This Game Is The Way In Which Slaughter Becomes An End In It

[05:57] <Minerva‘Linden> [[Session 46: NEON GENESIS EVANGELION. Date: 26th April, 2017. Episode Title: This game is the way in which slaughter becomes an end in itself.-
[05:58] * CakeyCake is now known as Yanmei
[05:58] * SyntaxTerror has left #nervfrance
[05:58] * Sept has joined #nervfrance
[06:01] * Rynol has left #nervfrance
[06:01] * Aline has joined #nervfrance
[06:04] <Minerva`Linden> [The briefing room- an all too familiar ampitheatre- looked a little crowded. Colonel Amatore-DeForest stood in the central dais, along with James Riel, who sat at the computer controls. Majors Katsuragi and Harken were there as well- Misato had worn her snappy and sharp NERV dress uniform this time, the Major’s insignia gleaming on her throat and shoulders. In her own military uniform,
[06:04] <Minerva‘Linden> off in a corner, was Minerva Linden.-
[06:06] <Minerva`Linden> [The seating area was more filled as well. Ayanami Rei, San, Kyuu, Ni and Chiisana (wearing an amazingly frilly lace white dress that threatened to annex the bordering seats) sat all together in a front row. Several rows behind them sat Natasha Volkova, slouching in her chair.-
[06:06] <Minerva`Linden> [And the Paris Pilots…?]
[06:10] <Yanmei> Neatly in uniform and furiously texting someone. At least, that was the case with one Zhang Yanmei. The notepad and pen she had brought with her were balanced on her lap for the time being.
[06:11] <Aline> Also in uniform, was Aline. And she was smiling almost absently, eyes half-lidded as part of the gesture, but was otherwise seated quite demurely, as if a briefing room was perfectly comfortable.
[06:12] <Sept> The equally uniformed Pilot de Pteres sat off to the side, looking down at a thin notebook he was browsing, possibly of old school notes. Every now and then, his glasses would start to slide down and he’d push them back up.
[06:15] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Are we all here?" Marianne scanned the audience. "Wait." She turned to Harken. "Where’re your pilots?"-
[06:15] <Minerva‘Linden> ["I-"-
[06:15] <Minerva`Linden> [Bam. One of the doors slammed open. "Asuka Langley-Soryu and posse, reporting~"-
[06:19] <Minerva`Linden> [Asuka was not in uniform. What she -was- wearing, however, was a pair of tight jeans, high black leather boots, a tight sleeveless white t-shirt and a long black leather jacket over the top. She ripped off a pair of black sunglasses and tossed her hair, red strands shining in the artificial Geofront light.-
[06:19] <Minerva`Linden> [Behind her stood two identically dressed Ayanamis. One, Hachi, had ripped off her own glasses in perfect synchronisation.-
[06:20] <Minerva`Linden> [The other, poor, mousey-haired Go, was blushing painfully, her eyes covered by both glasses and bangs. She looked as though she’d die of embarrasment.]
[06:22] * Aline was quite… not disturbed, but maybe mortifiedly confused at the whole thing. A sympathetic glance towards Go was the most she could offer, though.
[06:23] * Yanmei stared, her thumbs still moving as if under their own power. She exhaled a little through her nose. After the things she'd said the last time Asuka had visited Paris, she wasn't surprised at all. Still, there were differences between imagining the Asukafication of the poor Ayanamis, and seeing it.
[06:24] * Sept glanced up from his notebook. "Hello, Asuka. Posse." He returned to leafing through the pages.
[06:27] <Minerva‘Linden> ["First child, Third Child, Fifth Child, Seventh Child." Asuka gave them a brief nod as she walked, occupying a front row of seats. Hachi and Go followed on.-
[06:28] <Minerva`Linden> ["What did she do to our sisters, Onee-sama?" Murmured Ni. Rei shook her head. "I do not know, Ni. I do not know…"-
[06:30] <Minerva`Linden> [Marianne had, to her credit, seen stranger things. "I see. Well, then. Now that everyone’s here, today we discuss Operation Reliant." She nodded to James, who brought up a display on the viewscreen.-
[06:32] <Minerva‘Linden> [The screen was split into two halves- the left half was the Earth, with UN territory in blue and LN in red; the other hand was dominated by a schematic of the Independence. "With the 2nd Regiment destroyed at Boston, we now have enough free resources to launch an offensive into enemy territory. Operation Reliant’s primary objective is the destruction of the LN First Regiment, especially
[06:32] <Minerva‘Linden> the Independence land battleship. Any questions before we begin the technical briefing?"]
[06:34] * Yanmei stayed quiet. She did finish up whatever communications she was making in a hurry, however, snapping her phone closed at last.
[06:34] * Aline shook her head no, and remained quiet as well. Her questions probably completely /comprised/ the technical briefing.
[06:37] * Sept shut the notebook and stuffed it in a bag. He pushed up his glasses one more time, crossed his hands and looked up at Marianne expectantly.
[06:40] <Minerva`Linden> ["Good. Linden."-
[06:40] * Minerva`Linden stood up, now, walking out into the centre of the dais. "Hello, everyone. I’m Minerva Linden." She gave everyone a warm smile.-
[06:43] <Minerva‘Linden> "Ahem. Alright… Let’s see." She turned towards the display. "The Independence has a lot of defenses, but its main defense against weapons like N2 Mines or Positron cannons is its ablative armour." She tapped the hull. "It's covered in five layers of positron-charged ablative coats, which allow it to survive direct hits from N2 weapons and Positron cannons, and completely shrug off anything
[06:43] <Minerva‘Linden> less than that." She moved her finger towards a horizontal schematic of the ship, tapping a tiny spire on the underside of the stern. "This is the generator here, which charges the ablative coats. Without it, it loses its positron charge and becomes far more vulnerable."-
[06:43] <Minerva`Linden> [Marianne nodded. "De Pteres!"]
[06:48] * Sept tilted his head, indifferent expression unchanging. "Yes, Marianne?"
[06:49] <Minerva`Linden> ["EVA-01 is configured for stealth operations. You’ve also been trained with specialised AT Field abilities focused around containment, correct?"]
[06:50] <Sept> "That is correct."
[06:52] <Minerva‘Linden> ["How confident are you that you and EVA-01, equipped with an N2 mine, could deliver a fully contained blast to a small section of the Independence without being detected and destroyed first?"]
[06:58] <Sept> "Very confident, considering I was waiting for months for Dorian to authorise the usage of a similar plan."
[07:02] <Minerva`Linden> ["Good." She turned to the others. "The plan is thus. Major Harken, with the German and Soviet Evangelion Regiments, will launch a spearhead into Egypt. As the Independence is in Libya, it will move to engage. The Independence’s MO is to deploy its Solaces whilst hanging back several hundred kilometres away and acting as an artillery and command unit."-
[07:02] <Minerva‘Linden> ["De Pteres, you will, using your stealth capabilities, hide on the projected path of the Independence. Once the Solaces have passed over and are engaging Harken’s units, you will show yourself and use your N2 Mine to destroy the Independence's Positron Ablative generator."-
[07:03] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Blanc, Zhang and Ayanami Roku will then be deployed to attack the Independence."]
[07:04] * Aline instinctively twitched her head at mention of her name, but nodded in acknowledgement.
[07:06] <Yanmei> "Yes Colonel." Yanmei looked up from the notes she was making. "A question, though?"
[07:06] <Minerva`Linden> ["What is it, Zhang?"]
[07:07] * Sept didn’t particularly acknowledge the final plan, but did turn to look at Yanmei as she spoke up.
[07:14] <Yanmei> "Would disabling the generator also weaken its Doomsday cannon? Or is that something we need to look out for? I had it pegged as a long-range weapon that was less suited to fending off short range attackers. Even if that was the case, we would have to pay attention to other mounted weapons, wouldn't we?"
[07:14] <Minerva‘Linden> ["You’re absolutely correct. Linden?"-
[07:16] <Minerva‘Linden> "The Doomsday Cannon is completely long-ranged. So unless you were standing directly in the centre of it, you shouldn’t have a problem." She said, favouring Yanmei with a warm smile. "However, it has plenty of other weapons, including extensive anti-air autocannons… These shouldn't pose too much of a risk to you, providing you keep your AT Fields up. But it also has anti-Eva weaponry
[07:16] <Minerva‘Linden> including Positron turrets, Heavy railguns and missile banks."-
[07:16] <Minerva`Linden> "There is also a good chance that General Caine will keep a few Solaces or T-RIDEN-T units in reserve."-
[07:17] <Minerva`Linden> ["Thank you." Marianne turned to Zhang. "Because of this, once the generator is down, your next objective should be taking out its larger static weapons such as the Positron turrets, then the Railguns, then the missiles. After that, disabling the Independence by destroying its engines will deliver the deathblow."]
