The Bridge Of The Independence

[21:58] <@Marianne> ["Lieutenant Collette?"-
[21:59] <@Marianne> [Silas Caine was reclining on his captain's chair on the bridge of the Positron Battleship 'Independence'. Around him, crewmembers were flitting from console to console, readying the ship for long-ranged combat. One of them- a girl with short black hair- turned around to face him. "Yes, sir?"-
[22:00] <@Marianne> ["Put EVA-00 on mute before she responds. If she's the same as usual it's nothing we'll regret hearing."-
[22:00] <@Marianne> ["Yes, sir."]

[22:02] <@Marianne> [Silas was quiet as he heard the responses. He sighed. "Everyone's a critic."-
[22:03] <@Marianne> A response from the UN commander. "I think you've heard our response, General Caine. We emphatically refuse."-
[22:05] <@Marianne> ["Have it your way." Said Silas, giving Collette a cut-throat gesture. The comms ended.-
[22:06] <@Marianne> ["So. Four Evangelion units, including one in F-Type equipment, on a fortified shoreline…"-
[22:08] <@Marianne> ["Shall we tell the Tactical Evangelion to prepare for deployment, sir?" Asked his XO, Commander Min.-
[22:08] <@Marianne> ["No. Tell the Aquas to begin the assault, and inform Valkyrie Wing one and two to prepare."-
[22:08] <@Marianne> ["Yessir."]

[23:01] <@Marianne> ["Lieutenant Telier, send specialised targeting data to AS-010." Said Silas casually.-
[23:01] <@Marianne> ["Done, sir."]
1[23:20] <@Marianne> [Silas smirked a little as he saw the results. "That armor isn't nearly as tough as it looks. Let's see. We're pinning 00 and 04 down, 01 has a mess on its hands…" This was going better than he had hoped.]

1[23:52] <@Marianne> ["General! AS-030 and 050 down."-
[23:52] <@Marianne> [Silas frowned as he watched the screen. "Tank fire? They fell to tank fire?"-
[23:52] <@Marianne> ["Yes, sir."-
[23:52] <@Marianne> ["… Commander Min, impact cannons. Destroy them."-
[23:52] <@Marianne> ["Yessir!"]

[01:05] <@Marianne> ["They're blunting the attack. As I expected. But let's see if we can't whittle them down a little more. Commander Min, order the Solaces to start attacking as recklessly as they can."-
[01:05] <@Marianne> ["Yes, sir!"]

[01:09] <@Marianne> ["…" Silas leaned forward. "That white Eva. What is it?"-
[01:10] <@Marianne> ["Evangelion Unit 16, sir." Said a crewman. "Piloted by Ayanami Juu."-
[01:10] <@Marianne> ["Aha. One of the dolls. She's rather amazing, isn't she?" Silas leaned back and smiled. "I think I shall take her."-
[01:10] <@Marianne> ["Min. Tell the Tactical Eva to ready his squad."-
[01:10] <@Marianne> ["Sir!"]

[01:28] <@Marianne> ["Sir, the last Solace has fallen."-
[01:28] <@Marianne> ["Well done." Said Silas smoothly. "Very well. Give me a channel to 01."]
[01:32] <@Marianne> ["Let's see if this works, then. Do it."]

[01:47] <@Marianne> [A few minutes…-
[01:47] <@Marianne> ["He cut us off, sir."-
[01:47] <@Marianne> ["Ah. He's gotten a bit cleverer, then."]

[02:52] <@Marianne> [Silas was quiet as he watched the battle unfold.-
[02:52] <@Marianne> ["… Collette."-
[02:52] <@Marianne> ["Yessir?"-
[02:52] <@Marianne> ["Is Chevalier -bantering-?"-
[02:52] <@Marianne> ["Uh… I-I think so, sir."-
[02:52] <@Marianne> [Silas sighed.]

