The Grounds Of The Celestial Scorpion

[06:32] <Minaplo> [NEON GENESIS EVANGELION. Date: 9th of January, 2018. Episode Title: The Grounds of the Celestial Scorpion.-
[06:46] <Minaplo> ]
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[06:54] <Sept> The square was, as many parts of Paris-2 were, deserted. Just as it had been during the parades when they'd first unveiled the Evangelion to the public. "Right. Final preparations, everyone. We have to be ready for anything." A mild clatter as Sera unshoulders his bag and starts rummaging through it for anti-everything gear, attaching a few grenades to a belt, inspecting knives.
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[07:03] * Yanmei folded her arms. She was still in that bulky white coat, a seemingly innocious backpack slung over one shoulder. "You're sure about this."
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[07:09] * Aline was also doing checks, but other than ensuring her rather fancy-looking gun was working properly (not test-firing though, that'd be wasteful)… it seemed to be a check of a somewhat different nature - Namely, she was futzing around with a series of blobs of something… white… and… Wait. That was plastic explosives! "Got it all here. Though I'm not 100% on whether or not it'll
[07:09] * Aline be useful."
[07:14] * Sept was clad in the suit of armor from the Sea, overlaid with a minimum of belts and latches to hold his gear. "They took one of ours. They act like they can harass us however they like. Jeanne doesn't have enough resources to go after everything this time. These are all reasons. I'm sure. We know something's been moving in and out of that church, so that's what we're going to follow."
[07:22] * Zack is now known as ZackSLeep
[07:24] <Minaplo> [William had his pistols; the two bolt revolvers and his custom revolver in its own holster. He was wearing the black and red coat he, too, had received from the Sea. "And if it leads to nothing?"]
[07:27] <Yanmei> "I'm more concerns about whether or not they've approved of us doing this?" Yanmei pulled off the coat at last to reveal her own gleaming dark armor from the Sea. Carefully, she rolled it up and exchanged it for the matching visor that had been sitting in her bag. "…maybe they don't care much."
[07:27] <Yanmei> ^concerned
[07:30] * Aline perhaps looked less /fabulously martial/, but perhaps different all the same, in her new stormtrooper armor, which she wore… maybe a bit uncomfortably right now at first. "I'm not sure either way. But I figured, we may as well go ahead with it? I dunno."
[07:32] <Sept> "I heard about your run-in with Gamelin, Yanmei. Do you really intend to hesitate when we have a shot at finding him?"
[07:38] * Yanmei scowled at that, and something Unpleasant leapt into her eyes. "That -jerk-. Of course not! I'm just making sure our rears are covered. In any case? If we're all good to go, then let's hurry up."
[07:38] <Minaplo> ["Agreed." William spun his bolt revolvers forward for a few seconds; then backwards; then he threw them into the air and caught them with alternating hands.]
[07:39] * Aline made a little snicker. "Show-off."
[07:39] <Minaplo> ["But of course." He grinned.]
[07:41] * Sept raised his eyebrows with the slightest hint of a smile at William's antics. "Just get moving. And stay on guard. There was some kind of monster that attacked an S2 surveillance team earlier. Made a real mess of the job, but there were no traces in or out of the scene. Invisibility, teleporting… Can't be sure."
[07:45] <Minaplo> ["Then we'll keep our eyes open."]
[07:46] * Aline had finished her own check, and zipped up the bag to strap it on her back. But… "Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't tracelessness not identical to invisibility? Either way, it's skilled."
[07:48] * Yanmei checked her cell phone for messages before slipping that into her bag as well. "It's… a little different, I think."
[07:49] <Yanmei> "In any case~" She tossed her hair and faced the church.
[07:52] <Minaplo> [The church- a simple, unadorned stone church, bearing the sign 'La Défense Lutheran Church' out the front, was ringed with a low stone fence. It seemed rather old, all told, and almost abandoned- grass was growing over-long in between the building and the fence, and a window- a simple plate glass window- had been smashed and not repaired.-
[07:52] <Minaplo> [William narrowed his eyes as he peered at the sign.]
[07:56] <Sept> "In through the back?" Sera suggested.
[07:58] <Yanmei> "Or any other entryways. That window's a bit too obvious. And everyone, stay quiet."
[07:59] <Minaplo> ["Maybe we should split up. Someone goes in the front, the rest around the back."]
[08:01] <Yanmei> "If we run into one of those things, I'm willing to bet it'll take a group effort to take it down. Let's stick together."
[08:01] <Sept> "Agreed. I don't think we'd be able to find each other fast enough if things got bad."
[08:02] <Minaplo> ["Fair enough."]
[08:03] * Aline nodded as well, looking leery about talk of splitting up. "Yeah. No splitting up just now." She said, starting to form up with the others.
[08:05] * Yanmei started off, trying to stealthily circle the building, skimming around for more entrances.
[08:09] <Minaplo> [The building was roughly cross-shaped, and there were four doors; three at the front, and one at the very back of the building.]
[08:11] * Aline followed next, not quite abandoning pretenses of stealth, but ultimately not being nearly as good at it.
[08:16] * Sept approached the back door, placing a hand on it. "There could still be civilians. Unlikely, but possible. Ready?"
[08:17] * Yanmei bobbed her head once, sliding a hand to one of her weapons.
[08:21] * Sept tried the handle.
[08:22] <Minaplo> [The handle came off in his hand- the door swung open a little, the hinges creaking.]
[08:25] <Sept> "Mmh." Sera slipped in, holding onto his blades firmly.
[08:25] * Aline leaned over, looking a bit… well, it was hard to tell what she looked like because unlike the others's, her armor was feature-concealing. Maybe she should include a photo ID or something. EITHER WAY, she was… nonplussed at the whole thing, and gripped tighter on her rifle.
[08:26] * Yanmei paused, seemingly processing this, and then slipped in after, both swords completely drawn now.
