She Said She Said She Was A Little Girl But It Didn T Matter

[19:18] <Asuka‘> [[Session 28: NEON GENESIS EVANGELION. Date: 5th of May, 2016. Episode Title: She Said, "She was a little girl, but it didn’t matter."-
[19:23] <Asuka‘> [A small fleet of aircraft soar over the hot skies of the sahara desert. A wing of interceptors, a handful of carrier VTOLs, and finally, four massive Evangelion Carriers- numbered 00, 01, 02 and 04. Each was loaded with an Evangelion Unit and its desired weaponry. In the distance below shimmered a perfect semisphere rising out of the ground, a vibrant display of colours that shifted and changed every few seconds. It was kilometres wide…-
[19:23] <Asuka`> ["We’re coming up on Eden Base now, pilots." Said Dorian.]
[19:27] * Yanmei snapped her phone shut and peered out a window. She was wearing a slightly more subdued version of her usual expression for these missions, mainly because she was certain that if she wore a full smile, the red-haired passanger sitting next to her would punch her. Nervertheless, she was exuding as much pleasantness and competence as she could without it. "So that's it."
[19:30] * Sept stared at the bubble in plain amazement. "Have we found out anything of what's going on inside it, Dorian?"
[19:31] * Aline stared out silently, pondering what was waiting for them in that… thing. She seemed to… it was hard to describe. Aline felt /different/ on some incomprehensible level, like she was no longer in the same world she was in the last time they saw her.
[19:31] <Asuka‘> [Dorian shook his head. "Dr. Riel’s down there with the advance crew and they haven't been able to pick anything up from preliminary readings."-
[19:32] * Asuka‘ was sitting cross-legged, already in her plugsuit, positively vibrating with the sort of nervous angry energy of a person about to throw the first punch in a very long fight. She’d been like this for the entire trip, her mouth in a very thin line.
[19:35] * Sept glanced toward Asuka. He opened his mouth to say something, but thought better of it.
[19:36] <Yanmei> "Leave it to us, naturally~" Yanmei flashed a wider smile now. "What were we supposed to do, exactly? Venture into it for a closer look?"
[19:38] <Asuka‘> ["Yes. Specifically we’re to go as deep as we can and try to find out what happened."]
[19:39] * Aline smiled very softly. "As we're best qualified for. And if it's some hostile AT entity, probably kill it to pieces."
[19:44] * Sept nodded sternly. "Right. And save whoever's inside."
[19:45] <Yanmei> If they were still alive. But it seemed in bad form to say it aloud. Also, again, she didn't want to be punched.
[19:45] * Asuka‘ nodded firmly at that.-
[19:48] <Asuka`> [There was the telltale -thud-thud-thud-thud of four Evangelions hitting the earth at the same time, kicking up massive clouds of dust and sand. A few minutes later, the VTOLs themselves landed- the one with the Pilots on it coming to rest near a boxy, but undeniably solid-looking vehicle. A squad of individuals was standing by it, including Captain Guillory and Dr. Riel, looking odd in combat fatigues.]
[19:52] * Sept climbed out of the aircraft, looking slightly worried at the appearance of those familiar faces. "Hello, Raphael. Luna. Are you going to come with us?"
[19:52] <Asuka`> ["Yes, that’s right." She looked over at Asuka. "Home sweet home, huh?"-
[19:52] <Asuka‘> "…" Asuka glowered, brushing past and beelining for the hulking silhouette of 02.
[19:53] * Raphael is busy talking to Riel in hushed tones as the Pilots dismount, his expression somehow managing to look even more grim than usual, but as the new arrivals get closer he breaks off his conversation to give them all a nod and a quick salute. "Seems that way, Pilot de Pteres. We’ll be the team on the ground once we get inside."
[19:54] * Aline blinked rather heavily at that exchange… but then remembered what she knew from… Right. They trained here. She mostly just gently waved at the officer and scientist, before beginning to suit up to get ready for piloting 00.
[19:55] * Yanmei hopped out with a little hair-toss that seemed useless beneath the winds that the slowing copter rotor had made. She drew a pair of blue-tinted sunglasses from her shirt pocket and put them on her face, nodding and smiling at those who were waiting for them before following Asuka's lead. "Looks like we'll have to talk later, okay~?"
[19:56] <Asuka‘> "… Yeah."
[19:57] <Sept> "Right. Let’s get going. Just… be careful, alright?" Sera nodded toward Raphael before heading off toward 01.
[20:02] <Asuka‘> [After fifteen or so minutes, the four pilots would find themselves suited up and immersed in LCL after a successful Manual Synchronisation. A special, experimental Positron Reactor had been brought in for the mission, providing the four Evas with essentially unlimited power via the umbilicals.-
[20:03] <Asuka`> [Dorian remained behind on his command VTOL, whilst the investigation team piled onto the APC- a prototype Thruster APC, to be exact.-
[20:04] <Asuka`> ["Alright. 01, take point, 02 and 04 form up behind 01. 00 take the rear. 01, I want you to enter the bubble."]
[20:06] * Aline was alright with taking the rear!… considering that she basically could strike wherever she wanted… "Right."
[20:06] <Yanmei> "Yes, Colonel!" Within the confines of her plug, Yanmei pressed a button or two on her console to open a private comm line.
[20:09] <Sept> "Got it. I’ll try to be ready for anything." Just think… about walking. The massive foot of the Evangelion lifted easily on command, and set itself down several meters ahead. Sera hefted his shield and advanced.
[20:10] <Asuka‘> [As EVA-01 entered the bubble… It shimmered and pooled around him like water, a faint sucking sound filling the air. Inside…-
[20:11] <Asuka`> [The area -inside- the bubble seemed exactly the same as the outside. It wasn’t, say, foggy. Time hadn't slowed…-
[20:11] <Asuka‘> [Sept found himself confronted with a massive wall, however, and a pair of giant gates. Open gates. Beyond that lay… A city.]
[20:13] * Sept took a few more wary steps inside. "I… think we’re clear. You can come in. Does this still work?"
[20:16] <Asuka‘> ["Yes, I can hear you." Said Dorian. "Alright. Everyone else, advance. The video uplink is working. Can you see it, Dr. Riel?"-
[20:16] <Asuka`> ["Yes."]
[20:17] * Yanmei moved forward now too, clutching weapons but not raising them just yet.
[20:17] <Aline> "Alright~" Aline nearly commented chipperly, before waiting for the other EVAs to advance. Then following them in.
[20:21] * Asuka` moved forward as well…-
[20:21] <Asuka`> ["… Alright. Enter the gate. Same formation. Asuka, do you recognise this?"-
[20:21] <Asuka`> "Yeah. This is the urban training quarter."
[20:22] <Sept> "You trained here, Asuka? And everyone else?"
[20:23] <Asuka`> "Yeah. Come on." She restlessly flicked her chainsword on and off. "The training systems should be down…"-
[20:24] <Asuka`> […The sound of gunfire, faint. Someone shouting inaudible words…]
[20:25] * Aline looked left and right a bit… But then shook her head.
[20:29] <Sept> "…shit. We need to hurry!" Sera picked up the pace a bit, following the sounds.
[20:30] <Asuka`> "Don’t bother. That's just training drill." Muttered Asuka. She moved forward into the city.
[20:31] * Aline blinked deeply. "Sera. Be careful. That might be an AT Field trick." …Speaking of which, 00's AT Field - was it even /stronger/ than usual? - spread with a shimmer, and she set it marching forwards. "…That said. Dr. Riel, my ratio is high enough that I can sustain a point-to-point portal. That might speed up your investigation, though… I need to see the endpoint to form it."
[20:31] <Asuka‘> ["Ah. I-"-
[20:32] <Asuka`> [The sounds suddenly grew louder. In a semi-circle around them, a series of barely-visible holograms formed, raising gun-arms at the group. Without halting, they opened fire, a full hail of shells aimed at 00 and 01…-
[20:33] <Asuka`> [… That vanished in mid-air, along with the holograms themselves.]
[20:33] <Aline> "…That’s going to get annoying." Aline's tone was surprisingly flat.
[20:34] <Asuka‘> ["…" Dr. Riel paused as she looked at the feed. "Training holograms. So the training systems are on? Right. Let’s get going. Towards the observation deck, driver."-
[20:34] * Asuka‘ advanced once more. "We should secure the facility’s front doors, right?"
[20:34] <Raphael> The Thruster APC, so small from the pilots' position up above, roars to life and revs into a position between the advancing colossi.
[20:35] <Yanmei> "A..ah?" A little off kilter, now. But no one was hurt, so… she hurried forward, a little more cautiously now, AT field shimmering to life.
[20:39] <Sept> "Stay on your toes. Don't let the holograms get to you. I'll go check out the doors."
[20:40] * Aline stared about… then… concentrated, hard. 00's hands seemed to move slightly, gesturing even with the positron rifle. Space… the whole world shimmered around the APC crew… until a gaping, glowing hole sparkling with orangeish AT energy appeared before it, a matching one appearing right at the observation deck! "Alright! Portal formed. Please ensure you do not linger within
[20:40] * Aline the gap between the portals so as to avoid messy Dirac Sea expulsions if I lose concentration, and step carefully at all times. Thank you for using the future of transportation~"
[20:45] <Asuka‘> [The back of the APC opened, and Dr. Riel headed out, running flatly into the portal and vanishing…-
[20:45] <Asuka`> [… A second later, six more Holograms appeared and opened fire, this time with far -heavier- sounding bullets. Ones that slammed into the AT Field of 00 before they flickered away…-
[20:46] <Asuka`> ["Move! Shoot! Move! Shoot!" Came a harsh, German-tinted male voice, loud and echoing through the streets. "You! Did you jam that gun? Get the fuck off my field! Langley! Move up to the window! Take Volkova out! Nelson, get your head down, you idiot, do you want to be sniped?!"-
[20:46] <Asuka`> "… Meir…" Hissed Asuka.
[20:47] * Aline muttered. "…Do these things actually have mass worth speaking of, through some… sorcery? Or are they just damn annoying holos?"
[20:47] <Asuka`> "They’re just holograms."
[20:48] * Sept gritted his teeth silently. Just the voice man's voice was enough to piss him.
[20:48] * Aline nodded. "…Annoying."
[20:49] <Yanmei> "…" She kept forward, saying nothing. But… bad feelings all around. Why were they hearing that? Were they Asuka's memories? Alexandre's? Just… something recreated from the area itself?
