This Too Shall Pass 3 3 3

(15:12:33) * Yanmei sat in the conference room usually used for debriefings, aimlessly swiveling from side to side in her nice rolling chair as she waited for her final two guests to arrive. She was, naturally, in full uniform. There were also others with her: the Vice-Chancellor of the UEF, Ginevre Fontaine; and the newly released Eva pilot that was formerly known as William.
(15:17:04) Sept: [The door opened to a scene of two young, dark-haired men standing on both sides of the door, staring at each other. Sera was looking unamused while Weaver smiled his usual faint smile with a hint more arrogance than could usually be inferred.]
(15:17:21) Sept: "Yeah? I'm afraid I insist," Sera was saying.-
(15:19:02) Sept: ["Well, so do I. I'm hardly just a passing guest anymore, you don't need to put on airs for my organization, ami."]-
(15:20:34) * Sept admitted his defeat and entered first, muttering a 'hello' to the room as he sat down at the chair closest to the door. Weaver extended a more formal greeting before finding his seat somewhere closer to Fontaine.
(15:23:48) Minaplo: [Fontaine raised her eyebrows and shot Yanmei a glance before giving Sera a welcoming nod.]
(15:24:48) Yanmei: "Gentlemen," Yanmei greeted them, trying to keep the faint sense of exhaustion out of her voice at Weaver's presence in particular. "Thank you for coming? We know you're both busy, so we'll try to keep this brief."
(15:25:55) Sept: ["Happy to help, Chancellor."]-
(15:26:11) Sept: "Yeah. Same. What's up?"
(15:30:56) Yanmei: "Put simply, we have a request for both of you. Um. As you've noticed, Mr. Weiss-Xylander has been discharged from the hospital. Both of the requests have essentially stemmed from that." She gestured lightly in Michael's direction. "By the way, he's adopted a different first name since his release? Please call him 'Michael' from now on."
(15:33:17) Sept: "No problem. You want your last name with that, or are we mixing it up?"
(15:34:05) Minaplo: ["Michael Leon is preferred, yes." Said Michael.]
(15:34:40) Sept: "Alright," Sera nodded.-
(15:35:00) Sept: [W stayed politely quiet as he followed the conversation.]
(15:42:48) Yanmei: "Gotcha," Yanmei said, making a note of that herself. "So! Mr. Leon is staying out of his Eva for the first few weeks of his return, which means that he's available to help on other missions." She turned to W now, smiling. "Could your team use another sniper to help out with the Angelspawn extermination they're scheduled to conduct?"
(15:45:18) Sept: ["We could make an exception if Mr. Leon has no problems working closely with our Guard squads."]
(15:46:02) Minaplo: ["It's not an issue for me." Said Michael. "Tell me, do you know if they have any problems eating what they kill?"]
(15:48:58) Sept: [Some surprise registered on Weaver's face at that. "Raw or cooked? Well, no matter, both definitely have their proponents. No problems."]
(15:52:17) * Yanmei stared blankly at them both… and then decided to leave that the hell alone. -
(15:53:04) Minaplo: ["Good to hear."]
(15:56:14) Yanmei: "So that's settled, then. Thank you."
(16:00:01) Sept: ["We're used to your requests being quite the opposite of giving us resources, so we do appreciate the gesture."]
(16:01:01) * Yanmei glared. "Moving on. Sera. How much do you know about Eva-21?"
(16:01:30) Minaplo: [Fontaine's expression became cold at Weaver's snark.]
(16:03:35) Sept: "What you'd expect. UN-developed. I know the soul. Any problems with it?"
(16:07:08) Yanmei: "Not really. But it seems to want you to synch with it for a few minutes."
(16:08:57) Sept: "…why's that?" The question was directed at Michael.
(16:09:49) Minaplo: ["I don't know." Said Michael innocently. "Perhaps he has something to tell you."]
(16:10:42) * Sept turned to Yanmei. "And you agree with that?"
(16:15:32) Yanmei: "I do," she said plainly. "Do you have misgivings?"
