Natasha's Dancing

(13:48:35) @AdEvaGM: [The bolter spat, the roar of the bolt rounds as they ignited filled the air. A holographic target was blown apart.-
(13:51:30) @AdEvaGM: [It was the last stage of Natasha's three-hour training course. After an hour of gymnastics and an hour at the shooting range, it was only logical that the third hour be an obstacle course/maze with holographic targets. She ran through narrow corridors and around tight corners, wearing standard UN carapace armour and holding a bolter, loaded with dummy Safebolts- same weight and size, but
(13:51:30) @AdEvaGM: none of the explosive core.-
(13:52:02) @AdEvaGM: [She was nearing the end, and she was going rather well. A small smattering of crewmembers watched from a nearby observation deck, a large clock on the wall measuring her current time versus her personal best.]
(14:01:01) * Sept had joined the spectators about halfway through the whole show, his attention occasionally wandering off elsewhere. But most of the time he'd just been watching and taking notes. "Does anyone else use this same program?"
(14:03:03) @AdEvaGM: ["No, not the same." Said a nearby technician in accented English. "Only Natasha uses it for shooting practice. The others, they use a close quarters fighting variant."]
(14:09:48) Sept: "Ah. So it's personalised -and- unique to Leningrad? Is that true of all the training systems?"
(14:11:16) @AdEvaGM: ["It is…" He paused for a second. "Customisable. The pilots, they set their own regimes and the MAGI, it programs the course."-
(14:11:41) @AdEvaGM: ["It's not unique." Said another technician. "Beijing has a similar system."]
(14:18:39) Sept: "How's she been doing with this lately? It -looks- like she's doing well now, but…"
(14:23:18) @AdEvaGM: ["She is doing well." Said the first technician. "Perhaps not quite a new PB today, but close."]
(14:28:56) Sept: "And does she always make that same face?"
(14:29:48) @AdEvaGM: [There was a slight pause as they looked up at a television screen, which showed Natasha's face beneath her helmet screwed up with concentration, a little bit of her tongue poking out of the side.-
(14:29:56) @AdEvaGM: ["… Yes." Said one technician hesitantly.]
(14:42:27) * Sept laughed a little. "Must've been part of the whole reason for the Neospartan program."
(14:53:49) @AdEvaGM: [There were a few shared quizzical looks at that- then they were all distracted as the clock began to beep. Only three seconds left to her personal best…-
(14:53:57) @AdEvaGM: [… 2. 1. And it ticked by.-
(14:54:41) @AdEvaGM: [2 and a half seconds later, Natasha finished, flipping over cover and managing to shoot a hologram at the same time. The exit opened up for her.]
(15:00:19) * Sept hopped up from his chair and stretched. "Well, I'll go say hi. Nice chatting with you."
(15:04:30) @AdEvaGM: ["Mmm."-
(15:04:50) @AdEvaGM: [He'd find her in the adjacent armory, unloading the bolter and placing it back on the rack.]
(15:12:52) * Sept leaned on the doorway, looking in with a smile. "Hi."
(15:17:56) @AdEvaGM: ["Huh?" She wheeled around, half-alarmed- then sort of relaxed when she saw who it was. "Oh. I didn't know you were here, Sera."]
(15:23:49) Sept: "Yeah. Change of scenery, while we still can. How are you?"
(15:26:35) @AdEvaGM: ["I'm alright." Said Natasha. "Keeping busy, you know. You?"]
(15:32:02) Sept: "Same, of course. I saw you in there. Nice work."
(15:33:34) @AdEvaGM: ["Huh? Oh, you were watching?" She went slightly pink, shrugging. "It wasn't my best."]
(15:46:16) Sept: "Probably not. 'Best' is pretty rare. But less so for us, right? Anyway, I was wondering if you had any tips on what I should go see here?"
(15:46:52) @AdEvaGM: ["Hm. How long are you here for, and how much can you spend?"]
(15:54:17) Sept: "Well, at least a week or two, and, well. It's not like I'm saving money for a house, I… what do you mean?"