[20:52] <Asuka‘> [Dr. Riel tap-tap-tapped away at one of the consoles. With a sudden ’crackle' the hologram emitters deactivated. "… Hmm. I've accessed the files here, Colonel. Nothing too much. Evangelion tactical observations made from the Paris-2 battles. Database on Angels… Nothing special. I've turned off the training programs, too."]
[20:54] <Sept> "We'll keep going, then. I'm opening this."
[20:58] <Asuka‘> [The large blast doors built into the wall opened, revealing… A perfectly flat, green landscape.]
[21:00] * Yanmei brushed past Sera, readying her guns now, retaining that caution from before. "Another open area…"
[21:00] * Aline nodded a bit, and waited patiently. …mostly. 00 would, entirely unwittingly, start drumming its fingers against the positron rifle. It was built to handle that kind of punishment, but the very loud rhythmic tapping was sort of odd.
[21:02] <Asuka`> ["… Wait, no, that isn’t"-
[21:03] <Asuka‘> [A high, wailing alarm sounded throughout the area, a computerised voice calmly stating an evacuate command. "S-Shit! No! Where’d they come from?" A new, panicky voice. "What the fuck is -happening- in there?! These- oh god, Timmins just went down- how? Those… Aren't they holograms?!"-
[21:03] <Asuka‘> [The air around EVA-04 stiffened. Yanmei would find herself suddenly in a shadow… A very, very large shadow.-
[21:04] <Asuka`> [A being with seemingly endless wings… Wings that opened, revealing an eye that unleashed a searing blast of energy that vaporised huge parts of the grassy landscape below, tracing towards EVA-04!]
[21:05] <Sept> "GETAWA-" Sera caught himself before he went and leapt in front of 04 as a reflex. He hoped no one had seen that. "…more of them," he stated, trying to sound calm.
[21:08] <Yanmei> It was only by scrambling backward a few steps, half-tripping over her own feet in shock that Yanmei was able to avoid. She stared up, recalling a long ago battle that she -hated- recalling, and to the torn-up landscape between the monster and herself. "N-no. You can’t…"-
[21:09] <Yanmei> Bravado lost, she gave into instinct, racing back the way she had come. "Retreat! De Pteres, move back!!"
[21:09] * Aline stared flatly towards the door Yanmei and Sera had gone through, quizzically. 00's head turned too. Aline had this /strange/ habit of constantly making idle gestures with the Evangelion. "…The hell is going on over there?"
[21:10] <Asuka‘> "… This… Air…" Asuka looked over towards the gap in the gates, and -sprinted- forward towards a wall, taking cover. "It’s… There's no way… Hologram. It's just a hologram…"
[21:12] <Sept> "Wh-what? It- WHAT'S GOING ON?!" Filled with doubt, Sera had no choice but to follow Yanmei's advice and fall back to the door.
[21:13] <Asuka‘> [Qaphsiel faded away, leaving a split-second gap in the air as it reappeared hovering over Asuka.-
[21:13] <Asuka`> "No…" The eye gathered energy, unleashing its horrific energy blast. EVA-02 dodged to the side. "Not again! Not this time!" She crouched and sprung upwards, digging her chainsword into the holographic eye…-
[21:14] <Asuka`> [… And Qaphsiel went stiff, then faded away a second later.]
[21:14] * Aline blinked, staring dumb-foundedly. Oddly, she was still calm. "Dr. Riel, I know that breaking through to get important data takes time, but… I get the feeling there’s something a bit anomalous about the holosystem. Especially how it turned itself back on."
[21:14] * Aline quickly added. "You might want to consider speeding up."
[21:15] <Asuka‘> ["Yes, I agree." She shook her head. "I’m done here. I've spent the last minute trying to re-disable the security system and it's just not listening."]
[21:17] * Aline kept her watchful sentinel's eye. "…Right. Okay, I'll keep the portal up for you to evac back to the APC, but then I'm moving on."
[21:21] <Asuka‘> [A second later Dr. Riel reappeared near the APC, quickly re-embarking. "Driver, head us over to the door near 02. We’re going to enter the facility."]
[21:22] <Raphael> The APC rumbles back to life, and one quick U-turn later it's on its way towards the indicated door.
[21:22] <Aline> "Right." …With an absent, almost /bored/ wave of its hand, 00 gestured the portal to begone. "I'll cover you with AT defenses if the holograms prove to be… somehow AT-enhanced or… I don't know."
[21:28] <Asuka‘> [The APC sped through the roads as Corporal Duval worked on his life’s ambition to drive a prototype military vehicle at top speeds through a city. Before long, it and 00 were at the doors with the others… "Open it up, 01."]
[21:29] <Sept> "Got it. Opening… now." Shield up, Sera watched as the obstacle slid out of sight… quite harmlessly.
[21:31] <Asuka‘> [Within was…-
[21:32] <Asuka`> [It was a factory. A massive, massive factory. Machinery stood inert over frozen conveyor belts, the air still, the worklines discarded. Objects lay on the belts… Massive objects. Evangelion equipment; armor plates, unfinished weapons. It looked as though it was in perfect condition…-
[21:32] <Asuka`> [To their left was some kind of small office building. To their right, a far larger building with a martial aspect, as though it might be a barracks. It had EVA-sized doors…-
[21:32] <Asuka`> [And finally, in the middle of the room was a large elevator.]
[21:33] * Aline waved her hand - and 00’s - conversationally to the side. "Any mission-criticals here you need to look at?"
[21:34] <Asuka‘> ["We’ll need to access the Administrator's Office. And…" She peered over at the Armory. "… This place was a prime testing lab for new weapons. It's imperative that we recover anything that works."]
[21:35] <Aline> "Righty-o. May want to try to collapse the funky AT bubble before we go removing hardware, though."
[21:36] <Yanmei> "Let's grab what we can first, so that if anything's waiting for us in that office, we can handle it."
[21:36] <Asuka‘> ["Raphael, your team and I will handle the office. If I remember the layout right, we can send the Evas ahead."]
[21:38] <Raphael> "Yes ma’am. Pilots, we'll keep in radio contact."
[21:39] <Aline> And so, 00 was off! Suddenly /shooting/ forward in a sudden burst of energy, it gracefully landed right at the walls of the armory sub-building.
[21:40] <Asuka‘> [As EVA-00 took off…-
[21:41] <Asuka`> [With a sudden lurch, the entire factory seemed to come to life, millions of pieces of machinery suddenly starting up again as though they’d never been turned off. Transparent people- dressed in factory overalls, guarded by phantom soldiers- walked along the lines, operating the equipment, producing their items. They chattered nervously, fearfully…-
[21:43] <Asuka‘> [The doors of the Armory opened- out came two Evangelions, facsimiles of EVA-05. They carried bolters in their hands, and looked about alertly, staring directly at EVA-00 and 04…]
[21:46] <Sept> "Hnngh. They’re playing with us…"
[21:46] * Aline intoned flatly. "Assume they might be able to cause some, even if minor, damage. Best to get them out of the way."
[21:48] <Asuka‘> ["Those bolters are real." Muttered Dr. Riel.]
[21:50] <Aline> "…Stay cautious. This is really starting to bug me, and I think I might know how to get answers."
[21:50] * Yanmei nodded at the two. Attempted to saunter past, as if she was doing something routine.
[21:50] <Asuka`> [One of the Evangelions shifted, a hand coming up in an obvious ’halt' gesture at Yanmei. It shook its head.]
[21:52] <Yanmei> "Well, at least they're not attacking?" Yanmei did stop. Only because she couldn't quite squeeze past it. "It'd be great if we could talk to them."
[21:52] * Aline then stared them down. "…Let's see what's the real life, and what's just fantasy." Oh ha ha, Aline. But nonetheless, 00's AT Field pushed out gently. Even the people in the APC might feel something… watching them. Poking at the back of their minds.
[21:53] <Asuka‘> [… 00’s senses would find themselves -inundated- with results as the ping expanded. There were literally fields -everywhere-. In the air. In her own Plug…]
[21:54] * Aline then stared in shock. "…Uh. Uh um. The place is swarming with human AT Fields. They're… they're everywhere. They're moving through the air. I…" She stared into the point she knew was 00's camera, head tilting a bit. "…I think we're dealing with ghosts."
[21:55] <Yanmei> "Or it could be an effect of walking around in a giant AT Field-bubble ourselves?" Yanmei tossed her head. "Ghosts don't exist. And that would imply…"
[21:55] <Asuka‘> ["Ghosts?" Said Dr. Riel, with a hint of worry.]
[21:56] * Aline shook her head thoroughly. "I can’t /count/ them, but it's individual fields, all floating about. It's /pretty clearly/ disembodied souls. Wouldn't you call that a ghost?"
[21:57] <Asuka‘> ["Let’s not jump to c-conclusions." Muttered Dr. Riel. The people in the APC could see her break out into a cold sweat. "It might be AT interference. It could be anything. Let's just… Proceed."]
[21:57] <Sept> "Nevermind the ghosts, we need to get past these imposters first. You ready?"
[21:59] <Asuka‘> ["You’re going to engage?" Muttered Dr. Riel. She could overrule, but… Ghosts…]
[21:59] * Aline sighed almost helplessly. "Do what you will. If they prove hostile…" She trailed off intentionally.
[22:02] <Sept> "We can take more than two of them, Aline. Especially if we get whatever's inside." Sera took a running start, and leeeaaaapt at one of the Phantoms, defying gravity! The blade of the whirring knife landed almost -neatly- in the thing's head.
[22:02] <Asuka‘> [The blade sank in, and the Evangelion started spasming…. Before it exploded backwards, sending EVA-01 slamming into a nearby conveyor belt.-
[22:04] <Asuka`> ["… odd, some sort of electromagnetic interference…"]
[22:06] * Yanmei stared at something on a monitor, an uneasy feeling flooding her.
[22:07] <Asuka`> "Nng…" Asuka hissed in her plug. "Stop it, you idiots…!"
[22:09] * Aline on the other hand seemed to… simply look nonplussed. "…The hell." 00 /lazily/ leaned over to try to take a bite out of the remaining phantom. Then, pausing and clacking its mandibles annoyedly… it spat a little glob of acid at it half-heartedly. "I didn’t detect a specific field inside them. I didn't even detect the EVA's own field. Either they're messing with us, or… Well.
[22:09] * Aline Dr. Riel seems to not like the g-word."
[22:09] * Sept laboriously climbed up from the ruined conveyor belt. "O-ow… H-hey. What was that..? Asuka, what is it?"
