Raphael S Titan

[20:34] <Minaplo> [The medical wing of the Battleship had been operating at peak capacity for weeks after the attack on the Geofront, but now, Raphael would notice, the activity had burned down to a low ebb. There were a few long-term patients, but fortunately the four or five regular doctors rarely had any intensive work to do now.-
[20:35] <Minaplo> ["And I think we can call this a recovery." Said Doctor Kenzo. The handsome Japanese doctor placed a paper parcel on the table, containing X-Rays. The X-Rays were of his patient, Major Katsuragi Misato, who was also the reason why Raphael was here today.-
[20:35] <Minaplo> ["Yeah?" Asked Misato brightly, sitting up unusually straight.-
[20:37] <Minaplo> ["Yeah. You won't need to wear the mittens to bed anymore, and you probably won't have any problems with getting around. Ah… Try to avoid anything too physically strenuous or engaging for a week or so, though, just to be safe."-
[20:37] <Minaplo> ["Ahaha, I promise~" She nudged Raphael in the ribs with an elbow. "Too bad for you, huh, Raffy?"]
[20:44] * Raphael makes an attempt to hide his look of embarrassment by reaching for the parcel of x-rays while simultaneously giving the doctor an apologetic look. "Just pleased you're making a recovery, Major." He says primly.
[20:44] <Minaplo> ["Mmhm~"-
[20:45] <Minaplo> [Kenzo gave them a friendly smile that, quite unintentionally, happened to be rather dazzling. "Well, I think we can wrap this up. Another patient came in yesterday with damaged ribs-"-
[20:46] <Minaplo> ["Hm? Is that who I think it is?"-
[20:46] <Minaplo> ["Yeah. It's Pilot Ikari."]
[20:47] <Raphael> "… He's injured /again/?" Raphael blinks.
[20:48] <Minaplo> ["He saw Frederic in the hallway and tried to run away out of embarrassment." Said Misato, her voice deeply amused. "There was a flight of stairs…"-
[20:48] <Minaplo> ["It's fortunate that the young man has filled out since he first came to NERV." Said Dr. Kenzo. "The ability to take an injury or two is a valuable asset…"
[20:49] <Minaplo> ]
[20:52] <Raphael> "There's no need to sound so pleased about it, Major." Raphael murmurs, nudging her in her uninjured side.
[20:54] <Minaplo> ["Who's sounding pleased about it? I'm just playing the part of the satisfied teacher. A teacher has to be happy when their students learn a lesson!"-
[20:54] <Minaplo> [Misato turned to Doctor Kenzo. "Thank you for your care, Kenzo-sensei. Please be gentle with my idiot student. It's not his fault~"-
[20:55] <Minaplo> ["I'll keep that in mind. Goodbye, Major, Captain."]
[20:58] * Raphael gets to his feet, offering the Kenzo his hand across the desk. "Thanks again for all your help, Doctor."
[21:00] <Minaplo> [He shakes it. "That's quite alright." He says with a smile, before departing.-
[21:00] <Minaplo> ["Hee. He's such a sweet guy~" Said Misato affectionately.]
[21:09] <Raphael> "Mmm." Raphael murmurs, his hands in the pockets of his uniform pants as the two of them make their way down the hall that will lead them out of the medical wards. "He's certainly nice enough, from what I've seen."
[21:13] <Minaplo> ["He's a saint. You should've seen how disappointed people were when he was transferred out~"-
[21:14] <Minaplo> ["But, c'mon." She slaps his arm lightly. "We're off to the cafeteria next. Not only am I -starving-, but we need to meet with Surov there."]
[21:22] * Raphael lets out a barely audible groan, shaking his head slightly. The memory of their last discussion - the argument over the Spectre - is still fresh, as is the anger that goes along with it. "You're certain we need to meet with him, ma'am?"
[21:24] <Minaplo> ["Yup. Apart from him having some tech stuff to talk about concerning the Titans, I bet if you asked him nicely he could reprogram that adorable AI in your AC Suit~ <3"]
[21:25] <Raphael> "… Do you think so?" Raphael asks doubtfully.
[21:27] <Minaplo> ["Actually, he probably wouldn't bother. Maybe he likes a computer with a bit of personality…"]
[21:28] <Raphael> "I can believe that he wouldn't bother, but I don't think it's because he has any love for personality." He mutters.
