Pilots Gathering

[20:40] <Yanmei> It was hot and dry. The sun beat mercilessly down on the deck of the Dorian Lachapelle and rendered everything white or metallic downright blinding. -
[20:47] <Yanmei> As a courtesy for those who would be joining her, Zhang Yanmei waited in one of the few shady spots that she could find with a collection of chilled drinks by her side. Her thumb moved along the buttons of her cell phone at a leisurely pace. Today she was dressed in a blue skirt and a matching tanktop with a black detailing crisscrossing over it, her hair in the same twintails as usual.
[20:47] <AdEvaGM> [Before her companions joined her, however, there was another guest.-
[20:48] <AdEvaGM> [With a flash of white feather and the beating of wings, a certain seagull landed about four feet away, staring at her, cocking his head.]
[20:48] * Yanmei stared back at it. No… it couldn't be the same one…
[20:49] <AdEvaGM> ["Mine?"]
[20:50] <Yanmei> "Oh no…" She flailed an arm at it. "Go -away-! Why are you even here? Do you see Marianne anywhere?"
[21:00] <Aline> For Aline, time seemed to feel /bent/. Even just walking towards Yanmei's little setup felt like it was taking forever. Still, she looked okay enough, though the long white dress she wore to deal with the heat made for a strange continuity with her white hair and fair skin, the whole setup making her seem almost ghost-like. Though given the dull expression on her face, Aline probably wasn't
[21:00] <Aline> entirely 'there' to begin with.
[21:01] <AdEvaGM> [Who -was- there, however- her shadow, ever since she'd been recovered- was William, bearing with him a tupperware box containing lunch. He was dutifully walking half a metre behind Aline protectively.]
[21:04] <Yanmei> "Hello, you two," Yanmei greeted them as they got within range. She abandoned the fruitless effort to chase off the bird to smile cordially at their approach.
[21:07] * Sept arrived some time later, trying his best to look like he was admiring the good weather, but unable to hide his annoyed frown. He nodded to his fellow pilots sharply and seized a drink, taking a deep gulp right away. "Feeding the gulls?"
[21:09] <Yanmei> "Hardly." Yanmei tossed her hair. "It's Marianne's pet. I think it followed us out here or stowed away or something."
[21:10] * Aline looked at Yanmei, and forced herself to smile. It didn't last very long, nor did it really have that much intensity, but the attempt was made. "Hi." …She wasn't nearly as brusque as Sera was about the drinks, but she did take one nonetheless.
[21:13] <AdEvaGM> [William placed the container on the ground and opened the lid, the smell of various foods reaching their noses. "Thanks for the drinks."-
[21:13] <AdEvaGM> [The gull hopped closer hopefully. "Minemine?"]
[21:14] <Sept> "Maybe she's trying to be more like Misato. There's a lot of pressure on her."
[21:16] * Aline shrugged briefly at the conversation - it could be told as such from how she looked at them when she did it - and took a sip or two from her drink, staring at, and actually waggling a finger at, the bird idly.
[21:19] <Yanmei> "I think their relationship predates Misato's? But," Yanmei exhaled. "thank you for the meal, William. It's been a while since we were last able to talk like this, huh?"
[21:22] <AdEvaGM> ["Not a problem."]
[21:25] <Sept> "Yeah, it's been a while. I guess… a few years."
[21:28] * Aline spoke up, taking a piece of food (that she probably had already picked out.) as she did. "Of course it only seems that way."
[21:30] <Yanmei> "Yeah." Yanmei looked down at her cell phone, and then closed it. She closed her eyes too, for a moment. "But we can't exactly dismiss all those years as a bad dream, either."
[21:32] <Sept> "Except the parts of them that were. But you're right. Our reactions were real, at the very least. "
[21:33] <AdEvaGM> [William was quiet, focusing instead on his food, his eyes downcast.]
[21:34] * Aline almost looked at the gull again, as if to continue taunting him, but her gaze quickly lowered back down to her food. "Mm." Of note, her tone was still a bit distant. "But that's done now."
[21:37] <Yanmei> "It doesn't feel like it is." For all of her gratitude, she didn't touch the food or the drinks yet. "Excalibur was there when I died."
[21:41] <Sept> "How… do you mean? That thing killed you?"
[21:41] * Aline looked over at Yanmei, a small surprised look on her face. "…Ah?"
[21:43] <Yanmei> "No. It met me in limbo when I passed on. After that, I found my way back to 04 and we talked about some things."