[22:10] <Asuka‘> [The Evangelion shifted away from the acid, its head turning about worriedly. It brought the bolter up.-
[22:13] <Asuka`> [Alarms rang out, all across the factory. The worker-phantoms looked up at the roof, panicky and scared. "All civilians be advised: we are now at Emergency Code One. All civilians, please proceed to the emergency evacuation area and await further orders. I repeat…"-
[22:15] <Asuka`> [Screams rang out, and the pilots could see the phantom workers running in fear. Some of them… Fell, and didn’t get up again- bleeding as they did so… Real blood. Shapes were moving in and out of the crowd, humanoid shapes with long claws that cut people down before vanishing. "HELP!" A clump of workers ran for EVA-00, screaming for help, staring up at it, no doubt seeing it… Before some vague -thing- reaped the air through them, sending them tumbling to the ground.-
[22:16] <Asuka‘> [The surviving Phantom Evangelion was looking about now, swinging its bolter wildly from 00 to 04. It staggered backward from some unseen blow, a horde of little nondescript shapes running up its arms and torso.]
[22:19] * Aline muttered to herself, but it was audible. "…Why are you showing this to us? Is there a why?" She closed her eyes, and seemed to be tensing up. "…No way to communicate back…"
[22:19] <Asuka`> "Stop it…" Asuka didn’t seem to be listening. "Stop showing me these things…" EVA-02 surged forward, trying to grasp the Phantom to no avail. "No! No, I'm -not letting you die again-!"
[22:23] <Sept> "Asuka! No one's g-going to die here!" Sera snapped at the girl, but just as quickly the aggressive tone faded again. "Just… You're sounding like Atticus. Stop it. -Please-."
[22:24] <Yanmei> Yanmei seemed to follow her lead, sprintin forward a short distance and ramming a shoulder into it, knocking it off-balance. "There. Nice and non-lethal…"
[22:25] <Asuka‘> [The Evangelion smashed into the ground, the armor cracking- and yet it didn’t seem to stop cracking. Phantom monsters skittered over a chestplate, prying it up with the sound of tearing metal. A horde of them burrowed into the Eva's body, then into the Plug- which cracked… Before the entire thing faded away.-
[22:27] <Asuka‘> "NO!" Asuka clearly wasn’t listening to anyone. After the Evangelion vanished, she sat in her plug, her head bowed low. "… All… Just fakes. Just ghosts, right? They're not real." She was taking deep breaths.
[22:28] * Aline was acting as if she was entirely ignoring the whole deal, now that they had it under control. 00 was just waltzing into the armory. "It'd seem. Try to think of something, anything else… if you lose your cool, things could go very bad…" Why the hell was she so chill?
[22:28] <Asuka‘> "SHUT UP!"
[22:28] <Aline> "…Okay." Simple as that.
[22:31] <Asuka`> ["… Ahh. So they finished it." Murmured Dr. Riel.]
[22:31] * Yanmei seemed irritated by… something. She glanced over at 02 again, though, with a little more worried expression. "Here. Let’s just try to move quickly, all right? Get out of here fast…"
[22:32] * Aline made it a point to switch off broadcasting to Asuka for the time being, and tilted her head a tad. "Ah, Sera. The prototype hardware here… it's meant for your unit."
[22:32] <Raphael> "At least for the moment, Doctor." The APC continued its trek across the factory floor…
[22:33] <Asuka‘> [Dr. Riel nodded to Raphael, then back to the screen. "The F-Type Equipment we’ll leave here. It's too hard to install ad-hoc, but the Charged Shield we should grab right away."]
[22:34] <Sept> "I-it is? Right. I should… take it, then." Sera passed by Asuka on his way to the armory, trying his best not to look.
[22:36] * Aline tapped her chin. "It's a pity it's too big to portal out of here."
[22:37] <Sept> "If it works, I guess I could let go of this for now…"
[22:37] <Sept> "Or… do any of you need a shield?"
[22:38] <Asuka‘> "… I’ll take it for now."
[22:38] <Aline> "You go through one every sortie… and /I'm/ fine without one. My shield's right here." Aline tapped her chest, for once /not/ mirroring it with 00. She meant her soul. Also still muted for Asuka out of respect.
[22:41] <Sept> "Ah… good. Take care of it, Asuka." Sera handed the thing over with an almost ceremonial air. Then, it was box rummaging time.
[22:41] <Asuka‘> [Inside the box… Was a shield. A thickened shield bigger than the one he was used to. It… Had a switch on the inside. And a sword. A long sword, with a strange powerline running across the flat of the blade…]
[22:41] * Yanmei seemed to be keeping watch at the entrance to the armory. A quick glance in ad been enough to satisfy her curiosity… either that, or she was still uneasy about something outside of it.
[22:46] <Asuka`> ["Alright. Evangelions, head over to the cargo elevator in the middle of the room. It’ll probably have to be remote activated, so stay put until Captain Guillory's team hits the switch in the office." She herself was climbing out of the APC as it came to a stop.]
[22:46] <Sept> "Hmmh… odd. At least it's a bit more sturdy." Sera tried the weight of the thing, frowning, but soon grew bored of it. "Got it. We'll keep going."
[22:48] * Aline looked very tense all of a sudden, but… nodded. "Right. Also. If one of you, any of you, have a means of providing a live video feed, I /highly/ suggest you turn it on and transmit to 00 if you get into far too much trouble. Video counts, for seeing a portal endpoint."
[22:48] * Asuka‘ took a deep breath. "… This place is reacting to my own memories. Those kids… Were… Friends of mine who died in the Plug, back before we knew how to make them work properly."
[22:50] <Sept> "…I’m sorry. Do you think you'll be alright..? I don't want you to do anything hasty. You still owe me, remember?"
[22:52] <Asuka‘> "Hah. Of course. How could I forget?" She tried a smile.
[22:56] <Aline> With little to no fanfare - and no chatter from Aline - 00 literally flew mere meters over the ground to the elevator, calmly walking into its boundaries, and waiting for the others.
[22:59] <Yanmei> "We’ll be fine." A grin from Yanmei came much more easily as she moved forward at a much slower pace. "All of us will."
[22:59] <Sept> "Right." Sera made a less valiant attempt at one. He joined the others at the elevator wordlessly.
[23:01] * Aline …tuuuuurned around. 00 even looked behind itself. If the thing could blink, it would. Aline's eyes, on the screen, dilated. "…Shit. Now I'm seeing things."
[23:03] <Sept> "What is it? Aline?" Sera turned toward 00 warily.
[23:08] * Aline twitched. Then twitched some more. She was… lifting her hands and staring at them. Then /down/. She muttered nigh-incoherently, though phrases could be heard. "N-n-n-no. Destiny… It's… no. It'll protect me from… [unintelligible] …the light, those… those /wings/… [unintelligible] …I can't… you're wrong. You're wrong! You're all… [unintelligible] …defying the
[23:08] * Aline original… [unintelligible] …kill you!"
[23:10] <Yanmei> A quick sprint, and Yanmei found herself on the lift as well. And staring. "Looks like it's not just Asuka's memories? But…?" She looked around in confusion, seeing nothing.
[23:12] * Asuka‘ reached out and -grabbed- EVA-00 by the arm, shaking it. "Snap out of it! It’s not real…"-
[23:12] <Asuka‘> [A faint wisp of phantom fog seemed to hang in the air around them…]
[23:14] * Aline …unbelievably enough, responded to the shake. She could see 02 out there doing that. Hear Asuka’s words. She restored comms to 02, and… Took a deep breath. But tears were starting to form. "I'm… sorry. It… I thought I had gotten too numb. It found a way in. I… can't describe what it showed me, but I'm… sorry for acting so unaffected before."
[23:15] <Asuka‘> "This place does stuff to you. It’s alright, Aline."
[23:15] * Aline nodded quickly. "Right. Let's try our best to keep on."
[23:21] <Sept> "You're not here. You're not here. I'll save you, but not… h-here…" Sera's voice was cracking, but… he seemed to be keeping it otherwise together.
[23:23] <Yanmei> It was not just nothing that Yanmei was staring at. She was looking straight up as if watching something bearing down from above, stunned, both hands on her injured leg's thigh.
[23:24] <Asuka‘> "Nnngh… Go -away-… That’s… No. He…"
[23:29] * Aline stared forward… "Moving from terror to torturing us with ourselves… Fight! Fight with every happiness you believe in! All these sorrowful moments… they have counterpoints. We got better, didn't we? Didn't we?!"
[23:34] * Yanmei was not listening. She did, however, seem to compose herself after a moment, her gaze returning to normal. "Ugh. What?"
[23:34] <Sept> Sept's mumbling was bordering on the inaudible, and was interrupted by gasping breaths periodically. "But how can I… so weak… Always…" A pause. "I-I'm s-sorry, I shouldn't…"
[23:43] <Yanmei> Yanmei seemed to be reacting to something more mundane, now, looking significantly more soured. While she was momentarily muted, her lips were forming the shapes of words like. "Jerkface" and "Stupid Dorian"
[23:45] * Sept took a step back toward the centre of the elevator, 01's head turning as he surveyed the great hall. Then, the giant jerked violently as Sera screamed. It wasn't in pain, but surprise and abject terror. "AAAAWHEREAREYOUSTAYOUTSTAYOUT"
[23:47] * Aline bit her lip… "Come on. We… we can't let it win." She looked /angry/. And as 00's field probed again, she… well she probably was. "/Show yourself already!/"
[23:50] * Sept was squirming around in his plug wildly, whining noises only intermittently stopped by words. "-it's Voriel it's back /ALINE/-!!"
[23:52] * Aline marched over… and 00 attempted to shoot at what Aline saw, with yet another glob of spit. "I know. The real one /told me/. He's just as confused as we are."
[00:02] <Asuka‘> "M…"
[00:03] <Yanmei> "Wh- now what?!" Yanmei, back on the air, panning around quickly.
[00:09] * Aline peered about, troubled. "…Whatever’s doing this lies within. I wish we'd have the chance to move in soon… Stop this madness."
[00:09] * Yanmei didn't spot anything, to her frustration. She stared a moment at Asuka, who seemed to be having the roughest time of them all right now, and… moved forward, arms outstreched, trying to ignore the voice in the back of her head that was screaming about how unprofessional this was. "Asuka! Calm down!" An embrace, both guns still gripped in her hands, adding to the awkwardness. "We won't let it hurt you, so…"
[00:10] <Asuka‘> "Mom… I-I… W-won’t…" She shuddered…-
[00:13] <Asuka‘> [… Suddenly, EVA-02… Slumped, its eyes dying. Its AT Field drained away.]
[00:15] * Aline shook her head suddenly, and stared at 02. "…Oh goddamnit this is…" She clenched her fists! "This is getting so fucking old!"