[07:21] * ZackNotSleep is now known as ZackSleep
[07:21] <Yanmei> "I see. Thank you," she murmured.
[07:22] * Aline raised her hand, actually. "There had been something bothering me, that I’d like to ask about? The… prior N2 assault on the Independance lead General Caine-" Aline had some trouble referring to him by that rank, still. "-to make a big proclamation about using conventional nuclear weapons on Europe. Is that actually… any concern, or was that just bluster?"
[07:23] <Minerva‘Linden> [Marianne turned to Linden.-
[07:24] <Minerva`Linden> "Um… Yes and no." Said Minerva. "He definitely does have the capability, but for obvious safety reasons the Independence crew don’t keep the missiles fully operational until the order filters down. All up, you should have a little over two to five minutes to disable the nuclear launchers."
[07:25] * Aline nodded. "Ah, so they're onboard… I see. Thanks."
[07:27] * Minerva‘Linden nodded.-
[07:27] <Minerva`Linden> ["Any other questions?"]
[07:29] * Yanmei shook her head, for her part.
[07:30] * Aline likewise was now silent.
[07:30] * Sept sat still, arms still crossed, staring at Marianne.
[07:31] <Minerva`Linden> [Rei lifted her hand.-
[07:31] <Minerva`Linden> ["What is it, Rei?"-
[07:32] <Minerva`Linden> ["San, Juu and I. What are our roles?"-
[07:32] <Minerva`Linden> ["Geofront reserve, in case of an Angel attack."-
[07:32] <Minerva`Linden> [Rei nodded.-
[07:32] <Minerva`Linden> ["Alright then. One last thing." She turned to Harken.-
[07:32] <Minerva`Linden> ["De Pteres, we’ve finally been able to install those grappling slash-hooks onto EVA-01's main chassis. Use them in good health for me."]
[07:34] * Sept finally broke his serious expression and grinned. "I'm sure Silas will appreciate them."
[07:35] <Minerva‘Linden> [Harken grinned in return. "I bloody well hope so. Engrave my name onto his toy boat."-
[07:38] <Minerva`Linden> [Marianne nodded. "Dismissed. We’re holding a special lunch in the Officer's cafeteria for you all to meet and mingle if you so choose. I'm sure some of you will enjoy seeing each other again after such a long time apart."]
[07:44] <Sept> "Very well." Sera nodded to Aline and Yanmei. "Go ahead, I'll be there in a moment." He took out that notebook again, and began scrawling something in it.
[07:45] <Aline> "If you say so, Sera…" Aline said semi-distantly. Nonetheless, she got up and began to head off towards the cafeteria!
[07:46] * Yanmei brightened a little at that, and began to rise. A party! "Thank you, Colonel. Captain Harken. President Linden." A glance at Sera, but she didn't pay much mind, hurrying over to Team Asuka for the moment.
[07:47] <Yanmei> ^Major Harken
[07:50] <Minerva‘Linden> [The Ayanamis outside of Team Asuka- along with Natasha- mingled for a moment within the briefing room, talking. As such, Aline would be first to arrive in said cafeteria, which was mostly empty except for the tables of finger food and pizza…]
[07:50] <Minerva`Linden> [Asuka stood up, stretching her arms above her head before turning to Yanmei. "O-ho. Look who’s come to worship at the feet of Asuka the Great~"]
[07:53] * Aline was more than a bit intrigued by the pizza, saying aloud to herself… "Hm-hm, don't mind if I do~" before grabbing a plate, angling for a few slices of pizza. Meaty ones, because she had no shame.
[07:54] <Yanmei> "If you say so?" Yanmei tossed her hair. "I just came to see what this clothes coordination business was about. Although I have the feeling I already know…"
[07:56] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Hmph. You’re looking at Asuka and the Soryu Squadron, the single most elite Evangelion wing in the entire UN!" She tossed her own hair.]
[07:59] * Sept , meanwhile, was finished with his notes again and approached the cluster of Ayanami, bag over his shoulder. "Hi."
[07:59] <Minerva‘Linden> [They turned, the tide of Japanese receding.-
[08:00] <Minerva`Linden> ["Hello, Sera-kun." Said Rei.]
[08:00] <Yanmei> "So elite that you can waltz into an important briefing late without a care in the world? My, that -is- impressive"
[08:01] <Raphael> … A figure rounds the corner of the cafeteria entryway right in Aline’s line of sight, only to take in the almost-empty room and its main occupant and freeze.-
[08:01] <Sept> "How've you been?"
[08:01] <Raphael> Seeing "Shinji" dressed with Raphael's typical military neatness was an odd sight, but he was doing his best to make it work. He'd even managed to make his hair a little less… well, ‘scruffy'.
[08:02] <Minerva‘Linden> ["I’ve been good, Sera-kun. Have you been well?"-
[08:03] <Minerva‘Linden> [Asuka smiles, clearly self-satisfied. "Go, do our thing."-
[08:03] <Minerva`Linden> ["… D-Do I have to, Asuka-sama?"-
[08:03] <Minerva`Linden> ["Yes."-
[08:04] <Minerva`Linden> ["Uu…" Go stood up, and said, in a flat monotone of despair, "Tremble, mortal, because you stand within the aura and shadow of the great and mighty Asuka Langley-Soryu, devastator of armies, ruler of all she surveys."]
[08:05] * Aline was actually in mid-pizza-bite when she saw him arrive, "Wff hlo thrff." Any attempt at a surprised tone completely broke down amidst the talking-through-her-pizza stunt. A quick swallow later. "…At least you’re managing to look different. I half-considered suggesting you get a scar, but that'd probably just be more psych-ward fodder."
[08:05] <Sept> "I've been better. Not sure if I'd call it 'well'. I've been better."
[08:06] <Minerva‘Linden> ["T… T-That’s good." Added Natasha, who simply could not hide herself, not when she was so much taller than the Ayanamis.-
[08:07] <Minerva‘Linden> [Rei nodded happily. "Better is still good. Everyone will be wishing you well, Sera-kun, so please do your best."]
[08:07] * Raphael manages a weak chuckle and glances around the room as if concerned about who might see them speaking before he finally approaches. "Scars are easy enough, ma’am. It took a very particular set of changes to trigger a reaction like that from me."
[08:10] <Aline> "Mm." A bite, in part to chew on her thoughts as well as her pizza. "Given those changes, I'm not surprised. Though I guess a scar would probably do very little to ruin the 'effect'. So would other measures to change your appearance, like…" A weird smirk. "God forbid, growing out your hair. You'd become a regular bishounen."
[08:10] <Sept> "With..? Ah, the operation. Thank you, Rei." Sera adjusted the strap of his bag.
[08:11] * Yanmei felt the urge to avert her eyes from Go's clear humiliation, only half-following through with it. "Don't tell me you guys go through this routine at every social gathering…"
[08:12] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Yes." Mumbled Go.-
[08:12] <Minerva`Linden> ["It’s character building." Said Asuka.-
[08:15] <Minerva‘Linden> [Ayanami San was peering at Sera closely. A little too closely, in fact. She reached into her uniform and brought out a notepad, writing without looking.-
[08:15] <Minerva`Linden> ["I think it’s time we should head to that party." Said Rei. "Are you coming along, Sera-kun?"]
[08:15] <Raphael> "… Bishounen?" He asks slowly, finally glancing up from his busywork at the food table to meet her gaze and instantly regretting it. Still, his eyes really were quite something…
[08:18] * Sept hesitated. "I… yeah, I'll come with you."
[08:19] * Aline found herself staring, unwittingly. She almost mouthed something, before managing to avert her eyes. "That gets dangerous. Let's hope other people come in soon." A pause, as she shifted her little plate in her hands. "Long-story-short, a bishounen is a /specific/ kind of long-haired prettyboy. Well, usually long-haired. It'd just make your 'effect' worse." That seems to be what
[08:19] * Aline she's calling his special charms now…
[08:19] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Unless you would rather be someplace else." Offered Ayanami San. "You have a history of aversion to crowds."]
[08:20] * Yanmei shot Go a sympathetic look. "In what sense, I wonder? Well… hopefully there haven’t been that many social events?"
[08:22] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Every week, Asuka-sama takes us out to meet others." Said Hachi, standing up and folding her arms. "We are as goddesses."-
[08:22] <Minerva`Linden> ["I don’t -want- to a goddess." Mumbled Go.]
[08:23] <Sept> "That's right, but aren't times like these important? My discomfort shouldn't be in the way of that."
[08:25] <Raphael> "… O-oh." For what little it was worth, the brief moment of eye contact seemed to have had a pretty strong effect on Raphael as well, and he lets out a little sigh as she breaks it and hurriedly returns his gaze to the table. It -was- a relieved sigh… wasn't it? "Yes, ma'am. I doubt that would help matters."