(16:17:12) Sept: "Not really. I'm available enough," he replied simply. "It's a bit sudden, but of course I've been curious about 21 as well."
(16:19:25) * Yanmei nodded. "You're not the only one he's asked to speak to? Matthias Holmstrom is probably going in right before you are."
(16:20:45) Sept: "That's more understandable."-
(16:20:57) Sept: [Weaver nodded to indicate his agreement.]-
(16:21:22) Sept: "I'll do it, but where does this come from, Michael? Did you remember or only decide to tell us about this now?"
(16:31:11) Minaplo: ["Well it comes from 21, obviously."]
(16:31:58) Sept: "When did he tell you this," Sera clarified.
(16:34:17) Minaplo: ["… Ah, it would've been in the aftershock of being pulled out of Raphael's dream world. I had other things on my mind when I was being told, and frankly I've had other things on my mind ever since. Didn't seem important."]
(16:35:31) Sept: "Okay."
(16:38:50) Yanmei: "He's been waiting forever, then," Yanmei sighed. "Alright, then. Any other information you want to pass on to us? Things you would have learned from 21 or from… anywhere else before your loyalties shifted?"
(16:39:08) Minaplo: ["Of course. I have plenty of information about Mary Caine."]
(16:41:17) Sept: [W perked up quite openly at that mention.]
(16:42:41) Yanmei: As did Yanmei. "Could you please share everything you know?"
(16:46:31) Minaplo: [As Michael went to speak, the doors opened.-
(16:48:26) Minaplo: [Two old men walked through the doorway- the stocky frame of Nigel Shardlake and the thin, gaunt Vladimir Romanov. Shardlake was eating some sort of dark purple pudding, whilst Romanov was taking bites from some sort of long sandwich roll, the crisp lettuce crunching with every chew.]
(16:49:46) Yanmei: …and Yanmei's expression instantly flatlined. -
(16:52:32) Yanmei: "Huh. You actually came. I'm… almost impressed?"
(16:53:28) Sept: "That's where her scale tops out, for what it's worth."
(16:53:40) Sept: [Weaver closed his mouth, snubbed.]
(16:54:04) Minaplo: ["We stopped for food." Said Romanov.-
(16:54:34) Minaplo: ["I'd say sorry for being late, Zhang, but I'm not, so I won't." Said Shardlake. "I doubt we missed anything truly important. You may resume."-
(16:54:56) Minaplo: [The two old men took a pair of seats, pulled them away from the table, then sat down next to each other.]
(17:00:13) » Part: Yanmei (~ten.nozirev.soif.apalhp.302-7-511-89-loop|ekaCyekaC#ten.nozirev.soif.apalhp.302-7-511-89-loop|ekaCyekaC)
(17:00:27) » Join: Yanmei (~ten.nozirev.soif.apalhp.302-7-511-89-loop|ekaCyekaC#ten.nozirev.soif.apalhp.302-7-511-89-loop|ekaCyekaC)
(17:00:32) Sept: ["More spectators? Shardlake and Romanov," Weaver nodded to both of the men briefly. "My pleasure."]
(17:02:39) Yanmei: "For those of you not in the know-" she paused. Probably everyone else here was in the know. "These gentlemen were in the world-ending business with Caine until she recently pulled the rug out from under them? They might have a thing or two to contribute. You know. Between bites." Another glare. -
(17:03:40) Yanmei: "Michael, please go on at your leisure."
(17:05:03) Minaplo: ["Oh, it's one of Markov's Adepts." Said Shardlake curiously. "Fancy that."-
(17:05:42) Minaplo: [As Shardlake dug into his pudding, Romanov spoke up. "Since when have we stopped being in the world-ending business? I thought defecting to your side was a tacit vote for armageddon…?"]
(17:08:13) Yanmei: "Are you implying that you're still actively doing stuff besides loafing around on this ship? Because I have yet to see that." Yanmei hmphed. "Besides, we're not -ending- the world. We're changing it."
