Minerva S Resolve

[15:44] <Minaplo> [Minerva Linden lay in her hospital bed. Considering the many wounded now missing limbs, or the many dead who had suffered atrocious injuries, one could make the argument that Minerva had gotten off lightly. Indeed, she didn't even seem to have many bandages or signs of medical care at all- she had an intraveneous drip into her arm, slowly feeding a type of biogel into her system, but that seemed to be about it.-
[15:46] <Minaplo> [Many of the signs of her injury had been washed away, after all.-
[15:47] <Minaplo> [She instead was alone- even the Heavy Ranger assigned to her protection stood outside her room. A tray had been placed over her bed, not so she could eat, but rather so she could read and work. Binders and paperwork sat in front of her, and she worked through them mechanically.]
[15:54] <Raphael> And for a while, there would be nothing to interrupt the young President but her own thoughts. It's only after some time that she hears the faint sound of voices from beyond the door, followed a moment later by a gentle knock.
[15:57] <Minaplo> ["Come in."]
[16:02] <Raphael> The door opens to reveal Raphael standing in the doorway. He seems to have gone out of his way to find a fresh uniform, and though it goes a long way to making him look like his usual self, there's a distinct aura of weariness about him.-
[16:02] <Raphael> "President Linden, ma'am." He says crisply, stepping inside and giving the young lady a salute.
[16:04] <Minaplo> ["Captain Guillory." She looks up at him now, staring at him for a second before smiling and returning the salute. "At ease."]
[16:09] * Raphael relaxes, letting his hands fall by his sides as he gives Minerva an appraising look. His eyes linger on the biogel feed. "The doctors tell me you're recovering well, ma'am?"
[16:11] <Minaplo> [She looked down at her left hand, slowly closing it and opening it. "They don't trust me to walk on my own yet, but otherwise, I've made a full recovery." She said quietly. "The injury wasn't something they were used to dealing with. There were… A few scares."]
[16:12] * Raphael nods slowly. "For them and for you, I imagine."
[16:14] <Minaplo> [She shuddered, an involuntary movement that she tried to repress. "It was -awful-." She whispered. "… But overall, the pain was the worst of it." She smiled up at him. "I'd prefer a moment of extreme agony to a permanent injury."]
[16:19] <Raphael> Another nod. He takes a seat in the chair by her bedside, watching her thoughtfully. "… It should go without saying, but I owe you a great deal of thanks for what you and your soldiers did for us, Minerva."
[16:22] <Minaplo> [She nodded slowly. "I'm sure if the tables were turned, you'd come to my rescue as well, Raphael."]
[16:34] <Raphael> "… Of course, ma'am." He says, a trifle more stiffly than before.
[16:35] <Minaplo> ["Or perhaps not?" She asked, a small light coming back into her eyes. "Perhaps I don't rate as highly as a princess…"]
[16:36] <Raphael> "'Rating' hardly comes into it, Madame President."
[16:38] <Minaplo> ["Hmm." She smiled, but it quickly faded. "How is Alexandrina?" Asked Minerva seriously. "I had the chance to meet her last year. Very serious young lady."]
[16:47] <Raphael> "She's…" He pauses, obviously choosing his words carefully as his neutral expression is marred by a frown. "Taken her losses as hard as one would expect. That she's elected to channel that grief into her training with my unit may not be in her best interests, but our options there are limited."
[16:48] <Minaplo> ["She's training with your unit?" Asks Minerva in surprise. "Is she any good?"]
[16:58] <Raphael> "Surprisingly so." He says, nodding. "Little natural talent, but she's a quick study and ferociously driven. Given that she's doing little else -but- training, she's improved remarkably." His lip twists slightly at that, disapproval showing through.
[17:03] <Minaplo> ["It's easy to disapprove of such actions." Said Minerva gently. "But I think we both know what she feels, being alone like this. After my father disappeared I had no one, locked into the Alexander Project as I was. Focusing, training- it's all a way to make you feel like you're doing something that isn't crying to yourself about the pain." She said quietly. "Did you ever feel like that, Raphael? Sorry if I'm prying, I'm just… Wondering."]
[17:16] <Raphael> "… No, no. I understand, ma'am." He says, after a brief bit of hesitation. "Of course I understand. I understand that I only broke out of that cycle when I met Rei and Suzanne."-
[17:16] <Raphael> "I had my brother of course, but he… he dealt with his own problems in a different way. A healthier one, maybe. And I suppose, in retrospect, he didn't know how to solve my problems and his at the same time." He smiles faintly. "He's apologised for that, but I'm glad he chose to help himself."
[17:17] <Minaplo> [Minerva reached out and gently took one of Raphael's hands, squeezing his calloused palms with her own gentle, smooth ones. "And you help yourself by helping others, don't you?"]
