Raphael S Dinner

[13:52] <Raphael> Here was the thing about NERV’s endless elevator rides: The ride itself was painfully long, certainly, but that boredom paled in comparison to the tedium one felt while waiting for an elevator to arrive in the first place.-
[13:52] <Raphael> And unfortunately for Raphael, that was the situation he was stuck in right now. Given who he was heading to see, his uniform was even more precisely worn than normal, but the professional effect was ruined by the way he shifted from foot to foot, glancing around the quiet lobby as he watched the numbers above the steel-plated door slowly tick down…
[13:59] <Minaplo> [Tick-tick-tick…-
[14:01] <Minaplo> [The doors slid open, now, revealing the large square interior; the lighting stark and sterile, fluorescent bulbs mixing with the white-blue walls to give it an unnaturally clean look.-
[14:02] <Minaplo> [The elevator wasn't empty. Vice-Commander Raskova was within, a folder in her hands- her gaze fell on Raphael with a certain deliberation.]
[14:13] * Raphael returns the stare and manages to control the urge to sigh before stepping into the elevator and assuming his place by the doors with his hands behind his back. "Good day, Vice-Commander."
[14:17] <Minaplo> ["Captain."]
[14:33] <Raphael> Seconds pass, Raphael's eyes watching the excrutiatingly slow transition from floor to floor. As the numbers tick by, it becomes clear that he'll have to be the one to break the silence. "… I trust the Councillor is recovering from his ordeal well enough, ma'am?"
[14:42] <Minaplo> ["Of course. He's an exceptionally fit man."]
[14:56] <Raphael> "So I saw." Raphael murmurs. "… I trust I passed your test, ma'am?"
[15:00] <Minaplo> ["If you hadn't you'd have been stripped of your rank within hours of our return."]
[15:03] <Raphael> "A fair response." Raphael says without any signs of irritation. If he /had/ failed, he wouldn't have blamed her for such an action.
[15:20] <Minaplo> ["Princess Alexandrina spoke to you after debriefing."]
[15:24] <Raphael> "That's right."
[15:25] <Minaplo> ["She asked you to help her." Raskova turned for the first time, staring at him in an oddly analytical way. "Combat training?"]
[15:32] * Raphael eyes her evenly. Even he couldn't aspire to keep his face as expressionless as Raskova, but he isn't giving away much. "… Among other things. Is that a problem, ma'am?"
[15:32] <Minaplo> ["No. I encourage it. I'll make the necessary security arrangements to facilitate training."]
[15:40] <Raphael> A pause. "I appreciate that, ma'am. As will the Princess, I'm sure."
[15:40] <Minaplo> [A nod.-
[15:44] <Minaplo> ["Although she was probably only dimly aware of it, Volkova and her family are related to the Russian Councillor, and through him, to the Windsors. There's a possibility that the Princess may be able to synchronise with EVA-06. A head start on combat training would be excellent."]
[15:50] <Raphael> If one looked closely enough, it wasn't hard to pick up the faint frown at that. "… I see." He says. "Understood, Vice-Commander."
[15:51] <Minaplo> [The elevator came to a stop, the doors opened. Raskova left- making no noise with her steps- without a word.]
[15:53] <Raphael> And a moment later the doors slide shut again. Only then does Raphael allow his frown to deepen, no longer aware of the slow passage of time as the elevator continued to rise.
[15:56] <Minaplo> [And rise it did…-
[15:56] <Minaplo> [It eventually came to a stop, the doors opening.-
[15:57] <Minaplo> [The Commander's office was unchanged from the last time Raphael had seen it, although this time Hohenzollern wasn't watching the television; instead she was in the kitchen, cooking something, a book at her side.]
[16:17] * Raphael steps out from the elevator and allows the doors to shut behind him, but doesn't proceed any further into the office yet. "Commander?"
[16:17] <Minaplo> ["Captain Guillory. You're just in time."]
[16:21] <Raphael> "… I am, ma'am?"
[16:21] <Minaplo> ["Are you hungry?"]
[16:34] * Raphael shuffles his feet. "I… suppose I did skip lunch, Commander, but I couldn't intrude on your meal."
[16:34] <Minaplo> ["Don't be silly. I always make enough food for two people."]