1[03:58] <@Marianne> ["Their commanding officer. Amatore? Replaced the famed Lachapelle?"-
[03:58] <@Marianne> ["That's right, sir." Said Min.-
[03:58] <@Marianne> ["Let's see if she's inherited her predecessor's talent for contingencies. Send the First Wing to wipe her out."-
[03:58] <@Marianne> ["Sir!"]
1[20:22] <@Marianne> [Silas paused for a second, then shook his head. "Belay that. Collette, raise 04."-
[20:22] <@Marianne> ["Yes, sir."]
[20:24] <@Marianne> [A pause as Collette did so- and Yanmei's video image appeared in the corner of the wide viewscreen that dominated the Independence's bridge. "Zhang."]
[20:26] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei was in a far more distracted state. "General. To what do I owe this pleasure?"
[20:28] <@Marianne> ["I'm not going to mince words. I have nine warheads pointed at Marianne Amatore-DeForest. Lay down your arms and surrender."]
[20:33] <Yanmei> There was a longer pause as she muted the channel.
[20:35] <@Marianne> ["… An answer, do you think, Min? Or her being indecisive? With Zhang, it could go either way."-
[20:35] <@Marianne> ["As you say, sir."]
[20:40] <Yanmei> The channel un-muted. "Another request to surrender. You seem awfully interested in resolving this conflict peacefully. May I ask why?"
[20:41] <@Marianne> [Silas shrugged. "Basic logic, Sun Tzu, that sort of thing. The best way to win is to do so without fighting. Besides, I like giving people opportunities." He said mildly. "How -is- Isaiah, by the way? And little Lizzie, too."]
[20:45] <Yanmei> Her eyes betrayed flickered slightly. "Healthy and well. I'm surprised that it wasn't Gina you're asking after?" She leaned forward in her seat, eyes definitely elsewhere. "I'll thank you for the opportunity? But I'll also have to refuse your offer."
[21:01] <@Marianne> ["Have it your way." Said Silas. "But if I may ask one last question?"]
[21:01] <Yanmei> "Yes?"
[21:03] <@Marianne> ["Why do you fight for the UN? Why do you fight for a group of people who forced you to do this? Why fight for them when they're going to put your beloved into a war machine? Why fight for them when the life of your beloved Elizabeth is nothing more than a tool to them to use you to bend?"]
06[21:18] * Yanmei almost groaned outright. "Let's not complcate things, shall we? You're implying that things would be better under your banner, correct?"
[21:19] <@Marianne> ["They would. I wouldn't make your boyfriend a pilot. And I wouldn't use your adopted daughter as a means to control you." Said Silas. "I'd even take Mary Caine captive, just so you could finish her yourself- or not, if that's your prerogative."]
[21:20] <@Marianne> [Min walked over to Silas, murmuring quietly. "The Knight has been lost, sir. It's cockpit…"-
[21:21] <@Marianne> ["… Really? Destroy 00, then. See if you can't kill Blanc doing it. Goodness knows, they might thank us for doing them a favour."-
[21:21] <@Marianne> ["Yessir."-
[21:21] <@Marianne> [Silas turned his attention back to Yanmei.]
06[21:32] * Yanmei was actually smiling. "You're one heck of a salesman, Caine, I'll give you that. Ultimately, however, these are my problems, and I'm not unconvinced that I'll find a way to subvert them on my own."
[21:33] <@Marianne> [Silas laughed.-
[21:34] <@Marianne> ["I mean, if you say so, Zhang." Silas sat back. "Just, you know. When Isaiah's 3000 miles away and little Lizzie's missing fingers…"-
[21:34] <@Marianne> ["Well, don't say I didn't warn you."]
[21:35] <Yanmei> "Would I say that?" She flashed a brighter smile. "Now, if you'll excuse me…"
[21:36] <@Marianne> ["Sir." Min leaned over. "The enemy command post has been destroyed."-
1[21:36] <@Marianne> [Silas smiled, staring up at Yanmei. "No it hasn't. Has it, Zhang?"]
06[21:49] * Yanmei wasn't staring at him - her gaze was out to where the command vehicle had been. She did seem deeply, deeply troubled, however. Not panicking yet, but… "If you'll -excuse- me."
[22:04] <@Marianne> ["She actually believes that her commander…?" Silas shook his head.-
[22:04] <@Marianne> ["Sir, the Tactical Eva's T-RIDEN-T has just gone down."-
[22:04] <@Marianne> ["Recall him."-
[22:04] <@Marianne> ["Yes, sir. … Sir, is it really ok to waste machines like this? We could win this battle easily…"-
[22:05] <@Marianne> ["… I guess it has become a little boring. Kuzmin- Impact Cannons, target EVA-01 and EVA-11."-
[22:05] <@Marianne> ["Yes, sir."]