(17:09:59) Minaplo: ["Ohhh," Vladimir turned to Shardlake.-
(17:10:08) Minaplo: ["Ship of Theseus?"-
(17:10:46) Minaplo: ["Ship of Theseus." Said Shardlake. "Or panta rhei."-
(17:10:50) Minaplo: ["I do like panta rhei-"-
(17:11:16) Minaplo: ["Enough." Said Fontaine. "Michael! Please continue."-
(17:12:26) Minaplo: [Michael had been watching the two old men with his eyebrows wide and a small smile; but now his expression became serious. "Yanmei. Can you explain to us what you believe Caine's ideal third Impact scenario to be?"]
(17:14:00) * Sept shifted uncomfortably in his seat, anxious or bored.
(17:24:18) Yanmei: "I don't know much about how she intends to do it? But the end result would be a world where the Angels and their like don't exist, and where all humans are given an equal chance in society to reach their best potential." Yanmei frowned deeply. "I'm not sure if that means taking over for Lilith, or just assigning someone to take her place in a way that allows for that to happen, but getting
(17:24:19) Yanmei: rid of Destiny doesn't seem to be a huge priority for her?"
(17:28:16) Minaplo: [Michael paused to allow for comments from the audience.]
(17:30:27) Sept: "You're missing some of the deity rhetoric, for sure." Sera was looking off to the side at an empty chair.
(17:33:42) Yanmei: "Hm? What do you mean?"
(17:35:50) Sept: "'All humans having an equal chance in society' makes it sound pedestrian. There's a bunch of biblical metaphors and controlling God-Evas before that."
(17:36:52) Yanmei: "Ugh. Then I'm glad I left it out? That stuff is dumb."
(17:37:56) Sept: ["Valid viewpoint."]-
(17:38:13) Sept: "Yes, but important."
(17:38:51) Minaplo: [There was the judgmental sound of crunching lettuce.-
(17:39:28) Minaplo: ["When dealing with powers that reshape life and control death, it's best to take an appropriately respectful tone. You don't play with these things lightly, schoolgirl." Said Romanov.]
(17:42:10) Yanmei: "When dealing with powers that reshape life and control death, it's more important to be clear about what the hell you're doing so that you or someone else helping you doesn't muck it up," Yanmei shot back. "And that includes leaving out the metaphors."
(17:44:10) Minaplo: ["No no, you use the metaphors to keep all the little people from understanding. It's like a code."-
(17:44:19) Minaplo: ["A shibboleth, even." Said Shardlake.-
(17:44:24) Minaplo: ["Quite, a shibboleth."-
(17:44:34) Minaplo: ["This pudding is exquisite. Mr. Blue has really outdone himself."-
(17:44:49) Minaplo: ["… Anyway." Michael coughed. "Did you ever consider the mechanics she might use, Yanmei?"]
(17:46:36) Yanmei: "I've thought about it, but I haven't been able to draw any conclusions," she said, clearly grateful for the chance to move on. "The Eternity Drive is probably key, but I don't know how it works or where it fits in."
(17:51:38) Sept: "I can draw you a more detailed outline with a bit of time if needed, but she needs the Drive, and she needs 01, to begin with."
(17:56:22) Yanmei: "Hm. Okay. But what does she intend to do with them? You can give the abridged version if you want for now."
(17:58:22) Sept: "Michael? You sounded like you were better prepared for this."
(18:10:16) Minaplo: ["Yanmei's summary is…" Michael shrugged. "Right in broad strokes."-
(18:10:37) Minaplo: ["Broad strokes is Zhang's favoured style, that's why the damage bills were always so bloody high." Said Shardlake.-
(18:10:43) Minaplo: ["Hush." Snapped Fontaine.-
(18:12:33) Minaplo: ["Caine's goal is based on giving everyone a chance, yes." Said Michael. "A chance for everyone to reach their full potential, to become powerful, if their will matches their desire."-
(18:14:19) Minaplo: ["You see, Caine values strength of will." Said Michael. "That drive lies at the core of the soul. She values it more than anything. Fitting, since her own willpower is so strong."-
(18:15:01) Minaplo: ["However, Caine also knows that the physical world doesn't always agree." He said. "Often, people with immense strength of will can be trapped in inadequate forms."-
(18:15:21) Minaplo: ["So her first step is to remove any and all variables except for one's strength of will."-
(18:15:47) Minaplo: ["Instrumentality." Said Fontaine quietly. "Existing only as willpower within a gestalt sea."]