[21:28] <Minaplo> ["Heh heh heh."-
[21:29] <Minaplo> [The cafeteria- or deluxe restaurant- is lightly occupied today. A few off-duty crewmen lounge about, eating decadent meals, whilst a small orchestra of holographic Brothers play Mozart.-
[21:30] <Minaplo> [Surov is sitting at a table, a glass of water and a plate of spare ribs and fried rice in front of him. He eats fairly energetically, with his mechadendrites helping to break up the ribs into smaller pieces.]
[21:33] * Raphael sighs as he catches sight of Surov, but he's quick to square his shoulders and allow a more professional expression to slip into place as they make their way to the table.-
[21:34] <Raphael> "Doctor." Raphael says cooly, sliding into one of the empty seats.
[21:34] <Minaplo> ["Captain. Major."]
[21:38] <Raphael> "…" Raphael's capacity for smalltalk with this man already worn out, he shoots a look at Misato, quietly willing her to begin their actual business here.
[21:43] <Minaplo> ["…" Misato clapped her hands. "So, Surov-sensei, you wanted to meet us here, right? About the Titans?"-
[21:44] <Minaplo> ["Yes. I have been studying the schematics. The Colonel- asked- me to give you a brief outline of some of the more- esoteric- devices."]
[21:47] * Raphael winces as his hands are flecked with sauce as the the mechadendrites work on tearing apart the ribs. "I see," Raphael mutters, reaching for a napkin and wiping the splatter off his hands with a faint look of distaste.
[21:48] <Minaplo> [Surov tears the meat from a rib, chewing it and swallowing it smoothly.-
[21:53] <Minaplo> ["The two most important elements here involve defenses. Your Titans lack AT Fields, so naturally, our American developers have over-compensated by developing extremely overfunded and overdesigned systems that would probably be more efficient if converted into new types of armour plating."-
[21:55] <Minaplo> [A mechadendrite pushed a schematic towards Raphael. "Nevertheless, I approve of the result, even if it could be more efficient. Here. This is the schmatic for 'Kinetic Dispersal Energy Barriers', and this-" another mechadendrite- "Is the schematic for the ablative gel replica they attempted to make, called the 'Minerva-Pattern Pseudo-Ablative Gel.'"-
[21:55] <Minaplo> ["Minerva-Pattern, huh?" Remarked Misato, smirking at Raphael a little. It didn't take Isabelle Bellamy to figure out what Misato was thinking.]
[22:09] <Raphael> "Indeed. Naming it after the Roman goddess of defense was quite apt, hmm?" Raphael deadpans, reaching for the schematics while doing his best not to look at Misato. That smirk (And he knew there was a smirk, even without checking) was more than he could deal with right now.
[22:18] <Minaplo> ["As you can see, the Kinetic Barrier creates a field of magnetic fields and counter-kinetic force that does a fine job of deflecting- much like an AT Field- solid rounds and other attacks of that nature, but is useless against energy attacks, which is useful considering that energy weapons are standard issue amongst your enemies."-
[22:20] <Minaplo> [For the next half hour, Surov was much like this. He offered praise on one steely cold mechadendrite and sharp criticism on the other as he told Raphael about the Kinetic Barrier, the gel, the stealth system, the new Helios guns (or as everyone called them, the Hell guns), and the various other upgrades.-
[22:20] <Minaplo> [The only device which he had no criticisms for, sadly for Raphael…-
[22:20] <Minaplo> [Was the AI systems.-
[22:21] <Minaplo> ["… And of course they've used my Thruster AI system as a template, so you should have no issues with their tactical acumen, reliability and assistance algorithms."]
[22:25] <Raphael> "Could they be tweaked to have slightly less," He glanced at Misato, already feeling hopeless about this, "Personality?"
[22:29] <Minaplo> ["Personality?" Surov asked dryly. "I knew you were a boring individual, but you can't remove personality from personality-free machines."]
[22:36] <Raphael> Another look to Misato, this time seasoned with just the slightest hint of a shrug.
[22:37] <Minaplo> [Misato gave him a helpless smile. "But that isn't true, Surov-sensei. The AC Suit that Raffy has is really cute!"-
[22:37] <Minaplo> ["'Cute'? What do you mean by 'cute'?"-
[22:38] <Minaplo> ["It has- well, Raffy knows." Said Misato cheerfully. She cleared her throat and deepened her voice. "'Hoom hoom, I am Big War Robot Zero Zero One Arrrr, And I am the wind beneath your wings…"]
[22:40] <Raphael> "That's-" He hesitates. "… no, actually that's a fairly solid impression."
