Raphael S Identity

[18:46] <@Minaplo> ["Captain Guillory, please report to Cargo Hold 4. I repeat: Captain Guillory…"-
[18:47] <@Minaplo> [The broadcast rang out across the Battleship, the voice of Lieutenant Archibald summoning him. Of course, at that time, the good Captain was…]
[19:07] <Raphael> … in a small hangar, borrowed for the morning to host a demonstration of the new drone models Sergeant Duval had been working on over the course of his recovery. Right now the bulky drones were zipping about with deceptive speed, showcasing the increased maneuverability Henri had worked into the designs.-
[19:07] <Raphael> Of course the broadcast was enough to cut things short. Raphael offered a quick apology to the rest of the officers and technicians and made for the exit. Luckily it wouldn't take too long to reach the holds from the hangars.
[19:49] <@Minaplo> [Cargo Hold 4 was huge, and also mostly empty. A few crates littered the far walls, and the light streaming in through the open roof illuminated a room made mostly of steel and cement. Only a military enterprise could combine architectural brilliance with deadly dull aesthetics to this degree.-
[19:53] <@Minaplo> [Nevertheless, in the middle of this monotone room was a decidedly lovely sight. Katsuragi Misato, sitting in a wheelchair, sitting next to Asuka Langley-Soryu and Minerva Linden, the three of them enjoying what appeared, at a distance, to be beer.]
[20:00] <Raphael> Lovely to the uninitiated? Perhaps. Raphael Guillory was a man who knew better, though, and the sight was enough to make his lungs feel like they were full of angry wasps.-
[20:00] <Raphael> "Major. Pilot Soryu. President Linden." Raphael says smoothly as he approaches. He gives Misato a brief, questioning look as he arrives alongside her. "You requested me?"
[20:09] <@Minaplo> ["Hello, Captain Guillory~" Said Misato with a winning smile.-
[20:09] <@Minaplo> [Asuka was smirking for some reason as she took a gulp of her beer.-
[20:10] <@Minaplo> [Minerva was, in fact, fighting giggles as she waved a little shyly at Raphael, sipping at her ill-advised beverage.-
[20:10] <@Minaplo> ["The Colonel should be here shortly." Said Misato. "She's coming in with the next shipment of cherry pies." She gestured wildly towards the sky.]
[20:15] <Raphael> "… Erm." Raphael managed. Those wasps now felt like they were working on a nest. "So this is a… formal meeting, correct?"
[20:18] <@Minaplo> ["Yeah, yeah. Have a beer." Said Misato, holding one out to him.-
[20:18] <@Minaplo> ["Something very important is coming soon." Said Minerva. "Very important."]
[20:25] * Raphael eyes Misato evenly for a moment before accepting the beer and quickly putting it down on a nearby bench. "I see."
[20:35] <@Minaplo> ["Sit down, sit down. We've got a story to tell you."]
[20:45] * Raphael glances about and, not spotting a better option, simply sits on the edge of the workbench alongside the beer. "I'm listening of course, ma'am."
[20:54] <@Minaplo> [Minerva leaned forward, wearing a very elegant black suit. She was rather pink in the face, but soldiered on. "Have you heard of… Area 51?" She murmured in a spooky voice.]
[21:00] <Raphael> "I believe I've heard it mentioned once or twice." Raphael says with a faint smirk.
[21:05] <@Minaplo> ["But you haven't been told the whole story." Said Minerva gravely. "Area 51 exists to distract attention from a very important place. It is time for you to hear the truth behind…"-
[21:05] <@Minaplo> ["Area 66."-
[21:05] <@Minaplo> ["It's an abandoned NERV base." Said Asuka.-
[21:05] <@Minaplo> [There was a moment of silence.-
[21:06] <@Minaplo> ["You- you ruined my story! What are you doing?!"-
[21:06] <@Minaplo> [Asuka simply smirked. It was a triumphant, evil little smirk.]
[21:14] * Raphael shakes his head at the exhange. "Given that you're bringing it up, I'll assume it's not /entirely/ abandoned?"
[21:23] <@Minaplo> ["No, it's not." Said Minerva, clearly disgruntled at Asuka. "I found it back during the LN war and decided to poke around in it a bit. I've been staffing it and 'plundering its secrets', you could say- without the permission of the HIC, of course~ <3"]
[21:31] * Raphael nods slowly. "I'm impressed you've been able to keep something like that a secret, Madame President."
[21:34] <@Minaplo> [Minerva blushed and giggled freely. "Ah, well, I'm good at keeping secrets, as you know~"-
[21:34] <@Minaplo> ["In any case," Said Misato, cutting in, "This base has been the source of some of the new developments the US has been throwing about in its military. Including… 'Cherry pies'."]
