This Too Shall Pass 3 2 12

[00:40] <Yanmei> It was hours after her visit with France's judgemental Parliament, and she still couldn't quite shake her exhaustion from the ordeal. Even worse, Ariadne had coaxed her into a few drinks on the trip home, which only made her even more sleepy and tired. Ideally, she would have gone to her cabin the instant her returning VTOL had landed on the ship. Instead, muttering under her breath, she was walking to her office to pick up some paperwork. -
[00:42] <Yanmei> The waiting area was quiet and deserted. Maybe Lucille had gone out to have dinner? Yanmei blinked at the abandoned desk in mute surprise before shrugging, going to the door of her office proper, and hitting the button to open it.
[00:44] <Minaplo> [It opened.-
[00:44] <Minaplo> ["… Not as good as beer, though."-
[00:48] <Minaplo> [Her office was occupied. Seized, even.-
[00:58] <Minaplo> [Sitting in her chair, wearing a red t-shirt and a pair of short jeans, her legs insolently up on Yanmei's table, was Asuka, looking completely at home, sipping from a small glass filled with amber liquid.-
[01:01] <Minaplo> [Next to her, holding the -bottle-, was… Henriette, looking pretty in a long white dress, white stockings and a pair of black shoes.-
[01:01] <Minaplo> ["Oh, look." Said Asuka. "'Bout time!"]
[01:04] * Raphael (|leahpaR#|leahpaR) Quit (Quit: [01:50] <Syntax> There's no laws against polygamy in space)
[01:07] * Raphael (~|oaT#|oaT) has joined #nervfrance
[01:09] <Yanmei> What. Yanmei stared. Then she gradually turned it into a glare. "What are you -doing-? My desk-!" She hurried over, trying to shoo Asuka off of it.
[01:15] <Minaplo> ["Nagh! Go away!"]
[01:16] <Yanmei> "Go away? Whose office do you think this is?!"
[01:21] <Minaplo> ["It belongs to the Chancellor of the Federation? Who works for us, so this is our office." Said Asuka.-
[01:21] <Minaplo> [Henriette nodded sagely. "She's right, you know."]
[01:23] <Yanmei> "She's not! Don't encourage her? And what are you doing with that?" She eyed the bottle of alcohol that Henriette was holding.
[01:26] <Minaplo> ["Asuka wanted a drink." Said Henriette, her tone warm and innocent.]
[01:28] <Yanmei> "And where did you get it? Your father's room? I'll totally tell on you if you did," she warned.
[01:28] <Minaplo> ["You didn't know? They installed a liquor cabinet in your room just today." Said Henriette brightly.]
[01:29] <Yanmei> "…" She looked around the room quickly.
[01:31] <Minaplo> [And indeed, a stately-looking liquor cabinet now stood in one of the corners of the room. It was generously stocked with spirits and wines.]
[01:38] <Yanmei> "Y-you dare steal from your Chancellor? This is a punishable offense!" Why hadn't anyone told her about the liquor cabinet?! What was Lucille even doing today? Yanmei folded her arms, striking a stern and authoratative pose if she did say so herself. "Out of my chair. It's -my- chair."
[01:40] <Minaplo> ["Make me."-
[01:40] <Minaplo> [Asuka took a big gulp of her drink.]
[01:43] * Yanmei narrowed her eyes and grabbed the back of the chair. Then she shook it back and forth in as dignified a manner as she could muster. "Nngh! Listen to me!"
[01:55] <Minaplo> ["Gyaaaah! Stopstopstuggr-
[01:56] <Minaplo> [Asuka began coughing furiously, a hand over her throat.]
[01:59] * Yanmei smirked triumphantly, pausing in her assault. "Ha! That's but one punishment I'm capable of dishing out~ You'd better listen to me properly?"
[02:05] <Minaplo> ["How undignified." Said Henriette, looking appalled.]
[02:06] <Yanmei> "Un…? Hmph!" Yanmei shook her head. "Some day you'll understand that negotiations can't always be won with words."
[02:12] <Minaplo> ["If only you'd been able to shake Villeneuve's chair like a common brat." Said Henriette loftily.-
[02:13] <Minaplo> [Asuka, meanwhile, had managed to clear her airways. She stood up, scowling at Yanmei. "And it's your fault I'm here in the first place. Ungrateful…"]
[02:14] * Yanmei simply frowned at Heneriette, and then eyed Asuka. "What do you mean…?"
[02:16] <Minaplo> ["I'm here with a formal complaint?"]
[02:18] <Yanmei> "About what? The Evas…? Your OD?"
[02:29] <Minaplo> ["That's right." Said Asuka. "My Eva. Or rather, the ruined shell of it? You shits haven't even started fixing it yet!"]
[02:31] <Yanmei> "If we had the money, repairs would be done by now? All the Evas would be fixed and running!"
[02:33] <Minaplo> ["I know that! We can only select a few to repair at a time, right?"]
[02:35] <Yanmei> "Exactly."
