Ritsuko S Defection

[21:57] * Sept had spent much of his day so far poking around the science departments, not really accomplishing anything. But he'd heard there was a person of interest around, and he didn't want to seem so bored/interested as to go visit her in her quarters. A chance workplace encounter would be much more natural.
[22:10] <@Minaplo> [He would, in fact, eventually find her, and realise that the reason he seemed to be having trouble was that she simply hadn't been in the science department for most of the day.-
[22:11] <@Minaplo> [But now, Ritsuko Akagi was here- blonde, medium-length hair, little earrings, lipstick, a white labcoat over a blue, button-up shirt and a black skirt. She was in the MAGI area, mostly alone except for a shorter woman there- a young woman with black hair and an honest face, wearing a NERV Operations uniform.]
[22:23] * Sept strode in confidently, giving the two of them a bit of a wave. "Akagi. Ma'am."
[22:30] <@Minaplo> [Ritsuko turned, and stared at Sera for a moment.-
[22:30] <@Minaplo> ["…"-
[22:30] <@Minaplo> [She tilted her head.-
[22:30] <@Minaplo> ["Hello, Sera." She said eventually.-
[22:31] <@Minaplo> ["Look, Senpai. He's done the same thing to his hair that you did." Said the other girl teasingly.-
[22:31] <@Minaplo> ["Shh, Maya." Ritsuko shot the girl a look, then turned back to Sera, a small smile on her lips. She put her hands on her hips. "You definitely have changed since the last time I met, but that doesn't mean it's a bad thing. How've you been?"]
[22:36] <Sept> "Stressful. How much do you know? I'm sure you have the clearance for most of it, but interest is another matter."
[22:38] <@Minaplo> ["I… Sorry?" The smile faded from Ritsuko's face. "Know about what, exactly?"]
[22:46] <Sept> "I don't suppose you've come up with an easier way to make sure you're talking about the same thing? You've technically been at this longer than I have, and right now, I lack the clearance to find out what you know to facilitate this sort of thing."
[22:48] <@Minaplo> [Ritsuko seemed a bit annoyed. "If you know it and it concerns NERV you can assume that I know it too."]
[22:51] <Sept> "Beyond my personal breakdowns, metaphorical and otherwise, Tsubaki's situation has been worrying me."
[22:52] <@Minaplo> [Ritsuko let out a small sigh. "Go ahead."]
[22:58] <Sept> "I'm not sure if she's prepared for the… responsibilities her parents gave her soul. She's very attached to people, but shouldn't self-preservation be a bit more important for someone like her?"
[22:59] <@Minaplo> ["You think she's being too reckless?"]
[23:01] <Sept> "I think she's always been too reckless, considering this and Caine's resources. I just can't see why she was chosen."
[23:01] <@Minaplo> ["To bear her soul, you mean?"-
[23:01] <@Minaplo> [Maya's expression became serious.-
[23:05] <@Minaplo> ["Alright, Sera." Said Ritsuko neutrally. "What alternatives would you offer?"]
[23:07] <Sept> "Wouldn't Blanc have been much more reliable?"
[23:08] <@Minaplo> ["Yes…" Said Ritsuko slowly. "Which is why Blanc also bears a portion of her soul…"]
[23:16] <Sept> "So that means you used only two for a reason. There were alternative pilots for Gabriel-Wei's and Simonides' units. If they'd then have been passed by in pilot selection, they could've been kept further away from other risk factors, and there would be no need to expose them to her children."
[23:23] <@Minaplo> ["I see your logic, but there's also the argument that being in an Eva is sometimes the safest place you can be." Said Ritsuko.-
[23:24] <@Minaplo> ["Ok, I'll give you a full explanation as to why we made the choices we did. First, do you know why we only used two, instead of one, or three, or all seven?"]
[23:26] <Sept> "No."