[21:41] <Raphael> "… I'm fairly sure those already existed, ma'am." Raphael deadpans.
[21:48] <@Minaplo> ["Not like this. This is an entirely new type of Cherry Pie."-
[21:49] <@Minaplo> ["It's called the D-Titan, it's a new type of stupid robot." Cut in Asuka.-
[21:49] <@Minaplo> ["Damnit, what is with you today?!" Snapped Misato. "You are ruining our fun!"]
[21:49] <Raphael> "Thank you, Pilot Langley-Soryu."
[21:55] <@Minaplo> ["Humph." Misato frowned and folded her arms irritably.-
[21:55] <@Minaplo> ["They're -not- stupid." Said Minerva, turning her frown at Asuka into a bright smile at Raphael. "They're gonna be replacing the Dreadnoughts and your T-RIDEN-T… Kind of."]
[21:59] <Raphael> "I see." He says thoughtfully, considering this. "How do you mean 'kind of'?"
[22:05] <@Minaplo> ["Imagine what the UN would think if they realised the United States was developing and producing a war machine that could stand toe-to-toe with an E-Destroyer." Said Minerva.]
[22:13] <Raphael> "… Mmm." He nods. "So we're left with a weapon we can't deploy without resorting to covert ops. I assume that means we'll need to keep the T-RIDEN-T operational in case we need to assist the Evangelions?"
[22:21] <@Minaplo> ["That's right." Said Misato. "But, we aren't intending to just ignore the D-Titans…"-
[22:22] <@Minaplo> [Minerva piped in. "You'll still be piloting them, with certain…"-
[22:22] <@Minaplo> ["… Stipulations~ <3"]
[22:31] * Raphael 's shifts awkwardly, feeling those figurative wasps begin to stir lazily again. "Such as?"
[22:35] <@Minaplo> [The girls grinned at each other.-
[22:35] <@Minaplo> ["We'll need to give you a…"-
[22:35] <@Minaplo> ["A secret identity." Said Minerva, beaming.]
[22:47] * Raphael stares at her for a long time. He seems to have forgotten the need to blink. "… Please. Please tell me you're joking."
[22:54] <@Minaplo> ["I'm afraid not~ <3~]
[23:10] <Raphael> "-Why-?"
[23:17] <@Minaplo> ["Well, we can't have you be known. A sufficiently sophisticated identity and they'll be chasing up all the wrong trees." Said Misato.]
[23:21] <Raphael> "I am clinging to the idea that the word 'sophisticated' rules out the thought that you may attempt to turn me into a comic book vigilante."
[23:22] <@Minaplo> ["A comic book vigilante!" Minerva giggled.-
[23:22] <@Minaplo> ["What would you be, Adorable Lad~?"]
[23:24] <Raphael> "This is not funny!"
[23:27] <@Minaplo> ["Geez." Asuka shook her head. "Don't be dumb. It's only practical- look at Vercingetorix. Besides, for such a serious person like you, the more outlandish the disguise, the less they'll suspect you."]
[23:31] <Raphael> "AHA!" Raphael barks, pointing a finger. "Outlandish! I knew it!"
[23:33] <@Minaplo> [In the silence that follows this proclaimation, Raphael would notice that several of the nearby crewmen on duty were staring at him for his strange outburst.-
[23:33] <@Minaplo> ["I was thinking a mask." Said Minerva happily, clapping her hands. "And a cool red robe with silver gloves and a black cape…~~~"-
[23:34] <@Minaplo> ["No no, he has to have a tuxedo." Said Misato. "With a cravat and an opera mask!"-
[23:34] <@Minaplo> ["What?!" Asuka snorted in disgust. "He needs this huge plague doctor beak, and this creepy ominous hood and cloak that smells of garlic…"]
[23:50] <Raphael> "Dear god." Raphael mutters, burying his face in his hands.
[23:54] <@Minaplo> ["What seems to be the problem, Guillory?" Came the voice of Colonel Amatore-DeForest, marching into the cargo hold, Tobias Linden tailing behind her.]
[15:53] <Raphael> "Colonel!" Raphael says, standing up quickly to snap off a salute as he makes a scramble to regain his composure.-
[15:53] <Raphael> "Ma'am, I'm afraid these ladies are trying to use an important NERV operation as an opportunity to play dressup. On me." He says flatly. "I disapprove, for obvious reasons."