[16:35] * Raphael approaches the kitchen. "Always?"
[16:36] <Minaplo> ["Always. It's a habit from my days as a professor. Cook enough for two people and, if a student comes by- or a colleague- they leave with a better impression. If no one shows up, then I eat well."-
[16:37] <Minaplo> [The smell of roast pork fills the air. In a pan in front of her are several fat German sausages, frying away; a bed of hot chips cooks away in a deep frier, and a pot of gravy sits on the oven.]
[16:41] <Raphael> "Well, ma'am, if I'm going to eat then I'll have to at least help you cook." Raphael says after a moment of thought.
[16:41] <Minaplo> ["You can set the table up, but I do not trust a Frenchman to cook meat properly." She said teasingly.]
[16:51] * Raphael snorts. "With respect, ma'am, I'm familiar with German cuisine and I'm not sure I trust your work either." He says with a smile.
[16:51] <Minaplo> ["Very well. You may cook the french fries."]
[16:53] * Raphael lets out a short laugh. "Setting the table is fine with me, Commander."
[16:53] <Minaplo> ["I thought you'd see reason."-
[16:54] <Minaplo> [Eventually dinner is set. It's definitely a meaty feast, but a cold crisp salad has been prepared as well, all placed within the middle of the table. "Wine or beer?"]
[16:59] <Raphael> "… ah." Raphael sets down the plate he was carrying and frowns. "Water will be fine, ma'am. I'm still on duty."
[17:04] <Minaplo> ["I understand." She fetches a beer for herself, nevertheless.-
[17:04] <Minaplo> ["So how are things in SOS?"]
[17:09] * Raphael slides into a chair, pausing to straighten out his uniform. "There’s still some administrative work to do regarding our restructuring, but overall it’s business as usual. A lot of people were rather pleased that we’re a more official part of NERV, though, particularly within my team."
[17:10] <Minaplo> ["Is that so?"]
[17:15] * Raphael waves a hand. "That we performed important tasks for the organization and yet didn't have an official place within it could be difficult sometimes, both from a command perspective and for simple public perception."
[17:17] <Minaplo> ["Yes, I think I came to the same conclusion."]
[17:18] * Raphael nods. "The new structure makes things a good deal easier for all of us."
[17:23] <Minaplo> [She nodded. "Streamlined command always helps. Well, I hope settling on continues to go as smoothly as it does now."]
[17:28] <Raphael> "As do I." He says, spearing a piece of roast and chewing on it thoughtfully.
[17:28] <Raphael> "… If I may speak freely, ma'am?"
[17:28] <Minaplo> ["Go ahead."]
[17:29] <Raphael> "I heard about the altercation with Pilot de Pteres."
[17:29] <Minaplo> ["Oh." Hannelore's face darkened.]
[17:31] * Raphael watches her carefully, letting the silence play out as he works his way through another mouthful.
[17:36] <Minaplo> [Hannelore cut into a sausage, popping a chunk of it into her mouth. She ate quickly, but didn't say anything else.]
[17:39] <Raphael> "… I would apologize on his behalf, but regardless of what the argument was about I doubt he would understand what he'd done wrong."
[17:41] <Minaplo> ["Yes, well, when your world view sees yourself as intrinsically entitled to everything, you can't really help that."]
[17:42] * Raphael raises an eyebrow. "I see he's made yet another fine impression."
[17:44] <Minaplo> ["He distrusts his comrades, he ignores the authority of command and he vigorously pursues banal ideas. Do you know what he wanted to do?"]
[17:44] * Raphael shakes his head silently.
[17:46] <Minaplo> ["He wanted to transfer NERV's highest and most rarefied security clearances and codes solely to one person- Aline Blanc."]
[17:47] * Raphael stares for a few moments, fork going still above his meal, before letting out a small sigh. "Did he give a reason?"
[17:49] <Minaplo> ["Because apparently she's the strongest of the pilots. I offered Colonel Amatore and Pilot Weiss in exchange and he didn't like either of those. In fact he -hated- the idea of Weiss."]
[17:52] * Raphael winces. "… Yes, well, he's never been particularly fond of Pilot Weiss." He says slowly. "I'm surprised you weren't warned in his reports."
[17:54] <Minaplo> ["Yes. Nor did he seem fond of Pilot Gabriel-Wei."]
