This Too Shall Pass 3 2 7

(14:26:27) Sept: [Mini Redo: You Shall (Not) Nick*]
(14:26:28) Sept: "You know, I'm glad we didn't all have to stay cooped up in there for the whole trip. If I wasn't going to meet any of these people, we would've just had to take a stroll around town and mingle."
(14:27:50) Raphael: "It was a perfectly nice suite, sir," Raphael said, walking just a step or two behind Sept. Within easy grasping range, it should be noted - as if he was worried Sept would dash off into the crowd like a child.
(14:31:29) Sept: "Yep," Sera said. He'd changed into his somewhat formal UEF/NERV uniform for the occasion, trying to at least conform to some expectations. "I bet this place has better ones. We should ask."
(14:32:39) Raphael: "Mmm."
(14:35:26) Sept: "It'll be fine," Sera reminded his chaperone in a casual tone, apropos of nothing.
(14:39:29) * Raphael aimed an odd look at the back of Sera's head. "… Of course it will, sir."-
(14:39:30) Raphael: "I'm sure Marshal Caine wouldn't try to disturb such a precarious political situation."
(14:41:55) Sept: "Probably not."
(14:45:53) » ZackSleep is now known as ZackInterview
(14:46:01) Minaplo: [They had by now been led, by one of the staff, to the door of the room in question…]
(14:49:00) Sept: "Well." Sera adjusted his collar, assured he looked like an ace pilot of the United Earth Federation or whatever, now. He looked at Raphael. "What's the etiquette? Do I knock? Do you go in first?"
(14:52:50) Raphael: "I knocked, at least" Raphael said, eyeing the door distrustfully for lack of another acceptable target. "I've been asked to let you go in alone, but I'll be waiting here."
(14:55:50) Sept: "Right. I'll be back, then." Sera took his leave from Raphael's side and gave the door a solid knock.
(15:00:03) Minaplo: [The door opened.-
(15:01:07) Minaplo: [Ezra Caine stood in the doorway. Unlike Sera, he was actually wearing a semi-formal white button-up shirt and a pair of long black trousers… Making Sera look like the formally dressed one.-
(15:03:35) Minaplo: [Sera couldn't see much of the room behind Ezra, but what he could see was warmly-lit and well decorated with luxurious furniture.-
(15:03:53) Minaplo: ["Sera de Pteres, right?" Said Ezra, holding out a hand. "I'm Ezra."]
(15:08:56) * Sept looked up at him for a moment blankly, being at a slight disadvantage height-wise. Then, he took his hand and shook it with a bit of an uneven smile. "Yeah. Nice to meet you. Forgive my outfit."
(15:11:13) Minaplo: ["You know, I thought someone would've passed the 'smart casual' suggestion on…"]
(15:15:06) Sept: "May have slipped my mind," Sera smiled. "I'm sure many of us are getting used to new circumstances."
(15:16:07) Minaplo: ["Plenty of us have trouble getting used to old ones." Said Ezra, stepping aside. "Please come in."-
(15:20:13) Minaplo: [As Sera might've expected (assuming he'd been told by Yanmei or Raphael… So maybe not), there was someone else in the room. Sarah Holt-Caine, wearing a knee-length white sundress, sat on a chaise-lounge, a small plate of food on her lap. As Sera entered she hastily put the plate aside and stood up. "Hello, Mr. de Pteres." She said with a bright, infectiously warm smile.]
(15:27:10) * Sept closed the door behind him - or let Ezra do so. "Marshal Holt-Caine! Pleasure," he nodded. "Is that address fine?" He looked at the both of them, lingering halfway between the door and the chairs, holding his hands together on his chest.
(15:28:33) Minaplo: ["If you're comfortable with 'Sarah', then I'd prefer that if you don't mind." Said Sarah. "I'm not big on titles."-
(15:29:01) Minaplo: ["Nor am I, for that matter." Said Ezra, who did indeed close the door. "What about you? What do you prefer we call you?"]
(15:31:36) Sept: "No, I don't mind at all. Sera's… fine." He unbuttoned his coat, idly, to alleviate the contrast a little.
(15:32:51) Minaplo: ["Sera, then." Said Ezra. "Interesting name, actually. Do you happen to know where it comes from?"]
(15:34:24) Sept: "I have some ideas," Sera understated. "Do you?"
(15:39:11) » Suzune|Sleep is now known as Suzune
(15:39:11) Minaplo: ["Well, it could be a corruption of 'Sara' or 'Sarah', of course." Said Ezra, nodding a little at Sarah. "Meaning 'princess'. But that seems unlikely."-
(15:42:01) Minaplo: ["In French it refers to something that will be." Said Sarah. "In Italian it refers to evening, though…"-
(15:43:36) Minaplo: ["Or it's short of something else." Said Ezra. "Seraph, or Seraphin as you like. Referring to the highest-ranking of Angels."-
(15:43:45) Minaplo: ["What do you think?"]
(15:48:18) * Sept gave them an amused smile, joining his hands behind his back, now. "Arguments could be made for the latter, whether you're thinking of another similar name or angels — or Angels."-
(15:49:10) Sept: "But 'que sera' was an easy enough joke in Paris, and not underused."
(15:52:29) Minaplo: ["As a question or a statement?" Asked Ezra with a playful smile.]
(15:55:20) Sept: "As anything… Ezra. But that's childhood for you, right?"
(15:57:21) Minaplo: ["Que, Sera?"-
(15:58:33) Minaplo: ["Sorry, sorry." He said as Sarah rolled her eyes. "Here, let's have a seat- we've brought some wine here and some finger food- ah, what's the term? Amoosay-boosh?"-
(15:58:35) Minaplo: [Sarah groaned.]