[08:27] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Attempting to overcome your aversion. Admirable." Said San approvingly.-
[08:28] <Minerva`Linden> ["San-oneechan, don’t analyse Sera-kun. It's rude." Rei patted her on the shoulder. "Come on." She started to head off, gently pulling San along with her- the other Ayanamis filtered out after her (at least, the ones not wearing leather outfits). Natasha stared at Sera, let out a meep, and ran off.]
[08:28] * Yanmei rubbed her forehead, glancing at the other Ayanami. "And you're really into it, huh? And here I was, wondering why I hadn't heard of any attempted mutinies on the Germany squad yet."
[08:29] * Aline was, for her part, edging a bit further away, looking at her pizza intently. So damn intently that the individual curves and bumps on the sausage bits on her pizza could be identified, catalogued, and - CHOMP - digested. By the time she finished her first slice, Aline was over by one of the walls, staring at /that/. "This is ridiculous."
[08:29] * Sept followed along wordlessly, still fiddling with the strap as he did.
[08:32] <Raphael> "It certainly is." Raphael mumbled, who, for his part, was keeping rather close to the table. It almost seemed as though he was using it as a barrier between them. "I'm just going to, uh…" And then his phone is out, and he's texting hurriedly.
[08:34] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Give us time." Said Asuka, smirking. She punched Yanmei in the arm. "What’re you up to anyway?"-
[08:34] <Minerva‘Linden> [And so Rei, her sisters, and Sera hurried along. Rei beeped at one point- and withdrew a phone, stared at it, and wordlessly started walking faster.-
[08:35] <Minerva`Linden> [A few minutes later, they’d emerge, en masse, adding a rainbow of colour to the room. Like a pizza-devouring SWAT team they dispersed…-
[08:35] <Minerva‘Linden> [All except one, who headed over towards Raphael at top speed. "Raffy-kun!"]
[08:36] * Aline tuuuuurned her face to see Rei arriving, and had this look of abject relief on her face. But she said very little.
[08:39] <Raphael> "Rei!" He called, and beyond the normal warmth that came into his voice any time he spoke to (Or about) Rei, there was a definite hint of relief there. "It’s so good to see you on your feet."
[08:39] <Yanmei> "Me? Same old." She rubbed her arm. "…the last pilot selection hearing didn't turn out so well for me, you know."
[08:43] <Minerva‘Linden> [Aline would soon be approached by one of the Ayanamis- the brown-haired Kyuu. "L… Leenie-chan…"-
[08:44] <Minerva`Linden> ["I heard." Said Asuka. But she grinned. "Cheer up. I hear he proved himself to be a surprisingly good pilot for such a frail little boy~"-
[08:46] * Sept headed for the nearest snack table as well, pondering his most recent failures while chewing on a croissant
[08:46] * Sept .
[08:46] <Minerva`Linden> [Rei hugged Raphael tight. "It feels good to be walking again, Raffy-kun." She reached down and whacked her knee. "Good as new~"-
[08:48] <Minerva`Linden> ["It is a pity," Said a cool voice at Sera’s shoulder. "That they neglected to lay out any place where one might sit to eat properly, with utensils." There was the flutter of too much lace.]
[08:49] <Sept> "Mmh." Chew, chew. "Wait. Sorry?" Sera turned around.
[08:49] * Aline looked a bit surprised to be approached, and had wide eyes as she responded. "Y… yes?"
[08:50] * Raphael 's hug is… a little more careful, but just as warm. "I'm glad, sweetheart." He says, and for a moment his gaze seems to slide towards Aline of its own volition before he reefs it back. "… S-so. How's Ban-Ban?"
[08:51] <Minerva‘Linden> [Kyuu clapped her hands together and beamed. "How are you? Have you spoken to Onii-chan recently?"-
[08:52] <Minerva`Linden> [Chiisana was about half a metre from Sera, a slice of pizza floating in the air between them. "Must I repeat myself? I said, there is no place for a lady to sit down and eat a proper meal in the style that such a meal should be eaten!"-
[08:53] <Minerva`Linden> ["Ban-Ban is alright, Raffy-kun. Staying at home with Al-chan. They’re reading a lot of books together, because Ban-Ban can't walk yet. He has to get around in a wheelchair, and it's very uncomfortable for him." Said Rei sadly. But she brightened. "But his words are getting so much better, Raffy-kun! The other day he read a poem."]
[08:53] <Yanmei> "That's not exactly the point? They played dirty with the whole thing," Yanmei muttered, a hint of sourness forming. "I didn't even have time to build our defenses against the Committee."
[08:54] <Raphael> "… A poem?" Raphael says, unable to keep the doubt out of his voice.
[08:56] <Minerva‘Linden> ["So?" Asuka shrugged, throwing an arm around Yanmei and starting to ’guide' her towards the door. "That means it's obviously not your fault, so you should just work on beating them later."-
[08:56] * Sept was a bit taken aback by the association of such an attitude with an Ayanami. Or maybe it was just the floating snack. "But it's… pizza. Pizza isn't eaten with utensils."
[08:59] * Aline smiled softly, but… couldn't hold it too well, as it quickly degenerated into pure nerves hiding behind a smile-like mask. "He's doing okay, but I've been putting off the call a bit because of… the uh… awkward thing." A crane of the head towards Raphael. "Don't look too closely at him, he's got this… 'effect' that makes him hard to resist. And it's my fault. You… could
[08:59] * Aline imagine why I'm having trouble getting up the courage, because I have to somehow tell him about this."
[09:00] <Minerva‘Linden> ["That’s right!" Said Rei, beaming with pride. "It was so good, Raffy-kun. he said it to Al-chan. 'O Captain~ My Captain~'"-
[09:01] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Hm?" Kyuu turned to look at Raphael.-
[09:01] <Minerva`Linden> [Then back at Aline. "That’s Raphael Guillory, right? Why does he look like Onii-chan?"-
[09:02] <Minerva‘Linden> ["I am aware." The pizza sliced itself into a handful of cubes, which Chiisana began to eat one at a time. "I am simply bemoaning the lack of a bowl of well-cooked, elegantly-prepared noodles, with a pair of chopsticks and a chair."]
[09:05] <Aline> "It’s a long story." Aline began. "One that involves the Nineteenth Angel, Ikari Gendo, AT Fields, and The Memory learning how to make lewd jokes. Do you think you have time for it?"
[09:05] <Minerva‘Linden> [Kyuu blinked.-
[09:05] * Raphael stares for a few moments before letting out a long laugh. "… A fine choice, actually."
[09:05] <Minerva`Linden> ["… Do tell, Leenie-chan, but nothing too…" She coughed. "… Naughty."-
[09:05] <Yanmei> "I don’t know if there will be a next time? But that might be fortunate or unfortunate." Yanmei let herself be guided without complaints.
[09:06] * Sept shouted in alarm, suddenly. "You can't say that while you cut it up! You have to eat it properly, stop it!"
[09:07] <Minerva‘Linden> ["What?" Chiisana paused, staring at Sera. "Cease your blithering and explain yourself."-
[09:08] <Minerva`Linden> ["Just make the most of it for now…" Said Asuka, trailing off as something caught her eye.-
[09:08] <Minerva`Linden> [She reached down suddenly, pulling up Yanmei’s hand- her ring glimmered. "What. What is this."]
[09:08] <Yanmei> "Engagement ring."
[09:09] <Minerva‘Linden> ["…" Asuka stared at it closer, her eyes glowing with surprise, shock, and a bit of envy, too. "No way. You mean- that little boy bought you -this-?!"]
[09:10] <Yanmei> "Why so surprised? He’s seriously loaded, you know." Yanmei gazed down at it too. "I was more surprised at the proposal itself."
[09:10] * Aline nodded. "Oh, the naughty thing was more just… the weirder part. To me, anyway. But…" She cleared her throat. "Apparently, I don't know if you heard, but the Nineteenth Angel came up with these strange attacks, that transform people. And it loved to make it poetic - Flowers growing from arms, puppet strings made out of your own flesh, that sort of thing." Aline sounded distinctly
[09:10] * Aline uncomfortable at the second one. "But Raphael got something particularly bad. I don't know the psychology behind it, but he became a copy of… well, Gendo. But with these weird coins all over his body that had faces on them - including yours and all your sisters', from what I read - and poor motor skills." She paused for a breath.
[09:12] <Minerva‘Linden> [Rei chuckled. "Yes, I thought so too. Al-chan was a little less sure." She beamed. "Oh, Raffy-kun! Al-chan’s being promoted!"-
[09:13] <Minerva‘Linden> [Kyuu tilted her head to one side. "Weird."-
[09:13] <Minerva`Linden> ["Eh…" Asuka frowned. "So go on, then. Tell me about it."]
