This Too Shall Pass 3 2 1

[12:59] <Yanmei> With gritted teeth, Zhang Yanmei fleetly ascended one of the Dalmabahce Palace's glorious red-and-gold carpeted staircases, a massive crystal chandelier blazing away like the sun a good dozen meters above her. At the top, her heels clacked briefly against dark, rich mahogany floor before again finding yet another impossibly thick rug to trod through. -
[13:06] <Yanmei> Going by the time, sun had already started to set, but the inside of the palace was still as bright as ever; all brass, crystal and glossy marble and wood. And gold. She looked around carefully, her eye lingering on artwork and priceless decorative furnishings, but there weren't many shadowy places big enough for someone to hide. Not that it mattered? The UN troops had access to cloaking
[13:06] <Yanmei> tech. -
[13:17] <Yanmei> It was simply unfair. Her own men were stuck probably watching from afar, while those Phantoms could slip up behind any unsuspecting diplomat and then- She stopped and whirled around sharply, but found only the the expensive staircase in her wake. Scowling, as if unconvenced of something, she reluctantly continued on. The parlor she had been summoned to was, thankfully, just a few paces further
[13:17] <Yanmei> along that hallway. She regally straightened her jacket and knocked.
[13:19] <Yanmei> ^unconvinced
[13:24] <Minaplo> [The door opened.-
[13:24] <Minaplo> ["Ah, Chancellor Zhang." Said Ezra Caine. "Please, come in."-
[13:27] <Minaplo> [The parlour was a small- for this palace- affair. Leather armchairs and chaise lounges grouped in an informal, even haphazard vague semicircle around a fireplace. Richly decorated rugs adorned the floors (although not near the fireplace, where it gave way to white marbled floors) and lovingly-painted portraits and landscapes sat fatly on the walls, lords and personages in bright, ornate clothes peering down dismissively at Yanmei as she entered.-
[13:30] <Minaplo> [There were only two people here waiting for her- Ezra, who'd opened the door, and Sarah Holt, who was lying down on a chaise lounge. A small wooden coffee table sat nearly, laden down with two bottles of wine, a large jug of water and a platter of soft cheeses, cold meats and crackers surrounding a small dish of onion dip.-
[13:43] <Minaplo> [They were dressed quite casually, especially when compared to Yanmei's formal uniform. Ezra was wearing a short-sleeved white t-shirt, the collar and top button undone. With it he wore a pair of jeans and some work shoes.-
[13:46] <Minaplo> [Sarah was wearing what looked like a knee-length white sundress, elegant yet simple. Her feet were bare, and she wore no stockings. A pair of slim heels sat in disarray at the foot of her chaise lounge.-
[13:46] <Minaplo> ["We've prepared refreshments. Help yourself." Said Ezra warmly.]
[13:50] * Yanmei eyed said refreshments - and Sarah - with a polite smile as she stepped briskly into the room. "Thank you, but I have plans shortly after this? We should probably get down to business, Marshal Caine."
[13:50] <Minaplo> [Ezra closed the door. "Business?"]
[13:53] <Yanmei> "This is about one of the treaties," she said confidently. "Or, more accurately, compensation from UN for the massacre and the ambush they inflicted on the UEF. Correct?"
[13:53] <Minaplo> ["Nah."-
[13:54] <Minaplo> ["We just wanted to talk." Said Sarah. "Informally."-
[13:54] <Minaplo> ["Or rather, without that dreadful misery Eve hanging over my shoulder." Said Ezra. "You can sympathise, surely."]
[14:01] <Yanmei> "Heh. With wanting to get away from her? Of course. Although I'm a tiny bit confused about your choice in conversation partners?" She tried not to stare at the now-closed door. "What's this really about?"
[14:03] <Minaplo> ["Okay, you got me." Said Ezra, holding his hands up and smiling. "Yes, I have an ulterior motive. Or rather, I've inherited some problems. Some from you. I'd like to discuss them."-
[14:03] <Minaplo> ["But please, do sit down, have a bit of food or drink. Let's get to know one another."]
[14:16] <Yanmei> "With all due respect, Marshal, I'm almost positive that you know plenty about me already. NERV had files. Thick ones, I'll bet."