(16:00:35) Sept: "C-Close enough. At least we got away from Spanish."
(16:01:45) Minaplo: ["Romance languages." Said Ezra, waving a hand in the air. He dropped down into his comfortable-looking plush armchair. "Not my strong point."-
(16:02:03) Minaplo: ["Care for some wine?"]
(16:07:22) Sept: "Sure." Sera took a seat on one of the armchairs, shifting around to find a comfortable position. He eyed the chair curiously. "When did I last sit on an armchair..?"
(16:07:47) Minaplo: ["Finally." Said Ezra, pouring two glasses. He handed one to Sera, took one for himself.-
(16:08:36) Minaplo: ["I'm afraid I have no idea." Added Ezra with a small smile.]
(16:09:07) Sept: "No matter. 'Finally'?" Sera accepted the glass and took a sip.
(16:14:24) Minaplo: ["Your colleagues were a lot less willing to take any drinks from me." Said Ezra, downing his entire glass in one go.-
(16:14:38) Minaplo: ["Ahh~"-
(16:15:19) Minaplo: [Sarah took a few steps closer to Sera. "I hope this isn't too sudden, but would you mind terribly if I took a moment to have a closer look at you, Sera?"]
(16:18:22) Sept: "Hah! I'm sure they-" Sera stopped his mumbled remark short to look up at her, caught off-guard for a time.-
(16:20:33) Sept: "I can… more than likely answer any questions you have." He kept his tone from getting so serious as to come off as too defensive. "What are you looking for?"
(16:24:21) Minaplo: ["Hmm… Family resemblance?" She said. "It's alright if you'd rather I not."]
(16:29:55) Sept: "Yeah, no. Go ahead if you want." Sera set down his wine glass and held eye contact with her.
(16:31:46) » Quit: Raphael (~ua.moc.tensutpo.wsn.lsd.381-69-13-112d|oaT#ua.moc.tensutpo.wsn.lsd.381-69-13-112d|oaT) (Quit: Bamf.)
(16:34:22) Minaplo: ["Thanks."-
(16:34:42) Minaplo: [She knelt down until they were level. Her big, gentle brown eyes met his.-
(16:34:55) Minaplo: ["Is it ok if you take off your glasses? Sorry."]
(16:36:49) * Sept looked away for a moment to take them off and set them down by his wine. He joined his hands on his lap again and looked ahead.
(16:56:45) Minaplo: [She stared at him for a few seconds, then gave him a big smile and stood up. "Yeah, I can see it. Thanks for indulging me, Sera."-
(16:57:23) Minaplo: [With that she returned to her chaise-lounge. She lay down on her left side and faced him, bringing her plate of food around.]
(17:05:28) Sept: "Uh huh." Sera sounded less amused. "So you've at least got some kind of idea, too." He put his glasses back on and drained half of his wine. "Was there something in particular you called me for? I'm really grateful for the gesture, of course."
(17:06:16) Minaplo: ["To talk." Said Ezra. "Lets us get to know one another. That's all."-
(17:06:41) Minaplo: ["Although if you like, we could probably set some starting ground rules. At least, establish what the other knows and doesn't know. All out in the open. Sound good?"]
(17:08:15) Sept: "Thanks, that'd be great. I don't like keeping secrets from people who at least make an effort."
(17:08:51) Minaplo: ["Good." Said Ezra. "Neither do I."-
(17:09:34) Minaplo: ["Alright, so the obvious out of the way. We know about your heritage." Said Ezra. "And the souls of every Federation Evangelion, including the Paris Trinity."]
(17:11:25) Sept: "How much of this did you inherit from Mary with your appointment?"
(17:13:12) Minaplo: ["A lot." Said Ezra. "Not all, but a lot."-
(17:13:41) Minaplo: ["Part of our contract would be that, in order for us to bring our best, Mary'd have to give us the info we needed to work at our best. No secrets." Said Sarah.-
(17:15:01) Minaplo: ["Which, for our purposes, means she's told us the secrets we needed to know to do our job, but not that she's told us every little secret ever. She might be trying to feed us truths willingly to hide a secret…" Said Ezra.-[
(17:15:45) Minaplo: ["But I'll be honest: if the secrets she's told us are the ones she's not afraid to share, then I'd be scared to see what she considers more worthy of secrecy."]
(17:19:21) Sept: "Yep. But what can you do?" Sera shrugged. "And your 'job' is… to be a leader who can make compromises and isn't seen as evil, to win the war or keep it under control while she focuses on her own goals."
(17:21:18) » ZackInterview is now known as Zack
(17:23:35) Minaplo: ["Well, that's my job, sure. Officially my job is to take control of the UN Allied Forces, turn the war around and defeat the Federation. I'm free to pursue what methods I like in doing so… Including diplomacy or treaties. So yes, that's a good summary."-
(17:23:57) Minaplo: ["But there's also the unofficial element." Said Ezra. "Recruiting me in and of itself achieves goals outside of what I can do."]
(17:26:31) Sept: "I don't think I follow. You're a new face, but that's probably not enough to completely reset people's views of the UN?"
(17:27:34) Minaplo: ["Quite." Said Ezra. "Let me start off. First and foremost, recruiting me erases the possibility that we would've offered our services to the Federation. Now do you understand what I mean by goals?"]
(17:31:02) Sept: "The Promised Land has a history of certain humanitarian aims. But… do you mean for the UN?"
(17:34:15) Minaplo: ["For the UN… Hm." Ezra rubbed his chin, then poured himself another glass of wine. "Entirely possible. But for now, let's focus on what Mary gained by recruiting me, what goals she can or could've met by using me."]
(17:39:54) Sept: "She gains a proxy leader who knows the things she wants him to know. She gains access to the Promised Land's resources… and their expertise in dealing with large amounts of conditioned soldiers?"