[21:44] <AdEvaGM> [William's eyebrows rose curiously.]
[21:49] <Sept> "I know what you mean, I think. I know I saw Elisha after… well, I saw him a lot when I was in… I mean to say. I know what you mean. But I remember very little of it. What kind of a place was it?"
[21:53] * Yanmei crinkled her brow. "I… don't remember the place, exactly. But I felt like I'd been there before."
[21:53] * Aline paused for a moment at Sera's commentary… "…Mine was Lilith. The place was similar to the last deep-00 visit. Milk, floating, nudity, et cetera."
[21:55] <AdEvaGM> [William was frowning, now, but remaining silent.]
[21:57] <Sept> "William? Do you remember anything?"
[21:59] <AdEvaGM> ["I… It's all a bit of a blur." He mumbled. "I thought I was- I was going to Heaven, I remember being filled with this amazing sense of peace, and- then I woke up in the Eva, and…"]
[22:02] <Aline> "Ah." Aline so eloquently put it. She had a question lingering in her mind, but was polite enough to not say it. And she didn't really quite /feel/ like saying it to begin with.
[22:06] <Yanmei> Something of a sympathetic expression crossed Yanmei's face. "You were really distressed back then," she murmured. "Sorry it happened that way. It's no wonder…"
[22:06] <AdEvaGM> ["… Mm." He looked up. "S-So what did Excalibur want? In that limbo."]
[22:07] <Sept> "This is… very important. If it has to do with our souls, we have to figure out what caused those differences and how we can use this… goddamnit, we can never trust Surov with this."
[22:11] <Yanmei> Yanmei's grip tightened on her phone, but she forced herself to relax it and slide the device into a pocket. "Of course we won't trust him," she said matter of factly. "And Excalibur didn't actually want anything, weirdly. He just told me some stuff about the world I'd left behind, and gave me advice on being resolute. And then…" An open frown, her gaze shifting aside. "He basically said 'see you later,' or something lik
[22:13] <Yanmei> - like that. Like we were going to meet again."
[22:17] * Aline opened her mouth to say something in response… closed it, and then said what sounded like a rather dull compromise. She was obviously hesitant-sounding, though. "…Similar."
[22:18] <Yanmei> "Huh?"
[22:18] <Sept> "Please. If you remember anything…"
[22:20] * Aline shook her head and made a frowny attempt at eating food. But it persisted for a moment. "I… meant that. Talk about the world. Then saying she'd see me again." The last sentence sounded especially difficult, though.
[22:23] <Sept> "Ah. I have a theory. The place seems to be some kind of center… a resting place, maybe, for the soul, or whatever part of us Raphael tricked to die, or to think it died."-
[22:27] <Sept> "Now, that may be obvious, but I think reaching it at all requires some level of, uhm, preparation, or a sort of proximity. I mean, I think those lives took us closer to our souls, made us purer in a way. Whether or not they were meant to."
[22:29] <Yanmei> Yanmei's eyes lingered on Aline a moment, troubled, and then drifted back to Sera. "Then the reason William didn't see a place like that was because he didn't have enough preparation?"
[22:32] * Aline shook her head. "…Or the Eva." A swallow, as though she were having difficulty speaking. "…We all… know the souls of our Evas. Sometimes very well."
[22:32] <Sept> "Could be, but that's what I want to know! We just have no idea about his soul, or relation to the FAR, or anything!" Sera remembered the glass in his hand at this point, and drank from it. It was practically hot by now.
[22:33] <AdEvaGM> [William looked a little lost. "The far what?"]
[22:34] <Sept> "Uhm." Sera became very busy with his drink, suddenly, casting glances to the others for help.
[22:36] * Aline simply shot Sera a narrow-eyed glare, wearied as it was. He wasn't getting bailed out that easily.
[22:37] <Yanmei> "FAR. First Ancestral Race. Think of it as a distant group of ancestors, but rather than being derived from them genetically, we, um. Share other similarities with them."
[22:38] * Aline chose /now/ to pipe in. "As do the Angels. As do 5 other races, yet unknown."
[22:39] <Sept> "That's a good way to put it," Sera noted, emerging from his drink. "And everyone on the Marduk Report shares some kind of relation to them."
[22:39] <AdEvaGM> ["Wait." He frowned. "So… So the Angels and mankind are related?"]
[22:41] <Aline> "Distantly. Different facets of the same thing." Was a quick reply from Aline.
