The Bloody Empress

[08:17] <Minaplo> [NEON GENESIS EVANGELION. 2nd of April, 2018. Episode Title: The Bloody Empress.-
[08:42] <Yanmei> "Thank you, everyone, for hearing our call today. This is Captain Zhang Yanmei, speaking on the behalf NERV's armed forces. I'm sending a message to everyone, from pole to pole, sea to sea, country to country." She was facing those assembled on the Bridge, in full clanky metallic combat gear, her hair arranged in a neat ponytail at the base of her neck. The visor that usually accompanied this getup was pulled back so that her full face was visible. -
[08:51] <Yanmei> "We have faced many diverse dangers as an organization in traditional combat and from the creatures we know only as the Angels. There is no possible way we would have persevered as long as we have without support from the rest of the world. Hands that have helped to build and fire weapons, hands that have healed and conducted research, hands that have offered us funds and well wishes on paper or email - have all contributed to our continued existance as a species. For these, you have our gratitude. We fight for you, the owners of these hands, extending our protection in whichever way we can." -
[09:00] <Yanmei> "Today, we fight a different creature than the Angelic beings that we have come to hate and fear. One that is familiar, but no less duplicitous or dangerous. The reason we do so is in the interest of the world's continued existence. We, of NERV, can no longer tolerate the command of certain parties within the UN who deceive us, bind not only our hands but the hands of their so-called allies, and who recklessly jeopardize the wellbeing of an entire planet for their grand delusions. These issues cannot be resolved through traditional means. That is why we are forming our own entity: The United Earth Federation." -
[09:07] <Yanmei> "Everyone: bear witness to our Liberation! Today is the day that we live up to our responsibilities, and become a force that is truly capable of standing up against the dangers that threaten humanity! For the sake of the world and all of the human species, we fight!"
[06:45] <Minaplo> [But even as Yanmei's recorded speech was being broadcast around the ship- around the city- the country and the world, the Dorian Lachapelle was preparing for battle. Three launch ports, placed length-wise along the side and top, slid open, magnetic launch catapult rails extending.-
[06:46] <Minaplo> [("Flight Control to EVA-00 and 01! Prepare for launch in fifteen seconds!")]
[06:55] <Sept> "Understood. Standing by," said EVA-01.
06[06:56] * Aline was waiting in 00's plug, naturally, and nodded. "Right."
[07:01] <Minaplo> [The catapult frames electrified, and then hurtled forward, picking up tremendous speed, before releasing them, launching the two Evangelions into the air above PAris-2.-
[07:02] <Minaplo> [("EVA-00, redirect to Front-02! Prepare the catapult rails for EVA-02 and EVA-06!"-
[07:03] <Minaplo> [("This is Advance Control! Preparing the Boarding Torpedo Ships for departure!")-
[07:04] <Minaplo> [It would be on one of these ships that Yanmei would find herself, strapped into a chair, alongside Chiisana, Nana and Rei…]
01[07:08] <Yanmei> This was quite the new experience for her, this ship. For a split second, she longed for the familarity of her Eva, but she quickly shook herself out of that and clutched her armrests, waiting for the signal to go.
03[07:10] * Sept is now known as Syntax
[07:23] <Minaplo> [The next fifteen minutes were… Stressful.-
[07:24] <Minaplo> [The Torpedo Ships were holding the vanguard of their invasion force- large VTOLs carrying strange, missile-like craft, with a payload of soldiers. The missiles would be fired, theoretically breach a hull of a vessel or a fortification, and then began disgorging troops.-
[07:28] <Minaplo> [They were breaching through the massive scar Michael had left in Paris-2- a scar that breached through the Geofront's hull, exposing it to the world.-
[07:28] <Minaplo> [Of course, it wouldn't be that easy, and as they approached their vehicle began to shake violently. ("We're under fire!") came the pilot.]
01[07:30] <Yanmei> "Urgh." Yanmei clenched her armrests a little tighter, glancing over at the others to see how they were doing. Were memories of their own loved ones flashing before their eyes…?
[07:36] <Minaplo> [The entire vehicle suddenly shuddered, spiralling violently- the world turned upside down- Yanmei felt like she was going to be sick-
[07:36] <Minaplo> [("We're hit! We're on fire!")]
01[07:43] <Yanmei> Yanmei tried desperately to unscramble her brain. The dizziness and terror made it difficult, but somehow she managed to remember who she was seated with. "Chiisana! Can you…? Your AT-Field?!"
[07:44] <Minaplo> ["Hold on!"-
[07:44] <Minaplo> [The air stiffed around her as she tried to apply counter-force to balance out the spin, and it seemed to work somewhat-
[07:45] <Minaplo> [But then suddenly, Yanmei's stomach fell behind her as the entire craft -shuddered-. She realised a second later what had happened: the Torpedo had been launched, the burning craft jettisoning its precious cargo.-
[07:45] <Minaplo> [And then a second later the torpedo hit home, smashing into the NERV HQ Pyramid, ripping through several floors, and then crashing to a stop with such force that Yanmei's head banged against the wall, dazing her.]
01[07:51] <Yanmei> It all ended in a hiss of pain and a few unsavory words in Chinese, as Yanmei clutched her forehead, leaning away from the wall on instinct now. As the pain subsided, she tried to determine which way was now up and where the exit was. "E-everyone okay?"
[07:53] <Minaplo> ["I'm alright." "Fine." "M-My head…"-
[07:53] <Minaplo> [Julie pulled off her harness, getting to her feet. She pointed at the front of the Torpedo, which had opened up.-
[07:54] <Minaplo> [Outside was a hallway, a familiar NERV hallway, with a big sign on the front- <- ELEVATORS. -> MEDICAL WARD.]
01[07:57] <Yanmei> "That pilot…" Yanmei muttered in obvious wonder. She shook her head one last time, climbing out of her harness and carefully making her way for the breach. "Can someone see if there are any hostiles around?"
[08:25] <Minaplo> ["Twelve, that way." Said Chiisana, pointing towards their goal. "One of them is probably piloting an AC Suit."]
01[08:28] <Yanmei> "Let's see if we can outrun them, then?" Yanmei stumbled for the door at the end of the hallway, and fiddled with the control panel for a while. "Ugh. Someone give me a hand with this?"
[08:30] <Minaplo> ["Hold on." Nana headed over, smiling. She smacked her hand into a port below the pad, and a compartment near the door slid open, revealing a lever. "Manual override."]
01[08:32] <Yanmei> "Thanks." After another second or two, the door slid open, and Yanmei straightened up, tossing her hair. "Let's move it?"
[08:56] <Minaplo> [And so they moved into an intersection…-
[08:56] <Minaplo> [And their first major problem would be spread out before them. There were three ways out of here- one of them led directly to their 'welcoming committee'.-
[08:57] <Minaplo> [The other two were flanking corridors, and they were covered in land mines- not normal landmines, either. These looked like Bolt Mines.-
[08:57] <Minaplo> [The threshold of each corridor was also cut off by a red laser-sensor…]
06[09:08] * Yanmei led the way with a head-jerk to indicate that they should follow, slipping under the laser and shuffling slowly and awkwardly around the mines.
[09:41] <Minaplo> [It was slow, painful work…-
[09:41] <Minaplo> ["Movement." Whispered Chiisana. "Four enemies- not the AC Suit- moving to the south. I think they're a patrol."]
01[09:44] <Yanmei> "We're not moving back?" Yanmei murmured. "We'll keep quiet and keep a safe distance for now."
[09:50] <Minaplo> [They nodded silently, sneaking forth…-
[09:50] <Minaplo> [… Yanmei would hear the shunting of a blast door opening, the clank of four pairs of feet…]
06[09:52] * Yanmei paused, listening, making sure that they were heading further away before slipping around the corner and following.
[09:53] <Minaplo> [They didn't seem to notice her. Although that said, Yanmei would realise that she didn't even notice the Ayanamis following her…]
01[11:52] <Yanmei> So, of course, Yanmei kept it up, creeping closer and closer even as the Troopers neared a narrow corner. Then… -
01[11:53] <Yanmei> She threw up a hand signal, pulled out the odd weapon she had kept strapped to her back until now, and pounced!
[11:56] <Minaplo> [The power armour of the Storm Troopers was thick and heavy, and although surprise was on their side, their gains weren't as pronounced as Yanmei would've liked. One went down, whilst Rei attacked another, who stumbled backwards. Nana pounced a third, jumping onto his back and wrapping an arm around his neck.]
06[11:59] * Yanmei swung her weapon again in long, fast strokes. It was an odd metal staff, not unlike Rei's, but terminating in knifelike blades at both ends - a sort of glaive that emitted low crackles of electricity when it hit. Another man went down, and she sprang across the distance to help with the one that Nana was grappling.
[12:03] <Minaplo> [Just in time- the man was struggling to lift a hand to hit the comm button on his helmet. Yanmei's strike hit him hard, and he went down, spasming.]
06[12:04] * Yanmei exhaled deeply, and gave Nana an approving nod. She wasted no time, kneeling beside the man and going through his things. "Four transmitters, five of us…" she frowned.
[12:05] <Minaplo> ["I'll go without." Said Rei immediately.]
06[12:09] * Yanmei stopped. She looked up slowly, as if on the verge of protesting, and then simply frowned more deeply. The girl's acrobatic skills were top notch; she had helped to train Yanmei, after all, years ago. If anyone could get through the landmines without aid, it would be her. "Thank you, Rei."
[00:11] <Minaplo> [Rei simply smiled.-
[00:11] <Minaplo> [They moved away, now, leaving the prone soldiers behind. Rei walked carefully, avoiding the landmines…-
[00:12] <Minaplo> [Another laser barrier, which they crawled under with painstaking slowness…-
[00:12] <Minaplo> [Now, they were in another intersection, a blast door to their left and right, lasers behind and ahead.-
[00:12] <Minaplo> ["Six people to our right." Said Chiisana quietly.]
06[00:14] * Yanmei shook her head. "I see a vent up ahead? We'll probably have an easier time moving through it than trying to face another group like that." -
01[00:17] <Yanmei> She was the first to move for it, crawling under that second set of lasers and pulling out Excalibur once they were all clear. She stepped up to the grating covering the ventilation shaft, slipped the tip of her weapon under it, and slowly, carefully, pried it off.
[00:18] <Minaplo> [Dark, and cramped…]
06[00:23] * Yanmei pulled her visor down firmly over her eyes. "Here we go~" She hoisted herself up and crawled forward, giving the others enough room to follow. "Ugh. Just bear with it for a little while, ok?"
[00:24] <Minaplo> [They began to crawl in after her- Ni, Rei, Julie and Chiisana bringing up the rear.-
[00:24] <Minaplo> ["Ugh, this is so cramped, and I cannot see anything." Muttered Chiisana.-
[00:25] <Minaplo> ["H-Hey! Chii, watch it!" Snapped Julie.-
[00:25] <Minaplo> ["Don't be so slow!"-
[00:26] <Minaplo> [Their bickering was interrupted by a sudden caterwauling alarm.-
[00:26] <Minaplo> ["That's the intruder alarm." Murmured Rei, suddenly going still.]
06[00:29] * Yanmei cursed under her breath. "Okay. Keep moving. We can't do anything in here, and they probably can't do anything to us?"
[00:29] <Minaplo> [There were shouts down the hall, the way they came- and footsteps. Within seconds, Yanmei would realise that they'd found the grate.]
01[01:18] <Yanmei> It got worse. There were noises coming from up ahead, too. -
01[01:20] <Yanmei> More footsteps, and the omnimous heavy clanking of… what? An AC suit? Yanmei reached for something on her belt as she kept crawling foreward, and held it ready as she very awkwardly adjusted her position. "Head left, okay?" she murmured quietly into the darkness behind her. "Everyone get ready."
[01:22] <Minaplo> [The Ayanamis tensed in anticipation…]
03[01:32] * Gerard is now known as Zack
02[01:51] * Suzune (~ten.nozirev.soif.lfpmat.542-641-19-27-loop|un#ten.nozirev.soif.lfpmat.542-641-19-27-loop|un) Quit (Ping timeout)
01[02:41] <Yanmei> Clang! She booted the grate out swiftly, and was out in a flash. The smoke grenade she'd been carrying hit the floor alongside her feet, temporarily choking the air and smothering out the light.
[02:45] <Minaplo> [The Ayanamis were hot on her trail, many of them over taking her-
[02:48] <Minaplo> [Except for Chiisana, who had taken up the rear. She was last in line, and the first target of the Troopers' wrath- made manifest as an AC Suit, fifteen feet tall, burst from the cloud of smoke, its huge boxy legs covering huge leaps of ground, smashing a fist towards Chiisana, who leapt out of the way. A half-ton of surovite gouged a fist into the ground as she ran for it.]
01[02:51] <Yanmei> Even with the smoke screen and the -very- distracting AC Suit, Yanmei could still make out enough of the troopers beyond them to be worried. -
01[02:52] <Yanmei> She drew her bolter, and took aim… not at the AC Suit, or the soldiers, but the lighting along the walls. "Follow my lead! Take them out!"
[03:15] <Minaplo> [The loud roaring retort of a bolter as Julie fired into another strip of lighting, ripping it apart from within. Rei and Nana moved, smashing their staves through more lighting- and plunging most of the corridor into darkness.-
[03:16] <Minaplo> [But the AC Suit wasn't stopping. It hurtled down the hallway, sweeping a backhand-fist towards Julie and Chiisana, sailing over their heads and tearing through the wall.]
01[03:19] <Yanmei> Persistant pilot! The tremors from that blow nearly knocked her off balance, but Yanmei was turning and fleeing around the next corner as soon as she could get her bearings again. She wasn't alone.
[03:25] <Minaplo> ["I'll hold the rear!" Shouted Rei, springing forward and throwing a hand up- a wide glowing orange plane springing into existence as she did so.-
[03:27] <Minaplo> [The force of the barrier prevented the AC Suit from passing. Instead, it went on the offensive, levelling its hands- each underslung with powerful burst cannons- and began to fire.-
[03:29] <Minaplo> [Rei momentarily dispersed parts of the barrier, trying to leap away from the dangerous fire- but one of the bolts burned near her unarmoured throat, and she stumbled, coughing at the injury. She pulled herself together just in time to bring the AT Field back up to full strength as the AC Suit aimed its main Pulse Cannon at her.-
[03:29] <Minaplo> [A huge slug rippling with blue actinic energy struck the Barrier Field, which wavered and nearly buckled. Rei grunted, gritting her teeth, digging her heels in.]
01[03:36] <Yanmei> Just a few meters away, a huge blast door blocked their escape. Yanmei uselessly smacked a fist against it. "Can we blow it open?"
[03:38] <Minaplo> ["Out of the way!" Said Chiisana, imperiously raising a gloved palm towards the door. There was a flash of light accompanied by a rainbow halo; a wave of energy lashed against the door, causing the metal and locks to start to buckle- but the door itself remained fused shut]
06[07:19] * Yanmei started to say something else, and then practically had to clap her hands over her ears as Julie let loose few rapid shots with her bolter. When the smoke cleared, there was a fresh, lopsided gap in the armored door. -
01[07:22] <Yanmei> That would do it. Yanmei dashed for it, finding herself in a tiny room with a button panel… an elevator. She scoffed under her breath, and turned for the emergency hatch, carelessly shoving it open. "This way!" She called to the ones who were following her.