[00:17] <Sept> "-Aline-…" His voice was unwavering by now, but the tone was still as pleading as ever. 01 was staring at the floor.
[00:18] <Yanmei> The hug did nothing. It took a moment after a certain amount of disorientation to register what was happening, her own head still spinning slight. "Colonel? Do we still have contact? Can you tell us what’s wrong with 02?"
[00:18] <Yanmei> ^slightly
[00:19] <Asuka‘> ["It… Looks like it’s rebooting. Odd. The plug's perfectly active but for some reason she hasn't reactivated her unit fully."]
[00:21] <Yanmei> "Is the pilot-?" A distraction. "Excuse me. One moment."
[00:25] * Aline muttered something, and it clipped slightly, asi f she just turned back on her mic/camera. "…Trying something." …00 started to power down?!
[00:26] * Yanmei was doing something as well, but only to her AT field. It dissolved. "Asuka's OK. She's suggesting we turn off our fields."
[00:27] <Sept> "I knew I could count on you, sis." 01's AT Field flashed and faded away.
[00:33] * Yanmei waited. For 00 and 02. To see if the trick would work. For a moment, there was nothing. And then… Yanmei gasped! "C-Colonel!"
[00:33] <Asuka‘> ["What?"]
[00:34] <Yanmei> "Isaiah! He’s…!" There was a losing struggle with a wave of panic. "You have to call command! Send someone to check on him! He's in trouble! Hurt!"
[00:35] <Asuka‘> ["What?! How- the Libido…"]
[00:35] * Aline was gasping, and looking a bit dazed… but she booted 00 back up. "Fucking… hell. Fucking hell! Raise your goddamn AT Fields, it was all a trap!"
[00:39] <Yanmei> "N-not worth…? No! It’s bad it's baditsbadithurtsIsaiahdon'tgo!!" Curling up in her plug. "Come back! Don't…!"
[00:40] <Asuka‘> ["Yanmei! Yanmei! It’s fine! He's alright! Nothing happened…"]
[00:40] <Sept> "Shut…" Sera wheeled around… "UP!!" …and -tackled- 00, pinning it helplessly to the ground before its systems finished coming back online. His knife was raised.
[00:42] <Yanmei> Sobbing, hands over her face. Yanmei's comm went dead.
[00:46] * Aline shook her head, as 00 began to finally respond. "…Sera… You… idiot. I need some time to think. I'll be back." This time, she'd try it! 00 began to raise an AT Field… only for it to act… weird. It shimmered as if raising normally, but then… somehow pulled in on itself. Like the light /bended/ and /folded/ through the distortion. 00 melted into nowhere.
[00:53] * Sept yelled in frustration as the figure disappeared from under her. His field shimmered back into life… and he found he could still sense her. With his mind, Sera reached toward where she'd been, feeling around… and finding something. He -pulled-.
[00:55] <Aline> …hard enough that 00 /popped back in place/, before the weird shimmering image that was starting to form, even could. Aline's voice on the comms sounded delirious. "Headache the siiiize of the mooooon…"
[00:57] <Yanmei> 04 was completely still. No effort to stop or progress the fight. No sign that its pilot even knew that it was going on yet.
[00:58] <Sept> "Aline. ALINE!" Sera took hold of 00 and shook it violently. "Get yourself together! Answer me!"
[01:01] * Aline stared up at Sera, looking upset, if still somewhat dizzy. "…Sera. Please don't randomly stab me. And… please, don't do that again. Being blown out of my Dirac Sea, /right/ when I was beginning to have a chance to chill out without whatever-the-hell getting into my head… really was a moodkiller."
[01:02] <Asuka‘> "Eurgh!" Asuka shook her head. "That… That bastard! It stole my face! My body! I’LL KILL IT!"
[01:04] <Asuka‘> [… Suddenly, the elevator -lurched.-
[01:05] <Asuka`> [… And started to shift down. Down, down, down…-
[01:05] <Asuka`> […Into a long, dark corridor…]
[01:05] * Sept stared back without reaction. Then, he pulled a hand back and hit 00 with an armored fist, hard. Not hard enough to notably damage the armor, but hard enough. "I’ve given everything to you, and you haven't kept them from my head once." He let go. "Now get the fuck up and figure out where it is."
[01:07] * Aline stood up… and was annoyed. "Sera. I don't have magical keep-them-from-molesting-your-brains powers." …She paused. "…Actually. Sera. You know that thing I just did? If I use it… then do another trick… I could pull all of us - and that reactor - into the Sea. It can't reach us there. If we ever need a second to just /chill/, say the word." …Of course, now she was faced
[01:07] * Aline with The Darkness.
[01:17] <Yanmei> The elevator stopped. Still off communication lines, 04 moved forward, a touch zombielike, awkward. At least it was being cooperative?
[01:18] <Asuka‘> ["… Yanmei? Are you back with us?"]
[01:20] <Yanmei> The attempt didn’t get blocked from her side. "*mumblemumble*… yes." Her voice was hoarse. A little stunned and… embarrassed?
[01:21] <Asuka‘> ["Isaiah is alright, Yanmei. He’s perfectly fine. He's been taken to HQ so you don't have to worry." Dorian sighed. "What a -mess-. You're doing good though, kids."]
[01:22] * Sept stayed silent for his part as the elevator's journey came to a halt. As the group advanced, he stayed in the middle of the group. He tried to be ready for anything.
[01:24] * Aline sighed into the comms. "…Yeah. Yanmei… please, you shouldn't be so embarrassed by that. It's… it's trying to eat our minds with our fears. You heard me. I sounded insane - okay, /more/ insane. You… you can't do worse than me there. You really can't. Yan-yan. You're doing okay. You're normal. You're fine! You don't… have to see the things… I do. You're not gone enough
[01:24] * Aline that it feels it needs to pull out /that/. Let's just get this over with."
[01:26] <Yanmei> "Y-yeah." She took in the stream of words as if she wasn't sure what to do with it. Since she was still in the process of putting herself together enough to reclaim some composure, it was a little harder than usual to sound confident about it.
[19:22] <Asuka‘> [01:04] <Asuka`> [… Suddenly, the elevator -lurched.-
[19:22] <Asuka`> [01:05] <Asuka`> [… And started to shift down. Down, down, down…-
[19:22] <Asuka`> [01:05] <Asuka`> […Into a long, dark corridor…]
[19:22] <Asuka`> [01:05] * Sept stared back without reaction. Then, he pulled a hand back and hit 00 with an armored fist, hard. Not hard enough to notably damage the armor, but hard enough. "I’ve given everything to you, and you haven't kept them from my head once." He let go. "Now get the fuck up and figure out where it is."
[19:22] <Asuka‘> [01:07] * Aline stood up… and was annoyed. "Sera. I don’t have magical keep-them-from-molesting-your-brains powers." …She paused. "…Actually. Sera. You know that thing I just did? If I use it… then do another trick… I could pull all of us - and that reactor - into the Sea. It can't reach us there. If we ever need a second to just /chill/, say the word." …Of course, now she was faced
[19:22] <Asuka‘> [01:07] * Aline with The Darkness.
[19:22] <Asuka`> [01:17] <Yanmei> The elevator stopped. Still off communication lines, 04 moved forward, a touch zombielike, awkward. At least it was being cooperative?
[19:22] <Asuka`> [01:18] <Asuka`> ["… Yanmei? Are you back with us?"]
[19:22] <Asuka`> [01:20] <Yanmei> The attempt didn’t get blocked from her side. "*mumblemumble*… yes." Her voice was hoarse. A little stunned and… embarrassed?
[19:22] <Asuka‘> [01:21] <Asuka`> ["Isaiah is alright, Yanmei. He’s perfectly fine. He's been taken to HQ so you don't have to worry." Dorian sighed. "What a -mess-. You're doing good though, kids."]
[19:22] <Asuka‘> [01:22] * Sept stayed silent for his part as the elevator’s journey came to a halt. As the group advanced, he stayed in the middle of the group. He tried to be ready for anything.
[19:22] <Asuka‘> [01:24] * Aline sighed into the comms. "…Yeah. Yanmei… please, you shouldn’t be so embarrassed by that. It's… it's trying to eat our minds with our fears. You heard me. I sounded insane - okay, /more/ insane. You… you can't do worse than me there. You really can't. Yan-yan. You're doing okay. You're normal. You're fine! You don't… have to see the things… I do. You're not gone enough
[19:22] <Asuka‘> [01:24] * Aline that it feels it needs to pull out /that/. Let’s just get this over with."
[19:22] <Asuka‘> [01:26] <Yanmei> "Y-yeah." She took in the stream of words as if she wasn’t sure what to do with it. Since she was still in the process of putting herself together enough to reclaim some composure, it was a little harder than usual to sound confident about it.
[19:28] <Asuka‘> "… I remember this place." Muttered Asuka. She eyed the inert Pallet Turrets that lined the corridor as she walked.
[19:29] * Aline thought on that, as she came down from her dramatic speech. "…Should I get rid of them, or will that just turn them on early…?" A brief gesture at the turrets with 00’s gun.
[19:32] <Asuka‘> "Probably turn them on. They’re pallet guns, anyway. Nothing to worry about."
[19:32] <Sept> "There's a lot of them. If there's any chance we could get past without them activating…"
[19:33] <Aline> "Ah. You have a point. Worst comes to worst, you can just let me shield you guys or something. We should get moving…"
[19:34] <Asuka‘> [There were rooms to each side, accessible through Evangelion-sized corridors. There were thick windows one could peer through to get an idea of what was inside…]
[19:35] * Yanmei decided to peer through some as they passed, eying over the guns uneasily as well.
[19:36] <Asuka`> [There were… Consoles. Computer consoles, some of them still flickering. But beyond that…-
[19:36] <Asuka`> [Synchronisation plugs. Some of them empty, some of them filled and leaking LCL- others, blood.]
[19:37] <Asuka`> [A faint voice sounded over the loudspeaker. "Subjects #24 through to #94 are to begin Synchronisation testing immediately. I repeat…"]
[19:39] <Yanmei> "Ugh, it figures," she muttered to herself. "… 24 through 94? How many test subjects could they have…?"
[19:41] <Asuka`> ["Pilots. Can you hear me? Dr. Riel has just discovered something."]
[19:41] * Aline muttered. "…Hundreds…" But then the comms got her attention. "…Is it bad?"
[19:42] * Sept was too busy glancing around nervously, trying to keep his wits about him enough to shield his partners from any attack. He was the shielder. It’s him. Not Aline :|
[19:45] <Asuka‘> ["Yes. I’ll skip the science: she thinks we're dealing with a berserk EVA-07 powered by a working S2 organ."]