[22:43] <AdEvaGM> ["I don't really understand, but I think I have a sort of idea…"]
[22:44] <Yanmei> "Ah, good." Yanmei nodded.
[22:50] <Sept> "William wouldn't be here unless someone knew everything about him. Is there anyone we can turn to with this?"
[22:52] <Yanmei> "Ikari would be the most likely person, yeah."
[22:53] * Aline nodded. "Mmm…"
[22:55] <AdEvaGM> ["Does it have to be important?" Asked Will. "I-I mean, I couldn't be just some normal pilot?"]
[22:56] * Aline staaaared at Will. "Pilots… aren't normal. It's a requirement of being one."
[22:57] <AdEvaGM> ["Normal for a pilot, I mean. Like Shinji."]
[22:58] * Sept pretended to choke on his drink - the most reliable way to stifle that fit of laughter.
[22:59] * Aline added a pout to her lingering stare, but said nothing else.
[23:01] * Yanmei tried to give Sept a stern look, but… yeah, that wasn't working. She tried instead to focus on William. "Ikari - er, Shinji - has a good number of his own issues, I'm afraid. Even if he was normal before he started piloting…"
[23:03] <AdEvaGM> ["Yeah, but, were any of those issues actually related to his piloting?" Asked William, a little desperately.]
[23:05] <Sept> "Everything always is. Evangelions are not cars. They are more than prostheses. William, we need to be active on this."
[23:07] <Aline> "You keep saying things like that." Aline was swirling her finger around in the half-drunk drink of hers as she said that.
[23:08] * Yanmei was frowning at that herself. "Not -everything- revolves around the EVAs."
[23:15] <Sept> "Then give me a plan that doesn't place us at their mercy! At -his- mercy! I'd welcome a way to end this that doesn't kill me!"
[23:18] * Aline shook her head, sighing. "Only thing I have is… assume control at the promised time."
[23:24] <Yanmei> There was a moment of bitter silence on Yanmei's end. "I think we're missing each others' points? Talking about their endgame is one thing. But I refuse to believe that everything about our existences was constructed within their control, for that purpose. If it had been, then we wouldn't be searching for a way out like this, would we?"
[23:30] <AdEvaGM> ["'Their' control? The Evangelions?"]
[23:32] <Sept> "…no, of course not. It's dangerous to assume too much of our freedom. I want to be able to negotiate about those plans, when the time comes. If we can respect or fear, not hate, everything that opposes us, that becomes… easier."
[23:34] * Aline softly intoned at Will. "Those in administrative control." As if she was just a commentator on this matter.
[23:36] <AdEvaGM> ["Like Commander Ikari?"]
[23:38] <Aline> "And higher." Was the reply. Aline seemed to be intentionally terse, but her tone was not as tinged with paranoia as, say, Sera's might've been.
[23:38] <Yanmei> "I don't think they'll be as open to negotiation as you think they will be," Yanmei muttered, that same bitterness waving into her voice again.
[23:42] <Sept> "I'm under no such delusions," Sera concluded calmly, maybe even a little apologetically. "I just have nothing better."
[23:45] <Yanmei> "Hm." Yanmei tilted her head a little - an expression of either thought or acceptance - and then let it drop, sliding back into quietness.
[23:45] * Aline looked back and forth between Sera and Yanmei, looking to all the world like the conversation was just passing her by.
[23:46] <AdEvaGM> [William had long since stopped trying to keep up.-
[23:49] <AdEvaGM> [At this point, Fino the seagull- who had been eyeing Yanmei's melted-cheese-and-chicken-curry tortilla speculatively- took to flight, swooped around and ripped a piece of it from the top- spraying hot curry sauce all across Yanmei's tank top as he went.]
[23:52] <Yanmei> "Aaagh!" YAnmei was on her feet in an instant, hurling the rest of the tortilla violently after the bird. "Damn you!" It missed by a mile, plopping harmlessly onto the desk just a few yards away. -
[23:53] <Yanmei> ^deck
[23:55] <Yanmei> "…" Another awkward moment passed. She cleared her throat. Resumed an air of dainty civility. "I mean… does anyone have a spare napkin?"
[23:56] * Sept cleared his throat and offered her one. "Guess we should focus on eating before it gets more."
[23:56] <AdEvaGM> [Fino settled down to pick at Yanmei's ballistic tortilla. He had won.-
[23:57] <AdEvaGM> ["S-So, erm… About Gabriel…"]
[23:59] * Yanmei took a seat again, accepting Sera's napkin with a thank you and tried to clean up the mess on her shirt as well as she could. "Ah… Gabriel," she muttered. "Where do we even start with that one?"
