This Too Shall Pass 3 2 4

[13:48] <Minaplo> [Eve groaned. The sheets of her bed were twisted awkwardly around her, her bare feet poking out the bottom.-
[13:49] <Minaplo> [The buzzer on her door continued to ring out.-
[13:49] <Minaplo> [Eve tried to ignore it.-
[13:49] <Minaplo> [But the buzzer kept ringing.-
[13:49] <Minaplo> [It seemed to be becoming louder, more insistent…-
[13:50] <Minaplo> ["Grrr."-
[13:50] <Minaplo> [Eve rolled over, the sheets straining against her stomach discomfortingly. She slapped a button on the console built into her bedside table.-
[13:51] <Minaplo> [The door opened. The buzzing stopped.-
[13:51] <Minaplo> ["Seriously now!" Said Ephraim Siskin von Brandt as he stepped in, sounding deeply irritated. "What was the point of that little exercise?"-
[13:52] <Minaplo> [Eve rolled back over, facing away. "What're you doing here?"-
[13:53] <Minaplo> [von Brandt stared around at Eve's room. It was a chaotic mess. Clothes were strewn over the floor haphazardly. A pile of used outfits stacked up next to the door. Grimacing, von Brandt gingerly stepped away from it.-
[13:54] <Minaplo> [There was a full-length mirror next to Eve's wardrobe, an ornate antique that had belonged to Mary's grandmother and mother both. It had ended up here.-
[13:54] <Minaplo> [And now there was a bedsheet over it.-
[13:55] <Minaplo> ["I'm here for you." Said von Brandt. "You're late. Technical expected you three hours ago."-
[13:55] <Minaplo> ["I'm sure Technical will handle it." Said Eve.-
[13:56] <Minaplo> ["Of course, of course. But if they handle it too long without you they're going to start wondering what you're for, Eve." Said von Brandt. "What's wrong? Why are you still in bed?"-
[13:56] <Minaplo> [Eve muttered something.-
[13:57] <Minaplo> ["A little louder, please!" Said von Brandt, his tone firm.-
[13:59] <Minaplo> ["I have cramps, if you have to know." Said Eve angrily, her cheeks flushing with humiliation. "Menstrual cramps."-
[14:00] <Minaplo> ["Dear dear." Said von Brandt, his symapthetic tone utterly insincere. "Yes, do you know why?"-
[14:00] <Minaplo> ["I'm familiar with the biology, von Brandt."-
[14:00] <Minaplo> ["This has nothing to do with biology." Said von Brandt. "I told you both that this was a terrible idea in the first place."-
[14:00] <Minaplo> ["I'm not interested, von Brandt."-
[14:02] <Minaplo> ["From the very beginning, I told everyone that this would end badly." Said von Brandt, tutting. "You wouldn't be prepared psychologically, I said. There was too much difference and not enough reason. The most efficient use would've been your own body but younger."-
[14:04] <Minaplo> ["So no, I'm not feeling very sympathetic." Said von Brandt, folding his arms. "You're expected to work. Out of bed, into the shower, dress, meet me outside in fifteen minutes."-
[14:04] <Minaplo> ["I suppose this is an order?" Said Eve.-
[14:04] <Minaplo> ["Consider it a benevolent suggestion."-
[14:04] <Minaplo> ["Hm."-
[14:05] <Minaplo> […-
[14:05] <Minaplo> [von Brandt was leaning against the wall, staring down at the holographic interface projected by his left hand glove.-
[14:06] <Minaplo> [When Eve emerged, he snapped it shut and turned. "Are you ready?"-
[14:06] <Minaplo> [Eve yawned.-
[14:06] <Minaplo> ["I see." Said von Brandt. "Follow me."-
[14:07] <Minaplo> […-
[14:07] <Minaplo> ["This isn't the way to my department." Said Eve.-
[14:07] <Minaplo> ["We're not taking you to your department." Said von Brandt. "We're taking you to mine."-
[14:07] <Minaplo> ["Yours? Why?"-
[14:08] <Minaplo> ["Mary has concerns." Said von Brandt. "About your recent behaviour, your recent performance."-
[14:08] <Minaplo> ["Does she, now." Said Eve coolly.-
[14:09] <Minaplo> ["Although your general performance is above the average, it isn't reaching the lofty peaks Mary expects from you." Said von Brandt. "And what's more, you've been making errors recently. Amateur errors, as you might say."-