[22:42] <Minaplo> ["That is ridiculous." Snapped Surov. "That is a third party modification. I…"-
[22:42] <Minaplo> [He stopped and narrowed his eyes, staring at Raphael.-
[22:42] <Minaplo> [No. Rather, he was staring -past- Raphael.]
[15:05] <Raphael> He felt the - increasingly familiar, after the past year - sensation seize his guts in a firm grip, feeling his stomach sink slowly but surely. He'd seen that expression on the faces of dozens of others before, but seeing it on Surov filled him with a special kind of horror.-
[15:05] <Raphael> And yet he was helpless to stop himself turning to look. There was no escaping it.
[15:14] <Minaplo> [A very good-looking young man was standing in the doorway, with long blonde hair and a simple blue robe, a sceptre sitting within a cloth sash around his waist. He was being dragged helplessly along by the hand.-
[15:17] <Minaplo> [Surov's expression of deep suspicion and dislike became quickly evident- the man was being pulled along by none other than Navah. Wearing a giant dress that seemed two sizes too big and reminded Raphael vividly of an ice cream with pink and blue sprinkles, it was hard to tell where, exactly, the fabric of the dress began and her giant fluffy chocolate-coloured scarf began.-
[15:18] <Minaplo> [Her deeply ugly doll was being held in her free hand, bouncing around jerkily with every unbalanced step its master took.-
[15:20] <Minaplo> [Misato turned her head as well, and her reaction immediately became identical to Surov's. "Isn't that- the angel emissary guy?"-
[15:20] <Minaplo> [There was the sound of a piece of rib bone being snapped in half.-
[15:22] <Minaplo> ["They're coming this way…" Murmured Misato.]
[15:29] * Raphael smiled weakly. He liked Navah well enough, of course, but the emissary… he was still an unknown quantity. And to see him walking freely around the base set his teeth on edge despite the many, many briefings…-
[15:29] <Raphael> "You have an interesting choice in friends, Doctor." Raphael says mildly.
[15:34] <Minaplo> ["I should have killed her when I had the chance."-
[15:36] <Minaplo> [Navah skipped over to the table, still yanking Ezekiel along. For the emissary of a supposedly nigh-unstoppable juggernaut of Angelic power, he was surprisingly ok with this.-
[15:36] <Minaplo> ["Hi Raffy!" She said, and didn't wait for him to reply. "This is Eeezie, I found him in a room with a lock on the door that wasn't very hard to get by and then he was all alone and bored so I said you can come with me and he came, isn't he pretty?"-
[15:37] <Minaplo> [She latched onto his arm and- displaying her usual, yet shocking grasp of acrobatics- clambered up Raphael's side like a monkey, coming to sit on his shoulders. Lace and fabric buffered his face, making it that much harder to -hear-.-
[15:38] <Minaplo> [A pair of Marines entered the room at this point, glowering at the little girl and taking up static positions at the door. Presumably they were willing to just watch for now.-
[15:39] <Minaplo> ["You need a haircut, Raffy." Said Navah enthusiastically, running her hands through his hair. "Meanie Barzy can give you one with his funny machines!"-
[15:39] <Minaplo> ["I will not."-
[15:39] <Minaplo> ["Will too!"-
[15:39] <Minaplo> [Surov stared at them both with undisguised hate.]
[15:48] <Raphael> Raphael somehow manages to remain relatively unflinching through all of this, even though his attempts at a solemn, professional expression only managed to be laughable when the veil of multicoloured lace was taken into account. His only slip was a momentary pleading look directed at Misato before the dress swallows up his face.-
[15:48] <Raphael> "Emissary Ezekiel." Raphael says smoothly, if slightly muffled, extending his hand towards the being. With fabric obscuring his vision, it was entirely impossible he was holding out his hand in the wrong direction. "A pleasure to meet you."
[15:51] <Minaplo> [Someone gently took Raphael's wrist and shifted his arm slightly to the left. And then, a warm hand shook his own.-
[15:53] <Minaplo> ["I am sorry." Came a friendly, if slightly confused voice. "I don't think I know who you are."]
[15:56] <Raphael> "I wouldn't expect you to, sir." He replied. "Captain Raphael Guillory. I'm simply an officer with NERV and a friend of Miss Navah's."
[15:58] <Minaplo> ["Everyone calls him Raffy."-
[15:59] <Minaplo> [Not Navah's voice. Misato's.-
[16:04] <Minaplo> ["I have not met many officers of NERV." Said Ezekiel. "I pray you not to be biased against my nature, Captain Raphael Guillory." His tone was warm, but there was an undercurrent of- demand? No, it was more a firm request.]
