nope, I hold the knife." He held it out for her to lick, though.]
[17:14] * Yanmei made a disgusted face. Rather than put her face anywhere near the sharp, pointy object, she reached out, ran two fingers along the flat of the blade, and raised them to her mouth.
[17:17] <Minaplo> ["Go on. For crying out loud, I've had torturers who were less pissy than this."]
[17:19] <Yanmei> "Be quiet!" she snapped. She took a small lick… and instantly regretted it.
[17:20] <Minaplo> ["Taste good?"]
[17:21] * Yanmei didn't answer. She was leaning against the dumpster now, its grossness now the very least of her concerns. "…the hell did you…?"
[17:22] <Minaplo> ["Shhhh." Said Mr. Blue. "Give it a second."]
[17:25] <Yanmei> And very soon, the sweat that had broken out over her suddenly stopped. She glared at him, still slightly pale, now at least having the presence of mind to try to stop herself from shaking anymore.
[17:27] <Minaplo> [Behind her, on the street, the last row of cultist soldiers marched by, followed by two more Annihilators. A minute later they seemed strangely distant.-
[17:28] <Minaplo> ["Anyway, let's see. The Rangers are about fifteen minutes -thataway-, uhh, you can spot them because they're all 'OOH RAH AMERICA PAINT OUR POWER ARMOUR BLUE' and shit, let's see. The trap is a series of easily-intercepted goons with handfuls of incendiaries, and… Yeah, that's it, they should be pretty easy to find, really."]
[17:29] <Yanmei> "You son of a bitch!"
[17:33] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, I exaggerated all that just to get you to suck my blood. Pretty funny, huh?"]
[17:38] <Yanmei> She lunged, pulling out the Excalibur replica, but her hand was still shaking…
[17:43] <Minaplo> [… And he smoothly sidestepped, kicked her in the wrist, did a backflip- hit the wall, propelled off the wall- and then hit the other wall, on which he coiled up like a cat for a second before springing up onto the roof of the building.-
[17:43] <Minaplo> ["Seeya, Arturia. Wouldn't wanna be ya." With a last cackle he was gone, running off rooftops and into the night.]
[17:50] <Yanmei‘> Alone again, letting the shock sink in, Yanmei slowly lowered her arm and sank against one of the alleyway walls. She stuck her fingers down her throat, knowing that it would do little good now. -
[17:53] <Yanmei`> Stupid, huh? Her shoulders shook. The visor’s near-flawless view began to blur a little. It was always something, wasn't it?
[17:55] <Minaplo> [Yanmei would notice something strange, however, on her fingers, where she'd recevied a shallow little cut from a kitchen knife during breakfast.-
[17:56] <Minaplo> [Before her very eyes, the wound- Scratch, really- closed completely, leaving not even a scar.]
[18:05] * Yanmei‘ stared at it. No… she hadn’t just seen that. She pressed the down on the spot, rolled the fingertips of her other hand on it, trying desperately to feel the pain of it again. Anything… nothing. "I… am…" she hitched, but she didn't know what she was. -
[18:08] <Yanmei‘> And anyway, she couldn’t get any more out. She tore her visor off brutally. Eventually, she remembered Linden's troops, and the people waiting for her to get back from scouting, and Isaiah most of all. She scrubbed at her face with the heel of her palm, and slunk to her feet, and stumbled off.

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