This Too Shall Pass 3 2 24

[12:47] <Raphael> "- estimates suggest we've put Dysangelion Agatha off the battlefield for a minimum of two weeks with the cranial damage it suffered, and it's likely to take even longer than that before it surfaces again."-
[12:47] <Raphael> The Liberty Bell's briefing room had been well-used in the wake of Operation Rose, and today was no exception. This time it was playing host to the key members of SOS - the entirety of SOS-1, along with the Lieutenants for each of the other units. Raphael Guillory stood at the front of the ampitheatre, gesturing towards a set of maps outlining the Red Army's progress.-
[12:47] <Raphael> "Considering the limited damage we took in return, and the territory we assisted the Red Army to retake, Command considers the operation to have been a sizeable victory for the UEF," he continued, turning to face his team. "I'd like to commend you all for another job well done."-
[12:47] <Raphael> "With the Litbel Line in the Red Army's hands, it looks like we're being redeployed back to the Dorian for the short-term. We're unlikely to be there for long, but it does mean some time in friendly territory. Any questions?"
[12:48] <Minaplo> ["Any news on whether hell's frozen over yet and the Soviets actually like us?" Asked Henri.]
[12:49] <Raphael> "Hell remains warm, Sergeant."
[12:59] <Minaplo> ["Mmph."-
[13:00] <Minaplo> ["Any word on what we'll be doing back on the Dory?" Asked Hugues.]
[13:07] <Raphael> "Nothing set in stone," he said. "… Although there's word coming down the line regarding Command's intent to resecure Asgard Base."
[13:13] <Minaplo> [That set the room a-murmuring, although Hugues was silent, staring down at the table; Mana was clutching her hands together tightly.-
[13:13] * CakeyCake is now known as Yanmei
[13:16] <Minaplo> ["About time." Said Blaise firmly. "We've let that go too long already, methinks."]
[13:20] * Raphael gave Blaise a hard look before speaking to the room at large.-
[13:20] <Raphael> "I'm aware of just what that means for some of us. I'd ask that anyone with personal misgivings communicate them to me so that we can solve any potential problems before we're in the field. The same goes for the other squads if the mission is given the go-ahead. If it means rotating in some soldiers from the Battleship Marines, so be it."
[13:30] <Minaplo> ["We can communicate those misgivings privately, I hope?" Asked Euphrasie.]
[13:32] <Raphael> "Of course."
[13:38] <Minaplo> ["Bit strange though." Said Blaise. "We beat that Caine dude's ass pretty hard, I thought we'd be pushing harder on this front right away."-
[13:38] <Minaplo> ["Heh."-
[13:39] <Minaplo> [Isidor Rurikovich shook his head. "You've clearly overestimated the Red Army's logistical capabilities. This was only ever an attempt to buy time, not a true attack. The Soviet Union's still months away from full mobilisation."]
[13:43] <Raphael> "Precisely. Taking the Litbel Line allows them to hold their borders with minimal effort while they marshal the rest of their forces," Raphael said. "If Commander Caine had stopped them from doing that it's likely they would have lost what territory they'd retaken."
[13:45] <Minaplo> ["As it stands, I wouldn't be surprised if our current political situation were his doing either." Said Isidor quietly. "Make the invasion of the Baltic states a little too easy and stoke the fame of a commander all too willing to limit his Superheavy support?"]
[13:49] <Raphael> "… A valid thought," he admitted, leaning against the podium. "However it's not one we can do a great deal about."