[14:16] <Minaplo> ["Mmmgh."-
[14:18] <Minaplo> [Ezra ran a hand over his face as he went back over to his chair. "Let's be clear on something, ok? I don't really care for the straight-and-narrow Marshal this, Marshal that, polite-formal… Crap." He said, grabbing a bottle of wine, pouring himself a glass and slamming it down in a single go.-
[14:19] <Minaplo> ["I do it purely if I am forced to do it, and… No one's here. No one's making us do anything. No cameras to play up for, no minutes to be recorded. If you want to call me a dickhead Caine to my face, go right ahead. I won't even be offended." He said.-
[14:20] <Minaplo> ["He's right." Said Sarah lightly. "He went into a meeting with Mary Caine in order to negotiate the terms of our contract and spent the entire time insulting her."-
[14:20] <Minaplo> [Ezra preened.]
[14:24] <Yanmei> "Did you, now?" Yanmei realized that she was smirking a moment too late. She cleared her throat, a fist over her mouth. "Unusual. Why'd you do it? Aren't most of her subordinates terrified of her?"
[14:25] <Minaplo> ["Ah-ah-ah-" He made shushing noises. "Not a subordinate. Independent contractor under, uh, contract."-
[14:25] <Minaplo> ["And in any case, yes, I was nearly wetting myself in terror. You had Mary there and von Brandt right next to her…"-
[14:26] <Minaplo> ["Ezra's a NeoSpartan." Said Sarah gently to Yanmei.-
[14:26] <Minaplo> ["And if you've seen the average Neo in a room with von Brandt you know it's not pretty." Said Ezra. "But I knew that if I went in there all polite and nice I'd lose my nerve."-
[14:27] <Minaplo> [He put his glass aside, and leapt to his feet. "So I get up to the doors, and- bam!" He kicked the air.-
[14:28] <Minaplo> ["I'm here to see the esteemed Bitch Queen of the UN!'… That's what I said. They were angry instantly. It was brilliant. You should've been there."]
[14:35] <Yanmei> "To her -face-?" Yanmei stared, in spite of herself, that smirk creeping back into place. She had found a leather chair to stand next to, but hadn't exactly made herself comfortable. "With von Brandt there and everything. Were you… drunk?"
[14:37] <Minaplo> ["A little drunk." Said Ezra, sitting back down. "Three or four glasses beforehand. It helps when dealing with my relatives."-
[14:37] <Minaplo> ["Tsk." Said Sarah.-
[14:37] <Minaplo> ["Alright, alright. Not just my relatives." Said Ezra. "I had three or four before the summit meeting too."-
[14:37] <Minaplo> ["And three or four before this meeting…"-
[14:38] <Minaplo> ["Angel, please." Said Ezra chidingly, although he was smirking. "You're making me sound like a drunk."]
[14:46] <Yanmei> "I can understand the first two," Yanmei said slowly, "But was this meeting really going to be that nerve-wracking for you?"
[14:47] <Minaplo> ["No. It was just… You know."-
[14:47] <Minaplo> [He poured a glass. "Pour it and down it and let's have another!"-
[14:48] <Minaplo> [Sarah chuckled, shaking her head. "So which do you prefer? Chancellor, Ms. Zhang, or Yanmei?"]
[14:51] <Yanmei> There was a short pause. "Zhang should be fine," she relented.
[14:56] <Minaplo> ["No worries. You can call me Sarah, though~"-
[14:56] <Minaplo> ["So, how're you liking being the leader of an international superpower?" Asked Ezra. "Tiring, isn't it?"]
[15:02] <Yanmei> "Every now and then? I'm more than up for the task, though." She tossed her hair.
[15:03] <Minaplo> ["Apparently." Said Ezra. "If you've got time to get hitched during it all…"-
[15:03] <Minaplo> ["Double-congrats again, by the way. I hope you liked our hamper?" Said Ezra.-
[15:06] <Minaplo> ["It was a bit of a grab bag." Said Sarah. "That was my doing, though. It's harder to buy for strangers than I thought…"]
[15:12] <Yanmei> "You did an admirable job? The bear was especially cute."
[15:17] <Minaplo> [Sarah beamed. "Thanks. I know it's pretty early to think about children for you guys, but I couldn't resist."-
[15:19] <Minaplo> [She leaned forward on her lounge, giving Yanmei a grin of pure happiness. "Or it's just my biases. I'm expecting in December."]
[15:23] <Yanmei> "Congratulations~ You must be so happy!"
[15:26] <Minaplo> ["Oh God, yes~" Said Sarah, clapping her hands together.-
[15:27] <Minaplo> ["But you probably know more about raising a baby than I do." She said. "Augustine- the Solomon- tells me you have a daughter?"]