[23:32] <@Minaplo> ["We'll get the obvious one out of the way first. We tried it with one. Eugenia Ranvier? It was a bad move. It lead to a near-Third Impact scenario. The Eve soul-sealing mechanism is powerful, but the possibility for things to go wrong with just one is too high."-
[23:32] <@Minaplo> ["So putting it in one isn't logical, right?"]
[23:33] <Sept> "Agreed. From what I understand, she was unstable in other ways, too."
[23:34] <@Minaplo> ["Oh?"]
[23:43] <Sept> "Well, she's no longer in use, right? I can't imagine the damage from something like that would've been -completely- irreversible."
[23:47] <@Minaplo> ["Of course."]
[23:54] <Sept> "Mm. Either way, that issue's passed. The others?"
[23:57] <@Minaplo> ["Well, basically, you can have between two and seven different bearers, but the more bearers you have, the riskier it becomes. It becomes harder to protect them, whether from others, or from even dangerous accidents…"-
[23:57] <@Minaplo> ["Plus, if you have seven, it turns into Dragonball." Said Maya.-
[23:57] <@Minaplo> ["Shh, Maya."-
[00:04] <@Minaplo> ["Anyway." Ritsuko continued. "The risks there are, not only as I said, but there are others too. If a bearer dies, that fragment of soul will, once the Eve's soul returns to the Gates of Guf, be transferred to another bearer. If you have seven, and one dies, any of the other six could suddenly find themselves with another portion. But it's impossible to predict which fragment will go where." Said Ritsuko. "If you have two, however, it's a bi-polar setup- if one dies, you know exactly who gets the other portion. Plus, two are a lot easier to control than even three, as the less chances for a bearer to be captured or go missing, the better."]
[00:18] <Sept> "Ahh. Very convenient. I can agree with that."
[00:20] <@Minaplo> [Ritsuko nodded. "It helps that their particular Adams are dead… Or, we thought they were, at least."]
[00:24] * Sept took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes for a moment to cover up a twitch. "Mm. That's difficult, as well. Any chance she might somehow interfere with the Adam, or vice versa?"
[00:26] <@Minaplo> ["I can't account for Aline's Adam's behaviour. Tsubaki's is in EVA-06, so it's fairly easy to keep under tabs. And she can't affect them anymore than she can affect any other human being, which is to say subtly."]
[00:41] <Sept> "I understand." Sera was had his arms almost crossed, a mechanical finger tapping nervously on the arm. "That puts some of my worries to rest, thank you."
[00:43] <@Minaplo> ["I'm glad."]
[00:44] <Sept> "So, how… are you?" Conversation salvaged.
[00:46] <@Minaplo> ["Hm, well."-
[00:47] <@Minaplo> [Ritsuko reached into her labcoat pocket, taking out a packet of cigarettes. A few seconds and a lighter flick later…-
[00:47] <@Minaplo> ["I'm fine. About as fine as a person can be, of course, having just snuck out of their home country by night to take up refuge in a hidden base in the middle of the sand wastes of the USA."-
[00:48] <@Minaplo> [She took a drag of her cigarette, blowing the smoke into the air. "Although it's not -that- bad. I think I rather like it here."]
[00:51] <Sept> "I'm glad. And what's your story, Maya?" Sera's gaze lingered on Ritsuko and her cigarette for a moment before turning to face her sidekick.
[00:52] <@Minaplo> ["Me? I used to be a technician over at Tokyo-2. Operations, you know- bridge crew." She smiled. "But when Senpai told me she was skipping town, I had to go with her- she'd be lost without me, right?"-
[00:52] <@Minaplo> ["I -do- rely on you quite a lot…"-
[00:53] <@Minaplo> ["Hm~" Maya smiled fondly.]
[00:54] <Sept> "So you worked with Hyuga, then?"
[00:54] <@Minaplo> ["Yeah, that's right. He's here too- it's nice to see him again."]
[00:58] <Sept> "Yeah, me and Alex put him through some survival training. Maybe he'll do better than Dorian, now."
