This Too Shall Pass 3 3 1

[14:03] <Yanmei> The guest hangar had been cleared of spectators for the most part. Not that there would have been very many around? News about the Dorian's latest esteemed guest had been rather repressed. Still, there were more technicians hanging around than usual. And Yanmei was also there! She was in full uniform again, her hair brushed into a long high ponytail, her makeup very carefully applied. As
[14:03] <Yanmei> she waited, she talked quietly with her secretary and security outfit that had collected around her.
[14:13] <Minaplo> [Before long, the hangar bay doors would slide open, the sudden stream of sunlight highlighting a slim passenger VTOL.-
[14:15] <Minaplo> [The VTOL landed and the rear passenger hatch opened.-
[14:17] <Minaplo> [Yanmei had met Pope Pius before. A straight-backed man, fit and trim, about 50 years old (quite young for a Pope, Lucille had told Yanmei), wearing a pair of glasses and a plain white cassock. He carried a kind of duffel bag with him; it clashed somewhat with his pastoral look.-
[14:17] <Minaplo> [Behind him were five attendants or so, including what looked like a pair of bodyguards.]
[14:21] * Yanmei greeted them all with a happy smile! She stepped forward, and bowed as the draft from their entrance died down. "Your Holiness! Welcome to our humble ship? We're so happy you came."
[14:26] <Minaplo> ["Thank you for your welcome, Chancellor Zhang." Said Pius. "You look well."]
[14:29] <Yanmei> "Thank you!" She straightened up. "You do too. Please let me introduce the Head of Presidential Security, Jean-Baptiste Vimes, and my secretary, Lucille Dupont."
[14:31] <Minaplo> ["Your Holiness." Said Vimes, giving Pius a short bow. Lucille did the same.-
[14:32] <Minaplo> ["A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Vimes, and, ah… Ms. Dupont. I had wondered what had become of you, but I'm pleased to see that you've been weathering this chaos yet."-
[14:32] <Minaplo> ["… Thank you." Said Lucille.-
[14:35] <Minaplo> ["This is my personal secretary, Basilio Molina-Olmos." Said Pius, gesturing to a short, rather stocky-looking brown-haired man to his left.-
[14:35] <Minaplo> ["Thank you for welcoming us aboard, Chancellor Zhang." Said Molina-Olmos, his voice rather soft.]
[14:36] <Yanmei> "It was my pleasure? I hope the flight was a peaceful one."
[14:40] <Minaplo> ["It was, thank you."]
[14:43] <Yanmei> "Shall we get you all settled in?" She took a step back, gesturing in the direction of the officer dorms. "Um. We tried to keep a low profile for today? But it's possible that people will notice us in the hallways and become very curious or excited."
[14:43] <Minaplo> ["That's not a problem." Said Pius.-
[14:44] <Minaplo> ["However, I hear there's one among our flock who has great troubles of his own." Said Pius. "I would see to him first. May I please see William Weiss?"]
[14:52] <Yanmei> "Y-yes, of course!" She looked actually rather relieved at that. "He's in our medical area? This way, this way…" She took the lead. Before long, they were walking down the somber, quiet halls of the medical wing. Yanmei had been chattering aimlessly about this and that. International news unrelated to the war… some of it about celebrity gossip, interestingly enough, her voice softening
[14:52] <Yanmei> significantly as they got into areas where patients might be disturbed. "And so, since it was his eleventh DUI, the judge ordered him to go to rehab! It's about time, I'd say? Ah. Here we are." -
[14:55] <Yanmei> William's door. It was closed firmly, and… quiet. Yanmei cleared her throat, brushing off her nerves as she pressed the little buzzer to the side of it. "William? It's Yanmei. I've brought a guest to see you? We're coming in, if that's ok."
[14:57] <Minaplo> [Pius had listened attentively and quietly to Yanmei has they had walked.-
[14:58] <Minaplo> [Now he stood expectantly by the door as Yanmei saw to William.-
[14:58] <Minaplo> [The intercom crackled. "… The door's unlocked."]
[15:01] * Yanmei pressed the little button that would open the door, and poked her head in. "Hey!" she said, trying to get a feel for his mood.
[15:03] <Minaplo> [William was lying in bed, his expression empty. "… Hi."]
[15:07] <Yanmei> That was disappointing. But it was no different than her previous visits to him. She refrained from glancing back at the Pope nervously. "So… you know Pope Pius XIII, right? The… Catholic Pope? *ahem* Well, he's being stationed on this ship starting today? And he wants to have a few words with you."
