The Apparition Of These Faces In The Crowd Petals On A Wet B

[14:37] <Dr‘Clement> [It had been an hour since the battle had ended. EVA-04, 01 and 00 were safely stowed in their cages.-
[14:38] <Dr`Clement> [Yanmei had had time, as usual, to strip away the damaged Plugsuit and wash off the LCL, and change into her civilian clothing. But…-
[14:38] <Dr`Clement> [It’d be impossible to ignore the faint green bulges slowly snaking their way up her arm, spreading out from that vile violet flower.]
[14:43] <Yanmei> Impossible, yes. It hurt like hell even when she left the area alone, and just staring at it, as she was now, made her feel sick. The Angel was dead. Why wasn't this thing gone yet? It was like an Angel spawn… wasn't it? -
[14:49] <Yanmei> She managed the agony of getting dressed and rolling up the left sleeve despite the bizarre new disfigurement. The locker room was cool and empty, so she didn't have to care about who saw. Finally, she stood from the dressing bench, tried to seize her gym bag, and hissed through her teeth, dizzy from the pain. -
[14:50] <Yanmei> "Right," she mumbled, swaying. This needed to be looked at. So away she went, toward the hosital, leaving the bag behind.
[14:51] <Yanmei> ^hospital
[14:51] <Dr‘Clement> [The hospital had come to her.-
[14:52] <Dr`Clement> Dr. Clement was waiting for her outside of the locker room, along with a team of nurses- Isaiah amongst them. He looked worried, and when he saw the flower he became exceptionally pale.-
[14:52] <Dr`Clement> "We heard you’ve had-"-
[14:52] <Dr‘Clement> Dr. Clement hissed in horror at the sight before pushing onward. "Right. Come on. We have a stretcher for you."
[14:56] <Yanmei> "It’s all right. I can walk?" She smiled. Isaiah was right there, looking worried, after all. Her first instinct, after his reaction, was to hide the arm behind her back, but that would have looked childish and silly, so she tried to let it hang naturally instead. Quickly, she began to follow Clement.
[15:00] * Dr‘Clement bit his lip.-
[15:03] <Dr`Clement> "Gabriel-Wei, support her as she goes. I won’t have her collapse on the way to blood loss. Let's go."-
[15:05] <Dr‘Clement> [Isaiah moved over to her side, supporting her ass he walked. "Come on."]
[15:07] * Yanmei didn’t argue. She put her good arm around him, and let him do his part. She was tired… more tired than she'd thought. "Thanks."
[15:08] <Dr‘Clement> [He nodded, tight-lipped. "We’ll get you fixed up no problem."-
[15:11] <Dr‘Clement> The walk to the hospital wing seemed longer than ever, as the flower continued to drain Yanmei’s blood. It grew fatter, the violet petals ever more vibrant. A cloying perfume was being emitted from it that no one seemed to be able to recognise, except that it smelled nauseating.
[15:15] * Yanmei tried to keep her eyes on Clement's back - all three of them - and to ignore any stares they were drawing. The pain made that last part easier to do anyway. Damn it… maybe she shouldn't have refused the stretcher after all?
[15:26] <Dr‘Clement> [As they headed to the hospital wing, people had gathered to watch this macabre sight of the flower growing out of Yanmei’s hand. They gawked and stared and mumbled…-
[15:28] <Dr‘Clement> [She saw a flash of white, but it didn’t stick…-
[15:29] <Dr‘Clement> [But before long she was lying on an operating table in a theatre, receiving transfusions to bring up her depleted blood supply.-
[15:29] <Dr`Clement> "Yanmei?"
[15:33] <Yanmei> "Doctor?" She turned her head to stare hazily at him. He was going to say something to reassure her, wasn’t he? It felt good to be lying down…
[15:38] <Dr‘Clement> "We’re going to try some non-invasive methods first. Poisoning the flower, for example, then hopefully being able to remove it. If that doesn't work we'll try surgery, but you -will- be alright at the end of it all."
[15:41] * Yanmei blinked very slowly a few times, and then refocused on him. Something in the way he said that… Something left unsaid. Oh. "Will it hurt?"
[15:43] <Dr‘Clement> "You’ll be under anaesthetic."
[15:45] <Yanmei> "Oh." She let her eyes close for a little while, then. "'m sorry about Elena," she added with a mumble. "I was a jerk."
