Raphael S Dark Travels

[15:16] <Raphael> Dinnertime in the Guillory household, such as it was. The apartment seems even more crowded than usual this evening, between Suzanne taking up the bulk of the table with homework and Raphael trying to squeeze around in the cramped excuse for a kitchen.-
[15:16] <Raphael> "Suzanne, I'm not arguing with you about this." He calls from the other room, sounding rather frazzled. "No, we will not be having bacon tonight. Yes, there will be salad. That's all there is to it, young lady."
[15:23] <AdEvaGM> ["That's not fairrrrrr! I'm a growing child, I need my bacon!"]
[15:26] <Raphael> "You need something else -besides- bacon. It's not healthy." He says sharply. "And I'm getting sick of having this argument with you, little one."
[15:27] <AdEvaGM> ["Fiiiiiine." Mutters Suzie.-
[15:27] <AdEvaGM> ["If it's gonna be salad, can I at least ask for a type of salad?"]
[15:29] <Raphael> "Bacon salad is not a real thing. You've tried this trick before."
[15:30] <AdEvaGM> ["I wasn't gonna say bacon salad!" Snapped Suzie. "I meant Caesar Salad!"]
[15:33] <Raphael> "… Well. Ok then." Raphael says slowly, as if waiting for the other shoe to drop - He'd been playing this game for well over a year, after all. There's the faint sound of a fridge door opening. "I think I can do that."
[15:36] <AdEvaGM> [Silence from the living room as she writes a few sentences for her French homework. "… It's not gonna just be salad, is it?"]
[15:38] <Raphael> "There'll be fish as well. Is that alright?"
[15:38] <AdEvaGM> ["Hmmm."-
[15:39] <AdEvaGM> ["Yeah, fish is ok." Admits Suzanne.]
[15:39] <Raphael> "See? Your life isn't all bad."
[15:43] <AdEvaGM> ["Yeah, I -guess-." She concedes. "Hey Raffy, what'd you have for lunch today?"]
[15:46] <Raphael> "… I skipped it." Raphael says after a moment as something begins to sizzle. "I was busy supervising some tests for Mr. Lafabre."
[15:46] <AdEvaGM> ["Anything awesome?"]
[15:49] <Raphael> "Just the usual positron beam weapons." He says with an almost audible shrug. Perhaps it said something about his life that this really was 'the usual'…
[15:50] <AdEvaGM> ["When are they gonna make more awesome robots with laser swords?!"]
[15:57] <Raphael> "The moment Julien can make anyone listen to his begging, I suspect." Raphael says with a put-upon sigh.
[16:00] <AdEvaGM> ["I bet they could make a cooler one for you. Or like, make this big armored knight robot to ride on your robot's back."]
[16:01] <Raphael> "A robot shaped like a dinosaur isn't cool enough?"
[16:02] <AdEvaGM> ["What's more awesomer than a dinosaur? A knight on a dinosaur."]
[16:04] <Raphael> "…" He remembered enough of being a six-year-old that it was hard to fault her logic. "Still, I don't know if that's the best use of our budget."
[16:07] <AdEvaGM> ["What'd -you- spend it on?"]
[16:10] <Raphael> "… Researching improved AT field penetration efficiency for positron weapons." He says, knowing what will come next.
[16:11] <AdEvaGM> ["Boooooring. Just make them bigger!"]
[16:12] <Raphael> "I'll forward your idea on to the development team."
[16:14] <AdEvaGM> [And at that moment, the lights began to flicker- then suddenly, everything went dark.-
[16:14] <AdEvaGM> ["Ah! Raffy!"]
[16:18] <Raphael> "Coming, sweetheart." He calls, still sounding as calm as he had a moment before. He feels his way around for the cupboard under the sink and produces a torch.-
[16:20] <Raphael> "I'm sure it's just a fuse, don't worry." Raphael says, a beam of comforting light making the family room at least passably bright as he emerges from the kitchen.
[16:22] <AdEvaGM> [Suzie has nevertheless promptly hit one of the buttons on her wheelchair, the (empty) machineguns deploying from the side with a metallic sliding sound. "W-What if it's the Spectre?!"]
[16:26] * Raphael gives the machineguns a speculative look, still smiling. "S2 knows where we are, darling, and so does Captain Savage." He says gently, giving her a hug. "It'll be fine, I promise. Here, do you want to hold the flashlight for me for a second?"
