This Too Shall Pass 3 2 30

[17:19] <Raphael> "This shouldn't take long, Captain."-
[17:19] <Raphael> It was early morning, and the occupants of the Dorian Lachepelle's medical wing were still rousing as the doctors began their rounds. It certainly wasn't the time one would expect visitors, but that didn't seem to have stopped the two uniformed figures who had just passed by the nurse's station.-
[17:19] <Raphael> Raphael might've towered over his companion in the past, but now he stood nearly eye-to-eye with her. There was still a good amount of authority to his bearing between his immaculate uniform and the fixed way he was looking towards their destination, though. Tucked under one arm was a thick manilla folder that had been held shut with a bulldog clip.-
[17:19] <Raphael> "Having you there at least silences any claims that I'm not taking Staff Sergeant Keita's role in this nonsense seriously."
[17:41] <Minaplo> [Captain Horaki Hikari was almost five and a half feet tall, with straight black hair pulled back into a ponytail, held in place by a hairclip shaped like a pair of cherries. She wore her own uniform, a navy blue jacket with gold hems and cuffs worn over a white dress shirt, a matching navy blue pencil skirt, dark-tinted stockings, and a pair of heels.-
[17:41] <Minaplo> ["I understand, sir." Said Hikari in fluent, if accented English.]
[17:42] <Raphael> "Admiral Katsuragi seems to think you'll be well-equipped to deal with your own troublemaker."
[17:45] <Minaplo> ["I wish I had the Admiral's confidence, sir."]
[17:48] <Raphael> "Well, I'll offer what support I can," he said, sparing her a light smile before he turned his attention back to the numbers marking out the individual, curtained off 'cubicles'. The directions of a nurse seemed to be leading them to a spot just around the corner…
[18:02] <Minaplo> [Blaise was sitting up in bed. Although Raphael had been assured that Blaise's injuries weren't too extensive, he had to admit that they looked a lot worse than they were; Blaise sported massive ugly blotchy bruises across their right side of his face, vanishing under a layer of bandages wrapped around his forehead, and his right wrist was in a miniature limb mitten. He was currently wincing,
[18:02] <Minaplo> his thumb in his mouth, pressing experimentally against one of his teeth.-
[18:03] <Minaplo> [As Raphael entered, Blaise took his thumb out of his mouth and raised his hand in greeting. "Morning, boss."]
[18:09] <Raphael> "Sergeant Herriot," he nodded, stepping into the cubicle with Hikari and then promptly closing the curtains behind them. He turned back to the soldier and gave the injuries a critical look. "How are you feeling?"
[18:11] <Minaplo> ["I've felt better, to be honest." He said. "Had a migraine all last night, but it's mostly gone now."]
[18:14] <Raphael> "Mmm. In case you haven't met, this is Captain Horaki of Fox Squadron," he said with a gesture towards Hikari.
[18:17] <Minaplo> ["Good morning, Captain." Said Blaise, moving to stand.-
[18:17] <Minaplo> ["Sergeant. At ease, please."-
[18:18] <Minaplo> ["Yes ma'am." He said, moving back into the middle of the bed; once there, Blaise turned to his bedside table and began pouring himself a glass of water. "Would you like a glass, Boss? Captain Horaki?"-
[18:18] <Minaplo> ["I'm alright, thank you."]
[18:21] <Raphael> "Likewise. Thank you anyway."-
[18:22] <Raphael> He laid the manilla folder on the foot of the bed as Blaise settled himself, folding his now free hands behind his back. "… now, Sergeant, as you can imagine we'd both like an explanation of what happened last night."
[18:28] <Minaplo> ["Well, I was with Isidor. We'd been invited to a game of cards with some guys, uh… Gosselin, and Fontaine from Eagle, and who's that Guard commander, the white-haired one?"-
[18:28] <Minaplo> ["Euphemia One?"-
[18:28] <Minaplo> ["That's the one. Anyway, we lost."]
[18:28] <Raphael> "Alright."
[18:34] <Minaplo> ["Fontaine won, and we weren't betting money. Instead, he asked us to deliver dinner to a bunch of Eagles who were going through simulations and sparring and stuff, so we headed off that way."-
[18:34] <Minaplo> ["Anyway, Isidor wasn't happy. He thought Fontaine and Gosselin had cheated."]