[07:33] <Minaplo> [And so they began to file through, jumping fearlessly down the hatch, trusting to their AT Fields to carry them.-
[07:33] <Minaplo> [It was Rei who was last, still fending off the AC Suit. A hail of pulse bolts ripped her field to shreds, grazing her armoured dress; she instantly collapsed it, turned around, grapped Yanmei around the middle and flew down the hatch.-
03[07:35] * Zack is now known as ZackSleep
[07:36] <Minaplo> [About ten seconds passed- the Ayanamis murmured to each other-
[07:38] <Minaplo> [And then there was a flash of energy, illuminating black rubber cabling and the massive rail-conductors that ran down the side of the claustrophobic tunnel they were in. The energy ripped through another blast door, bringing them to a somewhat familiar sight for Yanmei.-
[07:39] <Minaplo> [It was a corridor, about three metres wide, with one side lined with doors. The Pysch Ward.]
06[07:43] * Yanmei had been clinging tightly to Rei, and was all too glad to feel the solid ground beneath her feet again when they emerged into the Ward. She exhaled deeply… no guards. Just them and an eerie hallway. -
01[07:43] <Yanmei> She composed herself, gently pulling away, and tried the door closest to them. "Can anyone get a fix on the target from here?"
03[07:49] * Suzune (~ten.nozirev.soif.lfpmat.542-641-19-27-loop|un#ten.nozirev.soif.lfpmat.542-641-19-27-loop|un) has joined #nervfrance
[07:52] <Minaplo> ["Three targets that way." Said Julie, nodding down the corridor. "One in a room about fifteen metres away, the other two are together and are farther."]
01[07:55] <Yanmei> The door that Yanmei had chosen was empty, of course. She backed off again, turning down the hallway with a nod and pulling out her stun glaive. "Alright. We'll look at that lone target first? Let's go!" And she hurried to the door to do just that, glancing over the others to make sure they were all ready before throwing it open.
[07:57] <Minaplo> [She was sitting on the bed, her legs drawn up against her chest. She was wearing a black shirt and a dark red sweater vest. She'd grown her hair out a little since she'd last seen Yanmei, but she was still unmistakeably Viviane Fournier.-
[07:57] <Minaplo> [She looked over at Yanmei and let out a little squeak of worry.]
01[07:58] <Yanmei> "Ah!" Yanmei hid her glaive behind her back, quickly motioning for the others to do the same. "V-Viviane?! Are yo okay?"
01[07:58] <Yanmei> ^you
[07:59] <Minaplo> ["W-Who are you?!"]
01[08:00] <Yanmei> "Who am…? Oh." She peeled off her visor. "It's me? Yanmei?"
[08:00] <Minaplo> ["O-Oh."]
01[08:03] <Yanmei> "If didn't think you'd still be here?" She took a step or two inside the room, glancing around. "It might be a little dangerous, but I think you should come with us for now."
[08:05] <Minaplo> ["What's going on? Is it an Angel?"]
01[08:07] <Yanmei> "No. We're freeing some people from the Geofront and then escaping with them." She shook her head. "Politics around here have gone crazy. It's like a civil war? It's no longer safe to leave our friends and allies here."
[08:08] <Minaplo> ["Oh…"-
[08:08] <Minaplo> [She shuffled off the bed, looking around a little nervously. "We should hurry, huh?"]
01[08:14] <Yanmei> "Yes. But? We have to help one more person. She should be just up the hall." Yanmei backed out into the hallway again, clearing room for her to emerge. Ariadne… what had she been doing? She'd been so certain that she would sneak Viviane away if things got hairy like this… -
01[08:15] <Yanmei> "Everyone ready?"
[08:24] <Minaplo> ["Should we not arm the waif here?" Asked Chiisana.]
01[08:36] <Yanmei> "…yes. We can't be too careful?" She yanked the soft dark cape that was was covering her own shoulders off, and handed it to Viviane. "Here. This will help until we can find something more armored for you?"
[08:36] <Minaplo> ["And here." Chiisana pulled a sword out of thin air, handing it to Viviane.-
[08:37] <Minaplo> [Viviane wrapped the cloak around herself- it seemed, oddly, a little big on her, making her look positively childlike- and she took the sword unsteadily.-
[08:37] <Minaplo> [They moved on through the rooms, clearing them. Another empty, and another, and then finally…-
[08:37] <Minaplo> ["This is the room." Said Chii.]
06[08:40] * Yanmei nodded promply, readying her glaive again, just in case. She took the doorknob and eased it open…
[08:45] <Minaplo> [This room was much more lived-in than the others.-
[08:46] <Minaplo> [Like the other rooms it had a desk, a bed, and a chest of drawers with a vanity; the bed was covered in books, strewn haphazardly around.-
[08:46] <Minaplo> [The Spectre- wearing just a nightgown, it seemed, her chest jewel clearly visible- was sitting at her desk. She was placing down cards with fanciful decorations- tarot cards- in a peculiar pattern, whilst next to them sat a Go board, a game apparently half-finished.-
[08:47] <Minaplo> [A black cat was curled up on the bed, but it wasn't asleep- its eyes slid smoothly open as Yanmei opened the door.]
06[08:49] * Yanmei stared back at it for a second, and lowered her weapon. She held back another sigh of relief. She'd been positive that the second presence here would be a guard and not a harmless black kitty. a quick nod to the Spectre. "I'm sorry it's been so long. Are you feeling okay?"
[08:57] <Minaplo> [The Spectre looked over at her. Her face was neutral.]
01[08:59] <Yanmei> "You might have noticed that the guards around here are all stirred up now?" Yanmei went on, trying to make the best of it. "We're getting out of here and want you to come with us. Is that okay?"
[08:59] <Minaplo> [She turned away.]
01[09:00] <Yanmei> "Why not?!" she demanded.
[09:01] <Minaplo> [She didn't respond. Instead, she waved her hand over her tarot cards. They flew into the air and immediately collapsed into a perfectly sorted deck, which she grabbed.-
[09:01] <Minaplo> [She sat down on the ground, cross-legged. She patted the ground in front of her.]
06[09:03] * Yanmei hesitated. She glanced over that the others before stepping into the room and slowly going down on her knees in front of her.
[09:09] <Minaplo> [She placed the deck in Yanmei's hands, then, of its own volition, it shuffled itself, then cut itself; finally, three cards flew from the deck and landed, face-down, in front of Yanmei.-
[09:11] <Minaplo> [One of the vanity's drawers slid open, and a cheap mobile phone hurtled out of it, landing in Yanmei's lap. It vibrated.]
06[09:12] * Yanmei checked the message that had just gone through…
06[09:15] * Yanmei took a long pause. Then, she reached for the card in the center, flipping it over.
[09:17] <Minaplo> [A stone tower rose into a grim and dark sky; the top of it, framed by a crescent moon, had been struck by a thunderbolt, and had split; people were falling from the windows.-
[09:18] <Minaplo> [The bottom of the card read: THE TOWER (XVI).]
03[09:20] * Raphael (~ua.moc.odod.lsd.citats.122-511-841-221|oaT#ua.moc.odod.lsd.citats.122-511-841-221|oaT) has joined #nervfrance
01[09:20] <Yanmei> It was not the most cheerful of images, given her current promotion. She repressed a shiver. "What's this mean?"
01[09:22] <Yanmei> "…" her eyes darted up from the phone message to the Spectre. "Is that why you refuse to come?"
[09:23] <Minaplo> [The Spectre didn't respond. She just gestured towards the cards.]
06[09:23] * Yanmei huffed a little, frustrated. She picked up the Right card.
[09:33] <Minaplo> [A man lay on a barren field, his white shirt stained red with blood. Above him, the sky was pitch black, and on the horizon roiled a turbulent sea. The source of the blood was not surprising: ten silver swords were impaled in the man's back, pinning him to the earth.]
01[09:35] <Yanmei> "…"-
01[09:36] <Yanmei> Yanmei stared. Then she hastily snatched over the final card.
[09:43] <Minaplo> [A warrior, armored in black platemail over a white robe, stands proud and tall on a scythed chariot. Behind it is a fortress, and above it is a clear sky. The chariot is drawn by two feline beasts, one white, one black. The card is titled: THE CHARIOT (VII).]
01[09:47] <Yanmei> Her shoulders sagged just a little. Yanmei shook her head and stood up. "I don't understand "Present, future, and past, huh?" she said wryly. "You're convinced that I'll fail, even if I've had a little luck in the past. Is that right?"
01[09:49] <Yanmei> ^understand. Present
[09:53] <Minaplo> [The Spectre didn't reply. She gestured, and the cards folded together.-
[09:53] <Minaplo> [Three more cards were laid out now.]
06[09:54] * Yanmei blinked. She tried again, starting again with the center card, moving less hesitantly than before.
[10:04] <Minaplo> [A horrible creature sat on an obsidian throne, with the body of a man, the legs of a clawed, furred beast; its head was adorned with horns, and had the appearance of a goat. Two black leathery wings sprouted behind it. Two people- a man and a woman, both naked- flanked the creature, and huge manacles and chains were wrapped around them, binding them to the throne.-
[10:04] <Minaplo> [THE DEVIL (XV).]
01[10:06] <Yanmei> "W-what are you implying?! This is supposed to be me?"
01[10:10] <Yanmei> The phone vibrated again. Yanmei didn't seem exactly molified by whatever it said, but she managed to calm down a little, huffing once more. She flipped over the card to the right now.
[10:14] <Minaplo> [On a green field sits a lake and a hill crowned with a tree; a nude woman stands between lake and hill, with two jugs of water. One she pours into the lake, the other she pours onto the soil. Above her is a bright white star, huge; to the star's left are four small yellow stars, arranged in a vertical row. To the star's right are three other yellow stars arranged in the same pattern, giving
[10:14] <Minaplo> it an oddly asymmetrical look.-
[10:14] <Minaplo> [THE STAR (XVII).]
01[10:16] <Yanmei> "This would be…?"
01[10:22] <Yanmei> "Renewel," Yanmei echoed out loud. Her brow furrowed just a little, and she turned the final card over.
01[10:22] <Yanmei> ^Renewal
[10:27] <Minaplo> [A woman of graceful beauty sits on a fabric-laden chair in a green field. On her brow is a crown of stars, and in her hand is a golden sceptre. She wears a white robe, stretched over a swollen belly; she is clearly pregnant. At her feet is a heart-shaped stone tablet etched with the symbol of Venus.-
[10:27] <Minaplo> [The card is upside down, however. THE EMPRESS (III).]
06[10:29] * Yanmei seemed a little more pleased now. This Empress looked so elegant, despite being upside down. "This is me too? In the recent past?"
02[10:35] * Raphael (~ua.moc.odod.lsd.citats.122-511-841-221|oaT#ua.moc.odod.lsd.citats.122-511-841-221|oaT) Quit (Quit: <Minaplo> I like Louis XIV, because he seems like this incredibly wasteful extravagant partyboy, but beneath that double chin, jowls, fourteen ermine capes, moustache, 15 pound wig and 18th century parachute pants is a cunningly machiavellian mind.)
01[10:40] <Yanmei> "Ah." Her face twisted slightly, at the incoming messages, as if she was unsure if she should be offended or not. She raised her gaze to the Spectre again. "What does this mean for you? What will you do now?"
[10:40] <Minaplo> [The Spectre smiled honestly.]
01[10:45] <Yanmei> "I… don't know if I'd put it like that? I'd rather make sure the world is free, not rule over it for the rest of my life."
06[10:48] * Yanmei shook her head. "No. No, I can't think of any other way to describe it." She started to stand.
[10:50] <Minaplo> [The Spectre stood, and then stood close- bare inches away. She pushed the Empress card into Yanmei's hand, and leaned forward.]
01[10:53] <Yanmei> Yanmei leaned back a little so that she could stare into her eyes. "Miss Julie? Nana? Could you please take Viviane into the hall? Check out some of the other doors or scan the blast door to make sure that there's no one beyond it?"
[11:03] <Minaplo> ["Of course." Said Julie, nodding professionally. The two of them turned to do exactly that.-
[11:03] <Minaplo> [The Spectre smiled. She put a hand up on Yanmei's cheek- her hand was warm to the touch.]
01[11:07] <Yanmei> The warm gesture… surprised her. "I don't know how much you know, but…" Her mouth stiffened slightly, and resolve crept back into her eyes. "If you're sure about this, I'll do it? Rei, please take the kitty and head outside. We don't want it becoming upset too. Please close the door when you go, too."
[11:08] <Minaplo> [… But the cat reacted immediately, jumping down and primly walking outside.-
[11:08] <Minaplo> [Rei followed it, her eyes soft, but then she nodded to Yanmei and closed the door.-
[11:09] <Minaplo> [The Spectre smiled again.-
[11:10] <Minaplo> [And before Yanmei could react, she pulled back a little- then kissed Yanmei quickly on the lips.-
[11:10] <Minaplo> [She then stood backwards, and knelt down, legs folded beneath her.]
06[11:14] * Yanmei blinked rapidly, a hand half-raised to her mouth as the Spectre kneeled. She rebounded just a moment or two later, though, and drew Excalibur with both hands. She pulled it back with a deep breath… and then aimed her hardest strike at the Spectre's neck.
[11:17] <Minaplo> [The sword cut through flesh and bone as though it wasn't there. If Yanmei had been blind she might've thought that she'd cut through air.-
[11:18] <Minaplo> [The Spectre was still for a moment- then the head slid forward, tumbling onto the ground. The body collapsed backwards, and began to bleed profusely from the neck.]
06[11:20] * Yanmei exhaled, a deep, shuddery breath. She edged past the body, to the bed, and pulled off the sheet as if she was on the verge of wrapping something with it… but she just ended up staring down at the Spectre's remains for a few seconds instead.
[11:22] <Minaplo> ["Shall I collect the body? Yanmei?"]
01[11:23] <Yanmei> "Ah? Y-yes." She nodded quickly a few times. "Please do?"
[11:29] <Minaplo> [Chiisana nodded firmly, and then reached down to touch the body. A second later, it had vanished, along with the blood. "Let's g-"-
[11:29] <Minaplo> ["CONTACT!" Shouted Julie from outside.]
06[11:32] * Yanmei started a curse, and then cut herself off in her haste, springing around the pool of blood left behind, Excalibur ready. She tossed open the door.
[11:33] <Minaplo> [There were horrible, metallic sounds coming from the elevator shaft- and soon Yanmei would see why, as the Elevator suddenly fell past, its roof and floor mangled beyond recognition.-
[11:33] <Minaplo> [A moment later, a massive shape filled the absense left behind- the AC Suit.-
[11:34] <Minaplo> [("What, you really think I'd let you and your little clone army go so easily, Yannie?")-
[11:34] <Minaplo> [… That voice.-
[11:34] <Minaplo> [("You have ten seconds to surrender, or you all die, got it?") Said Lilly Norling.]