[15:13] <Minaplo> ["The-?!"-
[15:13] <Minaplo> [That lit a fire under him; William instantly began to get out of bed.-
[15:14] <Minaplo> ["No need, William." Said Pius, entering and closing the door behind himself; his gaggle of attendants were left outside, looking a little lost.-
[15:14] <Minaplo> ["Your holiness-" Began William.-
[15:14] <Minaplo> ["No." Cut in Pius.-
[15:14] <Minaplo> ["Your-"-
[15:14] <Minaplo> ["No." Pius gently pushed William back into the bed. "None of that."]
[15:17] * Yanmei hung back quietly! It felt like interjecting here would spoil whatever magic the Pope's appearence had cast over William's mood.
[15:18] <Minaplo> [Pius sat. He took off his bag and slowly began unzipping it. "William, why don't you introduce me to your Chancellor?"-
[15:18] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[15:18] <Minaplo> ["This is Pope Pius XIII-"-
[15:19] <Minaplo> ["Noooo." Pius tutted.-
[15:21] <Minaplo> ["…" William sighed. "This is Father Max Heppenheimer. He was my tutor. He taught me to read and write."]
[15:23] * Yanmei stared. First at William, and then at the Pope. The she whipped a sudden glare back at William. "What the heck! You never mentioned anything about this before!"
[15:24] <Minaplo> ["Well he wasn't Pope then, was he!?"]
[15:28] <Yanmei> "Y-yeah, but still!" She seemed to remember herself, toning it down again. "*ahem* I mean, this is quite a surprise, that's all."
[15:30] <Minaplo> ["I was five. Father Heppenheimer would've been-"-
[15:32] <Minaplo> ["Thirty-eight." Said Pius. "Barely a whelp by priestly standards."]
[15:36] <Yanmei> "I see. When did you two last see each other?"
[15:38] <Minaplo> ["Last Christmas. Do you remember when I left to pay a visit to my old monastery?" Said William. "Well, I ended up visiting a few other people at the time."-
[15:41] <Minaplo> ["I was Archbishop of Cologne at the time." Said Pius. "We were still re-organising the church…"]
[15:47] <Yanmei> "I see," said Yanmei. "I remember. You were gone for quite a while? And a lot has happened since then, obviously. Um. Do you want some alone time to catch up?"
[15:51] <Minaplo> ["That won't be necessary, will it?" Said Pius. "I've kept my ear to the ground when it comes to my pupils."-
[15:51] <Minaplo> ["… Mmm." William nodded.]
[15:56] * Yanmei nodded too, sagely, as if this was all old hat to her too. This guy was a lot different than Brother Joe. A lot less boisterious and more… motherly, maybe? Either way, he'd probably calm him down a bit from now on.
[15:58] <Minaplo> ["Well. Before any of that." Pius finished unzipping his bag. "I was able to speak to Sakurako, the Princess of Japan on your behalf, William."-
[15:58] <Minaplo> ["…" William frowned. "I don't…?"-
[15:58] <Minaplo> [Pius smiled, and took out a long thin postal tube from his bag. William stared at it.]
[16:02] * Yanmei stared at it too, inching closer in spite of herself. Wait. Did he say Japan? Then…
[16:03] <Minaplo> [With a dark expression on his face, William cautiously took the tube and pulled the cap out. He glanced inside.-
[16:03] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[16:04] <Minaplo> [William hastily shoved the cap back in, his face colouring instantly. "You didn't."-
[16:04] <Minaplo> ["I obviously did." Said Pius calmly.]
[12:59] <Yanmei> "Did what~?" Yanmei asked, her eyes obviously shining with innocence and purity.
[13:07] <Minaplo> ["Nothing. Don't worry about it." Said William hastily. "Do you know how ridiculous you sound right now?" He said, turning back to Pius.-
[13:10] <Minaplo> ["Why?" Said Pius.-
[13:13] <Minaplo> ["The Pope comes in here and gives me this-" William shook it at Pius violently- "and as a favour from Princess Sakurako, no less! It's not- it's- it's nonsense! It's undignified!"-
[13:14] <Minaplo> ["… Are you really lecturing me on not having enough gravitas?" Said Pius, his eyes widening even as he fought back a smile. He turned to Yanmei. "Do you believe him? He's lecturing me on gravitas."]
[13:15] <Yanmei> "The nerve!" Yanmei smirked, playing along.
[13:18] <Minaplo> ["Stop mocking me!" Said William, scowling.-
[13:18] <Minaplo> ["Then stop lecturing me." Said Pius calmly, staring right back at him.]