[18:45] * Raphael nodded a little, gesturing for Blaise to continue.
[18:46] <Minaplo> ["Well, I wasn't, uh… Disagreeing. I mean, we'd just lost, we were a little sour, Gosselin has this fishy look about him when he's playing cards…"-
[18:49] <Minaplo> ["Isidor was telling me how when he was back in the Red Army he saw a fight break out over card cheating, and we got to telling stories, and I told him how Mana managed to cheat us for several months straight until Pai finally caught her red-handed." Blaise shrugged. "I don't remember what I said exactly, but it was something like 'you have to watch yourself when you're around Mana, or the
[18:49] <Minaplo> little snake will backstab you and bleed you dry'…"-
[18:49] <Minaplo> [Hikari had an increasingly despairing look in her eyes.]
[19:03] <Raphael> "'The little snake', Sergeant?" Raphael's stare seemed to grow a fraction more intense, but his tone simply remained… curious.
[19:06] <Minaplo> ["What? I didn't really mean it." Said Blaise. "It's… I dunno, endearing. Like when Hugues calls Henri 'bambi' or everyone calls me a shithead."]
[19:08] <Raphael> "… Mmm. What happened next?"
[19:09] <Minaplo> ["Well, it gets a bit shaky after that. I didn't even see Keita there, but the little bastard came outta nowhere, twisted my arm behind my back and slammed me into a pole."-
[19:10] <Minaplo> [Blaise looked shamefaced. "I wish I said I'd seen it coming, but I really didn't. He just kind of kicked my ass."-
[19:10] <Minaplo> ["Next, uh…" Blaise looked awkward. "I don't really feel comfortable saying what happened next, boss. It feels a little snitchy."]
[19:14] <Raphael> "We'll be speaking to Keita and Rurikovich, so unless you're confident that they'll think the same way you may as well," Raphael noted. "We'll aim to avoid mentioning it."
[19:15] <Minaplo> ["… Mmm."-
[19:16] <Minaplo> ["Alright. I don't think he really meant to do it, I mean, he's seen some shit, right? But Isidor pulled a knife on Keita."]
[19:21] * Raphael sighed heavily. "Stupid of him," he muttered, shaking his head.-
[19:21] <Raphael> "Did he try to attack Sergeant Asari with it, or was it a threat?"
[19:33] <Minaplo> ["I don't rightly know, sir, but Asari definitely considered it dangerous. They started fighting, but Isidor put up a better fight than I did."-
[19:34] <Minaplo> ["Anyway, I was barely managing to get back into it when Admiral Katsuragi showed up."]
[19:42] <Raphael> "And the just stopped when she arrived?"
[19:44] <Minaplo> ["It look some shouting on her part, but more or less. By that time some on-duties had shown up, so that probably helped."]
[19:46] * Raphael nodded, looking at Hikari. "Does this sound plausible to you, ma'am? I'm not familiar with Sergeant Asari."
[19:46] <Minaplo> ["Unfortunately it does, sir." Said Hikari. "Sergeant Asari's been known to start fights for very little reason, or even no reason whatsoever."]
[19:49] <Raphael> "Alright," he nodded, eyeing Blaise for a second. "We're going to go speak with the other two in the brig to see if we can resolve this. Have they given you an estimate on how long it might take to bring you back up to speed, Sergeant?"
[19:50] <Minaplo> ["Doc says I should be fine by tomorrow."]
[19:52] <Raphael> "Excellent." He said, giving the man a smile. "Take the rest while you can get it, hmm?"
[19:55] <Minaplo> ["Will do, sir. Give Admiral Katsuragi my thanks, please."]
[20:01] <Raphael> "Of course."-
[20:02] <Raphael> He collected his folder from the bed and disappeared back through the curtain, with Hikari hopefully following.
[20:02] <Minaplo> [Hikari did.-
[20:03] <Minaplo> [… Once they were free of the partition and from prying eyes in general, Hikari scowled and kicked at the wall with her heel, scuffing the toes of her high heels. "Urrrrgh, Asariiiiiiii!"-
[20:03] <Minaplo> ["I'm gonna kill that dumb Neospartan!"]
