Raphael S Greeting

[13:47] <Raphael> Somewhere deep beneath the surface of Paris-2, Raphael allowed the doors of the Geocity's massive central elevator to close with a sigh. In truth he was simply pleased to have finally made it, and to have gotten away from the tension that seemed to have gathered around Paris today like a noose.-
[13:48] <Raphael> Between a very near-miss crash on the highway on his way into work, and some rather surly guards topside, it had taken him nearly twice as long as expected to make it inside the Geocity, leaving him running rather late for an important meeting. Still, it couldn't be helped. The best he could do was smooth down his uniform and watch as the floors ticked by on the elevator's display, tracking the long, long journey into the heart of
[13:49] <Raphael> journey into the heart of NERV.*
[13:55] <Minaplo> [A viral video had been going around the internet recently of two NERV employees in an elevator, trying to to speak to each other for the entire elevator ride. Standing there in total silence, almost totally still. One of them scratched his nose a minute in.-
[13:55] <Minaplo> [The internet comment fields were full of screams of FAKE and ACTORS, as who had ever heard of a three minute elevator ride?-
[13:56] <Minaplo> [Raphael knew better. After all, one of the people in the video was Sophie Gagnier.-
[13:57] <Minaplo> [The elevator doors opened on the office of the Supreme Commander of NERV.-
[14:02] <Minaplo> [Back in Ikari's day, the room had been bare, cavernous, the only object in it being a desk with Ikari sitting at it, so that he could stare at you as you walked across the tiled floor, footsteps echoing. It would make people nervous, make them sweat even though the room was usually rather cool in temperature.-
[14:06] <Minaplo> [Hohenzollern had changed that, aggressively. The desk was still there- another chair had been added to it for guests- but she wasn't sitting behind it. Off to the side she had converted a portion of floor space into what was basically a living with, with several couches and recliners, a rug, even pictures on the walls- all around a large plasma television. Another section had been converted into a kitchen, another a bedroom- and another section had been turned into a library of sorts. Even then the room had huge amounts of space, giving it a rather absurd look.-
[14:06] <Minaplo> [Hohenzollern was sitting in a recliner, arms folded, watching the television- a news report on a riot. A large, content-looking black cat lay curled up on her lap. As the doors opened, she turned.-
[14:06] <Minaplo> ["Is that you, Group Captain? Come in, please."]
[14:26] <Raphael> "Commander." Raphael says crisply, only pausing for a moment to take in the room - Barely recognizable - before moving to stand before her desk and give Hohenzollern a sharp salute. "I apologize for being so late, ma'am. There were… complications. My own fault for not leaving earlier, I'm sure."
[14:28] <Minaplo> ["Hardly your fault." She nodded at the television. "Look at this, will you? A riot- a small one, at least- in Paris-2. Probably not quite on your path, but…"]
[14:31] <Raphael> "I caught mention of it on the radio, yes… although I must admit they made it sound a good deal smaller." He says thoughtfully, watching the television with narrowed eyes. "Do the police have it under control?"
[14:33] <Minaplo> ["They will, soon enough. At least no one in NERV is involved."]
[14:42] <Raphael> "Good to know." He says slowly, examining the footage of a trio of civilians overturning a parked car. "Strange to see something like that in Paris…"
[14:42] <Minaplo> ["Yes, it is. Are the people in this city always so highly strung?"]
[14:47] <Raphael> "Not in my experience, ma'am. Even during the worst of the early angel battles, disturbances were minimal."
[14:48] <Minaplo> ["Strange…"-
[14:48] <Minaplo> [The cat stares over at Raphael, still standing at the desk. It leaps from Hohenzollern's lap and runs over to Raphael, rubbing up against his legs.]
[14:55] * Raphael eyes the cat uncertainly, unsure how to react to this new threat, before finally deciding to remain straight-backed and simply ignore it. He was in the presence of a commanding officer, after all. "In any case, ma'am, thank you for making the time to see me."
[14:59] <Minaplo> ["It's quite fine, Group Captain. Won't you sit down?" She turned and smiled. "Marie seems to have taken a liking to you."]
[15:13] <Raphael> "Mar-… ah, the cat." He says after a pause, returning her smile with a small one of his own. He glances around, taking in the recliners, the couch… and none of those seem appropriate, so in the end he simply pulls the high-backed guest chair from the desk a little closer and settles into that instead.