[13:51] <Minaplo> ["Honestly, I don't see what the big deal is." Said Blaise, folding his hands behind his head. "So he might've done some lame political ploy to make the Soviets, who already hated us, hate us more. Big whoop. Didn't stop us from kickin' over his sandcastle and breakin' his toys." Blaise snorted.-
[13:51] <Minaplo> ["What a hack!" He finished.-
[13:52] <Minaplo> [It happened in an instant. Mana's hand snapped forward, grabbed a metal mug full of hot coffee off the table and hurled it at Blaise's head.-
[13:54] <Minaplo> [The coffee splashed across Blaise's face, his shirt, his hands and his pants; he leapt backwards out of his chair, thudding onto the ground with a high-pitched screech.-
[13:55] <Minaplo> [Mana had shot to her feet, her hands balled into fists.-
[13:55] <Minaplo> ["Shut up!" Shouted Mana over Blaise's screeching. "Just- shut up! None of you know anything!"-
[13:59] <Minaplo> [There were a few moments of silence now. Even Blaise's screeching had died down into a grunting moan.-
[14:00] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[14:01] <Minaplo> [Mana abruptly turned and ran from the hall.-
[14:01] <Minaplo> [Blaise scrambled to his feet, still gingerly brushing waves of coffee off his pants. "I'll go-"-
[14:01] <Minaplo> ["Sit down." Growled Hugues. "The last thing she needs is you Dukering around her, making things worse."]
[14:13] <Raphael> "No need to sit, Sergeant Herriot," Raphael's voice was quiet, even and cold enough to drop the temperature in the room several figurative degrees, "Wait for me outside, please."
[14:14] <Minaplo> ["Tch. Yes sir." Grumbled Blaise. He grabbed a few napkins and began wiping himself down as he left.-
[14:15] <Minaplo> ["Huhn. Little shit." Growled Leon Thomas from somewhere in the back of the room.]
[14:17] * Raphael didn't reply aside from a sigh.-
[14:17] <Raphael> "Euphrasie, I'm sorry to ask but would you mind going after her?"
[14:18] <Minaplo> ["Not at all." Said Euphrasie. Within a second she was gone as well.]
[14:19] <Raphael> "Right," Raphael said, taking a moment to compose himself as Euphrasie passed. By the time the door closed she was standing a little straighter.-
[14:20] <Raphael> "Thank you for you time, everyone. If there are no other questions you're all free to go."
[14:22] <Minaplo> ["Kirishima's reaction… She's not the only NeoSpartan with a close history with Promised Land, is she?" Said Isidor.]
[14:23] <Raphael> "… No," Raphael said reluctantly. "A good number of the NeoSpartans within the UEF have similar histories."
[14:25] <Minaplo> ["Are questions going to be asked?"]
[14:26] <Raphael> "Undoubtedly. There was similar talk in the wake of Silas Caine's appearance."
[14:27] <Minaplo> ["You don't say." Said Isidor. "Well, nothing more from me."-
[14:28] <Minaplo> ["As shitty as this sitch is for us, it's likely to be five times as worse for those under suspicion." Said Marie. "Keep that in mind, boys and girls."]
[14:31] <Raphael> "Quite right. Treating them as outsiders is hardly going to improve their situation, or ours," he agreed.
[14:34] <Minaplo> [There were murmurs of agreement, but no further questions.]
[14:39] <Raphael> "Alright everyone. Dismissed."-
[14:40] <Raphael> He looked over at where Marie and Henri were seated. "Although Henri, may I have a word in private before you go?"
[14:42] <Minaplo> ["Uh, sure."]
[14:45] <Raphael> "Excellent." With that Raphael stepped off the side of the podium, clearing the viewscreen behind him of maps and graphs as the other soldiers filed out.
[14:49] <Minaplo> [The procession of soldiers didn't take very long; soon it was only Raphael and Henri left.]
[15:13] * Raphael waited for the door to shut before turning away from the viewscreen and heading in Henri's direction. "I should probably be seeing to Sergeant Herriot, but sweating for a while longer might just do him some good."
[15:18] <Minaplo> ["Probably right, sir. He seems to need a bit of a dressing down every now and then."]
[15:24] <Raphael> "Mmm."-
[15:24] <Raphael> Raphael sat down in the chair Marie had been occupying a few moments ago. "Still, I should get straight to the point so that he doesn't take it into his head to go and fix the problem himself. I suspect Mana would break one of his arms while Euphrasie does the other."
[15:29] <Minaplo> ["I'm not sure Mana would need the help, all told, sir."]
[15:30] <Raphael> "Hah. Probably not."-
[15:30] * Raphael was quiet for a moment, looking towards the front of the room. "… there's pressure on me to find a replacement pilot for the Ilmarinen so we can reintegrate it into the unit. D-Titans are such a limited resource that nobody is happy with one of them being mothballed."-
[15:30] <Raphael> "As you might imagine, your name has been mentioned. I thought it was best to speak to you about it directly."