[02:37] <Minaplo> ["… So why didn't you fix mine first?!?"]
[02:41] <Yanmei> "Because our tacticians recommended getting some long ranged units working first? We're getting to 02, trust me. Just be patient a little while longer?"
[02:41] <Minaplo> ["Grrrr." Asuka glowered.-
[02:46] <Minaplo> ["I've tried to be patient. But it's hard to be patient when you keep taking away all my release valves? Why're you so selfish?"]
[02:53] <Yanmei> "Hey." Yanmei slipped her a sulky look. "I'm working hard for you and everyone else? Do you know how many jerks I've had to negotiate with in just this week?"
[08:00] <Minaplo> ["How many?"]
[08:04] <Yanmei> "Hundreds! I had to go to a big assembly with people from all over the world, and just now I had to deal with a bunch of France's dumb politicians without any help at all."
[08:08] <Minaplo> ["She also practises her speeches in the mirror, so that's another." Said Henriette.]
[08:10] <Yanmei> "I do no such thing? That would look ridiculous…"
[08:19] <Minaplo> ["Anyway." Said Asuka. "Didja win?"]
[08:20] <Yanmei> "Of course!" Yanmei puffed up. "I'm the best diplomat ever? So of course I was able to convince everyone to see things my way."
[08:23] <Minaplo> ["Didja get more funding?"]
[08:25] <Yanmei> "N-no. But I convinced everyone that we weren't doing unethical things."
[08:31] <Minaplo> ["Huh. Did they give you much of a fight?"]
[08:39] <Yanmei> "Hmph." Yanmei sat on the edge of her desk, arms folded. "Some. But they came from people I knew were our enemies. The dumb UN, for example. And that smug Villeneuve. That guy is the worst? He implied that I was a hapless figurehead, right there in front of everyone!"
[08:40] <Minaplo> ["My father always did say he was uncomfortably perceptive." Said Henriette off-handedly.]
[08:43] * Yanmei glared at her. "More like blind and stupid. Hmph!"
[08:47] <Minaplo> [Henriette smirked.-
[08:47] <Minaplo> ["I too have a complaint, lackey."]
[08:52] <Yanmei> "I'll consider hearing it if you address me as 'glorious leader' from now on."
[08:55] <Minaplo> ["Time for me to release my blackmail material to Villeneuve, then~"]
[08:59] <Yanmei> "Like you really have any." But Yanmei was watching her closely and suspiciously.
[09:05] <Minaplo> [Henriette smirked.]
[09:08] * Yanmei sighed dramatically. "Just give me your complaints."
[09:08] <Minaplo> ["It is true that you debated Villeneuve in the Assembly chambers, then? And you knew you would have to do this?"]
[09:09] <Yanmei> "Yeah. Your father told me about it a few days in advance?"
[09:12] <Minaplo> ["I see."-
[09:12] <Minaplo> ["Yet not once did you ask me for my assistance." Said Henriette huffily.]
[09:15] * Yanmei blinked in mild surprise. "I didn't realize you were even interested?"
[09:19] <Minaplo> ["Why wouldn't I be? I thought we were working together in this…"]
[09:23] <Yanmei> "Hm. What would have done if you had been included?"
[09:23] * Vannik (~ten.labolgcbs.xtslld.deepsthgil.212-441-251-99|kinnaV#ten.labolgcbs.xtslld.deepsthgil.212-441-251-99|kinnaV) has joined #nervfrance
[09:25] <Minaplo> ["Practiced with you, of course!"]
[09:26] * Yanmei nodded. "I don't know if there will be a next time? But if there is, I'll let you in on the practice sessions. Is that acceptable?"
[09:26] <Minaplo> ["Of course."-
[09:26] <Minaplo> ["Right. We all good?" Said Asuka.-
[09:26] <Minaplo> ["Mmm."-
[09:28] <Minaplo> ["Great." Asuka grabbed Yanmei around the shoulders. "You didn't really think we did all this just to bitch at you, did you, dork?"-
[09:29] <Minaplo> ["We're actually here to wish you congratulations." Said Henriette with a sweet smile. "And reward you."]
[09:31] <Yanmei> Now there was more suspicion. That -smile-. "Reward how, exactly?" she demanded, glancing back and forth between the two.
[09:35] <Minaplo> ["How does some pampering sound?"]
[09:39] <Yanmei> "Hmm." A little bit of curiosity started to creep onto her face. "Like candy? And watching movies together and stuff?"
[09:48] <Minaplo> ["Yup." Said Asuka. "And sleeping in. And…" Asuka whipped out what looked like some sort of gift certificate. "Spa and massage treatment? Don't say I don't spoil you. This was expensive."]
[09:50] <Yanmei> "W-wow. This was unexpected!" Yanmei reached for it with both hands. "When did you even have time to get this?"
[09:54] <Minaplo> ["I had to get it today, of course." Said Asuka. She let it drop into Yanmei's hand. "Speaking of which, you're probably busy, but Blue does wanna speak to you."]