[13:25] <Yanmei> "Now, now," Yanmei chided. "Let's all settle down, hm? You must have had another reason to visit Japan, right, your holiness? A vacation?"
[13:29] <Minaplo> ["Actually, I didn't go to Japan personally. I was in contact with Princess Sakurako however… Non-Aligned business." Said Pius with a small smile. "She's an influential figure in the League."]
[13:36] <Yanmei> "I'm well aware that she is? Interestingly, we actually have quite a few fans of hers on board…"
[13:37] <Minaplo> [Pius glanced questioningly at William; William's scowl deepened.]
[13:38] * Yanmei smirked again. "I was referring to a few of the Ayanami sisters? And possibly some of their Bridge crew."
[13:41] <Minaplo> ["Oh, I see. Well, her highness is an admirable young lady." Said Pius.-
[13:42] <Minaplo> ["Oh, on the topic of admirable people and the Ayanami sisters both, I was told about something quite interesting recently, Chancellor."]
[13:42] <Yanmei> "Oh?"
[13:44] <Minaplo> ["There was a court martial some time ago, if I'm not mistaken. And you were Ayanami Rei's legal counsel!"]
[13:45] <Yanmei> "Yes. That was before I was a Chancellor," Yanmei said smoothly. "It was a difficult case."
[13:49] <Minaplo> ["And you had your own team of assistants too, I believe…?"]
[13:54] <Yanmei> "Yes, advisors and specialists. Including your favorite William~ The court found him pretty convincing?"
[14:02] <Minaplo> ["I didn't do that well." Muttered William.]
[14:07] <Yanmei> "You did too? He was like, 'This creepy Angel really messed with her head? You have to acquit her!' And everyone was super impressed, except for the Judge who was from Japan, who was kind of mean and grumpy about everything in general."
[14:12] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[14:13] <Minaplo> ["I did hear as much." Said Pius. "Although I also heard that you apparently called the prosecution a 'protestant' in anger…?"-
[14:13] <Minaplo> [William flushed; he began to fidget with his hands.]
[14:16] <Yanmei> "Er." Yanmei did her best to distract from that for him. "Did you hear that she called him an airhead?"
[14:20] <Minaplo> ["I heard many things. But really now, William. 'Protestant'?" Pius tutted.-
[14:21] <Minaplo> ["It just kind of slipped out." Muttered William.-
[14:22] <Minaplo> ["But it's such an old battle to fight." Said Pius.-
[14:22] <Minaplo> [There was a moment of silence. Pius seemed to shift in his chair; his eyebrows drew together, his hands clasped. He looked over at Yanmei seriously before back to William.-
[14:22] <Minaplo> ["I hear… That's not the only old battle you insist on fighting, William."-
[14:23] <Minaplo> ["…" William looked away.]
[14:27] * Yanmei looked uneasily between the two. She said nothing, although it didn't quite seem right to scold him about that…
[14:37] <Minaplo> ["You heard about Aline, of course." Said Pius.-
[14:37] <Minaplo> ["… Yes." Said William quietly.]
[14:39] <Yanmei> "We just found out about it," Yanmei chimed in. Then frowned. "Wait. How did -you- know about that?"
[14:45] <Minaplo> ["Well, I was told about it." Said Pius.]
[14:47] <Yanmei> "By who? Did someone in the UN disclose that?" Her eyes narrowed. "Did they provide any terrible excuses for what they pulled?"
[14:52] <Minaplo> ["You know I can't discuss who, Chancellor."]
[14:54] * Yanmei stared a moment, and then tossed her hair, glancing away again. "Right…"
[15:03] <Minaplo> ["The real question now is what you are going to do now, William." Said Pius. "Aline's alive. Your wish can still be fulfilled- all those things you did, they can be justified again, can't they?"-
[15:03] <Minaplo> ["…"]
[15:07] <Yanmei> "It's not like he can pretend that whatever happened to her before we got this news didn't happen," Yanmei pointed out.
[15:12] <Minaplo> [Pius didn't say anything. He merely looked at Yanmei with a pair of sharp yellow-green eyes.]
[15:12] * Yanmei glared back, unwavering.
[15:14] <Minaplo> [Pius placed his bag on William's bed. "There's something else in there for you. When you feel ready, have a look inside. I'll be back later, William."-
[15:14] <Minaplo> [With a small smile, Pius stood up and left- William and Yanmei were alone.]
