She Said What A Pain

[23:22] <Eugenia> [Eugenia sat in her bed in NERV's Medical Division, staring down at the sheets covering her lap. Bandages were wrapped around her midsection, with heavy padding on her left side. She wasn't alone- Dorian was present as well- as were a few other people…]
[23:26] * Yanmei was there too, in dark slacks and a pink sweater, a black jacket draped over her arm. She'd brought flowers, cheesy and wasted on Gina as they were, but they were resting on a nearby chair. On the surface, she was calm, but she was shooting undercover glances between Dorian and Gina.
[23:27] * Aline arrived in a more modest outfit than she might usually wear, just a simple white dress with black vest ensemble. She was, admittedly, a bit nervous, since she had been called near-officially…
[23:36] <Sept> Sera had showed slightly untactful relief at Yanmei having survived the ordeal without ending up in a hospital bed herself, but managed to keep his demeanor serious enough, keeping his current company in mind.
[23:39] <Eugenia> ["You've all heard about the explosion at the Palace." Said Dorian sombrely. "Ranvier and Yanmei here were attending a ball there when it went off. Eugenia herself was attacked by the assailant, and we've discovered that the assailant's identity suggests that something far more serious has arisen."]
[23:41] * Aline tilted her head, looking… well, fairly grim. "Yes…?"
[23:41] * Sept nodded solemnly and leaned forward a bit.
[23:42] * Yanmei shifted uncomfortably.
[23:42] <Eugenia> ["The assailant revealed himself to Ranvier to be none other than Silas Caine." Said Dorian. "From the information we've been given, and what was told to Ranvier, we believe this to be the truth- that the assailant is an accelerated-growth clone of the original."]
[23:42] <Eugenia> Eugenia's expression became decidedly glum at this point…
[23:44] * Aline …stared. "I… have a bunch of comments already, but I'll keep them on hold - they're all gut reactions anyway." Aline looked… angry. Very angry.
[23:45] * Sept paled a little and looked down. He fiddled with his hands - it wasn't an easy bit of news to swallow. "…Azariah?" he muttered.
[23:45] <Eugenia> ["Undoubtedly."]
[23:48] <Yanmei> "A second person was assaulted too. A member of the Human Instrumentality Committee. Luckily, he had a his bodyguard with him. Gutsy, no?" Yanmei said bitterly.
[23:51] <Sept> "Do we h-have any idea about the motives..? Wouldn't there be better opportunities if they were just after the two of them?"
[23:54] <Eugenia> ["Yes and no. Ultimately, both Ranvier and de Orleans- of the HIC- are well-protected individuals, especially de Orleans. They'd be easier to attack in public- but at the Palace, surrounded by guards… Less so." Dorian shook his head. "Which is half the point, I suspect. By making such an attack in the very residence of the French President, it shows that there is no place safe from the Liberated Nations- or Silas Caine. It…" He glowered. "It also weakened our security network in other places, too. We believe there was a security breach at the Superheavy Headquarters, and…"-
[23:54] <Eugenia> ["Edgar Chevalier has gone missing."]
[23:55] * Aline looked between Sera and the others. "…They could've… er. Yeah. Psychologic…" Aline frowned. "For fuck's sake. Can't the guy ever give the kidnapping thing a rest?"
[23:55] <Eugenia> "It might not've been a kidnapping." Said Eugenia quietly.
[23:56] <Yanmei> "What does that mean?" This last bit of news about Edgar wasn't something she'd heard before, and her eyes had gone slightly wide.
[23:57] * Aline …slowly nodded, though looked a bit upset. "…What, so he… ran off?"
[23:58] <Eugenia> ["She means that the conditioning that Edgar- and the other NeoSpartans- underwent makes him incredibly pliable and receptive to Silas's orders. It's essentially a loyalty program."-
[23:58] <Eugenia> "There's more. Silas was dead. And now he's alive again." Eugenia shook her head. "Edgar was still incredibly full of grief the last I saw of him. It… Wouldn't be hard to make an offer he couldn't refuse."
[00:00] * Sept looked partly disappointed, partly angry at that last bit of news. "…yeah, he… We had an agreement, but. I wouldn't blame him for going with Silas."
[00:03] * Yanmei rubbed her face tiredly. "So we might end up fighting against Edgar too?"
[00:03] <Eugenia> ["Likely."]
[00:04] * Aline sighedd rather heavily. "What a… pain."
[00:05] <Yanmei> "What do we do? Colonel…?"
[00:06] <Sept> "It… won't be a problem. Edgar's strong enough not to be coerced into fighting us."