(18:18:53) Yanmei: "Idiot von Brandt led me to believe that Instrumentality wasn't her final goal? That the gestalt sea would only last momentarily."
(18:19:21) Minaplo: [Michael paused to allow comments from Sera or Weaver as necessary.]
(18:21:02) Sept: "'First step', Yanmei. 'Reducing mankind to exalt it', or whatever."-
(18:21:50) Sept: ["Oh, so both sides have gone through multiple iterations of their world-ending policies?"]
(18:23:30) Minaplo: ["You don't simply settle for just the one when it comes to fruitful apocalypse." Said Romanov. "We were informed that Instrumentality would be her- our- ultimate goal, but alas, we were deceived."]
(18:25:20) Sept: ["Ah, of course. That context helps us a lot."]
(18:27:14) Yanmei: "And of course, I believed the same about her plans for a good long while as well?" She eyed Michael. "If you would please continue…"
(18:33:07) Minaplo: ["Caine isn't looking at this as a situation pertaining just to humanity." He said. "She's looking at a wider scale. You remember the FAR homeworld, Yanmei? Chantry Memory Primus? Caine knew there would be trillions of beings out there descended from the other 5 Seeds… And that we would invariably be much weaker than they, because they would have a huge head-start over us."]
(18:37:19) Yanmei: "So she intends to give humanity a push somehow? We'd come back as something… higher evolved?"
(18:37:58) Minaplo: ["It's our heritage, Yanmei." Said Michael. "What's the one thing we know of that gives humanity a fighting chance? Something unique to us?"]
(18:40:12) Yanmei: "The Evas," she said quietly.
(18:40:22) Sept: "So she, reasonably, goes 'humanity will be enslaved, shunned or absorbed if it returns to FAR society as it is' and concludes that something must be done, even if that sacrifices Angelkind to let us ascend. With Evangelion."
(18:45:25) Minaplo: ["That's right." Said Michael. "Humanity will be dissolved. EVA-00 and 01 are both needed. 00 to safely house Lilith, 01 to house humanity… I don't think she trusts 00 to hold both Lilith and humanity."-
(18:47:16) Minaplo: ["From my understanding, then, those souls will remain in that gestalt consciousness, unless a soul has enough willpower to reform its own identity. Then it takes separate form as an Evangelion- a human soul, empowered by the body and blood of Adam and Lilith both."-
(18:48:09) Minaplo: ["We would be unique, a forbidden union of life and knowledge." Said Michael. "Unique, and uniquely powerful. And there would be thousands of us, Evangelion-humans."-
(18:49:17) Minaplo: ["But even then Caine isn't finished." Said Michael. "Apparently, the FAR removed much of their knowledge from their souls and hid it on their homeworld; this is why Caine can't access as much FAR knowledge as she'd like from the Eternity Drive."-
(18:51:26) Minaplo: ["Caine thus believes that with humanity as forbidden creatures both of knowledge and life, we would be the successors to the FAR themselves. Her ultimate intention is to return to the FAR Homeworld, to absorb that knowledge, and unlock the fullest potential of the Evangelion- in doing so, turning every worthy human soul into the second coming of a species that altered the shape of the
(18:51:26) Minaplo: galaxy itself. FAR knowledge, FAR power- human spirit keeping us from the same weaknesses the FAR possessed."-
(18:52:49) Minaplo: ["… And after that, she would seek out the other children. Not to destroy them, because they all have their own potentials. Instead she would reunify all of them- and us- into a… 'Second Federation', with us at the top."]