[16:11] * Raphael tried to glare in Misato's direction, but the attempt failed miserably. "I hope you will forgive me for being at least somewhat wary of you, sir." He says. "That, said, I have more than enough experience with those of unusual origin to give you a chance. I don't think you will find me to be biased."
[16:13] <Minaplo> ["Unusual origin?"]
[16:17] * Raphael waves a hand vaguely, brushing away some of the fabric away from his eyes as he goes. "I'm quite close to a number of those NERV has had a hand in cloning, for example. Working here has brought me into contact with plenty of those the outside would consider strange or alien."
[16:23] <Minaplo> ["… I understand." Said Ezekiel slowly.-
[16:23] <Minaplo> ["Much like the creature that now perches on his head." Said Surov darkly. "Guillory is ever a friend to the #incomplete#."-
[16:24] <Minaplo> ["Your face is incomplete!"-
[16:24] <Minaplo> ["Be quiet!"-
[16:24] <Minaplo> ["You know, Surov, you say that, but he isn't friends with you…" Noted Misato.-
[16:24] <Minaplo> ["I am not incomplete. I am simply refined."]
[16:38] <Raphael> "On an unrelated note, Miss Navah, Section Two will likely want to speak with you about breaking into places you're not supposed to be." Raphael says.-
[16:38] <Raphael> "Again."
[16:44] <Minaplo> ["Yay! It's ok, I got permission this time."]
[16:49] <Raphael> "… Someone gave you permission to pick the lock."
[16:55] <Minaplo> ["Huh? No, silly. I took Eeezie out and up to the bridge!"-
[16:55] <Minaplo> ["How did you get into-" Began Misato.-
[16:55] <Minaplo> ["I undid the lock on the bridge, too! Marianne was grumpy but she -finally- said ok, I can lead him around. See? Permission."]
[16:57] * Raphael stares. "… In the future, would you mind asking permission first?"
[17:02] <Minaplo> ["Don't be a spoilsport! Geez…"]
[17:05] * Raphael sighs, shaking his head and jostling the girl in the process. "No harm done, I suppose."
[17:17] <Minaplo> ["I brought Eeezie here so you could make friends with him! That's a good idea because I know you're always helping out lonely people like me or Barzy or Misato…"-
[17:17] <Minaplo> ["Who's lonely?!"]
[17:23] <Raphael> "… I see. Are you lonely, Emissary?" Raphael asks curiously.
[17:36] <Minaplo> ["Are we not all lonely, Captain Raphael?"]
[19:28] <Raphael> "Many of us are." He nods. "Perhaps many more than there should be. But a rare few of us are lucky enough to find a way out of that." He smiles faintly, his gaze flicking towards Misato as he speaks.
[19:36] <Minaplo> [Misato grins a little in return at that.-
[19:37] <Minaplo> ["Forgive me, Captain Raphael. I did not intend to mislead. I think we may be looking at the same prism through two different lights." Said Ezekiel sheepishly. "Loneliness is not something that can be escaped, or rather, it is not something that is bad."]
[19:38] <Raphael> "How do you mean?"
[19:41] <Minaplo> [Ezekiel paused, mulling for a moment. "How to say it… Are you hungry, Captain Raphael?"]
[19:44] <Raphael> "At this moment?" He asks, dimly aware of the unsettling crack of bone and tearing meat behind him as Surov continued to dismantle his plate of ribs. "Not particularly, sir."
[19:45] <Minaplo> ["But you have been hungry in the past. And you will be hungry in the future. In that sense, like someone walking between two points who has paused midway, you are pausing from hunger."]
[19:45] <Raphael> "In a sense." Raphael agrees, nodding slowly.
[19:47] <Minaplo> ["And because of that, you are never truly free from hunger. Loneliness is the same. It is not a bad thing."]
[19:52] <Raphael> "Mmm… I see." He nods again, watching the Emissary intently. Something about that look suggests a willingness to play along with this line of questioning, at least for now. "Like hunger, loneliness is just a lack of some vital piece of input."-
[19:55] <Raphael> "But surely we can agree that those people in your 'between states' are free, at least temporarily?"
[19:58] <Minaplo> ["I would consider it a respite. Freedom is a powerful concept. Forgive me. I am speaking from my own mind, which is not yours." He admitted. "But freedom is not given in degrees. It is not a bad thing."]
[19:59] <Raphael> "How so?"
[20:00] <Minaplo> ["Regarding what words of mine?"]
[20:01] <Raphael> "That loneliness is not a bad thing."