[15:13] <Minaplo> ["Can I get you anything? A drink, something to eat?"-
[15:13] <Minaplo> [Marie the cat starts batting impatiently at his leg.]
[15:23] * Raphael reaches down to give the cat a brief, half-hearted scratch around the ears and chin as a sort of olive branch, but his attention remains on Hannelore. "Oh, thank you, Commander, but I'm quite fine." He says politely. "… Although if you don't mind me saying so, I'm pleased to see you're settling in."
[15:24] <Minaplo> ["It's taken a little getting used to, I admit. That's why I've added so much to the office. It seems they took Ikari's furniture and things when he died."]
[15:27] <Raphael> "What little there was in the first place." Raphael nods, sighing gently. "… Although I'm sure his wife would want to hold onto whatever she could."
[15:28] <Minaplo> ["Yes." Hohenzollern shook her head sadly. "Why don't you sit on one of these chairs, Group Captain? I'd prefer to look at you without having to strain my neck."]
[15:33] <Raphael> "…" A slight, awkward pause as Raphael rather obviously seeks an excuse to avoid the request, but nothing seems to come to mind. "Of course, Commander." He says, and soon enough he's seated in one of the couches to her left, hands folded in his lap.
[15:33] <Minaplo> ["Just 'Hannelore' is fine, Group Captain. I'm not used to all these ranks, it makes me feel strange."]
[15:36] <Raphael> "Ah, that's right. You're not exactly from a military background, are you, ma'am?" He says, giving her a smile.
[15:37] <Minaplo> ["I'm not from a military background at all, Group Captain." She said with a slight smile of her own. "I was a university professor. Here, Marie, who's a good kitty?"-
[15:37] <Minaplo> [Marie leapt back into Hannelore's lap, turning around to stare at Raphael with lamplike yellow eyes.-
[15:38] <Minaplo> ["But you're a career soldier, Group Captain, aren't you?"]
[15:41] * Raphael nods. "That's right. After Second Impact… well, it seemed the thing to do."
[15:42] <Minaplo> ["Did you ever imagine you'd be where you are now?"]
[15:47] <Raphael> "Piloting a large robot in a war against an extraterrestrial threat?" He asks seriously, before the corners of his lips twitch up. "I'm not sure it ever crossed my mind."
[15:51] <Minaplo> ["It does seem rather outlandish. That's the world we live in."]
[19:38] <Minaplo> [15:47] <Raphael> "Piloting a large robot in a war against an extraterrestrial threat?" He asks seriously, before the corners of his lips twitch up. "I'm not sure it ever crossed my mind."
[19:38] <Minaplo> [15:51] <Minaplo> ["It does seem rather outlandish. That's the world we live in."]
[19:43] <Raphael> "Indeed. Outlandish or not, there's no ignoring it."
[19:52] <Minaplo> ["All we can do is face it."]
[20:01] <Raphael> "Quite." He nods, leaning forward a little. "Which is why I'm here today, in fact. You've heard about our Superheavy Regiment?"
[20:01] <Minaplo> ["Of course. You're the ones with the dinosaur robot."]
[20:03] * Raphael actually manages a grin. "That would be us, ma'am. We were also the first to deploy the Thruster Dreadnoughts, although they've since been moved to different bases."-
[20:06] <Raphael> "Which is why I have some personal interest in the Varangian unit you're deploying."
[20:07] <Minaplo> ["Oh? Well, before you ask, I'm afraid I can't upgrade you to a E-Destroyer-V Unit." She said- there was something of a twinkle in her eye.]
[20:11] * Raphael chuckles. "Ah, you misunderstand. Given that we have a good deal of experience in the deployment and design of Superheavy units, especially for use in Paris-2, I just wanted to make sure I offered any support necessary for the new units. We found the Geofront was rather… specialized, and so our premises are better suited for more mainstream tech."
[20:13] <Raphael> "… besides, I know a young lady who would be rather disappointed if I upgraded my… ah, 'dinosaur robot'."
[20:21] <Minaplo> ["Ah, I see." Hannelore smiled. "Yes, I'm afraid the new E-Destroyers are a little less… Fashionable."-
[20:22] <Minaplo> ["Still, thank you for the notification. I'll be happy to take you up on the offer should it be needed, but for now the E-Destroyers will be stationed on the Battleship."]
[20:42] <Raphael> "Of course, Commander." Raphael says, the smile remaining in place. "As much as anything else, I simply wanted an opportunity to make it clear that the Regiment will offer its support any time you need it. I understand how much there must be to come to grips with in your position."