[09:14] <Sept> "You have to bite it off yourself, it isn’t worth it otherwise! You can hold it however you want, but you have to start in the middle so it has the right consistency and you end up with the crust, here, look…" Sera wasn't particularly hungry, but the situation was dire. He grabbed a slice of pizza for himself and began eating it properly, like a human being.
[09:15] * Raphael 's eyes widened, and he begins to grin. "To Major? That's fantastic, Rei. He deserves it."
[09:18] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Are you sure eating it in your manner will not look undignified when undertaken by a lady such as myself?" Asked Chiisana dubiously, another slice of pizza floating into the air- whole this time.-
[09:19] <Minerva`Linden> ["Yeah, he really does." Rei giggled, blushing slightly. "He’s going to look so very handsome in his Major's uniform~"]
[09:19] <Yanmei> "It was right after that last battle in Boston. He'd bought it before somehow, and brought it with him, even though he didn't have much time to do it in. For me, it came out of nowhere."
[09:20] <Aline> "Tell me about it. So we were going to try to fix it with AT… surgery, of sorts. Actually more like molding. I was the one doing it, and it went well for a little bit, but… I don't quite know what happened, but The Memory had to do a small override because I couldn't lock onto Raphael's real form. Apparently, the only body I uh, knew… er-" She was blushing profusely. "-you know, /knew/
[09:20] <Aline> other than my own, was his. So now Mr. Guillory is apparently stuck in a body that, well, /looks/ like Shinji, but is actually based on how I /feel/ about him. It… changed his emotions a bit too. Either way, I apparently uh, accidentally gave him this weird 'effect' that makes him really hard not to look at and adore and stuff. The /real/ Shinji is the one that deserves that from me, and
[09:20] <Aline> it's apparently been messing up Raphael's life too."
[09:20] <Raphael> "… Mmm." Raphael mutters, giving her an amused look.
[09:22] <Sept> "Wouldn't holding it up without hands be dignified enough? Please, just don't…"
[09:22] <Minerva‘Linden> ["He will!" Says Rei heatedly. "Raffy-kun, he’s going to grow out his hair a little longer too so he looks the part." She clasped her hands together gleefully, swaying a little side to side.-
[09:24] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Hmm." Kyuu looked over at Raphael curiously. "Well, I know he’s not Onii-chan, so he just looks a little strange to me." She turned back towards Aline and smiled. "But Onii-chan won't get mad or upset! He won't!"-
[09:25] <Raphael> "…" Raphael looks at her suspiciously, this 'bishounen' knowledge still fresh in his mind. "Was that his idea or yours?"
[09:25] <Minerva‘Linden> ["How… How romantic." Said Asuka. "Urrrrrrgh. Damn that Isaiah!" She released Yanmei now, her shoulders shaking. "He’s- urgh. When did he become so… So…"-
[09:25] <Minerva‘Linden> [She slid over towards Yanmei seemingly without steps. "… Active?"-
[09:28] <Minerva`Linden> [Chiisana gave Sera a doubtful look, then… Took a bite. Normally. Chewed. Swallowed. "I see. The texture does respond somewhat differently…"-
[09:29] <Minerva`Linden> ["Um…" Rei blushed happily. "It was my idea, Raffy-kun. I can’t help it, he just looks so… So…" She paused, thinking. "Yummy."]
[09:30] * Aline slowly, haltingly nodded. "I hope so. I guess he'll learn all about it even more when him and Raphael talk. That… that'll probably feel strange, talking to someone who…" Aline suddenly let her glance slip off of Kyuu. "…Looks just…" Around the room. "…Like you."
[09:31] * Yanmei blinked. And then smirked. "What's up? Doesn't Alexandre surprise you with things like that? It's a recent development for Isaiah, but for someone as seemingly bold as him, it should be different, right~?"
[09:33] * Raphael 's stares widens a few millimetres beyond anything that could possibly be comfortable. "… Rei, honey, I love you but please never… uh…" Cough. Cough cough. "So, how are your sisters?"
[09:36] <Sept> "Thank you. It's nice of you to understand." Sera breathed a sigh of relief and began work on finishing his example slice.
[09:38] <Raphael> * Raphael 's stares widens a few millimetres beyond anything that could possibly be comfortable. "… Rei, honey, I love you but please never… uh… That particular context is…" Cough. Cough cough. "So, I heard you spoke with President Linden?"
[09:40] <Minerva‘Linden> ["I think it’ll be fun." Said Kyuu. "They'll probably become friends over it!"-
[09:42] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Urrrrrrgh." Asuka glowered at Yanmei. "Don’t… Don't you think you've won this or anything, Zhang Dummkopf! I'll show you! I'll come back with -ten- rings and-" She grabs Yanmei's collar. "You had better make me your maid of honour…"-
[09:46] <Minerva‘Linden> [Chiisana slowly consumed the rest of her pizza. "You have done me a service in enlightening me on this facet of etiquette. Perhaps you would care to engage in one of my hobbies?"-
[09:48] <Minerva`Linden> [Rei tilted her head at Raphael, then nodded, beaming. "I did! She’s very friendly."]
[09:48] <Sept> "…hobbies?" Sera asked, with no small amount of suspicion.
[09:49] * Aline tugged at her collar a bit, though she seemed glad to have missed some of the awkwardness boat. Nonetheless, she zeroed her eyes back in on Kyuu, lest they stray into the DANGER ZONE. "I sure hope so. But you're probably right, aheh." She even scratched the back of her head briefly. "So uh… how have /you/ been, lately?"
[09:50] <Minerva‘Linden> ["I’ve been good, Leenie-chan! I made a friend-" Kyuu looks around.-
[09:50] <Minerva‘Linden> ["…" She pouts. "Where did Natacchin go…?"-
[09:51] <Yanmei> "If I do, will I have to include the rest of your team in the wedding party? Wearing matching bridesmade gowns should be no problem for you~"
[09:52] <Minerva`Linden> ["Indeed." Said Chiisana solemnly. She held out a ladylike hand to Sera.-
[09:52] <Minerva`Linden> ["If you must." Said Asuka loftily… Before she eyed Yanmei. "Oh. Oh. I get it."]
[09:55] <Raphael> "Good, good…" Raphael nods, realizing that he may have fallen into this topic out of desperation without really considering where he was planning to take it. "So what did you two talk about?"
[09:55] <Yanmei> "Hm?" Yanmei was grinning now.
[09:56] * Aline shook her head. "Oh… her? She’s… afraid of some people. Like /any/ of the
[09:56] <Aline> *** Aline shook her head. "Oh… her? She's… afraid of some people. Like /any/ of the Parisian pilots, for example. She's probably hiding somewhere…"
[09:57] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Will you help me look for her…?" Asked Kyuu.-
[09:57] <Minerva`Linden> ["We talked about a lot of things, Raffy-kun." Said Rei. "About the battle, about me, about her and her dad, and we talked a lot about Al-chan." She giggled.-
[09:58] <Minerva`Linden> [Asuka, meanwhile, started poking Yanmei furiously in the stomach. "I get why he did it now~"]
[09:58] <Sept> Sera looked for a straw to grasp at. Someone had to be looking for him. Some urgent business. Not like this. He hadn’t even had time to tell Rei, tell anyone..!-
[09:58] <Sept> Sera took her hand.
[09:59] <Minerva‘Linden> [But the miracle never happened.-
[10:00] <Minerva`Linden> [Chiisana’s grasp was a lot stronger than it looked, and she practically flung him out into the open patch of cafeteria, fastidiously placing his free hand on her hip. "And now we dance. You must lead."]
[10:00] * Aline clasped her hands together firmly. "Yeah, I wouldn't mind doing that at all. Two people should be muuuch better for finding someone, eh?"
[10:01] * Raphael nods slowly, and has his mouth open to reply… and doesn shut it again.
[10:01] <Yanmei> "Ugh!" Yanmei tried guarding her stomach with her hands, unsuccessfully. "W-what? What are you on about?"
[10:03] * Raphael nods slowly, and has his mouth open to reply… and doesn't get a chance to shut it again. He's staring at something over Rei's shoulder. "… Is that Pilot Shi? And Pilot de Pteres?"
[10:09] <Sept> "Do wh- ah." Sera was caught off guard, though, and before he could quite think it through, some part of him had placed his free hand on her back, shattering any hope of turning away.
