This Too Shall Pass 3 1 8

[07:40] <Minaplo> [3rd of April, 2018.-
[07:41] <Minaplo> [Yesterday had been an eventful day. Although nothing had happened in Brazil, especially…-
[07:42] <Minaplo> [Vera had been at Ops, as was normal, when breaking news and military intelligence both had started clamouring for her attention. The reason had become obvious very quickly.-
[07:43] <Minaplo> [Reports of a battle in Paris-2, but not an Angel attack. Instead, Vera was informed that a significant portion of NERV, including its entire Evangelion corps, had gone rogue, launched a coup of the Geofront, and declared the foundation of a recidivist contra-UN faction called the 'United Earth Federation'.-
[07:46] <Minaplo> [Within hours of the battle (reports of the actual battle itself were garbled but it seemed there were actual Angel attacks…?), the ripple effects began to spread. There had been a battle in Canada involving Eva forces. An Angel had attacked the Synfront. France, Britain, the US, China and the USSR had renounced the UN and withdrawn, leaving the UN's bureaucracy in disarray. Germany
[07:46] <Minaplo> alone now had a veto in the Security Council.-
[07:47] <Minaplo> [By the time Vera had headed home (near midnight), there were reports of troop mobilisations across the world…-
[07:47] <Minaplo> [It was now 9 AM- she'd been at work for an hour- and had been briefed on the developments since.-
[07:50] <Minaplo> [Germany had condemned the actions and pushed for a UN resolution permitting immediate military action against the recidivist states. It had passed 30-12.
[07:50] <Minaplo> -
[07:53] <Minaplo> [One hour after this, Germany and its allied states in Europe- the Central Democratic Alliance (more colloquially referred to as the Potsdam Compact) declared war on the UEF.-
[07:54] <Minaplo> [The twelve UN states who had voted against the resolution had by this point unofficially withdrawn from the UN themselves… Although no resolutions were undertaken targeting them. Yet.-
[07:56] <Minaplo> [The twelve states forming this 'non-aligned bloc' were Brazil, Colombia, Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Turkey, Scandinavia, Yugoslavia, Greater Bolivia, the Central American Republic, the Philippines and Saudi Arabia.-
[07:57] <Minaplo> [There was a small silence after all of this had been relayed to Vera and Ops.-
[07:57] <Minaplo> [It was Pereira who broke it. "Strange to think we've found common cause with Colombians."]
[07:59] * Vera thought long and hard about that. She eventually, levelly said… "Be that as it may. There was already trouble. The only thought is that the next problem will wait until this impending World War is over… Assuming this UEF and the UN don't do anything to us either."
[08:00] <Minaplo> ["That depends if they know we have an Eva or not." Said Rosamund. "Like, it's no secret that we've been keeping it secret because we're afraid that they'll come and take our toys if they know."]
[08:02] * Vera nodded. "The scale of the operation means, to me, it's only a matter of time before our methods break down, there. But so far we've worked well enough at that." To Rosamund.
[08:06] <Minaplo> ["Considering how many former LN agents chose Brazil as their point of refuge…" Said Vice-Commander Levin. "I wouldn't be surprised if they suspected it as a matter of course. Governments have a habit of thinking of those kinds of people as seeds. Plant enough of them and a year later, an Evangelion grows fully formed out of the soil…"]
[08:08] * Vera sort of scrunched her face. "For how strange that sounds to me, it's functionally right. The same happened with the Germans after World War II after all…"
[08:09] <Minaplo> ["Brazil is a rising great power." Said Pereira (with a hint of patriotic pride). "It's only natural that we would want to develop an Eva program."-
[08:10] <Minaplo> ["Even so, that shit makes us targets." Said Kader, leaning back in his chair. "Nations and street gangs think the same way, y'know. Both the UN and this United Federation of Earth-"-
[08:10] <Minaplo> ["United Earth Federation." Said Rosamund.-
[08:11] <Minaplo> ["Whatever. What I mean is, they're this close to being the only big boys in town, yeah? They're not gonna stop until they're the only ones. Which means they'll ignore us until this scrap's all done, or if they can, bring us into it."]