[20:07] * Raphael has to laugh a little at that, leaning against the wall to allow her a chance to compose herself. "I admit, it's rare that Herriot comes out of these situations looking almost blameless."
[20:10] <Minaplo> [Hikari blushed somewhat. She coughed and straightened her now crooked shoe.-
[20:11] <Minaplo> ["I know how you feel. Asari's always behind it! You know what, he wasn't on this ship for a day before he picked a fight with Chevalier and de Pteres. I get tired always cleaning up after him."]
[20:22] <Raphael> "I don't blame you. Although…" he glanced over his shoulder warily before continuing, "I'd hardly say he's the first person to pick a fight with Pilot de Pteres."-
[20:22] <Raphael> "… Sergeant Chevalier's a little more unusual. He's always seemed rather relaxed."
[20:24] <Minaplo> ["Musashi tells me the two have history."]
[20:25] <Raphael> "Probably. I'm surprised more of the NeoSpartans don't have problems like that."
[20:29] <Minaplo> ["You're right on that."-
[20:29] <Minaplo> ["… We should be going, sir. Are we going to see your man next, or Asari?"]
[20:33] <Raphael> "Rurikovich can be trusted to give us the full story if we're getting conflicting reports, but with this issue with the knife he's likely going to pose a whole different problem. Let's see to yours first."
[20:34] <Minaplo> ["Very good, sir."]
[20:44] <Minaplo> […-
[20:45] <Minaplo> [Asari Keita sat alone within the surovite cell, visible through the transparent door. He lay on his bed, staring up at the roof, humming to himself- not that Raphael could hear it.]
[20:51] <Raphael> "This is yours to lead of course, ma'am," Raphael said, giving a signal to one of the guards sitting in a small booth. A second later a short alarm sounded throughout the corridor as Asari's door began to slide smoothly open.
[20:56] <Minaplo> ["Understood, sir."-
[20:57] <Minaplo> [Hikari stepped inside. "Asari?"-
[20:58] <Minaplo> [Asari looked distinctly unruffled by the entire proceedings, like spending the night in a cell had been as relaxing as a hot bath.-
[20:58] <Minaplo> [He'd even taken the time to comb his hair and smoothe out his clothes.-
[20:59] <Minaplo> [As Hikari entered, Asari smiled indulgently and smoothly sat up, swinging his legs around elegantly. "Good morning, Capt-"-
[20:59] <Minaplo> [Hikari struck him in the eyes.-
[20:59] <Minaplo> [A second later she had grabbed his ear, twisted it and had dragged him to the end of the bed.-
[20:59] <Minaplo> [Asari let out a screech. "Ear! Ear-"-
[21:00] <Minaplo> ["Do you want to handle the questions for now, sir?" Asked Hikari.]
[21:05] <Raphael> … Raphael's eyebrows had crept up and made a home there, but he didn't make any move to stop her. Who was he to question alternative leadership strategies?
[21:05] <Raphael> "Certainly, Captain," he said smoothly, focusing in on Keita. "Sergeant Asari, I'm Captain Guillory. We had some questions about the scuffle last night, as I'm sure you've guessed."
[21:09] <Minaplo> [Eyes streaming, ear twisted, mouth set in a grimace…-
[21:09] <Minaplo> ["He had it coming!" Gasped Asari.]
[21:10] <Raphael> "I somehow doubt that approach will help your ear."
[21:17] <Minaplo> [Hikari lessened the pressure on his ear slightly.-
[21:18] <Minaplo> ["Tch." Asari winced and shot her a hurtful look. "Ask, then!"]
[21:24] <Raphael> "The basics, then: We've spoken to Sergeant Herriot already. He said you blindsided him after he made a… poor choice of words regarding Sergeant Kirishima."-
[21:24] <Raphael> "You gave him a blow to the head, at which point Rurikovich pulled a knife and you moved to fight him instead. You were then broken up by Admiral Katsuragi." He paused, giving Asari another painful second as Raphael considered his hands. "Does that all sound accurate to you? Anything you'd like to correct or add?"