[10:18] <Minerva‘Linden> [Kyuu nodded, and grabbed Aline’s hand, pulling her over to the food tables, oblivious to Chiisana's dancing. She looked under the tables.-
[10:18] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Not here." She turned to Aline. "We should look in the corridors!"-
[10:19] <Minerva`Linden> ["You know what I mean~" Asuka made a maliciously gleeful face. "I imagine Director Zhang is going to have a surprise in… Ooh, nine months?"-
[10:20] <Minerva`Linden> ["Hm?" Rei looked around. Stared.-
[10:22] <Yanmei> "What?!" Yanmei reddened. "No way! We’ve been way careful and…" she relized how loud her voice was, and shook her head frantically. "What are you making me say out loud?!"
[10:23] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Oh, Chiichin, not again." Murmured Rei sadly. "That’s how you broke the Prince of Dubai's heart…"-
[10:23] <Minerva‘Linden> [Ayanami Go let out a little giggle. Then blushed deep red and hid her face.-
[10:24] <Minerva`Linden> [Yanmei, it would seem, had awful timing. When she’d said goodbye to the commanders, she'd missed one.-
[10:24] <Minerva‘Linden> ["What’s ~this~ I hear, Zhang~?" Chirped Misato Katsuragi, grinning gleefully like a 5'4 gossipy bat out of hell.]
[10:25] <Raphael> "… Should we do something?" Raphael asked, looking genuinely concerned for the boy's safety.
[10:26] * Aline nodded, though she surreptitiously took another plate of pizza. "Right, we probably should look further out! And I'll bring a peace offering~" Now /this/ she could get into.
[10:26] <Minerva‘Linden> [Chiisana, meanwhile, began to… Well, dance. She was nothing if not graceful. "You have a dancer’s body and a dancer's feet, Sera de Pteres. Unleash your inner swan!"]
[10:29] <Minerva‘Linden> [And so Aline and Kyuu passed out into the hallway… "Natacchiiiiiiiin." Called Kyuu. "Natacchiiiin!"-
[10:29] <Minerva`Linden> [A brown-haired head peeked out from a nearby corner. Then quickly vanished with a squeak.-
[10:30] <Yanmei> "K-Katsuragi…" Yanmei glared at Asuka a moment, before turning back to her. "Shouldn’t you be at the party?"
[10:30] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Raffy-kun, I think it’s safer for all involved if we don't try to interrupt Chiicchin's fun." Said Rei seriously.-
[10:31] <Minerva‘Linden> ["I had to take care of a few things." Misato leaned over and winked salaciously. "I’d ask you why you aren't at the party, but it seems like you've been making your own fun recently~"]
[10:33] <Sept> Slowly, Sera closed his eyes and let the flow take him. He held Chiisana a little more tightly.
[10:33] * Aline whined a little, the plaintative noise clear in the corridors. "Aw, come on… I brought pizza! I grabbed cheese just in case there was an ingredient you hated!"
[10:35] <Yanmei> "I have -no- idea what you're talking about and don't listen to Asuka because she's making stuff up. So. How do you feel about the upcomming battle."
[10:35] * Raphael scratches his cheek, although he does seem a little less worried now that he's fairly sure Sept isn't being held against his will. "… If you're sure, Rei."
[10:36] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Oh, it should be alright. Just in and out, right?" Misato beamed. "So long as we keep our protection on, everything should go fine." She gives Asuka a wink, which is promptly returned.-
[10:36] <Minerva`Linden> ["So you might have a bit of a problem, Yanmei." Crowed Asuka exultantly.-
[10:37] <Minerva`Linden> ["See? He’s even enjoying it." Said Rei happily. "… Although, that doesn't necessarily mean… But there's no other boys here, so it…" She shoots Raphael a dubious look. "Raffy-kun, please don't look directly at Chiicchin."-
[10:37] <Minerva‘Linden> [Natasha peered out again, slowly. "You… Brought me pizza? For me?" She asked timidly.-
[10:40] <Raphael> "Don’t what…?" Raphael asks, frowning slightly as he looks away from the dancing. "Why not, hon?"
[10:40] <Minerva‘Linden> [Chiisana leaned into his hold, granting him a little more trust, a little more confidence. "You have the proper spirit, Sera. Are you ready to become the Prince of yore?"-
[10:40] <Minerva`Linden> ["After what happened in Dubai, we don’t want to take any chances." Says Rei carefully.]
[10:42] * Aline nodded, holding out the plate experimentally. "Yeah. You weren't getting any, so I figured while I was helping out finding you, I'd bring some from the party."
[10:42] <Yanmei> "Y-you two…" Yanmei fumed, and turned away, huffing. "How immature! I thought I was in the presence of people who didn't have such dirty minds, but clearly I was wrong."
[10:43] * Sept laughed quietly. "I can do that, Viviane."
[10:44] * Raphael 's frown deepens, and he turns back to the "What -did- happen? Juu mentioned that she broke a Prince's heart, but that was all…"
[10:44] <Raphael> «to the table for a snack.*»
[10:50] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Awww~" Misato follows, putting an arm around Yanmei’s shoulder. "I don't mean anything by it~ I'm just glad, that's all."-
[10:51] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Is…" Natasha meekly emerged, and headed over to them. "Is it ok to go in there?"-
[10:52] <Minerva`Linden> [… And suddenly it’s all over for Sera.-
[10:52] <Minerva‘Linden> [The twinkly lights he sees vanish, the music stops, and where he was once holding a svelte young lady he is now holding air.-
[10:53] <Minerva`Linden> ["Hmph!" Chiisana folds her arms, staring tempestuously down her nose at Sera. "How -dare- you, sir. How -dare- you. This is the -end-." She turns on her heel and stalks out furiously.-
[10:53] <Minerva`Linden> ["I think you upset her." Chimes in San helpfully.-
[10:54] <Yanmei> "I’ll forgive this time." Yanmei flipped her hair. "I won't even make any cracks about you and wonderboy Guillory."
[10:55] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Oh, Chiicchiin." Rei shakes her head, then turns to Raphael. "She made friends with the Prince of Dubai. But she really doesn’t seem to realise that boys… Go a little silly if they spend too much time around her. The Prince saw her dancing with someone else and he broke down in tears, and then tried to punch her partner. it was all downhill from there."-
[10:56] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Hmph." Misato shoots Yanmei a dark look. "Fair enough, fair enough~ Come on, we should be getting to the party. I’m -starving-."]
[10:57] * Aline extended the pizza plate gingerly. "I don't know what you count as okay, really? But it's not like there's lots of destruction or jeering or whatever going on…"
[10:57] <Sept> The smile faded quickly, turning into a serious, hard look as Sera caught himself before losing his balance entirely. "-I- think she'll learn her lesson eventually." Sera recovered his bag, slung it over his shoulder and walked out in the opposite direction.
[10:58] <Raphael> "They… go silly around her?" The scene on the 'dancefloor' - and his pity for Sept - is rapidly forgotten as he turns around to look at Rei with his full attention. "Moreso than the rest of you? How do you mean?"
[11:00] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Well, I guess that’s… Alright." Natasha carefully took the plate. "Thank you."-
[11:02] <Yanmei> "Oh, right. I guess we should get going?" Yanmei nodded to them both, and to the other Soryus, if they were still present, and turned cheerfully. "Let's go~"
[11:04] <Minerva‘Linden> [Rei tilted her head at Raphael. "It’s like… I don't know how to put it, Raffy-kun…" Rei frowned seriously. "It's like love at first sight, I would put it, like a fairy tale. They see her and fall in love." She watched Sera stalk off. "… Well, perhaps more like… 'Really like' at first sight, and the longer they spend with her the stronger it gets."-
[11:04] * Sept knocked the door open slightly forcefully and walked in on the Natasha-baiting scene, stopping with a face caught somewhere between irritation and surprise. He said nothing.
[11:04] <Minerva‘Linden> [And thus, Yanmei, Asuka, Misato and the Soryus headed out- via a different route than Aline, as Misato needed to fetch an icebox.-
[11:05] * Aline graciously released her grasp, and smiled. "Ah, don’t you worry. I'll keep them off you if you /are/ that worried, isn't that right?" A glance at Kyuu.
[11:06] <Minerva‘Linden> [And thus it was that Yanmei and her band would soon find themselves in a corridor, a short-tempered tempest of bad mood and lace heading towards them.-
[11:06] <Minerva`Linden> ["Right." Said Kyuu firmly. "…Natacchin?"-
[11:06] <Minerva`Linden> [But Natasha was staring at Sera with a clear deer-in-the-headlights look. she froze. He couldn’t see her if she didn't move.]
[11:07] <Raphael> "…" Raphael stares at her in stunned silence for a few moments, and then carefully sets the snacks on the table and leans over to give Rei a hurried kiss on the head. "I've got to go, sweetheart. I'll explain everything later, alright?"
[11:08] <Minerva‘Linden> ["O-Oh. Alright, Raffy-kun…!"-
[11:08] <Minerva`Linden> ["I have something important to tell you when you get back, so please don’t be too long!"]