[20:03] <Minaplo> ["How to say it." He paused, staring at the table. "Food is working so far, I will stick to that. Lilim need to eat, but they do not need to prepare their meals elaborately, adding meaning or symbolism to those meals. They do anyway, and that is noble, so it is a good thing in itself. Without hunger…"-
[20:04] <Minaplo> ["Loneliness is the same. Imagine a person without loneliness, who does not need the minds or company of others."-
[20:05] <Minaplo> [The sound of meat being sucked from cracked rib bones could be heard noisily.]
[20:07] * Raphael remains straight-faced. "… Yes. Imagine."
[20:13] <Minaplo> ["Loneliness is the shadow cast by the light of the soul." Said Ezekiel. "We are drawn to other lights, and that is intrinsically good. Everything light, or dark, that is a bad thing. Some shadow makes the light shine brighter. (I am speaking in analogies.)" He added at the end quietly, seemingly to himself, frowning a little. "How to say it… If you take all the lights of the Lilim and merge them into one bright light, then the shadow disappears and so does loneliness, but beautiful things come from loneliness. Loneliness is the effect made when beings of light desire others like them. It is beautiful. It is not a bad thing."]
[20:19] <Raphael> "… Mmm." Raphael murmurs, watching Ezekiel thoughtfully for a long second. "If you'll excuse me, Emissary, I can't help but notice your use of "we". Am I to take it that you're subject to these more… "lilim" flaws as well?"
[20:22] <Minaplo> ["Flaws- loneliness, hunger?"]
[20:23] <Raphael> "Correct."
[20:24] <Minaplo> ["Yes." He said, nodding. "Hunger is a new sensation, but loneliness is omnipresent. To be a Child of Adam is to be at one with loneliness."-
[20:25] <Minaplo> ["I am not worthy of being considered a true Child, but I am made in their likeness, so it is close enough."]
[20:35] <Raphael> "… Would you mind telling me whose body it is that you occupy now, Emissary?" Raphael asks, his gaze growing a little sharper now. "I understand you've told some of my superiors that he was willing, but I hope you will not begrudge me some curiosity."
[20:36] <Minaplo> [Ezekiel closed his eyes.-
[20:47] <Minaplo> ["His name is Andrew Chambers, and he is a man of peace." He said quietly. "He lived in the West, in the land the Lilim call the United States of America. He was called to fight, and he refused because he did not want to fight. He ran away. He had a family. They were all caught in fighting. He watched them die. He had a betrothed. She was all caught in fighting. He watched her die. He wanted to die too, to be with them. He is one with loneliness. He is still here. He is not gone. We- are." He opened his eyes and shook his head. "It is difficult to explain. It is not like I am no longer Andrew Chambers, but I am not Andrew Chambers. It is like tin and copper to create bronze."-
[20:47] <Minaplo> [The forest of skirts and fabric around Raphael's head began to shake and quiver. "That was -sad-!" Said Navah, snuffling and rubbing her eyes.]
#6[20:52] * Raphael reaches up absently to squeeze Navah's hand, even as he looks over to Misato again - a fractionally raised eyebrow conveying a silent question. "I see. I appreciate you telling us that, sir."#
[18:40] <Minaplo> [Misato leaned back in her chair, arms at her side, looking at Ezekiel with an air of undecided suspiciousness.-
[18:44] <Minaplo> [Ezekiel's smile returned, and now he moved about to face Surov. "You are Barzilai Surov, the genius of Lilimcraft. Navah has told me everything about you."-
[18:45] <Minaplo> [Surov paused mid-rib suck, to swivel his glowering eyes towards Ezekiel, as though offended that the man was even trying to socialise. With a final -slurrrp-unch-unch-unch, Surov finished the rib- his mechadendrites wiping themselves on a napkin- and got to his feet.-
[18:46] <Minaplo> ["I am done with lunch." He declared, taking out a form and throwing it onto Raphael's side of the table. "That is yours, Guillory. Papers to authorise the use of NERV surgery on Sartre. You need to fill it out and return it to me by the end of the week."]#
[21:28] <Raphael> That seems to cheer Raphael a little as he finally turns his focus away from Ezekiel. The prospect of Suzie's imminent recovery… there's no stopping the smile, even if Surov's the one bringing it up.-
[21:28] <Raphael> "Of course, Doctor." He nods. "Thank you for your help."
[21:32] <Minaplo> ["Mm." Surov turns and walks off, his mechadendrites withdrawing irritably into his coat.-
[21:35] <Minaplo> ["Sartre?" Asked Ezekiel curiously, ferreting about in a satchel he wore around his torso. He took out a copy of #Critique of Dialectical Reason# and held it up with a sort of childlike earnestness.]