[15:15] * Yanmei fumed when the door shut behind him. "What's his damage, anyway?! Hmph. You okay?" she glanced over at William again.
[15:16] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[15:16] <Minaplo> [William shook his head. "Sounds like you're not impressed with him."]
[15:19] <Yanmei> "I was until he brought up the Promise like that. What does he even expect?"
[15:22] <Minaplo> ["He expects me to say 'no, it's not'." Said William.-
[15:22] <Minaplo> <no, they can't*>
[15:24] <Minaplo> ["When I was a Templar, my year was divided up into two halves, alternating every month." He said. "On one month I'd stay in Germany and be educated by Max and his friends. Reading and writing at first, speaking various languages, then mathematics, science…"-
[15:24] <Minaplo> ["The next month I would be transferred to the Templars, where I would practice combat, stealth, tracking, or execute missions."-
[15:25] <Minaplo> ["Max wasn't a part of the Templars. He didn't know what was going on." Said William. "But he sensed that whatever was happening was hurting me."-
[15:28] <Minaplo> ["Even that was part of the plan." Said William. "By working with them, building networks with the next generation of Church leaders, I'd have a front, political contacts… In a way, the Templars turned me into a spy, only I was spying on the Church."-
[15:30] <Minaplo> ["But… I enjoyed my time with him." Said William. "He was patient and friendly. Calm. I never knew my father, but when I think of what a father is like… Heh. I think that's why he was so upset when I called him 'your holiness'. Maybe he liked playing parent."-
[15:32] <Minaplo> [William rubbed at his eyes.-
[15:33] <Minaplo> ["He was always so welcoming. So understanding. Heh." William picked up that postal tube, fiddled with it a little. "He's not a very good priest. He even fetched me a poster of Lune La Pucelle. What sort of clergyman does that, eh?"]
[15:48] * Yanmei tilted her head. It took a minute to place the name on William's Pantheon of Popstar Idols; it was the idol he actually loved the most. "It sounds like you guys have a real bond. I…" she cleared her throat awkwardly. "I may have jumped to the wrong conclusion about his intentions."
[15:50] <Minaplo> ["You did." Said William. "That's alright. It's like trying to listen in on two people speaking in a language you don't really understand."-
[15:51] <Minaplo> [He handed the tube to her. "You can have a look if you want. I think there's something else in there besides the poster, too."-
[15:52] <Minaplo> [Will dragged the bag up onto his chest and ferreted around in it. A minute later, he took out a brown paper package; it looked quite heavy; it was about a foot and a bit long and half as tall.]
[15:53] * Yanmei eyed that, her brow wrinkling slightly. She quickly opened the tube and -indeed- took a peek, pulling the poster out gingerly and partly unfurling it.
[16:04] <Minaplo> [Lune La Pucelle stared back; a beautiful Japanese-French girl with long blue hair, done up in princess curls; she had a heart-shaped face, seductively deep green eyes, and bright pink lips. She wore a low-cut green dress, tied with pink ribbons; a frilly skirt falling barely halfway on her thighs, which were mostly clad in white stockings tucked into green hi-heels. She was winking and blowing a kiss toward Yanmei.-
[16:04] <Minaplo> [Yanmei would see that the poster was not only signed by Lune, but also bore, attached on the blank white side, a single ticket…-
[16:05] <Minaplo> [William wasn't paying any attention; he was busy opening the brown package, his brow furrowed.-
[16:05] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[16:06] <Minaplo> [Within was a familiar-looking revolver: a heavy pistol with an enlarged firing chamber and barrel, a shiny black handle and a gleaming silvery-chrome metal surface. This one was identical to William's own pistol… Only, it wasn't engraved.-
[16:06] <Minaplo> [Beneath the gun was a letter. William picked it up and began to read it.]
[16:09] <Yanmei> "T-that…" Yanmei stared. A gun was a million times more important than a frilly idol poster.
[16:10] <Minaplo> ["Heh."-
[16:11] <Minaplo> [William placed the gun back down. The letter seemed short.-
[16:11] <Minaplo> ["It's just a single question." Said William. "'Who is like God?'"]
[16:13] <Yanmei> "…? I don't get it. Who?" She frowned warily. "The answer isn't 'an Eva', is it?"
[16:14] <Minaplo> [William smiled.-
[16:14] <Minaplo> ["That's just it. The answer is 'no one'. No one is like God."-
[16:16] <Minaplo> ["It's a rhetorical question." He looked over at her. "But it's also the literal translation of the Hebrew name 'Michael'."]