[15:34] <Yanmei> "Yes, although we didn't raise her from the very beginning. Ah. We had a birth recently on the ship, though. On the Bridge."
[15:35] <Minaplo> ["Oh my!" Said Sarah, her eyes widening. "That sounds dramatic. What happened?"]
[15:36] <Yanmei> "Well, the ship was kind of a mess at the time, and the elevators weren't working properly? The doctor ended up scaling the shaft while the rest of the Bridge and I tried to keep the new mom and her husband calm."
[15:37] <Minaplo> ["Scaling up the shaft?!"]
[15:38] <Yanmei> "He's naturally good at that sort of thing." She briefly averted her eyes.
[15:42] <Minaplo> ["That's not, uh… Clement, was it?" Said Ezra. "We're distantly related."]
[15:47] <Yanmei> "Clement was dealing with his own troubles at the time," said Yanmei quietly. "I'm pretty sure you've never met the good doctor in this story. In any case, he's also skilled at delivering babies, thank god. No complications. Afterward we all had a drink, especially the new mom?"
[15:49] <Minaplo> ["Well, that's lucky." Said Ezra.-
[15:53] <Minaplo> [Whilst Ezra busied himself collecting a plate of food and another glass of wine, Sarah reached down beneath her lounge, pulling out a handbag. Out of it she pulled an envelope, which she handed to Yanmei. "This is for you, by the way."]
[15:56] <Yanmei> "…thanks?" She looked it over with visible confusion, turning it around in her hands. Any clues on who it was from?
[15:58] <Minaplo> [On the front was written 'To Yanmei' in a blue ink, the handwriting simple and plain. No real hints.]
[16:00] <Yanmei> "Please excuse me," she said, and pried the envelope open to see what the letter said.
[16:00] <Minaplo> [There was a letter inside, as well as several photographs…]
[16:18] * Yanmei went through first the letter, very carefully, reading it twice for good measure. Then she looked at the photographs, one by one. Then her head snapped back just a little, almost as if she had suddenly remembered who she was with. She hastily tucked them all back into the original envelope and slipped that into her jacket. -
[16:18] <Yanmei> "Did Augustine give this to you to give to me?"
[16:19] <Minaplo> ["No, actually. She gave it to us herself." Said Sarah. "Although speaking of which, I'd really like to talk about the Augustine… Situation."]
[16:22] * Yanmei sighed. "They're talking to each other. That's an improvement."
[16:25] <Minaplo> ["From what I've been told," Said Ezra, "That only started because Sophia had no clue how to handle her Phantoms, so she went to Augustine for help. That seems to have made them friendly at least…"-
[16:28] <Minaplo> ["It isn't to Augustine's satisfaction yet, of course." Said Sarah. "And it's not like we can lock the two of them in an elevator. If Sophia doesn't care to return his affections there's nothing that can be done about it."-
[16:28] <Minaplo> ["Which is why we were hoping you might have some…" Ezra waved a hand around in the air for a few seconds. "… Tips?"]
[16:32] <Yanmei> "Tips," she echoed, her eyebrows knitting a little. She tapped a fingernail lightly against the leather on the back of the chair. "I didn't -do- anything, though?"
[16:35] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, but… C'mon."]
[16:41] <Yanmei> Tap… tap… "We spent time together. She watched me a lot from afar. We fought together a few times, and I kept her secrets and tried to teach her a few things too. I don't know how to replicate that stuff with someone else… But." She lifted her head. "She's bored and misses being outside. Send them on a mission somewhere together. Not to kill my men, -thank you-, but couldn't you have
[16:41] <Yanmei> them scout around where that snake thing was?"
[16:51] <Minaplo> ["Mmm. I was thinking something similar." Said Sarah. "We'll also look into having them investigate cities as well…"-
[16:51] <Minaplo> ["What can you tell us about Sophia's psychology?" Said Ezra. "She's a little reluctant to just open up…"]
[17:15] <Yanmei> "You don't say?" she said dryly. "Look. She's really shy. Not used to dealing with people? Sensitive. And meticulous too! Seems like she observes for a little while, builds up curiosity about something, checks by reading or talking to someone about it and then applies what she learns in practice. She likes protecting people. Feels like her orders to attack people are punishing bad people. In that sense, I guess, she's a little naive."
[09:00] <Minaplo> ["Oh?"]