(17:42:14) Minaplo: ["That's right." Said Ezra.]
(17:44:15) Sept: "Even if there haven't been issues with the Dysangelion Corps or Iron Guard or whatever, it'd make sense to expect them. Is that what you mean?"
(17:46:27) Minaplo: ["That's definitely a correct answer." Said Ezra. "But there are other ones."-
(17:46:41) Minaplo: ["If you know about Promised Land's history, Sera, then you must know why it exists." Said Sarah.]
(17:50:06) Sept: "Was it started for the NeoSpartans, or did that come about later on? I only heard about you recently."
(17:50:59) » Zack is now known as ZackAFK
(17:52:22) Minaplo: ["It started for NeoSpartans." Said Ezra. "They came to me for help. We created Promised Land to do just that- not only for NeoSpartans, but other people in the same situation."]
(17:56:07) Sept: "So you both win. The UEF could've offered plenty of bioexotics and displaced souls, too," Sera suggested.
(17:56:32) Minaplo: ["Naturally." Said Ezra. "Which is why Mary was worried I might join the Federation…"-
(17:58:54) Minaplo: ["And so I enter her sphere of influence, where I'm useful to her." He said. "And Mary likes keeping useful things out of the hands of her foes, but she tends to not like wasting them either. Which is why I'm still alive."-
(18:01:58) Minaplo: ["So she gains a leader and she gains people skilled at managing conditioned soldiers and bioexotics, make them more efficient and effective in ways she might've overlooked."-
(18:02:12) Minaplo: ["But I'm sure you know, if you put yourself into her shoes, that there's a risk to recruiting me."]
(18:05:52) Sept: "Not being in direct control of anything poses a risk. But she's got enough ways of watching you and, probably, of cutting her losses. You and your soul have hardly any protection at all, considering. But that still leaves things like popular uprisings."
(18:08:06) Minaplo: ["That's right." Said Ezra. "Naturally as my role befits, I've tried to weed out reasons for general uprisings. Keeping people contented, treating the soldiers better."-
(18:09:03) » Quit: Vannik (~ten.knilneddus.hd.xt.10ktmckbbl.57-74-72-05c|kinnaV#ten.knilneddus.hd.xt.10ktmckbbl.57-74-72-05c|kinnaV) (Quit:)
(18:12:18) Minaplo: ["It'd be impossible for me to convince the soldiers to rise up without her knowing. And in any case, much of her military power is kept in the Bioexotics." Said Ezra. "The greatest risk to hiring me was the chance that I might move against her- we don't get along, as you might imagine."-
(18:14:00) Minaplo: ["But the only tools I have to enact such an overthrow are the ones she's held out to me. And no matter how long I wield them, her actual grip never slackens. I expect she expects me to defeat the Federation, thus building up my credibility, then announce a coup…" He smiled wryly. "And of course, I'd be instantly destroyed by the only weapons worth using against her, because she controls
(18:14:01) Minaplo: them."]
(18:19:29) Sept: "Mhm. That seems accurate. And that control is very tightly held by her, centered on her control of the Eternity Drive."
(18:21:43) Minaplo: ["That's right." Said Ezra. "If her control of the Eternity Drive were weaker, Mary wouldn't have bothered recruiting me; I'd be too dangerous. But with the Drive, she's basically unstoppable."-
(18:22:38) Minaplo: ["Of course, if her grip over the Drive were to weaken, or break completely, then Mary wouldn't have time to cook dinner before she was finished."]
(18:24:35) Sept: "Yes. I don't suppose you could tell me exactly how she controls it? I've been wondering."
(18:26:03) Minaplo: ["I… Wish I knew." Said Ezra. "I don't, though. But there are certain things that we can infer from how it operates."]
(18:30:16) Sept: "No shortage of superhuman modifications available to her over her lifetime. But you'd need a -significant- mental capacity, maybe an active AT field to protect from any backwards influence. Yes?"
(18:33:09) Minaplo: ["That's right." Said Ezra. "As far as I can tell, an active AT Field is necessary to exert control over even one soul outside of your own. But the Eternity Drive holds billions, enough to overwhelm several Angelic souls."-
(18:33:38) Minaplo: ["So not only would you need an active AT Field, you'd need one of immense power."]
(18:36:49) Sept: "On what scale? A D-EVA? A Seed?"
(18:38:36) Minaplo: ["A Seed would do it." Said Sarah. "That's what they're for. Only…"-
(18:39:21) Minaplo: ["Mary doesn't have a Seed." Said Ezra. "She has half a seed, and that's a new development. Your friends control Adam, and Tsubaki has the other half of Lilith."-
(18:43:34) Minaplo: ["A Deva… Maybe. I'm not sure, I'd have to know more." Said Ezra. "If it is, then she hasn't told me about it, and it couldn't have been EVA-22 or DEVA-01. On the safe side, though, I'd personally expect some entity greater than a Deva."-
(18:43:55) Minaplo: ["This all assumes, however, that she's been assuming direct control of the Eternity Drive. You know there's an alternative."]
(18:47:19) Sept: "She doesn't need live updates, you mean. So she could delegate it to something else, an Angel or any kind of Chantry collective."-
(18:47:41) Sept: Something visibly occurred to Sera. "Or that… she hasn't controlled it?"
(18:48:41) Minaplo: ["Go on."]