01[11:38] <Yanmei> "Norling!" Yanmei hissed, eyes narrowing. "-You- surrender! Do you even know who you're fighting for?"
[11:38] <Minaplo> [("Sure do. Do you?")-
[11:38] <Minaplo> [("Like, not to criticise or anything, but are you -really- doing the LN thing again? That worked so well the first time- not. Your little 'United Federation of Earth' is going to burn-")-
[11:39] <Minaplo> ["It's United Earth Federation, actually." Corrected Chiisana.-
[11:39] <Minaplo> [("Whatever. It doesn't matter anyway. It's just another stupid rebellion to go down in the long history of stupid rebellions. You should know that, being Chinese and all, Yannie.")-
[11:39] <Minaplo> [("Five seconds.")]
01[11:43] <Yanmei> "Viviane, hide. We'll be done here in a minute." She took up a more aggressive stance. If it was alone, they could definitely do this…
[12:12] <Minaplo> [("Time's up!")-
[12:12] <Minaplo> ["Firing!" Julie stepped forward, opening fire. "I'll distract her, you guys go around the back!"]
01[08:07] <Yanmei> "Right!" With bullets still flying everywhere, Yanmei scrambled down the hall, eying the AC suit for any obvious weak points.
[08:08] <Minaplo> [The bolter shells rattled off the thick hull of the AC Suit harmlessly. Yanmei would get close, only for the vehicle to suddenly lift slightly into the air, jets bursting into light across its back- it then flew down the hallway at top speed, charging towards Julie!-
[08:08] <Minaplo> ["Look out-"-
[08:09] <Minaplo> [A massive Surovite arm swung through the air harmlessly, Julie dodging away at the last second.-
[08:10] <Minaplo> ["Allow me!" Snapped Chiisana, stepping forward. Her sword held in both hands, she took another step, swung on her heel, jumped slightly into the air and brought the blade down hard against the AC Suit's massive hand-held cannon, causing a crack on the casing.-
[08:10] <Minaplo> [("Tch!- You damned doll-")]
06[09:26] * Yanmei cursed softly under breath, spinning on her heels, Rei and Nana in tow. "C'mon, we have to catch up!"
[09:28] <Minaplo> ["With its back to the wall, we don't have many weak spots to rely on." Said Julie grimly.-
[09:28] <Minaplo> [The AC Suit spun about in mid-air, aiming a hand towards Chiisana. A hail of pulse bolts rained down the corridor…!-
[09:29] <Minaplo> [But Chiisana gracefully leapt to the side, almost lazily seeming to backflip as she did so, landing on her feet. She lifted her sword up with both hands. "Yanmei! Press the attack! I'm going to focus my energy into a single point!"-
[09:30] <Minaplo> [Nana and Rei tried to press the attack, but to little avail. Nana struck and struck and struck with wild abandon at one of its legs, producing little result- or so it seemed…]
06[09:33] * Yanmei took a different route, at first hanging back with sharp directions to boost Nana and Rei's effectiveness, and then, after they failed to pan out, a frustrated grunt. -
01[09:34] <Yanmei> She adjusted her weight and… sprinted straight at the front of the AC Suit with a wild cry! "YAAAAAAHHH!!!!" -
01[09:35] <Yanmei> She sprang, not with her sword held out but with her hands, grasping the bulky armor and clinging tightly to it.
[09:41] <Minaplo> [She barely shifted the AC Suit, and yet it responded violently, first tilting one way, then another, then leaping up and -rushing- down the corridor at top speed, trying to buck Yanmei off…!-
[09:41] <Minaplo> [Behind the suit, Chiisana's AT blast went wide, burning into the wall.]
06[10:26] * Yanmei briefly clenched her eyes shut, clinging tightly like a leech as the world around her fell into blurry colors and vertigo. Somehow she managed to hang on until it paused… and she let out a low scoff at the pilot. "Pathetic? Is that all you can do?" She lifted her head, looking less dizzy now, and shouted out at the Ayanamis. "Now! She's open!"
[10:33] <Minaplo> [Nana and Rei were the first to respond, but it was difficult to catch up with the AC Suit. Rei struck it across the legs, causing its run to stumble, nearly jolting Yanmei off-
[10:34] <Minaplo> [But then Yanmei would see the Suit's actual goal, as it didn't slow down at all but proceeded to ram straight into the closed elevator doors…!]
01[10:36] <Yanmei> "Gnaah!" Yanmei slipped off, tucking into herself and rolling as she hit the floor. Somehow the big thing's treads missed her, and she came to a very bruised stop just a few paces away from the massive crash that followed.
[10:36] <Minaplo> [The vehicle struck the doors with such force that the doors buckled- amazingly, the vehicle itself was undamaged.-
[10:36] <Minaplo> [And yet now, the rear of the AC Suit was exposed…]
01[10:38] <Yanmei> Yanmei wasted no time, yanking out Excalibur and staggering to her feet. She sprang at its back, slashing as hard as she could!
[10:38] <Minaplo> [The sword struck true, the blow wrenching through the metal and causing the chassis to shudder violently.-
[10:41] <Minaplo> [The sharp retort of a bolter, shells detonating against the AC Suit's back…-
[10:43] <Minaplo> [Rapid footsteps behind Yanmei as Nana charged forward, now. "Hyaa!"-
[10:44] <Minaplo> [She leapt up, spinning violently through the air, both swords held around her like a whirlwind. A cut into the knee, hobbling it, forcing it down- another cut into a spinal support, sending it suddenly jolting forward.-
[10:44] <Minaplo> [Nana planted her foot against the base of the AC Suit's back, stabbed the suit two more times-
[10:45] <Minaplo> [Then ran up to the head and, without missing a beat, leapt up and flipped backwards through the air, bringing her swords together and swinging them down at once. The points smashed through the neck of the AC Suit, instantly decapitating it- and ripping through the hull into its power supply-
[10:45] <Minaplo> [Unceremoniously, the AC Suit slumped, collapsed and then fell forwards, crashing into the elevator door with a final -thud-.-
[10:46] <Minaplo> [Nana landed in a crouch next to Yanmei- before elegantly rising to her feet, grinning up at Yanmei broadly.]
06[10:48] * Yanmei stared back at her, mouth slightly ajar. It had ended so quickly, and with a magnificent whirlwind of destruction, too… -
01[10:49] <Yanmei> "Well done," she managed. And then looked around at the others too. "Well done all of you? We did it."
[11:01] <Minaplo> [Nana beamed, flushing at the praise.-
[11:02] <Minaplo> ["Don't leave the task unfinished." Said Chiisana abruptly. "There is still the matter of the pilot within."]
01[11:03] <Yanmei> "Of course." Yanmei faced the wreckage and raised her voice. "Come out of there, Norling! With your hands up!"
[11:04] <Minaplo> [No response.]
01[11:05] <Yanmei> "Tch. Miss Chiisana, Julie, please cover us? Nana, let's pull her out of there." Yanmei stepped impatiently toward the suit, searching for an external release hatch.
[11:06] <Minaplo> [The best she'd find would be a small, hidden lever at the very base of the torso. Pumping it several times would slough off part of the wrecked armour to reveal the cockpit within.-
[11:07] <Minaplo> ["F-Fuck you! Fuck you!"-
[11:07] <Minaplo> [The cockpit was a mess. The screens were damaged and many outright broken; large parts of the Surovite shell around the cockpit had caved in, sending shards of shrapnel everywhere.-
[11:08] <Minaplo> [Lilly sat in the middle, belted in, and the problem was obvious immediately. A large jagged shard of surovite had broken off and impaled her through the thigh of her left leg. She was gripping it with her left hand and trying to pull, but all she did was slice at her palm…-
[11:08] <Minaplo> [Shrapnel had cut her in other places, too. Along her face, her arms, chest. All had drawn blood, but none were as serious as the shard pinning her to her chair. "F-Fuck…"-
[11:09] <Minaplo> [The blood that coursed down her face- from a head wound- was mingling with tears of fear and pain.]
06[11:11] * Yanmei stared, and then slowly shook her head. She'd been all ready with a smug taunt. But now… "Nana, could you send Rei up here? Someone who knows medicine should be able to tell us the risks of removing that thing."
[11:13] <Minaplo> [Rei followed them, stepping up to look down.-
[11:14] <Minaplo> [She shook her head towards Yanmei. "If it stays in there- it looks like it's gone right through, so she could go into shock or bleed to death if she's not careful. If we can remove it and her, we can fix her up, though."]
01[11:17] <Yanmei> "Ugggh… all right. We'll have to do it quickly? We can't stay here. Help me pull it out, Rei." Yanmei eased closer to Lilly, earning a few light scratches of her own on the broken equipment. "Stop struggling."
[11:18] <Minaplo> [Rei put down her staff, nodding quickly before stepping over and preparing to help.-
[11:19] <Minaplo> [Lilly lashed out at them, her swings wild and inaccurate. "Fuck you! Fuck you! Don't e-even fucking touch me!"-
[11:19] <Minaplo> ["We're trying to help-"-
[11:20] <Minaplo> ["I-I hope they f-fucking find you both, and t-they fucking p-pay you back for e-everything you've f-fucking done to e-everything, I-I hope they fuck you both and pass you a-around 'til you bleed from e-everywhere- damnit, DAMNIT!"-
[11:20] <Minaplo> [Chiisana reacted instantly, her head snapping around like a whipcrack. She grabbed Rei's abandoned staff, and roughly pushed Yanmei aside. "Out of my way!"-
[11:21] <Minaplo> [She brought the staff down on Lilly's head with enough force to nearly break something. A shock passed through Lilly's body, and she slumped, head lolling backwards, eyes rolling into the back of her head.-
[11:21] <Minaplo> ["…" Rei looked aside, awkwardly.]
01[11:22] <Yanmei> Yanmei was far less put out. "Thank god," she muttered, rolling up her sleeves. "Good work. Let's get to it."
[11:24] <Minaplo> [Rei held a hand out, wrapping her AT Field around the shard. Slowly, gently, she withdrew it- long, jagged and torn like a stereotypical thunderbolt from Zeus, it was covered in bright red flood.-
[11:25] <Minaplo> [It took about ten minutes to properly stow Lilly away, locking her in one of the nearby psychiatric rooms, her leg bandaged, Rei using a bit of leftover biogel from her own wound-patching to help with the process.-
[11:26] <Minaplo> [Despite Lilly's terrible attitude Rei took the effort to cover Lilly with a blanket and keep a low-light on for her as she locked the door.-
[11:26] <Minaplo> ["… Is it over?" Asked a timid voice from down the hall as Viviane emerged.]
01[11:27] <Yanmei> Viviane… Yanmei had almost forgotten about her and Ying. She peered over at her with a small, tired smile. "Yes. We're ready to move on? You're not hurt, are you?"
[11:28] <Minaplo> ["I-I'm fine."-
[11:29] <Minaplo> [Ying walked out of the room, as cool and casual as you please, tail up in the air. He padded over to Yanmei, leapt up onto her shoulder, and began licking her cheek.]
06[11:33] * Yanmei scratched Ying lightly behind the ear. For a few moments, she seemed lost in thought. Then… "There's only one way to go now," she sighed, eying the lone door at the end of the corridor. "And I doubt they've missed the sounds from that last fight. If that stupid girl hadn't broken the elevator doors, we could have gone further up the shaft and continued that way."
[11:36] <Minaplo> [Something beeped in Yanmei's ear. Her earpiece…
[11:36] <Minaplo> ]
01[11:41] <Yanmei> "Ah?" Yanmei responded, touching the little device. "This is Green Jackal leader. What's the situation, Command?"
[11:42] <Minaplo> ["This is Forward HQ." Came the voice- Alphonse's.-
[11:42] <Minaplo> [Rei stiffened a little, turning towards Yanmei with a strange look on her face, like a cross between fear and longing…-
[11:43] <Minaplo> ["Progress being made towards the Bridge but slowing due to heavy resistance. Report situation, Green Jackal, over."]
01[11:46] <Yanmei> "We have Target 1. Targets 2 through 5 are still unaccounted for? We've also picked up a civilian. Over."
[11:50] <Minaplo> ["Good work, Green Jackal. We've received data that Targets 2 to 5 are located three levels beneath the Psychiatric Wards, on B-Wing, Sub-section D-4. Your orders are to proceed to that location and engage, over."]
01[11:52] <Yanmei> "Understood? We'll engage and then await orders. Good luck on your end. Over."
[11:54] <Minaplo> ["Happy hunting. Forward HQ over and out."]
06[11:56] * Yanmei looked up as the transmission ended. "They're below us. Three levels down." She turned, eying the elevator doors again critically. "Ugh. Let me check this out one more time? If we could drop straight down…"
[12:00] <Minaplo> ["We probably could." Said Chiisana.]
01[12:05] <Yanmei> So Yanmei passed Ying off to Rei and looked it over carefully, allowing the rest of the Ayanamis to outfit Viviane in whatever armor they had salvaged from Lilly Norling during her hasty treatment.
[12:08] <Minaplo> [Which turned out to be an armoured vest, over which they overlaid a cuirass of Stormtrooper armour, and gauntlets.-
[12:11] <Minaplo> [The elevator doors had buckled, the right one moreso than the left; they'd been blasted open by Chiisana at first, enough to let them crawl through, but the last blow had pushed them shut again, warping against each other. Another blast from Chiisana could probably finish the job.]
01[12:13] <Yanmei> And so Yanmei called her over to do just that so that they could descend. "Everyone ready?"
[12:13] <Minaplo> [They all nodded, even Ying.-
[12:13] <Minaplo> [All except Viviane. "Ready for what?"]
01[12:14] <Yanmei> "Nana, would you mind carrying her, please?" Yanmei gave Viviane and encouraging smile. "Don't worry. It's always a little scary the first time, but you'll be okay."
[12:19] <Minaplo> [Nana happily swept Viviane up in a princess carry, smiling encouragingly. Viviane, however, became visibly more worried. "W-What…?"]
01[12:23] <Yanmei> "Let's drop!" Yanmei headed for the broken elevator doors. She herself would probably be carried by someone as well.
[12:23] <Minaplo> [Chiisana!-
[12:23] <Minaplo> [One more blast, the doors breaking open- and then they jumped.-
[12:24] <Minaplo> ["K-K-YIIIYAAAAAAAAA!" Viviane began to scream…-
[12:24] <Minaplo> [Even though they fell gently and slowly.-
[12:24] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[12:24] <Minaplo> ["KYAAAAAAAAAAAA!"]
01[12:25] <Yanmei> "Stop that!" Yanmei complained, looking back in her own controlled fall. "They'll -hear- us!"
[12:26] <Minaplo> ["B-But…" Viviane looked down, abashed- then let out a moan and looked up. "Kaaa…"]
06[12:29] * Yanmei followed her gaze briefly up the elevator shaft to make sure there was nothing there before giving her a last stern look. The three-floor drop would probably not take long, even at these speeds.