[16:21] <Yanmei> "Oh. Heh. That's clever!"
[12:55] <Minaplo> ["Yeah…"-
[12:55] <Minaplo> ["…" William sighed. "So Aline's alive."]
[12:57] <Yanmei> "Yeah. Apparently…"
[12:58] <Minaplo> ["If I requested to be allowed to leave and return to the UN, would you allow that?"]
[13:00] * Yanmei tensed slightly. "Probably not, no."
[13:01] <Minaplo> ["I see. So my choice is meaningless."]
[13:06] <Yanmei> "What do you want me to say? 'Yes, please go join her. Hope you two have fun trying to kill all of my soldiers and their loved ones'? Why would I do that? Do you think I want to fight you too?"
[13:11] <Minaplo> ["I wanted you to trust me." Said William coldly. "I wanted you to give me the freedom to choose whatever I felt best."-
[13:16] <Minaplo> ["But unless I choose the way you want me to choose, then my actions are pointless." Said William. "I don't have your trust and I don't have my freedom."]
[13:36] * Yanmei took a deep breath. "That's a huge ask right now and you -know- it. Blanc didn't even have the connections to the UN and their lot the way you do, and she still ended up on their side either by force or by… I don't even know what else."
[13:49] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[13:50] <Minaplo> ["My wish was important only to me." Said William. "That's something I realised when I thought Aline was dead."-
[13:52] <Minaplo> ["No one else. Not even Mary Caine. Just me. It was to it that I chained my crimes, my future." He said quietly. "But other people only cared about it so long as they could use it to yank me around."-
[13:55] <Minaplo> ["Max said it best. He asked a rhetorical question." Said William. "'they can be justified again, can't they'?"-
[13:55] <Minaplo> ["It's a question with an answer so obvious that it doesn't need to be answered. No, they can't be justified again. They were never justifiable."-
[13:56] <Minaplo> ["Just like 'Michael'. 'Who is like God?' is a question with an obvious answer, too."-
[13:57] <Minaplo> [William sighed. He gently rubbed the stock of his revolver with his other hand. "Mary Caine is not like God."-
[14:00] <Minaplo> ["I've spent my whole life revolving around this wish because that was Mary Caine's whim." Said William. "Hah- did you think Aline lived up to my expectations?"-
[14:01] <Minaplo> ["Of course she didn't. How could she? To do that, she'd have to be like God herself. Perfect, flawless, yet still willing to ditch Shinji for me… No, that was impossible. It was always impossible."-
[14:02] <Minaplo> ["… So you see, Yanmei, my whole life has been chained to something, the only purpose of it being to control me. I've never truly had the freedom to make my own choices."-
[14:03] <Minaplo> ["I want to be able to choose." Said William. "Right now, I want to take my life into my own hands."]
[14:08] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei tried not to stare at the gun for that moment. -
[14:11] <Yanmei> "If I denied you that, I suppose I would be no better than Caine, right? No. I guess it's more than that. A matter of human dignity," she said sadly.
[14:18] <Minaplo> ["That's right." Said William.]
[14:19] <Yanmei> "Fuck…" Yanmei folded her arms, glaring sullenly at her shoes. "What do you want to do, then?"
[14:31] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[14:34] <Minaplo> [He lifted the gun.-
[14:36] <Minaplo> [He twirled it on his finger for a few seconds before tossing it into the air. A second later he pulled a holster from the crumpled brown paper bag; he caught the revolver within it perfectly.-
[14:40] <Minaplo> ["Mary Caine is just a pretender." Said William.-
[14:41] <Minaplo> ["I can't allow her to continue the way she is." He said. "Perhaps she can be shown the error of her ways. Perhaps she's beyond help. I want to try, at least. Until then, I'll fight against her and her works."-
[14:42] <Minaplo> ["… That's the answer I came to in the end." He said. "'How do I atone for my actions?'…"]
[14:46] * Yanmei relaxed a little bit, but she didn't really smile yet. "I think that's a pretty good answer? I hope we can pull it off. Together, you know?"
[14:57] <Minaplo> ["It won't be easy."]
[14:58] <Yanmei> "When has anything ever been easy?" Yanmei sighed.
[15:02] <Minaplo> ["This is going to be one of, if not the defining challenge of our lives. I wouldn't have it any other way."-
[15:03] <Minaplo> [He pulled himself out of bed.-
[15:03] <Minaplo> ["Is there a dorm put aside for me?"]