[08:17] * Vera slowly recognized Kader's words. "So essentially, adding another Eva to their side. Sounds fun, in the most sarcastic of ways. We wanted out of this, we wanted respect of our sovereignity, no?"
[08:18] <Minaplo> ["Yeah." Said Pereira.-
[08:19] <Minaplo> ["Assuming the government is deadset on maintaining our neutrality, to even have a hope of enforcing our stance we'll need to increase our Cavaleiro corps to three units." Said Rosamund. "Which will be stretching the nation's funding to breaking point."]
[08:20] * Vera frowned more than a bit. "…so as soon as eyes turn on us, we may /have/ to join a side." She sounded a bit frustrated.
[08:21] <Minaplo> ["Or hope that by then, both sides are too punch-drunk to bother." Said Levin. "Either way, our fate is dependent on external events."]
[08:22] <Vera> "And so thus we need to keep an eye out at all times."
[08:27] <Minaplo> ["Especially if certain other groups take the opportunity to mess with us." Said Pereira.-
[08:28] <Minaplo> ["Like Colombia?" Asked Kader sarcastically.-
[08:28] <Minaplo> ["They took men and materiel from the LN to invade us, who says they wouldn't do the same for the UN or the UEF?"]
[08:30] <Vera> "Who indeed." Beat. "…Moreover. Convincing Colombia to attack us using deniable materiel would be the way I myself would choose to try to force us to decide who to side with."
[08:34] * Oat (~ua.moc.tensutpo.wsn.lsd.62-69-13-112d|oaT#ua.moc.tensutpo.wsn.lsd.62-69-13-112d|oaT) has joined #nervfrance3
[08:35] * Raphael (~ua.moc.tensutpo.wsn.lsd.81-342-632-022d|oaT#ua.moc.tensutpo.wsn.lsd.81-342-632-022d|oaT) Quit (Ping timeout)
[08:43] <Minaplo> ["Quite." Said Levin.-
[08:43] <Minaplo> ["However, with this out of the way, Commander Franco and I would like a word with you, Director, in private."]
[08:45] * Vera turned a bit to look at Levin quizzically… but then firmly nodded. "Of course, Vice-Commander." And began to stand up!
[08:53] <Minaplo> <Commander Mateus*>
[08:55] <Minaplo> [Commander Mateus was already waiting in the conference room.-
[08:55] <Minaplo> ["Director Freitas. Please sit down." He said, gesturing to one of the chairs.-
[08:55] <Minaplo> [Levin was already sitting in a chair specifically made for his size.]
[08:56] * Vera was soon seated, in such a position that she could look at either member of the command staff without much effort.
[09:00] * SyntaxPhone (~if.elibom-asile.tan-041-18-67-58|xatnyS#if.elibom-asile.tan-041-18-67-58|xatnyS) has joined #nervfrance3
[09:01] <Minaplo> ["We've made a breakthrough regarding the circumstances behind last month's abduction of Captain de Franco." Said the Commander.]
[09:03] * Vera blinked! "Oh /really/. What have you found?" She was guardedly excited. Guarded because, well… it could be terrible news.
[09:07] <Minaplo> ["Suspects and an MO. I regret giving you the run-around, but would you mind reporting to Ciencia? Dr. Adler wishes to tell you himself."]
[09:08] * Vera …slowly nodded. Very slowly. "…No, I understand." Not quite bad news /per se/ but…
[09:10] <Minaplo> ["My sources tell me he's finished making his new toy for Sol." Said Levin, smirking.]
[09:11] * Vera vaguely scrunched her face, even as she tensed. "Was there anything else, or shall I be dismissed to go hear it from Dr. Adler?"
[09:12] <Minaplo> ["Dismissed."]