[17:20] <Raphael> She would feel his hands tense as if readying themselves to pull away, but they remain still for now. "I suppose so." He says carefully.
[17:20] <Minaplo> ["You're a lot like my father in that regard. He thinks very highly of you, you know."]
[17:22] * Raphael nods. "I appreciate that. Your father's a good man."
[17:28] <Minaplo> ["The best." She said quietly, looking away, contemplative.-
[17:28] <Minaplo> ["So." She says suddenly, whipping around to look at Raphael in the eye suddenly. "We need to make a plan."]
[17:30] * Raphael raises an eyebrow. "… A plan?"
[17:31] <Minaplo> ["My father told me that Alphonse was taken. I intend to bring him back."]
[17:36] <Raphael> "SOS and S2 are already putting together a similar mission, ma'am." Raphael says gently. "We have things under control, I assure you. For now you just need to concentrate on your recovery."
[17:37] <Minaplo> ["Good. That gives me some resources to work with already."]
[17:37] <Raphael> "… So you're purposely ignoring me." Raphael says mildly. "Noted."
[17:39] <Minaplo> ["I've had quite enough of 'concentrate on your recovery'." Said Minerva decisively. "Alphonse is in danger, and come hell or high water I intend to bring him back." Her hand withdraws from Raphael's and instead goes back to her binders and papers. One such binder she holds out to Raphael. "You and your organisation can either work with me, or you can stay out of my way."]#
[17:44] * Raphael sighs gently as he accepts the folder and flips it open. "So now not only do I have to deal with Rei likely refusing to listen to reason, you plan on doing the same. This is not as helpful as you seem to think."
[17:45] <Minaplo> [Inside the folder are profiles of notable figures of underground notoriety in Paris-2, filled with what information could be gathered. Linden holds another folder out to him.-
[17:51] <Minaplo> ["I am not Rei Ayanami, so you listen and you listen well, Raphael Guillory." She turns to look him in the eye, and suddenly her blood is up, her look fierce. "I am the President of the United States and the Commander-in-Chief of its military forces. One of my commanders has been taken hostage by hostile entities, injuring one of my pilots in the process. If you think for one second I am going to acknowledge -my- Evangelions as belonging to Mary Caine or her sham of a world government, you are dead wrong, so as far as I am concerned this is entirely the responsibility of myself and of the USA. Do not even -dare- to lecture me on how helpful this may or may not seem, because within two days I will be ready to begin combing this city for Alphonse and his captors. Do not presume me to be powerless just because I am currently laying in a bed."]#
[18:08] * Raphael meets her gaze calmly. "That rank does not imply perpetually sound judgement, ma'am - Especially not when emotions are already running high." Raphael says simply, taking the second folder and turning his attention towards skimming the information within. "Still, I am realistic enough to realize that the matter is settled."
[18:13] <Minaplo> [The second folder is full of plans, outlines of plans and a draw-up of potential agents and candidates in Paris-2 to use in these plans, as well as their abilities. It's definitely comprehensive.-
[18:19] <Minaplo> ["I would think," Said Minerva slowly, "That if I were you, I would stop being so stubborn and realise that you could actually use my help."]
[18:24] * Raphael 's attention seems to have shifted away from the debate as he leafs through the second folder, though. He settles on one page, running his index finger down a list of assets with his eyes narrowed slightly.-
[18:24] <Raphael> "… What's your interest in the Paris underworld, Madame President?"
[18:24] <Minaplo> ["Beyond the threat they might pose to potential assets of the United States and its allies?"]
[18:30] * Raphael shakes his head, giving her a cautious stare. "This is not a few days worth of work." He says. "The planning alone would take weeks. With the intelligence-gathering on top of that…"-
[18:30] <Raphael> "This was put together long before Major Wellesley's abduction."
[18:36] <Minaplo> ["I started putting it together the moment I heard about Mr. Blue's involvement." Said Minerva. "I was one of the premiere commanders of the Liberated Nations, you might recall. Once I heard that he was involved, I began my investigations immediately. I have some experience with how he operates. Not a lot, but I have contacts who know a little more. I knew it'd only be a matter of time before he tried… Something. That's why I came in person, with so many guards. With Alphonse and Rei here, I couldn't take the chance that he -wouldn't- act."]
[18:40] * Raphael mulls this over as he continues flipping through the pages. "Sensible." He admits finally, as if coming to a decision on the matter. "I admit, I'm somewhat surprised that LN command was aware of him. It was my understanding that he was little more than a freelancer, oddities aside."#
[19:07] <Minaplo> ["You're not wrong, but Mr. Blue has always had something of a taste for the dramatic." Said Minerva. "It was Mr. Blue who shot down my fighter jet, and ultimately recovered me and dragged me to my father. So of course, I personally kept myself aware of him."]