(18:50:10) » Quit: Minaplo (~ua.ten.tenii.nyd.921-601-071-421|olpaniM#ua.ten.tenii.nyd.921-601-071-421|olpaniM) (Quit: <Suzune> mo like Malachi president <Suzune> executive order to GET REKT * Suzune finger guns, shades from nowhere * Suzune shades fall off because already wearing glasses * Suzune shades spinning around on finger)
(18:54:13) » Join: Minaplo (ua.ten.tenii.nyd.921-601-071-421|olpaniM#ua.ten.tenii.nyd.921-601-071-421|olpaniM)
(18:54:19) » Quit: Minaplo (ua.ten.tenii.nyd.921-601-071-421|olpaniM#ua.ten.tenii.nyd.921-601-071-421|olpaniM) (Quit: Minaplo)
(18:54:52) * Sept looked back at Ezra too quickly to have any hope of hiding his expression, bordering somewhere between annoyed and insulted. He focused himself on refilling his glass, instead. "To be honest, I'd prefer not to."
(18:55:07) » ZackAFK is now known as Zack
(19:10:43) » Join: Minaplo (ua.ten.tenii.nyd.202-96-071-421|olpaniM#ua.ten.tenii.nyd.202-96-071-421|olpaniM)
(19:11:00) Minaplo: (01:47) <Sept> "She doesn't need live updates, you mean. So she could delegate it to something else, an Angel or any kind of Chantry collective."-
(19:11:00) Minaplo: (01:47) <Sept> Something visibly occurred to Sera. "Or that… she hasn't controlled it?"
(19:11:00) Minaplo: (01:48) <Minaplo> ["Go on."]
(19:11:21) * Sept looked back at Ezra too quickly to have any hope of hiding his expression, bordering somewhere between annoyed and insulted. He focused himself on refilling his glass, instead. "To be honest, I'd prefer not to."
(19:24:13) Minaplo: ["Fair enough."-
(19:24:51) Minaplo: ["In any case, I meant your first suggestion- that she's delegating or, rather, controlling it through some sort of intermediary. One she can control, which can control the Drive. Are you familiar with what Azariah was trying to accomplish?"]
(19:27:51) * Sept drained the second glass almost in one go, an attempt at resetting his mood. It was mostly successful. "Not… exactly, no. But if he was working against the kinds of conditioning rampant today, I'd imagine it would've been based on ideals of independence."
(19:36:15) Minaplo: ["In a certain way, yes." Said Ezra.-
(19:37:57) Minaplo: ["Azariah wanted to be able to heal mental scars in the entire population… As well as neutralising Destiny and gaining control over human evolution at the same time. His idea was to create a special machine he called a 'Lilith Interface System'. Sort of like an entry plug for Lilith. In that sense, he could gain Lilith's power, but keep her dormant… And he could enact his plans."]
(19:41:44) Sept: "Alright…"
(19:43:55) Minaplo: ["His plans never came to fruition, but doubtless his technology or its prototypes still existed." Said Ezra. "They might've existed for years. Mary almost certainly has access to it. If such a device could subdue Lilith and make her controllable safely…"-
(19:44:06) Minaplo: ["Why couldn't it do the same with the souls of the Eternity Drive?"]
(19:47:45) Sept: "I see. I was thinking of interfacing directly with the mass of souls. But if the Eternity Drive functions as a Seed in that specific case, some of the techniques would be applicable."-
(19:48:10) * Sept went for another refill, nodding to Ezra. "Yeah, that's good enough!"
(19:48:34) Minaplo: [Ezra was busy downing his own glass. He waited patiently for Sera to refill, then refilled his own.-
(19:48:56) Minaplo: ["Yeah, I thought so too." Said Ezra.-
(19:50:18) Minaplo: ["There are other possibilities." He said. "For example, she might've found some other way to subdue souls. A recepticle that makes souls inside docile… Basically like an Eve soul, but as an object and on a big scale."-
(19:50:32) Minaplo: ["Either way, there are three things I know for certain."-
(19:50:43) Minaplo: ["Firstly, the Eternity Drive is not at the Synfront."-
(19:51:27) Minaplo: ["Secondly, Mary does not perceive everything within the Drive at the same time. She can only focus on bits at any one time."-
(19:51:37) Minaplo: ["Thirdly, Mary is absolutely in control of it. So don't worry."]
(19:57:06) Sept: "Heh. Thanks." Sera swirled the wine around in his glass. "I -thought-… I'd seen it at the Synfront. If you're right, that was a spatial trick, or that facility serves a different purpose or is entirely for show. I imagine I was on a variety of drugs at the time…" Sera considered this seriously, eyes narrowed, staring off somewhere into the far corners behind Sarah and Ezra.
(19:57:43) Minaplo: ["You're imaging a very large room." Said Ezra. "With walls covered in monitors that flicker on and off like eyes closing and opening."]
(19:58:27) Sept: "Yeah. Not a space to inspire reasonable, rational thought."
(20:00:38) Minaplo: ["You're quite right. It's huge, but it's empty. Those eyes- you can't hide from them. They beat you down, oppress you, overwhelm you. I imagine it's a little bit like what the souls in the Drive feel."-
(20:01:13) Minaplo: ["But it's not the Drive. It's just an… Interface, I suppose." Said Ezra.-
(20:03:18) Minaplo: ["From what Mary told me, she showed you the Drive… She had entertained the idea that after you returned to Paris, you'd tell the others. Not only to inspire despair, but to inspire desperation. She hoped you'd synchronize with them, jaunt into the 'Drive' with the hope of destroying it. But you'd just be smashing up an interface. It'd be a trap, and you'd all be caught at once. Checkmate."]
(20:06:34) * Sept brought a hand up and giggled into the back of his palm, at that. "Sounds like she thought more highly of me back then."
(20:08:29) Minaplo: [Ezra smiled a little. "Or she thought less of you than she should've. Or at least, underestimated your allies. In the end, she had to fabricate a much more vicious crisis to lure you all in…"-
(20:08:42) Minaplo: ["And then Blanc ruined that, too. Mary wasn't happy with that."]