[14:11] <Minaplo> ["Really." Said Eve. "Mary must be even stricter than I remember if orchestrating the downfall of Asgard merely notes a 'needs improvement'."-
[14:12] <Minaplo> ["She'd expect no less from you." Said von Brandt. "Which is why she's so disappointed to see you lax in applying those standards to yourself."-
[14:12] <Minaplo> ["There's nothing to worry about." Muttered Eve. "I just need time to adjust properly."-
[14:13] <Minaplo> ["Which is why you should've listened to me in the first place." Said von Brandt. "Seriously now! What possessed you to choose Clement's body over your own?"-
[14:15] <Minaplo> ["There were plenty of good reasons. Don't be ignorant." Said Eve angrily. "Anonymity. Broader, different experiences leading to a more refined mind. The psychological edge over my enemies. Curiosity."-
[14:16] <Minaplo> ["I see." Said von Brandt. But he didn't sound convinced.-
[14:16] <Minaplo> [Not convinced at all.-
[14:16] <Minaplo> […-
[14:18] <Minaplo> [Eve lay down on the table, a metre-wide arc of metal and plastic machinery rising from the left side, crossing her body then locking into a berth on the right side. It was focused over her head.-
[14:19] <Minaplo> ["What's the bio deepscanner for?" Asked Eve. "Trust me, I've been keeping to the diet you gave me, there shouldn't be anything wrong with my body."-
[14:20] <Minaplo> ["It's not for your body so much as it is for your brain." Said von Brandt. "As I always say, the easiest way to tell if there's a problem with someone is to look at how they sleep. So tell me, Eve, how've you been sleeping recently?"-
[14:20] <Minaplo> ["Fine."-
[14:20] <Minaplo> ["I see."-
[14:20] <Minaplo> […-
[14:21] <Minaplo> ["Fine, you said." Said von Brandt an hour later, clucking like a mother hen as he stood over Eve, still lying on the table. "The scans say otherwise."-
[14:21] <Minaplo> ["Do they now."-
[14:22] <Minaplo> ["Eve, any specialist worth his salt would look at these results and diagnose you with a severe, advanced case of sleep deprivation." Said von Brandt. He grabbed a chair and sat down, his holo lighting up again, set to notepad. "So let's try again. How've you been sleeping recently?"-
[14:22] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[14:23] <Minaplo> ["Seriously now! This is for your own benefit, Eve. You know better." Said von Brandt with a sigh.-
[14:23] <Minaplo> [Eve huffed. "If you must know, then no, I've slept terribly."-
[14:23] <Minaplo> ["Please continue."-
[14:24] <Minaplo> ["Sleep's hard to come by, and when it comes its fitful. I might sleep straight for a half hour, then wake up. Most nights I'm lucky to get more than an hour of sleep." Said Eve.-
[14:24] <Minaplo> ["How long has this been going on for?" Asked von Brandt, his tone gentler now.-
[14:25] <Minaplo> ["From the beginning."-
[14:27] <Minaplo> ["I see." Said von Brandt. "Are there any apparent causes of these wakeups? Any reason obvious to you as to why you can't sleep?"-
[14:27] <Minaplo> ["… Nightmares." Said Eve.-
[14:28] <Minaplo> ["Ah." Said von Brandt. "Well, that's understandable. It's curious, though. Did you have these nightmares in your old body?"-
[14:28] <Minaplo> ["Yes, but less frequently." Said Eve. "Far less frequently."-
[14:29] <Minaplo> ["I thought so." Said von Brandt. "For some reason, being transferred to a new body seems to have aggravated your PTSD, Eve. I wonder if it's because of the Evangelion?"-
[14:29] <Minaplo> ["What do you mean?"-
[14:30] <Minaplo> ["The AT Field is the seat of memory." Said von Brandt. "Our bodies are crudely designed to translate the pure memory of the AT Field into something our senses can understand."-
[14:31] <Minaplo> ["Ah. So you think my time as an Evangelion, with its far more sophisticated senses and more powerful Field…"-