[16:00] <Minaplo> [This announcement was greeted by a chorus of energetic laughter from the 'ladies'. "He's gonna pout! He's gonna pout!" "Eeeee~"-
[16:03] <Minaplo> [Marianne closed the gap with a brisk march. "I see. An abuse of information, as per usual." She came to a stop, returning Raphael's salute. "Don't worry, Captain. Your identity-concealing pilot's garb will be designed by professionals, not by- them."]
[16:04] * Raphael lets out a long breath. "Ah. That's a relief, Colonel. Thank you."
[16:06] <Minaplo> ["Indeed. We've got Marketing's best minds working on the perfect look."]
[16:08] * Raphael stares at her, frozen and looking plainly terrified.
[16:16] <Minaplo> [Marianne smiles and pats Raphael. "I know, I know, you're just a Captain, I shouldn't go to all that much effort, but you're an important part of this endeavour."-
[16:16] <Minaplo> [At this, Marianne turned to Misato and the others. "How is the delivery coming?"-
[16:18] <Minaplo> ["They've delivered the first three boxes of cherry pies." She said. "That's… What, half a unit? Ugh, this smuggling business is so piecemeal…"-
[16:19] <Minaplo> ["It isn't permanent." Said Minerva soothingly, patting Misato's knee. "Once we finish refurbishing the Enterprise we can do this properly."-
[16:20] <Minaplo> ["Ah, here we are now." Said Tobias brightly. Raphael would notice the shadow suddenly fall on the cargo hold.-
[16:21] <Minaplo> [Above him, a massive Cargo VTOL had appeared, blocking out the sun as it lowered itself through the open cargo bay doors. Its claw-like body was wrapped around a massive crate, about ten metres tall, twelve metres long and four metres wide. It landed with a dull -Thunk- that Raphael felt faintly in his stomach.-
[16:22] <Minaplo> ["Box number four." Said Tobias, stepping over to Raphael's side. "That'll be the body parts, including your AC Suit."]
[16:30] <Raphael> "Not exactly the most subtle smuggling operation of all time." Raphael murmurs, eyeing the cargo VTOL. It's easy enough to find a prybar among the stack of tools nearby, Raphael glancing back at Tobias as he tests its weight. "Mind giving me a hand, Mr. Linden?"
[16:32] <Minaplo> ["Accounting has recorded that we're taking on food supplies~" Chimed in Misato with a smirk.-
[16:33] <Minaplo> [Asuka turned and eyed her suspiciously. "Was this -your- idea, Misato? The cherry pie nonsense?"-
[16:33] <Minaplo> ["The pies were my idea!" Said Minerva.-
[16:33] <Minaplo> ["The idea of us bringing on 'food supplies' was mine, though." Said Misato gleefully.-
[16:33] <Minaplo> ["But why pies…?"-
[16:35] <Minaplo> [Leaving the three of them two it, Tobias and Marianne head over with Raphael, eyeing the ten metre tall crate.-
[16:36] <Minaplo> ["I don't think you need to worry about the prybar." Says Tobias quietly.]
[16:37] <Minaplo> [As he says this, a second later, there's a dull -wham- as something hits the inside of the giant cargo crate.]
[16:39] <Raphael> "…" Raphael pauses, adjusting his grip to make it easier to swing the heavy iron bar as he eyes the crate warily. "Is there something I should know, Mr. Linden…?"
[16:39] <Minaplo> ["Yes, sorry." He murmurs. "Your chain of command has a flair for the dramatic."-
[16:40] <Minaplo> [The side of the crate shudders, once, twice- then falls forward, hitting the ground with an echoing -thud-.-
[16:41] <Minaplo> [The interior of the crate is grey and dark and packed high with smaller boxes- filled no doubt with components.-
[16:42] <Minaplo> [But framed in the gloomy darkness is something that is no box. No component. It is an AC Suit, eighteen feet high, boxy and rigid-looking and ugly, yet at the same time undeniably beautiful in the way a soldier describes a tank as beautiful. This was beautiful because it was an ugly little war machine.-
[16:43] <Minaplo> ["The AC Suit serves as your cockpit." Said Tobias. "And your ejection system, if the need arises. I think you'll find it a better option than your old cockpit or- god forbid- an Entry Plug."-
[16:44] <Minaplo> [The AC Suit stomped forward, now, with long, heavy legs. It seemed ponderous, yet that march was ground-eating…-
[16:44] <Minaplo> [Before long it towered over Raphael, staring down at him with its giant blinking red eye.-
[16:46] <Minaplo> ["I AM THRUSTER EXPERIMENTAL COMMAND PILOTING ARMORED COMBAT SUIT ZERO ZERO ONE ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE SUPERCOMPUTER MODULE RAFFY-2." It grunted out in a deep, dull electronic monotone. "I AM THE TERROR THAT CLANKS IN THE NIGHT."]