[19:46] <Yanmei> "God… the Bellamies…" Fucking NERV. She was trying to look straight ahead now.
[19:47] * Aline blinked. "…Well, but… Doesn't that just give it unlimited power? Why are we being bombarded by… all of /this/?" She seemed confused and a bit dismayed at that seeming gap.
[19:47] <Asuka‘> ["We believe the strength being harnessed by the Dual Plug system is… Higher than expected. I’m not really sure. Dr. Riel is going to try to find out more information."]
[19:47] <Sept> "Adrian… Fucking warned him…"
[19:48] * Aline nodded morosely. "…Right. I'll be cautious."
[19:49] <Yanmei> "It's not -his- fault," Yanmei pointed out sourly. "07 was an experimental unit. It was supposed to be more powerful than any EVA to date. In theory."
[19:51] <Asuka‘> [… Crunch. Crunch.-
[19:51] <Asuka`> [Four phantom Evangelions- their forms slightly transparent- emerged from four hallways. Each one of them bore bolters, and looked around in that vaguely jittery way that the others had…]
[19:52] * Yanmei kept moving. They weren’t immediately blocking them, so…
[19:52] * Aline stared warily. "…More illusory targets…"
[19:55] * Yanmei … stopped suddenly short, her expression pained, eyes flicking around as if expecting to see something.
[19:55] <Asuka‘> "…" Asuka stared at the one closest to her. "…"
[19:59] <Sept> "…everyone. We should make a sweep of these rooms before we go." A flat tone.
[19:59] <Yanmei> "Why?"
[19:59] * Aline blinked. "…Er? What do you even think is…?" 00 bunny-hopped to close up beside 04. For some reason, Aline sounded and looked… a lot more confused about what some of her comrades were going on about.
[20:00] <Asuka`> EVA-02 reached out and gently pushed one of the Phantoms. It was quite solid…
[20:00] <Sept> "We can’t afford to miss anything investigating this, can we?"
[20:01] <Aline> "You sound like you have some extra reason…" Aline wasn't saying that with suspicion, but actually, with open concern.
[20:01] <Yanmei> "Yeah, seriously? Why don't you try to tell us the real reason why."
[20:05] <Sept> "Always doubting me… We have no idea how this bubble works, do we? We might find survivors, and information." Sera scoffed, and turned back to face the strange Evangelion. "If you're worried, I'm completely capable of checking this one out by myself."-
[20:06] * Sept reached out a careful hand, patting the giant's head with his shielded hand. "Mind letting me through?" He asked softly.
[20:10] <Yanmei> "Knock yourself out," said Yanmei, her voice neither sour nor overtly cheerful. It didn't seem like she was about to follow either way.
[20:11] <Asuka‘> [The Evangelion tilted its head at the pat, then… Started to slowly walk down the corridor.]
[20:12] * Sept followed suit, knife and shield unthreateningly lowered.
[20:25] * Yanmei lingered where she was, and prepared to linger even further. But she was distracted, shifting her weight, glancing over her shoulder distractedly, until finally, she eyed one of the remaining Phantoms EVAs from a distance and started to close the gap.
[20:27] * Aline sighed deeply… and finally decided to dash up to the last phantom. "…Okay. Let’s… get on with the inevitable torment…" She did certainly sound, well. Morose. Or just bothered.
[20:30] <Yanmei> "You're…" a hint of something there, as she addressed the EVA. Warmth? As if she recognised it. She laid down her bolter for a moment, so that she could extend a handshake. "I knew there was another reason…"
[20:33] <Asuka‘> [The Evangelion reached out, and shook the hand… Slowly. Before slowly walking down the corridor.]
[20:41] * Yanmei reached for her guns. Hesitated. The logic portion of her brain was warning her of a trap. She followed her host anyway, running a little to catch up.
[20:44] * Aline stopped, a dark look crossing her face. "…This feels wrong. This feels… wrong…" 00 stood silently. The hesitation was plain in Aline’s voice.
[20:44] <Asuka‘> [The Evangelion peering at Aline held out a Prog Knife. Handle first.]
[20:45] <Asuka`> [The Phantom staring at EVA-01 seemed to… Short out, falling to its knees. It tried to drag itself back up with its claws, but they just went through the side.-
[20:46] <Asuka`> [But within… Within, Sept could see… Shadows. Phantom children being led into the plugs. And more. And more… An endless stream of children like a conveyor belt, and none ever came out.]
[20:47] <Aline> 00 stared silently. It gripped its own weapon firmly, but not levelled. Violet, glassine eyes stared impassively.
[20:57] * Aline then… breathed out a deep sigh. and lowered the weapon. "Let this light symbolize your passing." …A soft ’whoosh'… and then the powerful eruption of an angel's cross blasting through the phantasm, and clipping the walls and ceiling!
[20:58] <Asuka‘> [The ground seemed to melt a little at the sheer heat, but the phantom split apart easily… Leaving nothing but silence.-
[20:58] <Asuka`> [… Although the plugs near Aline would shake, some of them falling out of their holdings and bursting open to spill pools of LCL onto the ground.]
[20:59] * Aline sharply inhaled at that, but did nothing else. 00 remained silent once more, for now.
[21:01] <Sept> There was no indication of any disturbance from Sept’s corridor, for a time. Up until there came a cacophonous series of crashes, metal squealing, glass shattering… A healthy portion of the plugs' LCL spattered across the observation glass.
[21:04] <Asuka‘> [… Beep. Beep. A nervous voice came over the loudspeakers. "Oh God… Security breach in the research area! W-We think it’s broken loose-" The Pallet Guns suddenly started to rotate and activate.]
[21:06] <Asuka‘> "…Nnngh." Asuka hissed as her Evangelion dissolved with a howl. "Damnit, no, I- I said no… urgh! Look! The turrets are awake!" She stamped back out into the corridor.
[21:07] * Aline nodded. She was calm - if slightly lingeringly disturbed by something - and… spoke something that almost sounded like an order. "Stay somewhat clear, and I’ll try to annihilate as much as I can with AT assaults."
[21:10] <Sept> "They're still just pallet weapons. I'll help. This one's clear." A much calmer, more resolute Sept emerged into the hallway.
[21:11] <Yanmei> "Hate this place." A mutter from Yanmei as 04 made a reppearence at the mouth of her corridor. "What happened, anyway?"
[21:11] <Asuka‘> "They must’ve reacted to all the structural damage…"
[21:19] <Aline> "Probably. Let's hope they don't mind a little more." …00's hand moved in a wide arc… and then a powerful blade of AT force traced along the air, basically cutting to shreds a whole oodle of turrets near 04.
[21:19] <Asuka‘> [Sliced through them with utter ease, sending them sparking and dying.-
[21:19] <Asuka`> "Heh. That’s not bad…"
[21:20] <Aline> "Yeah, though, hell. That's what I do instead, on account of being so shitty at what you do best. Either way, let's clean these things up, just so if it fucks with our heads and makes us lower our fields again, we don't get shot up."
[21:33] <Asuka‘> [A rain of gunshots rang out now, aimed at EVA-00 and 02…-
[21:33] <Yanmei> Returning gunfire, from Yanmei. Although it’s centered on the pallets just a few yards to Aline's right, which blow up in flames and sparking metal.
[21:33] <Asuka‘> [… Although the damage they did was negligible, and Asuka ended two more with a swing of her blade.]
[21:34] * Aline sensed them coming, and 00 dodged completely gracefully… before extending a fist. The index finger snapped. The last turret near her erupted in another cross, the stationary weapon totally unable to evade its fate.
[21:34] <Asuka`> [The metal and cabling vaporised from the sheer heat.]
[21:44] <Sept> Sera grappled with a lone turret as the others decimated most of the others. It fired off a futile burst at the plating covering 01’s chest, right before it was turn out and tossed onto the floor, fizzing away its last signs of life.
[21:46] <Sept> "Right. Let's… let's regroup. Before something else comes."
[21:46] * Aline turned about, thinking that… "Something's amiss…" Nonetheless, 00 made its way towards the door, and the yet-again familiar sensation of her probing outwards with its field came out.
[21:46] <Yanmei> Yanmei fired another shot at one of the turrets closet to Sept. "Let's get to the door and move-!" The hairs on the back of her neck stood up. EVA-04 whipped around suddenly.
[21:51] <Asuka‘> "Nngh. Ok." Asuka placed her Chainsword down for a second before tugging the doors open to the Contact Room…-
[21:52] <Aline> "Uh… guys…" Aline began nervously. "Colonel, you might want to listen too, even if you have to reroute it to science team just to understand it. But uh." She shook her head, and swallowed ai- LCL. "I’m picking up something very wrong. Like… the opposite of an AT Field. Something that /eats/ other fields just by existing. I think that's what happened here. I… I think those 'ghosts'
[21:52] <Aline> broke out because something… I don't know how to simplify… Like an egg. Like they cracked the shells of each soul's 'egg'. That's… that's why I felt that swarm of human fields. We should be /extremely/ careful."
[21:52] <Asuka‘> [Within was… A chamber. The walls were lined with an observation deck that didn’t seem to have any obvious way to access it. Hanging from the walls were… Evangelion limbs. Arms. Legs. A torso and arms hung from hooks. There was a massive hole in the ground, where something had -ripped- open the floor. And, in a mass against the other wall…-
[21:53] <Asuka‘> [… Was Asmodel. It was obviously Asmodel, the Angel in a prone position. Cords and machines ran from its skin and flesh, and a hole had been dug into its back…-
[21:53] <Asuka`> [… A hole out of which an Entry Plug now sat.-
[21:53] <Asuka`> "… No way."
[21:53] <Asuka`> [The Colonel nodded quietly. "I’ll relay it to Dr. Riel as soon as I can."]
[21:54] * Aline stared rather intensely. "…That's just irresponsible." But… a curt nod. "Thank you."
[21:55] <Asuka‘> ["We’re having contact trouble with the other team, Blanc." Said Dorian tersely.]
[21:56] * Yanmei made her way into the room now too, struggling to shake that feeling off and coming up short. The Asmodel experiment did little to improve her mood, and she stared at it in open disgust.
[21:56] <Sept> "Raphael…" Sera shook his head.
[21:57] * Aline sighed. "Not. Surprised. Do what you can, but… keep watch. It'll probably be bothering us more than them, thank god." But she turned to the others, now. "…We'd better stop it before it can raise a field like that. If its range is too wide… the APC team won't stand a chance. Let's go!"