[09:12] * Vera stood up thus, gave a small salute, and walked out! Because hoooboy. This was going to be 'fun'.
[09:20] <Minaplo> [Unlike NERV, Cavaleiro Ciencia (Knight Science) was not an integrated part of the FCB. Instead it was a separate sister organisation- like the FCB, it was under the direct jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defense.-
[09:22] <Minaplo> [The intent of this had been to limit the direct power of the FCB's commanding officer. Unlike NERV, the FCB's commander could not draw upon the resources of a subordinate science division freely in order to enact some scheme or place some unauthorised upgrade on a Cavaleiro unit.-
[09:23] <Minaplo> [Instead, the FCB commander had to place his requests with the Ministry, which in turn passed on approved orders to the Ciencia. It was a more bureaucratic, less efficient system, but it was one that provided checks and balances on the power of the FCB.-
[09:23] <Minaplo> [And more than many nations, Brazil had experience with what happens when an overly powerful military branch decides to take matters into its own hands.-
[09:25] <Minaplo> [That said, Ciencia's facilities were still part of the same complex as the FCB base. It was just that Vera had to pass through a checkpoint overseen by a pair of Brazilian Army soldiers first.-
[09:28] <Minaplo> [Doctor Adler would be found in a section of Ciencia called the Megaraft.-
[09:29] <Minaplo> [The room itself was, like every other part of an Eva base, truly gargantuan. The Megaraft, however, was larger not only in size, but in the scope of its complexity.-
[09:30] <Minaplo> [The room was about 500 square metres, but it was divided into modular sections, each one 100 square metres in size, for a total of 25 sections.-
[09:30] <Minaplo> [Each section had a specific purpose- one might be designed to process materials, one might just be a database, another might be spare generators…-
[09:31] <Minaplo> [However, on command, the sections could be dismissed, where they would recede into the ground, then be pushed aside into a side room. There were dozens of other sections awaiting in the 'wings' as it were, each with its own purpose.-
[09:31] <Minaplo> [The spare sections could then be brought out, creating whole new configurations.-
[09:32] <Minaplo> [As a result, the entire room could, in the span of an hour, be 'redesigned', going from material factory to bio-plant.-
[09:32] <Minaplo> [Hence the name 'Megaraft': dozens of tiny rafts put together.-
[09:33] <Minaplo> [The Megaraft was divided into two levels, with the top level being dedicated to oversight and coordination. It was here that Vera would find Doctor Achille Albert Adler.-
[09:35] <Minaplo> [A pale, brown-haired man with green eyes, Dr. Adler was very tall- standing around 6'1- and very thin, due to his habit of missing most of his meals. He had long, double-jointed, clever fingers, although the little finger of his left hand was missing, replaced by a small stump of misshapen scar tissue.-
[09:37] <Minaplo> [He stood by a bank of consoles staring up onto a digital map of the Megaraft. In his right hand was a mega-size milkshake container from the cafeteria. In his left was a remote-like object, which he was using to slide the sections of the digital Megaraft map about.-
[09:37] <Minaplo> [Around him were technicians, other scientists, interns… All busily working away. Vera went unnoticed.]
[09:40] * Vera had briefly entertained the notion of intentionally sneaking up on the man, but that would probably have been anywhere from rude to… she'd rather not explore the other direction. so instead Vera just walked closer, trying to wave off techs and scientists and interns as she went, until. "Ahem, Dr. Adler…?"
[09:45] <Minaplo> [Doctor Adler made a loud 'oh!' and did an exaggerated jump-turn on his heels. "My my my! I didn't see you there at all, Director Vera, my my." He rushed to her side, dropping the milkshake in his haste, a nearby intern making a desperate dive to catch it before it splashed on the ground.-
[09:45] <Minaplo> ["Todo momento com voce e magico, my dear director, do please come this wayyyy."-
[09:45] <Minaplo> [Dr. Adler didn't actually speak Portuguese.]