(20:11:35) Sept: "Heh. I can believe both of those things." He was back to taking more careful sips of his wine. "I suppose she's making use of Jeremiah again, by now?"
(20:12:40) Minaplo: ["Ah… I'll tell you a secret." Said Ezra. "I'm not supposed to, though, but meh."-
(20:13:23) Minaplo: ["Did you happen to lay hands on any recordings of the talks?"]
(20:14:50) Sept: "We had the live feed. He had a hand in your suggestions?"
(20:17:39) Minaplo: ["He was there at the table."]
(20:26:21) Sept: "Yea-" Sera squinted, then went "oh."-
(20:26:29) Sept: Followed by, "-Oh-. Von Hamburg. Clever. The girl at th-"-
(20:26:29) Sept: Followed by him leaping to his feet, half-empty wine glass still in hand, furiously pointing at Ezra with the other. "THAT -FUCKING- IDIOT!!" He gaped at the two of them for a moment, eyes and mouth wide.-
(20:26:30) Sept: "Wh-Why would he even do that?! I'll fucking- I'll-" he re-pointed at Ezra, looking for words again.
(20:32:33) Minaplo: [Sarah let out a short gasp at Sera's roused spirits; she nearly knocked her food plate off the side of her lounge. She lunged for it, pulled it back to safely, then sheepishly picked up the little wedges of soft cheese off the ground. She started gingerly brushing the little fibres of carpet off her food.-
(20:37:49) Minaplo: [Ezra raised his hands in front of himself placatingly. "I don't understand either." Said Ezra. "I don't know why he'd do it, the logic behind it… It just seems petty to me."]
(20:44:48) Sept: "S-Sorry, Sarah. Yes. Yes, it's petty, and there's no other reason for-" Sera grumbled angrily. "It's all too -him-. How could he think she wasn't off-limits?!" It finally occurred to Sera to put down his glass. He plopped back down onto the armchair, heavily. "For fuck's sake."
[08:18] <Minaplo> ["In my experience, 'limits' are typically seen as something of a challenge for my Hamburg cousins." Said Ezra. "Which is a good thing in some cases, but it's hardly universal."]
[08:24] <Sept> "Hrm." Sera rubbed his arm, perhaps hoping to massage his disquiet away. "Yeah, I understand that. I'm probably just as upset I didn't see it at first. Ever since they retrieved him?"
[08:26] <Minaplo> ["I'm not quite sure. It did seem to be shortly after retrieval, I think…"]
[08:34] <Sept> "Well. Thanks for telling me," he said with an awkward little nod, looking at Ezra. "Saves me from hearing it at a worse time."
[08:40] <Minaplo> ["I half suspect that's part of why he did it, yes. Done at the right time it could've proven to be quite the shock."]
[08:45] <Sept> "I can handle shocks," Sera said dismissively. "And so can the UEF command. It takes more to cloud judgments than shitty third-act twists like that."
[08:51] <Minaplo> ["Maybe so." Said Ezra. "But it's one thing to stand on the sidelines shouting 'Gratuitous! Exploitative', it's another to have to absorb it- especially if it's just one shock out of many, all in a row."]
[08:54] <Sept> "I- can't agree, but still. Thank you."
[08:55] <Minaplo> ["Well, you may be made of firmer stuff in any case."]
[08:57] * Sept replied with just a half-sarcastic smile.
[09:04] <Minaplo> ["In any case." Said Ezra, holding out his wine bottle in offer to Sera. "If you accept the idea that we're family, it only makes sense for us to catch up. Care to tell me a little about yourself?"]
[09:11] * Sept took a sip from his nearly-empty glass before accepting the refill. "Hmh. Personal life? Not a very good track record." He thought about it, looking down at the wine glass with a look that exuded effort. "Don't know what to say… I like music?"
[09:12] <Minaplo> ["Oh yeah? Wait, let me guess…"-
[09:12] <Minaplo> ["You're an indie kind of guy."]
[09:18] <Sept> "Uh. Well, you walked into a trick question. I'm not that well up on my contemporary stuff. Classical. Whether that's a natural leaning or just what I got into in Paris…"-
[09:21] <Sept> "I've been getting back into modern stuff in this past year, though. I've got a borrowed REM album with me, I guess that's indie?"
[09:25] <Minaplo> ["Fair enough." Said Ezra with a grin. "Alright, who catches your fancy in the classical world?"]
[09:29] <Sept> "It's not that interesting, honest. Mozart, Sibelius, Vivaldi. Violin stuff. Obvious weakness," he condeded again.
[09:31] <Minaplo> ["You wouldn't happen to play violin, would you?" Said Sarah, her tone playful.]
[09:35] <Sept> "Well, I -can-, now, but not really. I'm beyond rusty."
[09:38] <Minaplo> ["Fair enough." Said Ezra. "You know, playing an instrument's never something I really got into…"-
[09:39] <Minaplo> ["My mother and father stuck me with piano." Said Sarah with a little smirk. "I didn't like it."]
[09:42] <Sept> "It's not a pathway to enlightenment," Sera smiled, replying to both of them. "It's just a thing you can do."
[09:43] <Minaplo> ["What makes you say that?" Said Sarah.]
[09:47] <Sept> "Don't people have their kids learn the piano because that'll unlock their creativity and diligence? And everyone past -thirty- always talks about instruments like that was their shot at greatness. No offense. I'm sure you can like, fly a plane or something equally amazing, Ezra."
[09:51] <Minaplo> ["Oh, I'm plenty talented." Said Ezra. "Instruments just never really appealed."-
[09:52] <Minaplo> ["And I learned more creativity and diligence sneaking out of lessons than I ever did memorising keys." Said Sarah with a grin.]