[09:07] <Yanmei> "Yes. She's actually said as much to me before?" Yanmeu paused, eying the two carefully. "I'm starting to feel a little naive myself here. You -are- just going to use this information to help and understand her, right?"
[09:09] <Minaplo> ["Nah, I was thinking of using it to play her like a violin to do my nefarious bidding." Said Ezra.-
[09:09] <Minaplo> ["Ezra, don't be cheeky." Said Sarah.-
[09:10] <Minaplo> ["Well come on. If I want what's best for Sophia, I'd say 'yes'. If I didn't, I'd also say 'yes'." Said Ezra. "All I can really say is that you have my word that I want your help in order to improve Sophia's situation."]
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[09:18] <Yanmei> "Fine." Yanmei folded her arms. "You have a point. And it's not like she isn't already being manipulated by your… employer."
[09:24] <Minaplo> ["I wouldn't call it manipulation." Said Ezra. "She's being controlled like a puppet through the Eternity Drive."]
[09:27] * Oat is now known as Raphael
[09:33] <Yanmei> "Yeah. About that." She was clearly scrutinizing them. "What are your thoughts on -that-. As a newcomer to this whole fiasco, I mean."
[09:42] <Minaplo> ["I admit, I was at the time shocked and disgusted to hear that dear Mary had become a necromancer on a massive scale." Said Ezra. "Controlling the souls of three billion dead… It's ghastly even by the standards the Hamburg Caines usually set."-
[09:45] <Minaplo> ["Then in retrospect, I realised that it was actually perfectly logical to expect that Mary wouldn't be satisfied with controlling just the living." Said Ezra. "She would want to control the dead as well."-
[09:47] <Minaplo> ["It took a few hours for the implications to really sink in, though." Said Ezra. "People I love are certainly in there. Friends, NeoSpartans- my parents, my godfather… That's when I became angry. Really angry."-
[09:48] <Minaplo> ["Then I thought about it some more. If everyone who dies ends up in the Eternity Drive, and Mary can raise the souls of the dead into new bodies, then the inevitable outcome of the Drive is a world where everyone passes through it and into her hands. It's like a massive net, emptying the oceans, only we're the fish."-
[09:53] <Minaplo> ["Then I began to wonder." Said Ezra. "How on Earth she was handling that. How she was managing to exert control over three billion human souls and a handful of Angelic ones. I'm almost certain that she lacks the mental scope to be able to track all of those souls at once, at least, but controlling them at all seems… Supernatural. Godly. That's when I became afraid."]
[09:59] <Yanmei> "Did you decide to work for the UN because of that fear?" There was a gentle curiosity in her voice now. "Like, the feeling that you couldn't refuse?"
[10:09] <Minaplo> ["No, I knew I could refuse." Said Ezra. "The fear didn't keep me away in the end."]
[10:17] <Yanmei> "Then why? I'd think the Eternity Drive would be a huge dealbreaker just on principle. I might be jumping to conclusions here, but the two of you seem more humane than a lot of the other UN higher-ups."
[10:18] <Minaplo> ["Thanks." Said Ezra.-
[10:18] <Minaplo> ["Let me put it to you like this. Why are you fighting the UN?"]
[10:21] <Yanmei> "Because we're irreconcilably opposed to, well, -that- among other things."
[10:23] <Minaplo> ["What other things?"]
[10:33] <Yanmei> She had to consider, once again, the probability of there being additional listeners or recordings. "Her projected stance on the bigger conflict between humanity and things that are not human. Did your relatives give you the big history lesson on the origins of humans and Angels?"
[10:35] <Minaplo> ["Hold on." Said Ezra with a small smile. "Did you see what you just did?"]
[10:36] <Yanmei> Yanmei's eyes narrowed slightly and darted briefly around the room. "I… what?"
[10:37] <Minaplo> ["What question of mine were you trying to answer? Do you remember?"]
[10:38] <Yanmei> "'Why are you fighting the UN'?"
[10:39] <Minaplo> ["Yes." Said Ezra. "Yet you said 'her'…"-
[10:39] <Minaplo> ["Unless you're the sort of person who uses feminine pronouns to refer to international organisations, it seems to me like you were trying to answer the question 'why are you fighting Mary Caine'."]
[10:43] <Yanmei> "…" She didn't pout. World leaders did no such thing. But she came close. "And your point is that the UN and Mary Caine are not the same entity," she guessed.
[10:43] <Minaplo> ["Quite right." Said Ezra. "The real reason you're fighting the UN isn't because you have an issue with the UN. It's because it's being used to further Mary Caine's agenda, isn't it?"]