(18:56:11) Yanmei: "Why do that? I mean, there's already a set time for unification. What makes her qualified to decide when and how it happens?"
(18:57:41) Sept: "Us being more powerful in that scenario. There's also evidence to suggest the FAR's plans aren't to be relied on blindly. They had their flaws."
(18:58:26) Minaplo: ["You'd think an infallible species would somehow prevent having one of their eggs knocked off course by accident, hmmm?" Said Shardlake.]
(18:59:36) Minaplo: -
(19:03:09) Minaplo: ["There's also the fact that we may have reactivated the Summoning Pulse prematurely." Said Michael. "So maybe that's just all gone to heck, huh?"]
(19:04:27) Sept: "Yeah. Some dolts meddling with unfathomable powers, I heard."
(19:04:54) Sept: ["Some kind of automated beacon system?"]
(19:15:27) Yanmei: "Ugh. What the hell? I need to talk with Ezekiel. If something like that went down, he would be the one to get details from?"
(19:20:11) Yanmei: *RETCON*
(19:22:30) * Yanmei stayed suspiciously quiet, apparently thinking.
(19:23:05) Sept: "Yeah, so that's about it, right?" Sera moved on.-
(19:23:08) Sept: "Condense mankind down to a smaller, more manageable community of godlike beings, overthrow FAR and their Federation."
(19:26:06) Minaplo: ["The key here is that Caine thinks the FAR dispersing was a mistake." Said Michael. "It's left a power gap. That's something she thinks has to be filled. May as well be us, as the logic goes. We're not overthrowing so much as restoring the rightful order of things."]
(19:28:27) Sept: "Right. In this story the FAR are the vain, out-of-touch and practically incapable rulers, so any change in power is for the better."
(19:30:24) Yanmei: "I don't really think all of their other Children will see it that way. It's probably going to start another war?"
(19:32:04) Minaplo: ["And those Children will be facing the FAR as they were at the height of their power. It won't be a war they'll win." Said Michael.-
(19:33:42) Minaplo: [Shardlake snorted. "Where's your tinpot vigilante fellow? If he were here, he'd tell you something else that's terrible to know."]
(19:35:18) Sept: "Who?"
(19:35:58) Minaplo: ["That man we all pretend isn't Gendo Ikari's son."]
(19:36:57) Sept: [Weaver raised a hand. "I don-"]-
(19:37:11) Sept: "You both shut the fuck up. Spit it out, Shardlake."
(19:41:36) Minaplo: ["Gendo Ikari was Elisha Caine's confidante and the keeper of many of the secrets Elisha yet retained from his past lives." Said Shardlake. "Although we don't know much, Ikari did once suggest to the HIC that there was a not-insignificant possiblity that the other Children out there, in the galaxy… Well! They might not actually be a single unified force. Rather the opposite."]
(19:45:04) » Part: Yanmei (~ten.nozirev.soif.apalhp.302-7-511-89-loop|ekaCyekaC#ten.nozirev.soif.apalhp.302-7-511-89-loop|ekaCyekaC)
(19:45:12) » Join: Yanmei (~ten.nozirev.soif.apalhp.302-7-511-89-loop|ekaCyekaC#ten.nozirev.soif.apalhp.302-7-511-89-loop|ekaCyekaC)
(19:46:28) Sept: "I don't know if that changes the landscape significantly. The situation with a surviving mankind, Angelkind or whatever will still be highly volatile."
(19:47:51) Yanmei: "Yeah. I mean, unless the FAR also had the foresight to create some sort of control beacon to go along with the Unification process. In which case, Caine's plan is completely unnecessary?"
(19:49:48) Sept: "Still a solid plan to survive the threat the FAR tried to escape."
(19:50:23) Minaplo: ["Well, I suppose it's not a problem for us, as we're likely to be a century at least away from first contact." Said Shardlake.-
(19:50:54) Minaplo: ["Nonetheless, it's worth considering that we might be living in a galaxy that's already at war… Living in contravention of the FAR's ideal."-
(19:51:26) Minaplo: ["Indeed, Ikari suspected there might be species out there that were accidentally born from a FAR, who have never lived under Destiny…"-
(19:51:29) Minaplo: ["Just food for thought."]