[22:22] <@Marianne> [Silas sat quietly on his chair as Marianne reappeared. "As I thought. No one who learned from Lachapelle's life and -especially- his death would use such an obvious location as that. Evangeline?" He opened a video window to the pilot.-
[22:22] <@Marianne> ["Yes, sir?"-
[22:22] <@Marianne> ["I want you to destroy 00 for me. Can you do that?"-
[22:22] <@Marianne> [Evangeline stared at him mutely. "Destroy? But… I mean, disabling it is enough, sir."-
[22:23] <@Marianne> ["No no no. It's important that we destroy it. Turn it into slag. Crack the plug if we can. Otherwise, well, these damned war machines are like cockroaches. you -will- comply, won't you?"-
[22:23] <@Marianne> ["…"-
[22:23] <@Marianne> ["Evangeline."-
[22:23] <@Marianne> ["…"-
[22:23] <@Marianne> ["Obey your Big Brother, Evangeline!"-
[22:23] <@Marianne> ["Y-Yes, sir."]

[23:41] <@Marianne> ["…"-
[23:42] <@Marianne> ["I see that we incapacitated EVA-16."-
[23:42] <@Marianne> ["We did, sir."-
[23:42] <@Marianne> ["Did we kill the pilot?"-
[23:42] <@Marianne> ["High chance, sir."-
[23:42] <@Marianne> ["Unacceptable. I wanted her for myself. I made that clear, did I not?"-
[23:42] <@Marianne> ["… Y-yes, sir…"-
[23:42] <@Marianne> ["Oh, well. I guess I'll have to make do with the other one for now."]

[01:07] <@Marianne> ["Sir!"-
[01:07] <@Marianne> ["What is it?"-
[01:08] <@Marianne> ["…" A voice suddenly echoed through their heads. Silas's hands gripped his chair arms tightly.-
[01:08] <@Marianne> ["That… Damnable -thing- is still alive?!"-
[01:08] <@Marianne> ["I-It's gone berserk, sir!"-
[01:10] <@Marianne> ["Beitsim." Swore Silas. "Alright. Well. I know how to handle this. Min? Tell Lieutenant Reidwell to prepare the Apocalypse Cannon."-
[01:10] <@Marianne> ["… Sir, yes, sir."]

1[01:47] <@Marianne> ["…"-
[01:47] <@Marianne> ["Min."-
[01:47] <@Marianne> ["Sir?"-
[01:47] <@Marianne> ["Did that really just happen?"-
[01:47] <@Marianne> ["It did, sir."-
[01:47] <@Marianne> ["Hum." He frowned. "Why are all the UN's -best- pilots also so beautiful? It's torture."]

[02:16] <@Marianne> ["…" Silas's face contorted for a second.-
[02:16] <@Marianne> ["Brace for impact!"-
[02:17] <@Marianne> [The Independence shook and shivered as it absorbed the blow.-
[02:19] <@Marianne> ["That…" Silas stood up, his expression furious. "You-" His words dissolved into little more than an elaborate string of hebrew curses.-
[02:20] <@Marianne> ["Surrender? No. I'll not surrender to you or to any false god. You believe to be the master of this world simply because of this light show? Uncle, you're just as insane now as you always were, and four times as deluded. If it's light shows that decide who rules the world, then this world belongs to me! I am its master, and it will obey me and me alone! MIN! FIRE THE CANNON!"]