[09:48] * Vera …stared. She knew as much that she had to use English with him. But… She sighed deeply. "…Following…" She knew better than to say 'coming' around him, even if he was hardly so lewd-minded. And follow she did!
[09:51] <Minaplo> [At least Kader wasn't here.-
[09:52] <Minaplo> [Adler's office was a well-decorated place. There were potted plants in a corner. The wall behind his desk was covered in his credentials. Another wall had several motivational posters, including one of a cartoon EVA-04 hanging from a cliffside, the caption reading 'Zhang in there!'-
[09:52] <Minaplo> [On his desk was a family photo of Adler, beaming, next to a beautiful red-haired girl with green eyes.-
[09:54] <Minaplo> [A cushy lounge chair was the only free seating Vera had.-
[09:55] <Minaplo> [Adler himself didn't sit down- instead he began rifling through a cabinet. "Didja give little Sol my last puzzle? How'd she go?"]
[09:57] * Vera slowly sat down, considering her options a bit there. "…I did, she seemed interested in it, though I haven't looked closely enough, I think she did well on it." …That fucking poster, idly.
[09:59] <Minaplo> ["She's a bright baby, just like her mummy, right?" Said Adler joyfully as he pulled out a strange mechanical contraption. It was brightly coloured, covered in knobs and sliding pieces… It resembled his previous 'puzzles', and so Vera could assume that there was some sort of reward inside, like there had been with the others.-
[10:00] <Minaplo> [He held the puzzle out to her. "There you go."]
[10:02] * Vera …accepted it, with a calm "Thank you.", before thinking. "Now… You had something about last month's abduction to tell me?"
[10:04] <Minaplo> ["Evidence, yes." He leapt into his chair. "Let's start with the scene of the crime, hm? We went over it with all our teeny tiny scanner bots and we found some very strange things."]
[10:06] <Vera> "…strange? Are we talking… AT Field strange, or something even more bizarre like literal Angelic strange?" The way she said the last bit implied she figured it likely wasn't the case, since she already had posited a Guard Apostle might be involved in the infiltration back then. …And that kidnapping of not-really-their-main-foe was not remotely an Angelic MO, not even Metatron's.
[10:35] <Minaplo> ["So inquisitive." Murmured Adler.-
[10:36] <Minaplo> ["Let's look at the crime scene evidence, though. Little Eufie's bedroom was all locked up, yes? Window was latched shut and all that."]
[10:37] * Vera nodded. "Pretty sure it was."
[10:38] <Minaplo> ["Yet according to the evidence- fingerprints, etcetera, the window was opened from the inside. There was no sign of a struggle."]
[10:39] * Vera tilted her head more than a little. "…her fingerprints, or an unknown assailant's?"
[10:40] <Minaplo> ["Her own."]
[10:41] * Vera nodded. "So she ostensibly left on her own. Strange enough."
[10:42] <Minaplo> ["Very confounding, yes. Now of course, she could've been sneaking out to meet a friend, only…?" He gestured to her, waiting for her on-cue chime in.]
[10:44] * SyntaxPhone (~if.elibom-asile.tan-041-18-67-58|xatnyS#if.elibom-asile.tan-041-18-67-58|xatnyS) Quit (Quit: Bye)
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[10:45] * Vera had a vaguely crass look on her face. "What friends, what indeed."
[10:47] <Minaplo> ["Exactly."-
[10:50] <Minaplo> ["So when she came back to our warm folds, we did some tests on her mind and her AT Field."]
[10:51] * Vera vaguely cringed at 'our warm folds', but… nodded. "So were there any unusual results /there/?"
[11:02] <Minaplo> ["There were traces of a dopamine and serotonin rush." Said Adler. "Our estimates placed it at around the same 24-hour frame in which her abduction took place. Now, your clever chaps up in Ops suggested I should look at former Libres, see if that matched."-
[11:03] <Minaplo> ["And whaddya know. We found a member of the Telepatica who had perfected a crude form of mind control that worked by making its subject extremely suggestible. We did some checks and found he had no alibi and, with a bit of work, we were able to conclude that it was in fact his handiwork."-
[11:03] <Minaplo> ["Clever, right? But that's not even the juiciest part." Said Adler, grinning.]