[10:46] * Syntax (~if.tenretniand.bb.631-342-571-18|xatnyS#if.tenretniand.bb.631-342-571-18|xatnyS) Quit (Connection reset by peer)
[10:49] <Yanmei> "*Ahem.*" She shifted position a little. "So maybe that's true."
[10:56] <Minaplo> ["In that case, could you find it in yourself to concede that there might be elements of the UN worth defending?"]
[10:59] <Yanmei> "The soldiers - most of them - don't deserve to be in a conflict like this one," she conceded.
[11:03] <Minaplo> ["Quite right." Said Ezra. "And there are a lot of people, both in the military and out, who believe in the UN, believe in its mission. The UN ended the chaos. The UN destroyed the Angels. And many believe that, right now, the UN acts as the torch and sword of democracy and freedom."-
[11:06] <Minaplo> ["In all three cases, their belief is disappointed or wrong." Said Ezra. "The UN ended the chaos, but the people pulling the strings created it in the first place. The UN destroyed the Angels, but the people pulling the strings only did that to steal the Angels' power for their own. And the UN pretends to uphold freedom, but the people pulling the strings don't care one whit about the will
[11:06] <Minaplo> of the people."-
[11:13] <Minaplo> ["Some would say their belief is misplaced. The Federation clearly does already. But I disagree. Their belief isn't misplaced, the UN is. The UN should be the one to conform. Those people deserve to have their faith rewarded at least once."]
[11:18] <Yanmei> "You must have a lot of faith in yourself and your Promised Land organization. That's a lot of bad UN stuff to counteract."
[11:28] <Minaplo> ["I can't promise success, but I can promise a good attempt." Said Ezra with a smile.-
[11:30] <Minaplo> ["Besides, you're sort of in the same boat. The Soviets, the French, the Chinese- all of them have a handful of neighbours under a yoke. You have a kind, sensitive heart, Chancellor, and I know that those occupations don't sit well with you. You're wondering how to balance the freedom of those people against the demands and resources of your allies… Tough job."]
[11:33] * Yanmei tossed her hair. "Heh. I have friends in high places who are giving me lots of advice on those matters? I'm not worried. Not that I would be even if I was lacking those friends."
[11:43] <Minaplo> [Ezra's eyebrows were quite high by that point. "I see."-
[11:44] <Minaplo> ["In any case, Ms. Zhang, my contract is to the UN, not to Mary Caine. I believe it can be saved. It should be saved. And if anything, the Eternity Drive helped convince me to join the UN, not to drive me away."-
[11:45] <Minaplo> ["Because now I can see how desperately the UN needs my help."]
[11:53] <Yanmei> "I see." Yanmei settled against the backrest of her chair. "I hope your plan works out. It would be in everyone's best interest if it did?"
[11:55] <Minaplo> ["That's the plan."]
[08:06] <Yanmei> None of her business. "I'm a little surprised you were hired, though. You don't seem like someone who can controlled all that easily? And your plans probably don't fit in much with what the leaders of the UN have been thinking about."
[08:07] <Minaplo> ["There's quite a divergence, yes." Said Ezra. "But if you think about it, hiring me isn't that surprising from her standpoint…"]
[08:08] <Yanmei> "As a PR figure, maybe. But as someone with actual power…?"
[08:13] <Minaplo> ["Well, she needs to give me some power in order to do my job, just not enough power that I can become a threat to her long-term goals. And considering the resources she has, she can give me quite a lot of power without reaching that point…"]
[08:24] <Yanmei> "Hm." She scrutinized him a moment more. "Obviously you know her better than I do? I would have thought that giving up even the smallest degree of power would drive her mad."
[08:26] <Minaplo> ["Why would it? She's giving it to someone she thinks she controls. That's not giving up power, that's just delegating it."]
[08:38] <Yanmei> "Really? She thinks she controls you? And is not being super creepy paranoid about having you in her ranks?" She raised her eyebrows a little.
[08:42] <Minaplo> ["Why would she be? She knows I hate her and would overthrow her if I could, but Mary's choices were to either risk me joining you, try to destroy me, or recruit me. The first idea she hates. The second idea is safe, assuming she succeeded- which she had a high but not absolute chance of doing. But the third one removes me as a threat yet makes me useful."-
[08:43] <Minaplo> ["Mary's no fool, but she knows I'm not either. If you were in my shoes, how would you go about overthrowing Mary?"]