(15:59:25) @AdEvaGM: ["Huh? What do -you- mean?"]
(16:04:50) Sept: "How much money could I possibly need to see a city?"
(16:08:04) @AdEvaGM: ["Depends on the city. Leningrad's pretty cheap, but places like Tokyo-2 are really expensive. But if you want to see Leningrad-2 in its entirety you should carry about 8000 rubles on you for sightseeing purposes, and another 4,000 if you want to eat out."]
(16:16:56) Sept: "…alright. The churches are probably the tallest buildings around the centre of the city, right?"
(16:25:17) @AdEvaGM: [Natasha gave him an almost pitying look. "The churches are in Old Leningrad, which isn't quite in the centre anymore. The tallest building in the city centre is the Union Square Clock Tower."]
(16:38:33) * Sept gave her a pitiable look right back. "That's a disappointment. I saw some of them in a movie once. Well. I guess I'll check out the clock tower."
(16:39:42) @AdEvaGM: ["There are plenty of places besides old churches. You'll want to have a look at some of the museums."]
(16:43:29) Sept: "Museums aren't really what I'm looking for, thanks."
(16:44:17) @AdEvaGM: ["What -are- you looking for?"]
(16:48:04) Sept: "You know. The city. The people." And how to avoid them. "Architecture." And how to scale it. "Maybe pretend I'm living here, for a while."
(16:50:36) @AdEvaGM: [She put her hands on her hips, her face becoming quite stern. "Well if you're going to pretend to live here, you need to live here in the Leningrad way, not the Paris way."]
(16:52:02) Sept: "Mmmmmh." Sera hesitantly nodded. "What exactly would that entail?"
(16:56:59) @AdEvaGM: ["It means knowing the heritage of the place, knowing its trials and tribulations- it means knowing where it comes from so you can decide where its going. It means- well, it means going dancing." Said Natasha firmly. "Dancing is definitely a part of it."]
(17:00:08) Sept: "I… don't follow."
(17:00:49) @AdEvaGM: ["Er… Well." She coughed. "I can't really -explain- to you what Leningrad -is-. It can only be experienced for yourself."]
(17:06:16) Sept: It wasn't quite clear if what followed was a deep breath of preparation or a sigh. "I'll trust you. Where does one find the best dancing in Leningrad?"
(17:06:31) @AdEvaGM: ["I don't know."]
(17:08:58) Sept: "Can you help me find out?"
(17:10:29) @AdEvaGM: ["Of course!" And she brightened up considerably. "I bet Andrey will know! He knows everything."]
(17:14:10) Sept: "Orlov? We'll trust him on the very nature of Leningrad?"
(17:14:45) @AdEvaGM: ["Who else?"]
(17:17:57) Sept: "…I'll trust you," Sera acquiesced.
(17:23:56) @AdEvaGM: [She nodded enthusiastically. "Ok. I'll meet you in ten minutes on the observation deck."]
(17:29:33) Sept: "Right. I'll see you there."
(17:36:07) @AdEvaGM: [She arrived, indeed ten minutes later, now dressed in a yellow sweater, long white trousers and a buttoned-up white coat. "We'll need to use the train. You alright with that?"]
(17:42:50) Sept: "I'll manage."
(17:46:24) @AdEvaGM: ["Are you sure? You sure you don't need to -train- for it?"]
(17:47:52) Sept: "I didn't realise you were the punning type."
(17:48:57) @AdEvaGM: ["I-I'm not." She said, flushing awkwardly. "I-I mean, it's… I was just trying to be funny." She mumbled. "C-C'mon, or we'll be late."]
(11:10:52) Sept: "Alright, alright. Race?"
(11:11:22) AdEvaGM: ["Huh?"]
(11:12:13) » Join: Rynol (ten.nozirev.soif.lfpmat.34-352-77-27-loop|lonyR#ten.nozirev.soif.lfpmat.34-352-77-27-loop|lonyR)
(11:13:07) Sept: "To the train."