[18:00] <Raphael> "No." Raphael says simply, setting his fork aside and folding his hands on the table. "… With respect, ma'am, Pilot de Pteres is not someone you will be able to honestly understand. He is more loyal - in his own way - to Pilots Blanc and Zhang than anyone you could hope to name, but beyond that… examples of working relationships are rare. You could list the people who he seems to have
[18:00] <Raphael> actually empathy for on one hand. I -believe- I'm one of them, although I couldn't be sure."
[18:01] <Raphael> «actual*»
[18:02] <Minaplo> ["Raskova suggested something to me."]
[18:02] <Raphael> "Ah?"
[18:02] <Minaplo> ["Perhaps it isn't empathy. Perhaps it's just sheer possessiveness."]
[18:04] * Raphael considers this, but eventually responds with a small shrug. "Perhaps. And yet… honestly, Commander, what do you expect?"
[18:05] <Minaplo> ["What do I expect? Honestly I've never expected much from de Pteres, but I demand respect nevertheless."]
[18:15] * Raphael shakes his head. "Pardon me, ma'am, but you misunderstand." He says, seeming genuinely apologetic.-
[18:15] <Raphael> "What I mean is, this conflict - especially for the Pilots - takes a sort of psychological toll that I couldn’t hope to understand. Everyone involved was aware of this when they put children in the Evangelions, although they had no choice." He says, taking a sip of water. "That Yanmei and Aline have managed to remain relatively well-balanced is nothing short of a small miracle. By all
[18:15] <Raphael> rights, Pilots showing genuine damage like Sera should be the rule, not the exception."-
[18:16] <Raphael> "Don't misunderstand me, Commander, I don't encourage permissiveness when it comes to discipline, but his personality should be viewed in the correct context."
[18:20] <Minaplo> ["…" Hannelore considered this for awhile, staring at her food contemplatively. "Did you know he referred to that desk over there as 'his' desk?"]
[18:22] * Raphael goes still for a moment, frowning deeply, before returning to his food. "I didn't."
[18:29] <Minaplo> ["I'm not saying you're wrong. I think you're right, I think his behaviour needs to be viewed in the context of his experiences, but I also need to look at it in the context of the potential danger he poses to this organisation, and to his colleagues. I've already had reports that state that not only does he have no respect for authority, he also considers civilian oversight of this organisation to be a shortcoming, and has even suggested that NERV go rogue under his leadership."]
[18:34] * Raphael shuts his eyes and sighs. "… The boy really does himself no favours."
[18:35] <Minaplo> ["I understand that this might just be the restless mutterings of a youth, but it could also be more. After all, as you said, piloting an Evangelion takes its toll on a person's mind."-
[18:45] <Minaplo> ["In any case, it's not in my hands anymore."]
[18:46] * Raphael frowns again. "… How is that, ma'am?"
[18:47] <Minaplo> ["Councillor Caine has decided to deal with this personally."]
[18:52] * Raphael goes silent, his expression carefully returning to a calm mask. "… Of course, Commander."
[19:07] <Minaplo> [She turned back to her food, eating for a moment or two.-
[19:09] <Minaplo> ["If he can't show signs of improvement, then we'll have to replace him as a pilot."]
[19:11] <Raphael> "I thought that 01 only accepted Pilot de Pteres?"
[19:12] <Minaplo> ["Yes, it's true. We might simply have to replace the unit entirely. It's a horribly wasteful idea, but as it stands, considering he's already tried to kill several other pilots…"]
[19:14] * Raphael 's eyes narrow. "… I'm sorry?"
[19:15] <Minaplo> ["Oh. I'm sorry, I thought you would've known, it's just- well." She coughed, looking away.-
[19:17] <Minaplo> ["In 2015, the Parisian pilots were taken to Japan for a christmas holiday. During the holiday, de Pteres shot Isaiah Gabriel-Wei twice in the chest with a NATO-standard sniper rifle, whilst he was in the embrace of Pilot Zhang. He nearly died, and it's only due to incredible medicine and the boy's own grit that he didn't."]
[19:26] * Raphael ‘s face is deathly still for a moment, but his hands are tight around his knife and fork. After a moment he nods and returns to his meal, slicing a sausage neatly in half. "… I see." He says.