[11:09] <Raphael> "Thanks, kiddo!"
[11:09] * Raphael gives her a greatful smile and then sets off after Chiisana as fast as he can manage without moving into a run.
[11:09] * Aline peeeeered at Sera, looking at him with a sort of 'move along' kind of dull look on her face. Even knocking her head off away from Natasha to prove the gesture.
[11:11] * Sept stared back. "Hi?" He said to the group tentatively, his voice slightly strained still.
[11:13] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Hi." Said Natasha. She coughed. She held out her plate of pizza to Sera. "Um. Pizza. I-I mean it’s not a croissant I know you like croissants and it's not curry either but it's just pizza and it's all I have so please don't be upset-!"]
[11:14] * Aline attempted in wild gestures to convey a message. A hand over towards Natasha, a little wavy thing with another, a sort of mock-cowering gesture, then another wavy thing, this time directed towards him.
[11:19] <Sept> "U-up..? No! What?" Sera took hold of her hands and plate and pushed the offering back. He looked much more worried than anything else, now. "Why would I be upset with you, Natasha? Aline, stop that. Talk to me, Natasha."
[11:20] * Aline looked a bit sheepish. "Sorry."
[11:21] <Yanmei> "Hm?" Oh, it was the haughty Ayanami, beelining straight for them, a sour look on her face. Yanmei knew that she shouldn't. She did it anyway, raising a hand in greeting. "Hi~ The party's in the other direction?"
[11:24] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Eek!" Natasha shrank back, but couldn’t- her hands were held! "I-I-I-I d-don't know!"-
[11:25] <Minerva‘Linden> ["…" Chiisana stopped.-
[11:25] <Minerva`Linden> [She stared at Yanmei. "I am well aware! I just came from that party, from that boorish oaf de Pteres. Do not think to lecture me on where and when such social events are! I- I know what I’m doing!"-
[11:26] <Minerva‘Linden> [And this was the scene that Raphael saw as he emerged out into the hallway. Misato, Asuka and the Soryus, Yanmei, and an angry and upset Chiisana.]
[11:27] * Aline frowned. "He doesn’t really mean you any harm… I can't think of a reason, actually. So there musn't be one, eh?~"
[11:30] <Minerva‘Linden> ["He probably just really likes you, Natacchin!"]
[11:30] <Sept> "Aline?" And realisation dawned on him. He let go of her hands, steadying the plate to make sure she didn’t drop it or something. Desperate measures… Sera stashed his glasses away in a pocket and looked at the blob most resembling Natasha's head. "Look, I'm sorry, Natasha, I really didn't mean to…"
[11:32] <Minerva‘Linden> ["I… Um." Natasha stared down at the plate. "It’s- It's ok. I… Is… Aline, what's going on?"]
[11:33] <Yanmei> "De Pteres? What did he do?" Was it true that misery loved company? Because she was torn between trying to comfort the girl and exacerbating this situation for kicks and… oh, there was Guillory. It looked as if she would have to be mature. "Listen, he's not the best at parties. If he did something weird, I hope you'll forgive him?"
[11:34] <Minerva‘Linden> ["We- We were dancing, and he called me ’Viviane'!" Said Chiisana, clearly upset.-
[11:34] <Minerva‘Linden> [Meanwhile, Asuka’s eyes focused on Raphael.-
[11:34] <Minerva‘Linden> [Some girls, upon seeing New Raphael, would blush. Or otherwise look away.-
[11:34] * Aline frowned. "I’m not sure that's it, Sera… but uh…" She looked at Natasha. "I think he just realized how worried you are and was scared of offending you, and then thought maybe you were weirded out by his different appearance?"
[11:35] <Minerva‘Linden> [Asuka’s eyes narrowed. She stalked past Chiisana and a moment later she was, nose-to-nose, about an inch from Raphael. "You."-
[11:39] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Oh…" Natasha looked back at Sera, perplexed, then back at Kyuu and Aline. Finally she turned back to Sera. "Er… S-Sorry. I’m not weirded out, I-I just don't handle people well…"]
[11:40] * Raphael pauses, sizing up the situation - and the group involved - and finding it to be more than he had hoped to handle. Yanmei or Misato on their own would be bad enough, and he'd heard Pilot Langley-Soryu could be trouble. A tactical retreat, maybe…? But no, this was important.-
[11:40] <Raphael> … and indeed, he was ready to wade in when Asuka closed the gap. Thankfully, for all the weaknesses of this new body in social situations, response to conflict wasn't one of them. He held his ground, managing to keep eye contact without his head bursting into flames under the force of her stare. "Pilot Langley-Soryu?"
[11:42] <Yanmei> "Aw. Listen, okay?" She blinked as Asuka stepped past to… confront Raphael? Make a pass at him? Anyway, she refocused once again. "It's probably not on purpose. You know who 'Viviane' is, right?"
[11:43] <Sept> "Oh, I thought it was something he did… So it's alright if I..?" He rubbed his eyes a bit and put the glasses back on, blinking for a while. "Sorry, did I interrupt something, should I go? I wasn't looking where I was going."
[11:44] <Minerva‘Linden> ["You! You have the -nerve- to- urrrgh." Asuka seemed to grow in height as she got angrier. "You owe me an explanation, Ikari! How many times do I have to send you the offer, huh!? Fifteen offers to duel and not one response! What is it?! Am I not good enough for the ~oh so awesome~ Berserk Maiden of Tokyo-2?! You have a lot of balls to just ignore a duelling challenge from me! What the
[11:44] <Minerva`Linden> hell?!"-
[11:45] <Minerva`Linden> ["I do not know specifically." Said Chiisana.-
[11:46] <Minerva`Linden> ["Um." Natasha looks at Sera, then back at Aline. "Um, I want to join the party… C-Can we go back to that? Sera? Aline? Please?"]
[11:47] <Raphael> "… Ah." Raphael says, still calm and keeping eye contact. Showing fear would only encourage her. "We’ve got a bit of a misunderstanding on our hands, ma'am. I'm not actually Pilot Ikari. Major Katsuragi…?" Raphael says, peering over Asuka's shoulder in an attempt to catch Misato's eye.
[11:48] <Minerva‘Linden> ["That’s a -dumb- lie! You're-"-
[11:48] * Aline stared around, hearing… well, she didn't really notice /what/ was said, but it sounded loud. And Asuka-ian. Bad. "Y… yes. I think we should go back to the party. That'd be great, we can eat and we can talk and…"
[11:50] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Settle, Asuka." Says Misato. "Can you handle Chii for me, Yanmei?" And then she’s moving past over to Raphael and Asuka. "Listen, Asuka, do you know how the AT Field has the ability to reshape living organisms on a molecular level whilst still retaining the overall shape and organic nature of the being in question as well as preserving it's consciousness?"-
[11:50] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Well, of course I do?"-
[11:50] <Minerva`Linden> ["…" Asuka shot Yanmei a filthy look. "O-Of course I do! It’s basic stuff."-
[11:51] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Well, keep in mind that Angels have far greater AT control. One of them turned Captain Guillory into this form during a battle.-
[11:51] <Minerva`Linden> [Asuka turns back towards Raphael. "…" She peers at him curiously.-
[11:51] <Minerva`Linden> ["… -Huh-. For real?"-
[11:51] * Yanmei nodded to Misato, smirked at Asuka, and continued. "That’s the name of his old girlfriend, who was taken away by the LN and made to fight for them. With the coming battle, his mind's probably on her more than ever? So… it was likely a slip of the tongue. A dumb one, but understandable…"
[11:51] <Minerva‘Linden> ["For real!"-
[11:51] <Sept> "…yeah. We should do that. Let’s get back to the party."
[11:51] <Minerva‘Linden> ["That sucks."]
[11:54] <Minerva`Linden> ["…" Chiisana frowned in understanding. "… I understand. Well! I… Ahem. That is to say, I need a moment to compose myself. You may proceed."-
[11:54] <Raphael> "Yes ma’am, it certainly does suck." Raphael says calmly, still not retreating.
[11:55] <Minerva‘Linden> [Natasha nods rapidly at Sera and Aline, wordlessly popping a slice of pizza into her mouth as she waits for them to lead on.-
[11:56] <Minerva`Linden> ["In that case, you get off free." Says Asuka airily. "I have no time to duel with a T-RIDEN-T anyway~" She breezes past and down the corridor.]
[11:56] <Minerva`Linden> ["Sorry about that." Says Misato apologetically.]
[11:58] <Yanmei> "Of course, of course. Come back when you’re composed, okay?" Yanmei winked at her, and started off, after Asuka. She glanced at Raphael as she passed, her expression amused, but merely nodded in greeting.