[08:44] <Yanmei> "It'd be difficult," she admitted. "And it's not like you could assassinate her all that easily either?"
[08:44] <Minaplo> ["Quite right. So how'd you do it?"]
[08:57] <Yanmei> "I don't know. There'd have to be a way to harness the discontent of everyone else working under her. Make them loyal to you instead? But even that isn't a surefire way to get started. Plus she'd be on the lookout for that activity."
[09:01] <Minaplo> ["Oh, I could do that, but that wouldn't work so long as she has the Eternity Drive. Most of her most powerful assets are controlled by that."]
[09:03] <Yanmei> "And finding a way to destroy -that- would take an act of God."
[09:04] <Minaplo> ["So as you can see, she's quite safe from me."]
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[09:07] <Yanmei> "Hm. Fine? So you have a point on that."
[09:13] <Minaplo> ["But that doesn't answer your questions fully, huh?" Said Sarah now. "C'mon, I know what you're wondering… If we could see this coming, why didn't we join you first, right?"]
[09:20] <Yanmei> "I'd assumed that you wanted to stay out of the conflict entirely? Why get pulled in if you don't have to be?"
[09:21] <Minaplo> ["If Mary assumed that we were beyond recruitable, then wouldn't she just destroy us to avoid us joining you?" Said Sarah.]
[09:25] <Yanmei> "I'm sure that would have been an option for her had you refused her offer."
[09:26] <Minaplo> ["Mmhmm."]
[09:30] <Yanmei> "Let's be honest here. Squashing this rebellion doesn't exactly fit in with your history of protecting and rehoming war orphans and child soldiers? I mean, now you're trying to make the best of it, but you'd probably be happier if you were never involved."
[09:36] <Minaplo> ["I don't know about that." Said Ezra, pouring himself another glass of wine. "Promised Land isn't just about war orphans and child soldiers. It's also about the people who've been left adrift because my family had a use for them… Then didn't. Or one day wouldn't."-
[09:36] <Minaplo> ["You know what I mean when I say that."]
[09:40] <Yanmei> "Yeah, I do."
[21:32] <@Minaplo> ["I figured you would." Said Ezra. "I think we're alike in that aspect… You were the one who made mention of the Phantoms in the summit, about how we had to prepare for their post-war lives."-
[21:32] <@Minaplo> ["Considering our lives' work, you can see how taking this job is exactly in keeping with that, can't you? The Phantoms need help. You know that."]
[21:44] <Yanmei> "You look really earnest when you say that," Yanmei sighed. "And I believe you are. Probably. How to you propose helping them? All of our own specialists are pretty stumped on the question given how many of them there are and how little we know about their conditioning."
[21:49] <Yanmei> ^how do you
[21:52] <@Minaplo> ["I'm trying to incorporate them into Promised Land's preexisting structures." Said Ezra. "Our children are a welcoming lot. I'm hoping the best thing for them is to spend time with healthier people, yet people who know what it's like."]
[22:06] <Yanmei> "Hm. Maybe. What if it's not enough, though? Won't you need a lot of psychological specialists?"
[22:07] <@Minaplo> ["Of course." Said Ezra. "I don't know if it'll be enough. I doubt we'll be able to help all of them. But we have to try."]
[22:17] <Yanmei> "…you should still have access to the people who, erm. Designed the way their minds work. Correct?"
[22:17] <@Minaplo> ["I should, yes."]
[22:19] <Yanmei> "Then you should have a significant advantage over anyone else when it come to helping them. Not that -we- won't try ourselves, if given the opportunity," she added, bristling slightly at some unsaid challenge.
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[22:27] <@Minaplo> ["I'd hope so."]
[22:35] <Yanmei> "Of course, we have experience with such things ourselves, on a less severe scale? With the Ayanamis. We could try to join our efforts together in the aftermath."
[22:36] <@Minaplo> ["That sounds like a good idea to me." Said Sarah.]
[22:41] * Yanmei beamed at her. "See? Just because we're on opposing sides doesn't mean we have to be unfriendly."
[22:44] <@Minaplo> ["Absolutely." Said Sarah, giving Yanmei an utterly infectious smile in return.-
[22:45] <@Minaplo> ["That's what this is all about." Said Ezra, downing his wine. "You sure you don't want a drink?"]