[16:27] <AdEvaGM> ["Alright." Says Suzie, her voice small, as she takes it. "I'm not scared or anything, though, but you could end up doing something stupid…"]
[16:28] <Raphael> "Of course. We wouldn't want that, would we?" He says with a smirk, ruffling her hair as he moves to the small safe under one side of the computer desk.-
[16:30] <Raphael> "Keep the light on me for a moment, little one? Right, that's great, thank you." He says, spinning the dial rapidly and pulling out an emptied pistol and a clip of ammunition, which he promptly loads and slides into his belt.-
[16:30] <Raphael> "This is just to make you feel better, you understand."
[16:32] <AdEvaGM> [She gives him a firm look- then jumps almost half a metre into the air when someone knocks rapidly on the door.-
[16:33] <AdEvaGM> ["Captain? It's me, Lieutenant Archibald."]
[16:35] <Raphael> "One moment." He calls back, giving Suzie a tiny smirk on the way to the door. He opens it just a crack and peers out, pistol held at the ready.
[16:38] <AdEvaGM> [Archibald is standing outside his door, torch in one hand, service pistol in the other. She's wearing a plain white t-shirt and jeans, and her face is serious but calm. She gives him a nod. "Rendezvousing as per regulations, sir."]
[16:44] <Raphael> "Of course, Lieutenant." He says, opening the door a little wider to scan the hall before stepping back to motion her inside.
[16:52] <AdEvaGM> [She slips inside, taking note of the surroundings- she stares at Suzanne for a moment, then turns off her own flashlight. "I see you're well-supported, sir. Hello, Suzanne- I had no idea your chair was so heavily armed."-
[16:52] <AdEvaGM> ["Oh, it's you, Archie. Yeah, it's pretty awesome, it has a grenade launcher too!"]
[16:55] <Raphael> "None of which are loaded." Raphael adds quickly, locking the door behind them. "The chair was originally Colonel Lachapelle's."
[16:59] <AdEvaGM> ["I see, sir. That makes sense." She doesn't ask the obvious question as to how it ended up in the hands of an enthusiastic prepubescent girl, possibly because it really wouldn't matter anyway.-
[16:59] <AdEvaGM> ["What do we think, sir? Fuse or Spectre?"]
[17:02] <Raphael> "Hard to say. No signs of a disturbance yet, though." He murmurs, moving to the balcony window and parting the curtains to check the local buildings for similar blackouts.
[17:06] <AdEvaGM> [There are a few other buildings blacked out in the general area- the building opposite and to the left and right- if he had to make an estimate, about a quarter of the Arrondissement is out.]
[17:08] * Raphael nods to himself and turns back to Suzie and the Lieutenant. "Seems as though it could just be an ordinary blackout, ma'am, which means we should wait to hear from Section 2 for now."
[17:10] <AdEvaGM> ["Understood, sir."-
[17:10] <AdEvaGM> ["… Was there something cooking, sir?"]
[17:15] <Raphael> "Before the power went out, yes." He says, scratching his jaw. "I was grilling fish. I suspect they won't be quite done, though."
[17:19] <AdEvaGM> ["It's a shame, sir. None of the ovens here in Paris-2 are gas-powered…"]
[17:19] <AdEvaGM> <Stoves*>
[17:22] <Raphael> "Mmm. Still, these things happen. I suppose we'll just have to make do with salad, right Suzie?"
[17:22] <AdEvaGM> [She shoots him a dark look.]
[17:23] * Raphael smiles brightly. "Have you eaten, Lieutenant? We have plenty."
[17:24] <AdEvaGM> ["Oh, I'm quite fine, sir. I had sandwiches and cup noodles earlier."]
[17:28] * Raphael nods. "Would you mind keeping an eye on her while I prepare ours? I'm afraid Suzanne gets a little out of sorts if we're late with dinner."
[17:28] <AdEvaGM> ["Food is important, Raffy! I'm a growing child!"-
[17:29] <AdEvaGM> ["Of course, sir."]
[17:30] <Raphael> "So you keep reminding me." He murmurs, giving Suzie a pat on the shoulder. "I'll be right back, you two."-
[17:31] <Raphael> … and true to his word he's back a few minutes later, balancing two bowls of salad and a glass of cool orange juice for Suzanne.
[17:34] <AdEvaGM> [… And of course in that time Suzanne has been interrogating Archibald. "Yeah, I saw the giant drill! It's fantastic! I wanna command that when I grow up! Or fly pilots out of it!"-
[17:34] <AdEvaGM> <Robots*>
[17:34] <AdEvaGM> ["Really? Well, if that's what you want, I'm sure you'll be able to achieve that some day."]