[09:57] <Sept> "On the scale of things you could do, it beats studying war, but it's still just music. It's what you make of it."-
[09:58] <Sept> "…obviously," he said, covering his embarrassment with wine.
[10:01] <Minaplo> [Ezra grinned.-
[10:01] <Minaplo> ["There's something I've been wondering about, Sera." Said Sarah.]
[10:03] * Sept turned to look at her, still drinking.
[10:21] <Minaplo> ["No girlfriend or boyfriend?"]
[10:28] * Sept carefully gulped down his mouthful, looking like he didn't understand the question. He put down his glass and crossed his fingers on his lap. "Well. Not really, no."-
[10:28] <Sept> "It can be difficult to make new relationships in these circumstances," he offered, as to not entirely shut down the line of questioning.
[10:29] <Minaplo> ["It's alright. I understand."]
[10:31] <Sept> "That's where I picked up music, anyway. She taught me a bunch of stuff, but things got in the way. Nothing special."
[10:32] <Minaplo> ["Oh, I see…"]
[10:36] <Sept> "I doubt you do," Sera said, an uncharacteristically chipper edge to his tone, "but thanks. How did you two meet?" He moved on to the hors d'oeuvres for now, to offset the wine.
[10:40] <Minaplo> ["In class." Said Sarah warmly. "We were both first year students taking introductory geology, and we sort of… Competed a little."-
[10:47] <Minaplo> ["Here I was." Said Ezra. "Graduate NeoSpartan, head full of knowledge and superiority. I figured I'd sweep the room, a big fish in a small pond, but day one, there's this fiery, striking young lady with a cute Danish accent, actually beating me…" He sighed happily. "It was outrageously sexy."-
[10:48] <Minaplo> [Sarah laughed and went pink with delight.]
[10:52] * Sept laughed, a bit of a blush rising on his face, too. He instinctually tried to hide it by glancing away for a moment.-
[10:54] <Sept> "That's great. And Promised Land was the logical next step?"
[10:57] <Minaplo> ["Promised Land came a little while after." Said Ezra. "Some Neos tracked me down and asked me for help- they were in a bad way, you see…"-
[10:58] <Minaplo> ["Ezra was a little worried at first." Said Sarah. "He told me anyway, and I suggested that turning this into a real project would be the best thing to do."]
[10:59] <Sept> "Worried about how you'd take it, you mean?"
[11:04] <Minaplo> ["Yeah."]
[11:06] <Sept> "Was his Neo training a secret until then?"
[11:07] <Minaplo> ["That's right."]
[11:11] <Sept> "Surprising at all?"
[11:12] <Minaplo> ["It was. Shocking, surprising, a little sickening- but I couldn't blame him. I couldn't hate him for it at all- that'd be unfair. And, at that point I was much too in love to care."]
[11:14] <Sept> "That's how they get you," Sera nodded, almost sagely.
[11:23] <Minaplo> [Sarah laughed a little. "Yes, that's more true than you imagine…"-
[11:23] <Minaplo> ["Say, I don't suppose you're much of a… gamer?"]
[11:27] <Sept> That uncomprehending look again, and a nod. "I've played games. I wouldn't call it a hobby."
[11:32] <Minaplo> ["Oh yeah?"]
[11:39] <Sept> "I had a PS3 in Paris. It was a rainy day kind of activity. And Felix- the psychiatrists, thought it was good for me."
[11:41] <Minaplo> ["Aha."-
[11:42] <Minaplo> ["Games are pretty popular in Promised Land." Said Ezra. "There's this whole little economy going on, people trading games when they're finished… Like I imagine siblings do or something elsewhere. Y'know, like books."]
[11:50] <Sept> "Huh. That's pretty cool! It definitely sounds like it has its roots in the original program."
[11:51] <Minaplo> ["A little, but without a lot of the petty competitiveness and encouraged theft."]
[11:56] <Sept> "And death. Sure. I know where a lot of those stories went. Is it still mostly just NeoSpartans you house, currently?"
[11:57] <Minaplo> ["NeoSpartans, some Companions. A few Guard, the occasional Brother." Said Ezra. "Some of the better scientists from the LN, the odd general or noble warlord. Refugees from the Dead Lands…"]
[12:02] <Sept> "And you intend to keep adding to that list?"
[12:03] <Minaplo> ["As best as I can. Why, you interested?"]
[12:08] * Sept smirked at that. "I've got my exit plans. I'll come to you when they fail. I can pass your name along, though. What do you think about the Primes?"
[12:10] <Minaplo> ["What, collectively, or as individuals?"]
[12:15] <Sept> "Both, really. I've only interacted with Agatha and Joan to any extent, but I wonder how they keep from going insane. And how they see their situation."-
[12:17] <Sept> "Failing that, maybe you'd know if they have kill phrases? I'd settle for removing the UN war effort's center of gravity cleanly."
[12:24] <Minaplo> ["Hah."-
[12:25] <Minaplo> ["Well, individually they're a varied bunch. Joan's in your care at present, so I've not met her. She has a… Reputation. A bloody awful reputation."]
[12:28] <Sept> "Sure. I would've thought you'd had -some- contact with the inner UN before getting this job."
[12:29] <Minaplo> ["I did, it's called 'being a Caine'."]
[12:30] <Sept> "Y-Yes. Well. You've met the others?"
[12:33] <Minaplo> ["Yeah. Let's see. I've probably spent the most time with Agatha and Augustine…"-
[12:34] <Minaplo> ["Agatha's great." Said Sarah brightly. "She's so happy and playful and cheerful. She's always hanging out with us, you know, playing and teasing and flirting with the crew…"]
[12:36] <Sept> "Yeah, so I've gathered. Any idea why that is? Why she seems so well-adjusted?"