[00:07] <Eugenia> ["It's more than a pain." Said Dorian heavily. He looked over at Yanmei. "There isn't a lot we can do directly. We don't know where Silas has gone, and unfortunately he's likely to have a lot of friends and allies." He rubbed his knuckles together. "Even worse, with Silas back, the Liberated Nations is going to grow its fangs again. Ever since we recaptured EVA-05, the war with them hasn't required us to divert any more resources. They've been keeping away, not advancing or attacking our lines too much. But they might very well start up again now…"]
[00:10] <Aline> "And I hope they haven't gone and built up some kind of superweapon with… whatever data they got from studying 05."
[00:11] <Yanmei> "Do you think they'd be throwing out challenges like this if they hadn't? They've certainly had the time to come up with something."
[00:11] <Eugenia> [Dorian shook his head. "We don't know what they're doing with EVA-05's data, although trying to create some kind of powerful weapon is likely." He scratched his chin. "Yes, I agree, Yanmei. They're likely to attack once again, and they'll have Silas at the head once more."]
[00:11] <Sept> "And now we've told the entire world about the S2 Organs… We could've launched a surprise attack."
[00:14] <Eugenia> [Dorian gave Sept a dark look. "Not really. First of all, assisting Italy was the right thing to do, one way or another. And secondly, we can't just 'launch a surprise attack' against Azariah, even with the S2 Organs. Not yet."]
[00:16] <Sept> "We can't wait forever, Dorian. Not without some kind of retaliation. They can't just come in here every couple of weeks and plant bombs on our Evas and steal our friends!" A hint of desperation.
[00:16] <Eugenia> ["Suicide attacks on the Synfront isn't an acceptable alternative, either."]
[00:20] <Yanmei> "Calm down, Sera. I… get how you feel, but we have to be careful, okay?" Yanmei folded her arms. She wanted to say something like, 'it will be okay,' but that was a shallow lie and everyone knew it.
[00:20] * Aline nodded as well. "We're not going to fix this by being rash. We need to find some way to break their momentum /without/ risking it all in a single strike…"
[00:21] <Sept> "But that's not what they're doing, either…" Sera insisted weakly. "It's not a suicide attack if they don't know it's us until we're gone. I know One could get past their defenses. The camouflage, the dampeners, they aren't there for nothing…"
[00:21] <Eugenia> ["Not true."]
[00:22] * Sept was expecting that, despite everything. "And why?"
[00:23] <Eugenia> ["Because EVA-01 couldn't break through the Geofront without being detected. And the Synfront was designed with Angel-scale combat in mind. You'd be facing static defenses to a greater scale than we have here in Paris-2, along with whatever nasty surprise they have cooked up."]
[00:28] <Sept> "How much -do- we know about the Synfront? If we know next to nothing about what their defenses are, not to mention their projects… Won't we always be behind them in planning?"
[00:30] <Aline> "…Yeah. It's a fortress even by our standards. That, and…" Aline looked even nastier. Scared. "They are willing to create horrors beyond what we've seen NERV make. And we just can't throw that many resources at this and just expect it to work! We still have other fish to fry. Fish named Angels, that blow all manner of things up and quite possibly won't play nice and wait for us to stop
[00:30] <Aline> fighting Azariah."
[00:31] <Eugenia> ["We don't know 'next to nothing'. Aerial recon has managed to pinpoint the above-ground part of the Synfront. Their projects we know less about." Dorian shrugged. "Ultimately, the lack of fresh data is why we're being cautious about this." He nodded to Aline as well. "We have a lot more of an obligation than the Libs do. We can't drop everything on an attack that probably won't succeed."]
[00:33] <Yanmei> "We can't even plant a few effective spies in their organization?" Yanmei was frowning. "Let's face it? The only reason Silas is walking around right now is because of NERV's clone research."
[00:34] * Aline quickly raised a finger. "You mean, the only reason he's walking around in his own body. The sheer fact that Azariah dredged him up /again/ means that he might've even tried to do imprinting /again/."
[00:35] * Eugenia shook her head. "No. This time he's the real deal…"
[00:35] <Sept> "Yeah. And what's that technology brought us? Only Ayanami has been any use to us, and even that could've been done by someone else."
[00:36] * Aline sharply stared at Sera… but then at Gina. "Well, yes. It's… I meant if he was technologically incapable of it. This /is/ far more real and serious because he /was/."
[00:36] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei settled herself. "The real Silas died years ago. You can't recreate something that died no matter how hard you try. You only end up with something different."
[00:38] <Sept> "And if he didn't die back then… A whole lot of work and misery would've been for nothing. On both sides. There's no reason."
[00:43] * Aline raised a brow. "…I…" She looked back and forth, but then made a little solemn nod. "I see that concepts of souls and new life are fairly standard around her now, but… What irks me, is mostly that he'll always, no matter what comes of the process of trying to bring him back, just be a pawn of his father."