[19:20] <Raphael> "… I see." Raphael says slowly, reaching the end of the folder and snapping it shut again. "The plans certainly seem sound, ma'am, although that's to be expected."
[19:28] <Minaplo> ["Mmm." She finally hands him a third folder. "This is my profile on Mr. Blue, as it is."]#
#6[21:46] * Raphael accepts the profile with a nod, flipping open to the first page.
[21:48] <Minaplo> [It has a picture, and a name ('Mr. Blue' is the one given, unfortunately), some basic physical details and a list of his known deployments. They are rather extensive. The deployments sponsored by the LN seem to make up less than half of what he's been doing…-
[21:48] <Minaplo> [In fact, the list of known deployments continues for several pages. It's quite an extensive folder, something that would require a fair bit of time to look through.-
[21:50] <Minaplo> ["Some of the information might be obselete. I… Lost some good men in the fighting." Says Minerva quietly. "But those who can fight will be more than capable, I think."]
[21:56] * Raphael sets the folder aside with the others for now, leaning forward in his chair. "I'm certain they will, ma'am." Raphael says gently. "The Colonel told me the losses you took were from your personal guard. I can understand how hard that must be…"
[22:00] <Minaplo> ["They were friends. More than guards. Some of them I knew from my LN days." She said softly. "They… They knew the risks, were willing to fight. None of them were cowards." She sank back against the pillows, looking dejected. "… I've lost a lot of friends."]
[22:05] <Raphael> This time it's Raphael who reaches out to lay his hand on hers. "I'm sorry, Minerva."
[22:07] <Minaplo> [She holds his hand firmly and gives him a wan smile. "That's the first time you've called me 'Minerva' since I arrived."]
[22:25] <Raphael> "Is it?" Raphael arches an eyebrow, surprised. "… Well, I suppose you just looked like you needed it."
[22:27] <Minaplo> ["That's sweet of you, Raphael." She says fondly, rubbing his hand tenderly with her own. "Regarding what I need, though…"]
[22:28] <Raphael> "Mmm?"
[22:30] <Minaplo> ["Thank you for bringing Isidor back to me."]
[22:33] * Raphael gives her a blank look for a second, before letting out a chuckle. "He was another of your LN comrades." Raphael says, smiling faintly. "That makes sense."
[22:35] <Minaplo> ["Yes. Didn't you know? He used to be my aide-de-camp until he personally called Silas Caine a rotten slimy carcass bastard."]
[22:42] * Raphael chuckles, rubbing his face tiredly. "I suppose I did. He told us as much following his capture, but that was some time before you and eye met, and…" He shakes his head, smiling weakly. "I suppose my memory is not what it should be the past few days."
[22:43] <Minaplo> ["It sounds to me like you need to rest, Raphael. No good running about telling others to take it easy. You might be trying to impress me with your clean uniform, but your face says it all…"]
[22:46] <Raphael> "Too much to do, I'm afraid. And I don't have any injuries to recover from." He scratches his cheek. "I've been tired before."
[22:49] <Minaplo> ["Tsk." She reached out and put a tender hand on his cheek. "Don't be silly. My father will be capable of handling these things, at least long enough to give you time to sleep. If you keep running yourself ragged you -will- have injuries."]
[22:52] * Raphael 's smile is sincere enough, but he gently pulls away from her hand after only the briefest moment of contact, leaning back in his chair and out of reach. "I'll… look into it, ma'am."
[22:53] <Raphael> The last word is carefully emphasised.
[22:54] <Minaplo> ["Good." She says primly, taking back her folders and stacking them, absently rearranging the top of her flimsy hospital gown. "Make sure you do. You're no good to us exhausted."]
[22:57] <Raphael> "… I might need to read those in a little more detail, Madame President." Raphael says, reaching forward towards the three folders she'd stolen back.
[22:58] <Minaplo> [She slaps his hand away. "You will get them after you have slept, Captain."]
[23:00] * Raphael gives her a weary look. "And all this after refusing to take /my/ advice."
[23:02] <Minaplo> ["Quite so."]
[23:03] * Raphael sighs, rising up from his chair. "As you wish, ma'am." He says, saluting again.#
[23:04] <Minaplo> [She returns the salute. "Until I see you again, Raphael." She smiles. "You look exceptionally handsome in that uniform, by the way. It brings out your eyes."]
[23:09] * Raphael 's winces faintly, cheeks turning pink. He seems to be working himself up towards saying something, but after several long seconds of awkward silence he settles for dropping the salute and turning towards the door.-
[23:09] <Raphael> "Do try to concentrate on your rest while you can, President Linden." He says mildly. A moment later he's through the door and out of sight, the door shutting behind him.#

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