[14:32] <Minaplo> ["Quite right." Said von Brandt. "AT Fields can repress memorial content, of course. Most do to prevent overloading their biological forms. But a Field that powerful with a mind that expansive, containing memories so intrinsic to who you are now…?"-
[14:32] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[14:33] <Minaplo> ["I might have some treatments." Said von Brandt. "I want to keep you here for a few nights, run some tests. We'll set up the sleep clinic for you so I can obtain the most accurate data. Is that alright?"-
[14:33] <Minaplo> ["… Do we have to?" Muttered Eve.-
[14:34] <Minaplo> ["Just so as you know, Elena Clement wasn't one of those truculent teens you no doubt shook your cane at in your older years." Said von Brandt sarcastically. "So if you're trying to fill your role, then you're not doing a good job."-
[14:34] <Minaplo> ["Arrogant boy." Said Eve haughtily.-
[14:35] <Minaplo> ["Undoubtedly." Said von Brandt. "But this arrogant boy is trying to help you and he's also probably right about how to do that."-
[14:36] <Minaplo> ["Very well." Said Eve.-
[14:36] <Minaplo> ["And I never had a cane…"-
[14:36] <Minaplo> […-
[14:38] <Minaplo> [The lights were dimmed. Von Brandt stood in the observational, watching Eve sleep through a one-way mirror. She was lying in a bed, the room around her a good facsimile of a domestic bedroom, except for the scanners around the walls and the biosensors attached to her temples.-
[14:38] <Minaplo> [She was asleep. Very utterly asleep. And had been for the last three hours.-
[14:39] <Minaplo> ["Looks like you were right." Said Rosa.-
[14:40] <Minaplo> [Rosa was one of von Brandt's staff. A tall, well-built olive-skinned woman. She was bald, the cobra-frill like cranial hood of an Iron Guard Mk1 Apostle bolted into the back of her skull and neck.-
[14:41] <Minaplo> ["So it seems." Said von Brandt, holding up a small clear bottle, within which were several pills. "The miracles of modern medicine. We gave these out to the NeoSpartans, you know. Many of them had acute cases of PTSD. These helped with some of the symptoms."-
[14:43] <Minaplo> ["To deal with Impact memories?" Asked Rosa. "Or project ones?"-
[14:44] <Minaplo> ["Mostly project ones." Said von Brandt calmly. "Every NeoSpartan saw one of their fellows die or a friend just vanish one day. Most of the NeoSpartans who graduated- as in, excluding the rebodied ones- had been involved in the slaying of another NeoSpartan. It was part of their training."-
[14:45] <Minaplo> ["Seems like a waste." Said Rosa. "We never did any of that in the Iron Guard."-
[14:46] <Minaplo> ["The people overseeing your project did so whilst standing on our shoulders." Said von Brandt. "We pioneered the techniques. It is regrettable that our crude methods resulted in so much waste. But it was the best we had at the time."-
[14:46] <Minaplo> ["I see."-
[14:46] <Minaplo> [They became quiet for a few minutes, von Brandt pocketing the bottle of pills.-
[14:47] <Minaplo> ["The biosensors aren't detecting anything out of the ordinary." Said von Brandt. "It really seems like it was just nightmares… Do you detect anything alarming from her?"-
[14:48] <Minaplo> [Rosa was silent for a few seconds- then shook her head. "No."-
[14:48] <Minaplo> […-
[14:49] <Minaplo> [Thirty minutes later, Eve sat up and, without regard for the sheets, turned and pulled herself out of bed. The sheets caught on her legs and started to be dragged with her.-
[14:50] <Minaplo> ["Hello." Said von Brandt, still in the observational. "This is new…" He looked back down at the consoles lining the wall beneath the window. "Sleepwalking…?"-
[14:50] <Minaplo> [Rosa shook her head.-
[14:50] <Minaplo> ["Not sleepwalking?"-
[14:51] <Minaplo> ["Her AT Field." Said Rosa, sounding deeply dubious. "Something's… Off."-
[14:51] <Minaplo> ["Please continue."-