[01:00] <@Minaplo> ["…" That wiped the smile from Maya's face, and she frowned, giving Sera an evil look.-
[01:01] <@Minaplo> ["…" Ritsuko skipped over it. "On the topic of mucking about in dangerous areas unsupervised disturbing that which ought not to be disturbed, I noticed you've salvaged the Psycho Dreamer Plug."]
[01:08] <Sept> "Yeah. Six days since reincorporisation and no psychological backlash. It's -some- kind of record, I think." Pause. "Nothing but the hair, of course," he conceded.
[01:10] <@Minaplo> ["Hm. It -is- a record, especially with that thing. Personally, I think you're crazy, and what you're doing is blatantly impossible, but if it works, it works. I can't argue with results…"]
[01:17] <Sept> "I -am- crazy, don't forget. This is certainly the one good thing that's come out of years of goddamn meditation on it. Maybe my apparitions might not have manifested in the first place if I hadn't pushed myself, and I wouldn't have had to touch the synch method. But there we are. Maybe there's useful data in there somewhere."
[01:24] <@Minaplo> ["Mm, maybe. Probably not data we'd replicate with other people, but it's there for us at least."]
[01:31] <Sept> "What do you think about this Ikari situation, though?" Sera brushed his hair aside with one hand and glanced outside.
[01:32] <@Minaplo> ["With Shinji?"]
[01:33] <Sept> "Sure."
[01:34] <@Minaplo> ["It's not too surprising, I suppose." Said Ritsuko slowly, taking a drag from her cigarette. "It's not an easy situation- there's a lot of stress and danger involved, and some pilots are affected in ways humanity's never been affected by before until now. Shinji's one of them."]
[01:36] <Sept> "So do you think it'd be possible for us to replicate Bellamy's setup with him? There's obvious psychological obstacles in the way," he said, in a tone that was more suited to an EULA, "but just in case..?"
[01:38] <@Minaplo> ["… Maybe. I don't know. I'd need more data." Said Ritsuko. "Bellamy's situation is fairly well-documented, but Shinji's could have all sorts of little differences."-
[01:38] <@Minaplo> ["Besides, is there much use for chantry-detecting anymore?"]
[01:46] <Sept> "With all these Angels in new bodies just hanging out somewhere, a bit more information could help. I know there's little time for iteration to modify the system, and that might well be enough to make it a wasted effort."
[01:48] <@Minaplo> ["Maybe." Said Ritsuko, in that tone a mother uses that clearly says that maybe means no. "It's not probable that these Solomons have anywhere near the capability to create a chantry, though, so we're not going to find much."]
[01:58] <Sept> "Got it." He paused for a moment and smiled a little. "You have no idea how much easier my life would be if I always had someone or something shooting down the senseless ideas I come up with."
[02:00] <@Minaplo> ["Are you saying I should be your naysmith?"]
[02:05] <Sept> "Well," he glanced at Maya. "You've got a job to do, and it's not like I'm actually stationed here, but yeah, that's what I was saying."
[02:10] <@Minaplo> ["I think I can do that."]
[02:14] * Sept frowned. "That would be… very generous of you."
[02:15] <@Minaplo> ["I'm not doing it for free. You have to do me a favour."]
[02:18] <Sept> "Naturally. What are you asking?"
[02:19] <@Minaplo> ["Two things. One- you need to come around and have dinner with Tsubaki and me. Once a week."]
[02:26] <Sept> "Clever girl. If you think that's for the best."
[02:27] <@Minaplo> ["Mmhm, I do. And my second favour- when you came in here you were incredibly Gendo-like."-
[02:27] <@Minaplo> ["Your glasses caught the light and everything." Muttered Maya.-
[02:27] <@Minaplo> ["Shh, Maya."-
[02:28] <@Minaplo> ["You were a sweet young man once upon a time." Said Ritsuko. "And someone who's intending to constantly disintegrate and then remake themselves over and over ought to have the willpower to at least try to be a sweet young man again- if just for the sake of this old lady here."-
[02:28] <@Minaplo> ["Y-You're not that old, Senpai…"]
[02:37] <Sept> Sera stopped for a while, opening and closing his mouth to respond. "What happens to sweet young men in our line of work, Ritsuko?" He asked, a bit tiredly.