[08:33] <Minaplo> [William followed in.-
[08:34] <Minaplo> [Within was a small dormitory of sorts, an office for whoever ran services here. A small bed against the wall, a desk; there was a layer of dust upon both.-
[08:35] <Minaplo> [A faded red rug sat on the wooden plank ground. A door separated the dorm from the main part of the building.]
[08:40] * Yanmei frowned, checking around briefly and even nudging at the carpet before moving on. She paused by the door, willing to let Sept go first.
[08:40] <Sept> "They're clearly not here," Sera whispered. "Check for secret passages." He swept the rug to the side with a leg.
[08:41] * Aline stayed near the back, knowing that she's best suited for that, and rather than whisper back, just nodded as she checked the area this way and that.
[08:44] <Minaplo> [The rug revealed- what looked like the heavy wooden door to a cellar.]
[08:46] <Yanmei> "Huh." Yanmei stepped closer to it. "Down we go? Looks heavy." She reached for the handle.
[08:47] * Aline remained cautious, gun at ready, acting like some kind of sentry or something.
[08:50] <Minaplo> [The door -was- heavy, but not heavy enough that Yanmei couldn't lift it.-
[08:50] <Minaplo> [A wave of musty, stale air emanated from the gap. It was a ladder, leading down into a deep chasm below. Stolid brick lined the walls.]
[08:53] <Sept> "Hmm. I'll send Jeanne a message before we head down into the Illuminati catacombs." He took out his phone.
[08:56] * Aline gave Sera a look, which sort of looked like a plate of metal was staring at him intently, but with a little sigh. "Fair enough. So I guess this /is/ sanctioned after all."
[09:03] * Yanmei eyed the ladder warily, and then doubled back over to the door, listening at it for movements and so forth. "We need to be sure that they're down, there? And not, like, keeping hostages above ground for easy transport or… whatever."
[09:04] <Minaplo> ["Wouldn't they have barricaded the back door or something?"]
[09:04] <Sept> "There." Sera snapped his phone shut. "Let's just take a quick look around. We've already got an entrance here, we don't have to scour them carefully."
[09:05] <Yanmei> "Fair point. But it doesn't look like that ladder's been used at all lately."
[09:06] <Minaplo> ["…" William suddenly frowned at Sera. 'Illuminati catacombs'?"]
[09:06] <Sept> "It's a tunnel. It's under Paris. Everyone knows they're there."
[09:06] * Aline waved a hand idly. "Attempt at humor? Yanmei's got a point about securing the area, though I'm not sure if a 'monster' keeps hostages…"
[09:08] <Yanmei> "…" Hand on the doorknob instead of responding to that. "Let's make it quick and painless." She tried opening it.
[09:09] <Minaplo> [This door swung open, although it wasn't in the same state of disrepair as the back door.-
[09:10] <Minaplo> [Within was a fairly unremarkable church. Pews; a preacher's pulpit with an open bible placed upon the top. More plain glass windows.]
[09:11] * Aline joined Yanmei on her excursion, wandering about, pointing her gun at various places of interest. "Hmm…"
[09:12] * Yanmei wasn't letting her guard down. It was hard to forget how stealthy the creatures responsible for this were supposed to be. She checked a few pews up close, and looked around for doors that might lead to any other areas.
[09:12] <Minaplo> [It seemed as though this was mostly all that was to be seen.]
[09:12] <Sept> "All clear?"
[09:13] <Yanmei> A nod. "Looks like it? Let's head down." She turned and backtracked toward the dorm room.
[09:14] * Aline followed along, though she did turn back a little while following Yanmei to act as a rearguard.
[09:15] * Sept nodded, and got started on his long descent.
[09:17] <Minaplo> [William came last, muttering to himself something about the Illuminati and schismatics.-
[09:18] <Minaplo> [They emerged into a dirty, run-down looking room, small and drab and uncomfortable. A single metal door faced them, its hinges looking rusty.]
[09:24] * Sept waited for the others to come down as well, listening for movement beyond the door. When everyone was ready, he counted down silently and gave the door a sharp push.
[09:41] * Yanmei peered out into the gloom for a second, wrinkling her nose. Wherever they were looked as if it hadn't been used in a very long time either. "Hold on a second…" She sheathed a sword and reached into her bag. "Whatever happens out there, we'll need to keep in touch." She held out something - a sturdy black walkie talkie. -
[09:43] <Yanmei> "I'd rather avoid another incident like the one during the Twelfth's attack. But if we -do- get split up, we'll at least keep in touch."
[09:49] <Minaplo> [The door swung open with an almost resentfully grudging slowness. Beyond was heavy darkness, pierced by a flashlight's beam.-
[09:50] <Minaplo> [It was a tunnel. Flat concrete ground, solid walls and rusted train tracks below.-
[09:50] <Minaplo> [William took the walkie talkie- only to be distracted by the flashlight's beam. "… Train tracks?"]
[09:57] <Sept> "They built a lot more stations than they needed, in the reconstruction. It's like everyone just forgot about them afterwards. Like it was something they did absent-mindedly to keep their minds off things."
[10:00] * Yanmei finished handing out the transceivers. "But nothing comes through here, right? Those tracks aren't charged, and we don't have to worry about trains or anything?"
[10:00] <Minaplo> ["Ghost trains." Said William deadpan.]
[10:02] <Yanmei> "There's no such thing," said Yanmei. Her voice was, perhaps, a little firmer than it needed to be.
[10:02] * Aline waved a hand. "And if there is such a thing, we can blame the Angels, right?"
[10:04] <Minaplo> [William shook his head with a smile. "Come on, Sera. We should get moving."]
[10:06] <Sept> "Yeah, let's." Sera pointed his flashlight ahead of them, as well, and proceeded.
[10:16] <Minaplo> [Out into the huge tunnel- the flashlight revealed a series of doors along the wall, as well as a group of near-foot long grey rats that bolted. Yanmei would feel the sudden scurrying of little feet across her right foot.]
[10:19] * Yanmei stopped short. "Ugh! Seriously?" She shook her foot out, even though whatever had passed through it was already long gone.