[15:04] <Yanmei> "Heh. We've got a few open. One even near your beloved Pope, in fact…"
[15:08] <Minaplo> ["That suits me. What about the things I had in my old room? Were they put anywhere?"]
[15:10] <Yanmei> "Um. Most of the stuff in your old room was destroyed? Because of the explosion," said Yanmei awkwardly. "Security held on to some of the remains. I'll ask them about it? In the meantime, we'll issue you some basics."
[15:11] <Minaplo> ["Most of the important things I kept in a safe, though."]
[15:12] <Yanmei> "Then Security'll have it," said Yanmei with a decisive nod. "Don't worry. I'll get it back to you."
[15:13] <Minaplo> [He piled the gun, holster and note back into the bag, along with the poster and tube. He was only wearing a hospital gown, but it didn't seem to bother him. "We'll go by Security on the way, then."]
[15:15] <Yanmei> "All right…" Yanmei paused for a moment, and then, in a most gentlewomanly fashion, removed her cape and offered it to him for the meantime.
[15:16] <Minaplo> ["Thanks." He said with a wry smile.-
[15:16] <Minaplo> [He took it and shrugged it on over his shoulders. "Lead the way."]
[15:17] <Yanmei> And so Yanmei did. -
[15:23] <Yanmei> Vimes was gracious enough to lead them to the safe, located in the deep, dark bowels of Security's evidence room. Under the keen, uncomfortable gaze of Jeanne Simon, they gathered William's belongings in a simple black dufflebag and were quickly ushered to their destination. -
[15:29] <Yanmei> The room in question was… bare, more or less. It was small, windowless, with a single bed with standard-issued blankets folded on it, and a wooden desk with a small, standing tv monitor built into it. Just as Yanmei had promised, however, it was just a short walk to the Pope's lavish domain.
[15:30] <Minaplo> ["You realise he won't stay in that room, right?"]
[15:31] <Yanmei> "Huh? What? Why? We scrubbed the artwork in there a long time ago!"
[15:42] <Minaplo> ["It's too opulent!"]
[15:50] <Yanmei> "He should be used to opulant things! He's a Pope! Did you see where all of his predecessors lived before he assumed the throne?"
[15:53] <Minaplo> ["You mean the Apostolic Palace? The place I lived in for twenty years in the Dream World? That place?"]
[15:55] <Yanmei> "Well. Yes…" said Yanmei awkwardly. She looked at his comparatively barren room with a sudden pang of embarrassment. This was no place for a Dream Pope to stay, come to think of it…
[15:56] <Minaplo> ["Trust me. It's not to Max's taste."-
[15:57] <Minaplo> [He sighed and place his bags- including the one containing his safely-guarded items- on the bed.]
[23:28] <Yanmei> "Hmph. Well, if tells us what he wants, we'll try to accomodate him?" She eyed the bag with the safe's contents in it. She hadn't gotten a very good look before.
[23:33] <Minaplo> ["Good."-
[23:34] <Minaplo> [He unzipped his bag and pulled out the safe. It was a bulky surovite thing, the grey surface scarred by burns not not damaged in any meaningful way.-
[23:34] <Minaplo> [Half a minute of fiddling with the lock later and it opened. The first thing out… Was a gun. A revolver identical to the one the Pope had given him.]
[23:35] * Yanmei frowned. "So there's no way that's a coincidence, right?"
[23:41] <Minaplo> ["No."-
[23:44] <Minaplo> ["I was trained to excel with dual pistols." He said. "Yet I was only ever given one of these."-
[23:46] <Minaplo> "I always found that to be odd." He shook his head. "Brother Joseph gave this one to me, yet the two are clearly a set. He must've given the other one to Max."-
[23:46] <Minaplo> ["Very curious…"]
[23:48] <Yanmei> "Maybe it means he wanted you two to join up at some point?" Yanmei suggested. "Battle Priest partners?"
[23:51] <Minaplo> ["Why? Max isn't a fighter. He doesn't even know how to use a gun."]
[23:57] <Yanmei> "Then… a Battle Priest and his support tutor? I don't know. Maybe he's supposed to teach you more things."
[23:58] <Minaplo> ["Hmm."-
[23:58] <Minaplo> ["Something to speak to him about, I suppose."-
[23:59] <Minaplo> [He placed the two guns side-by-side on the bed.-
Session Time: Fri Sep 18 00:00:00 2015
[00:07] <Minaplo> [The next thing out of the safe was a framed picture. Fatima… But it took Yanmei a moment to recognise her without her headscarf. Fatima had long, straight silvery-transparent hair; it flowed out behind her, caught in the wind. It caught the sunlight, framing Fatima with a magnificent rainbow halo…-
[00:08] <Minaplo> [… However, she was scowling furiously at the camera nonetheless.-
[00:09] <Minaplo> [He stared at it for a few seconds, then placed it on the bedside table.]