[17:47] <Raphael> "Indeed." Raphael says, setting the glass and bowls down. "She's a very clever girl, this one. And quite fond of her military tech…"
[17:49] <AdEvaGM> ["Indeed, sir."-
[17:50] <AdEvaGM> ["I'm gonna pilot an awesome robot one day." Said Suzie fervently. "It's gonna be zippy-fast and have positron rifles that can be used to snipe from really far away, or close-up with lots of shots, and it'll have swords and it'll fly and kick butt."-
[17:50] <AdEvaGM> [Archibald smiled at Suzanne's enthusiasm. "Well, superheavy vehicles are the future of warfare…"]
[17:55] <Raphael> "But that's a long way away yet, and first you need to do all that growing you've been talking about, hmm?" Raphael says, and makes a pointed gesture towards her food.
[18:09] <AdEvaGM> ["Fiiiine." She slowly begins to dig into the salad.-
[18:09] <AdEvaGM> ["So how long do you think this'll last, Raffy?"]
[18:11] <Raphael> "That depends on what's wrong with the power, but if it goes on much longer we'll call in to S2 and check what's happening. How's that?"
[18:18] <AdEvaGM> [She nods, satisfied. "If it goes on too long, maybe we should play a game."]
[18:20] <Raphael> "That might be a good idea!" He says, smiling as he works through his own food. "Any suggestions?"
[18:21] <AdEvaGM> ["How 'bout NERV Cluedo?"]
[18:30] <Raphael> "I'm not sure what possessed marketing to produce that…" Raphael mutters.
[18:31] <AdEvaGM> ["Does NERV often produce such products?" Asked Archibald.]
[18:34] <Raphael> "Constantly." He says with a shake of his head. "There seems to be no end - or logic - to the products they release."
[18:34] <AdEvaGM> ["Do they make money?"]
[18:35] <Raphael> "From all the figures I've seen, yes. The market in Asia is particularly large and… eccentric in their tastes."
[18:36] <AdEvaGM> ["Then it would seem you've found your logic, sir." Said Archibald with a small smile.]
[18:39] <Raphael> "Point taken, ma'am." He says, returning the smile as he scoops up some lettuce. "And yet from a promotional standpoint, one has to question the sense in a board game where players must find out which famous NERV figure murdered the Commander."
[18:41] <AdEvaGM> ["Fair, sir."-
[18:41] <AdEvaGM> ["It's always Sera." Said Suzanne in a hushed whisper.]
[18:42] <Raphael> "I'm -certain- the deck is rigged somehow." Raphael frowns. "It's uncanny."
[18:46] <AdEvaGM> ["… I see, sir."-
[18:49] <AdEvaGM> [And so salad was eaten, drink… drunk, and a game played.-
[18:49] <AdEvaGM> [At this point it had been a good hour or so since the blackout.-
[18:49] <AdEvaGM> ["I accuse-" Began Suzie…-
[18:49] <AdEvaGM> [When a scream echoed down the halls.]
[19:52] <Raphael> Raphael leaps to his feet, gun drawn, his hand of cards tossed down on the table without a second thought (Yanmei, the Eva hangar, a card picturing an Evangelion's foot descending on an unsuspecting commander…). He glances from the door to Archibald and back again.-
[19:53] <Raphael> "Lieutenant, I need you to take Suzie and wait in my room. Use my phone to call Section 2." He says quietly. "I'll need your flashlight, ma'am."
[19:59] <AdEvaGM> [Archibald had reacted in much the same way, but she turns and gives Raphael a terse nod. "Understood, sir." She hands it over.]
[20:03] * Raphael checks it quickly before heading to the door. At the last moment, one hand on the lock, he glances back at Suzie. "Do exactly what the Lieutenant tells you to do, alright Suzie? I'll be right back."
[20:05] <AdEvaGM> [Suzie nods. "'Course. Don't do anything stupid, Raffy, ok?"]
[20:08] * Raphael gives her a tight smile. "Of course, ma'am." He says, snapping the deadbolt open and slipping out into the hall.
[20:10] <AdEvaGM> [The hall is deserted, as one would expect- and also dark. The air is tense and heavy, having not been recycled for a few hours. It's hot and a little humid…]
[20:12] * Raphael lets out a shallow breath and clasps the flashlight over the top of his pistol, raising both as he works his way down the hall in the direction of the scream.