[10:19] <Minaplo> ["I've eaten rats, you know." Said William conversationally.]
[10:21] <Sept> "Stay calm, and stay behind me. I'll check it out." A moment's silence as Sera turned the first corner. "Why would you eat rats?"
[10:21] * Aline sorta just blinked. "…Ah. I'm sure if you're really offended by them, you can cut them to bits with all those pointy things you've got there." She muttered.
[10:22] <Minaplo> ["I was hungry." Said William. "One day, maybe, you may find yourself besieged for nine months in Lagos, and maybe you too will eat rats."-
[10:22] <Minaplo> [A steel door blocked Sera from his path, but it didn't look locked.]
[10:23] * Sept pushed it open and pushed in.
[10:24] <Minaplo> [A long tunnel- presumably for the use of maintenance crews that never came. There seemed to be branches and alcoves built into the walls.-
[10:25] <Minaplo> [Further along, however, the torchlight fell on the sight of something dark and red- it looked mostly like dried blood, but some caught the light and glimmered.
[10:25] <Minaplo> ]
[10:25] * Aline leaned over, peering towards the lit blood in the distance. "…Monster, right?"
[10:26] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei frowned. "Well, if we were looking for clues…"
[10:27] <Minaplo> ["Could just be rat blood." He leaned over to Yanmei, breathing a little onto her neck maliciously. "Rats killed by ghosts."]
[10:28] * Sept stopped for a moment, sniffing at the air a bit. "Yeah, clues. Keep going."
[10:29] * Yanmei elbowed William roughly. "There are no ghosts! And… This looks like it's been left here a while." She trotted forward.
[10:36] * Aline followed along as a rearguard, again, keeping her weapon pointed all around.
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[10:44] <Sept> "Wait up. Hear that?" Sera motioned Yanmei toward a door to the side.
[10:45] * Aline eyed the side warily, but after a second or two, resumed her little vigil.
[10:46] <Minaplo> [A humming, crackling noise- sort of like fire and something else, something… Mechanical?-
[10:46] <Minaplo> ["Want to go check it out?"]
[10:46] <Yanmei> "Yeah. What the hell?" Yanmei frowned, and after a long pause of consideration, stepped toward it. "Will, Blanc, watch our backs? That sounds… weird."
[10:49] <Aline> "Can do!" Aline chirped, still pointing her gun in various directions.
[10:50] <Minaplo> [William nodded. "Check it out, but be careful."]
[10:51] <Yanmei> "Right, right." Yanmei rested a hand on the door when she got close enough, and slowly pushed it open.
[10:53] <Minaplo> [Within was a room- lit by a fire, crackling away on a rough pile of sticks, casting irregular shadows across the walls. The room was occupied- a bearded man, his hair tangled and messy, his clothes ragged, leapt to his feet in alarm, brandishing a not-very-threatening knife at them. A wireless radio crackled next to him, a song barely picked out between static.-
[10:54] <Minaplo> [A cat lay by the fire; the door opening had seen it leap to its feet to hiss angrily at Yanmei.]
[10:56] <Sept> "Whoa, shit. People still living here?"
[10:57] <Yanmei> "…!" That hadn't been what she was expecting either. "Easy, old timer. We don't want any trouble."
[10:57] * Aline leaned to look, though what she was looking at was Sera. "Hm. I'm gonna guess they don't need backup, then." She said as she resumed monitoring the hall.
[10:58] <Minaplo> ["Whaddya want? What? Who -are- you people?" He took a few steps backward, and no surprise; Yanmei alone was intensely intimidating, with her black visor, her dark armour and her gleaming sword.]
[11:01] <Sept> "Tell us what you know about that mess outside and you won't have to care."
[11:05] <Minaplo> ["That-that mess? Why?" He was frightened. "Who wants to know?"]
[11:08] <Yanmei> "We're with NERV. We're tracking the culprit of some unusual occurances around town. Not you, obviously, but maybe you've seen him."
[11:10] <Minaplo> [His eyes darted between their faces. "I-I dunno anything about that." He mumbled. "The blood used to belong to someone I knew, though."]
[11:10] <Yanmei> "Go on. What happened?"
[11:12] <Minaplo> ["One day he- he went out to the Orly Airport station, said he was gonna scrounge some stuff up. Then that night we heard screams, we came out and we saw blood everywhere, and- and skittering about in the walls, it was like." He paled. "S'one of them banshees, I know it, those m-monsters…"]
[11:15] <Yanmei> "Why're you still here if you know those monsters are around?"
[11:18] <Minaplo> [He frowned. "What, I'm s'posed to leave because some monster wants in?" He spat at the fire. "The La Defense-Orly tunnels are my home, damnit, and…" He looked at his knife uncertainly. "Killed a banshee once, figure I can do it again if I do it right."]
[11:19] * Sept looked at the man, and his weapon. "Are we talking about the same banshee."
[11:20] * Aline leaned over again. "Oi, don't argue with the guy."
[11:20] <Minaplo> ["Two claws, two hands, and a mouth that spits acid, yeah." Said the man defiantly.]
[11:22] <Yanmei> "These guys are different. Think of them as an upgrade." Yanmei shook her head. "You and your cat need to get out of here before you end up like your friend. Come back when you know the place is clear."
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[11:24] * Aline frowned from under her armor, but decided to let them continue. For now.
[11:28] <Sept> "Okay, so we could at least confirm they've been moving around here. Let's finish checking that hallway."
[11:31] <Minaplo> ["This… This culprit." Spat the old timer suddenly. "Would he happen to be a burglar?"]
[11:32] * Yanmei scowled at that. "Yeah, you could say that. You seen him? Long blonde hair, around this high?" She held up a hand to demonstrate.
[11:34] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, that's him. We just called him Etienne, he never told us his real name. He was a burglar, broke into houses- we let him stay with us and use our fires 'cause he brought us all sorts of gadgets."]
[11:35] <Yanmei> "Where is this guy now?"