[14:52] <Minaplo> ["It feels like it's… Someone else's." Said Rosa. "But her's at the same time? It's both natural and unnatural. But whatever's happening now isn't something the waking Eve we know is doing."-
[14:52] <Minaplo> [von Brandt looked alarmed.-
[14:52] <Minaplo> [Eve walked over to the door, and tried to open it. It was, of course, locked.-
[14:52] <Minaplo> [von Brandt unlocked it.-
[14:53] <Minaplo> ["What're you doing?" hissed Rosa.-
[14:53] <Minaplo> ["Sh-sh. Just trust me. Let's see where she goes." Said von Brandt.-
[14:54] <Minaplo> [..-
[14:54] <Minaplo> [They followed Eve through the corridors of the Synfront. It was late at night, so there were, thankfully, few people around to watch an Iron Apostle and von Brandt- the latter staring down at his holo taking notes- stalk Eve von Hamburg as she wandered through the hallways, wearing nothing but a nightgown.-
[14:58] <Minaplo> [An hour and a half passed. Eve walked into the older parts of the Synfront, the deeper parts which had been in operation from day one.-
[14:59] <Minaplo> [The very first core elements of the Synfront had been developed by the UN. For years the Synfront remained mostly unfinished, with only a few key projects being kept running in an otherwise silent base.-
[15:01] <Minaplo> [Around 2014, these projects were moved or scrapped. The areas they'd been used were allowed to fall into obscurity and decay like the rest of the base.-
[15:01] <Minaplo> [Or so the UN had intended. Instead, the LN, biding its time, took over the base, repaired it, activated it. They produced the second 'phase' of construction. Most of the buildings in the Synfront were of LN make.-
[15:02] <Minaplo> [Eve walked through them, utterly silent except for the patter of her feet. She talked through LN laboratories that had long since been abandoned, replaced by more modern equipment elsewhere.-
[15:03] <Minaplo> [They walked through the birthplace of the Iron Guard- a series of dark rooms, their equipment stripped away, the lights not working, the only illumination coming from dim emergency light strips running across the ground and roof.-
[15:03] <Minaplo> [Eve didn't linger in these areas either. She was going deeper.-
[15:04] <Minaplo> [Into the heart of those old UN projects.-
[15:05] <Minaplo> […-
[15:05] <Minaplo> ["What is this place?" Asked Rosa.-
[15:06] <Minaplo> [It was an anticlimactic conclusion to their journey. It was a bio culturation lab of some kind, long since abandoned, only a series of clear vats along the walls bearing any hint as to what the purpose had been.-
[15:06] <Minaplo> [Eve walked over to one of the vats.-
[15:07] <Minaplo> [She placed a hand against the clear surface.-
[15:07] <Minaplo> ["It's… Well." von Brandt rubbed his chin. "I don't see how it's important to her, honestly!"-
[15:09] <Minaplo> ["Where is he?" Asked Eve, her voice quiet, strange.-
[15:10] <Minaplo> ["He's not here." Said von Brandt. "Sorry! He's gone. Been gone for years."-
[15:10] <Minaplo> ["Who's she talking about?" Whispered Rosa.-
[15:11] <Minaplo> ["That vat was where they put Isaiah Gabriel-Wei." Said von Brandt. "It was his home for years… Well, his recepticle, rather."-
[15:11] <Minaplo> ["Where did he go?" Asked Eve.-
[15:11] <Minaplo> ["Seriously now." Said von Brandt, sighing. "This doesn't make any sense at all…"-
[15:12] <Minaplo> [Speaking a little louder, he addressed Eve directly. "He's an enemy now, Eve. His project finished. We deployed him. We don't actually know if it worked out. Why do you want to see him?"-
[15:13] <Minaplo> ["…" Eve's eyes were filling with tears as she turned to face von Brandt. "You deployed him…"-
[15:13] <Minaplo> ["Not me personally." Said von Brandt. "I assure you it was a team effort."-
[15:14] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[15:14] <Minaplo> [Eve turned toward Rosa and spoke in a voice most unlike her own. "Kill him."-