[11:05] * Vera thought about that, again. Mind control, huh… "It's already pretty juicy, but do go on."
[11:06] <Minaplo> ["I knew you'd like it~"-
[11:07] <Minaplo> ["The thing is that this spook, Wladyslaw, had no recollection of the event itself. It wasn't that he had forgotten it, but it was as though he had simply not 'recorded' the memory in the first place."]
[11:08] * Vera twitched a bit at that, but. "…So either he managed to blank it out, or more /likely/, someone else managed to… commandeer him as well? Somehow."
[11:11] <Minaplo> ["Hmhmhmhm."-
[11:11] <Minaplo> ["Yes, the effects line up with the side effects of a very powerful direct form of mind control, a form based on manipulating AT Fields instead of using biological tricks."]
[11:13] * Vera frowned. "And do we have any idea who would possibly be capable of something that powerful…? That sounds like more the territory of a late-cycle Apostle, or failing that, an Angel."
[11:14] <Minaplo> ["Right on the money with the former. None of our Apostles can do it, but there existed a rare caste of Iron Guard called Paladins."-
[11:21] <Minaplo> ["They were Apostles, but the people were A-Types, so their powers were quicker to develop and all the more potent for it. From my records back when I worked with Barzy-baby, the only Paladin I could think of with that degree of domination power was Iron Paladin Konstantina."]
[11:23] * Vera nodded, though 'Barzy-Baby' got a subtle blink of awkward from her. "So Paladin Konstantina is likely the one behind Wladyslaw, using him to get closer to Eufemia without having to actually risk capture."
[11:24] <Minaplo> ["Yep. And to add fuel to the passionate fire that is my evidence, Konstantina and Wladyslaw worked together in the past so she'd definitely know what he was capable of."-
[11:25] <Minaplo> ["Even better, we tapped our sources- I had to go to the 'Hermes Institute' even- and we found out where Konstantina is."]
[11:27] * Vera suddenly plipped in interest… and then immediately tried to make it look like she was interested for some other reason. "Oho, so we might even be able to act relatively quickly…"
[11:35] <Minaplo> ["Relatively is right. See, ah… Konstantina was one of the more successful post-LN remnant leaders. From reports she gathered an army of around 200 Guard."-
[11:36] <Minaplo> ["Once Metatron bombarded Africa, however, it looks like the resource base Konstantina was taxing was wiped out. So she relocated to South America on the sly. Since then she and her band apparently been acting as a mercenary or a small-time warlord, operating out of Greater Bolivia. I mean, half the country's a ruin of warlords and drug mobs… Now you have an Iron Guard warband."-
[11:37] <Minaplo> ["Looks like she's been expanding her paladinny reach recently, though. Creepin' her fingers into Brazil. I couldn't tell you why she did this, though, unless she has greater plans for Colombia- which isn't unlikely."]
[11:41] * Vera was back to a rather grim expression by the time Adler finished, and was mulling over the strategic nature of things. "A Guard warband… not the best of enemies to have, especially one not affiliated to a nation, meaning territorial concerns unless… well, warlords and drug mobs." A brow-furrow. "Relatively indeed. If we intend to remove her, we have a fair amount of iron and
[11:41] * Vera meat to chew through first."
[11:42] <Minaplo> ["Speaking of which, you and I should hang out on Saturday night."-
[11:42] <Minaplo> [He leaned back and kicked his legs up into the air, before folding his right over his left and lowering them onto the table.]
[11:46] * Vera knew this would happen, and didn't quite know how to respond, even though she expected it. "Are you sure…? Surely activating at least to deal with a threat to the organization will leave me with ample paperwork…" That was lame. She knew it was lame.