[11:37] <Minaplo> ["He's out on a job. Said he was gonna be doing a big heist soon but he needed a special tool to do it."]
[11:38] <Yanmei> "What tool? Did he say? Where's the heist going to be?"
[11:38] <Minaplo> ["Course he didn't say, are you daft?"]
[11:39] * Aline briefly sighed, off in the distance, as she listened in.
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[11:42] * Yanmei glared. It was impossible to see said glare with the visor on, but the scowl she was wearing along with it was probably enough to indicate her displeasure. "Look, just get out of here."
[11:42] <Minaplo> ["You get out of here, before the Red Suns catch you."]
[11:42] * Aline then waved her hand, and called out. "Uh, guys… "I just heard movement above us. Skittery, not humanlike."
[11:44] <Minaplo> ["Ghosts?!"]
[11:46] <Aline> "…No, but maybe a monster." Aline sighed /again/.
[11:46] <Sept> "Shut up. Could be rats, could be banshees. We can handle it. See if there's anything ahead of here they were protecting."
[11:50] <Yanmei> "Sounds like a plan." Yanmei held back a second scowl, and swiveled to go, closing the door once she and Sera were through. "Don't get eaten, old timer."
[11:51] <Minaplo> ["I'd say you're tastier, little girl."]
[12:00] * Sept shut the door on the vagrant and pressed on. He motioned for the others to wait as he made to take a closer look at some of the rooms surrounded by the blood.
[12:05] <Yanmei> Still fuming, Yanmei sidled up just a bit further south of the door Sept was checking in, trying to keep her eyes and ears open for more threats
[12:05] <Minaplo> [The first door he pushes open simply reveals another room- this one also splattered with blood. A pool of it seems to have gathered under another door across the room.]
[12:13] * Sept stepped inside, pointing a flashlight toward each corner before heading in to investigate the door.
[12:17] <Minaplo> [The beam crossed over a corner- nothing. He turned it back to the door…-
[12:18] <Minaplo> [Behind him, a portion of the wall seemed to shimmer for a bit, flowing as though wet- he didn't see it, but there was some kind of sixth sense- he could -feel- it before it struck.-
[12:19] <Minaplo> [It was seven feet tall, maybe taller if it stood a little straighter. Thin and lean, bipedal, with long black legs and a grey body; chitinous, bony ossified plates covered its chest and its harms; its head had no eyes, only a tall, intimidating crest like that of a bird, or perhaps a dinosaur.-
[12:20] <Minaplo> [But Sera would notice its weapons first- two long bone-like blades, immensely sharp with a lethal point, folded against the back of its arms. As it lashed out they flicked out and became straight, hurtling towards his chest in a rapid barrage.]
[12:24] * Sept gave a yell as he raised his knife to meet the first claw, sparks flying from the impact. But he had no time to get away from the second one's way, and there was a loud crack as it connected with his chest, making him stagger backwards. "Enemy!" Sera yelled as soon as he got his breath back.
[12:25] <Minaplo> ["Got it!" William turned immediately, eyes widening even as he took the shot.-
[12:26] <Minaplo> [Sera would see now why the Angelspawn hadn't left any of its own blood behind. It was strangely nimble and unnaturally flexible, bending in disturbing ways to avoid a bullet. The other bullet barely grazed its leg.]
[12:36] <Minaplo> [But the monster was focused on Sera. It crouched- and a third blade, attached to a prehensile limb, unfurled from its back and smashed into Sera- a glancing blow leaving a nasty-looking greeny-purple fluid on his armour- before it moved with great speed through the closed door and into the next room.]
[12:40] * Aline rushed in, gun at ready, but couldn't get close enough in time to make a shot. "Coming!"
[12:46] * Yanmei followed the noise with her ears… and scrambled for the unopened to the south of her in that blood-splattered hallway. She swiftly booted it in to the sight of the brawl in-progress.
[12:50] * Sept backed up against the wall so he could see the Spawn, and switched his knife for the positron blade. "Come back here!" He ran the short distance between them and slashed with the sword.
[12:53] <Minaplo> [The blade left a satisfying wound on its arm- it drew blood, which was slightly pinker than human blood- but then it struck, twice, its stinger catching him in the arm and torso- the poison began seeping into his system…]
[07:42] * Sept winced and took a reluctant step back, allowing for the others to get past in the narrow space.
[07:44] <Minaplo> [But it was too fast- William's fire scored a few minor hits, but the beast was barreling past, leapkicking Yanmei square in the chest before springing across the corridor, landing on its hands- it sprang onto its feet with an agility that was mutually exclusive with a spine.]
[07:49] <Yanmei> A pained yelp as Yanmei hit the ground. "Goddamn it!"
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[07:59] * Aline moved over, and stared at her target. "Trying to get a shot…" She let some of the commands in her headset do their thing, and in her point of view, the spawn was suddenly far more clear to her, though even so…
[08:09] * Yanmei was on her feet again in a flash, racing for the spawn with a flurry of blows. The creature was… too slippery, though, sliding easily out of the path of her attacks and even swatting one or two aside. The single square hit that landed wasn't enough to cripple him by far, and she immediately had to bounce aside as he retaliated.
[08:10] * Sept would find the same as he tried to maneuver himself into a place to cut off Vrscika's escape route.
[08:28] <Minaplo> [But Yanmei was right- the creature truly was too slippery. It twisted around itself, forcing shards upon its body to quiver and grow- before launching out in a wave of shards, one of which cut through William's leg. And then the creature was off- exposing itself momentarily to Sera and Yanmei- before vanishing into the darkness. William pushed past, firing after it with his revolver…-
[08:28] <Minaplo> ["… Damnit! A plague on it, it's gone."]
[08:31] * Yanmei hissed under her breath in frustration. "Shit! How's everyone feeling?"