[15:49] * Dr‘Clement smiled, patting her on the forehead. "Thank you. She’s been much happier. You get some rest…"-
[15:50] <Dr‘Clement> [On the theatre’s observation deck, Yanmei would see Marianne watching, face fraught with concern.-
[15:50] <Dr‘Clement> [Next to her was Leon Thomas, looking disconcerted…-
[15:51] <Dr`Clement> [And next to him was an impossibly tall, thin… Man? About nine feet tall.-
[15:51] <Dr`Clement> [Its face was marionette-like- a blank, alabaster mask with gaping eye holes and a slashed, rictus mouth. It stared at her.]
[16:01] * Yanmei stared back. And… her breathing changed instantly, speeding up into big hasty gulps of air. The sheen on her face intensified, and she tried to sit up.
[16:01] <Dr`Clement> "No no no-"-
[16:01] * Dr`Clement pushed her back down gently. "Yanmei, we need you to relax. We need to put the anaesthetic on now, alright?"
[16:04] <Yanmei> "No. No! He’s right there! Don't you see him? He'll…" She turned from Clement back to the spot where she had seen the masked creature.
[16:07] * Dr‘Clement looked up.-
[16:07] <Dr`Clement> [Just Thomas and Marianne.-
[16:07] <Dr`Clement> "What is it?"
[16:08] * Yanmei stared. Scanned the rest of the seats frantically, trying to find him again.
[16:10] <Dr`Clement> [No one there. Gone…-
[16:11] <Dr`Clement> "She must be suffering delusions from the blood loss. Come on, Yanmei."-
[16:11] <Dr`Clement> ["Yanyan." Isaiah, smoothing down her fringe. "Lay down, please…"]
[16:15] <Yanmei> "…" A weird sort of sinking feeling clasped her. They didn’t believe her? …-Should- she be believed? "He was right next to the VC," She insisted, but she looked confused herself. "Right there…"
[16:16] <Dr‘Clement> ["Tell me about it when we finish, Yanmei." Said Isaiah quietly.]
[16:18] <Yanmei> "After," she muttered. He’d still be here afterward. Of course he would. She started to lie back down again, warily.
[16:21] <Dr‘Clement> [The anaesthesist put the apparatus on her. "Can you count backwards from 100 for me, Zhang?"]
[16:25] <Yanmei> "Right." She mumbled, and quietly gave in to her defeat. "100…99…98…97…"
[16:28] <Dr`Clement> […-
[16:29] <Dr`Clement> [When Yanmei finally stirred- about two days later, in fact!- she was lying in a comfortably warm bed, a crisp air around her…]
[16:34] * Yanmei stared, trying to get familiar with her surroundings and her memory. She tried opening and closing her left hand very slowly.
[16:35] <Dr`Clement> [It hurt. But not as much as she’d remembered…-
[16:35] <Dr‘Clement> [It was a hospital room. Familiar only in that it was like every other room.-
[16:37] <Dr`Clement> [Her left hand was bandaged up to past her wrist, but as far as she could see the flower was gone.]
[16:39] <Yanmei> Gone! She stared at her own hand wonderously, and the settled back down against the pillow with a small smile of relief. "I’m all right. Course I am."
[16:39] <Yanmei> ^and then
[16:40] <Dr‘Clement> [A knock on the door.]
[16:41] <Yanmei> "Yes?" She decided to sit up for that, shifting her arm gingerly.
[16:43] <Dr`Clement> [Isaiah entered, carrying a tray of food. Not hospital food- he’d clearly fetched this from the cafeteria. A bowl of hot fried noodles sent steam into the air; next to that, a plate of hot nan bread next to rice and a rich dark curry; and finally, a slab of strawberry pie and vanilla ice cream. "Someone's awake~"]
[16:47] <Yanmei> "Looks like someone was anticipating it~" She was staring at the feast he was bringing in, acutely aware of how famished she was. "Glad to be back."
[16:48] <Dr‘Clement> ["It’s good to have you back. You're probably hankering for some food- you've been out for two days." He placed it on the bed's tray, sliding it towards her. "How do you feel?"]
[16:51] <Yanmei> "Better! I'm not even that tired anymore." She reached for the bowl of noodles… but even with that wild, pinched hungar in her belly, managed to make herself stop and lean forward in gratitude, her good arm outstretched for a hug. "How'd it go? What am I saying? It must have gone fine?"
[16:57] <Dr‘Clement> [Isaiah stepped around the bed, leaning in and returning that hug warmly, kissing her on the cheek. "It was a -long- operation. We tried poisoning it, and it worked- somewhat, but it just kept sucking blood and growing faster. We eventually cut it out, then poisoned the roots. After that we filled the wound with biogel. It’ll still take a few days for it to fully heal, though- the plant was getting into your veins."]