(11:13:27) » Part: Rynol (ten.nozirev.soif.lfpmat.34-352-77-27-loop|lonyR#ten.nozirev.soif.lfpmat.34-352-77-27-loop|lonyR)
(11:13:28) » Join: Aline (ten.nozirev.soif.lfpmat.34-352-77-27-loop|enilA#ten.nozirev.soif.lfpmat.34-352-77-27-loop|enilA)
(11:17:27) AdEvaGM: ["Oh." Natasha shook her head with a little smile. "Right, I forget- no, see, you have to wait on the station and the train comes to -us-."]
(11:18:50) Sept: "But-" Sera exhaled resignedly. "Alright."
(11:19:29) AdEvaGM: ["Isn't it hard getting around without trains?"]
(11:23:38) Sept: "People grow up without all sorts of things. I'm sure you can relate."
(11:33:55) AdEvaGM: [Natasha was silent at that, preferring instead to start walking off toward the elevator.-
(11:36:36) » Join: Minaplo (~ua.ten.tenii.nyd.631-57-051-421|olpaHaniM#ua.ten.tenii.nyd.631-57-051-421|olpaHaniM) (clones with: AdEvaGM)
(11:38:14) » Quit: AdEvaGM (~ua.ten.tenii.nyd.631-57-051-421|olpaHaniM#ua.ten.tenii.nyd.631-57-051-421|olpaHaniM) (Ping timeout)
(11:38:34) Minaplo: [It was a relatively warm day in Leningrad-2, and as a result the sidewalks and stations were uncommonly peopled. The station itself was teeming with people, many of them looking rather blank as they waited. Natasha sat herself down on a bench and waited.]
(11:41:34) Sept: "So how far out are we going?"
(11:45:36) Minaplo: ["Major Orlov lives about three stops away."]
(11:47:30) Sept: "Does he own a ballroom?"
(11:55:02) Minaplo: ["No, he doesn't."]
(11:56:52) Sept: "Can you explain your plan to me again?"
(11:57:40) Minaplo: ["We're going to see Major Orlov, because he'll know about where the best dancing is." Said Natasha slowly.]
(11:59:44) Sept: "We could just call him."
(11:59:55) Minaplo: ["No no! He has to take us."]
(12:00:11) Sept: "Has to?"
(12:03:15) Minaplo: ["Yeah." Said Natasha seriously.]
(12:07:36) * Sept didn't look entirely satisfied. "I'm taking a risk by following your advice on this."
(12:08:14) Minaplo: ["Oh?"]
(12:11:37) Sept: "I could be seeing the city my way. If this turns out to be a wild goose chase…"
(12:15:54) Minaplo: ["Don't be so grumpy. You should travel around and try to do things differently if you want to expand your horizons."
(12:15:55) Minaplo: ]
(12:21:08) Sept: "I'm trying to do that. I just want you to understand I don't do it lightly."
(12:23:58) Minaplo: ["Just try to relax." Said Natasha, frowning a little. "It's really not nice being told 'I don't do it lightly' and stuff like that."]
(12:33:20) Sept: "I -know- that. I won't mention it again." Sera turned away to idly stare at their fellow train-waiters, doing his best to resist the urge to cross his arms.
(12:34:26) Minaplo: [… And a few of them, he'd notice, were staring back.]
(12:38:25) Sept: It was nothing new, not exactly. But it didn't make him feel any better. "I think they've noticed us," Sera said without turning around.
(12:42:17) Minaplo: ["Yeah, that happens." Said Natasha. "They won't bite."]
(12:47:34) Sept: "Right. That's good."
(12:50:58) Minaplo: [The heavy, rushing sound of a passenger train roared through the station. The train came to its stop, doors disgorging a rush of passengers.-
(12:51:02) Minaplo: ["Time to get on!"]
(12:53:00) Sept: "Right behind you."