[12:37] <Minaplo> ["Well, that depends." Said Ezra. "Do you know if she's based off you, or off Elisha?"]
[12:40] <Sept> "I hadn't thought of that."-
[12:41] <Sept> "The latter would explain some obvious disparities, but traits like that certainly wouldn't override what was already there…"
[12:42] <Minaplo> ["Quite true." Said Ezra.-
[12:42] <Minaplo> ["For what it's worth, Augustine seems well-adjusted in his own way." Said Sarah. "He's not as gregarious or perky as Agatha, but he's calm and gently-spoken and clear-eyed."]
[12:46] <Sept> "Uh huh. It sounds to me like you're quite confident they could find their place when the war ends tomorrow."
[12:54] <Minaplo> ["Those two? yeah." Said Sarah. "The others…"]
[12:55] <Sept> "Well, what would you do if they were Neos behaving like that?"
[13:00] <Minaplo> ["Sophia isn't exactly… Hostile." Said Ezra. "She's just having trouble adjusting to society, that's all. Pure experience will help her."-
[13:00] <Minaplo> ["Scholastica and Joan, on the other hand, they're more complex. I'd need more time to really look into what's got their goat."]
[13:07] <Sept> "I understand," nodded Sera. "I'd love to be able to help with something like that, of course. But you've got better people working for you."
[13:11] <Minaplo> ["Any bit helps." Said Ezra. "Know of any way we could keep in touch?"]
[13:30] <Sept> "I don't know if the ship's set up external e-mail yet. You could pass it through your ODs?"
[13:33] <Minaplo> ["I don't think email's the best idea. Too easily traced."]
[13:34] <Sept> "Satellite communication? I don't know, I don't deal with spy stuff."

-cont-

(14:43:59) Minaplo: ["Telepathy, maybe…?"]
(14:46:21) Sept: "Through an intermediary? Or I might be able to make it work with 01."
(14:49:58) Minaplo: ["Either works."]
(14:59:03) Sept: "If you'd like me to answer in less than a few weeks, it'd be the former. I'd have to see about tasking Armin with it. What about your side?"
(15:02:58) Minaplo: ["We've people." Said Ezra. "Apostles, that sort of thing."-
(15:03:05) Minaplo: ["Who's Armin?" Said Sarah.]
(15:11:13) Sept: "Spirit, Lance of Cassius'. A most agreeable person. Which also means we don't agree a lot with each other, but," Sera shrugged. "But you make do."
(15:11:58) Minaplo: ["Spirit of Cassius, eh…?" Said Ezra slowly.]
(15:14:44) * Sept glanced at him in a mildly irritated gesture as he leaned over for another of the pastries - something local, he assumed, not recognizing them.
(15:15:21) Minaplo: ["Problem?"]
(15:21:18) Sept: "Youfhould knowbout this," Sera said, munching on the surprisingly sweet snack. "'s not new. Misunderstood?"
(15:29:26) Minaplo: ["Know about what? That the Lances have spirits?" Said Ezra. "I do. I was just thinking out loud."]
(15:33:17) Sept: "Wondering about something, then?"
(15:35:43) Minaplo: ["He must be a pretty curious fellow is all. I wonder what he thinks of us."]
(15:38:20) Sept: "You'd probably get along fantastically. You'll be able to find out eventually."
(15:41:28) Minaplo: ["I see. Well, thanks."]
(15:46:56) Sept: "Mhm. He appreciates honest people who take a hands-on approach to helping others. -Based on- what I've learned, you two are very much in that department."
(15:48:47) Minaplo: ["Good to hear it." Said Ezra, taking a mouthful of wine. "Tell him I said hi, then."]
(15:54:31) Sept: "I will! And I appreciate you humoring me with this. This would be a much more boring and fruitless visit otherwise. My chaperone is… rather dutiful."
(15:56:20) Minaplo: ["Would that be Mr. Guillory?"]
(15:56:57) Sept: "Uh huh."
(15:59:44) Minaplo: ["He seemed like a dutiful kind of guy, yes."]
(16:04:23) Sept: "Definitely. But I can't think of anyone better for the job."
(16:05:36) Minaplo: ["Yeah, he's qualified…"-
(16:05:56) Minaplo: ["You should try asking some of your Iron Guard buds about him." Said Sarah brightly.]
(16:08:20) Sept: "Huh? Because of the Azariah thing?"
(16:08:55) Minaplo: ["Oh, he has a reputation even before that." Said Ezra.]
(16:13:00) Sept: "Really? He was active back then, but I haven't heard that much about it."
(16:14:04) Minaplo: ["Ah. Well, far be it from me to deprive you of a good story told properly, so I'll let them share it."]
(16:16:12) Sept: "Hah. Sure, I'll make a note of it."
(16:19:48) Minaplo: ["So I take it you managed to follow the negotiations." Said Sarah. "Any insights?"]
(16:25:48) Sept: "Not a fan of a renewed savage Angelspawn threat, at least."
(16:27:14) Minaplo: ["Yeah, that's never good news." Said Ezra. "It, uh… Looks a lot worse in person."]
(16:31:31) Sept: "Ah, probably does. We've seen some shit, of course, but the broadcast didn't show your presentation. No reliable speculation about the causes yet, right?"
(16:35:26) Minaplo: ["Plenty of speculation, but it's just that."]
(16:39:58) Sept: "Do you find it likely there's a central force behind the development? Whether that's Angelic influence or not?"
(16:40:50) Minaplo: ["Likely? I think so. Not certain, but definitely one of the likelier possibilities."]
(16:42:22) Sept: "Maybe that's more desirable than them having 'evolved' independently. Sounds easier to figure out."