[22:45] * Suzune (moc.rr.ser.yabapmat.551cfh1322356|enuzuS#moc.rr.ser.yabapmat.551cfh1322356|enuzuS) has left #nervfrance2
[22:45] * Vera (moc.rr.ser.yabapmat.551cfh1322356|areV#moc.rr.ser.yabapmat.551cfh1322356|areV) has joined #nervfrance2
[22:50] <Yanmei> "Certainly, she said, with only the slightest pause. She also took a chair. -
[22:51] * @Minaplo (ua.ten.tenii.nyd.832-611-071-421|uOolpaniM#ua.ten.tenii.nyd.832-611-071-421|uOolpaniM) Quit (Connection reset by peer)
[22:51] * Minaplo|Out (ua.ten.tenii.nyd.832-611-071-421|uOolpaniM#ua.ten.tenii.nyd.832-611-071-421|uOolpaniM) has joined #nervfrance2
[22:51] * Minaplo|Out is now known as Mianplo
[22:52] <Yanmei> "Certainly, she said, with only the slightest pause. She also took a chair. -
[22:54] <Yanmei> "You know, in some ways, you both remind me of my husband? It's a shame he isn't here. You'd probably get along together well?"
[22:56] <Mianplo> ["Isaiah Gabriel, right?" Said Sarah.]
[22:57] <Yanmei> "That's right? He feels very passionately about both the Ayanamis and the Phantoms. Not only them. He worries about -everyone's- well being. And he's not alone? Being with the UEF seems to suit him a lot."
[23:00] <Mianplo> ["That's good." Said Ezra. "That's the sort of thing I value in a partner at any rate…"-
[23:00] <Mianplo> [Sarah and Ezra exchanged a very fond look.-
[23:01] <Mianplo> ["He sounds like he's a great comfort to you." Said Sarah. "Loyal and affectionate."]
[23:04] <Yanmei> "He really is? And sensitive. I'm happy to support him however I can."
[23:04] <Mianplo> ["He has a very sweet, gentle face as well. Pretty eyes…"]
[23:07] <Yanmei> "Ah. Of course, you've studied the images in his file."
[23:13] <Mianplo> ["Uh-huh." Said Sarah. "I think ours are a little out of date, though? Your picture doesn't really do you any justice whatsoever…"]
[23:19] * Yanmei ran her fingers through her hair. "I guess it's hard not to notice? Had a forced makeover some months ago."
[23:20] <Mianplo> [It was at this point that Ezra handed her a glass of wine.-
[23:20] <Mianplo> ["A forced makeover?" Said Sarah, her eyes wide.]
[23:22] <Yanmei> "Broken down into LCL during a near-impact event. I came back as this. This was before we went into space, of course?"
[23:24] <Mianplo> ["Oh, I see." Said Sarah.-
[23:24] <Mianplo> ["Wow." Said Ezra. "Was this Niagara Falls?"]
[23:28] <Yanmei> "It was. Obviously I don't remember much of the event itself? But Isaiah went through a similar experience inside his berserked Eva. He still has the gentle face and pretty eyes, though?" She smirked at Sarah and drank a little from her wine. Drug and poison free, yes?
[23:29] <Mianplo> [As poison free as alcohol ever could be. Editorialising!-
[23:33] <Mianplo> ["Hm~" Sarah smiled. "How've you found, dealing with the changes?"]
[23:37] <Yanmei> "I'm quick to adjust. So was he. The worst was getting used to the new size? You'd reach for something, not remembering that your arm was now a bit longer than it used to be, and you'd accidentally end up knocking it over instead of grabbing it. We had to be exceptionally careful around our little girl, Lizzie."
[23:46] <Mianplo> ["I can understand that." Said Ezra.-
[23:46] <Mianplo> ["You'd have trouble with clothes too, I bet." Said Sarah.]
[23:49] <Yanmei> "The worst? Fortunately, there was someone on board to help with that? Ah. Before joining us he did similar work to what Promised Land has done, apparently? Goes by Mr. Blue. Have you heard of him?"
[23:49] <Mianplo> ["Oh yeah." Said Ezra flatly. "Yeah, yeah…"-
[23:50] <Mianplo> ["Yeah…"]
[23:50] <Yanmei> "Not a fan?"
[23:56] <Mianplo> ["Promised Land is the world's only legally recognised private military contractor." Said Ezra. "We're also the biggest in our line of work, and we've tangled with our fair share of shady folk. The Knights of the Round Table, Walpurgis Night, Evening Primrose, the Triads, the Covenant of Light, the Carcharadons… You name it. Blue's up there too."-
[23:56] <Mianplo> ["We've worked with him and we've worked against him. He's not the easiest person to get along with, but I was never given enough time to really sort out his deal."]