[00:09] * Yanmei kept her face perfectly neutral. No signs of anger or contempt. Why had he even saved that…?
[00:25] <Minaplo> ["She visited me when I was under, didn't she?"]
[00:26] <Yanmei> "So you heard about that…"
[00:30] <Minaplo> ["Yeah."-
[00:30] <Minaplo> ["I wish I'd been awake." He said with a sigh. "I owe her an apology."]
[00:31] <Yanmei> "Huh? Why?"
[00:32] <Minaplo> ["I broke her heart." He said. "We were in love, but I still chose an idealised image of Aline over her."]
[00:33] <Yanmei> "Well, she hasn't exactly been scarce during battles. You'll probably run into her again eventually?"
[00:38] <Minaplo> ["That's true."-
[00:39] <Minaplo> ["You met her, right? What'd you think of her?"]
[00:44] <Yanmei> "Stubborn. Refused to listen or care about anything, but was all too happy to try to lecture me when she got the chance. She seemed like she missed you."
[00:46] <Minaplo> [His eyebrows rose.]
[00:47] <Yanmei> "What?"
[00:48] <Minaplo> ["Did you try to recruit her or something?"]
[00:50] <Yanmei> "I tried to clue her in on what the war was actually about. She wasn't interested? Perfectly happy blindly following her orders."
[00:52] <Minaplo> ["What were you expecting?" He said. "She would've been expecting exactly this, and you're someone she has no reason to trust- more reasons not to trust than not."-
[00:53] <Minaplo> ["I'm sorry to say, but it's pretty obvious that you were playing right into Mary Caine's hands."]
[00:55] * Yanmei rolled her eyes. "I had to at least try something. It didn't make a single difference either way, so it's not like Caine actually profitted from it?"
[00:56] <Minaplo> ["Caine would've told Fatima to expect this from you. Then you did it. It only reinforces Caine's sense of invincibility."-
[00:57] <Minaplo> ["You're going to have to try harder than this." He said seriously. On that note, he turned back to his safe, taking out a sealed tray full of what looked like papers and passports.]
[01:07] <Yanmei> "'Try harder' at what? Being all friendly with Caine's lot? Because I think I'm done with that, thanks."
[01:09] <Minaplo> [He shook his head.-
[01:10] <Minaplo> ["Know your enemy and know yourself, right? Mary Caine has a huge edge on you in that. You need to try harder at understanding her, understanding how she'll attack you, the traps."-
[01:11] <Minaplo> [He opened the sealed container. Then he reached into his safe, took out a small bottle and emptied the contents over the papers, the passports…-
[01:11] <Minaplo> [He then took a lighter out of the safe and, expression blank, flicked it on. A small yellow flame burned.-
[01:11] <Minaplo> [He dropped the lighter into the tray. The papers and liquid all burst into flame.]
[01:12] <Yanmei> "What the hell?! Why did you even bother saving them?"
[01:24] <Minaplo> ["Oh, they were useful then." He said. "But now I just want their destruction to be as deliberate as possible."-
[01:24] <Minaplo> ["These… Are all the identity papers that refer to me as 'William'."]
[01:31] <Yanmei> "…oh. So that means you're going with your other identity now?"
[01:32] <Minaplo> ["That's right."-
[01:34] <Minaplo> [He put the burning papers aside and turned.-
[01:34] <Minaplo> ["Think you can get used to calling me Michael?"]
[01:35] <Yanmei> "Give me a few days. I'll get the hang out it."
[01:36] <Minaplo> [Michael smiled. It was a warm, wide smile.-
[01:36] <Minaplo> [He shrugged off Yanmei's cape and handed it back to her. "Thanks."-
[01:36] <Minaplo> [He then pulled a set of clothes from his safe, puickly pulled off his hospital gown and began to dress. He didn't seem too bothered by Yanmei's presence.-
[01:37] <Minaplo> ["… Do me two favours."]
[01:38] <Yanmei> And Yanmei was no longer looking in his direction! She peered up at the ceiling politely. "Huh? What?"
[01:38] <Minaplo> ["My Eva's ready to go, right?"]