01[06:34] <Yanmei> But Viviane would probably have reason to scream again, just a little, as another controlled AT-assisted explosion went off below them! Together, they all floated through the resulting wrecked door, settling on the solid tiles again and orienting themselves. -
01[06:38] <Yanmei> "It's this way," Yanmei murmured, giving the smoking doors behind them one last glance before taking the lead. It was a short run… and oddly uneventful, with none of them setting off any more alarms along the way.
[07:10] <Minaplo> [Before long, they'd come to a corridor- short, a blast door before them. Built into the wall into their left was a grate…-
[07:10] <Minaplo> [Ying scratched behind his ear idly, but Viviane shook her head. "It's so quiet…"]
01[07:26] <Yanmei> "Yeah," Yanmei muttered uneasily. "It shouldn't be. Not if there are VIPs here?" She peered around carefully, and then moved over to the control panel by the door. It took a few tries, and some help from Nana, but eventually the door slid open.
03[08:05] * Zack is now known as ZackSleep
02[12:00] * Raphael (~ua.moc.tensutpo.wsn.lsd.32-821-501-85d|oaT#ua.moc.tensutpo.wsn.lsd.32-821-501-85d|oaT) Quit (Quit: <Minaplo> I like Louis XIV, because he seems like this incredibly wasteful extravagant partyboy, but beneath that double chin, jowls, fourteen ermine capes, moustache, 15 pound wig and 18th century parachute pants is a cunningly machiavellian mind.)
02[12:33] * Aline (~ten.nozirev.soif.lfpmat.542-641-19-27-loop|enuzuS#ten.nozirev.soif.lfpmat.542-641-19-27-loop|enuzuS) Quit (Quit: )
[12:43] <Minaplo> [The room- large, white-tiled and grey-walled- beyond seemed empty enough. Recessive cover plates had risen from the ground on the far end of the room, although there were no signs of combat.-
[12:44] <Minaplo> [But before Yanmei could make another step, Ying began to hiss viciously.]
01[12:46] <Yanmei> Yanmei raised her weapon instinctively! It took a second to figure out what the trouble was. They were hard to see, but… more landmines, cleverly hidden all over the place. "Not again," she muttered.
[12:50] <Minaplo> ["They'll have changed the IFF remote signature codes." Said Nana with a frown. "They're less thick, though? If we're careful…"-
[12:50] <Minaplo> [But Ying was already off, winding a way through the minefield.]
06[12:53] * Yanmei glanced over her shoulder at the others. "I understand? Let's be careful. Ah…" She peered at where Ying was already approaching the southmost door of the room. "I guess kitty takes point? Nana, Rei, and I will go through after that. Then everyone else. Keep your eyes peeled." -
01[12:54] <Yanmei> Slowly, she began to make her own way across the floor, eyes downward, but pausing every now and then to lift them, searching. -
01[12:56] <Yanmei> Soon she reached the security panel, and fiddled with it for a few moments before the doors pulled away.
[12:56] <Minaplo> ["Hsssss."]
01[12:57] <Yanmei> Here too? "Annoying?" Yanmei grumbled. "Keep going, Ying."
[13:00] <Minaplo> [The cat wound his way through the corridor. It paused at the door, then began pawing at the wall beneath the security panel.-
[13:00] <Minaplo> ["He's so cute." Trilled Rei adoringly.]
01[13:02] <Yanmei> "If you think so, then when we get home, you can look after him until his owner wakes up." Yanmei was at the panel soon, opening the door up as before.
[13:06] <Minaplo> ["Yay~"-
[13:06] <Minaplo> [The door opened up, and Ying was quick to lead on.]
01[13:07] <Yanmei> And Yanmei was quick to follow. Another room with another door. She waited for the others to catch up before opening it.
[13:07] <Minaplo> [They all moved in…-
[13:08] <Minaplo> [Juuichi hurried along.-
[13:08] <Minaplo> [… And then she suddenly stopped, looking down at her feet. "…"-
[13:08] <Minaplo> [A landmine sat beneath her foot, the yellow 'armed' light switching to dark red.]
06[13:10] * Yanmei uttered a low curse under her breath in native Chinese. "Don't. Move." She skimmed the other Ayanamis. "No one panic? Can anyone, um. AT Field that thing away? Really quickly?"
[13:12] <Minaplo> [Nana was the first to respond. She clicked her fingers- a cascade of objects fell out of the sky next to her- a pair of swords, a crossbow, a hand-crossbow, two bolt pistols, ammo, spare clothes, what looked like a boxed lunch and a violet diary.-
[13:12] <Minaplo> [Within a second the mine was whisked away, and then Nana began hurriedly tucking everything back into her cache.]
06[13:14] * Yanmei eyed the lunch and diary curiously, but when it was all done, she patted her lightly on the shoulder. "Thanks." She exhaled lightly. "And good work? You okay, Julie?"
[13:15] <Minaplo> ["I'm fine." She took a deep breath. "I'm ok."]
06[13:18] * Yanmei nodded, still just slightly disconcerted, as she went back to the panel. "No harm done?"
[14:00] <Minaplo> [Ying walked up to the door, nodding slowly.]
[14:03] <Yanmei> The door soon swished open, allowing Ying and the others to pass into the next hallway. Up ahead was an interserction, and beyond that were several more of those recessive walls. "Still no sign of anyone?"
[14:03] <Minaplo> [Chiisana shook her head. "Ping's not bringing up anything."]
[14:05] <Yanmei> "Fine. Let's go?" Yanmei let Ying do his thing before moving further on, the grip on her glaive somewhat relaxed now.
[14:11] <Minaplo> [They moved into the intersection, Ying winding his way around more mines, when…-
[14:12] <Minaplo> [The intersection consisted of the long west-east corridor, with two blast doors to the north and south. Without warning, the doors suddenly slid open-
[14:13] <Minaplo> [Before anyone could react, Yanmei would see a small metal object arc through the air, landing at her feet. It exploded in a massive flash of blinding light- her eyes were stricken, her head suddenly pounding in pain from nervous overload.-
[14:13] <Minaplo> [The sound of gunfire- pulse carbines firing in rapid succession, and Julie screaming- the sound of something thudding against the floor.]
[14:18] <Yanmei> Fuck! -Fuck-! Yanmei held back a scream at the pain building up behind her eyes. She couldn't shake it! Worse, she couldn't make out anything beyond it besides gray shadows and more painfully bright contrasts. -
[14:23] <Yanmei> The sounds of the disarry around her, however, was very much clear. "Get to cover!" She yelled, but the only reliable things that counted as such were well behind them in the previous room. Something that was shaped like an Ayanami darted past, in the direction that one of the ambushes had come from. She wasn't sure what to expect, but Yanmei scrambled blindly after her, intent on hitting
[14:23] <Yanmei> any enemy infantry soldiers in her path.
[14:27] <Minaplo> [Her staff came down on something- someone- hard, and Yanmei heard a grunt of pain and a voice crying out words in a language she didn't understand. She felt something brush past- something that didn't feel like an Ayanami at all.-
[14:28] <Minaplo> [She heard a strange, low hum- the hum of a positron field. She heard Rei cry out, not in pain but as part of an attack- the sound of metal clashing on metal and footsteps. Chaos. Another burst of pulse fire.-
[14:29] <Minaplo> [There was the awful sound of another flashbang detonating nearby…]
[14:34] * Yanmei turned after the unfamiliar running figure like a dog chasing down a rabbit, raising her staff for more blows. The other sounds stirred equal hope and worry in her. Rei was still fighting! But the others…how were they fairing? -
[14:35] <Yanmei> A mental shake. She had to focus! The most she could do right now was taking care of what was in front of her!
[14:39] <Minaplo> ["Look out! Another grenade!"-
[14:40] <Minaplo> [Yanmei heard the -clink- of something hard and dense striking the ground nearby. But no explosion came, nor a burst of disorientating light and sound. Nothing seemed to happen. A dud?-
[14:40] <Minaplo> [… But the air was becoming strange. Where before the air was unnoticeable, it now carried the wafting, rich scent of fresh lilacs.]
[14:43] <Yanmei> That… was… unlikely. Here? Was it perfume that someone was wearing? No! She could figure it out later! She fought, swinging at the air, still hoping to hit someone in the noisy chaos.
[15:00] <Minaplo> [But she felt sluggish. The air was weird… Sweet and heavy and hot, she felt the humidity roiling on her skin, beads of sweat rolling out from every pore of her body…-
[15:00] <Minaplo> [She'd reactively breathed the lilac-perfume in, and she felt… Off.-
[15:01] <Minaplo> [She took a step, and felt her leg stretch for thirty metres before the rest of her body snapped forward like a slingshot.-
[15:01] <Minaplo> [The ground to her left trembled as something massive- an Evangelion?!- crashed down next to her. What was going on…?!]
[15:05] <Yanmei> What indeed?! She stumbled, thoughts floundering through mental images of sturdy cover, and the fighting Ayanamis around her, and the hallway as she had last seen it, which was way too small for an EVA to fit into, so… Retreat! They had to get away!
[15:09] <Minaplo> [The area around her shook as what sounded like artillery exploded over head. She heard someone- something- thrashing about wildly, each movement nearly knocking Yanmei off her feet.-
[15:09] <Minaplo> [Yanmei would find herself moving, trying to get away, trying to find safety-
[15:10] <Minaplo> [Her vision would start to clear, however…]
[15:17] <Yanmei> The first thing she spotted was a massive boot, easily larger than herself. Standard military wear, aside from the mind-boggling size, and very un-Evangelion-like in its muted and practical color. -
[15:24] <Yanmei> There were thousands and thousands of yards dark cloth and armor above that, encasing a body that was just as terrifyingly proportioned, with a distant head that nearly touched the sky… or the drab gray plating and swinging alien lights that had apparently replaced the sky while she had been blind. -
[15:26] <Yanmei> And the giant was not alone. There were others, with features that she could only make out because of their relative distance from her. Long pale hair, shorter styles in blue and violet, a distant giant on its back, thrashing violently…
[15:32] <Minaplo> [The nearest giant- one bearing a mace that was the size of an apartment block- turned to stare down at her, its electronic eyes burning red and bright. It brought the mace back, and brought it down…!]
[15:38] <Yanmei> She couldn't move! Its shadow found her, and then the hulking weapon itself, moving far too quickly for its size! The ground around her buckled and shattered apart. And her body… her skull split and shattered just as thoroughly, her ribs and limbs pulverized, her organs smashed and pulped into mingling stains… -
[15:39] <Yanmei> There wasn't much pain, or even time for regret. Just an awareness, a split second of seemingly standing outside of her own body. Then, there was blackness.
[15:41] <Minaplo> […-
[15:41] <Minaplo> [What happened next would probably surprise Yanmei. She'd find herself…-
[15:41] <Minaplo> [Waking up.]
[15:47] <Yanmei> "…" She lay still, not moving for some time. She'd dreamed about dying before, and the aftermath was never like this. But, since she had never actually died in reality, maybe this was the really real afterlife? -
[15:49] <Yanmei> Or maybe that thing with the giants had been the dream. She remembered… and felt violently sick, and promptly tried to force herself to stop remembering at once.
[15:54] <Minaplo> ["Oh, you're awake, are you?" Came a voice to her left. A familiar voice, but not one she could pin down perfectly…]
[15:55] * Yanmei turned her head slooowly. Her hand went for her side, groggily, feeling around for the Excalibur replica.
[15:55] <Minaplo> [… Her hand moved so sluggishly. She found the sword, at her side, but barely had the strength to even push it.-
[16:02] <Minaplo> [They'd been shifted into one of the side rooms. Her friends lay around her, most of them unconscious, nearly all of them injured. Viviane lay against a wall, massive strips of gauze wrapped around her left leg.-
[16:05] <Minaplo> [A man was kneeling next to an unconscious Rei. Her right hand was bandaged all the way up to the elbow, and he had countless other wounds elsewhere. Her breastplate had been removed, and her dress's blouse had been opened slightly to reveal her neck and collarbone. The man was holding her chin up with his left hand, and with his right, he was injecting a syringe of something into Rei's neck.]
[16:08] <Yanmei> The obvious hit her like a hammer. They had lost. And this man was… doing what? "You leave her alone!" She snapped, trying to sit up. To her dismay, she didn't get get far.
[16:13] <Minaplo> [He didn't react until the syringe was empty. Then he carefully placed the empty syringe within a kit lying next to him, then with very deliberate movement, closed the kit and turned to face Yanmei.-
[16:13] <Minaplo> [She recognised him. Ephraim Siskin von Brandt.-
[16:14] <Minaplo> [He smiled, a congenial and fatherly smile. "Don't worry. The effects are only temporary. Do you remember me, Zhang Yanmei?"]
[16:20] * Yanmei simply stared a second. "What are you planning?"
[16:22] <Minaplo> [He chuckled warmly, getting to his feet and walking towards her. "Nothing dangerous. Do me a favour and tell me how you feel. I estimate that your extremities should feel extremely heavy and sluggish, whilst your chest ought to feel quite tight. Does this sound right?"]
[16:27] <Yanmei> "Let's focus on more important matters, shall we?" She looked around once more. "Where are the people we were fighting? We can't possibly be alone?"
[16:28] <Minaplo> ["Walpurgis Night?" Ephraim chuckled. "They're long gone by now." He crouched down next to her, and took her left hand. He began to push her fingers back and forth. "Do you feel that? Is the sensation as keenly felt as normal, or is it muted somehow?"]
[16:34] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei nearly managed a wry smile. "I had no idea you were a medical doctor as well."
[16:35] <Minaplo> ["Scientific curiosity, I assure you. I want to make sure my paralytic serum works as it should on you." A smile. "Pardon me. Let me know if this hurts and if so, how much." He grabbed her little finger and bent it back, pushing her nail deeper into the flesh at the same time.]
[16:42] * Yanmei jumped, and then watched with a sort of grotesque curiosity, as if she couldn't recognize it as her own hand, the muscle along her jaw tensed. "Could you please stop that?" she said at last, making an effort to shake him loose.
[16:45] <Minaplo> [He released her hand.-
[16:45] <Minaplo> ["Walpurgis Night informed me that they used one of my Hallucinogenic Grenades. Could you describe the effects to me?"]
[16:47] <Yanmei> "One of -your- grenades? Don't tell me that's another 'scientific curiosity' of yours?"
[16:48] <Minaplo> ["Ah!" He pointed a finger at her encouragingly, grinning. "You got me."]
[16:49] * Yanmei smiled sweetly at him. "If it's all the same? I'd rather not help you refine a weapon that's only going to be used on me and my allies again in the future?"