[20:18] <AdEvaGM> [It doesn't take long for him to find someone.-
[20:20] <AdEvaGM> [It's a girl- if he had to hazard a guess, she'd be around Yanmei's age, considering she was wearing a school uniform. She was sitting huddled against a door, an expression of stark terror on her pale face.]
[20:25] * Raphael crouches down next to her, still slowly scanning his torch back and forth across the hall. His own expression is blank, focused and carefully calm. "Ma'am? Are you alright?"
[20:29] <AdEvaGM> [The student turns to look at Raphael, her blue eyes not seeming to parse that he's there for a moment- then they focus. Her expression changes to one of terror and fear being released as she bursts into tears, burying her head into Raphael's chest, clinging to him as though he were a lifering. "S-Spectre!"]
[20:35] * Raphael let out a tiny grunt of surprise as he's clung to, eventually giving the girl a quick, awkward pat on the back - he's not quite willing to take his attention away from the hall. "… You're sure, ma'am? Did it try to harm you?"
[20:37] <AdEvaGM> [She points a trembling hand at a nearby door- an apartment door, which is slightly ajar. "T-There… B-Balcony!"]
[20:42] * Raphael eyes the door for a moment and gives a small nod. "Alright. I want you to head down to that apartment-" A quick gesture down the hall at his door. "And tell the lady inside that Captain Guillory sent you. Tell her what you told me. She'll keep you safe."
[20:48] <AdEvaGM> [At this her grip redoubles and she practically digs in- clearly not wanting to be separated.]
[20:55] * Raphael 's jaw tightens, and he lapses into silence as he assesses the situation. Eventually he gets to his feet, bringing the girl with him, working both his arms free without quite managing to seperate himself. "Ma'am, I promise you'll be safe there. I have to check that balcony, and I can't do it until you're safe."
[20:57] <AdEvaGM> [She's fairly light, and judging by how she holds onto him it doesn't look like she can even support her own weight at the moment.]
[21:01] * Raphael lets out a slow breath. "… Alright." He says quietly, slipping one arm under hers to support her and handing her the torch. "Can you hold this steady?"
[21:03] <AdEvaGM> [A shaky hand wipes at her eyes. She grabs hold of the torch as best she can and… Doesn't do a terrible job, all told…]
[21:06] <Raphael> "Ok. We're just going to check up ahead, and then we'll get you back to safety." He says gently, moving towards the door. "Just keep that light going and I'll handle the rest."-
[21:07] <Raphael> And then he's nudging open the mystery door and taking his first careful steps inside.
[21:08] <AdEvaGM> [It's an apartment, looks occupied, although no one's home. It's dark, and looks like almost every other apartment ever.-
[21:09] <AdEvaGM> [The girl at his side lets out a little squeak, but keeps the light coming.]
[21:22] * Raphael adjusts his arm to make sure she doesn't slip and advances on the balcony door…
[21:25] <AdEvaGM> [He can hear something shifting out there, something rustling on fabric, and he notices that he can feel a breeze- the door is slightly slid open…]
[21:39] * Raphael glances down at the girl once more, frowning deeply now. Still, it doesn't stop him reaching out to edge the curtain back with the barrel of his gun.
[21:39] <AdEvaGM> [A clear balcony with nothing but a deck chair, facing away…-
[21:40] <AdEvaGM> [… And then a shape hurls itself up from the deck chair and onto the railing in a blur of speed, landing perfectly, luminent eyes focused on Raphael, hissing madly.-
[21:40] <AdEvaGM> [It's a large, angry-looking black cat.]
[21:48] <Raphael> A black cat likely unaware it was a hair away from being thoroughly ventilated by the tense soldier across from it. Raphael lets out a long, harsh breath, some of the tension leaving with it, before looking down at the student.-
[21:48] <Raphael> "It's a kind of spectre, I suppose." He murmurs with a rather forced smile.
[21:49] <AdEvaGM> [With a clunk, Raphael would realise that his charge had dropped the torch- she's out cold.]
[21:54] * Raphael lets out a slow chuckle and kneels down to snatch up the torch and sling the girl gently over his shoulder.
[21:55] <AdEvaGM> [… And it's a fairly uneventful walk back to the apartment.-
[21:56] <AdEvaGM> [Suzie and Archibald are both obediently waiting in his room, playing a different game at this point (NERV Chess).-
[21:58] <AdEvaGM> [Archibald moves to take one of Suzanne's T-Dreads with an Asmodel, looking over at Raphael as he enters- her eyes widen.-
[21:58] <AdEvaGM> ["Sir! What happened?"]