[16:50] * Raphael gives the robot a long, even stare. It is the look of a man trying to weigh up the pros and cons of acknowledging what he's seeing. Slowly and wordlessly he turns his gaze towards Tobias.
[16:50] <Minaplo> ["It's a combat AI." He says, explaining nothing.-
[16:51] <Minaplo> ["It can be deactivated during combat." Said Marianne, smiling up at the mechanical ogre. "So it won't interfere. But if you become incap during the fight, we'll kick it back in. Think of it as insurance."-
[16:52] <Minaplo> ["THRUSTER EXPERIMENTAL COMMAND PILOTING ARMORED COMBAT SUIT ZERO ZERO ONE ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE SUPERCOMPUTER MODULE RAFFY-2 WALKS WITH YOU IN THE SAND AND WHEN THERE IS ONLY ONE SET OF FOOTPRINTS THAT IS WHEN HE CARRIED YOU." Intoned the robot. "I AM ETERNAL."]
[16:54] <Raphael> "…"-
[16:54] <Raphael> "It can be deactivated, you say?" Raphael asks conversationally.
[16:58] <Minaplo> [… Sometime later, Raphael would be led by Marianne and Tobias away to a meeting "With our mutual friend", was the only answer they gave him.-
[16:59] <Minaplo> [Eventually they'd enter the Officer's Conference room, and… Of course, sitting in a chair and the end of the room, arms resting on the armrests, fully armoured, head staring forward, was Vercingetorix.-
[16:59] <Minaplo> ["Guillory's here." Said Marianne.-
[17:00] <Minaplo> [Vercingetorix said nothing.]
[17:03] * Raphael offers Vercingetorix only a slight nod, waiting until Tobias and the Colonel sat down to find a seat of his own. "Sir."
[17:05] <Minaplo> [No response.]
[17:15] * Raphael waits a moment before glancing back to Marianne with a faint shrug, apparently unperturbed.
[17:17] <Minaplo> [Marianne looks a little more purturbed, but sits down nevertheless, as does Tobias.-
[17:18] <Minaplo> ["So I'm sure Katsuragi and the others told you about the D-Titans. Before we continue do you have any worries or questions about that?" Asked Marianne.]
[17:25] <Raphael> "Only one question, ma'am." He says. "I understand that the D-Titan project is to be based around deniable operations, but I assume you'll still be providing a commanding officer from NERV?"
[17:26] <Minaplo> ["I will be yes. I was thinking Katsuragi, but if you'd like to make a recommendation…?"]
[17:37] <Raphael> "… Misato?" Raphael's eyes widen slightly, before he manages to catch himself. "I-… Hrm. No. I trust your judgement on the matter, Colonel. I'm sure you've already considered the circumstances between the Major and I." And indeed, he sounds confident enough, although there's still a hint of uncertainty in his eyes.
[17:41] <Minaplo> ["Katsuragi's a professional." Said Marianne with more than enough certainty in -her- eyes to compensate for Raphael's own. "She's used to commanding those she loves in combat…"-
[17:41] <Minaplo> ["On that note," Tobias turned to Vercingetorix. "Sir, do you have any word on the recent reports regarding an Angel attack on the Synfront?"-
[17:42] <Minaplo> [Vercingetorix… Was completely silent. He didn't even turn his head or react at all.-
[17:42] <Minaplo> ["… Well." Tobias turned awkwardly to Raphael. "I suppose you'd like to view the plans…?"]
[17:46] <Raphael> It's Raphael's turn not to reply. He's fixed Vercingetorix with an irritable stare, watching him carefully. "Are we sure he's actually in there, ma'am?"
[17:48] <Minaplo> ["… He wouldn't." Said Marianne.-
[17:48] <Minaplo> ["Would he?"]
[17:51] * Raphael doesn't exactly rush to defend the man, but after a moment he lets out a sigh. "He's showing a commitment to mysteriousness that's unusual even for him." Raphael shrugs.
[17:52] <Minaplo> ["Perhaps you should go over and check." Said Tobias.]
[18:01] <Raphael> "… Mmm." Raphael grumbles, getting to his feet. Why was it up to him to check? Not that there was any use arguing that particular point…-
[18:03] <Raphael> He circles the table, drawing up alongside Vercingetorix's chair and crouching enough to leave him eye-to-eye with the metal figure. "Vercingetorix, sir, I'd rather this was made easy by you simply letting us know that you can hear us."
[18:05] <Minaplo> [Not even a -little- response.]
[18:06] * Raphael grunts dispassionately, beginning to search around the neck of the suit for some latch or switch that would allow him to remove the helmet.