[20:47] <Minaplo> ["You have no idea." She said with a shaky laugh. "It feels a little intimidating at times, with all these people, so many of them military. I wonder to myself how many of them resent or dismiss me." She murmured quietly.]
[20:53] * Raphael nods sympathetically. "I can understand the fear, Com-…" He pauses abruptly, hesitating, "… Hannelore. In the regular military it would almost certainly be a justified one - they tend to be resentful of being ordered about by civilians. However, perhaps because of structure, I think you'll find a civilian background is something of a non-issue within NERV."
[20:54] <Minaplo> ["I hope so." She smiled warmly.-
[20:54] <Minaplo> ["Your dossier mentioned that you've been on several missions for NERV over time."]
[20:59] <Raphael> "That's right."
[21:00] <Minaplo> ["Would you care to talk about them?"]
[21:01] <Raphael> "If that's what you'd like, ma'am." He says mildly.
[21:02] <Minaplo> ["Well, I don't want to make you uncomfortable."]
[21:08] * Raphael shakes his head. "You don't need to worry about that. It doesn't bother me to discuss them."
[21:09] <Minaplo> ["Well, in that case, why don't you tell me about Malta?"]
[21:13] * Raphael lets out a gentle chuckle. "That always seems to be the first thing others ask about." He says, not seeming particularly perturbed.
[21:15] <Minaplo> ["What happened, exactly?"]
[21:28] <Raphael> "We were deployed shortly after Miss Chiisana-" An awkward pause. "… erm, that would be Pilot Ayanami Shi, ma'am, was shot down over hostile territory. Unfortunately the LN were quick to recover her, and we needed to work our way through an active battle to reach her."-
[21:28] <Raphael> "The mission was a reasonable success. My team suffered some injuries, and there were casualties amongst the UN units we assisted, but Pilot Shi was recovered safely, and we managed to evac with some evidence of the early Iron Guard. Considering the battle's scale, it went fairly well."
[21:37] <Minaplo> ["Well, I knew -that-, Raphael."]
[21:39] <Raphael> "…" Raphael gives her a long look. "Then I'm not entirely sure what you'd like to know, ma'am."
[21:40] <Minaplo> ["Come on, Group Captain, where's your sense of adventure? Your sense of romance? Surely there must've been parts in that battle that terrified you, or excited you…"]
[21:54] <Raphael> And regardless of what he said earlier, he -does- begin to look somewhat uncomfortable, his fingers knotting together a little tighter as he silently considers the Commander. "Ah, so that's what you meant. Well… yes, certainly." He says, choosing his words exceptionally carefully.-
[21:55] <Raphael> "… And while I do not regret or fear what I did in that mission, I've always felt it was essential in my line of work to keep a very firm hold on the fact that, no matter who they were or what they did, the people that my men and I killed that day were still /people/. And in that respect, turning their deaths into an adventure story feels…" He trails off, looking faintly apologetic.
[21:59] <Minaplo> ["… Yes, I see." Said Hannelore, turning rather pink in embarrassment. "Sorry. I didn't mean to be flippant."]
[22:02] <Raphael> "Please, ma'am. No need to apologize." Raphael says quickly, waving a hand. "It's not something I take personally, nor is it something I would expect people to understand unless they'd been exposed to it."
[22:07] <Minaplo> ["… Yes, of course." She said quietly, caressing Marie casually even as she stared thoughtfully at the television.-
[22:09] <Minaplo> ["… I'm rather hungry. Are you hungry? I should make lunch or something."]
[22:18] <Raphael> "… uh. Well, if you're offering, certainly." Raphael says slowly. "You know, I'm certain the kitchens would happily send something up for you. You hardly need to cook it for yourself."
[22:19] <Minaplo> ["What, with those elevators? I'd rather eat hot food."]
[22:20] * Raphael laughs. "A fair point, actually. Would you like help?"
[22:21] <Minaplo> ["Absolutely. Off, Marie." The cat is grudgingly swept off Hannelore's lap, where it sits at her feet, staring at Raphael as though he is solely to blame for this.]
[22:27] * Raphael stares back for a few seconds, struggling against the feeling that the thing looked strangely familiar before finally getting to his feet with a slight shake of his head. Following the new Commander's lead, the two of them head towards the kitchen to prepare the afternoon's meal.

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