[15:33] <Mianplo> ["Ah." Said Henri awkwardly. "Understood, sir."]
[15:36] <Raphael> "It's a request, not an order," he clarified. "There are other pilots, and I'm sure you could find enough support to have the assignment overturned if Command did decide to push the point."-
[15:37] <Raphael> "That said, you're trained, you're able and I trust you. At the very least I wanted you to have right of first refusal."
[15:39] <Mianplo> ["Uh, well… Marie's kinda been punching my shoulder asking me when I'll be out there with her, all told, sir."]
[15:42] * Raphael smiled. "Well, no need to give me an answer immediately. It's looking to be a few weeks before we're deploying the D-Titans again, so you have some time to think. Let me know within the next few days."
[15:42] <Mianplo> ["Sure. Is it ok if I, uh… Do a trial membership for it in those weeks?"]
[15:44] <Raphael> "I'd insist on it. I'll arrange some sparring matches between you and the others to bring you back up to speed."
[15:45] <Mianplo> ["Understood, sir."]
[15:47] <Raphael> "Excellent," he stood again, moving to clear the way out for Henri. "I'll let you be on your way, then. Time for me to see to Mr. Herriot."
[15:48] <Mianplo> ["Good luck, sir." Said Henri, getting to his feet.]
[15:56] * Raphael walked the soldier back towards the exit, giving him a quick salute before opening the door to meet the fool beyond…
[15:57] <Mianplo> [Duker was in the hall, his expression bitter- and not just because of the coffee.-
[15:57] <Mianplo> [(hohoho)-
[15:57] <Mianplo> [He leaned against the wall, his arms folded, scowling.]
[16:08] * Raphael met the scowl with an even look of his own, waiting until Henri had stepped out into the hall before he spoke. "Sergeant Herriot. If you'd step inside, please?"
[16:11] <Mianplo> [Duker wordlessly entered the briefing room, his scowl unshifting.]
[16:16] * Raphael shut the door behind him and walked to the front of the podium. "Sit."
[16:18] <Mianplo> [And so Duker sat, folding his arms and one leg over the other.]
[16:19] <Raphael> "Why do you think we have a problem right now, Sergeant?"
[16:21] <Mianplo> ["No idea, sir."]
[16:28] <Raphael> "Then allow me to illuminate it for you."-
[16:28] <Raphael> "I think you'll agree that I am fairly liberal in my approach to discipline in this unit," Raphael said. "Now part of that is just a result of the environment we are in, but part of that is that these breaches rarely hurt our unit cohesion."
[16:28] <Raphael> "You're an effective soldier, Sergeant, but your excessive and occasionally tone-deaf bravado has always been a problem. Now it has grown to the point where it is causing disruptions in this unit and I will not have it, is that clear?"
[16:31] <Mianplo> ["It's not my fault she's cozy with the enemy, sir." Said Duker resentfully.]
[16:33] <Raphael> "Don't be willfully dense," Raphael said, his tone growing a little rougher. "We were part of the UN a few months ago. It's hardly an incredible surprise."
[16:34] <Mianplo> ["Alright then, sir." Said Duker, his tone a little too 'sincere'. "I'll make sure to keep Mana's feelings in mind the next time I open fire on his unit."]
[16:45] * Raphael stared.
[17:18] <Mianplo> ["So…"-
[17:18] <Mianplo> ["Uhh…"-
[17:19] <Mianplo> [Blaise lowered his gaze and his head, his cheeks flushing either out of embarrassment, shame, anger or something else. "Mrm."]
[17:24] <Raphael> "You will develop a little empathy, Sergeant. Disrupt my unit further and there will be repercussions. Do you understand?"
[17:33] <Mianplo> ["Y-Yes sir."]
[17:34] <Raphael> "Good," he said flatly. He gave Blaise a hard look before moving on. "Give some thought to apologising to Sergeant Kirishima. If you can't bring yourself to do that - sincerely - learn to keep your mouth shut on the subject. I'll be speaking to her separately in regards to her own outburst."