[16:50] <Minaplo> ["If you're sure."-
[16:50] <Minaplo> [He shook his head, tut-tutting to himself. He clicked his kit open, taking out a syringe, filled with a silvery liquid.-
[16:52] <Minaplo> [He took off the safety cap, and with his left hand, lifted Yanmei's chin to expose her throat. "I admit, I'm pretty proud of my Hallucinogenic Grenades. I'm particularly pleased with the delivery system. It only has a limited effect on exposed skin, but when delivered via the olfactory system, the effects are much more pronounced."-
[16:55] <Minaplo> ["It works in two ways. First and foremost, it simulates phantosmia, designed to provoke a pleasurable scent in the subject. You no doubt smelled something appealing- a flower, a perfume, the odor of a lover, some have a favourite food… No matter. The other little twist of genius is that the olfactory system is much more intimately connected to the amygdala than, say, sight. You might look at a picture of your mother's cooking and feel very little, but smell your mother's cooking and it can bring back all kinds of childhood memories… The brain is a beautiful thing." He chuckled.-
[16:55] <Minaplo> ["So naturally, the subject is compelled to breathe in deeply… Stay still. This will only hurt for a moment."]
[17:00] <Yanmei> She couldn't exactly run off or even put up a fight. She just blearly watched the needle as it came closer and closer…
[17:04] <Minaplo> [There was the click- the sound of a bolt pistol's safety being switched off.-
[17:05] <Minaplo> [Ephraim froze, chuckling to himself quietly.-
[17:06] <Minaplo> [Standing in the doorway, wearing power armour that had seen its fair share of scrapes, with burn damage and energy scoring, was Alphonse, his helmet gone- Yanmei could see cuts across his face.-
[17:06] <Minaplo> ["Syringe down. Up against the wall." Said Alphonse curtly.-
[17:06] <Minaplo> ["Of course." Said Ephraim, dropping the syringe back into the kit, getting to his feet, his hands on his head. He pushed himself up against the wall.]
[17:13] <Yanmei> "Major," Yanmei mumbled, and failed to come up with anything even resembling an excuse for this scene. "Good to see you again?" she said instead.
[17:13] <Minaplo> ["Man, what the fuck."-
[17:14] <Minaplo> [It wasn't Alphonse who said that, though. A tall, rather gangly fellow appeared around the corner, his hands in his pockets, his eyebrows high. He was wearing a trilby-like hat and a suit…-
[17:15] <Minaplo> ["Can't swing a black cat- of which we have one- without hitting an unconscious Ayanami. We sure we're not in some kinda Silas Caine holographic fantasy trap? Because I got EMP grenades that could handle that shit, you know." Said Mr. Blue, shaking his head.-
[17:16] <Minaplo> ["Be quiet." Snapped Alphonse, who passed the gun over to Blue before rushing over to Rei's side, kneeling down next to her. "Rei? Rei!"-
[17:16] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[17:16] <Minaplo> ["She seems… To be breathing." He muttered. "She's hurt- what the blazes happened here, Zhang?"]
[17:19] <Yanmei> At the appearence of their second guest, Yanmei had started straining for her sword again, weakly wrapping her fingers around it before realizing that it was too heavy to swing. Now she gave up with a very deep and defeated sigh, her head drooping a bit. -
[17:23] <Yanmei> "Ambush. The new pilots… they didn't show up when the Ayanamis scanned the floor. They hit us with flashbangs… some kind of chemical that caused hallucinations? That gentleman can tell you all about it." She pursed her lips. "The targets got away."
[17:24] <Minaplo> ["Damn." Muttered Alphonse. "Are you alright?"-
[17:25] <Minaplo> [Mr. Blue, meanwhile, walked over to the recessive barrier dominating the room, sitting at it as he pointed his gun at Ephraim. "The fuck are you even doing here, asshole?" He muttered, his voice losing its usual irreverent tone.-
[17:25] <Minaplo> ["I came to surrender, Jesiah."-
[17:25] <Minaplo> ["Tch."]
[17:27] <Yanmei> "I'm fine." She eyed the confrontation with a deep frown before turning back to Alphonse. "What now? What about the other targets? Did we secure the base, or do we have to run to the extraction point?"
[17:31] <Minaplo> ["The base is secured, although a few high-level targets escaped. We managed to capture Raskova and Hohenzollern, and we've secured most of the science teams, but it seems that Hauptmann is gone."-
[17:31] <Minaplo> ["Tell her about the Slaughterdroid, Alphonse."-
[17:32] <Minaplo> [Ephraim's eyebrows rose in curiosity.]
[17:35] <Yanmei> Yanmei sank back, resting her head on the floor again. "I don't know what that's supposed to be? But it sounds like something Surov would build."
[17:37] <Minaplo> ["It is." Muttered Alphonse. "He created an automated combat android. Extremely strong, self-repairing and capable of limited self-action. Only it's gone missing."-
[17:37] <Minaplo> ["We can't find it, and that's bad." Said Mr. Blue.-
[17:38] <Minaplo> ["That's not all that was missing from Surov's Vault." Said Alphonse grimly. "Apparently, someone or something absconded with 'Sarasvati'."]
[17:38] <Yanmei> "And that would be…?"
[17:44] <Minaplo> [Alphonse sighed. "I didn't know until about an hour ago myself, but…"-
[17:44] <Minaplo> ["If I told you Surov had a daughter, and that daughter was a fully self-aware android with capabilities superior in every way to the MAGI system, what would you say?"]
[17:45] <Yanmei> "I would… hope that you were lying?"
[17:51] <Minaplo> ["Well, I'm not."]
[18:00] <Yanmei> "Oh god…" Her head lolled exhaustedly. "So we have to deal with this now? Why would he…? No. Just tell me what we're supposed to do?"
[18:01] <Minaplo> ["For now, I'm going to wait for reinforcements to arrive, so we can escort you all to safety. We came ahead because…"-
[18:01] <Minaplo> [He glanced over towards the door, where Ying was sitting. The cat looked extremely frazzled, and was licking itself intently.-
[18:02] <Minaplo> ["Either way, we've done the best we can for now. Katsuragi is going to focus on extracting equipment- the MAGI systems, stripping the labs, Lilith, Excalibur, the Lance…"-
[18:02] <Minaplo> ["You'll be pleased to note that most of your old acquaintances were unharmed. We've recovered Delacour and Simon safely."]
[18:07] <Yanmei> "Good. What about our troops? Did we lose many?" Yanmei waggled her fingers in Ying's direction. "Good kitty. You're going to get -all- the treats for this."
[18:12] <Minaplo> ["Less than expected." Said Alphonse.-
[18:12] <Minaplo> [Ying padded over to Yanmei, climbing quickly into her lap and curling up into a ball of warmth. She could feel him trembling against her stomach.]
[18:16] * Yanmei concentrated and very carefully and very slowly petted Ying. Her hands were clumsy and numb, like bricks on the ends of her arms. -
[18:18] <Yanmei> "You may want to see to the other. Our dear professor injected them with some sort of paralyzing serum?"
[18:18] <Yanmei> ^others
[18:19] <Minaplo> ["It's quite temporary." Said Ephraim.-
[18:24] <Minaplo> ["Shut up." Said Alphonse. He sat down, drawing Rei into his arms properly, hugging her close. "We'll give you all a look-over once we're out."]
[18:27] <Yanmei> "Sounds good to me?" Yanmei murmured, and shut her eyes as she waited.
01[07:00] <Yanmei> -——
01[07:09] <Yanmei> The trip from the area where she and the Ayanamis had collapsed to the Geofront's battered Command Center had taken much longer than normal, even taking into account the damaged elevators. Still, Yanmei had finally made it. She stopped outside the door to wipe her brow, take a deep breath, and to straighten her shoulders before opening the door, stepping through and primly saluting to those within.
02[07:10] * Zack (~gro.tenranul.ffats|kcaZ#gro.tenranul.ffats|kcaZ) Quit (Quit: )
[07:13] <Minaplo> [The Command Centre had taken its licks during the firefight. The walls bore scorch marks and small craters where bullets or bolt shells had missed their targets. Consoles had exploded; the blackened, twisted wreckage of a nearby chair and railing bore silent testimony to the use of heavy weaponry.-
[07:18] <Minaplo> [The area was occupied primarily by Battleship Marines, but Yanmei would also see, inexplicably, a squad of Iron Guard, ones she was not familiar with; they bore strange markings, and were clustered around a young, power-armoured man whom Yanmei didn't recognise either.-
[07:19] <Minaplo> [The Iron Guard were all staring at the centre of the room, where there stood three figures Yanmei -would- recognise: Barzilai Surov, Misato Katsuragi, and Terence Savage.-
[07:20] <Minaplo> [Surov was in turn staring towards the MAGI systems, his back turned to Yanmei; but as Yanmei entered, Misato turned and returned the salute. "Hey, the Cat Empress returns~"-
[07:20] <Minaplo> [Terence laughed, his voice low and deep- he took several large steps towards Yanmei and patted her forcefully on the back. "Oho, you!"]
01[07:28] <Yanmei> It would have been mildly difficult to keep one's balance during such a gesture under normal circumstances, given Terence's strength as an Iron Guard. Yanmei had, however, spent the last thirty minutes teaching her limbs how to move properly again, and proper balance was still a tenuous thing for her. -
01[07:31] <Yanmei> Fortunately, she was close enough to one of the broken, blown-out console stations to catch it in mid-lurch, saving herself from a rather embarrassing faceplant. Deep breath. Now to play it off… -
01[07:35] <Yanmei> "Good to see you again, Captain~" She smiled broadly over her shoulder at him, and then peered at Misato, tossing her hair haughtily. "'Cat Empress'? Just what is that supposed to be?"
[07:37] <Minaplo> ["Alphonse already told me about how you teamed up with a faithful little kitty…"]
01[07:39] <Yanmei> "That was just… We would have been fine even without him? We just took the cat along because the Spectre asked us to!"
[07:47] <Minaplo> ["Mrr." The cat padded in after her, staying close to her legs.-
[07:47] <Minaplo> ["Uh-huh." Said Misato with a smirk. "I'll be sure to speak to Rei about it~"-
[07:48] <Minaplo> ["Anyway, you did pretty good today. Those witch-girls got away, but everything else turned out ok. Come over here, check out what we're up to."]
06[07:53] * Yanmei grumbled, but did as she was told, fingertips moving over stationary object along the way to help with the balancing thing. She eyed the Iron Guards warily, but said nothing. Nor did she lean down to give Ying pets and scratches. Professionalism!
[08:12] <Minaplo> [Misato gestured towards the front display, which showed the green grassy hills and plains of the underground Geofront. A massive tunnel had opened next to HQ.-
[08:12] <Minaplo> [Swarms of Bumblebee VTOLs were hovering around, and Yanmei would see a particularly large group latch onto a very familiar object- Excalibur- lifting it up towards the breach in the armoured shell.]
06[08:18] * Yanmei felt a number of things just from seeing it again… unconsciously, she gripped the replica that was by her own side. "I see that the removal process is going okay? What about the other, um, objects we were after?"
[08:23] <Minaplo> ["Ni is bringing up the Lance now."-
[08:23] <Minaplo> [Misato tapped a button on her console. "Ops to de Pteres. Report."]
[08:28] <Sept> "Pretty quiet, no swans in sight. How is everyone else?"
[08:28] <Minaplo> ["We're fine. Yanmei's here, do you want to say a word?"]
[08:31] <Sept> "If there's nothing urgent, I'd rather save it until I get back. We can talk all about everything then."
01[08:33] <Yanmei> "Sounds fine to me?" Yanmei folded her arms tiredly. "We'll have a big meeting and go over everything."
[08:39] <Sept> "Yeah. I'm looking forward to it."
06[08:44] * Yanmei nodded - and then stopped. Her eyes glazed over and her jaw tightened as if she was holding something back. She tried to shake it off quite literally, but it didn't work. Even worse, it just made the room begin to spin…
[08:53] <Minaplo> ["Yanmei?!"-
[08:53] <Minaplo> [Someone caught her…-
[08:53] <Minaplo> ["Yanmei, what's the matter?"]
01[08:53] <Yanmei> …And it was a good thing she was caught, because then things got worse. Much worse. Her hands rose to her forehead, and dizzily, she lost control of her legs again, eyes clenched shut, teeth gritting. A wounded noise escaped her. "Isa…?!?!"
[09:00] <Minaplo> [She'd find herself lowered to the floor, something cold against her forehead.]
[09:00] <Sept> "What is it? What's wrong, Misato?"
[09:01] <Minaplo> ["We- we don't know, Yanmei just collapsed…!"]
01[09:03] <Yanmei> "Command," She muttered. Slowly, she shook her head, her eyes regaining a little of their clarity. She reached up to touch whatever it was that was on her forehead, face creasing in further confusion. "Something hurt him just now! 08!"
[09:07] <Sept> "Aline… What's going on over there?"
[09:12] <Minaplo> [No response.]
06[09:14] * Yanmei sat up, still wobbling. She said something harshly under her breath. "Get Marianne. The data from, ah, their plugsuits? She has to know what's happening."
[09:17] <Minaplo> ["Command to Geo-Ops." Came Marianne's voice, her face appearing on the computer. "Something's happened to Aline. Her comms are down- she's alive- but EVA-08 has- changed, information is scarce."]
01[09:18] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei pulled herself fully her her feet, using a chair as support. "O-orders?"
[09:20] <Minaplo> ["The NERV Satellite interception grid isn't detecting anything." Said Surov curtly.-
[09:20] <Minaplo> ["Then… We have nowhere to start looking. Command to Blanc, report. Do your comms work at this distance?"]
[09:22] <Aline> "Yes!" Aline suddenly came online, though there was still minor interference.
[09:22] <Minaplo> ["What happened?"-
[09:23] <Minaplo> [In the background, Yanmei would note Ni's Eva rising from the tunnel, gingerly carrying the Lance of Longinus, swaddled in some sort of cloth. It set it down on the ground, and a swarm of Bumblebees came for it as well.]
06[09:26] * Yanmei eyed the instrument distractedly, her thoughts clearly more focused on the conversation.
[09:28] <Aline> "W… we fought against the Dysangelions all together. I managed to incapacitate one of them, another escaped, and 08 killed the last one." She vaguely remembered something, and made sure her hopefully-still-full hand was being careful. "I was given the Prime from the one 08 defeated, but then it began… let's… let's call it eating it. It… I think it ate its S2 Organ, and then…
[09:28] <Aline> transformed like that. I didn't know what to do, then it… something happened to 00. It locked up, displayed analysis information s-saying that it was rather similar to the Second Impact event, and rattled off statistics about global extinction events and the like, before asking for permission to engage some kind of 'RTD' protocol. It got its permission…" Aline then sounded morose. "I
[09:28] <Aline> blacked out. When I came to, 08 was gone and the whole area was razed."
[09:30] <Minaplo> ["RTD? I've never heard of it." Said Marianne.-
[09:30] <Minaplo> [Misato shook her head. "Surov?"-
[09:31] <Minaplo> ["I know nothing about it." Said Surov.-
[09:33] <Minaplo> ["Weird Gehirn tech…?" Pondered Misato.]
01[09:36] <Yanmei> "…So for all we know, this RTD thing might have vaporized 08?!"
[09:37] <Sept> "One of our safety nets for an Impact, obviously, I… Gendo would know. I think-"
[09:39] <Minaplo> [A beam of pure, golden light broke through the clouds over Paris-2.-
[09:40] <Minaplo> [It fell around EVA-01, framing the Evangelion perfectly, its armour panels gleaming…-
[09:41] <Minaplo> [("What the…?")]