#6[22:03] * Raphael eyes Ezekiel flatly for a moment, searching for any hint of sarcasm without finding a thing. Only then does he allow himself to smile. "A different one, I'm afraid." Raphael chuckles. "Suzanne Sartre. She's a young lady I care for."
[22:04] <Minaplo> ["A relation?"]
[22:04] <Raphael> "… No. Adopted."
[22:05] <Minaplo> ["No, forgive me, I mean." He tapped the book.]
[22:06] <Raphael> "Oh. Ah, I see." He laughs again. "I don't believe there's any relation there, no."
[22:10] <Minaplo> ["… They could be, you know." Said Misato, mulling. "Maybe Suzie will grow up to be a big-wig philosopher. I bet her daddy'd love that…"]
[22:21] * Raphael snorts, rolling his eyes with exaggerated force. "I'll believe it when I see it." He mutters.-
[22:22] <Raphael> He falls silent for a long moment, eying Ezekiel's book thoughtfully. "May I ask something, Emissary?"
[22:23] <Minaplo> ["Yes."]
[22:24] <Raphael> "You are here as a diplomat of sorts, correct?"
[22:24] <Minaplo> ["That is my purpose."]
[22:26] * Raphael taps the table gently, frowning slightly now. This… it was not his place to ask, and yet he could already feel himself beginning to speak again.-
[22:27] <Raphael> "Does that imply that your… father?" Another frown as he ponders this. "That he would be open to peace?"
[22:28] <Minaplo> ["Peace, defined as what?"]
[22:29] <Raphael> "Ending the conflict between our two races."
[22:33] <Minaplo> ["It is hard to explain." Said Ezekiel. "The Warmaster would be open to peace. But there are obstacles. The Warmaster bears the Lilim no ill will, but finding a peace that does not lead to the destruction of either race in the long term, or a peace that upholds the original vision of our kind, is very difficult." He shook his head sadly. "The Warmaster expected me to be killed on sight, Captain Raphael."]
[22:39] * Raphael nods very slowly. "I see." He says. "A good thing we did not live up to that expectation, I think."-
[22:40] <Raphael> "But surely there -is- some way, should we all stop fighting long enough to find it?"
[22:47] <Minaplo> ["I am sure that is true, but the Lilim do not wish to stop." Said Ezekiel sadly. "Or rather to say, the prerequisites of peace are known to the Lilim, and even at their most generous they are too high for the Lilim to accept."]
[22:48] <Raphael> "Not all of us know said prerequisites, I'm afraid." Raphael says mildly. "Would you mind enlightening me?"
[22:49] <Minaplo> ["At the most generous the prerequisites were the return of the body of our Mother, and the soul of our Mother, and the egg of our Mother, so that we may abandon this world, as well as the lights of any fallen taken by the Lilim in the conflict."]
[22:52] * Raphael flinches in shock, his eyes snapping over to Misato and back again. "When was this offer made?" He says, fighting to keep his voice level.
[22:53] <Minaplo> ["One month and some few days ago. The Silver Empress sent her Herald to the Lilim, with these conditions, and they were refused, and the Herald slain and his light taken." Ezekiel absently pocketed his book.-
[22:54] <Minaplo> ["We-?" Misato turned to frown at Raphael, before back to Ezekiel.-
[22:56] <Minaplo> ["The Silver Empress is bonded to the Herald through eternal love. Now there cannot be true peace, because the Empress will stop at nothing to erase the Lilim from existence. She is angry. And so long as she is angry she will not permit the Warmaster to allow his oath to the Mother's cause to lapse." He shook his head. "Now, if the Silver Empress is given these things, she will use them to destroy you all. Your lights would be taken to be reborn into Children, some of you, but most of you would remain in Mother's womb forever."]#
#6[23:05] * Raphael is no longer moving, barely even breathing, except for the slight, tense tick of the clenched muscles of his jaw. Only after almost a minute does he snap into motion, slamming the table with his fist hard enough to make the abandoned plates and cutlery jump, a glass of water toppling over and sending its contents splashing across the tablecloth.
[23:07] <Minaplo> [Misato, Ezekiel and Navah all jump in response, sending the latter tumbling off Raphael's back.-
[23:08] <Minaplo> ["Forgive me. I did not intend to offend." Said Ezekiel meekly.-
[23:08] <Minaplo> [But Misato was white and pale, and not with fear, either. She was clearly quite incensed as well.]