[00:08] <Sept> "Well, let's start with the simpler part. Did we make any mistakes in the battle leading to Gabriel?"
[00:15] <Yanmei> "I don't think we did anything majorly wrong with the Angelspawn. If we had gone a bit faster, however, the Beijing team might not have been in the predicament we found them in. If it hadn't been for Himesama, it could have turned out really badly for us -and- them."
[00:24] <Sept> "Mmh. I agree. If Gabriel could've played its trump card earlier, we would've been in a considerably worse position. But now it's gone into hiding. The Angel might still have enough of an upper hand from its point of view."
[00:29] <Yanmei> "Maybe. We hurt it really badly last time? But it might learn from the battle and prepare traps or counters or defenses for next time. That concerns me."
[00:30] <AdEvaGM> ["What about its ally?"]
[06:25] * Aline suddenly twitched at that, looking at William… and once again opening her mouth as if to talk, but not saying anything. There was apparently deep internal hesitation from how her lips were quivering.
[06:30] * Yanmei frowned. "That's a hard question to answer. Its ally, after all, was a controlled 00." She did glance to Aline, then. "Can you remember anything from what happened?"
[06:33] * Aline raised a hand, shakily gripping her drink. She took a larger sip. After a long period of downing about an eighth of its total mass, Aline finally decided to answer. "It wasn't… quite… 00."
[06:34] <AdEvaGM> [William was watching intently, but nevertheless he moved to comfort Aline, putting an arm around her shoulders and giving her a reassuring squeeze.]
[06:38] * Yanmei watched intently, waiting for her to go on.
[06:40] <Sept> "Mmh, we heard the pattern was different. Go on."
[06:46] * Aline nodded, having actually hesitated to wait for some sign she was being listened to, possibly out of the increasingly-obvious insecurity she was showing. "Gabriel is an Eve. And I… killed her Adam." For some reason, she left it at that.
[06:51] <Yanmei> "Well, that explains why you were targetted." Yanmei was recalling another incident with a far from lighthearted expression. "She tried to kill you more or less directly, then?"
[06:51] * Sept sighed. "Well, we knew they'd be the most dangerous ones. The problem is still identifying them before it comes to this…"
[06:53] * Aline suddenly shook her head. "No… Sorry. It's… hard to say. I killed her Adam, but he's not just any death. He… …" Aline sharply bit her lip, and after that managed to just blurt it out. "Voriel."
[06:57] * Sept raised his head at first, like he hadn't heard it right. But then, slowly, comprehension crept into his expression. "Ahh… So the one in control of 00..?"
[06:58] <Yanmei> "God… again? The last time 00 went Pattern Blue like that was his doing too."
[07:01] * Aline looked up, setting her drink down. "…He was angry. After all those years of silence, he /hated/ me. He… …Nevermind that. Worrying about that is…" Another shake of her head, and a brief lean into the arm around her shoulders. "But he's gone now. She took him with her."
[07:01] <AdEvaGM> ["Well… That's good, right?" Said William, tightening the embrace in response to Aline.]
[07:02] * Sept didn't dare second that question. He really wasn't sure anymore.
[07:05] * Yanmei tossed her hair. "Seems like one less time bomb to worry about, given said hatred. But if they're together, Gabriel will be more powerful next time, right?"
[07:06] * Aline frowned. "Yeah. That… that's a worry." She looked off into the distance for a moment.
[07:07] <Sept> "An Angelic libido effect. Tricky."
[07:07] <AdEvaGM> ["But it shouldn't be -that- much harder. I mean, even with- Voriel- we still took her down fairly easily…"]
[07:11] <Sept> "But it -wasn't- Voriel, was it? It had to craft a vessel for itself from 00 in a matter of minutes."
[07:11] <Yanmei> "Say she absorbs his powers and uses them for herself more effectively. Our original battle with the guy was full of illusions and bewildering stimulations and such. It was messy. Very messy."
[07:13] * Aline shuddered, for once at the memory of what happened before, not what happened recently. "It's… an invitation to a… big mess, yeah. But we'll have to, have to, ah, fight through it. We've all changed."
[07:13] * Zack is now known as ZackSLeep
[07:14] * ZackSLeep is now known as zAcKsLeed
[07:16] <Yanmei> "Has he changed too, though? Or at least been observant while he was with you? An increased insight into who we are means a greater opportunity to fuck with us, don't you think?"