06[09:42] * Aline blinked a few times. "…I'm not sure that's a good thing…" But given what she'd recently seen, there's any level of fear in her demeanor now. Paranoia…
06[09:44] * Yanmei sucked in a sharp breath, eyes narrowing.
[09:44] <Sept> "Stop gawping and give me information!" Sera's synthesized voice crackled with static.
[09:45] <Minaplo> [("High energy reaction-")-
[09:45] <Minaplo> ["SERA! GET OUT OF THE WAY!"]
06[09:56] * Sept did, tumbling to one side, easily crushing his way through what remained of the buildings there. "Where's it coming from?!"
[09:57] <Minaplo> [Not a split second later, a wave of energy channelled down the beam of light, smashing into the earth. It exploded with tremendous force- buildings near the epicentre were completely vaporised, burning through several layers of Geofront armor-
[09:57] <Minaplo> [And Sera could feel the -heat-, the tremendous heat, rolling off it, seeing the buildings burning, the river Seine nothing but a cloud of steam…-
[09:58] <Minaplo> [("It's coming from orbit!")-
[09:58] <Minaplo> [("What is it? Is it an enemy battleship?!")-
[09:59] <Minaplo> [("No, it's…"-
[09:59] <Minaplo> [Augustine's Dysangelion hadn't dissolved after its defeat. It had laid where it had fallen, unmoving, unthreatening, its 'pilot' forcibly removed.-
[10:00] <Minaplo> [The body now suddenly jerked up, as though pulled on a puppet's string, and with it came the legs, and the arms, bent at unnatural angles. Its head was lolling against the chest…-
[10:00] <Minaplo> [Yet within a second its body was covered in growth tumours, which exploded, healing wounds and patching limbs together- and growing new ones. Two new arms burst from its chest.-
[10:01] <Minaplo> [These weren't like the graceful, alien things that EVA-08 had produced; these new arms were little more than battering rams, fitting awkwardly into the chassis.-
[10:01] <Minaplo> [The risen Dysangelion let out a bizarre, awful groan, like the cross between a cry of pain and a cry of hunger.-
[10:02] <Minaplo> [Flashes of light burst around the area, and from them emerged similar creatures- Evangelions, it seemed at first, yet twisted and mutated in unnatural, bent ways.-
[10:02] <Minaplo> [("Pattern blue, Pattern blue! Angel detected in low orbit over Paris!")-
[10:03] <Minaplo> [("Battle stations! Condition one! All forces, prepare for Angel engagement! We've detected the Twenty-Seventh Angel-")-
[10:03] <Minaplo> ["Metatron." Muttered Misato to herself.]
01[10:21] <Yanmei> Why now? Yanmei's fists dropped her her sides. "Pilots, move out! Major, I'm disembarking for the Landship immediately."
01[10:22] <Yanmei> ^to her
[10:22] <Minaplo> ["But Yanmei, you're in no condition-"-
[10:22] <Minaplo> [There was a -crack- next to Yanmei, and suddenly where there'd been nothing but air, there was now Ezekiel, looking astoundingly clean in the dirty, damaged surroundings. He offered an arm. "Zhang Yanmei."]
01[10:25] <Yanmei> "Wh-?!?" She had nearly toppled back in her surprise, but she seemed to steady herself again, very quickly as the obvious dawned on her. "G-good timing?" She gingerly took his arm. "Goodbye for now, Major?"
[10:25] <Minaplo> ["W-Wait-"-
[10:26] <Minaplo> [And suddenly Yanmei was in the Evangelion docks, holding Ezekiel's arm, terrifying a nearby technician.-
[10:26] <Minaplo> [EVA-04 stood before her.]
[10:27] <Aline> Meanwhile, there was a much louder crack elsewhere, as EVA-00 dropped in… 700m above Sera's position in/as 01. "Th… there we go."
[10:30] <Minaplo> [Aline would have a bird's eye view of the situation. The devastated ruins at the heart of the city beneath her… Twisted Eva-ghouls closing in… The bumblebees with the Lance…]
[10:36] <Sept> "Secure the lance! Take down the Evangelions in the way first!"
[10:47] <Minaplo> ["Hah, got it." Asuka twirled her naginata, the edge glowing blue with projected positrons.-
[10:49] <Minaplo> [Asuka charged north, leaping over an apartment block, bringing her naginata down in three lethal sweeps which cut through the targeted Eva-ghoul's AT Field. The strike tore through its head, leaving an unnaturally smooth gouge out of its head.]
06[11:03] * Sept came in after her, flailing at the ghoul in a futile attempt to keep it occupied.
[11:06] <Minaplo> [And Sera would hear the distant retort of bolter fire as Alexandrina's rounds shredded a ghoul.-
[11:07] <Minaplo> [… And yet, before her very eyes, the creature's flesh -knitted- back together, pulling itself together with a loathsome crunch. The head reformed, the arm exploded out of its body once again, and the leg regrew.-
[11:07] <Minaplo> ["What-!"-
[11:08] <Minaplo> [("Analysis complete.") the voice of Surov. ("They're using quantum-dirac displacement to set their bodies to a fixed state. Your attacks are being undone- advise coordinated catastrophic attacks on the body to encourage decohesion.")]
06[11:13] * Aline called out. "I think, in less technical terms, that means we should hit multiple areas at once to keep it from healing any one part!" Said Aline as 00 re-emerged from its Dirac Star, pointing the force staff still in its hand - we can helpfully assume that she dropped off ostensibly-Agatha at the battleship - and manifesting three blasts of coherent AT energy at the ghoul Alexandrina
06[11:13] * Aline was shooting at before.
[11:43] <Minaplo> [… And Alexandrina followed up, unloading a Heavy Bolter into the creature. Its body, head and both arms were torn apart- and this time, instead of knitting together, the flesh began to bubble and melt.-
[11:43] <Minaplo> [("De Pteres, they're converging on your position. Be advised we are laying down covering fire!")]
[11:48] <Sept> "Got it!" He could see - and feel - the risen Dysangelion approaching, tightening their time limit on dealing with the Evangelion in front of them.
[11:50] <Minaplo> [Their current foe lunged for Asuka, who nimbly stepped out of the way- whilst for the second time in the last few minutes Sera would feel a wave of heat wash over him. The area to his left had practically been levelled by a direct Positron Cannon blast, heavily damaging the risen Dysangelion within.-
[11:50] <Minaplo> [("Evangelion 04, launch!")]
[11:54] * Aline slowly nodded, as new tactical data was flooding into her unit's computers. Thankfully not gibbering about some kind of abbreviated protocol, but actual information. She wasted no time in focusing her target down. "Okay, I got the data, let's converge right back! Firing on the Dysangelion!" And the staff whooshed again, sending out three more volleys of AT energy!
[12:03] <Yanmei> Above ground, a launch port would slide open, and EVA-04 jerked into place, its armor deeply pitted and scarred from the previous battle. Its head bobbled disturbingly at the stopping motion, a curious mess of cables, straps, and possibly duct tape wound around tight against its throat. "04 here? All systems go!" -
[12:07] <Yanmei> Its eyes flared up; 04 crouched for just a moment and then soared across the battlefield at top speed, aiming straight for the sprinting Dysanghoul. Glints of steel and a whirring Progsword clashed against its AT Field, but at least one blow sliced through and left a deep gash on the back of the creature's head.
[06:53] * Sept , meanwhile, finished off the ghoul by him, leaving deep gashes across its body and, finally, all but tearing its head off.
[07:00] <Minaplo> [At that moment, both Sera and Yanmei would be bathed in golden-yellow light…-
[07:00] <Minaplo> [("Get out of the way!")]
[07:06] * Yanmei skipped aside fast, letting a low hiss out under her breath.
[07:08] * Sept hopped off in the opposite direction, head turning to look for the next target.
[07:10] <Minaplo> [A barrage of burning energy globes smashed to earth, and although EVA-01 and -04 had evaded the worst of it, they nevertheless felt the waves of heat roil around them. Yanmei would feel the LCL growing a little warmer- something that most certainly brought back unwanted, painful memories.-
[07:10] <Minaplo> [But a much more overt reminder would be on its way. A reminder of fire and heat- more than one.-
[07:11] <Minaplo> [With cracks like lightning bolts, four masses appeared to the east. The dust around them quickly revealed, revealing a several clumps of angelspawn- small Qaphsiel-like spawn, their wings already spinning open, their eyes looking up at the sky, at EVA-00…-
[07:13] <Minaplo> [But leading them was a blackened Evangelion, or so it seemed. Not even a second after landing it burst into flame, its armor cracking and splitting open to reveal burning gouts of magma; it poured, too, from the beast's eyes and its opened mouth.-
[07:13] <Minaplo> [Its body was shifting, warping, expanding…-
[07:14] <Minaplo> [("What? Get me a confirmation-")-
[07:14] <Minaplo> [("Confirmed, enemy is Angel Azrael!")-
[07:14] <Minaplo> [("Impossible! Look at what it's holding!")-
[07:15] <Minaplo> [For indeed, the reborn Azrael was grasping an object in its hands- and it was easily recognisable. A Dual-Bladed Dynamic Glaive. It spun the Daiglaive twice in its hands, then swung it outwards- a heralding of its own arrival.]
[07:38] * Aline looked briefly shocked!… "Oh you are not going to shoot that at me!" …before getting an Idea. 00 bent time forcibly, going at lightning-speed into the new formation, sending out a coherent blastwave that, while Azrael could laugh it off, was rather potent against the spawn!
[07:39] <Minaplo> [The blast-wave easily burned through near-half of the horde, although there were more than enough left to pose a threat…]
[08:01] <Yanmei> In the meantime, Yanmei was recovering as the heat around her started to die down again. There was new data pouring in from the Battleship's Bridge… and she took to it with gusto until she felt better, screaming war cries as she broke through the Dysanghoul's AT Field and lashed at it with the Herald over and over…
[08:04] * Sept proceeded to wrestle with the next closest ghoul, trying to get past its defenses. "Aline?"
[08:05] <Aline> "Don't worry about me just yet!" She called out, as a second fiery wave came out before the spawn - or worse, the Angel - could react, and then with a /zip/, Aline was behind Sera, 00 sort of standing in the shadow of the larger-armored Eva.
[08:09] <Sept> "Alright, won't. Good job."
[08:15] <Minaplo> ["EVA-06, finishing the job!"-
[08:15] <Minaplo> [Alexandrina's unit took a step forward, lowering her heavy bolter momentarily, throwing her right arm out. The wing dock folded open, a telescoping energy array emerging, rapidly creating a frame around the arm.-
[08:17] <Minaplo> [Blue-white actinic energy hummed through the construct, the barrels glowing- before the frame near-exploded, firing a huge positron wave across Paris-2. The blast nearly knocked EVA-06 hip over head, and it had to entrench itself to not fall entirely.-
[08:17] <Minaplo> [When the energy wave cleared, the spawn were no more. With a hiss, the armature around EVA-06's arm disconnected and fell to earth with a crash.-
[08:18] <Minaplo> [… But Azrael was as yet unharmed, and slowly it began to pace toward them. Its mouth stretched open, near-tearing at the corners of its lips. A blast of sound rippled forth, and EVA-06 suddenly buckled, Alexandrina's voice echoing in pain.-
[08:18] <Minaplo> ["My body! I-"-
[08:18] <Minaplo> ["Bleeding- suit…"]
[08:19] * Aline called to her. "H… hang on! This is something we've experienced before, just… hang on a bit longer."
[08:50] * Aline then waved her staff, as targeting data came in - and while aiming her rifle in the other hand - to conjure up two rising crosses that impaled the ghouls, before popping a quick shot at the knee of one of them. "Let's do this, combination attack on…" The targeted ghoul suddenly appeared on everyone's screens with loads of targeting information. "That one!"
[08:54] <Yanmei> "Done!" roared Yanmei, shaking her head as if to clear it. She sprang upon the target savagely with more cutting blows. One of them, by chance, glanced awkwardly off the remaining corpse and sliced across to the midsection of a neighboring ghoul.
[08:55] <Sept> And Sera's whip whizzed past 04 and 02, hardening around several of the ghoul's joints, softening it up - and then Sera yanked on it.
[08:56] <Minaplo> [Yanmei's wild strike dug deep into the flesh…-
[08:57] <Minaplo> [And the Tendril simply tore the body apart, a chunk of meat and blood hurtling through the air to smash into EVA-00's face and body, before sliding off, leaving liquefied fat and flesh across the unit.-
[09:16] <Minaplo> [Azrael stayed where he stood. The only action he took was to raise a hand, sending a burning ripple of energy across the battlefield directly into the squad of Evangelions!-
[09:16] <Minaplo> [("Teleport signatures detected! Picking up four… No, make that seven new contacts!")-
[09:17] <Minaplo> [They'd only need one glance after the smoke had cleared to see their new enemies. Six hovering Angelspawn- much like the ghouls and Azrael, they had apparently been grown from Eva bodies- although these had many great and full wings around them.-
[09:17] <Minaplo> [And there, standing to their west, opposite Azrael…-
[09:17] <Minaplo> [Was the Silver Empress herself.]
[10:04] * Aline turned briefly, before… Once again accelerating, and this time probably /staying/ accelerated. AT energy enfolded her rifle, but both shots - one to Azrael, another to an angelspawn - went wide. "This is troublesome…!"
[10:06] <Yanmei> Yanmei's stare was much longer, lingering, and incredulous. Hastily, she whipped around again, trying to cut through Azrael's field with her own. "Focus on the weaker one first!"
[10:06] <Minaplo> [("Oh no…")-
[10:07] <Minaplo> [Sera would be the first to see it. Emerging from the chasm into the Geofront was EVA-17, piloted by Ayanami Ni; slung over its left shoulder was a huge, blubbery white body, its torso terminating into hundreds of tiny legs. Its arms hung listlessly over EVA-17's back, and its masked head lolled down. LCL was coursing across its back.-
[10:07] <Minaplo> [("… My comms are finally working, and- what on Earth…")-
[10:08] <Minaplo> [("Damnit, not now! EVA-01, move to protect Lilith! Under no circumstances are Angels to lay a hand on it!")]
[10:17] <Sept> "…?" He could hardly believe it. "No shit! And be ready to stop any approaching Eves at any cost! Any other incoming -reinforcements- we should be aware of, Amatore?"
[10:19] <Minaplo> [("I'm trying to contact Vercingetorix, but no response… Tch, damnit. EVA-05, no response. Japan branch, no response, Leningrad, no response! Shit, shit! Surov, how long until EVA-03 is ready for action?")-
[10:19] <Minaplo> [("We've installed the primary and secondary power couplings and activated the AP Frames now. We need another three minutes. Akagi is ready.")]
[10:21] <Sept> "Make -absolutely- sure she doesn't get anywhere near Lilith when she comes in, even if it means delays!"
[10:21] <Minaplo> [("Don't worry. EVA-03's not going onto the battlefield.")]