[21:26] <Minaplo> ["The man's a dog." Growled Asari.]
[21:28] <Raphael> "You're the one who's growling."
[21:29] <Minaplo> ["How dare you-"-
[21:29] <Minaplo> [Hikari gave a sharp twist on the ear, whilst at the same time giving Raphael a pointed look.]
[21:31] <Raphael> "What did he say to prompt your response?"
[21:32] <Minaplo> ["Ugh…"-
[21:32] <Minaplo> ["He said she was a backstabbing snake." Said Asari. "He sounded contemptuous."]
[21:38] <Raphael> "Even then, putting him in hospital would seem to be a disproportionate response."
[21:39] <Minaplo> ["A little bit of pain for a little bit of manners never hurt anyone."-
[21:39] <Minaplo> [There was a twist of the ear. Asari yelped.-
[21:41] <Minaplo> ["Little bit of pain for a little bit of manners, huh?" Said Hikari darkly. "You idiot! He was talking about her cheating at cards!"-
[21:41] <Minaplo> ["It didn't sound like he was!"-
[21:41] <Minaplo> ["That's why we don't beat people up, Asari! Geez! Why can't you just speak with people normally?"]
[21:46] <Raphael> "She's definitely been known to cheat at cards with us, Sergeant. I think he was probably telling the truth," Raphael said mildly. "So yes, perhaps trying to get some context could have been useful."
[21:51] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[21:51] <Minaplo> ["Well."-
[21:51] <Minaplo> ["I guess I owe him a free punch now."]
[21:59] <Raphael> "How about we try to limit the punches from here on out rather than increasing them?"
[22:01] <Minaplo> ["No, it wouldn't feel right if I didn't take as good as I gave." Said Asari.]
[22:06] <Raphael> "Then you'll have to live with it. We don't have time for this sort of squabbling." Raphael said shortly.-
[22:08] <Raphael> "Under normal circumstances you'd be court martialed, but these are not normal circumstances. Instead Marshal Amatore-DeForest has put the matter of punishment directly in the hands of your CO," he continued, not leaving room for argument. "Captain?"
[22:12] <Minaplo> ["That's right." Said Hikari, bending down to be closer to Asari's tortured ear. "I'll be back in twelve hours to tell you the exact nature of that punishment. Until then, you practice being contrite. Understand?"-
[22:12] <Minaplo> ["Yes, Prez." Muttered Asari.-
[22:12] <Minaplo> ["Good."-
[22:12] <Minaplo> [Hikari released his ear; Asari ruefully rubbed it.-
[22:13] <Minaplo> [Hikari stared down at him for a few seconds longer, then left.-
[22:14] <Minaplo> ["…" Asari looked over at Raphael. "I owe you a free punch as well, but I know you won't take it."-
[22:15] <Minaplo> [He stood up and gave Raphael a bow instead. "I apologise for my actions."-
[22:16] <Minaplo> ["… I'd heard tales that Mana was being given a hard time recently by certain people." He added. "At the time, that seemed like all the context I needed."]
[22:23] * Raphael nods shortly. "Please learn from the lesson. And thank you for the apology."-
[22:23] <Raphael> "… And I'm doing what I can to look after Sergeant Kirishima, so if you could forward complaints to me rather than putting my soldiers in hospital that would be a step in the right direction for everyone."
[22:24] <Minaplo> ["Give me some credit, sir. I know better than to make their hospital stay a long one…"]
[22:25] <Raphael> "I'd wondered whether that was intentional," he admitted.
[22:27] <Minaplo> ["Heh." Asari smirked.]
[22:31] <Raphael> "Good luck with your punishment, Sergeant." He offered Keita a nod before following Hikari out into the hall.
[22:32] <Minaplo> [Hikari was checking the pulse of her right hand, a satisfied smile on her face. "Lead on, sir."]
[15:47] <Raphael> And Raphael did! Their final destination was only a few cells further down the hall, tactfully kept out of sight of Keita's. "That went better than I'd expected, from what you'd told me."
[16:06] <Mianplo> ["Well, I've been practicing." She beamed.-
[16:06] <Mianplo> ["Pow! Right in the eyes…"-
[16:10] <Mianplo> [Isidor was sitting on the side of his bed, his arms leaning against his knees, his head bowed.]