[15:14] <Minaplo> ["What?" Scoffed von Brandt. "Seriously now-"-
[15:15] <Minaplo> [Rosa grabbed him by the throat and slammed him into the floor.-
[15:15] <Minaplo> ["Ghhk-"-
[15:15] <Minaplo> [Before he could react, Rosa lifted a powerful foot and brought it down on his throat, pinning and choking him at the same time.-
[15:16] <Minaplo> ["Hhk- no-"-
[15:16] <Minaplo> [von Brandt wasn't a fighter. Try as he might, he couldn't budge the Iron Guard.-
[15:16] <Minaplo> [The air shifted.-
[15:16] <Minaplo> [Von Brandt stopped struggling. His eyes closed.-
[15:17] <Minaplo> [He felt- saw, even through his eyelids- an incredible bright light. It lasted for a split second.-
[15:18] <Minaplo> [The pressure on his throat vanished. He opened his eyes.-
[15:18] <Minaplo> [Rosa was gone. Utterly gone. The only trace that she had even existed were a handful of ashes slowly falling to earth around him.-
[15:19] <Minaplo> [Mary Caine stood at the doorway, her expression cold.-
[15:20] <Minaplo> [Eve stared at her. There was a moment of silence.-
[15:20] <Minaplo> [… Then Eve's eyes fluttered, and she suddenly started before collapsing to the ground.-
[15:20] <Minaplo> ["W-Where am…?"-
[15:21] <Minaplo> [von Brandt sat up, coughing. He rubbed his neck gingerly.-
[15:26] <Minaplo> [Mary helped him to his feet, running a hand through his hair for just a second before walking past him, standing over Eve.-
[15:26] <Minaplo> ["What's going on?" Asked Eve. "Why am I… What…?"-
[15:26] <Minaplo> ["Where, why, what." Said von Brandt. "The one you should be asking is 'who'."-
[15:27] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[15:28] <Minaplo> ["I was in bed." Said Eve. "I should've been- I was in the clinic. Why am I here? Mary, what's happening to me?"-
[15:28] <Minaplo> [Eve was starting to hyperventilate, her eyes filling with tears.-
[15:28] <Minaplo> [Mary picked her up, holding her in both arms.-
[15:28] <Minaplo> […-
[15:29] <Minaplo> [Eve was taken back to the sleep clinic, given a sedative and put back to bed. She'd wept the entire time, right up until she'd started falling asleep.-
[15:29] <Minaplo> ["Just like a child." Mused von Brandt.-
[15:30] <Minaplo> ["A child?"-
[15:31] <Minaplo> ["This started off with Eve not wanting to get out of bed." Said von Brandt. "Then it became a case where she couldn't sleep because of nightmares. Then finally we put her back to bed after getting lost sleepwalking."-
[15:31] <Minaplo> ["I see." Said Mary.-
[15:31] <Minaplo> ["Do you know what happened to her?" Asked von Brandt.-
[15:31] <Minaplo> ["Yes, I do." Said Mary. "And you do as well."-
[15:31] <Minaplo> ["Do I?"-
[15:33] <Minaplo> ["You theorised her PTSD had returned because of the Eva's power making the memories keener." Said Mary. "You were right, but if it can happen to memories, what else might it cause?"-
[15:33] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[15:34] <Minaplo> ["I see." Said von Brandt, smiling a little. "That explains everything."-
[15:34] <Minaplo> ["It does." Said Mary.-
[15:35] <Minaplo> ["Well." Said von Brandt. "Time for me to sleep a little myself. I don't suppose I can ask you to replace Rosa, can I? Maybe with an adept?"-
[15:35] <Minaplo> ["It won't be a problem." Said Mary.-
[15:36] <Minaplo> ["Thank you."-
[15:36] <Minaplo> [A few moments of silence.-
[15:37] <Minaplo> ["Mary?"-
[15:37] <Minaplo> ["Yes?" She said.-
[15:37] <Minaplo> ["… It doesn't matter. Forgive me." Said von Brandt. "I'll see you tomorrow."-
[15:38] <Minaplo> ["Yes."-
[15:38] <Minaplo> [von Brandt smiled. He turned and walked away, leaving Mary there in the observational.-
[15:39] <Minaplo> [Mary remained there for a few minutes, alone, watching Eve sleep.-
[15:40] <Minaplo> [Then she vanished, simply folding into nothingness.-
[15:40] <Minaplo> [Eve slept.]

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