[11:50] <Minaplo> ["Surely that's what Prescott's for?"-
[11:51] <Minaplo> [Adler laughed. "But no, no, trust me, as much as the sweet perfume of your dazzling mentality might appeal to me… I know better than to pluck that rose." He threw a forearm over his forehead. "Alas, my tribulations…"-
[11:51] <Minaplo> ["Do you know what's even worse?!"]
[11:51] * Vera had this contorted half-smile on her face that honestly looked… bad. "Wh… at…?"
[12:07] <Minaplo> ["I ran the numbers, and there's a 99.4554% chance that any of our offspring would be genius-level intellect." He shook his head sadly. "To hell with this cruel Earth…"]
[12:08] * Vera opened her mouth partway, but for some reason her jaw didn't move from clenched shut. It, again, looked /bad/. "Be… that as it may."
[12:11] <Minaplo> ["I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm being naughty. I just miss my Barzy-baby so much…"-
[12:11] <Minaplo> [He took a deep breath.-
[12:12] <Minaplo> ["So, killing these guys is your job, right? What can Ciencia do to help bring swift, succulent justice?"]
[12:17] * Vera thought about that. "We need bigger - or better, really - guns, AT field protection if possible. Some of that can be done just by bringing Guard units in, but there's always /more/ that can be done." A mutter, intentionally audible. "Kader would probably be happier with a Telepatica Choir anyway…"
[12:17] <Minaplo> ["Telepatica choir is FCB juri, sadly. We can offer guns, though. Although, y'know, I know, that you should probably take Guard to kill a Guard…"-
[12:18] <Minaplo> ["In lieu of that, we can see about rushing some of our prototype vehicles for you?"]
[12:20] * Vera nodded. "It is, I was just muttering about what's being set up!" She felt a bit more chipper now that the seduction engine wasn't on. "Vehicles are good, as much as to a determined Guard a conventional tank is just a particularly explosive box ripe for the crushing." Smirk. "But prototypes aren't all that 'conventional'…"
[12:30] <Minaplo> ["Quite right."-
[12:30] <Minaplo> ["More importantly, though, is that these prototypes are actually sort of, y'know, appropriate for all the bullshit terrain South America has…"]
[12:32] * Vera smiled, if a bit guardedly. "Yeah… that is certainly an important problem to solve."
[12:34] <Minaplo> ["Uh-huh. If we had man-portable fusion guns I'd offer 'em, but the smallest we have can only be vehicle-mounted. Hence…"]
[12:36] * Vera did a thumbs-up. "That'll do then. If nothing else, fusion weaponry is a definite plus. Otherwise, I've already been gearing up my own retinue with… basically everything I can requisition. I'm sure a decent supply of positron weapons can be routed over too." Beat. "You know, just in case we have to face an or multiple Apostles with less AT backup of our own."
[12:37] <Minaplo> ["Yeah… Uh, an Iron Paladin is serious business, too. Like, I suggest you coax Levin to go with you for that serious."]
[12:40] * Vera had a grim expression again, this one more 'well then'-ish in nature. "…I'll have to keep that in mind. I don't doubt that, though."
[12:50] <Minaplo> ["Uh-huh."-
[12:50] <Minaplo> ["Anything else you need?"-
[12:50] <Minaplo> ["Or… Wan-gggh."]
[12:53] * Vera paused for a second, managing to keep a mask of calm over her amusement. There was a thought, of telling him how he was technically more decent than Kader's peeping ways, but she dismissed it. "Relax. It'll take time. …But for now, I don't think I have anything further?"
[12:53] <Minaplo> ["Cool cool. I suppose… This means it's back to work."]
[12:54] * Vera stood up, and nodded to him. "For us both." …and began to turn to leave.
[12:59] <Minaplo> ["Bye-bye. Say hi to Sol for me."]
[12:59] * Vera waved. "Sure!" And headed completely out!

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