[23:10] <Raphael> "It's not your fault, sir." Raphael says as he turns to help Navah up with a quiet murmur of apology, his voice surprisingly soft for one so obviously furious.
[23:15] <Minaplo> [Navah gets to her feet, accepting Raphael's hand. She looks up at him worriedly- not worried about herself, but really more about Raphael.-
[23:15] <Minaplo> ["That's why." Murmured Misato. "That's why Metatron attacked the Synfront and Africa so furiously…"]
[23:21] <Raphael> "No doubt." He mutters, busying himself with collecting the spilled glass and mopping up whatever water the tablecloth's altered fabric couldn't deal with.
[23:22] <Minaplo> [The fabric had in fact already dried itself by the time Raphael got around to mopping it up.-
[23:23] <Minaplo> ["…" Ezekiel looked uncomfortable, glancing to his left and right continually.]
[23:32] <Raphael> Raphael stares at the dried tablecloth for a few seconds before finally drawing in a long, shaky breath, forcing his fists and jaw to loosen as he pulls an expression of calm back into place.-
[23:32] <Raphael> "I apologize, Emissary." He says finally. "You should understand that Metatron's offer was likely presented to one person and one person only, who denied peace for our entire species. From Major Katsuragi's reaction-" A gesture towards Misato "- It seems NERV was unaware such an offer existed."
[23:34] <Minaplo> ["I understand." Said Ezekiel. "That is regrettable, but this one person has ensured that there cannot be a proper peaceful resolution. The Warmaster, bound as he is, can only ever offer an alternative to the Silver Empress's intentions."]
[23:36] <Raphael> "And what alternative is that?"
[23:39] <Minaplo> ["Unconditional surrender." Said Ezekiel. "The Lilim will be gathered up and placed back in your Egg, and with your Mother, sent out to another world. It is a bad thing, but it is the only alternative."-
[23:39] <Minaplo> [Misato frowned, folding her arms.]
[23:41] <Raphael> "Unless we choose to continue the conflict." Raphael says. It's not a threat - it's too resigned to be anything like that - just a statement of fact.
[23:44] <Minaplo> ["That is true." Ezekiel frowned a little at himself. He placed a hand on his scepter as if for comfort. "The Warmaster is very mighty. I do not try to scare you or show arrogance, but you have nothing that can match his power. His instrinsic code demands that he give his foes a fighting chance, to know that he is coming and that his intentions are known, so that you have a choice. That is the role I was created for. It is a role that has led to my death more than once." Admitted Ezekiel. "But the Warmaster has yet to be defeated."]#
[00:22] <Raphael> "And here I was hoping that his title was for show." Raphael murmurs with a thin smile that bore no humor. It was a weak attempt at levity, but really what else was there to do right then?
[00:31] <Minaplo> [Misato would, despite her best attempts, answer that question by glancing over at the Brother orchestra- then looking back.-
[00:34] <Minaplo> ["… Raphael, who's that? She's not a crewmember…" Asked Misato, staring at a beautiful, dark-haired woman with her hair in ringlets and curls; she was wearing a lovely, silky blue gown bedecked with a floral print that started near her waist and twirled down her legs. She was staring at them curiously.]
#6[00:50] * Raphael looks up, eyes slowly focusing on the woman with an uncertain frown. "… I'm not sure. She's not familiar, but security would have notified us of any intruders, surely…?"
[00:50] <Minaplo> ["Maybe she's one of your fans…"]
[00:52] <Raphael> "On a NERV battleship." Raphael says flatly. "In the middle of the ocean."
[00:53] <Minaplo> ["It's your fault for thinking you're -ever- safe."-
[00:53] <Minaplo> [The woman stood up from where she had been sitting and began to casually, elegantly walk towards them.]
[00:55] <Raphael> "Should I run?" Raphael murmurs. The numb resignation from his conversation with Ezekiel is still hanging over him like a shroud, though, and he is making none of his normal attempts to edge away.
[01:01] <Minaplo> ["They can sense movement."-
[01:04] <Minaplo> [Ezekiel looked at the both of them, not turning around himself, although this may have been due to Navah occupying his head at the time.-
[01:07] <Minaplo> [The woman arrived at their table, her lips a full red; smiling, she walked over to Raphael's side and bent down, leaning against the table, a curtain of long, lush, curly hair bouncing across her bare shoulders. She winked.-
[01:07] <Minaplo> ["Hi, Raffy." She said in an all-too familiar voice. A voice that didn't match this body at -all-.]