Session Time: Sun May 10 00:00:00 2015
[00:03] <Yanmei> "He has his own way of doing things. And yeah, he's caused some… friction on the ship? But the funny thing is, he joined to look out for the Ayanamis. Completely unexpected, huh?"
[00:04] <Mianplo> ["Did he now?" Said Ezra. "Hmmm."-
[00:04] <Mianplo> ["Then again, Blue's own background is rather tortured…"]
[00:12] <Yanmei> "It was. There are several like that who are with us. William Weis-Xylander. A lot of our Neospartans. More recently, the survivors of the Crystal Massacre. That combined with the ambush we discussed at the meeting earlier left a lot of orphans under our care." She gave him a sad smile. "It's one of the reasons I wish you'd sided with us."
[00:16] <Mianplo> ["I'm hoping my placement means I can prevent more massacres from creating more orphans." Said Ezra with his own humourless smile. "I'd rather keep children with their parents than have to care for them as orphans."-
[00:24] <Mianplo> ["But." Sarah now. "There's something I want to know."]
[00:30] <Yanmei> "Yes?"
[00:31] <Mianplo> ["It's cruel of you to mention your little girl- Lizzie? Then not tell us anything…"]
[00:39] <Yanmei> "Heh." There seemed to be something on the tip of her tongue, but whatever it was she held it back and went along with the diversion. "She's a good girl. Three years old. Blonde hair and green eyes, like her biological mom. Extremely empathetic towards people and animals, even crossing language barriers to give hugs and comfort."
[00:39] <Mianplo> ["Aww. That sounds adorable~"]
[00:46] <Yanmei> "It really is! You should see her play. She's a bright bundle of energy. And smart! She's already learning to write in french. English will be next. She's not as great with Mandarin, which is my fault. She understands some words in it, though."
[00:53] <Mianplo> ["Multilingual!" Said Sarah brightly. "That's awesome. I'm going to teach my little one the same~"-
[00:53] <Mianplo> ["Sarah's great with languages." Said Ezra. "A real polyglot."-
[00:53] <Mianplo> [Sarah blushed pleasantly.]
[00:55] <Yanmei> "Oh? What are your specialties?"
[00:58] <Mianplo> ["Romance and Germanic languages, but I've picked up a bunch from working with all the kids and guys in Promised Land." Said Sarah.]
[01:03] <Yanmei> "Interesting! I'm seriously no match for you, then?" She finished the rest of her unpoisoned wine and set the glass gently on the table between them. "I hate to be abrupt, but… I really should head off now? I have that other meeting to get to. But this was lovely. I appreciate the invitation."
[01:11] <Mianplo> ["Not a problem. We were glad to have you." Said Ezra.-
[01:12] <Mianplo> [Sarah swung her legs off the end of the chaise-lounge, got to her feet, and walked over to give Yanmei a quick but warm hug. "I'd love it if we'd be able to keep in touch." She said gently. "I don't know if that's possible though, so… Let's promise to make up after everything's over, okay?"]
[01:17] <Yanmei> "Of course?" She returned the hug, patting her quickly on the arm. "Oh. Speaking of keeping in touch… I feel like I'm imposing, but would you mind delivering my reply letter to Sophia for me? I still need to write it, but it should be finished by tomorrow."
[01:18] <Mianplo> ["Not at all!" Said Sarah.]
[01:20] <Yanmei> "Thank you so much." She extended a handshake toward Ezra. "And if you ever feel like you'd want to give the UEF a try instead of the UN, please let me know? I'd be happy to work something out."
[01:21] <Mianplo> [Ezra laughed, but he took Yanmei's hand and shook it firmly.-
[01:21] <Mianplo> ["Do you know why I didn't join the UEF?"]
[01:22] <Yanmei> "Hm? Why?"
[01:23] <Mianplo> ["That's for you to think about. Tell you what, the next time we meet, you'll tell me what you think my reasons are, and if you're wrong, then I'll tell you."]
[01:24] * Yanmei smirked. "Challenge accepted?"
[01:27] <Mianplo> ["Hm." He smiled.-
[01:27] <Mianplo> ["Send my regards to Alex, Asuka and the rest."]
[01:29] <Yanmei> "Naturally. Enjoy the rest of your evening." And with little else left to do here, she turned and headed for the door.

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