[21:57] <Asuka‘> [… "Begin the contact experiment with the Fifth." Came a faded voice from the speakers within the Contact Room.-
[21:58] <Asuka`> ["Yes, Doctor." … … "… It… Everything seems to be going as ex- what the-"-
[21:58] <Asuka`> [… A siren started to ring out. "All security teams on standby! How the hell did it-?!" "I-I don’t know sir, the Core was well and truly destroyed…"-
[21:59] <Asuka‘> [… The Entry Plug in Asmodel slid deeper into it. The Pilots would notice that the observation deck windows were starting to be coated in blood as faded memories flickered, then died, over and over…]
[22:00] * Sept kept staring. "We just h-have to kill it now, right?"
[22:01] <Asuka`> [Asmodel still wasn’t moving. But that unfinished torso… If it had a head, it'd be staring right at 01.]
[22:04] * Sept advanced toward the husk carefully. Why was it so much more frightening now than when it was moving, and wrecking Paris?
[22:04] <Yanmei> Yanmei. She was smiling a little now, eyes on the observation deck as the memories flashed. "What, then, if not that? What are we even supposed to be looking for down here?"
[22:05] <Asuka‘> "…" Asuka peered down into the hole below. "Huh. I think… Odd. This is new."
[22:05] * Sept couldn’t take his eyes off Asmodel. "What is?"
[22:06] * Aline looked around. "…What is it, Asuka?" …and a pause. "Chances are, we're looking for 07. The Pr-… Asmodel, was never capable of nulling AT Fields like that. That's… far too disturbing an ability for something as simple and bestial."
[22:06] <Asuka‘> "Well…" EVA-02 crouched. Stared down…-
[22:06] <Asuka`> "It’s like… This isn't some random hole. There's actually something down there. A room."
[22:07] <Yanmei> "Then let's go." Yanmei moved forward for a closer look herself. "Who wants in first?"
[22:07] <Aline> "…NERV has a habit of doing that, trust me." But Aline outright /grimaced/. "Whatever's down there, it's probably even /more/ horrifying than this stuff. Be ready."
[22:08] <Sept> "I can go first. If we're really sure about this."
[22:11] <Yanmei> "We are." 04 tilted its head slightly. "We've got nothing to lose, in any case?"
[22:11] * Aline turned pretty grim. "And everything to lose by not stopping this thing."
[22:13] <Sept> "Right. Well." Sera strafed a few steps toward the hole, still -staring-. And then took a little running start and hopped in.
[22:15] <Asuka‘> "Hey, Yanmei~" Asuka headed over to the hole and dived in backwards, doing a backflip. "Dynamic~ Entry-~"
[22:17] <Yanmei> "Heh." Yanmei grinned, stepped over to the hole herself, stepped out, and then descended slowly, as if one an invisible elevator. "Not bad!"
[22:18] <Yanmei> ^on an
[22:18] <Aline> 00 followed along soon thereafter, not even really playing the invisible elevator card. It just hovered down like some kind of descending angel. (…not that kind.) (…maybe that kind.)
[01:28] * Yanmei choked…. on air, LCL, reaching for her own throat. Where… the plug? She stared at the console in front of her.
[01:29] * Aline gasped in /heavily pained/ shock, but she came to nonetheless. Eyes quickly raced around to try to identify where the everloving hell 00 had ended up.
[01:44] <Asuka`> [It… Took a while for the pilots’ heads to clear.-
[01:47] <Asuka‘> [But when their vision cleared, they’d find themselves… In an outright ghastly place. A massive, massive room, over a kilometre long, stained deeply with blood, gore… Dried and fresh. And built into this room were deep, deep trenches, filled to the brim with bodies. Some of them were giant Evangelion skeletons and corpses; Evangelion skulls, ribcages, hands and spines. But so, so many were human, too…]
[01:49] * Yanmei worked through enough of her heartache to lift her eyes. She wished that she hadn't. It was a long time further until she could find her voice, and she had to swallow several times first. "H-hello? Are you three still with me?"
[01:50] <Asuka‘> "Y… Yeah."
[01:50] <Sept> "Hhhgk..!" Deep, gasping breaths as Sera’s consciousness returned to him. "Thank you, brother…" he whispered. 01 gripped its weapons tightly and faced the monster. "Yanmei… Yes, I-I'm here."
[01:51] * Aline popped her screen up. "Present. Let's put ourselves together and /end this/!" If Aline looked less grim, she'd almost be making a shonen-media-style RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION face. Instead… instead it looked far too war-weary.
[01:54] <Asuka‘> [A… Shape sits at the middle of the room. It’s obviously an Evangelion, but pale, thin, sicky and naked, bereft of its armor. It's sitting on a pile of corpses, its hands holding… Something.-
[01:54] <Asuka‘> [Echoes whisper around the room…]
[01:55] <Yanmei> "Good." Yanmei edged forward in her seat. She squinted. "Is that thing really alive?"
[01:55] * Aline almost spat her reply. "If it is, it won’t be for long."
[01:58] <Sept> "Right. Just a little longer… Then they'll be free."
[02:01] <Yanmei> "I doubt I have to say it? But let's stick together. No one running out ahead unless you have a really good reason." She felt more and more composed as she talked and them moved, following her own advice and sticking relatively close
[02:05] * Asuka‘ moves ahead as well, in formation!
[02:06] * Aline moved ahead a lot slower… and focused herself. 00’s AT Field began to shimmer around its positron rifle. "…Lining up the shot…"
[02:07] <Asuka‘> [Groans of pain and agony. The walls themselves seem to scream a little and bend as the zombie-like Evangelion starts to wail.]
[02:09] <Yanmei> "Ugh." Yanmei sloshed on a little further, and raised her positron rifle, staring down the sights. "I’ll let you two move ahead of me."
[02:11] <Sept> "Right. Don't stray too far. I can't do anything if you go off on your own."
[02:14] * Aline exhaled. 00's eyes focused. Everything perfect. Serenity in a single shot. Her field twisted around the positron rifle… and it fired! Positrons streamed faster than once thought possible.
[02:16] <Asuka‘> [The beam punched through the thing’s AT Field and vaporised its head, and half the body. It stiffened, before falling backward and dissolving into LCL…-
[02:17] <Asuka‘> [… Dissolution that didn’t stop with the Eva. It spread, and spread, until all the bodies and corpses of human being (and some of the larger fragments of Evangelions) were nothing more than a floating pool of LCL.-
[02:17] <Asuka‘> [… And then, suddenly, -everything- went wrong. Alarms sounded across the boneyard, followed by screams of agony and horror from the bone pits.]
[02:18] * Aline almost immediately lost that sniper’s-chill. "F-f-fuck, a trap?… No… it triggered something. Hang on!"
[02:20] * Yanmei cursed under her breath, dropping her aim, a congratulatory remark lost for now. "A way out! There has to be…!"
[02:21] <Sept> "The elevator..? Is it still working? Or is this…" 01 stood its ground, for now.
[02:22] * Aline shook her head. "We can fly, remember?"
[02:23] <Asuka‘> [… Near the end of the room, something… Was forming. No. -Emerging-.-
[02:24] <Asuka`> [It… Was an Evangelion. Slightly thicker and bulkier than usual. Its armour was light purple, mostly, with light blue highlights- the LCL dripped of it as it rose.-
[02:25] <Asuka`> [… Its eyes were empty. But with a sudden rush of power, they flared to life, brighter than any Evangelion’s eyes had been…-
[02:25] <Asuka‘> [Its shoulder pylons were missing. Instead, from its back formed four, giant wings…-
[02:25] <Asuka`> [… And a blinding halo of light glowed around its head.-
[02:36] <Asuka`> [Its jaws pried open, and it let out a soul-shattering roar as it lifted its hand towards EVA-02.-
[02:36] <Asuka`> [A pure beam of -energy- burst forth, and before Asuka realised it…-
[02:36] <Asuka`> [It burst through the leg, not pausing at all as it ignited the air between EVA-02 and EVA-00…-
[02:36] <Asuka`> "A-aaaaaaaaagh-AAAAAAAAAGH!" Asuka -screamed- in utter pain.
[02:37] * Aline managed, at the last moment, to dodge through the mess of LCL, as the beam surged past her. "Wh-wh-what the fuck?! This… this this this…" She was nearly speechless.
[02:39] <Sept> "Yanmei! We’ll move up to cover her. And -stay close-!"
[02:39] <Asuka‘> [A spear of bone raised into the air, shimmering with immense AT Energy- before it impaled itself into EVA-04’s AT Field, shredding whatever protective layer it possessed.]
[02:40] <Yanmei> "A-Asuka!!" Her gaze swept to Sept, and then beyond him. "Got it. Hang in there, Asuka!"
[02:48] <Yanmei> The spear… definitely got her attention, just as she was initially shifting forward. She felt her AT field strain against it and then… *pop* like a balloon made of blown glass. "Sh-!" She recollected herself… and then sprang forward anyway with a jump that lasted a little too long and too far to be natural, splashing down not far from 02, and lifting both guns. "You'll pay for that!"
[02:56] <Asuka‘> "Nnng…" Asuka’s sudden dizziness is halted as her Plugsuit compresses.-
[02:56] <Asuka‘> ["Pull it together, Asuka. Get in there and fight!" Marianne’s voice!-
[02:57] <Asuka‘> "… Right, Captain." She crouches, and AT jumps across the distance, landing near her opponent. "Going to neutralise! Sera!"
[02:59] <Sept> "I’m here!" And sure enough, Sera was already running after her, finally coming to a rest partly between 07 and 04. "Don't worry. It won't happen again."
[03:00] <Asuka‘> [EVA-07 folded its arms over its chest…-
[03:01] <Asuka`> [And a wave of non-life spread out around it. In a second, EVA-02 and EVA-01 would feel their AT Fields collapse… And immediately feel the energy encroach on -them-.]
[03:02] * Aline stared out in shock. "Sera… Asuka! Get the hell out of there! That’s the… the soul-eating field! If you don't get out quick, you won't just be defenseless, it'll melt you into LCL! For the love of everything important, GET BACK!"
[03:05] <Sept> "I… I see. Asuka, I'll back off for a second. I'll get its attention, so it'll be alright. Okay?"
[03:06] <Asuka‘> "Nngh… O-Ok. This leg…"
[03:07] <Yanmei> A splash, as a bolter hits the ground. Yanmei raised her other arm to her gun, focusing… focusing… a thin beam of milky-violet light zipped from her gun and raced a hair’s breath past 01 at EVA-07. "Hit, damn it!"