[02:38] <@Minaplo> ["They becomd tired old men."-
[02:38] <@Minaplo> ["But if you ask Misato, you know, sometimes they come back as sweet young men anyway. It's impossible, but you know, you -do- like showing me the impossible, right?"]
[02:48] <Sept> "Wow. You're… a horrible person." Why did they always do this to him? Ginevre, Viviane, Agatha, all the others… They'd made him believe in some kind of world to come, a future. He'd had to give up every time, and the pain hadn't dulled with time. "That little guaranteed light is worth it for all the darkness that might be right behind? That's your conclusion?"
[02:50] <@Minaplo> ["The light's pretty whilst it lasts." Said Ritsuko. "A sky full of tiny little stars is better than a sky with no stars at all." She took another puff of her cigarette, and then took a step forward- she reached out, rubbed his cheek with her thumb gently. It was a caress.-
[02:50] <@Minaplo> ["If not for my sake, then do it for Tsubaki."]
[03:05] * Sept stared back at her, brushing up slightly toward her hand. He shifted his balance, and exhaled sharply. "You have a deal," he said, a bit agitatedly. "One request in return. Could you share one of those lights?" He nodded towards her cigarettes.
[03:06] <@Minaplo> ["Oh, alright…"-
[03:06] <@Minaplo> [And she held the packet out to him.]
[03:13] * Sept shook one of them out of the box, held it in front of him. "So, Ritsuko, why… haven't I smoked, don't I smoke? There are worse nervous habits, and this body's not meant to last. Light?" He placed it between his lips.
[03:14] <@Minaplo> [She took out a lighter and lit it. "First time? Don't inhale."]
[03:26] <Sept> "After years on Paris ruelles? Hardly. Practically the smell of home." Sera leaned in to let the fire catch, and then back again. His other hand habitually sought out a pocket - nothing like a mouth- and lungful of hot, toxic smoke on a cold autumn day, the sound of rain amplified hundredfold on the corrugated shack roofs. He looked up and exhaled, then turned to the side and audibly
[03:26] <Sept> stifled a cough. "But I could never hold interest long enough to be addicted in any way. I'd blame conditioning for that."
[03:32] <@Minaplo> ["It's a bad habit, anyway. LCL addiction is much more hip."]
[03:34] <Sept> "Morphine… probably counts," he said, taking a puff.
[03:35] <@Minaplo> ["You probably shouldn't steal morphine without correcting the MAGI inventory at the same time."]
[03:37] <Sept> "With what access? I didn't remember the codes for ages. By then, it would've been beyond late."-
[03:37] <Sept> "It was an embarrassing time."
[03:39] <@Minaplo> ["I can't imagine." Said Ritsuko wryly.-
[03:39] <@Minaplo> [Maya was looking on, a little unimpressed… Or jealous, maybe?]
[03:47] <Sept> "So how do you see her family working out at the end of this? Or should either of us care about such a distantly normal concept in this case?"
[03:47] <Sept> -
[03:48] <Sept> "You don't think he's going to be there to provide a 'stable environment', do you?"
[03:51] <@Minaplo> ["Oh God, I hope not." Muttered Ritsuko. "I could do a better job of that than he could any day of the week…"]
[03:53] <Sept> "So you've got this under control otherwise?"
[03:54] <@Minaplo> ["For a NERV definition of under control, sure."]
[03:58] <Sept> "Awesome." One last deep drag, and an exhalation. "Welp. Here I go, then, to a world of hope and beauty. I'll see you guys around."
[03:59] <@Minaplo> ["Don't be a stranger, Sera."]
[04:01] <Sept> "That's the plan." He walked off, trailing a bit of smoke, waving behind him.

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