[07:18] <Sept> "I'm worried about that, too. The Angels haven't really understood much of us. Well, just as much as we've understood of their ways."
[07:19] <Aline> "…Voriel knows much, compared to your average Angel. Though…" Aline once again shifted her gaze around. She was doing that a lot. "I don't know how useful some of the knowledge is."
[07:20] <Yanmei> "What do you mean?"
[07:22] * Aline looked at Yanmei. At some other time she would've laughed, but instead she just… well, looked at her, before finishing off her beverage. "Intimate knowledge of highschool life is not tactical information."
[07:23] <Sept> "You mean 'it could be worse'?"
[07:24] * Aline openly shrugged. "I just mean for every important bit, he… picked up useless crap too."
[07:31] <Yanmei> "Even a useless rock can become a weapon in the right hands. Let's not let our guard down either way?"
[07:33] <Sept> "Of course not. But… well." Sera scratched at an arm idly. "We have no idea what any of this is like for you, Aline. Just focus on getting better now, right?"
[07:34] * Aline looked at Sera. "…Heh." It was about as flat as the portrayal suggested, or at least not 'real' laughter. "No idea…"
[07:40] * Sept could just look away slightly abashedly at that, and focus on finishing up that sandwich.
[07:43] <AdEvaGM> [An awkward silence…-
[07:43] <AdEvaGM> ["… Well, I do know a bit of good news."]
[07:43] <Yanmei> "Oh?" Yanmei reached for a drink at long last.
[07:44] <AdEvaGM> ["I was speaking to Surov today, and he gave me a rough estimate of how long it'd take for Gabriel to recover."]
[07:45] * Aline quirked her head. "…Ah?"
[07:46] <AdEvaGM> ["He said it'd need about three weeks- that's three weeks without doing anything too energetic, like fighting or moving."]
[07:48] <Yanmei> "So, for us, that's what? Three weeks of rest, or three weeks of frantically trying to hunt it down before it recovers fully?"
[07:48] <AdEvaGM> ["I'd wager the former, honestly. How would we even know where it is?"]
[07:49] * Aline shook her head a little. "…Probably… fair."
[07:54] <Yanmei> "Let's hope things go back to normal at home, then? Three weeks holed up in the Geofront sounds like it would get old quickly."
[07:56] <AdEvaGM> ["We could always spend it on the battleship. Did you see the pool?"]
[07:57] <Sept> "Yeah. I hate to bring up the idea, but if Voriel has all that useless knowledge of our daily lives, he could try to set up an ambush? Maybe I should look into how our friend from St. Azariah's got in Paris in case they try to do the same?"
[07:58] * Aline thought on that, but… sighed. "It's… well. At least this is a nice ship."
[07:59] <AdEvaGM> ["Oh yeah." William brightened. "Now that we know that Shadowmen were mucking about in Paris, this means you'll probably get off for that murder, huh?"]
[08:05] * Sept frowned at William. "I'm not as hopeful. But as long as they keep up my essential status, it doesn't hold me back."
[08:09] <Yanmei‘> "Really?" Yanmei seemed a little disappointed. "Seems like your defense could build a great case out of it. Silas and his goons have way more of a motive to go around attacking S2 agents than you do. Especially with what they did to Asuka."
[08:11] * Aline turned to look at the various people assembled, not lingering on any one face. "Either way, know that we have time…"
[08:12] <Sept> "That we do. It feels better to have, well, slightly less reason to be on our toes all the time."
[08:15] <Yanmei`> "Actually resting would be nice. And talking with people that I haven’t had time to lately."
[08:15] <AdEvaGM> ["Oh yeah?"]
[08:16] * Aline craned her head over…
[08:17] * Yanmei‘ shook her head carelessly. "Oh, I’m just talking about personal stuff. Like my mom and such."
[08:18] <AdEvaGM> ["Ah, right. Yeah, now that you mention it, I ought to go contact the Abbot back home."-
[08:18] <AdEvaGM> ["… So, Yanmei, I have a question."]
[08:18] <Yanmei‘> "Yes?"
[08:23] <AdEvaGM> ["Well…" He looked a little embarrassed. "We’ve been pretty busy lately- we really- I mean, no one's really told me much about the whole- thing, the battle with you and Silas and stuff. And I bet no one's told you much about our escape."]
[08:27] <Yanmei‘> "I’ve heard pieces? Like, from Marianne. You guys stole this ship, and found out about the weird stuff they were doing there with Banshees and shadowmen. And the Spectre showed up for some reason, yes?"