[11:58] * Aline would gladly lead on, making broad gestures like she were leading a parade~
[11:59] <Raphael> "Not at all, Major." Raphael says with a small smile. "Please let her know that she's welcome to duel me during some of the time she's currently spending being ignored by Pilot Ikari."
[12:00] <Minerva‘Linden> ["I’ll be sure to let her know." Says Misato with a smile. "Are you heading back to the party, or…?" She glances at Chiisana, who is composing herself by sitting on what seems to be an invisible chair.-
[12:01] * Raphael does return Yanmei's nod, of course. "I've got a small matter to discuss with Pilot Shi before I head back. I'll see you there?"
[12:02] * Sept readjusted his bag once more, and followed the group back in, with a slightly more positive state of mind than last time.
[12:03] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Alright." Misato gives him a peck on the cheek as the Soryus pass, Go giving him a genuinely apologetic look as she goes. Misato follows them through.-
[12:03] <Minerva`Linden> [And thus as Yanmei, Asuka, Aline, Sera, Natasha and the two Soryus return to the party room, the first thing they hear is…-
[12:04] <Minerva`Linden> [A male voice. "And then, those wolves had no goddamn idea what happened to them, I tell you, I just -wham-! Punched one -right- in the goddamn face mid leap, and then I grabbed my knife and -whack-, stabbed the alpha male right in the knee…"-
[12:05] <Minerva`Linden> [A wheelchair-bound Edgar Chevalier sits in the middle of the room, preaching to a choir of Ayanamis, all listening intently- except for one. Ayanami Juu stands behind the wheelchair, looking slightly exasperated.]
[12:08] * Aline …stared a bit. She almost wanted to say something, but just… couldn’t muster the /ability/ to.
[12:08] * Raphael watches Misato leave, a slight colour in his cheeks from the kiss that he doesn't bother fighting. But it doesn't take too long for the group to disappear down the corridor and leave the Group Captain and Chiisana alone. Lacking his own invisible chair, Raphael is left to lean against the wall alongside the little princess and stare nonchalantly at the roof. He remains silent.
[12:08] * Raphael She could have her moment.
[12:10] <Sept> "…ah. Yeah. So he's about again."
[12:10] <Minerva‘Linden> [Chiisana was quiet for a few minutes more, before she finally looked up at Raphael. "Ah, Captain Guillory. Do you wish to speak with me?"-
[12:11] <Minerva`Linden> ["And then, you know, animals, they just hate smellin’ their own dead kind, right? So what I did was, I got my knife, and I cut off a wolf's head and carried it with me…"-
[12:12] <Minerva‘Linden> [Rei blanched.-
[12:12] <Minerva`Linden> [Ayanami Ni, however, nodded slowly. "A good idea. That gave you the ability to avoid any other marauders who might fear wolves as well on your return home."-
[12:12] <Minerva`Linden> ["See? See, Juu? She gets it."-
[12:13] <Minerva`Linden> ["Niiiiiiii." Whined Juu. "Don’t encourage him."]
[12:13] <Raphael> "If you don't mind, ma'am." Raphael said, with a small nod. "I just spoke with Rei, and it seems there's a small matter I could use your help with."
[12:14] * Aline sort of… paused again. opened her mouth, closed it, and then… peered over at Sera. "Ah, an old one… Story that is."
[12:15] * Yanmei rubbed the back of her neck. "This guy," she muttered to herself, and then eyed Asuka. Cheerfully, she pushed her forward. "Hey. Go say hi."
[12:15] <Minerva‘Linden> ["-You- go say hi."-
[12:16] <Minerva`Linden> [Chiisana nodded. "A lady should always help those in need of assistance."-
[12:16] <Sept> "It’s still a good one, though. Hey, Edgar!" Sera yelled. "I missed the beginning, do you think you could give me a recap?"
[12:16] <Minerva‘Linden> [Natasha, however, looked horrified. "That poor wolf…"-
[12:17] <Minerva`Linden> ["NO!" Juu shouted. "Please, no more! I’ve heard this story seventeen times, I do not need-"-
[12:17] <Minerva‘Linden> ["SO THERE I WAS!" Shouted Edgar, louder. "OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ALPS, STRIPPED DOWN TO MY UNDERWEAR…"]
[12:17] * Aline patted Natasha on the shoulder. VERY gently. "Question not the mad. They might answer."
[12:23] <Sept> "He’s having fun in his way, Natasha. You should do that, too. Isn't there something you'd like to show us, or talk about..?"
[12:26] * Yanmei groaned to herself. What had that Sera done? "Bet he leaves out the part when the Alpha Wolf gets adopted and comes to roam the cozy offices in NERV Medical for the next two years." She seemed a little down at that.
[12:28] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Um…"-
[12:28] <Minerva`Linden> [Kyuu grabbed Natasha’s arm. "You should tell them about the battle, Natacchin! About how you shot down all those Solaces with your gun!"-
[12:29] <Minerva‘Linden> [The Ayanamis swivelled to look at Natasha, as did Asuka and Edgar. Juu let out a sigh of relief.-
[12:29] <Minerva`Linden> [Natasha did not. She froze.]
[12:30] <Raphael> "Thank you, Miss Chiisana. It’s a slightly personal matter, I'm afraid, but I think you may be the only one who can help." Raphael said. "While we were talking in the cafeteria, Rei was telling me that you…" No… "… That is to say, she was saying that you have problems with…" … "…" Hmm. He probably should have considered how to phrase this.
[12:32] <Minerva‘Linden> ["You have permission to be candid, Captain."]
[12:35] * Aline gripped Natasha a bit harder. "I’ve got your back, okay?" She whispered.
[12:36] <Sept> "I'd like to hear that story too. I don't think I was present, in either sense."
[12:38] * Yanmei was among the staring ones, just waiting to see what would happen.
[12:39] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Uh…"-
[12:41] <Raphael> "… Ah. Yes, ma’am." He says, slightly red-faced now in a way that he can't entirely blame on this shape. "Rei told me a couple of things while you were dancing. She said that you have a strange history of people "falling in love with you at first sight". More than seems normal, even for a pretty young lady of your age. Is that true?"
[12:41] <Minerva‘Linden> [Natasha gulped, and, hands quivering with a plate of pizza, nervously looked over at Aline and Sera, nodded shakily, and stepped forward. "S-So… W-We were, um. There was a battle, with the LN 3rd S-Superheavy Regiment." She said, squeaking between words. "T-The German and Soviet Eva Squadrons were… Were put together to attack the 3rd Superheavy Regiment o-over Macedonia. I-I specialise
[12:41] <Minerva`Linden> in… Long ranged w-weapons, a-and for this battle I took a Heavy Bolter…" She faltered, intimdiated by the Ayanamis’ staring faces.]
[12:42] <Minerva‘Linden> ["It is." Said Chiisana. "Although in truth, I myself believe it is more accurate to call it an infatuation."]
[12:45] * Aline smiled, hoping to disarm some of the intimidation with… "Heavy, huh? I’ve never really handled any heavy weapons besides the GPC. You must have been trained pretty well on its operation, right?~"
[12:45] <Raphael> "Likely accurate." Raphael nods, knowing Rei well enough to believe it. "Do you have any idea why people react to you in such an… adoring fashion?"
[12:47] <Sept> "Me neither! They must be difficult as hell to use."
[12:52] <Minerva‘Linden> ["W-Well." Natasha blushed. "Not… Um. They’re kind of simple, actually, compared to a GPC. The gun itself is held with both hands, one holding the barrel up by the handle and the other hand rests on the trigger, and then it's basically just point and shoot, because really, the rate of fire is -huge-, and the bolt rounds are just -so- damaging." She was starting to become enthusiastic.
[12:52] <Minerva‘Linden> "The ammo belt feeds into the gun from the backpack, which is attached to the chassis harness because a gun like that, it’s not enough to have a clip, you need to have at leastenough rounds to sustain continual endless firing for over a minute. A-anyway, the main idea was that me and- and Hachi, we set up on a hill at the back of the formation, both with Heavy Bolters, and Ni and Go would
[12:52] <Minerva‘Linden> set up in front of us, covering us and forming a line of battle, like with the phalangites of Macedon, which is pretty appropriate, and then you had Asuka and Kyuu sweep in on the flanks whilst all the Solaces were occupied on the line, and then boom! We just let rip and shot through dozens of them all at once."]
[12:54] * Aline clapped. "A fine team battle, and a good individual kill count~"
[12:55] <Minerva`Linden> ["Pheromones." Said Chiisana. "It is an AT Field effect, although I would not deign to claim that the AT Field itself is the instigator, more of a catalyst. It alters my body’s production of pheromones, which has an amorous effect on members of the opposite sex. At least, that's as far as I can tell. It's dreadful, but it can't be helped. It's an instinctual effect at this point, and I do
[12:55] <Minerva‘Linden> it without even realising it. Like I did with Sera de Pteres just then."]