[01:39] * Tao (~ua.ten.letxof.dlq.552-242-291-271-epc|oaT#ua.ten.letxof.dlq.552-242-291-271-epc|oaT) has joined #nervfrance
[01:41] * Raphael (~ua.ten.letxof.dlq.552-242-291-271-epc|oaT#ua.ten.letxof.dlq.552-242-291-271-epc|oaT) Quit (Ping timeout: 183 seconds)
[01:43] <Yanmei> "Yeah…?"
[01:45] <Minaplo> ["I want you to let Holmstrom sync with it. That's my first favour."]
[01:46] * Yanmei nearly looked at him in surprise. "But why? What are you thinking of?"
[01:47] <Minaplo> ["Don't you think Holmstrom deserves a chance to speak to him?"]
[01:48] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei's brow crinkled. "He does. Does this mean you've spoken to him yourself?"
[01:49] <Minaplo> ["We've… Communicated."]
[01:50] <Yanmei> "Oh. Um. How was he doing?"
[01:50] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[01:50] <Minaplo> ["Perhaps you should see for yourself sometime."-
[01:51] <Minaplo> ["Now. I also want you to have de Pteres sync with it." Said Michael. "That's my other favour."]
[01:51] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei started to laugh.
[01:52] <Minaplo> ["What?"]
[01:53] <Yanmei> "N-nothing. Just reminded of old times for a minute." Yanmei wiped her eye. "I'll honor both of those requests, okay?"
[01:54] <Minaplo> ["Alright."-
[01:55] * Suzune (moc.rr.ser.yabapmat.551cfh1322356|enuzuS#moc.rr.ser.yabapmat.551cfh1322356|enuzuS) Quit (Quit: )
[01:58] <Minaplo> ["Oh, one other thing. Are there any field combat missions going on soon?"]
[02:00] <Yanmei> "There's Asgard? Beyond that, nothing's really been confirmed."
[02:04] <Minaplo> ["I see."-
[02:04] <Minaplo> [Michael finished dressing. He belted on a pair of pistol holsters before picking up his revolvers, twirling them rapidly forwards, then backwards, then hurling them into the air with a flick of his wrists.-
[02:05] <Minaplo> [He stood stone-still. A second later the revolvers landed perfectly within his holsters. "Wouldn't mind a field mission, Yanmei."]
[02:05] <Yanmei> "Tired of resting up around here, huh?"
[02:06] <Minaplo> ["Yeah."]
[02:08] <Yanmei> "You're not going to do anything reckless out there, are you?" She appraised him, hands behind her back, adopting the stern expectant demeanor befitting of a Chancellor.
[02:09] <Minaplo> ["I'm never reckless."]
[02:15] <Yanmei> "Hmm." Yanmei snapped her fingers. "All right. I've got a better idea? Have you ever been hunting before?"
[02:19] <Minaplo> ["Sure."]
[02:20] <Yanmei> "Good. You can hunt Angelspawn with some of our most charasmatic allies~"
[02:21] <Minaplo> ["I see…"]
[02:22] <Yanmei> "It'll be exciting. Promise!"
[02:24] <Minaplo> ["You'll eat what I catch, yes?"]
[02:27] <Yanmei> "Er. Eat Angelspawn…?"
[02:27] <Minaplo> ["Meat's meat."]
[02:30] <Yanmei> "Strange and confusing meat? And I think that would send the wrong impression to Ban-Ban, Anita-Margaret, and all the children's favorite hero."
[02:31] <Minaplo> ["Hero?"]
[02:39] <Yanmei> "The Angel Zeruel. I recently got a written request from a certain child civilian asking for me to give him a medal for his actions at Asgard."
[02:40] <Minaplo> ["… I see. Never thought I'd live to see you willingly surrender the title of children's hero to an Angel."]
[02:42] <Yanmei> "What do you mean 'willingly'?" Yanmei grumbled. "I knew I was beat when they made a little statue of him by themselves. It's on the deck, by the way. Actually… it's been a while since you've been out of medical? Want to look around and see what's changed?"
[02:45] <Minaplo> ["I do." Said Michael. "Although I know something that hasn't changed."]
[02:45] <Yanmei> "Yeah?"
[02:45] <Minaplo> ["You're still too easy to tease."]
[02:48] * Tao (~ua.ten.letxof.dlq.552-242-291-271-epc|oaT#ua.ten.letxof.dlq.552-242-291-271-epc|oaT) Quit (Ping timeout)
[02:49] <Yanmei> "Hmph." Yanmei tossed her hair. "Whatever. I was just playing along?"
[02:50] <Minaplo> ["Sure." He smiled. "Let's go."]

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