[08:28] * Aline slowly nodded. "…The Spectre… killed most of the people there. But wanted to save us for… some reason. It was, it was rather strange."
[08:30] <Yanmei‘> "Very," she agreed. "Why was it even there? Until now, no one’s seen it outside of Paris before."
[08:31] <AdEvaGM> ["We don't even know why it's in Paris." Said William. "It's definitely powerful- we found an Iron Guard crucified to a wall…"]
[08:35] <Yanmei‘> "The Colonel mentioned that, yeah." Yanmei winced slightly. "But despite that danger, you went looking for it afterward, right William? How come?"
[08:35] <AdEvaGM> ["Well, I personally figured if it wanted us dead, it would’ve just done it earlier. Besides, it left a trail of blood for us to follow…"]
[08:36] * Aline nodded as well. "And it unlocked the door for them anyway. Assumedly."
[08:39] <Yanmei‘> "It did? Huh. So without it, you wouldn’t have even broken free?"
[08:41] <AdEvaGM> ["Not true. Aline was in the process of breaking us out herself." Said Will with obvious pride.]
[08:42] * Aline looked down briefly, as if to hide her expression self-consciously. "I was taken out to be… turned into a Brother. I killed my escort with… ironically, Voriel's powers' help. And then went up to find them."
[08:47] <Yanmei‘> "Impressive. It doesn’t sound like the best guarded prison, though? If there was something as important to them there as the… 'brother pits' were? You'd think they'd have a hundred guards stationed around it to make sure that no one tampered with it."
[08:48] <Aline> "…Hubris." Was Aline's simple reply, her face raised again. It looked like there was a lingering blush.
[08:49] * Yanmei‘ broke into laughter at that. "Yeah, probably!"
[08:53] <AdEvaGM> [William grinned. "I think he was pulling away as many as he could for round two, y’know? He did have other guards there- cult soldiers or Italian conscripts. They didn't… Fare too good." He went pale.]
[08:53] * Aline sighed. "A bloody mess."
[08:57] <Yanmei‘> "Ugh, I see." Yanmei drained the rest of her glass. "That’s right. The Colonel said that she got your call just after the battle, so he probably did have no choice but to leave most of the guarding to non-brothers. Um. Were there a lot of other civilians locked up with you guys too? The timing for a full-out rebellion would have been perfect."
[08:58] <Aline> "I don't… think so?" Aline helplessly added. "It didn't seem to matter anyway, but we were some of the few, if not only, actual prisoners."
[08:59] <AdEvaGM> ["There were civilians there, but they weren't locked up or anything." Said William. "They were- just local people, sick, that the Brothers were healing. One of the Brothers we found managed to get some of them to safety before the Spectre found him."]
[09:00] <Yanmei‘> "That’s-" Yanmei blinked. "That's odd. What sort of place was this, anyway?"
[09:01] <AdEvaGM> ["…" He turned to Aline.]
[09:01] <Aline> "A hospital. Mostly." Yet another swift, terse reply… though she did add a bit after, very much like an afterthought. "Though with the research going on there… Mmn."
[09:03] <Yanmei‘> "Hospital? With the things I’d heard before, I was picturing it being some kind of… laboratory dungeon thing?"
[09:07] <AdEvaGM> ["It was sort of everything. Barracks, prison, hospital…"]
[09:08] * Aline looked up into the sky for a moment. "Sort of crazy of an idea. But… what do you expect?"
[09:14] <Yanmei‘> "Hm." Yanmei shifted uncomfortably. "Turned out to be a good thing? At the time we were sure you guys had… I mean, they managed to keep you all alive somehow."
[09:15] <Aline> "I know…" Aline said a bit sadly.
[09:18] <Yanmei`> "The Colonel was hopeful. And Ikari - Shinji, that is - also couldn’t bring himself to believe the worst. It looked really bad, though."
[09:21] * Aline allowed a small, small smile. "That's good to hear, at least."
[09:28] <AdEvaGM> ["Alright, that's us- what about you?"]
[09:32] <Yanmei‘> "Hm. There’s not much to tell? Between fights, I was pretty much in the Geofront all the time, waiting for orders to get handed down and people to arrive and tests to be run. You probably already know this? But we flew in three extra EVAs and their pilots for the operation. Because the Colonel was so busy, I had to play hostess and brief them on what was going on, and keep the morale up."