[08:32] * Sept relaxed a little, stopping to catch his breath. "Ugh, speaking of plagues. I think it got something in my blood…"
[08:32] * Aline frowned, though yet again, it wasn't particularly visible. "I'm fine, but… if Sera's got some kind of poison in him…"
[08:37] <Sept> "I could use a breather either way, sorry. I don't know if it's poison, or… it's like a mild anaesthetic. But I don't think it'll be getting far. Think it thinks of this as its home? Like that guy?"
[08:40] <Yanmei> "Who knows?" Yanmei drew a medkit out of her bag after some rummaging and held it out in Aline's direction. "I don't especially care, either," she added grumpily.
[08:44] * Aline walked closer, and after they settled into the room, she gathered up the medkit and began taking antiseptic and bandages to Sera's wounds. "Alright now…"
[08:47] * Sept stayed quiet for the rest of their break, and tried to stay still so as to not distract Aline from her work.
[08:52] * Yanmei faced the door, frowning, tense and alert as if expecting more unpleasant company.
[08:53] * Aline would finish up after a bit more… and nodded, if only to herself. "We should get moving." She shouldered her positron rifle again, and gestured towards the door as well.
[08:58] <Yanmei> "Right." Yanmei nodded, putting an end to her vigil. "It couldn't have gone far? We'll move cautiously."
[09:00] <Minaplo> [They moved. Into the next room- with a door open here as well, gouges in the metal.-
[09:01] <Minaplo> [Through this door they entered a chamber, the largest space they'd seen so far; a corridor led up into a wide room, a thin layer of dust on the floor- with a trail heading towards an open door directly ahead.-
[09:01] <Minaplo> [They moved towards it…-
[09:01] <Minaplo> [… Only for the door to suddenly crash shut before any of them could reach it!-
[09:02] * Aline has left #nervfrance
[09:02] * Aline has joined #nervfrance
[09:09] <Minaplo> [Sera would see the white smoke starting to flood through the air vent- as well as a few other pipes and places.]
[09:11] <Sept> "Shit, gas! Get the doors!"
[09:20] * Sept dashed off toward the door closest to the one they were heading for, slamming his shoulder into it, rattling the handle with force for a moment. "They got us locked in!"
[09:22] <Yanmei> "Calm down!" Yanmei's words were muffled as her pressed the sleeve of her shirt against her nose and mouth. "There's gotta be a way to bust through!"
[09:23] <Minaplo> [William was eyeing the closest door speculatively, lifting his pistol towards the handle, wondering if it'd work.]
[09:38] * Aline spoke through her suit, already breaking into a run… and eventually, playing with some small amount of explosives. "Come on, work, work…"
[09:48] * Aline then backed off… "Brace for whatever!" She semi-ineffectually called, and hit the button on a detonator she had taken out.
[09:53] <Minaplo> [A pause-
[09:53] <Minaplo> [Then the explosives ripped the door apart, as well as the frame, as easily and as decisively as a tank shell.-
[09:54] <Minaplo> [But Aline had overlooked one variable- the gas itself. As the explosion sent heat and fragments around it the gas caught aflame, and quickly spread throughout the room…]
[09:55] <Aline> "W-whoa!" Aline hastily looked back after jumping away from a nearby burning plume of gas. "You all okay?!"
[09:56] <Minaplo> [William responded with yells of alarm- his outfit had gone up in flames, and he was beating at it in a panic.]
[09:58] <Sept> A yell from Sera's direction, but he's safe in his door alcove, from whence he then emerged to help with the burn victim.
[09:59] * Yanmei joined in a second later, whipping out the coat she had brought with her. "Blanc! Go through! We'll catch up in a second!"
[10:00] <Aline> "O-o-okay!" Aline stuttered, as she started to make her way out of the room…!
[10:06] <Minaplo> [He continued to scream as the fire burned through parts of his clothing; eventually, however, with beatings of coat and dust the flames died out, leaving William dishevelled, soot-covered and thoroughly worn out.-
[10:06] <Minaplo> ["Ugh. -Ugh-."]
[10:08] <Yanmei> "No time for rest," Yanmei tried to help him back onto his feet, moving for the exit. "Let's get out of here!"
[10:10] <Sept> "Yeah! Get some distance to this place as fast as possible."-
[10:10] <Sept> "Good work, Aline," Sera said once they were through again.
[10:12] * Aline nodded her head. "Sorry for setting people on fire… But yeah, thanks."
[10:12] <Minaplo> [William got to his feet, brushing off some of the soot. A bit of his fine blonde hair had been singed, and there were nasty-looking burns on his legs and arms.-
[10:12] <Minaplo> ["It's alright. You did well." Said Will, following Sera out.]
[10:25] <Yanmei> "Hm. Let's keep moving, huh?" Yanmei coughed tiredly a few times. "The bastards who set that trap can't have gone far. And there's also that kid to consider, of course?"
[10:26] <Aline> "Right…" Aline sounded pretty worn-out herself.
[10:29] <Minaplo> [They walked- through the open door…-
[10:29] <Minaplo> [Into a train tunnel, the far west end of which was buried beneath collapsed masonry and bricks. With the damage Paris-2 received on a regular basis, the idea that some of these tunnels had fallen in was not outlandish.-
[10:31] <Minaplo> [But it was Sera's light beam that would direct them next. It fell…-
[10:31] <Minaplo> ["… That's an exit door. It's leaving!"]
[10:32] <Sept> "Tch. So much for it defending this place. Get after it!"
[10:33] * Aline frowned. "I don't think it had a reason to 'defend' it? I'm not so su- EH whatever." And Aline hurried off as well!
[10:39] <Minaplo> [And so they pursued, closer and closer to what was either their goal- or a trap.-
[10:39] <Minaplo> [But as they passed an off-branching door, they heard… Voices. Foreign voices, speaking in some unknown tongue…-
[10:39] <Minaplo> [… William turned immediately, eyes wide.]
[10:40] <Yanmei> "What?" Yanmei stopped as well, frowning. "More …people!"
[10:40] * Sept slowed down, but kept advancing toward the door. "Latin? I told you!"
[10:40] <Minaplo> ["Italian."]