[03:11] * Aline stared at that field, for a good long while. "…Wait a second… It can't deflect…" She tried, tentatively, to blast it with a ferocious violet cross!
[03:13] <Asuka‘> [… But the attack which once melted metal… Didn’t even scratch it.]
[03:13] * Aline shook her head incredulously. "Fffff, it's armor's too strong for that!"
[03:23] <Asuka‘> [With a sudden sucking sound, its soul-destroying field vanished, replaced with… A strange, shifting, chaotic one. It hurled itself across the field with blinding speed, and… Ripped apart their portable generator! Half the room was bathed in sudden positron energy- but were unscathed…]
[03:28] * Aline focused herself. "Come on come on /come on/" Another charge and another shot!
[03:30] <Asuka`> [But… With utterly impossible reflexes, it dodged at the last second…]
[03:32] * Aline shook her head /again/. "What /is this shit/?" …A pause. "Oh… fuck, I /know/ what this shit is. AND I DISAPPROVE."
[20:37] * Sept was tired of playing cat and mouse with 07. But finally, he had it cornered. "Neutralising field…" he muttered as he mentally prepared for the Evangelion to sprint at him and tear him in half with its claws.
[20:39] <Asuka`> [It roared in dismay. As the Neutralisation occured, the field shivered and… Started to bleed LCL onto the ground around it. It stared at EVA-01 with eyes full of malice, and lifted a hand- from it, another incredible beam of light fired forth, ripping towards the Evangelion’s torso…!]
[20:43] <Sept> They weren't claws, but they were still… incredibly painful, as was indicated by the boy's scream. Sera could feel the fabric of his plug suit sleeve starting to melt, sticking to his hand, eating away at the skin and the flesh underneath… But from amidst the burning and the aching and the -pain-, there came a laugh. "Did you see that?" Sera whispered.
[20:47] <Yanmei> A curse! 04 snatched the bolter from ther ground with one hand, and glided across the field. That looked like it hurt. It -had- to have hurt! For a moment, she held her own torso, and then she looked up again, furious. "You-!" The air around 04 flickered briefly as she tried to tear 07's field down further.
[20:48] <Asuka‘> [More bleeding of LCL, forming a pool as it ran down the Field…]
[20:49] * Aline saw the beam again, and had braced herself to react to it… until it /passed right over her head/. 00’s. Whatever. Taking initiative, she guided herself into the air, landing a bit away from 04. Perhaps out of a feeling of drama, she decided to continue Yanmei's sentence. "-have /no/ right!" …00 granted its own field to the task of battering down the would-be god!
[20:56] <Asuka‘> [… The Halo expanded, and the light in its eyes seemed to dim… Before burning once again with immense ferocity as a soul-ravaging field spread once again, enveloping all of the Evangelions- an effect which was immediately coupled with a burning beam of energy directed at EVA-00!]
[20:57] * Aline cried out suddenly… but managed to dodge the attack anyway, 00 bending just barely out of the way of the shot! "…I don’t think we have the time to mess around with this!"
[21:17] <Yanmei> "You're damn right we don't!" 04, hunkered down slightly, bracing itself, and unleashed a volley light beams and explosions that tore into the enemy EVA. "Hit them with everything!"
[21:18] <Asuka‘> [Yanmei’s volley tore into it hard, every shot landing and blasting its armor and body all across it. It flinched at the barrage, moving a hand to its left leg… Before looking back over at Yanmei with a hateful look.]
[21:21] * Yanmei glowered back at it as smoke rose from the barrels of her guns, unflinching.
[21:23] * Aline nodded, even with her teeth grit. "…Glad to!" …and 00 raised its weapon, and unleashed its /own/ stream of antimatter at their foe! "Fool. You can erode our souls, but that won't do anything about our weapons!"
[21:25] <Asuka‘> [The Evangelion roared as its leg vaporised in smoke, LCL pouring from its burned stump. Voices filled the air as its LCL poured away…]
[21:32] * Sept finally gripped the sword with his functioning hand, and ran down the distance separating his unit and 07. "Let…" He raised the sword. "…go of them!!" And brought it down on 07’s shoulder in a great arc.
[21:35] <Asuka‘> [The blade burned bright blue as the edges ignited with Positron energy, cutting deep. EVA-07 pulled back, gouts of LCL pouring from the wound. It acted quickly, the air about it shimmering, before it unleashed an erratic energy beam- before finally hurling itself at EVA-01 with its massive claw.]
[21:42] <Sept> But the sword met it halfway to its destination. It was almost like he was fighting it with one hand behind his back. "I’ve got its attention, keep firing!"
[21:44] * Yanmei sprinted forward, screaming! Something had… made her feel strange just now. Something that reminded her of how she'd felt after waking from that dream with Isaiah. "We won't join them! You can't make us!" She lanced it through the temple with a brutal crack. "We're not… we're not!!"
[21:46] <Asuka‘> [The bayonet thudded deep into its forehead, coating it in LCL- it roared in pain.-
[21:46] * Aline stared - glared, even. "No matter what you think you’re doing, 07… you're still hurting /more/ people to accomplish it. Just as with the Angels…" Ammo gauge: 6/12. This'd be the last burst shot. Aline noted that. "…I must pronounce judgement." Four more shots streamed from 00's rifle!
[21:47] <Asuka‘> [The blasts didn’t stop, smashing into the body and searing it badly- and then vaporising another arm, sending LCL splashing across the walls and adding to the pool below.]
[21:51] <Sept> Sera pulled his hand back for a final, decisive thrust towards 07's head… "SHUT-" And through it. "UP!!"
[21:58] <Asuka‘> [The blade embedded itself into the Evangelion’s head, right up to the hilt.-
[21:59] <Asuka‘> [… A single pulse of Positron energy flowed down the blade, igniting the head and splitting it apart, a spray of LCL filling the air…-
[22:00] <Asuka`> [… But the halo didn’t vanish. Instead it glowed brighter and brighter, and larger, too. Until finally it was so bright that it encompassed the entire area, illuminating every crevice, every crack in the trench, every little scratch on every Evangelion bone…-
[22:01] <Asuka‘> [… Before finally it exploded, the body vaporising, a massive chunk of it flying and smacking off the wall- two Entry Plugs clattering onto the LCL below. The halo energy spread, filling the entire laboratory above-
[22:01] <Asuka`> [… And spread until it reached the AT Bubble. Within seconds, it collapsed, and in a flash, -vanished-. Every ghost, every phantom… Vanishing into nothingness…-
[22:01] <Asuka`> [… And leaving behind something altogether more real.-
[22:01] <Asuka`> ["… This is the Colonel. What the fuck just happened down there?"]
[22:03] * Aline took a deep breath, and… smiled. "07… gave its dying gasp to undo this." Aline could already feel that, and she knew it to be true. "Mission complete."
[22:06] <Sept> "It’s over, then. And… about thirty seconds to spare?" Sera smiled to himself. "That's enough of a reward."
[22:07] <Yanmei> "We can finally go home, right?" Yanmei sagged in her plug. 04 shakily lowered its bayonet. "Or… there might be more survivors…"
[22:08] <Asuka‘> ["More than survivors. I’m not… Entirely sure what just happened, but as the AT Bubble vanished…" He shook his head. "The parts of the complex we can see are teeming with… Children."]
[22:09] <Yanmei> "…eh?"
[22:09] <Asuka‘> "…" Asuka froze, and… She understood. Leaning back in her Plug, she smiled, and closed her eyes. She let a flow of tears finally pour out of her proud eye…
[22:10] <Aline> "Right. Those… those were the souls I saw. Dorian. They had been dissolved. So many children’s souls. That's what 07 undid. /That's/ where they came from."
[22:21] <Sept> "They knew it could help them, but… why did 07 do all -this-, then?"
[22:24] <Asuka‘> "… Vengeance." Said Asuka. "It would’ve been vengeance."
[22:25] <Yanmei> "Not unjustified, considering," Yanmei murmured. She gazed down at the two plugs. Then over at 02.
[22:25] * Aline nodded. "…I think. I think despite that… /field/. It might've kept the Bellamies intact with that. No matter how it started, this ended as best as it could."
[22:26] <Asuka‘> [… And then, almost simultaneously, each Pilot would notice…-
[22:26] <Asuka`> [ 4[00:01:21]1]
[22:27] <Asuka`> [ 4[00:00:15]1]
[22:27] <Asuka`> [ 4[00:00:00]1]
[22:27] * Aline twitched. "…right."
[22:27] <Asuka`> [… And the four God-beasts simultaneously ran out of power.]
[22:32] <Asuka`> [… About one hour later, the support teams had arrived and hooked up a power source for the four Evas, getting them out and back into the field. The other salvage teams swept through the area, recovering the Entry Plugs of EVA-07 as well as the survivors- and of course the children.-
[22:32] <Asuka`> [Before long, the four pilots were assembled in a tent, outside of the facility, around a table- with Dorian.]
[22:37] <Yanmei> The disgusting smell of blood… Yanmei was pretty certain that she would never be able to get it off her, and it only added to her sick sense of exhaustion. Still, she regarded the Colonel with her usual smile, her thumbs moving on her cell phone as if they had minds of their own.
[22:38] * Aline had a far more neutral expression, a leg folded over another as she sat. She seemed… tense.
[22:41] * Sept was more concerned with the continual presence around him, people insisting that he keep applying pressure to the arm with the bags of ice even though he totally was.
[22:44] * Asuka` looked worst of all, perhaps. She looked tired, her eye raw, her posture worn and haggard. She was resting her head on her arms…-
[22:45] <Asuka`> [Dorian sighed long and hard. "God. What a mess that was. About seven hundred dead or missing from the Eden Base staff. Nevertheless, the mission was a success. We prevented an Evangelion that had gone berserk wielding immense power and reclaimed the research and equipment Eden’d been working on." He wiped his forehead. "Do we have any questions?"]
[22:46] <Yanmei> "Who's taking care of the kids that were found?" Yanmei's thumbs haven't stopped.
[22:48] <Aline> "…Yes. Who is indeed?… Also, could you try to get me a /private/ meeting with one of Doctors Riel or Yui Ikari? Preferably the latter. Private as in…" Aline waved her hand around. "Unmonitored. That said. There is potential danger to those children, so yes. /Who/ is taking care of them?"
[22:50] <Asuka‘> ["… By taking care do you mean short or long term, exactly? And I’ll try, Aline."]
[22:50] <Aline> "Thanks." But then Aline turned to Yanmei with a sort of knowing, cooperative half-smile.
[22:51] <Yanmei> "Both. Where are they being sheltered right now, and what preparations are being made for full-time care?"