[10:26] <Minaplo> [… Metatron moved, two of her silver hands raising into the air, the fingertips seeming to dissolve into snow and wind.-
[10:28] <Minaplo> [… Within seconds those winds had multipled a thousand fold, and where the air had been calm just seconds before, now a massive, mighty, unconquerable storm whipped around the city, sending loose objects- chairs, tables, cars, abandoned tanks- hurtling into the air, where they slammed into buildings and occasionally, the Evangelions.-
[10:32] <Minaplo> [("I can't see!") Cried Alexandrina. ("Switch to linked vision mode!")]
[10:34] <Sept> "Then… gh, go ahead. Tell me if anyone else intends to show up." EVA-01 stood its ground by the Ayanami and her cargo. "Call targets if you need data, I may be able to help you."
[10:47] <Minaplo> [("This is Langley-Soryu! I've got the Lance-")-
[10:48] <Minaplo> [But through the wind and hail and debris, Yanmei would discern two objects- a pair of Seraphim, flanking her, firing their bolters at point-blank range!]
[10:52] <Yanmei> She dodged the first wave, but the second hit her straight on, nearly staggering her. Pain ripped through her main sword arm. But it wasn't over. Yet another figure appeared…!
[10:52] <Minaplo> [Emerging from the haze, his burning body shrouded in steam as rain and snow vaporised on impact…-
[10:53] <Minaplo> [Azrael charged, swinging his glaive over his head, bringing it down diagonally across EVA-04's torso. For a second, nothing happened-
[10:53] <Minaplo> [Then a gout of blood burst forth from EVA-04.]
[11:09] <Yanmei> Yanmei's eyes went wide and she nearly doubled over from it, an arm going protectively over her own chest in the entry plug. A curse followed, and then a furious glare. -
[11:14] <Yanmei> And then she swung back at them, all of them, although it was no where near as elegant an attack as the one Azrael had just made. Her arm… it was moving so slowly…
[11:16] <Minaplo> [But the blade still tore the head from the Seraphim's shoulders…]
[11:18] <Aline> …which was because, in part, Aline had weakened it beforehand with a flurry of AT blasts. "Figured you could use the help."
[11:25] <Yanmei> "Appreciate it," she mumbled. Her gaze dulled for just a second or two, but she tore herself out of it, seeming to struggle. "Colonel," she managed after a moment. "they're seriously wearing us down here? There's no additional long range support that we can rely on?"
[11:26] <Minaplo> [("… We'll see what we can do. Timber Wolf, move to reinforce!"-
[11:27] <Minaplo> [("This is Timber Wolf.") Came the voice of Matthias Holmstrom. ("Moving to engage. Staying frosty, Alex?")-
[11:27] <Minaplo> [("Matthias…")]
[11:40] * Yanmei …managed a knowing smirk, even amidst the chaos. But she could only react so much in the time she had left. The fiery Azrael was probably getting ready to strike again.
[11:42] * Aline looked a bit surprised at Matthias's deployment, but shook her head. "Stay alive, okay?" Before… she tapped the staff on the ground, and a series of crosses rose up again, followed by a single maser shot! One was swiftly dodged, another did nothing (to Azrael), a third gouged into the head of an angelspawn - who was the target of the maser burst - and the final one… violently
[11:42] * Aline exploded the head of the final spawn near Yanmei. "Another one down…"
[12:06] <Minaplo> [Alexandrina shifted to support Yanmei, but…-
[12:06] <Minaplo> [Azrael, shrouded in mist and steam, proved an infuriatingly elusive foe.-
[12:07] <Minaplo> [A few seconds after her shoulder-bolter finished its ineffective attack, a cry would come over the comms, EVA-02 suddenly stumbling backwards, Asuka crying out in pain. "My- head- no…!"-
[12:07] <Minaplo> [("Damnit, Ni! Tap in, Asuka, get out of there!"-
[12:08] <Minaplo> [The storm was moving, now, and before long Sera would be swept up in it as well. Ni gave him an apologetic look, dropped Lilith's body onto the ground, then sprang through the air, towards Azrael.-
[12:09] <Minaplo> [Aline, however, would soon see -why- the storm was moving. Metatron, her form at least, was moving towards Aline. Just looking at it seemed to hurt the mind- even her form was apparently beyond comprehension.-
[12:09] <Minaplo> [Two Seraphim swept past Aline, their forms wavering, turning transparent…-
[12:10] <Minaplo> [Whilst Metatron swept something towards Aline. It manifested as a hand for a moment, crackling with unbridled energy. A second later, bolts of lightning ripped into EVA-00's leg, bypassing the armour completely…]
[12:12] * Aline yelped in pain at the bolt, before a small gleam flashed in the storm - the hovering Philosopher's Stone shed its light, causing some of the lightning to discharge into the ground. It was still frightfully powerful though… "Metatron's moving in to engage, but I have company of my own - the spawn are cloaking themselves!"
[12:16] <Yanmei> "Blanc! How long can you hold out?"
[12:18] <Aline> "A little more at least! I'll let you know if I need backup!" Aline paused for a beat. "With the Stone's reserves I can keep myself accelerated like some Angels are, so I'm able to handle small numbers like these."
[12:19] <Yanmei> "Right? As soon as we-" Yanmei's reply was cut short by her own pained yelp, as Azrael's glaive struck her injured arm!
[12:20] <Minaplo> [Azrael had swept the blade up, cutting right under the shoulder. The arm dangled uselessly at EVA-04's side.]
[12:35] * Aline looked - for some category of looking - and frowned. "Damnit…" But soon she was firing energy blasts at the interlopers, and even spitting horribly toxic acid on another!
[12:36] <Minaplo> [One of the Seraphim went down, but the other…-
[12:36] <Minaplo> [But soon, something else would grab their attention.-
[12:37] <Minaplo> [("Logistics to Ops.")-
[12:37] <Minaplo> [("Go ahead, Logistics.")-
[12:37] <Minaplo> [("We've got a crisis down here. Excalibur- it just vanished into thin air!")-
[12:37] <Minaplo> [("… What!?")]
[12:49] <Yanmei> Yanmei felt her blood run cold. She quickly dropped her remaining sword and swooped up the Herald instead, slashing at Azrael. "Was that what you were actually after?!"
[12:49] <Minaplo> [The blade hit a plane of force once, twice- and only on the third hit did it break through, striking Azrael's chest.]
[12:56] * Aline was finishing the job now, shooting mildly powerful bolts at both the remaining Seraphim near her, and Azrael… though 'mildly powerful' just wasn't enough to hurt Azrael it seemed!
[12:56] * Aline however, was surprised a bit. "…But where would they have… did they even…?" Aline seemed confused now.
[13:39] <Minaplo> [Azrael attacked Yanmei once more, but this time its movements were… Assisted, somehow. A large swing towards EVA-04's right arm, cutting into the wrist; then three reverse blows directed towards the leg.]
[13:42] * Yanmei screamed a curse, half with pain, half from frustration. She kept her grip on the Herald firm, determined not to let him have it.
[13:43] <Minaplo> [("New orders! All-")-
[13:43] <Minaplo> [… The comms with Ops went suddenly dead.-
[13:44] <Minaplo> [Curiously, a change went through Metatron and Azrael. The paused, Azrael conspicuously stopping to look around, alarmed…-
[13:44] <Minaplo> [Aline wouldn't even have the time to do more than look behind her.-
[13:45] <Minaplo> [A blur of black light brushed past her, its passing leaving a shockwave of energy that rippled outwards; buildings swayed, then were torn from their foundations and dashed against their neighbours.-
[13:46] <Minaplo> [It landed only a few metres from EVA-00, and it'd take a few seconds for the effects to set in. One second, EVA-00 was fine; the next, its arms began to course blood, the left arm splitting open lengthwise, exposing bone.-
[13:48] <Minaplo> [The shape had landed, and through Aline's eyes, every other pilot saw it as well. It was huge; seventy, eighty metres tall. It had four arms, and two legs, with four large powerful wings rising above its body. Beyond this its features could not be made out, for its surface was distorted, a flickering black and grey that swirled and shifted.-
[13:49] <Minaplo> [WIthin its hands it held the missing Excalibur, the blood on the edge quickly sliding off, leaving the sword clean.-
[13:49] <Minaplo> [It was nothing less than a Giant of Darkness.]
[13:52] * Aline stared up at the thing, even as pain bit through her mind. Her mouth hung open briefly, and… she mouthed something silently. A hand held its opposite arm, and imperceptibly, something snapped. "…N-n-now would be a g… good time for some help!"
[13:54] * Yanmei said nothing. She had not dropped her stance, but she was… just staring at it, wondering if this was yet another hallucination in a very long line of them.
[13:57] * Sept stared at it. Stance eventually loosening slightly from that defensive posture against his invisible assailants. "Everyone. New priorities."
[14:01] <Minaplo> [Aline would receive help, albeit not, perhaps, from the source she was expecting.-
[14:01] <Minaplo> [A small red eye appeared on her HUD…-
[14:01] <Minaplo> [++++ HIGH ENERGY FIELD DETECTED ++++-
[14:01] <Minaplo> [++++ BEGINNING ANALYSIS ++++-
[14:02] <Minaplo> [++++ ORIGIN: UNCONFIRMED ++++-
[14:02] <Minaplo> [++++ NATURE: ANTI-AT ++++-
[14:02] <Minaplo> [++++ ANALYSIS DETECTING ANOMALIES ++++-
[14:02] <Minaplo> [++++ CONCLUSION ++++-
[14:03] <Minaplo> [++++ CHANCE OF IMPACT EVENT: 99.5% ++++-
[14:03] <Minaplo> [++++ PREDICTED OUTCOME OF IMPACT EVENT ++++-
[14:04] <Minaplo> [++++ 11.435% INTERRUPTION BY EXTERNAL POWERS ++++-
[14:05] <Minaplo> [++++ 88.565% TOTAL EXTINCTION EVENT ++++-
[14:05] <Minaplo> [++++ PERMISSION GRANTED ++++-
[14:06] <Minaplo> [++++ ENACTING PROTOCOL R.T.D ++++]
[06:59] <Minaplo> [A sudden and implacable wall of force emanated outward, bulging tightly around EVA-00 for a second… Before exploding outwards at incredible speeds. Buildings were uprooted like small trees and hurled through the air, ripping apart in flight; roads buckled and split; the Seine fumed and rose, bursting over its banks and flooding through the city streets.-
[07:00] <Minaplo> [Metatron's storm faltered, hung in the air hesitantly for a moment, then broke, dispersing. The sight was revealed for all to see.-
[07:02] <Minaplo> [A white giant had risen to meet the giant of darkness. A tall humanoid body, its features unmistakeably feminine, an unnatural elegance to its pose, its body emanating a white energy that seemed lighter than white.-
[07:03] <Minaplo> [The Mother, perhaps, or the Mother to be; the inevitable end of a mind bearing a concept that was now giving birth.]
[07:17] <Sept> "Why… is this happening?"
01[07:25] <Yanmei> "Dunno…" Visuals of Yanmei would show her looking a ill by this point; pale, with sweat beading on her brow. "Command? Come in, Command!" A curse in Chinese. She thumped at her console with a fist. "De Pteres! Asuka! Swat down those flies quickly so that we can regroup! I doubt they'll leave us alone even now?"
[07:26] <Minaplo> ["What!?" Asuka grumbled. "What the fuck am I even supposed to attack with? Do you want me to beat the damn thing to death with Lilith?!"-
[07:27] <Minaplo> ["…" But EVA-02 was already shifting, gripping Lilith around the torso in an extremely awkward grasp, charging at a Seraphim and smashing the blubbery masked head into its leg.]
[07:31] <Sept> "Asuka!!"
[07:31] <Minaplo> ["Fine! I'll just fucking kick it to death!"]
01[07:33] <Yanmei> "You'd better!! What are you thinking?!"
[07:34] <Minaplo> ["This was your idea!"]
[07:35] <Aline> » In the meantime, the giant of light - which is definitely also naked, and may or may not be Aline-like in nature - moved to the side with an effortless glide, before locking an /extreme/ friction zone around its dark counterpart, as if daring the other to move.
01[07:45] <Yanmei> "I did not tell you-" 04's drew back its arm and slashed at Azrael for added punctuation, "to use-" SLASH "the source of all life as a melee weapon!" SLASH!
[07:54] <Aline> » Then, the giant fired a scintillating beam of actinic energy… which, despite its power, was not enough to breach the AT Field of her opposite number!
[07:56] <Sept> "-Not- all life!" 01 followed up on Asuka's strike with a less-than-neat decapitation of the Seraphim, the measured tone of his complaints in a disconnect with his actions. "She shouldn't be awake. That shouldn't be here. There's a connection. Is it because of us or it?"
[08:30] <Minaplo> [The frictional air stopped the Giant- temporarily.-
[08:31] <Minaplo> [The air swirled around it, suddenly losing its edge. It snapped a hand out, and a sudden wave of force pressed down against the Eve-Lilith, knocking it to the ground through the ruins of a shopping centre.-
[08:35] <Minaplo> [It pulled its hand back, which burst into a blindingly bright light- the light of a sun. The bolt was thrown, hurtling toward the Eve-Lilith…]
[08:36] <Aline> » Which caused her to haltingly raise a hand, the strain of the maneuver balanced by her natural etherealness. A great panel of light and force formed in front of her, two walls now staring each other down angrily.
[08:38] <Minaplo> [… But Yanmei would have problems of her own.-
[08:39] <Minaplo> [Azrael was injured by her attack, but he lashed out rapidly, his daiglaive slashing upwards, narrowly missing EVA-04's neck.-
[08:40] <Minaplo> [But Azrael rose with it, leaping into the air and flipping backwards like a gymnast. He landed behind EVA-06-
[08:40] <Minaplo> ["Gha-"-
[08:40] <Minaplo> [And stabbed it through the chest, not once, but three times, each time eliciting a cry of pain from the pilot.-
[08:40] <Minaplo> [… It was at this time that Yanmei would note a bright flood of yellow-gold light around her…]
01[08:42] <Yanmei> "Evade it!" She cried to the other pilots around her, doing just that before the attack rained down from above.
[08:47] <Minaplo> [… But she was the only one.-
[08:47] <Minaplo> [When the smoke cleared, Azrael and Ni stood, none the worse for it. But…-
[08:49] <Minaplo> [EVA-06 was a burned-out wreck. The only consolation was that the entry plug had escaped the blast.-
[08:50] <Minaplo> [… The air whistled around EVA-04. Looking up, Yanmei would see the sight of an E-Destroyer. It'd take a moment for her to parse Timber Wolf's colours.-
[08:50] <Minaplo> [Landing with a slide, the E-Destroyer slid across the ground, leaning back, scooping up Alexandrina's entry plug with its free hand.-
[08:51] <Minaplo> [Asuka, now without an enemy in arms' reach, turned to stare at one of the Seraphim. Crouching for a moment, she leapt into the air…-
[08:52] <Minaplo> ["Carpet… Chicken Coca-Cola!"-
[08:53] <Minaplo> [The sun gleamed off EVA-02's outstretched leg as it hurtled down through the air towards the Seraphim…-
[08:53] <Minaplo> [Which nimbly stepped out of the way.-
[08:53] <Minaplo> [EVA-02 landed with a horrific crash, a bone in its lower leg immediately tearing through skin and armour. Asuka let out a pained, terrible scream.-
[08:53] <Minaplo> ["Leopard Treetop Dognip!"]