[03:00] <@Marianne> ["…"-
[03:00] <@Marianne> [Silas stared at the screen, truly shaken, his entire crew stunned and horrified at what they had witnessed. Most of them felt very small…-
[03:01] <@Marianne> ["… We did it." Silas's hand gripped tight.-
[03:02] <@Marianne> [He started to laugh. A slow chuckle at first, before growing louder and louder until the sound filled the entire bridge. A hysterical, endless, manic laugh.]

[03:16] <@Marianne> ["G… General, sir." Min's small voice.-
[03:17] <@Marianne> [Silas laughed over her, shakily climbing into his seat, his head and heart pumping giddily. "Min? We just slew a god."-
[03:17] <@Marianne> ["Sir." Her voice was urgent.-
[03:17] <@Marianne> ["What? What is it?"-
[03:17] <@Marianne> ["Five N2 missiles are headed towards us."-
[03:18] <@Marianne> ["… Prepare to intercept. Shoot down those weapons and deploy the Positron Charged Ablative coating."-
[03:18] <@Marianne> ["Yes, sir!"]
[03:20] <@Marianne> [Guns fired, heavy cannons. One missile exploded harmlessly in midair, its detonator untriggered.-
[03:20] <@Marianne> [Then another, and another. The 4th went down as well. The fifth was all that was left, hurtling towards the Independence's hull.-
[03:21] <@Marianne> ["Shoot it! Shoot it down!"-
[03:21] <@Marianne> ["We-we're trying, it's too fast-"-
[03:21] <@Marianne> ["SHOOT IT DOWN-"-
[03:21] <@Marianne> [An explosion.-
1[03:30] <@Marianne> [The impact tossed Silas out of his chair and sprawling onto the ground.-
[03:30] <@Marianne> [All things considered, he hadn't been vaporised by an antimatter weapon, so it wasn't too bad. He stood up, looking around- rushing to Min's side. His XO was still on the ground. "Min. Min, are you ok?"-
[03:31] <@Marianne> ["I… I-I'm fine, sir. Just a little shellshocked."-
[03:31] <@Marianne> ["You rest for a minute." He said, genuine worry in his voice. He stood up. "Collette, patch me through to the UN forces."-
[03:31] <@Marianne> ["Yes, sir."-
[03:31] <@Marianne> ["Forces of the United Nations, hear me."-
[03:36] <@Marianne> —
[03:36] <@Marianne> [Silas slumped into his chair, tiredness on his face after his speech. "Damage report?"-
[03:36] <@Marianne> ["Most of the ablative coat has been vaporised, sir. Over 80%. However, hull damage itself is minimal."-
[03:36] <@Marianne> ["The Apocalypse Cannon?"-
[03:37] <@Marianne> ["It will be a week before we can replace the fuses, sir."-
[03:37] <@Marianne> ["As expected. Reports from the other fronts?"-
[03:38] <@Marianne> ["Linden has captured Texas and auxiliaries are sweeping into the western US, sir. Van de Maar has retreated from Guangzhou-2, but has inflicted lasting losses. Rubio is… Dead, sir."-
[03:39] <@Marianne> ["Dead?" Silas looked up, surprised.-
[03:39] <@Marianne> ["Yes. The Evangelion units broke through the front and wiped out his command. The XO of the Third Regiment is falling back to Aswan, but most of the Regiment itself is destroyed."-
[03:40] <@Marianne> ["Damn that imbecile. Very well." Silas sighed. "Set a reverse course. Take us back. We can't push into France until we secure the east."-
[03:40] <@Marianne> ["Yes, sir."]

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