[01:13] <Raphael> … Silence. It stretches out for one second, then two… three…-
[01:13] <Raphael> "President Linden." Raphael says smoothly, remaining calm and collected. At least that's the appearance he would have given off were he not beet red from the top of his primly buttoned collar to the tips of his ears.
[01:19] <Minaplo> ["… What?!" Misato nearly shot out of her chair in surprise. Or perhaps it was horror. Pure horror. Was this the true power of Linden?-
[01:24] <Minaplo> ["What do you think?" Asked Minerva delightedly, standing up straight and doing a twirl, clearly showing off curves that, to be blunt, Raphael had in fact never truly seen. Minerva's outfits were usually, for one reason or another, form-obliterating business outfits that seemed slightly too big or baggy clothes covered with her shawl. A year to grow a little taller had helped- or perhaps not helped in Raphael's case.-
[01:24] <Minaplo> ["This is my disguise for our joint mission. What do you think~? <3"]
[01:42] <Raphael> "It should be suitable." Raphael says, giving her a quick nod. He took care not to look for too long, though, prefering instead to focus on silently cursing his borrowed body. "You certainly seem to have surprised the Major."
[01:47] <Minaplo> ["I- er." Misato shot him a ferocious look before looking back to Minerva with a mingled, haphazard expression. "Y-you actually look like a woman!"-
[01:47] <Minaplo> ["… What do I look like usually?"]
[01:48] <Raphael> "…" Raphael stares down at his hands. Nothing could make him step in at that moment.
[01:49] <Minaplo> ["Well usually you look like a- a girl!"-
[01:49] <Minaplo> ["I am not-"-
[01:51] <Minaplo> ["Forgive me." Murmured Ezekiel, breaking into the conversation. "But the Lilim expressions here are very subtle and hard to understand. Is being a girl a bad thing?"]
[01:52] <Raphael> "…" Would they notice if he left? Perhaps if he just slid out of his chair while they were distracted…
[01:52] <Minaplo> ["Raphael." Said Misato hotly, turning to him. "Explain to the Emissary what the difference is between a little girl and a full mature woman!"-
[01:54] <Minaplo> ["So is it a matter of age?" Asked Ezekiel curiously. "Is a woman old, and a girl not old?"-
[01:58] <Minaplo> ["That isn't-"#
[01:59] <Minaplo> ["That isn't-" Minerva turned to look at Ezekiel. "Hello, who's this?" She asked curiously, reaching out to pull aside the fabric hiding half of his face.]
[02:00] <Raphael> "ohthankgod" Raphael breathes, barely above a whisper.
[21:21] <Minaplo> ["I am Ezekiel, the Emissary-" began Ezekiel.-
[21:22] <Minaplo> [Misato kicks Raphael in the foot, jerking her head towards the door whilst Minerva is distracted.]
[21:26] * @Raphael blinks, apparently rather thrown by the whole conversation, but he pulls himself together quickly enough to give Misato a nod and slowly begin to ease himself out of his chair…
[21:32] <Minaplo> [… And his subterfuge is aided by a potentially-innocent, potentially-not Navah, who scrambles onto the table and up Minerva's shoulders. All Minerva saw before her vision was obscured was a sudden reveal of Ezekiel's form- his clear skin, his bright eyes, his flowing golden hair…]
[21:51] <@Raphael> Regardless of her intention, the extra help from Navah sees Raphael escape unhindered. The officer is clearly wasting no time as he rushes for the door.
[21:55] <Minaplo> [And Misato is -very much- not far behind him.-
[21:56] <Minaplo> ["Did you know she could- do that?"]
[22:03] <@Raphael> "Do what?" He asks, looking as innocent as he can as he continues putting distance between himself and the dining hall.
[22:03] <Minaplo> ["Make herself look like- that!"]
[22:06] <@Raphael> "She… has an aptitude for disguise?" Raphael ventures, his own deep-seated need to remain tactful leaving him struggling to find any way out of this conversation.
[22:09] <Minaplo> ["You mean you -haven't- seen that before?"]
[22:14] <@Raphael> "… No."
[22:15] <Minaplo> ["… That's weird." Muttered Misato. "I would've figured, I mean, it's you- if she -could- make herself look like that, you'd be the first to know."]
[22:21] <@Raphael> "It's not -that- strange, surely…?" Raphael says quietly.
[22:22] <Minaplo> ["It's -kind- of strange." Said Misato, walking off after him. "Who knows what we ODs can hide, though…?"]

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