[09:32] * Aline peered. "…You talked to Shinji, so he was one of them. The others…?"
[09:35] <Yanmei‘> "Ayanami Rei and the new twin pilots of 07, Elene and Sophia Simonides. Apparently, the Committee was insistant that we use 07. And Excalibur too."
[09:41] <Sept> "Hmm. Whether they were just afraid or had something else in mind… How did the twins handle the fight?"
[09:43] * Aline decided to remain quiet for a few moments, looking over at Sera.
[09:45] <Yanmei`> "Heh. The twins knew what the hell they were doing, no worries. By the end, theirs was the only unit still functioning properly. They specialize in AT manipulation -and- CQC -and- they could aim well enough to use the bolter I loaned them."
[09:48] * Aline muttered slightly. "Dual plug is such a cheat…"
[09:51] <Sept> "With any luck, they’ll be more stable than their predecessors, too."
[09:54] <Yanmei‘> "With luck," Yanmei muttered in agreement, leaning back and propping herself up with her arms. "Of course, things still didn’t go so easy for us on the field, even with unit 07. Silas did a little prep work of his own?"
[09:54] * Aline looked up again. "…Sorry. It was that or be turned even earlier."
[10:02] <Yanmei> "Yeah, well… Here." Yanmei shook her head. "The plan was this: Three of the EVAs were supposed to corner Silas and neutralise him using an Anti AT Field. In the meantime, 04 was to sweep through his supporting hordes with the help of a huge squadron of fighter jets on loan to us from England, Russia and France. Things… did not go as planned. -
[10:05] <Yanmei> "The Little Brothers were easy enough to take care of. But Big Brother was wearing ablatives, and an extra set of arms, and his own Anti AT Field, which he used in conjunction with another field to trap and ruin 05 and 09. Plus there was the Excalibur clone that he conjoured right there on the battlefield in front of everyone…"
[10:11] * Aline stared quite focusedly for about a quarter of a minute. It was longer than it sounded. "…That sounds completely insane."
[10:15] <Yanmei> "Insane describes it pretty well?" Yanmei sighed. "He almost won -again-. By the time we regrouped, it was just down to me and 07. Most… m-most of the fighter jet pilots had turned to LCL by then too." She paused for a few minutes, with her eyes narrowed, before shaking herself out of it. "The real Excalibur was what saved us."
[10:23] <Aline> "It's that powerful…?" Aline openly wondered.
[10:24] <Sept> "No wonder they like to keep it up their sleeves."
[10:30] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei was staring at them incredulously. "They keep it up their sleeves because of the danger of it wiping them out of existance. You… really haven't felt it before? Any of you? De Pteres, you must have…?"
[10:32] * Aline sighed rather intensely, looking at Yanmei. In a way, this seemed… familiar to her. "No. Not even in Boston… not even in the illusion world when Padma used it against me - though I guess in /that/ case it makes sense."
[10:42] <Sept> "Not… really, no. But I understand the risks. Yet, using it against Silas must've been a much bigger risk than against any 'regular' Angel."
[10:47] * Yanmei bowed her head a little. "Yeah. If he'd gotten hold of it, it would have been over for everyone. And god, did he ever try. Fortunately? We managed to wipe him out before then. It… required tapping into Excalibur's power." A sullen look came over her. "It was probably a bad move, but I didn't see any other way. And… by the way? I understand that there's a new canal running through the ruins of Rome now."
[10:49] * Aline raised a brow. "…Tapping… Hm." She was slightly more animated than before, at least. Though the depth of thought she seemed to be in, based on posture and expression, suggested she might have an idea of just what kind of power Yanmei had tapped.
[10:49] <AdEvaGM> [William on the other hand blanched, looking down so that his fringe hid the tremulous look in his eyes.]
[10:50] <Yanmei> That did not escape Yanmei's attention. She glanced away. "Sorry," she muttered. "That was crass of me."
[10:52] <AdEvaGM> [He waved a hand, to show he understood, but didn't say anything.]
[10:52] * Aline looked between the two of them. "…Yeah, it's okay…"
[10:55] <Yanmei> "Hm." Yanmei didn't quite turn back to them yet. "No one knew that would happen. The Tech Division had briefed us on its capabilities, but that was either left out on purpose or unknown. Something else that was intentionally left out… was Excalibur's efforts to hijack 04. Immediately after the battle, it nearly succeeded."