[09:07] <Aline> » The giant of light was unconcerned about what was happening in her midst. This carnage and that gibberish were nothing compared to her foe… but fortuntely, she had an edge. As she got up, a gleaming lance rose, and whirled through the air. It met the AT Field, and for a split-second looked like it was about to crash ineffectually against it much like the positron beam had, but… a
[09:07] <Aline> flash of light emanated from something now much smaller that was orbitting her. She still had the Philosopher's Stone, and it came to her aid now, opening a brief portal through the massive barrier to crash into the dark one's head with a flashing surge of power. It wised up next move, though, as it managed to deftly parry the bladed lance-tip as it came around for another go, before the
[09:07] <Aline> weapon settled back into her grasp.
01[09:30] <Yanmei> "Keep going for the arm!" Yanmei sprinted forward, slashing at Azrael some more. There was nothing to worry about concerning the Princess, so long as Holmstrom had her. She let out a growl of frustration as the blows bounced off the Angel's glaive…
[09:39] <Aline> » But soon, Yanmei would have other concerns, collateral leaking out from the clash of titans nearby. The giant of light formed an Anti-AT field, smothering her opponent's barrier… and breaking down a number of other AT Fields in the process, 04's included.
03[09:40] * ChanServ sets mode: +qo Minaplo Minaplo
06[10:08] * Sept helped the babbling redhead finish off another of the minions, covering her from the last one as its attention turned to her. "We're almost done here!"
[10:14] <@Minaplo> [Sera would suddenly be bathed in golden light…-
[10:14] <@Minaplo> [Asuka knew the score, quickly scrambling away, nearly tripping under the weight of Lilith and her strange perceptive curse.-
[10:15] <@Minaplo> [… Data would suddenly begin flowing into the Evas' cockpits!-
[10:15] <@Minaplo> [("This is Command to all field units! AT Cannon is fully charged! Stand clear of the Twenty-Seventh Angel!")]
06[10:18] * Sept followed Asuka out of the danger zone, ready to cover her if need be. "About time - What happened with 00 and the shadow?!"
01[10:19] <Yanmei> "More importantly? What do we do about it?" Yanmei sounded, well, a little brighter, all things considered.
[10:20] <@Minaplo> [No response would be forthcoming- not yet.-
[10:21] <@Minaplo> [Instead, Yanmei would notice the Battleship coming into view- distant, but due to its sheer size, still quite visible.-
[10:21] <@Minaplo> [It was surrounded by a strange haze, like it was shimmering with heat, yet it was still winter…-
[10:23] <@Minaplo> [Yanmei would realise what it was a moment it resolved. A surge of rainbow light suddenly condensed around the Battleship, travelling down the hull before focusing around the massive bowdrill.-
[10:23] <@Minaplo> [An AT Field…-
[10:24] <@Minaplo> [The AT energy travelled in four spirals along the drill, meeting one after the other on the very tip. The light grew brighter and brighter…-
[10:24] <@Minaplo> [A sudden rainbow halo burst outwards from it!-
[10:25] <@Minaplo> [A beam of light rippled outwards, crossing the battlefield at the speed of light, striking Metatron squarely in the chest. The entire area erupted, entire buildings erased from existence, leaving Metatron in a crater…-
[10:25] <@Minaplo> [Howling at the indignity of the attack, which had caused much severe damage.-
[10:26] <@Minaplo> [("This is the fully-activated AT Battleship Dorian Lachapelle. All Evangelions, your orders are to defeat the Angels as quickly as possible, then report to me for instructions!")]
[10:38] <Sept> "Which ones -are- the Angels?!"
[10:40] <@Minaplo> [("Metatron and Azrael!")]
[10:40] <Aline> » The Eve noticed the battleship vaguely, insofar as she sensed the AT Cannon attack emanating from it, before she soon refocused on her opponent, letting loose barrages of shot after shot of bleeding-red Anti-AT energy, spearstrikes, and a concentrated beam of the stuff.
01[10:43] <Yanmei> Yanmei seemed to blank out for a split second, but she came back to herself just as quickly, dizzy but seemingly ok. She slashed at Azrael, trying to keep him busy. "Ni, your weapon will probably be more useful against Metatron. You keep hitting this one, but it just isn't damaging like it should!"
02[11:06] * Raphael (~ua.moc.odod.lsd.citats.122-511-841-221|oaT#ua.moc.odod.lsd.citats.122-511-841-221|oaT) Quit (Quit: <Minaplo> I like Louis XIV, because he seems like this incredibly wasteful extravagant partyboy, but beneath that double chin, jowls, fourteen ermine capes, moustache, 15 pound wig and 18th century parachute pants is a cunningly machiavellian mind.)
03[11:13] * Raphael (~ua.moc.odod.lsd.citats.122-511-841-221|oaT#ua.moc.odod.lsd.citats.122-511-841-221|oaT) has joined #nervfrance
[11:21] <@Minaplo> ["I'm trying-"-
[11:22] <@Minaplo> [Azrael stepped aside Yanmei's blows, before suddenly thrusting out sharply with the daiglaive, jabbing it into EVA-04's right arm. Like a lever, Azrael pulled, and the arm came loose from the shoulder, a geyser of blood rushing forth.-
[11:24] <@Minaplo> [Through the foggy pain, Yanmei and Sera would both hear it over the comms.-
[11:24] <@Minaplo> [("There's a high energy buildup inside the Giant of Darkness! Wait… No, this can't be right-")-
[11:24] <@Minaplo> [("This is insane! Excalibur's building energy at a massive rate!")-
[11:25] <@Minaplo> [("If that buildup discharges…")-
[11:25] <@Minaplo> [("Everything in a hundred kilometres is going to be -gone-.")-
[11:27] <@Minaplo> [This fact wasn't lost on their enemies. The Giant, its sword raised over its head, gathering with dark, pulsing energy. Metatron stared at it, then turned to look at Azrael, who looked back.-
[11:27] <@Minaplo> [… With a sudden rush of air, they both vanished into the ether.-
[11:27] <@Minaplo> [("Pilots! This is Command! I need you all to listen to me very carefully!")]
01[11:28] <Yanmei> "Colonel?" For the first time since the beginning of the battle, she could feel her head clearing properly. "What is it?"
[11:29] <Aline> » As if on cue, even as Marianne was preparing to deliver her orders… the Eve brought the Philosopher's Stone ahead of her hand, and focused energy of her own, the stone pulsing brightly as a familiar attack was prepared. For what it was worth, she smiled softly, in direct defiance to the intensity of the moment.
[11:31] <Sept> "Mmh. Go ahead."
[11:32] <@Minaplo> [("This situation is far beyond our capacity to handle. We haven't the strength, the viable units…"-
[11:32] <@Minaplo> [("… The MAGI is calculating a nearly 100% chance of a mass extinction event beginning in the next minute unless drastic action is taken. EVA-01, EVA-04, I need one of you to take the Lance of Longinus and throw it through the entities.")]
06[11:34] * Yanmei stared blankly at her comm window. Finally, she looked down at the bloody stump of her dominant arm and took in a ragged breath. "Sera?"
[11:36] <Sept> "I'll get it," he said, sticking out a hand toward Asuka. "But if the Giant isn't an Angel…"
[11:37] <@Minaplo> [("It's something more dangerous than an Angel.")-
[11:37] <@Minaplo> [EVA-02 held the bident out…-
[11:38] <@Minaplo> [… And the moment it touched Sera's hand, the helical staff of the blade began to uncoil, two tendrils sliding up across EVA-01's arm, fractal tendrils- like little lances- suddenly digging into the flesh.]
[11:41] <Sept> "I knew -that-." EVA-01 slammed the end of the lance into a building forcefully, holding it in place to try and pry off some of the growths. "But they're not… supposed to be here yet?"
[11:45] <@Minaplo> [("Hurry, Sera! Thirty seconds!")]
[11:47] <Aline> » A keening wail was rising as the Eve's blast was almost ready to fire, pre-empting the Giant of Darkness by what would turn out to be mere minutes. Now or never!
[11:50] <Sept> "Of… course." He hoisted the Lance back up, tearing parts of the building off and bounded out to get a better angle. With a glance back toward EVA-04, he came to a stop, sending the Lance sailing through the air with that momentum. "…sorry."
[11:51] <@Minaplo> [The Lance left EVA-01's hand, reluctantly at first and then with greater speed, seeming to conjure extra momentum out of nowhere. The air became tighter, thicker almost.-
[11:53] <@Minaplo> [It flew unerringly towards the Eve-Lilith and the Giant of Darkness. As it moved, the swirling vortex above the Eve's head- the Gate of Guf which signified her AT Field- collapsed in on itself, becoming a small glowing dot before vanishing into nothing. The Lance struck the Eve's AT Field, the two prongs of the bident fluidly folding out, tearing the Field open.-
[11:55] <@Minaplo> [With no slow in Momentum, it cut straight through the chest of the Eve, just above and between her breasts; in the same thrust it caught the Giant of Darkness as well, in a blow that would've severed the spine.-
[11:57] <@Minaplo> [The Eve-Lilith was jerked forward, slamming body-first into the Giant. The moment they touched their glowing flesh began to melt and fuse together, forming a single body. For a brief moment it seemed it was permanent…-
[11:58] <@Minaplo> [But an invisible plane of force from the Lance tore them apart, sending both sprawling. The Lance distorted the air around it to an insane extent; it was as though it was absorbing tons of flesh from both Giants into itself.-
[11:59] <@Minaplo> [A sudden black wave, followed by weaving black winds, burst from the Lance, and in a second the dream shattered. The Eve-Lilith collapsed, the glowing white flesh nothing but a memory, leaving behind only a mundane, uncovered, warped tan-skin body of an Evangelion.-
[11:59] <@Minaplo> [The Giant of Darkness fell as well, crashing heavily against a ruined apartment block. Its dark light faded into nothingness- and another naked giant, the form of an Evangelion, lay there, its wings crippled and limp around its body.-
[12:01] <@Minaplo> [The black winds, the black wave, kept going, sweeping over the other Evangelions on the field. Within seconds their mighty bodies suddenly became weak, feeble- they fell to the ground, not strong enough to even stand.-
[12:01] <@Minaplo> [And still the Lance went, its speed as fast as it had been when it had left Sera's hand. In fact, it seemed to be gaining speed. Within half a minute it was nothing more than a twinkle on the horizon.-
[12:02] <@Minaplo> [A heavy silence fell on Paris-2. A silence utterly strange after the violent orgy of power and destruction that had just taken place.-
[12:02] <@Minaplo> [("Command to all Units. Report!")-
[12:02] <@Minaplo> [The comms still worked. Over the comms, someone- Alexandrina?- Was crying, sobbing heavily…]
06[12:08] * Yanmei had curled up slightly during the display, hand on her forehead. Slowly, she collected herself again. "It worked." A simple, exhausted, and somewhat awed reply from 04. "00 and 08… what are their conditions? They're quiet, but… Permission to retrieve them?"
[12:08] <@Minaplo> [("They're disabled. In fact… All the Evangelions are disabled.")]
01[12:12] <Yanmei> "…?" Yanmei tried moving 04. It was true. Nothing happened. Somehow, incredibly, during the sensory overload, she had missed that. 01 had gone completely silent as well. -
01[12:14] <Yanmei> "Ni? Asuka? You're okay too?"
[12:14] <@Minaplo> ["I'm fine." Said Ni.-
[12:15] <@Minaplo> ["Engorged Nationalist Lovecraft Minstrel Chocolate," Said Asuka.]
01[12:19] <Yanmei> "What's that, Asuka? You were really scared and are thankful to me and Sera for protecting you~?"
[12:25] <@Minaplo> ["Shellfish unicorn mutter egg president!"]
02[12:26] * Raphael (~ua.moc.odod.lsd.citats.122-511-841-221|oaT#ua.moc.odod.lsd.citats.122-511-841-221|oaT) Quit (Quit: <Minaplo> I like Louis XIV, because he seems like this incredibly wasteful extravagant partyboy, but beneath that double chin, jowls, fourteen ermine capes, moustache, 15 pound wig and 18th century parachute pants is a cunningly machiavellian mind.)
01[12:28] <Yanmei> "You're too kind? It's the least your favorite idol could do~" Smirking, she regarded Command again. "As you can see, we're all accounted for, except for De Pteres, Blanc, and Isaiah."
[12:29] <@Minaplo> [("Lifesigns detected inside EVA-00. Nothing inside 08.")-
[12:29] <@Minaplo> [("On the other hand, we're picking up a signal from EVA-05, so there's a good chance Isaiah was able to hide in that unit before this… All happened.")]
01[12:30] <Yanmei> "…? How would he manage to do that? Where is 05's pilot, then?"
[12:32] <@Minaplo> [("We have no idea.")]
01[12:33] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei settled back into her seat with a sigh. "We'll figure it out when we get everyone back, then?"
[12:34] <@Minaplo> [("So it seems.")]
06[12:39] * Yanmei shut her eyes. She had never considered the entry plug a comfortable place to relax and reflect, but now it was the perfect respite in which to gather her confusing thoughts together while she waited. For once, it almost felt as if she was actually alone…
[12:39] <@Minaplo> […-
[12:39] <@Minaplo> […-
[12:39] <@Minaplo> […-
[12:40] <@Minaplo> [The Lance of Longinus travelled soundlessly through the void. Free from the Earth, it nevertheless was drifting, aimlessly so it seemed.-
[12:42] <@Minaplo> [Yet this was not some simple weapon. The Lance was more, a security device- a sentient entity charged with a task so great that it was, in many ways, like a fanatic. Except that where a fanatic was a mind that gained a cause, the Lance was, in reality, a cause that had been given a mind.-
[12:42] <@Minaplo> [The compulsion between its sender and its own momentum propelled it for some time, but eventually it began to reassert itself. Perhaps over hours, or days, it began to drift in a different direction.-
[12:43] <@Minaplo> [Eventually it game to a stop, landing on the moon, about a thousand kilometres from the silent Taghba Base. There it sat, its own powers keeping it from detection- for hours, for days.-
[12:44] <@Minaplo> [And then, reacting to some unseen stimuli, it changed, relaxing some of its safeguards, settling back into the semi-dormancy in which it had sat for billions of years.-
[12:44] <@Minaplo> [It sat in this state for two minutes.-
[12:45] <@Minaplo> [For that was all it took for its power to be detected by the closest body capable of doing so- the one to which Taghba Base now owed its loyalty.-
[12:45] <@Minaplo> [Metatron appeared. She appeared with no ceremony, no grand gestures. There was nothing to stop her.-
[12:46] <@Minaplo> [She took the Lance in her hands, and began to think.]

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