[10:42] <Sept> "Italian? What are -they- doing here, then?" He hissed, eyeing the door indecisively.
[10:42] <Yanmei> Yanmei's eyes narrowed. She stepped for the off-branching door, lifting her foot to kick it in. "Everyone, get ready!" she hissed. "We're about to find out!"
[10:43] * Aline frowned invisibly again. "Oh dear."
[10:43] <Minaplo> ["Wait, what?"]
[10:46] * Sept positioned himself next to the door, behind cover, and nodded.
[10:47] * Raphael has quit IRC (Quit: Bye)
[10:48] <Yanmei> *THUMP* *CRACK* The door swung open, and Yanmei stepped boldly within the frame, surveying the people now in front of her.
[10:49] <Minaplo> [Before the door were a group of people, about six or seven, all male, all dressed in dark, neat suits, wearing long coats, toting weapons- machine guns, shotguns.-
[10:51] <Minaplo> [They all wore hats, except for the man at the front. He was a little taller than the others, wearing a red coat over his shoulders with a white tie; he had short black hair, sharp little eyes and a sneering, angular face.-
[10:52] <Minaplo> [The besuited fellows responded in alarm, bringing their guns up; the redsuited man, however, simply stared. "What's with the getup, doll?"]
[10:55] <Yanmei> "You have to ask? Considering the weird creatures these tunnels are crawling with?" Yanmei tossed her hair. "Who are you guys?"
[10:57] <Minaplo> ["Nobody you hafta worry about; we're just honest men of good standing making sure everything's fine and dandy down here." Said the lead, putting his hands in his pockets and slouching a little. "We got a tip that a doll in over her head was down here and we decided we'd come and escort her to safety."]
[11:03] <Yanmei> "Shame. Haven't seen anyone like that around here. Good luck with the search, though?" She shrugged. "Better watch your step, though. Some guy's apparently been setting up traps around here?"
[11:06] <Minaplo> [There was a murmur amongst the goons- the lead let out a snort of amusement, or possibly derision.-
[11:06] <Minaplo> ["Alright, Zhang, the game's up."]
[11:12] <Yanmei> "You're the one who's playing around. Don't tell me that a bunch of Mafioso followed me all the way down here for kicks?"
[11:13] <Minaplo> ["Oho, you're sharp, doll." He smirked. "But no, I didn't come down all the way here for 'kicks'. Like I said, I'm a man of good standing, I ain't the sort to stalk little girls for 'kicks'. Either way, though, you're coming with us."]
[11:18] <Sept> "She 'ain't' coming nowhere! I don't think you're really seeing the big picture, here!"
[11:18] <Minaplo> ["What? That's- hey, c'mon out here, you ratbastard, let me have a look at that face!"]
[11:20] <Sept> "I don't think that's how this is going to work!" Regardless, after a moment's pause, Sera peeked into the corridor briefly to ascertain the situation within. "And where do you get off coming after us with that kind of pitiful firepower?"
[11:21] * Aline looked at Sera, and tilted her head a few times as if to signal something… and slowly started reaching towards Yanmei.
[11:23] <Minaplo> ["You know damn well not to badmouth a man of standing's piece- Sept."]
[11:23] <Yanmei> Since signal-giving was going on behind her back, Yanmei failed to notice it. Instead, she just gripped her weapons a little harder. "Honestly," she muttered under her breath.
[11:24] * Sept paused, waved something indecipherable back to Aline, and made another peek into the corridor. "-Leo-?"
[11:27] <Minaplo> ["One and the same." He grinned. "You look flash these days, Sept. What's with the cavaliere getup?"]
[11:30] <Sept> "I could ask you the same! You got your goons and suit, but you're still in the sewers! Yanmei, get back, he's not going to shoot you. We -were- in the middle of a hunt, now what the hell are you doing here?"
[11:30] * Aline leaned back, deciding that for /now/ chattery was still the gameplan.
[11:31] <Yanmei> "What." Yanmei turned her head ever so slightly, not quite willing to drop her guard in front of these guys. "You -know- each other?"
[11:33] <Minaplo> ["Of course." Said Leo, smirking. "Sept here was my goomba if there ever was one, weren't ya, Sept? Oh, those were the days, back before you joined the Establishment…"]
[11:36] <Sept> "Fuck you! -What're you after-?"
[11:37] <Minaplo> ["I already said, Sept. I'm here for Yanmei. You guys can go, you're not needed, but she stays with us."]
[11:42] <Sept> "…that'd be your call, Yanmei," he said more quietly, counting the equipment on his belts.
[11:44] <Yanmei> "I'm going to have to insist otherwise?" She said flatly, taking a more aggressive stance.
[11:45] <Minaplo> ["Alright, but it's your loss." Said Leo, oozing smarm. He let his coat fall forward, covering his torso completely.]
[12:02] <Sept> The pin was already off at that point, and the grenade flew in in a high arc, making noise only a moment before detonating, as it hit the ground a few yards from where Leonardo was standing. Sera ran in after it. "Disable them!"
[12:03] <Minaplo> [Flash!-
[12:04] <Minaplo> [Blinding light filled the room- there were cries of shock and pain, eyes blinded by the flashbang. Most of the goons- as well as Leo- were sent stumbling around, hands over eyes. "You fuck! I've gone blind!"]
[12:06] * Aline had, in the nick of time, tugged Yanmei into a wall, having already seen Sera pulling the pin. Rough, but it protected her sight!
[12:12] * Yanmei started at that, turning toward Aline - just as the flashbomb went off. "The-!"-
[12:13] <Yanmei> But by the time she turned back, what was done had been done, and there was only one thing to do in the chaos - attack! She dashed forward, whipping out a small weapon, and jabbing it at the man known as Leo.
[12:16] <Minaplo> [But the taser hit something hard and solid- armour?- and the charge dissipated harmlessly, even as Leo seemed to instinctually bend away from her attack.]
[12:20] <Yanmei> An expression of shock swept over her face. The taser had failed her…?