[19:27] <Minaplo> ["And then there was the situation with the Ayanamis…"]
[19:37] * Raphael looks up at her after a moment of silence, still wearing that still expression… although now there's a worrying coldness to his stare. "With respect, ma'am, is there a reason you're telling me this?"
[19:42] <Minaplo> ["Because you need to understand my point of view. What if Gabriel-Wei -doesn't- heal next time? What if it's Weiss-Xylander next?"]
[19:46] <Raphael> "I understand your point of view perfectly well, ma'am." Raphael says, pronouncing the words with careful precision. "I was not, in fact, disagreeing with your actions, merely attempting to explain his."
[19:47] <Minaplo> ["I know. I- I know." She sighs heavily, the sudden passionate anger in her form cracking. She runs her hands through her hair nervously. "I'm on edge. It's starting to get to me."]
[19:56] * Raphael sighs, leaning back. The look in his eyes fades slowly. "It’s fine, ma’am. Please just remember that I am doing my best to help you, not trying to undermine you."
[19:57] <Minaplo> ["I know. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to get my hackles so raised. It's… Ugh. I thought I was done with Elisha Caine."]
[20:06] * Raphael gives her a curious look. "How do you mean?"
[20:15] <Minaplo> ["De Pteres is like him in a lot of ways. The mannerisms, the attitude…"]
[16:09] * Raphael gives a nod. "I see." He says noncommittally. "You knew him, then?"-
[16:09] <Raphael> "… If you don't mind me asking, of course."
[16:10] <Minaplo> ["Yes. Actually, my parents arranged for the two of us to marry when I was a teenager."]
[16:18] * Raphael frowns. "That must have been difficult for you, ma'am."
[16:18] <Minaplo> ["Being engaged to that facetious twit -was- pretty trying, yes." She said with a small grin.]
[16:23] <Raphael> The corner of Raphael's lip begins to curl upwards in a small smile. "I take it that it didn't work out?"
[16:25] <Minaplo> ["He found Fontaine, and the rest is history."]
[16:27] <Raphael> "I'm sorry to hear that, ma'am."
[16:28] <Minaplo> ["Don't be. Arranged marriages are terrible things, and I'm glad he ran off."]
[16:31] * Raphael chews his food thoughtfully. "… Well obviously, ma'am. But that would hardly be a polite thing for me to say, would it?" He says eventually with a bigger smile.
[16:32] <Minaplo> ["True." She sighed, frowning at her food. "I didn't like him. But I didn't like being abandoned, either. Does that make sense?"]
[16:36] * Raphael gives her a sympathetic look. "Of course it does, Commander. You hardly have to have enjoyed his company to feel hurt by his actions."
[16:40] <Minaplo> ["Mm…"-
[16:41] <Minaplo> [She stared at her food for a little while longer, clearly dissatisfied by something. "You would never have met him, of course, Caine. But you've heard about him?"]
[16:44] * Raphael is, at first glance, determinedly working on finishing his meal, although a closer look would reveal that he's watching the Commander out of the corner of his eye. "I've heard stories here and there, ma'am. It's hard to work at NERV long without getting at least that much."
[16:44] <Minaplo> ["What do you think of what you've heard, then?"]
[16:57] * Raphael has to think on that for a few moments, stabbing idly at a final slice of sausage as he does. "… Well, while I'm hardly the best person to judge, he seems like he was exceptionally brilliant at the very least, though that's true of most of the major members of NERV. And beyond that, he seems to have had an alarming amount of drive to achieve his goals."
[16:58] <Minaplo> ["Alarming is about right, yes. It was one of his most noticeable traits."]
[17:00] * Raphael nods slowly. "It's hard for me to say much more than that, I'm afraid. I tend to ignore a great deal of the rumours I pick up here on principle, and I wouldn't think they're enough to build an honest picture of the man."
[17:00] <Minaplo> ["Oh yes, rumours. Goodness me. Raskova has told me about them."]
[17:02] * Raphael raises an eyebrow. "You've heard rumours about our rumours, ma'am?" He says dryly.
[17:02] <Minaplo> ["I've heard accurate reports. Raskova doesn't deal in rumours. She's rather sick of them herself." She said with a grin. "Haven't you heard the rumours about the Night Witch?"]#
[17:09] <Raphael> "… Some of them." Raphael admits.