(19:54:22) Yanmei: "Lucky," Yanmei muttered bitterly.
(19:55:05) Minaplo: ["Not lucky. Quite the opposite." Said Shardlake. "According to Ikari."]
(19:55:59) Yanmei: "How so? Because it adds to the conflict?"
(19:58:13) Minaplo: ["Let me explain. Ikari theorised that Destiny was never to be a permanent element." Said Shardlake. "It was… Caretaking, there to ensure that the offspring survived and grew a certain way. Once they were safely sprouted and more Seeds were being generated, it was suspected that Destiny might weaken or be neutralised entirely and the offspring allowed to go their own way."-
(19:59:39) Minaplo: ["However, he also said that there were places during the ancient war with the 'Enemy' where FAR had fallen, and their bodies had not been recovered. As the theory goes, their blood would seep into those worlds and create life, just as Lilith's did on our own. However, those creatures would have dangerous and unprotected existences, potentially destroying themselves…"-
(20:00:15) Minaplo: ["And even the ones that did would almost certainly be seen as a threat or aberration by the other children, and so would be hunted. Theoretically. Ikari was a sour old fellow, perhaps they're all having fun up there in harmony…"]
(20:04:39) Sept: "Sure. Full points for speculation. We don't have the capacity to go out and check right now, do we?"
(20:05:22) Minaplo: ["Oh, I'm sure we could get somewhere by jaunting gaily around, but… Best not to try."]
(20:08:18) Sept: "Yes. And I don't see anyone suggesting courses of action that would leave us completely unprepared to try and make sense of a potentially chaotic or dead universe."
(20:11:04) Minaplo: ["In any case, that's all I know, Yanmei." Said Michael.]
(20:12:03) Yanmei: "Thank you, Michael. That was… a lot to process."
(20:13:51) Minaplo: [There was nothing from the Old Men except the sound of crunching lettuce.]
(20:16:49) * Yanmei resisted glaring at them once more. -
(20:17:42) Yanmei: "Now then. Shall we adjourn to think about this?"
(20:18:34) Minaplo: ["No." Said Michael.]
(20:18:37) » Quit: Raphael (ua.ten.letxof.dlq.541-4-291-271-epc|leahpaR#ua.ten.letxof.dlq.541-4-291-271-epc|leahpaR) (Quit: [01:50] <Syntax> There's no laws against polygamy in space)
(20:20:33) Sept: "Hm?" Sera stopped fishing for cigarettes and crossed his hands on the table again.
(20:20:38) Yanmei: "There's something else you want to say?"
(20:21:10) Minaplo: ["I know I'm a little late to the party, but it's been bothering me all meeting." Said Michael. He pointed at Weaver.-
(20:21:14) Minaplo: ["Who's this guy?"]
(20:24:57) Sept: [Weaver stopped taking account of his myriad mental notes for the session and offered Michael a smile. "I'm Weaver. Back when I was briefly commissioned to work for Miss Fontaine, just 'W' sufficed. Me and my colleagues run what has come to be called the Wizard Army. A PMC, as far as you're concerned."]
(20:26:22) Minaplo: ["And what's your price?"]
(20:31:34) Sept: "Sitting in at times like these. Just enough contacts to follow some of your research. Being at the top of our fields is adequate compensation."
(20:31:38) Sept: []*
(20:32:43) Minaplo: ["So why us and not the UN?"]
(20:33:54) » ZackSleep is now known as Zack
(20:34:00) Yanmei: "Ikari did it. Somehow."
(20:34:20) Sept: ["And their terms included too much oversight."]
(20:35:16) Minaplo: ["Now your Wizard Army consists of Iron Guard. How is it that they're following you, a biotypical?"]
(20:37:47) Sept: ["Hehe. Who's to say me and my colleagues aren't the apex predators in the Army?"]