[10:57] * Sept looked over at William with an easy smile. "There really is nothing they can't rebuild. Just look at Paris. They'll get around to it once this is all done."-
[11:00] <Sept> And with a nod, he addressed that last part. "That risk was always there. There's just no way to enhance an AT field by itself, there's always… something or someone else. I hate that you had to go through that on top of everything else without us."
[11:00] <AdEvaGM> [William mumbled something indistinct- only the word "People" could be discerned.]
[11:02] * Sept opened his mouth to respond, but decided against it, with the tiniest of shrugs.
[11:03] * Aline leaned back a little, looking slightly in thought. "I didn't think it would be that bad, but I suspected something like that." …A pause, and her mood seemed to re-darken. "I guess it's familiarity."
[11:07] <Yanmei> "Familiarity, huh?" Yanmei tossed her hair, but shrank away from saying much else for a few moments. "Maybe you're reading into it. 04 was just a handy pair of legs for a sentient sword. Back in Boston, I think something similar might have happened if Isaiah had gone too far with it."
[11:11] <Aline> "Ah. I guess so. Lucky." Aline leaned back a bit further, before resuming normal posture.
[11:15] <AdEvaGM> ["But…" William coughed.-
[11:15] <AdEvaGM> [His voice was a little shaky, but he continued. "Didn't you say you saw Excalibur after you died?"]
[11:18] <Yanmei> "Coincidence?" she said hopefully.
[11:18] <AdEvaGM> ["That's a careless assumption to make."]
[11:18] * Aline once again was looking between two people. "I'm not sure that's what I meant, but… there is something of a point there…"
[11:22] <Yanmei> "All right, all right. So maybe it's a clue into what those afterlife dreams actually meant? Like, maybe they were omens for the future."
[11:23] * Aline muttered a little bit. "Or windows on the soul."
[11:26] <Sept> "All valid. Keep your eyes open. We might find something important in there."
[11:28] * Yanmei nodded. "Right."
[11:29] <Aline> "Yeah…" Aline added to the pile of affirmatives.
[11:37] <Yanmei> Yanmei reached for the last tortilla, glancing around warily for flying thieves. "Ah, William. I doubt it needs to be said? But let's keep the things we said today quiet. Especially while staying here." -
[11:39] <Yanmei> She took a small bite. "Since it was rebuilt, the Minifront in this region is without a doubt the most heavily monitored out of all of them. I'm willing to bet the same is true for most of the rebuilt surrounding city."
[11:40] <AdEvaGM> ["Understood."]
[11:49] <Yanmei> "And with that in mind~ I'm going shopping as soon as I finish this. You guys should figure out what to do for the day too."
[11:50] <Sept> "Hah. Have fun. We'll try and relax, too."
[11:51] <Aline> "Mm, Right. I'll have to find something to do… Hm, hm, hm."
[11:51] <AdEvaGM> ["Hey, Sera, have you introduced yourself to the Warfare Officer yet?" Asked William appraisingly. "She's our age… You never know, there might be potential there for you."]
[11:54] <Sept> "…thanks for the tip, but I doubt it."
[11:55] <AdEvaGM> ["That pessimism won't get you anywhere. Who knows? Perhaps a little bit of adventurous romance might help you loosen up a little."]
[11:56] * Aline has quit IRC (Quit: )
[11:56] <Sept> "No."
[11:57] <AdEvaGM> ["See what I mean? No wonder you're single…."]
[11:58] <Yanmei> "Oi, oi. Play nice, huh?" Yanmei took another hasty bite of her meal. "In any case? Meeting adjourned!"
[12:01] <Sept> "…yeah. See you later." One more attempt at a smile to the group, and Sera was off.
[12:03] <AdEvaGM> ["He really is very grumpy." Said William after Sera was out of earshot. William made a stern face. "Harrr, I am Sera de Pteres and I am serious business all the time. Harrumph."]
[12:09] * Yanmei started to snicker and nearly coughed on her tortilla in the process. "Ahem," she said once her throat was clear. "I've seen worse? You should catch him when he's around pilot Akagi or something. Still, he didn't used to be this grumpy…"
[12:10] <AdEvaGM> ["He really should lighten up." William got to his feet, though. "I'll see you around, Yanmei. Have a good day, alright?"-
[12:10] <AdEvaGM> [And he began to escort Aline back inside.]
[12:11] <Yanmei> "See ya!" And Yanmei was alone once more, with empty drink glasses and a seagull.
[12:13] <AdEvaGM> ["Minemine?"]
[12:13] <Yanmei> "Shut up."

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