[12:20] <Minaplo> [A rush of motion at her side as William charged in now, snapping a punch at one of the goons- who swayed out of the way at just the right time.]
[12:25] * Aline rushed in after them, lifting her weapon and letting loose a brilliant blue blast of positronic energy at one of the sniper-wielding goons in the back!
[12:39] <Sept> "How does it feel, Leo?" Sera took a few seconds' detour to flank the group, the unmistakable sound of a progressive blade whirring into life. "Huh, -LEO-?"
[12:39] <Minaplo> [If Leo responded, Sera didn't hear. A small metal round object has sailing through the air…-
[12:39] <Minaplo> [It landed at Yanmei's feet.]
[12:44] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei stared. Her eyes went wide. "HIT THE DIRT!"
[12:44] <Minaplo> [William was already diving out of the way.-
[12:44] * Aline backed up, bumping into a wall. So instead, she covered her face!
[12:45] <Minaplo> [The goons were not so lucky. The grenade exploded, sending waves of shrapnel in all directions. They bounced harmlessly off Aline's new suit, but a man at the back- already critically injured by Aline's new gun- saw shrapnel embed itself in his jugular. He fell coughing up blood.]
[12:55] <Yanmei> No sooner had the explosion cleared than Yanmei dropped the cover she had found in one of the hall's neighboring doorways, and scrambled into the smoke. The sound of scuffling soon followed, and when the air began to settle a bit, one could see her pigtailed form and Leo's - the latter trapped in a hasty chokehold.
[12:56] <Minaplo> ["Hrrk-" Leo now -definitely- wouldn't be able to respond to Sera. He flailed at Yanmei uselessly, hands banging against the reinforced plate of her armour.]
[12:57] * Aline meanwhile turned to stare at the grenadier, and levelled her rifle. She was shaking a bit - from fatigue, maybe? - but managed to steady her aim, just in time to intone a "That was very stupid."… and send another shot his way.
[12:58] <Minaplo> [A glancing shot- painful burns across his arm, eliciting a shout of pain.]
[13:07] * Sept was already starting to go after the stray mafioso, and was just blown back a good few yards by the blast. He was content enough to let the grenadier ponder that punishment and just head back into the fray to tackle one of the remaining mafiosi and familiarise them with NERV technology.
[13:10] * Aline kept going, pumping off another shot while the melee raged around her.
[13:11] * Yanmei wasn't giving up either, responding to Leo's struggles by tightening her grip.
[13:11] <Minaplo> [The shot was far more decisive this time, striking the man in the inner shoulder just as he emerged to snap off a shot. The arm burned off, leaving him spasming and howling in pain as he fell.]
[13:16] <Minaplo> ["Leggo, bitch- augh-" William was helping, throwing punch after punch into Leo's face.]
[13:22] <Yanmei> "That's it, William!" Yanmei encouraged him, getting a punch or two in Leo's back as well.
[13:23] <Minaplo> [William took his revolver and went for a pistol whip, but all he really achieved was hitting Yanmei's shoulder awkwardly, the hook of the barrel catching on a hairband and undoing one of her twintails.]
[13:27] * Yanmei winced, but she didn't let go even as her hair spilled out of place.
[13:28] * Sept , meanwhile, silenced one more of Leonardo's lackeys. "You're running out of muscle, Leo!"
[13:29] <Aline> "I'll say." Aline said, as she raised her rifle up into a braced position, flipped a little selector… then unleashed a torrent of positrons at the remaining goons!
[21:25] <Minaplo> [The combination of Sera's malicious blade and Aline's new gun saw the goons cut down in short order, unable to fight back or even defend themselves; they fell in droves, leaving only Leo, alone, struggling helplessly against Yanmei's consolidated grip.]
[21:27] <Yanmei> "Had enough?" Yanmei snapped, doing nothing to loosen her grip. "Or do you want to join your men?"
[21:29] <Minaplo> ["Alright, alright, alright! I give up! Christ, more's the fool the one who beds you if you're like this all the time." Leo's coldly handsome face had been battered, his nose broken, eyes blacked; dirt covered his face except for the parts that were covered in trickles of blood.]
[21:32] * Sept looked around for a moment, steadying his breath and cleaning his blades off. "What do you think?"
[21:33] <Yanmei> "I think he's incredibly rude? And that he has some questions to answer now. Blanc, William, keep him in your sights, okay? If he tries anything fishy…"
[21:34] * Aline stood as a semi-grim sentry, as she seemed to sometimes prefer to… rifle trained on Leo, of course. "More than willing to. Though once we've had our fill we should probably call in the actual S2 agents, and get him arrested proper-like."
[21:37] <Yanmei> "Right, right." Yanmei finally let him go, slipping back a few steps. "Now then, let's start with that question you refused to answer earlier. Why are you guys after me?"
[21:39] <Sept> "Mmh." After a long pause, Sera shook his head. "We'll still have to drag him topside, knowing that thing's out there. Better to get the questions out of the way, in case we need to get out fast without him," he mumbled.
[21:40] <Minaplo> [Leo stumbled back a little, looking around at the dead goons that littered the corridor; his eyes widened, but he made a heroic effort to keep himself under control, his hands running themselves over his suit in a nervous, almost compulsive way. "Not sayin' nothin'."]
[21:41] <Sept> "Come, now. We're friends here, aren't we? Or did they just not trust you with the details?"
[21:44] <Minaplo> ["You shut up, you fucking -fuck-!" Snapped Leo, his air of calm coming undone like a knobbly sweater. "Oh Jesus God, blood everywhere, you- you fucking monsters, this isn't human…"]
[21:46] * Aline looked about, and gave a long, long sigh. "…Pretty much."
[21:46] <Sept> "You should've seen what we were hunting before you interrupted us," Sera said with a delighted tone.
[21:49] * Yanmei looked vaguely disgusted. "You'll do much better for yourself if you cooperate now. Surely you're smart enough to realize that."