[09:55] <Yanmei> "Oh…?" Another slightly wary look. "Is this about another commercial?"
[09:57] <Minaplo> ["Nah. Blue's sort of taken over organising 'specialised' downtime trips, sort of like a localised travel agency, because he seems to know where everything is in Orleans and crap. But he's talkin' about expanding the services on the promenade, and uh…"-
[09:57] <Minaplo> ["Opinion is divided." Said Henriette tactfully. "Armagnac?"]
[10:04] <Yanmei> Her stomach rolled a bit in memory of the drinks she'd had earlier. "No thank you. But hm. This is the first time I've heard of this? Interesting. People around here could use trips like that to occupy them."
[10:08] <Minaplo> ["Of course." Said Asuka. "But the problem some guys have is that he's kinda about bringing the services to us. As in, on the ship."]
[10:12] <Yanmei> "Wait. What do you mean? It's not like he's rounding up locals and bringing them on board to entertain us, right?" She chuckled.
[10:14] <Minaplo> ["I wouldn't say 'rounding' up? But he's talking about them renting out space on the ship and operating shops, like he does."]
[10:19] <Yanmei> "Now that's… a lot more complicated. These shop owners could be anyone! Including spies."
[10:20] <Minaplo> ["Or civilians on a warship." Said Henriette.]
[10:21] <Yanmei> "That too! No wonder people are all worried about it? I'll have a talk with him later."
[10:31] <Minaplo> ["Good." Said Asuka. "Still… I wouldn't mind having those things on board, just not in such a messy way."]
[10:37] <Yanmei> "We'll make them set up branches, hiring only internal UEF people. And said branch employees will be subject to constant scrunity."
[10:39] <Minaplo> ["That sounds fair." Said Henriette.-
[10:42] <Minaplo> ["Blue's also offering to fund 'em, too…" Added Asuka.]
[10:43] <Yanmei> "Huh? Does he… owe some favors or something?"
[10:53] <Minaplo> ["I believe he wishes to establish himself as a community leader." Said Henriette darkly.]
[11:07] <Yanmei> "Hrm. Sneaky." Yanmei muttered. "Wonder why…"
[11:10] <Minaplo> ["Power and influence!"]
[11:11] <Yanmei> "Well yes. But only over a couple of stores instead of really important stuff?"
[11:13] <Minaplo> ["Could be important to him." Said Asuka. "The underhanded rogue, made community elder…"]
[11:19] <Yanmei> "Part of his rehabilitation. I'll see what I can di after talking to him?"
[11:27] <Minaplo> ["Sounds good." Said Asuka.]
[11:34] * Yanmei yawned. "For now I'm gonna lock up and go to sleep. Thank you again for the gift?"
[11:34] <Minaplo> ["Reward." Said Henriette.-
[11:35] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, no problem?" Said Asuka. She ran a hand through her hair.]
[11:36] * Yanmei stood up straight. "Let's all leave together~ I'm sure you're both tired too?"
[11:37] <Minaplo> ["What am I supposed to be tired from?" Asked Asuka, scowling.]
[11:39] <Yanmei> "From… I don't know, training? The effort it must have taken to sneak in here?"
[11:39] <Minaplo> ["What effort?"]
[11:41] <Yanmei> "I doubt you were just able to waltz in?" Yanmei said smugly. "I bet you had to pull one over on my secretary first."
[11:42] <Minaplo> ["Lucille let us in."]
[11:43] <Yanmei> "What?" She glanced at Henriette as if to confirm this news.
[11:45] <Minaplo> ["She did." Said Henriette sweetly.-
[11:45] <Minaplo> ["Is that a problem?" Said a sudden voice at Yanmei's shoulder.]
[11:47] * Yanmei jumped, whirling around. "L-Lucille!" When had she come in?!
[11:50] <Minaplo> [Lucille was indeed standing there, not even a foot from Yanmei's shoulder.]
[11:51] <Yanmei> And this left her rather flustered. "W-well. It's not a problem as such," Yanmei stammered.
[11:52] <Minaplo> ["I would hope not. I let them in because they wanted to indulge you a little. And you have been working hard recently…"]
[11:54] * Suzune (moc.rr.ser.yabapmat.551cfh1322356|enuzuS#moc.rr.ser.yabapmat.551cfh1322356|enuzuS) has joined #nervfrance
[11:58] <Yanmei> "I see? Thank you. Things went well today in Paris, by the way."
[12:00] <Minaplo> ["I saw. I'm very impressed."]
[12:01] * Yanmei beamed. "Let's all call it a day, shall we?"
[12:02] <Minaplo> ["Let's." Said Henriette warmly. Quite suddenly she was by Yanmei's side, slipping her hand- slim, smooth, marred by a missing little finger- into Yanmei's own. She beamed like an innocent little angel.]
[12:08] * Yanmei smiled back at her. The liquor bottle was now mysteriously missing from her person. Sneaky girl. Instead of complaining about it, though, she simply led the way out.

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