(12:53:41) Minaplo: [Onto the train, then sitting down. It was even more crowded and busy in here, and whilst they were able to secure seats, many weren't.-
(12:54:09) Minaplo: [One of them, a beady-eyed looking man stood over Sera, holding onto the passenger rings, staring down at Sera. Staring. It was indecent.]
(12:58:03) * Sept matched his stare, doing his best to keep his expression neutral.
(13:00:24) Minaplo: [The man's eyes narrowed. He leaned towards Sera. "You."]
(13:04:36) * Sept tilted his head ever so slightly. He wasn't quite ready to break the silence over this - once you acknowledge a hallucination's existence, the slope gets very slippery very fast. Sera knows this.
(13:06:01) Minaplo: ["You are Sera de Pteres." He says in a thick accent, loudly. The words carry down the train- and with it come mutters and murmurings as people begin looking at him in earnest, now.]
(13:15:36) Sept: "You'll make them stop that," Sera muttered to Natasha, crossing his arms, still staring at the man irritatedly.
(13:17:50) Minaplo: ["W-What? What do you expect me to do?"-
(13:18:10) Minaplo: [The murmurings were growing louder now. "de Pteres-" "Sera de Pteres!" "de Pteres here?"]
(13:29:33) Sept: "Three stops, right?" Sera got up and set off down the corridor toward the next car, muttering something about responsibility. Hopefully, he could outpace the murmurs or at least get a soundproof partition between that crowd and himself.
(13:35:35) Minaplo: ["Hey, wait!" Cried Natasha as she got up to follow him- but following along was the beady-eyed man, who never took his eyes off Sera.]
(13:42:58) » Quit: Aline (ten.nozirev.soif.lfpmat.34-352-77-27-loop|enilA#ten.nozirev.soif.lfpmat.34-352-77-27-loop|enilA) (Ping timeout)
(13:44:00) * Sept glanced back once, and immediately turned around to face the man again. "What. Is it." he hissed.
(13:44:18) » Join: Aline (ten.nozirev.soif.lfpmat.34-352-77-27-loop|enilA#ten.nozirev.soif.lfpmat.34-352-77-27-loop|enilA)
(13:46:44) Minaplo: ["You." He glared down at Sera. "Where were you?"]
(13:54:20) Sept: "Oh. One of -you-." Sera took a step closer. "Go ahead, tell me where I fucked up this time!"
(13:55:42) Minaplo: ["Shhh." Said Natasha nervously. "People are watching."-
(13:59:44) Minaplo: ["You were supposed to keep us -safe-." Said the man, his tone laden with anger and anguish. "They told us help would come, but no help came when they tore apart my Lena and my Vassa! Where were you?!"]
(14:10:18) Sept: "I'm not the one in charge! What do you want me to do? Take over NERV, go rogue, move to Leningrad? How do I make that stop? What do you want me to -do-?!" The last sentence was aimed less at the man himself.
(14:12:02) Minaplo: ["Be quiet." Moaned Natasha. "Oh please, be quiet…"-
(14:14:40) Minaplo: [The man ignored them both, reaching out to try to grab a fistful of Sera's collar. In his other hand he shoved an open wallet into Sera's face, a picture of a smiling family- a man, a tall son and a pretty daughter- framed in a sleeve. "March 8! March 8! We move to your Paris, and we try to make good, but all we get is pain! Curse you, curse Paris, go to hell!"]
(14:27:00) » Quit: ZackSleep (gro.tenranul.ffats|peelSkcaZ#gro.tenranul.ffats|peelSkcaZ) (Ping timeout)
(14:28:27) » Join: ZackSleep (gro.tenranul.ffats|peelSkcaZ#gro.tenranul.ffats|peelSkcaZ)
(14:34:26) * Sept didn't try to stop him, though he had to twist his head into a bit of an awkward angle to see the picture through his glasses. Sera's reply was strained, an unnatural emphasis on each word. "You know nothing of what happened on that day. And I know nothing of your pain. It's -easy- for me to trust your pain exists. But you have. To. Trust. Me." Sera's eyes were moist, but it was anyone's guess what emotion was behind them.