[21:52] <Minaplo> ["He isn't." Came a voice from the very far end of the hall- the La Defense end. "He -really- isn't, trust me on that." The voice was light, casually amused.]
[21:55] <Yanmei> "-!" Yanmei was on guard again in a flash, weapons up. Another goon? "You! Identify yourself!"
[21:56] <Minaplo> ["Will 'his babysitter' suffice?"-
[21:56] <Minaplo> ["Mind, I'm many things, but that seems to be the most appropriate at the moment."]
[21:57] * Sept spun around to face the voice, knife raised. "You're with the mafia, then?"
[21:57] <Minaplo> ["An oversimplication! You could say I'm 'with' them but not 'of' them, if you understand that distinction."-
[22:02] <Minaplo> [He walked down the corridor, slowly emerging from the darkness and into the gloomy light. He was a slender man, tall and thin, dressed in a crisp suit and hat; he had light brown hair and unnaturally bright blue eyes. Gloved hands rested in his pockets in a casual, relaxed manner. "Anyway, Leo here made a mistake- didn't you Leo-? And he came down here and unsurprisingly you beat him up real good, I mean, -gosh-, Leo, what a thing to -do-. Can I have him back? I mean, it's almost time for his supper, he gets moody when he's hungry."-
[22:03] <Minaplo> ["Fuck you." Muttered Leo, shivering uncontrollably.]
[22:04] * Aline had her gun still trained on Leo, but looked between Sera and Yanmei. She wasn't really the kind to be making prisoner negotiations.
[22:06] <Yanmei> There was something… unsettling about this casual and even amused acceptance of the situation. Yanmei frowned. "We'd love to give him back, but unfortunately, he hasn't answered any of our questions yet. If -you'd- oblige us, maybe we could reach some arrangement sooner."
[22:08] <Sept> "Yeah. You should at least know about his orders!"
[22:09] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, I do, but they're all boring and -so- totally uncool." Said the man flippantly. "I can tell you something -better-. In exchange."]
[22:11] * Aline decided to speak up, actually. "…And your definition of better is?"
[22:15] <Minaplo> ["-Not- boring. Like, 'oh man, what is this organised crime individual's motivation?' is something you could probably infer from, y'know. Mafia activities."-
[22:16] <Minaplo> ["Who -led- him here and why, however, is something that is a -total- mystery and is thus more valuable, because economics."]
[22:18] <Aline> For whatever reason, Aline's tone was a bit more chipper now - it was still obviously guarded, but for some reason she seemed… positive about this guy, on some bizarre level. "Now that's a good definition."
[22:23] <Yanmei> "Agreed," Yanmei muttered under her breath. She was still frowning grimly, but she nodded and raised her voice. "You have yourself a deal, Mr. Babysitter."
[22:23] * Sept took a long look at Leonardo. "…very well. Take the kid."
[22:24] <Minaplo> ["Can do! C'mon, Leonarrrrrrdo, you nitwit, come over here away from the big bad teenagers and their big bad 'tudes."-
[22:26] <Minaplo> [With a dark, traumatised look back at the four of them, Leo half-ran, half-scrambled back over towards Mr. Babysitter, who reached out and seemingly patted Leo gently on the back- at the exact same time that he shifted his leg into Leo's own. It sent Leo to the ground in a heap.-
[22:29] <Minaplo> ["Ok, so. -Someone- told Leo you'd be down here. And Leo, in a fit of what I can only assume is mad Italian greedlust came down here with a squad of like-minded idiots with the -really- stupid plan of, I dunno, either mugging one of you or just beating you up for the prestige of it. I don't know -exactly- what he's doing and he's in no shape to tell me right now, so whatever. In any case, I think I know -why- someone told him to come get you. See, Leo's no ordinary Mafia silver-spoon idiot, he's the son of Don Parrino."]
[22:32] <Sept> "So you think he's trying to prove himself worthy of the name or something?"
[22:34] * Aline started to ease up, and tilted her head a few times this way and that. "Or, trying to give him something he wants without him asking for it. It's practically a cliche."
[22:35] <Yanmei> "Why and how did someone know we'd be here? Are you people connected to the reason why we're down here in the first place?"
[22:43] <Minaplo> ["Hell, maybe that was his motive, I dunno, don't care." Said Babysitter to Sera and Aline- he turned to Yanmei. "No- No we're not. Whoever told Leo about you guys -is-, though. That's why he wanted you down here. It was a trap, and Leo's boys was the trigger in one of the more elaborate ones. I think."]
[22:48] <Sept> "That's plausible enough. What are you going to do with him now?"
[22:49] <Minaplo> ["Uhhh. Take him home?"]
[22:51] * Aline sort of shrugged her shoulders lightly, but realized she didn't have anything to add yet.
[22:53] * Yanmei simply scowled, seemingly out of questions herself.
[22:53] <Minaplo> ["Well then. If that's all, I'll be off." Mr. Babysitter reached down and hoisted Leo over his shoulder. "Oh, er."-
[22:54] <Minaplo> ["I'll let you guys think over the 'effects' of what might happen if either the Don's precious son or one of the Paris pilots were to die in a fight with one another." He turned and started to leave.-
[22:54] <Minaplo> ["That beast of yours got away, y'know. Maybe next time you won't follow it into a bloody ghost station."]
[22:56] <Yanmei> "Thanks for the advice," said Yanmei dryly. She turned away herself. "Let's go."
[22:56] <Sept> "Hmph. Duly noted. It was Gamelin we were after. Don't suppose you people are the ones harboring him?"
[22:59] <Minaplo> ["You people?" Mr. Babysitter turned around on the heel. "I don't know about 'you people', but the Mafia definitely aren't harbouring ol' Gammy."]
[23:00] * Aline nodded at that, seeming… contented enough. "Very well then." She did, though, not turn around yet.
[23:03] <Sept> "This city is getting way too small," Sera said shaking his head, and started backing off as well.
[23:07] <Yanmei> "Hmph." Yanmei started off, on route to the tracks and the ladder leading upward.

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