[17:37] <Mianplo> ["…" Blaise nodded slowly. "Y…"-
[17:37] <Mianplo> [At that moment, the doors burst inwards, smacking against the wall. The loud thud made Blaise nearly jump out of his chair.-
[17:38] <Mianplo> [Standing in the doorway was a bear of a man, bald, with a bristly thick moustache. He was wearing Soviet Power Armour, and his hands were curled into tight fists.-
[17:38] <Mianplo> ["GGGGGGGGGUILLORYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!" Roared Mikhail Menshikov.]
[17:54] <Raphael> The steel door - so badly dented that it was almost conical - flew across the room to bounce off the wall opposite, brushing past an unflinching Raphael by mere inches as it arced by. Raphael turned slowly as the dust settled, his hands folded behind his back.-
[17:54] <Raphael> "General." He said icily. "I hope you intend to repair the door."
[17:59] <Mianplo> ["FUCK YOUR DOOR!"-
[17:59] <Mianplo> [He gestured at Raphael with the same sort of forcefulness that Zeus would use to throw a thunderbolt. "WHAT WERE YOUR SUPERHEAVIES DOING IN VILNIUS?!"]
[18:02] <Raphael> "… Assisting you. That tends to be the goal of joint-operations," he replied, sparing Blaise a momentary glance.
[18:03] <Raphael> "You're free to go, Sergeant. Keep in mind what we discussed."
[18:05] <Mianplo> ["Uhhh, yes sir." Said Blaise, who hastily scrambled to his feet and hurried out the door, trying his best to avoid touching Mikhail.-
[18:06] <Raphael> "We were airborne at the time of our arrival," Raphael said helpfully.
[18:09] <Mianplo> [For a second, Mikhail stood there in silence, his face as red as his flag, his moustache quivering. He had been struck dumb with pure rage.-
[18:12] <Mianplo> [And so he kicked the nearest chair as hard as he could. Its base snapped and went bouncing across several rows.-
[18:29] <Raphael> "That is factually inaccurate, General. And I would request that you stop damaging the room."
[18:31] <Mianplo> ["FUCK YOUR ROOM! FUCK YOU!" he roared, again.-
[18:32] <Mianplo> [Miraculously, his voice seemed to be dying down a little. "I have no patience for so-called allies who are unable to understand simple requests and follow through on them. You demonstrate a lack of discipline that shames you and the rest of you lot."]
[18:46] * Raphael stared for a moment, clearly going through the arduous process of taking what he wanted to say, discarding it and trying again. "… With all due respect, General," he managed after a moment, "We had minimal air support to begin with - a fact you were aware of - and at the time of your request they were occupied elsewhere."-
[18:46] <Raphael> "What we had was an untasked group of Superheavies. Rather than deny you support you requested entirely, you got us. All of this was communicated to you at the time, by my understanding."
[19:21] <Minaplo> ["Against my protest, which was overruled." Snarled Mikhail.-
[19:22] <Minaplo> ["So I take it you will not be seeking my forgiveness, then? You will not admit your wrongness?"]
[19:28] <Raphael> "Lay out precisely how we negatively impacted the operation and we can proceed from there."
[19:38] <Minaplo> ["The Superheavies were not supposed to be there!" Shouted Mikhail. "What happens next time, then? When we call for air support and a squad of Superheavies come? You are supposed to fight other Superheavies! You know that! The enemy knows that! All you will do is bring them down on the heads of my men!"-
[19:41] <Minaplo> ["It's obvious now that you and your lot don't trust me to understand a situation." He snarled. "Then I will not dare to rely on you in the future. I'll take my leave. In fact, go tell your Yankee whore I'll not dirty her ship with my boots again."-
[19:41] <Minaplo> [With that, he turned on his heel and stormed out, leaving Raphael alone in a room with about 500 dollars worth of property damage.]
[20:13] * Raphael watched him go in silence, not making any move to stop the furious General. In fact he didn't make any move at -all- for a long while after the man had left, staring fixedly at the ruined door.-
[20:13] <Raphael> He would be glad to leave Russia.

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