[17:01] <Yanmei> "That thing… was disposed of properly, wasn't it?" She seemed bothered both that an the unpleasant description of the operation, even as she reached for her noodles.
[17:01] <Yanmei> ^by that and
[17:04] <Dr‘Clement> ["They actually gave it to Technical for study."]
[17:06] * Yanmei groaned out loud. "Of course they did."
[17:11] <Dr`Clement> ["Sorry." Said Isaiah sheepishly. "But we hoped if we could figure out what it was, then… We could figure out another way to fix it if it happens again. It started to wilt pretty quickly after it was taken out, though."]
[17:12] <Dr`Clement> [The noodles were hot and fully cooked; the chicken pieces within were delicious and full of juice, and the whole mix was delightfully cooked in a teriyaki sauce…]
[17:13] * Yanmei simply couldn’t resist any longer. For the next few minutes, she was silent, trying to get as much of the delicious noodles down as she could.
[17:22] <Dr‘Clement> [Isaiah watched, smiling. He reached out and smoothed down her fringe as she ate. "You should see what happened to Aline and Raphael."]
[17:23] <Yanmei> "Mhm." She swallowed. "Fill me in. They’re okay now, aren't they?"
[17:27] <Dr‘Clement> ["Uh… Well, Aline’s alright. Part of the back of her hands ripped themselves out of her skin and pinned her to the roof of her Plug. They snipped the sinew and just filled the wound with biogel."]
[17:33] <Yanmei> "…it doesn't sound like someone would be okay after that?"
[17:36] <Dr‘Clement> ["She’s still resting, but ultimately the injuries weren't -that- bad. Very grisly, but the damage was fixable. Raphael, however…"]
[17:39] <Yanmei> Her eyebrows knit together. "His injuries were that bad?"
[17:39] <Dr‘Clement> ["It’s… Uh. The injuries are… Not something we can fix. From a purely medical perspective he's completely healthy, but… His body's been changed. He- he looks like someone else."]
[17:43] <Yanmei> "Huh?! You mean the Angel transformed him? How does that even happen?"
[17:47] <Dr‘Clement> ["We don’t know." Muttered Isaiah. "But it did. It turned him into a copy of Commander Ikari."]
[17:50] <Yanmei> "Commander…?" The long, blank stare she was giving him started to shift aside, and the corners of her her mouth twitched ever so slightly.
[17:50] <Dr‘Clement> [Isaiah frowned. "When the rescue teams found him, he was trying to cut strange silver things off of his chest with a knife. He’s being kept in the Psychiatric ward."]
[17:53] <Yanmei> "That… sounds serious." She looked away a moment, almost a little ashamedly. "What do you mean by silver things?"
[17:55] <Dr‘Clement> ["Hard to describe. They were coins, with the faces of the Ayanamis on them- a-and Rei Ikari’s." He said quietly. "Thirteen on his chest, three on the back of his neck and seven down each arm."]
[17:59] <Yanmei> "What does someone say to all this," Yanmei sighed. "What does someone even think?
[18:09] <Dr‘Clement> [Isaiah shook his head. "No idea. I really hope we can put him back the way he was…"]
[18:11] <Yanmei> "Yeah. Damn, what a mess." Yanmei rubbed her forehead. "How are -you- holding up, Isaiah?"
[18:14] <Dr`Clement> ["I’m alright. Everyone got through the attack ok- outside of Raphael- and you're alright." He kissed Yanmei on the forehead. "I have a little girl down in childcare who'd love to say hi~"]
[18:16] <Yanmei> "I don't think I'd mind that~ Let me check out and I can go down and say hello. She probably doesn't understand any of this, huh?"
[18:19] <Dr‘Clement> ["No no. You stay here and eat. I’ll bring her here."]
[18:21] * Yanmei opened her mouth to protest, but then nearly closed it, glancing down what was left on her tray. "Well… I guess I can live with that? Just hurry, okay?"
[18:22] <Dr‘Clement> ["I will." He leaned forward again, giving her a kiss. "See you in a few~"]
[18:24] <Yanmei> "See you~" And she returned the kiss all too happily.
[18:26] <Dr`Clement> [He grinned- and slipped out, leaving Yanmei to her miniature buffet.]
[18:31] * Yanmei regarded it with less of an appetite now that reality had come crashing down. The things she’d missed while she had been sleeping… the time she would have to make up. Her memory of the white masked figure was still hazy, but she summoned it as well as she could and then picked up her bowl of ice cream before it could melt further.

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