[12:57] * Sept just smiled and watched her talk, now.
[12:58] * Raphael considers this silently for a few moments, keeping up his staring contest with the opposite wall. "… I see. And you have no control over it at all? I… don’t /think/ I'm feeling an effect right now, for example."
[13:00] * Yanmei too seems to be waiting for the continuation, her arms folded.
[13:01] <Minerva‘Linden> ["I have some control over it. I can prevent it if I focus, but otherwise it is like breathing or blinking." She peers at Raphael. "No, that… Corroborates with my previous data. For example, my pheromones have no effect on Shinji-Niichan, nor do they affect my Father, thank God." She shook her head. "So I doubt they would affect you, either. I cannot say why. Perhaps the same subconscious
[13:01] <Minerva`Linden> processes that control this pheromone field also realise that causing infatuation with family members is a ghastly outcome."-
[13:02] <Minerva`Linden> [Asuka folded her arms and listened now.-
[13:03] <Minerva`Linden> ["Heavy Bolters have high rates of fire, but they’re also very powerful, very good at punching through armour. And we all know how much armour those Solaces lug about. Two or three solid hits will take one down, so our first priority was to take out their flanking Valkyries, then it was all about cutting down the Thruster Solaces- and then we finished by neutralising their artillery T-RIDEN-Ts
[13:03] <Minerva‘Linden> and taking down the command!" Said Natasha proudly.]
[13:05] * Aline beamed. "There you go~"
[13:06] <Yanmei> "Good show!" Came a Yanmeish voice from the audience. "You make it sound like it was a cakewalk?"
[13:07] * Raphael sighs and nods, not seeming particularly buoyed by the details. "Please forgive me for prying, Miss Chiisana. I’ve been having similar issues ever since the latest alteration to my shape. When Rei mentioned your situation, I thought you might know how to…" Raphael trails off and shakes his head, forcing himself to stand straighter. "But I suppose not. Again, my apologies."
[13:07] * Sept laughed, glancing at Aline. "Good job, Natasha." He walked by her on his way to the snack table, ruffling her hair as he passed.
[13:09] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Don’t apologise, Captain." She stood up and held out her arm. "You may, however, escort me back to the party."-
[13:09] <Minerva‘Linden> [Natasha beamed- actually beamed with pride- and then blushed deep red as Sera drive-by-ruffled her.-
[13:10] <Minerva`Linden> ["That went well." Said Kyuu happily. "Thank you, Leenie-chan."-
[13:11] <Minerva`Linden> ["Yeah!" Edgar gave a solid booming clap. "Bravo! You tell them stories, Volkova! You tell them stories -so hard-, you engrave them into memories forever. Into tombstones."-
[13:11] <Minerva`Linden> ["Apparently, spinal damage hasn’t done much to change him." Muttered Asuka, flipping her hair. "Come on, Yanmei. You can find me some food."]
[13:12] * Raphael smiles a little, gently taking Chiisana's arm without hesitation and leading her back towards the party. "Is there any way for you to tell if my problems stem from a similar source? Even if it didn't provide a solution, I would feel better knowing the cause."
[13:13] * Aline leaned over and grinned at Kyuu. "But of course! You're welcome~"
[13:13] * Yanmei pointed to the snack table helpfully. "There you go. Anything else I can do for you?"
[13:14] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Perhaps. Someone with your AT Field couldn’t be doing it instinctively, and it's not a mental effect. My theory is that the process that shaped your body did it in such a way as to maximise your production of that pheromone that allures the opposite sex- all the time." They reentered the party room!-
[13:15] <Minerva‘Linden> [Rei saw Raphael and beamed, heading over, but patiently waiting.-
[13:15] <Minerva`Linden> [Asuka glowered. "That’s not what I meant, dummkopf! Bring me food like a good vassal~"]
[13:19] <Yanmei> "That's funny? I though I outranked you these days. Shouldn't it be the other way around?" She tried to play it deadpan, but there was no hiding the smirk she felt on the inside.
[13:20] <Raphael> … what could he say to that? The best he could manage was a mute, tired nod as he led the Ayanami princess back into the party. "Well, thank you very much for your help, Miss Chiisana." Raphael says, giving her his best polite nod and releasing her arm. He glances over at Rei, giving her a tiny 'one more minute' smile.
[13:20] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Hachi." says Asuka immediately.-
[13:20] <Minerva`Linden> [Hachi is at her side in a second. "Asuka-sama?"-
[13:20] <Minerva`Linden> ["What is my position?"-
[13:21] <Minerva`Linden> ["Future ruler of the world, greatest Eva pilot ever, goddess of all goddesses?"-
[13:21] <Minerva`Linden> ["… My NERV rank."-
[13:21] <Minerva`Linden> ["Oh. Sous-Lieutenant."-
[13:21] <Minerva`Linden> [Asuka smirks.-
[13:22] <Minerva`Linden> ["If I can assist in any other fashion, Captain, do not hesitate to call." She curtsies.]
[13:23] * Aline raised a brow at the whole… Asuka… ego-pet thing. A slight aside to nobody in particular. "That cannot be healthy."
[13:24] <Minerva`Linden> ["It’s nice that they're making friends." Said Kyuu happily.]
[13:24] * Yanmei frowned at that. "Congratulations on the promotion, Sous-Lieutenant-Goddess? But I'm still not your vassal." She tossed her hair and started over to the table. "I will, however, get some food for myself. Oh, that pizza looks divine~"
[13:25] <Raphael> "Of course. I'll see you for our dinner later this week, ma'am." He says, giving her a warm look. "Now if you'll excuse me…" And indeed, provided there was no further questions on Chiisana's part, Raphael would politely disengage and head over to Rei.
[13:26] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Hmph!" Asuka elbowed her out of the way and headed for the pizza. "Just you wait, dummkopf Yanmei. Actually, screw it." She turned and pointed. "I challenge you to a duel! I’ve got a new fighting style now- it'll be so one-sided, you'll be crying to your little boy all week~"-
[13:26] <Minerva‘Linden> [Rei smiled. "How is she, Raffy-kun?"]
[13:27] * Sept kept up that odd smile as he watched Asuka and Yanmei arguing in their weird way. Now and then, though, during the evening, the smile would fade and he’d glance at Rei. But he usually caught himself fairly quickly.
[13:31] <Raphael> "She's feeling a little better now that she's had a bit of time to breathe." Raphael says, giving Rei a little grin as he leads her back towards the table. "I'm sorry to have run out on you so suddenly, Rei, but I'm all ears now. You said you wanted to speak with me about something?"
[13:31] * Aline would gently chat with Kyuu, though she was not exactly the most fond of the whole Soryus affair. Nonetheless, she did know her concerns would probably be falling on deaf ears, so she left it to more casual topics…
[13:33] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Yes, that’s right." Rei beamed. "I mentioned that Al-chan was promoted to Major. But…" She dug into a pocket and drew out an ID card, displaying it to Raphael. It was her own- but the picture had changed- the uniform she wore in the picture was clearly that of a Sous-Lieutenant, like Yanmei. Furthermore, it was noted in the Rank field on her card. She beamed with pride.]
[13:33] <Yanmei> "Seriously? I think you just like hitting people." Yanmei collected her food. "And anyway? I'll be the one to win this time!"
[13:34] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Nope." Asuka lunged, and suddenly Yanmei would find herself without food- or a plate at all. "Thanks~"]
[13:36] <Yanmei> "Wh-?!" Yanmei swiveled, stunned. "That’s not for you! Come back here!"
[13:39] <Minerva‘Linden> [But the only reply Yanmei got was chewing sounds as Asuka ran off, gleefully devouring her ill-gotten gains.]
[13:41] <Raphael> "… oh, Rei." Raphael said, looking from the picture, to her and back again. He picks up the card and stares at the picture of the proud, smiling girl… and remembers how far she’s come. He's absolutely -beaming-, perhaps even more so than Rei herself. "I'm so proud of you, sweetheart." He says, and he reaches out to wrap her in a tight hug.
[13:41] * Yanmei glared… and pouted. No, she was too mature to chase after her. She would just let her taste revenge later, during the duel. With another toss of her hair, she set to fixing herself another plate.
[13:44] <Minerva‘Linden> ["A second plate already?" Asks Misato, swooping by Yanmei. "I guess you really are eating for two, huh~?"-
[13:45] <Minerva`Linden> [But Rei is hugging him back, giggling a little as she squeezes him. "Thank you, Raffy-kun. I really wanted to tell you…" She beams, happy, contented…]
[13:50] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei looked around frantically, worried about people hearing and getting the wrong idea… and then glared. "You’re no better than Asuka," she huffed, pouting increasing tenfold.

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