[00:43] <Aline> *around here
[00:46] <Yanmei> "So long as we factor in his conditioning, yes." Yanmei shook her head. "It's pathetic."
[00:47] <Sept> "Last time, though…" Sera fell into a thinking pose for a while.-
[00:47] <Sept> "He was fighting it. But… he had the syringe, an easy way out. If we could corner him, keep up the pressure…"
[00:48] <Eugenia> ["That wasn't Silas Caine." Said Dorian.]
[00:48] * Sept shot a mean glance at the man. "You know what I mean. Part of him was there. And that part didn't want any part of that fight."
[00:50] <Eugenia> "…" Eugenia frowned.
[00:54] * Aline shook her head. "…We'll have to just resolve it when it comes. Whatever happens, it won't be easy."
[00:56] <Sept> "Mmh." Sera nodded grudgingly. "So we have -no- immediate plans in light of this?"
[00:57] <Eugenia> ["Never said that." Said Dorian irritably. "I'm going to be having a word with the UN Valentine Council and see if we can't scrounge up enough resources to put extra pressure on the Libs- and I'll be tapping as many people as I can to see if I can't get -any- information- from informants, smugglers, what few spies we have."]
[00:59] * Yanmei was thinking silently to herself, a somewhat pained expression dying quickly on her face. "And what about us? Is it okay for us to sit around without taking further precautions?"
[01:00] <Eugenia> ["'Be careful'?" Suggested Dorian. "You're already under a heavy guard."]
[01:01] <Sept> "If you're going to be busy with all that… I'd like to help with the investigation. Is Jeanne going to be heading everything?"
[01:03] <Eugenia> ["She will, along with the Central Directorate of Interior Intelligence."]
[01:04] <Yanmei> "Hm?" That was a title she hadn't heard before. Her ears perked up a little. "And who might that be? Their name, I mean."
[01:05] <Eugenia> ["It's not a title. It's France's internal intelligence service."]
[01:06] <Yanmei> "Ah."
[01:06] * Aline had been thinking for a while, but… "…Hey. Have we considered the other angle? Namely… Azariah's plans. We've gotten hints of what he's trying to do, and I /think/ I'm beginning to get enough of a grasp of the theory behind it to have a chance to recognize what he might want in order to accomplish it. Right now, he's been attacking us directly, but… If we appear open enough
[01:06] * Aline or unguarded enough, he might have a chance to lunge at those pieces. It's a thought on what to plan for."
[01:07] <Sept> "Ah. I guess the government gets to send some of their men in, considering where it happened…" Sera turned to Aline. "Oh? I'm sure anything would help."
[01:09] * Eugenia rubbed her chin, looking over at Yanmei.
[01:10] * Aline looked at Yanmei, too. She obviously wanted to get opinions on even the mere idea before she continued.
[01:12] * Yanmei glanced back at the pair, startled out of distraction into a somewhat more guarded reaction, especially at Eugenia. A sigh at last. "Go on?"
[01:19] <Aline> "Right. The whole… making people like Angels thing. From what I've studied… What he probably needs, is Lilith's soul. That, and either an Evangelion, or some other…" Aline turned a bit grim. "/Thing/ of comparable size and spiritual strength. Seed controls its spawn. Lilith, to change us - the Lilim. If I recall correctly… we're safeguarding that soul. Ultimately, regardless of the
[01:19] <Aline> harassments or invasions or /whatever/ he pushes the LN to do? The ultimate endgame is disturbingly like the Angels': Break into the deepest levels of the Geofront and gain an implement suitable for a Third Impact scenario. So I iiiimagine counter-infiltration is probably our actual best bet, here. Right now it's pretty solid, but…" Aline frowned. "The Geofront probably isn't quite suited
[01:19] <Aline> to repelling human infiltrators, even if only on level of the training most heavily practiced. Of course, we also need to prevent the Libs from capturing Paris-2, but that almost goes without saying."
[01:26] * Sept nodded approvingly. "Sounds sensible. Dorian? What do you think?"
[01:27] <Eugenia> [Dorian's face was neutral. "It wounds about as appropriate as any plan, considering Azariah's knowledge base."]
[01:29] <Yanmei> "For someone who seems to be as aware in the gaps in our security as he is, you have to wonder why he hasn't done what he's planning to do already, whether or not we leave ourselves open," Yanmei muttered.
[01:29] <Yanmei> ^of the gaps
[01:30] * Aline shrugged. "Probably a lack of resources. Whatever superweapon he's working on might not be complete yet."
[01:31] <Yanmei> "Fair enough."
[01:32] <Eugenia> [Dorian clapped his hands together. "Anyway. I think we've taken up enough of Eugenia's space, and there's not much left here to discuss. We all have things to do, or to get back to."]