[18:08] <Minaplo> [… And this gets a response. Vercingetorix jerks backward, away from Raphael's touch. "What?! What are you-?"]
[18:13] <Raphael> "There." Raphael says, straightening up. He seems satisfied. "That wasn't so hard, hmm?"
[18:16] <Minaplo> ["What are you doing?"]
[18:18] <Raphael> "Trying to check that you weren't dead, sir."
[18:18] <Minaplo> ["… Go sit down."]
[18:21] * Raphael wastes no time in returning to his seat, crossing his arms over his chest.
[18:21] * ZackAFK is now known as Zack
[18:22] <Minaplo> ["… So, yes. The plans." Interjected Tobias.]
[18:27] <Raphael> "… Yes. Plans." Raphael agrees. He unfolds his arms and leans forward against the table. "Why don't you show me what you have, Mr. Linden?"
[18:28] <Minaplo> [He takes a wad of papers and blueprints out of his jacket and holds them over. "I think you'll be impressed."]
[18:33] * Raphael stretches across the table to accept the papers, spreading them out in front of him to get an idea of what he's working with…
[18:42] <Minaplo> [An image forms in Raphael's head- one of an adaptable, very robust and dependable bipedal war machine, built clearly for practicality and direct military use. The names and images of new weapons and defense systems leap out at him, along with their capabilities…]
[18:51] <Raphael> "… Interesting." Raphael says approvingly. "These should outperform our old Dreadnoughts in nearly every area. In truth, there was no effective way to deploy them or the T-RIDEN-Ts as anything but weapons platforms. These machines should open up our options considerably."
[18:57] <Minaplo> ["Indeed. They're more adaptable, and made more in-line with some of your groups' abilities. Your aide de camp, for example…"-
[18:58] <Minaplo> ["I have a first mission." Said Vercingetorix, cutting in.]
[18:59] <Raphael> "Sir?" Raphael asks, seeming unfazed by the interruption.
[19:02] <Minaplo> ["E-Destroyer squadrons have stepped up patrols around West Africa. Destroy them."]
[19:04] * Raphael gives Marianne a sidelong glance, seeking confirmation.
[19:05] <Minaplo> [Marianne glances at Vercingetorix, then back to Raphael. "It's not a bad idea." She concedes. "It can be a good test of the D-Titan's capabilities…"]
[19:07] * Raphael nods slowly, biting his lip. "Understood."
[19:13] <Minaplo> ["There is news." Says Vercingetorix curtly. "They are hiding it from the public as best they can, but reports that the Synfront was attacked by an Angel can be confirmed. In the confusion, Akagi Tsubaki was recovered- by myself."]
[19:15] * Raphael sits up straighter, giving Vercingetorix his full attention. "Is she unharmed?"
[19:18] <Minaplo> ["She is scared and disoriented from the events but she is, yes, unharmed."]
[19:26] <Raphael> "Glad to hear it." He nods. "… And I take it there was no way for you to recover Pilots Weiss or de Pteres at the same time?
[19:26] <Raphael> "*
[19:28] <Minaplo> ["Unfortunately not."]
[19:30] <Raphael> "Mmm." Another nod.-
[19:31] <Raphael> "And the Angel…?" He asks tersely, giving Vercingetorix an even stare.
[19:33] <Minaplo> ["Withdrew after abducting Evangelion units 01, 03 and 04."]
[19:44] <Raphael> "I see."
[19:51] <Minaplo> ["That's dangerous." Said Marianne, turning to look at Vercingetorix. "Angels in possession of Eva units- that's never good news. What are we going to do about that?"-
[19:52] <Minaplo> ["I'm working on that myself. I'll let you know the details." Said Vercingetorix. "For now, our next action is finding Zhang." He stood up.]
[19:54] <Raphael> "And do we have any leads?" Raphael asks, remaining in his seat.
[19:56] <Minaplo> ["Too many." Said Vercingetorix. "The Synfront can track Jaunts, but 08's was flawed in execution. The Synfront MAGI reported no less than two hundred potential locations for the terminus of the Jaunt- Siberia, Nevada, Cuba, Pluto…"-
[19:57] <Minaplo> ["As I told Blanc in our last meeting, the best way to locate Zhang is by using the two halves of Lilith to 'scry' for her AT Field."]
[20:03] * Raphael taps his knuckles gently on the table, giving Vercingetorix a thoughtful look. "… Of course. Thank you, sir."
[20:04] <Minaplo> [He nods, and bows his head. A second later he is gone, leaving behind him only a whip-crack sound as the air rushes to occupy his space.-
[20:05] <Minaplo> ["…" Marianne folded her arms. "Back to playing the waiting game."]

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