[16:13] <Raphael> Another gesture to the guard saw the door to Isidor's cell open. Raphael didn't waste any time in entering.-
[16:13] <Raphael> "Lieutenant."
[16:15] <Mianplo> ["Good morning, General." Said Isidor. He stood up and snapped to attention.]
[16:17] * Raphael waved his hand to signal the other man to relax. "We have bit of a mess today, Isidor."
[16:18] <Mianplo> [Isidor's gaze flicked toward Hikari. "I think I know what it's about, sir."]
[16:19] <Raphael> "I would hope so, unless you're in the brig for more than one reason."
[16:19] <Mianplo> ["No, sir."]
[16:19] <Raphael> "Mmm."-
[16:22] <Raphael> Raphael sighed and folded his arms. "We've already spoken to the other two, with punishment pending for Asari at Captain Horaki's discretion."
[16:22] <Mianplo> ["I see, sir."]
[16:23] * Raphael gives the lieutenant a hard look before getting to the point. "… Did you really draw a knife, Isidor?"
[16:24] <Mianplo> ["I'm afraid so, sir."]
[16:24] <Raphael> "Why?"
[16:26] <Mianplo> ["I'm not going to go unarmed during a war, sir. I saw a comrade come under attack and acted on pure reflex. You no doubt recall that I'm something of a blade; I'm not going to rely on just my fists if I can help it."]
[16:30] <Raphael> "We both know you can fight hand-to-hand if you need to, and you have some twenty years and a foot of height on the boy," Raphael said levelly. "You escalated an already volatile situation. It was reckless. You're lucky Admiral Katsuragi appeared when she did."
[16:31] <Mianplo> ["Probably, sir. Do you mind if I ask you a question?"]
[16:31] <Raphael> "… Go ahead."
[16:32] <Mianplo> ["Have you ever been in a public space, heard a car backfire or a popgun snap or some other sudden sound and reached for your sidearm?"]
[16:33] <Raphael> "…" Raphael sighed. "Yes, Lieutenant, I have."
[16:35] <Mianplo> ["Then I believe you can understand the reflex to reach for a weapon in a potentially hostile situation."-
[16:36] <Mianplo> ["I would also like to point out that I have more than twenty years and a foot of height on Eevi Nieminen, but that doesn't mean that's a fight I'm going to win. Asari's a NeoSpartan- I'm not sure my advantage there is as pronounced as perhaps it could be."]
[16:46] * Raphael matched Isidor's stare for a while, a deep frown marring his face as he mulled all of that over.-
[16:46] <Raphael> "… Fine," He said finally. "You're aware there will have to be some disciplinary measure even if I concede your point, I hope?"
[16:47] <Mianplo> ["Of course, sir."]
[16:48] <Raphael> "Aside from whatever Sergeant Beringer sees fit to apply."
[16:49] <Mianplo> ["Naturally, sir." Said Isidor.]
[17:08] <Raphael> "Ten days suspension of pay seems sufficient, given the defensive response and nature of the incident. A written reprimand as well," Raphael said.-
[17:08] <Raphael> "Luckily you didn't actually wound him, or this whole process would have been far more difficult."
[17:09] <Mianplo> ["Understood, sir." Said Isidor calmly.]
[17:12] <Raphael> "I'll make sure you're released by the end of the day. Both Asari and Herriot seem content to close hostilities, so hopefully that will be the end of it. You're willing to move on?"
[17:15] <Mianplo> ["Absolutely, sir."]
[17:17] <Raphael> "Good. Now unless there's anything else…?" He looked from Isidor to Hikari and back again.
[17:29] <Mianplo> [Hikari shook her head.-
[17:29] <Mianplo> ["No sir." Said Isidor politely.]
[17:36] <Raphael> "Then we'll be going," Raphael said. "Please don't let this interfere with the ongoing preparations, Lieutenant. I intend to see you for the meeting tomorrow."
[17:36] <Mianplo> ["Yes, sir."]
[17:39] * Raphael gave Isidor a quick nod of approval before leading Hikari back into the hall, and hopefully towards what would be a less discipline focused remains of the day.

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