[01:35] <Sept> "Mmh. I suppose it was about time we found something new to worry about." Sera sighed, then tried his best to put on a resolute, confident face. "I'm sure we'll find something soon, though. Good luck with your… things, Dorian."
[01:37] <Eugenia> ["Thanks. Same to you."]
[01:40] <Yanmei> "Well." Yanmei flipped her hair almost absently. "Let's try to remember to stay updated with each other, I guess? Hopefully, something interesting will turn up."
[01:41] * Aline nodded. "Yeah. If you guys have new insights, I'd love to hear them, so we can draw up newer plans. In this together, all the same target, et cetera. But thanks, at least, for the company."
[01:41] <Eugenia> [Dorian nodded. "Anytime. Yanmei? If you could stay behind- I want a word."]
[01:43] <Yanmei> ""Hm? Sure." So she lingered behind. But not without waving the other pilots off. "See you later!"
[01:44] * Sept glanced back at Yanmei and waved a little. "See you. And take care."
[01:59] <Eugenia> [Once the other two had departed, Dorian turned to Yanmei. "There's an event coming up next week that you're required to participate in. A ceremony."]
[02:04] <Yanmei> Well, that was a change from more depressing topics. "Ceremony? Without the others?" she lifted an eyebrow, and gave a small smirk. "Let me guess. Some ribbon-cutting thing? After the stuff in Naples, it was only a matter of time before we moved on to something like this. Anyway," she flashed a smile, "I won't disappoint?"
[02:04] <Eugenia> ["Actually, no. It's an internal matter." Dorian smirked.]
[02:05] <Yanmei> "Huh?" Yanmei blinked. "Sorry. I haven't been up on the news around here lately? What's going on?"
[02:06] <Eugenia> ["There's a soldier on the base who is receiving a promotion."]
[02:08] <Yanmei> "Raphael Guillory is moving up in the world pretty quickly, isn't he? It seemed like he only got one a few weeks ago," she guessed.
[02:08] <Eugenia> ["Oh, no. Not Sir Guillory. No, this is someone else. Her name is Zhang Yanmei."]
[02:09] <Yanmei> "…" A moment to process. A slight backward step. "…come again?"
[02:12] <Eugenia> ["You're being promoted." Said Dorian. "To the rank of Sous-Lieutenant, making you an officer of NERV. Furthermore, you're being given the position as Team Leader of the Paris-2 Evangelion brigade."]
[02:16] * Yanmei searched his face openly now, squinting slightly, and then letting her eyes widen slightly. "You're… you're -serious-," she accused him.
[02:16] <Eugenia> ["Yes I am." Dorian smirked.]
[02:18] <Yanmei> "Seriously?" She glanced around a little, but of course it was just her and Eugenia and Dorian. "I don't get it, though."
[02:20] <Eugenia> ["Why not? You're smart, and out of the three pilots in Paris-2 you have the most leadership skill and willingness to follow orders whilst acting on your own initiative. We've been watching your efforts, Yanmei." Said Dorian proudly. "You're the best person to lead the Evas in battle."]
[02:23] <Yanmei> "Follow orders," she mumbled. Her mind was a blur of questions. But the guy looked really happy, or at least proud of the decision, so she tried to make herself snap out of it. "So… this means you're pretty confident in me, huh?"
[02:24] <Eugenia> ["We all are." Said Dorian. "Me. The Bunnies. Marianne. VC Thomas. He was the one who first broached the idea, you know."]
[02:26] <Yanmei> "So it was him?" She laughed a little. "Well, that makes a little more sense? I was afraid that Fontaine was starting to openly like me or something."
[02:27] <Eugenia> ["Heh. Fontaine's never had a thing against you."-
[02:27] <Eugenia> "Well done, Yanyan." Said Gina. "You're feeling a little confused about the decision- and about how you feel, too- but trust me, it's a good thing."
[02:30] <Yanmei> "Well, if you say it is," she flashed a joiking grin at her that turned a little more genuine. "Thanks. Thank you too, Colonel. I'll accept it, then?"
[02:31] <Eugenia> ["Good. It's what I like to hear. Go on, you should head off and tell Marianne. I've given her the afternoon off and she's been dying to celebrate with you."]
[02:34] <Yanmei> "An afternoon off?" she brightened further at that. Marianne! They could finally spend some time together. "Thanks! I'll have to do that then. Um. I'll be by tomorrow to find out what my new duties involve in detail?"
[02:34] <Eugenia> [A nod. "Good."]
[02:35] <Yanmei> "So long~ I'll see you later too, Gina. Get some rest, okay?" she stepped toward the door eagerly.
[02:35] <Eugenia> "I will. Bye, Yanyan!"

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