[22:56] <Asuka‘> ["Well right now, the ones that have been found are being sheltered in the supply crews’ tents and dorms, and being checked over for injury and the like. Captain Guillory demanded the right to lead the recovery team that'd round them up, so…" He waves his hand. "Long term, well, we're honestly not sure yet. It's literally been an hour and a half since 07 was taken down and we just were not expecting to have to handle several hundred children. I've spoken to Commander Fontaine about it and she thinks the best thing is to try to put them up for adoption, trying to find them foster homes amongst NERV employees first and foremost before dispersing them back into the public." He turns to peer at Yanmei with an evil eye. "Isaiah is rather fond of children, isn't he…?"
[23:00] <Yanmei> Yanmei's thumbs stopped, as if she had suddenly been striken by a rather ominous feeling. "You wouldn't…"
[23:02] <Asuka‘> [Dorian grinned.]
[23:03] <Aline> "Either way… I’d be willing to help legally advocate on their behalf. Doubtless any number of adoption infrastructures will… flip out at the load. They deserve a chance to live again."
[23:04] <Sept> Sera, who had been trying to act invisible earlier, spoke up. "They do. But… what about the Bellamies, Dorian?"
[23:05] * Yanmei narrowed her eyes… but then glanced at Aline when she spoke, vaguely surprised at the offer.
[23:06] * Aline smiled back serenely.
[23:06] <Asuka‘> [Dorian’s… Face fell. "There's bad news."]
[23:06] <Aline> …for exactly a second. "…Ye…s?"
[23:09] * Sept stared at him passively. "What is it?"
[23:09] * Yanmei stared as well, her eyes growing more intense.
[23:10] <Asuka‘> ["It seems as though… Adrian was absorbed."-
[23:10] <Asuka`> ["… By Isabelle."]
[23:12] * Aline /blinked/. "…That’s… awkward. Is there anything we can do? I'm willing to try, if it needs delicate work."
[23:12] <Asuka‘> ["No. As far as we know there’s only one AT Field left now, and it's already heavily weakened."]
[23:13] * Sept frowned. "They were already in each other's minds. Is this… different from their Libido Effect, other than. You know?"
[23:14] * Aline drooped. "…It is. They're…" A slight, nervous swallow. "It's like how I am with Angels."
[23:15] <Asuka‘> ["Moreso, Aline." Said Dorian. "The Angels in your head seem to form a coherent sub-intellect. Adrian, for all intents and purposes, is nothing more than part of Isabelle’s subconscious."]
[23:15] * Aline …felt even /worse/ at that. "…Ugh."
[23:16] <Sept> "…ah. Understood."
[23:16] * Yanmei very quietly shut her phone. She stared down at it for a few minutes. "It's…"
[23:16] <Asuka‘> ["… Even worse, it doesn’t seem as though Isabelle's mind is wholly healthy, either. She seems to slip into psychotic episodes where she tries to channel Adrian…"]
[23:18] * Sept nodded. "She said as much. I wouldn't sure that wouldn't have happened without the trauma."
[23:18] <Sept> <wouldn't be*>
[23:20] * Aline frowned even more. Seriously. "…We need to come up with some kind of… spiritual therapy regime. And keep her to it. I'd again offer what help I could, but I'm guessing that won't be enough. Not even if I try to call on th… on Voriel's help."
[23:20] <Asuka‘> ["…Mmm." Murmured Dorian dubiously. "There is some good news, though. Elizabeth- their kid- is still alive. Alexandre Fontaine kept her safe. We aren’t sure if Isabelle will be able to look after her anymore, though."]
[23:23] <Yanmei> "So what happens to her, then? Will Jer-, Alex keep watching her." She looked up sharply. "Alex is alive?" she realized.
[23:24] * Sept shrugged. "She might be a comfort to her, but it's a risk."
[23:24] <Asuka‘> About halfway in Yanmei’s sentence, Asuka had jumped out of her chair and -pounced- on Dorian, grabbing his collar. "Where?! Where is he? Take me to him right now-"-
[23:25] * Aline suddenly stared at Yanmei, and for some reason not even Asuka going postal on Dorian was enough to push her gaze away.
[23:25] <Asuka‘> ["Did someone say my name?"-
[23:26] <Asuka`> [Alex was standing in the tent flap, looking worn out, covered in blood, LCL and other icky substances, a bolter hanging from a strap. At his shoulder was Dr. Riel, looking similarly messy, sporting a wicked bruise on her face. But she was smiling dreamily.-
[23:28] <Asuka`> "…" Asuka relinquished Dorian, and -tackled- Alex. It wasn’t a hug or a pounce but an actual full on tackle to the ground. Her first action was to thump him. "You- you idiot! What are you, stupid?! I told you this was a bad idea! I told you coming back to this dumb place was a- a-"-
[23:28] <Asuka‘> ["Ow- hey-"-
[23:29] <Asuka`> "And then shit goes wrong and who has to bail your dumb ass out? It’s me! Always me ever since you were a little kid! It's always been Asuka this and Asuka that! Why the hell did I even want to marry you in the first place, huh?!"-
[23:29] <Asuka‘> ["Hey, let me-"-
[23:29] <Asuka`> But whatever he was going to say was cut off by Asuka passionately kissing him with the sort of dedication that the other girls in the room would realise was a kiss that wasn’t ending any time soon.
[23:30] * Aline actually had a chance to smile gently again. "Ah, love~"
[23:32] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei sighed. "It's about -time-. Geeze."
[23:33] * Sept did regard the pair fondly for a few seconds, but then gave them the privacy they probably wouldn't even recognise. "It was all of us. Not just her or the pilots, but all of us," he remarked to the rest of the room.
[23:33] <Asuka‘> [Dr. Riel found a chair and slumped into it. "They’re all back…"]
[23:34] * Aline tilted her head. "…You may want to be careful about being here, Luna."
[23:35] * Yanmei had turned her head too… and was staring at the good doctor with murder in her eyes, clear as day.
[23:35] <Asuka‘> [Luna stared at Yanmei flatly, then looked over at Aline. "I’m sure."]
[23:37] * Aline nodded. "…That said. Getting Yui to a secure place for a meeting is hard, so… Yan-Yan, could you at least leave her alive long enough for me to get information?" Then her mere glance also became a stare. "…About why she thought it'd be best for Yui if I had 'never ever' met Shinji?"
[23:38] <Asuka‘> [Dr. Riel peered back with a dreamy, faintly clueless expression.]
[23:39] * Aline narrowed her eyes. "Don’t play coy with me. He's one of the 'Adams'. What the /hell/ does that mean? I'm already up to /here/-" Aline exaggeratedly raised an arm. "-keeping 4+ different apocalypses from happening. Don't /screw with me/ now."
[23:40] <Asuka‘> ["…?" Dr. Riel blinked. "Er, no he’s not. He's an A-Gene."]
[23:40] <Aline> "Then why the hell were you insisting that he was, in the past?! What the hell?"
[23:41] <Sept> "Aline…"
[23:41] <Asuka‘> ["…?" Dr. Riel glanced at Dorian as if to ask ’What?']
[23:42] <Sept> "How real can we be sure that was..? It… it made things up before…"
[23:44] * Aline shook her head forcefully. "You're a poor liar. And… I'm willing to believe what I was shown. It was accurate to the memories of others. So… out with it. For the fate of humanity."
[23:45] <Sept> "It was as real as a memory can be, Aline…"
[23:45] <Asuka‘> ["…" Dr. Riel frowned. "You saw some kind of vision?"]
[23:46] * Aline nodded firmly. "Yes. Multiple visions. The Gestalt was probably trying to tell us things the kids it was comprised of felt were important to us."
[23:47] <Asuka`> ["And those kids hated and feared me for good reason. They were showing you things so you’d hate me, too." She shrugged. "You can ask Dr. Ikari. She and I both know her son's not an Adam."]
[23:48] * Aline sighed. "…Sorry. I was pretty pissed. But… you're actually not lying. But… is it just that they should avoid E-genes, or am /I/ something dangerous too?"
[23:50] <Sept> "They did mention us, too."
[23:50] <Asuka‘> ["I…" Dr. Riel shook her head. "No, not really. I’d like to explain it but I'm pretty tired and I'm not sure you'd really understand anyway."]
[23:51] <Sept> "I'm sorry, could I ask about one more thing..?"
[23:51] <Asuka‘> [Dr. Riel rubbed her face. "What is it?"]
[23:51] * Aline looked at Sera. "Yeah, though as a less-so. Might’ve been because you both are A-type, though." But she nodded to Dr. Riel. "…Sorry for the outburst. But please tell me anyway, when you've had rest. Away from surveillance. I've already learnt some of the deeper secrets of the universe. One more theory won't make it worse."
[23:53] <Sept> "About Ginevre. Does she still feel them? Was that real?" A look of deep worry.
[23:57] <Asuka‘> [Dr. Riel stood up. "You should ask her." She says, before turning to Aline. "Perhaps it might be better for you to forget everything you heard in that vision. If you truly want to know, then you, too, should speak to Ginevre." She turned around and started to walk away.]
[23:58] * Aline narrowed her eyes again. "…Typical."
[23:59] <Sept> "Luna… you can always talk with me. I’ll listen," Sera called after her.
[00:00] <Asuka‘> ["It’s alright, Sera." She cried as she walked, turning to flash him a bright smile. "I feel really good today." and then she was off…]
[00:00] * Yanmei tossed her hair, glad that the woman was on her way out. "Colonel. Is that all for the debriefing?"
[00:01] <Sept> "Yeah. I wouldn't want to keep my sterile, white bed waiting…"
[00:01] <Asuka‘> ["Yes, that’s right." Dorian said slowly- letting out a snort at Sera's comment. "Do you guys want to be shipped home right away?"]
[00:03] <Sept> "If you're sure it's safe. Are we covered for a surprise attack by the Libs?"
[00:04] <Asuka‘> ["Yeah, we’re good. The front line is pretty damn far from here anyway."]
[00:06] * Yanmei stared what was left of the Research Fortress. "We should probably head out soon, then," she said cooly.
[00:06] * Aline looked… bitter. "We have nothing left here. We'll leave."
[00:06] <Sept> "Right. We'll just… go back to Paris, then."
[00:08] <Asuka`> [Dorian nodded, glancing over to Asuka and Alex, who were sitting side by side in a rough pile.-
[00:08] <Asuka`> ["You two good to go?"-
[00:08] <Asuka`> [Alex nodded. "I never want to come back to this place again."-
[00:08] <Asuka`> "Uh-huh."

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