(14:37:14) Minaplo: ["-How-? How can I trust -you-?" He growled, his own eyes gathering with tears. There was something heavy and heady on his breath.]
(14:44:36) » Quit: Aline (ten.nozirev.soif.lfpmat.34-352-77-27-loop|enilA#ten.nozirev.soif.lfpmat.34-352-77-27-loop|enilA) (Quit:)
(14:55:45) Sept: "Be…cause I know what death feels like. Even if I don't understand… you, I understand -perfectly- what Lena and Vassa felt that day."-
(14:57:11) » Quit: ZackSleep (gro.tenranul.ffats|peelSkcaZ#gro.tenranul.ffats|peelSkcaZ) (Connection reset by peer)
(14:58:31) * Sept slapped the man's hand away, took a step back, and raised his voice, trembling as it was. "I'm the one person you can trust to want to live. I can't without your trust. And without that, we. Will all. Die."
(15:01:02) » Join: ZackSleep (gro.tenranul.ffats|peelSkcaZ#gro.tenranul.ffats|peelSkcaZ)
(15:02:24) Minaplo: [The man stared in surprise… Or horror, or a mix of other emotions. "What…"-
(15:04:22) Minaplo: [But the man would have no chance to finish what he had to say. The train lurched to a stop- and from the crowd, two black-suited men wearing mirrored shades emerged and grabbed his shoulders. Another two emerged at Sera's and Natasha's sides. "Pilot de Pteres, we've been told to escort you from this train, orders from the top. Emergency situation." Said the one at Sera's shoulder.]
(15:08:11) Sept: "Sorry," he told Natasha with a not entirely sincere smile. "I'll try to relax next time. Let's go."
(15:09:52) Minaplo: [Natasha looked positively deflated as the S2 agents led the now-sobbing man off the train- Sera and Natasha as well.-
(15:10:26) Minaplo: ["Sorry for the urgency, sir." Said the agent, his voice low. "There was a terrorist attack at a parade today, one being attended by Pilots Zhang and Gabriel-Wei. We can't take risks right now."]
(15:16:18) * Sept opened his mouth to ask something, but suddenly stumbled a few steps off to the side and bent over, retching unsuccesfully a few times, followed by a long while of raspy, heavy breathing.
(15:18:08) Minaplo: ["Sera, what's wrong?!" Asked Natasha. The agent placed a hand on his back.]
(15:21:40) Sept: Coughing a few times, he managed to eventually even out his breathing. "Still… hearing them is what's wrong, idiot. Any casualties from the attack?"
(15:23:01) Minaplo: [Natasha shot a confused, wounded look at the S2 agent assigned to her, who shook his head.-
(15:23:25) Minaplo: [Sera's shook his head. "Only stampede injuries, nothing too serious. Local security forces took care of the problem."]
(15:25:10) Sept: "Good… good. Last thing we need. What happens now?"
(15:26:01) » Quit: ZackSleep (gro.tenranul.ffats|peelSkcaZ#gro.tenranul.ffats|peelSkcaZ) (Ping timeout)
(15:27:03) » Join: ZackSleep (~gro.tenranul.ffats|kcaZ#gro.tenranul.ffats|kcaZ)
(15:27:25) Minaplo: ["We're to take Pilots de Pteres and Volkova back to the Minifront, sir."]
(15:33:09) Sept: "…yeah, alright. We'll redo this, Natasha. I promise."
(15:36:39) Minaplo: ["…" Natasha just folded her arms and stalked away, followed by her S2 agent.-
(15:37:08) Minaplo: [Sera's agent- a French one, he'd notice- scratched his 5 o'clock shadow. "… Girl problems?"]
(15:38:48) Sept: "It maybe goes a bit deeper than that but, right now? Absolutely."
(15:41:38) Minaplo: ["Well, you'll have plenty of time to resolve those." Said the agent. "Time to report back."]
(15:44:20) Sept: "That's the plan, thanks. After you, then."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License