(16:42:37) Minaplo: ["You're not wrong."]
(16:46:40) Sept: "Well, we'll find out. I've been talking about something else you partly touched on with your Urban treaty. I'm told I'm biased, but I think renewing the Vatican Treaty by itself is a step backwards."
(16:47:12) Minaplo: ["Oh?"]
(16:51:28) Sept: "You're still fighting a world war, with casualties to match. I would've liked to see you find a way to -actually- impact the aftermath of the war by limiting combatants."
(16:53:18) Minaplo: ["What, by restricting conventional forces?"]
(16:55:13) Sept: "Sure."
(16:56:18) Minaplo: ["Sorry, I'm not allowed to do that." Said Ezra.]
(16:58:40) Sept: "Hmph." Sera closed his eyes for a few moments before looking past Ezra again. "The one answer I'd accept. But you could do it?"
(17:03:08) Minaplo: ["I could, yes."]
(17:05:38) Sept: "Yeah."-
(17:06:02) Sept: "I wasn't too alarmed by anything else raised on the floor."
(17:07:20) Minaplo: ["Anything you felt should've been raised that wasn't?" Asked Sarah.]
(17:10:59) Sept: "Things like off-world policy and facilities would be nice to control, but it'd be tough. I'm not the person you should ask for policy, as you can tell."
(17:14:11) Minaplo: ["Yeah, fair enough. What should I ask you for, then?"]
(17:21:35) Sept: "I like to think I have a pretty good handle on this clone business. Looking back, I've made a ton of progress and taken nearly as many setbacks getting my act together - there's got to be advice there somewhere. And you could certainly check anything Mary tells you about her ascendance with me."
(17:27:27) Minaplo: ["Yeah, that seems fair."]
(17:31:41) * Sept shifted in his chair, leaning back a little. "So what else do you have left on your agenda? If I'm holding you up from anything…"
(17:35:38) Minaplo: ["No, not really." Said Ezra.]
(17:40:44) Sept: "Could I ask you to share family stories?"
(17:41:08) Minaplo: ["Sure."]
(17:42:59) Sept: "About anyone or anything at all. I'm just curious."
(18:07:06) Minaplo: ["Sure, ok. When I was a little boy, my father and Azariah took me on a trip to Israel…"-
(18:10:39) » Quit: Vannik (~ten.labolgcbs.xtslld.deepsthgil.212-441-251-99|kinnaV#ten.labolgcbs.xtslld.deepsthgil.212-441-251-99|kinnaV) (Connection reset by peer)
(18:10:54) » Join: Vannik (~ten.labolgcbs.xtslld.deepsthgil.212-441-251-99|kinnaV#ten.labolgcbs.xtslld.deepsthgil.212-441-251-99|kinnaV)
(18:13:46) Minaplo: [And a few hours passed with Ezra telling stories, Sera listening, and Sarah watching the both of them with a small smile on his face.-
(18:15:29) Minaplo: <Her*>
(18:15:45) Minaplo: [Sera told a few of his own, of course…-
(18:16:15) Minaplo: ["I'll keep that one in mind, then." Said Ezra. "Maybe next time we meet, we'll be able to dish you up our own brand of curry."]
(18:17:19) Sept: "I'd. Ratheryoudidn't."
(18:18:18) Minaplo: ["Hm! Well, if you insist." Said Ezra.-
(18:18:38) Minaplo: ["… But." He looked out the window, where the sky had turned a dusky red. The sun had long since faded from their view, for the window faced the east.-
(18:18:55) Minaplo: ["I think we've kept Mr. Guillory waiting quite long enough."]
(18:22:15) Sept: With an amused smile and a sigh, Sera tapped his hands on his lap once, got up and began putting his gloves back on, the one on his left hand always taking a bit more convincing. "Sure. I can't quite thank you enough for today. I really enjoyed this, Ezra. Sarah."
(18:23:19) Minaplo: ["I'm glad you did." Said Ezra with a smile. He held his hand out for Sera to shake.]
(18:26:06) * Sept shook it, firmly. "Of course, it's not worth a thing to you outside this room. Trust is for other people."
(18:27:59) Minaplo: ["I take the worth with me, unfortunately." Said Ezra. "We're - family, after all, and that doesn't end at the threshold."-
(18:28:39) Minaplo: [As Ezra pulled away, Sarah gave Sera a quick hug and a peck on the cheek. "Be safe, alright? Well, as safe as you can be."]
(18:32:32) Sept: "Hah. You too. Though we might understand different things by it."-
(18:34:14) Sept: "Oh. In the spirit of honesty, though, I passed something by earlier. Can you keep a secret?"
(18:35:20) Minaplo: ["Of course." Said Sarah.]
(18:36:43) Sept: "I'm pretty sure it's after Raskova." Sera finished buttoning up his uniform again, and straightened his collar.
(18:41:03) Minaplo: ["What is?"]
(18:44:05) * Sept scoffed. "The -name-, Sarah. I'll see you two around."
(18:46:29) Minaplo: [Sarah gave Ezra a dissatisfied sideways glance.-
(18:46:46) Minaplo: [Ezra, for his part, waited until Sera was nearly at the door before responding.-
(18:46:58) Minaplo: [Or rather, saying something else entirely.-
(18:47:09) Minaplo: ["Do you know everything there is to know about the Evangelions?"]
(18:49:14) * Sept turned halfway around to look back at him, considering the question. "I can. Should I?"
(18:51:38) Minaplo: [He nodded.]
(18:54:31) Sept: "Alright. Take care." He turned back towards the door and went to head out.
(18:54:39) Minaplo: ["You too."]
(19:03:17) * Sept headed through the door and, to his credit, stopped for a moment to allow Raphael to catch up before heading down the hallway.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License