[22:00] <Raphael> "Just a young lady who got a little spooked in the dark." He says, with another of those forced smiles. "She thought she spotted the Spectre, but there was no evidence of it. Still, best to call it in."
[22:01] <AdEvaGM> ["Speaking of which, sir, I called S2. They said it looks like a standard blackout. Local police services are being flooded with paranoia calls nevertheless- ETA 15 minutes on repairs."]
[22:05] <Raphael> "Good to know." He nods, gently setting the young lady down on the empty couch and flopping into the worn old chair opposite, his pistol abandoned on the table. "Well, this was a more eventful evening than I had planned."
[22:06] <AdEvaGM> ["Aye to that, sir."-
[22:06] <AdEvaGM> ["Still, it was kinda fun. Archie's good value, you know, Raffy."]
[22:09] <Raphael> "You think that anyone with access to superheavy weaponry is good value."
[22:10] <AdEvaGM> ["What of it?"-
[22:11] <AdEvaGM> [Archibald moved over to the girl's side. "She doesn't look well…"]
[22:14] * Raphael frowns and sits forward to take a closer look, adjusting the beam of his flashlight.
[22:15] <AdEvaGM> ["No surprise, of course. But she has a bit of a fever, I'd say."-
[22:16] <AdEvaGM> [There's a sudden flickering from above- and then, with a mild hum in the background, the electricity comes back on to full brightness. The refrigerator turns on, its reassuring purrs filling the kitchen; glorious light floods the room; and Raphael's digital clock is reset to 0000.]
[22:22] * Raphael lets out a small sigh of relief. In the brighter light it becomes clear that Raphael's looking a little paler than normal himself. "Hmm. We should probably find out whether she has any family in the building. The apartment we went into was empty."
[22:24] <AdEvaGM> ["Do you want me to see to that, sir?"]
[22:25] <Raphael> "Would you mind, Lieutenant? I think it's well past Suzanne's bedtime, and she has school tomorrow…"
[22:28] <AdEvaGM> ["Rafffyyyyyyyy~!"-
[22:28] <AdEvaGM> ["Not a problem, sir." Says Archibald, getting to her feet.]
[22:30] <Raphael> "No arguments, you. You've had quite enough fun tonight." He says, getting up and giving her a kiss on the head. "You can play with the Lieutenant another day, if she wants, but for now it's goodnight."
[22:31] <AdEvaGM> ["Fiiiiine. G'night, Archie! Thanks for everything."-
[22:31] <AdEvaGM> ["It was my pleasure, Suzanne. Have a good night." A salute to Raphael. "Goodnight, sir."-
[22:31] <AdEvaGM> [And with that she slips out the door…-
[22:32] <AdEvaGM> [Giving Raphael perhaps a few minutes to himself- long enough to grab a slightly warm beer from the fridge and to clean off the fish, when his phone rings.]
[22:35] * Raphael lets out a very gentle sigh at the destruction of his little moment of peace, but he's quick to lay the beer aside and snatch up the phone to try and let his guest sleep.
[22:35] <AdEvaGM> [Mana's number.-
[22:35] <AdEvaGM> ["S-Sir!" Her voice is panicky, distraught.]
[22:36] <Raphael> … and the exhaustion and annoyance is filed away in a flash as he visibly slips into a more professional mindset. "Sergeant? What's wrong?"
[22:37] <AdEvaGM> ["H-Henri- oh god- Henri-"-
[22:37] <AdEvaGM> [A shuddering gasp. "S-Sir, he- some accident- f-fell off the balcony-"]
[22:44] <Raphael> He's cold all of a sudden, as though he's been dumped in ice water, and the phone his clenched in his grip. Somehow his voice is still calm, but now it feels as though it's somebody else doing the talking. "Where, Sergeant Kirishima? Is he alright?"
[22:45] <AdEvaGM> ["H… He's alive, t-they found him outside… Ugh." A deep breath. "He… He was found on the ground outside… His apartment balcony. He- He's alive, they're taking him to hospital now…"]
[22:47] <Raphael> "NERV Medical?"
[22:48] <AdEvaGM> ["Mm…"]
[22:48] <Raphael> "I'll be there in fifteen minutes, Mana. Stay calm until then, alright?"
[22:49] <AdEvaGM> ["A-Alright."]
[22:54] <Raphael> "Good work. I'll see you in a moment." And with that he closes the line.-
[22:58] <Raphael> And he would, but in those first few, cold seconds it's all he can do to stare across at the girl fast asleep on the couch, finally understanding how she must have felt alone in the dark.

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