[17:09] <Minaplo> ["Which ones?"]
[17:13] <Raphael> "The ones centred around her work with the Death Cults, largely." He says. "Those seem to be true, so long as you ignore the sillier details staff have dreamt up."
[17:15] <Minaplo> ["Yes, that's essentially the truth."]
[17:27] * Raphael nods. "It seemed plausible enough. Stranger things happened during the post-Impact wars, after all."
[17:45] <Minaplo> ["What did you think of Raskova during your shared mission?"]
[18:00] <Raphael> "Talented and efficient. She was a large part of the reason we were able to get the Councillor out unharmed."
[18:03] <Minaplo> ["Good, good. She spoke well of you too, in fact."]
[18:05] * Raphael gives her a doubtful look. "… Did she."
[18:09] <Minaplo> ["Well, when I say 'speak' I say it metaphorically. She wrote well of you."]
[18:13] <Raphael> This seems to go down somewhat easier with Raphael. "Ah. Understood, ma'am."
[18:35] <Minaplo> [18:05] * Raphael gives her a doubtful look. "… Did she."
[18:35] <Minaplo> [18:09] <Minaplo> ["Well, when I say 'speak' I say it metaphorically. She wrote well of you."]
[18:35] <Minaplo> [18:13] <Raphael> This seems to go down somewhat easier with Raphael. "Ah. Understood, ma'am."
[22:18] <@Minaplo> ["What, were you imagining Raskova and I sitting on that bed, hugging pillows and gossiping about our favourite captains?"]
[22:20] <Raphael> "Of course not, Commander." Raphael says shortly, although there was something about his slight frown that he might have been doing so now…
[22:21] <@Minaplo> ["Perhaps doing our nails…" She continued easily, tapping finely manicured blue-painted nails on the table as though to emphasise the point.]
[22:23] <Raphael> "I really don't think Vice-Commander Raskova woul-
[22:23] <Raphael> "*
[22:24] <@Minaplo> ["'Oh Commander Hanny, I just loooove how he handles that big bolter of his! He always hits the mark explosively…'"]
[22:26] * Raphael finally gives up on trying to slow her down - she's on a roll now, that much is obvious. Instead he just sighs and gives the Commander a disapproving look that his boyish face renders dangerously close to a pout.
[22:28] <@Minaplo> ["I'm sorry, I'm sorry. Major Katsuragi -did- say you were easy to tease, though."]
[22:31] <Raphael> "… Dear God." Raphael murmurs, a look of dawning horror on his face. "One day I'll find out how she gets to everyone so quickly, I swear…"
[22:33] <@Minaplo> ["Some days, Major Katsuragi seems to be NERV's rumour culture made manifest."]
[22:35] <Raphael> "She's not nearly as obnoxious as that, I assure you." He smiles.
[22:36] <@Minaplo> ["Actually, she's rather cute when she talks about you."]
[22:43] * Raphael turns slightly pink around the ears and coughs slightly. "Ah… well… hmm."
[22:46] <@Minaplo> ["And now you're rather cute too~"]
[22:54] * Raphael just coughs again, sliding his empty plate into the centre of the table. "… Well… erm, thank you for lunch, Commander."
[23:04] <@Minaplo> ["Leaving already? Are you sure I can't get you to pose on the bed with a box of kittens?"]
[23:11] <Raphael> "Strangely I think some people would view that as improper, ma'am."
[23:12] <@Minaplo> ["Of course." She laughed. "I'm only teasing, Captain. Although if I order Raskova to throw kittens at you, that might be fun, just to see Raskova angry…"]
[23:14] * Raphael smiles slowly, getting to his feet. "… although I'd rather not have the Vice-Commander throwing things at me while angry."
[23:16] <@Minaplo> ["Fair!"]
[23:18] <Raphael> "But thank you again for the lovely meal, Commander." He says, sliding his chair back into the table and giving Hannelore a salute.
[23:18] <@Minaplo> [She returns it. "Happy to be a host. Feel free to drop by again sometime, Raphael."]
[23:19] <Raphael> "Thank you, ma'am." He nods, smiling. "You have a lovely evening."
[23:20] <@Minaplo> ["The same to you."]#

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