(20:39:09) Minaplo: ["Well, I am. If you are, then prove it."]
(20:41:17) Sept: [Weaver shook his head. "No. Find my respect by giving me the answer. Child's play."]
(20:43:46) Minaplo: [Michael glanced at Yanmei.-
(20:45:34) Minaplo: [Then he looked back at Weaver. "Iron Guard voluntarily follow non-Guard rarely. When they do, it's because it's convenient, because a special deal has been brokered or because of ideals."-
(20:46:33) Minaplo: ["Now it could be because it's convenient, but that raises the question of how you are useful to them. As a strategist? Hmm, no, I don't think so. Perhaps as a negotiator."-
(20:46:47) Minaplo: ["On the other hand, Iron Guard are such valuable troops that they can often just name their price…"-
(20:47:56) Minaplo: ["Now possibly a special deal has been brokered, but again, how are you useful to them? Perhaps you might have contacts or equipment, but you mentioned being a PMC. You would have to have some major resources very tightly secured, or else the Iron Guard would take it from you."-
(20:49:34) Minaplo: ["Ideals… Perhaps you do share ideals, perhaps you're playing at being Big Boss and giving them a world where they'll always have an enemy to fight. But that would entail you having to play two games, one convincing the Federation that you want what they want, and the same with the Guard."-
(20:51:13) Minaplo: ["These could all be possible but unlikely, considering who you are and your current situation… In most of these situations you're acting as just a middleman, which isn't enough."-
(20:52:05) Minaplo: ["My personal bet is that it's something a little more… Vulnerable than that." Said Michael.-
(20:52:45) Minaplo: ["You weren't exactly in a hurry to disclose it, after all. Could it be that your Iron Guard don't voluntarily follow you after all? Perhaps you conditioned them, or you lucked across some LN command codes."]
(20:56:09) Sept: ["You theorize slowly out loud. But you're valid so far."]
(20:57:50) Minaplo: ["Hoo boy. Most unlucky for you."]
(21:01:03) Sept: [Weaver shook his head again. "No such thing as luck. Our little ship of Theseus will keep sailing whatever happens to our weapons."]
(21:05:42) Minaplo: ["But they're not actually yours." Said Michael.]
(21:08:21) Sept: [His most innocent smile.]
(21:09:27) * Yanmei was frowning, but was also keenly watching along with interest
(21:10:07) Minaplo: [Michael patted Yanmei's shoulder before getting to his feet. "I hope your command codes are good ones. Conditioning of this nature comes in tiers, so I hope there's no one else with greater clearance."-
(21:10:24) Minaplo: [Michael headed for the door, but not before stopping, frowning, to murmur something into Weaver's ear before he went.]
(21:15:13) Sept: [W stayed still for a while, then shrugged. "Dramatic. Is that all, Chancellor? Anything we can do with your galactic civilization issues?"]
(21:16:39) Yanmei: "I think I have a handle on them for now, thanks? You and Michael have fun during your hunting trip. Don't actually let him eat anything regrettable, yeah?"
(21:18:55) Minaplo: ["They wouldn't send this little cripple out on a field mission, don't be silly." Said Romanov.]
(21:21:31) Sept: ["Cripples make the best combatants. We'll take care of him. Chancellor. Gentlemen." Weaver stood up.]
(21:22:15) * Yanmei stood up along with him. "Well, I guess that takes care of everything. Meeting adjourned?"
(21:22:28) Minaplo: ["A word if you will, Zhang." Said Romanov.]
(21:23:05) Yanmei: Damn. She hung back, arms folded. "Very well?"
(21:24:34) * Sept slipped out with everyone else. He was going to avoid boardrooms for a while.
(21:25:18) Minaplo: [Romanov waited until Sera and Weaver were both gone.-
(21:25:18) Minaplo: [
(21:26:24) Minaplo: ["What do you know about Markov's Adepts?"]
[13:52] <Yanmei> "Um, nothing? Why? Should I know something?"
[13:55] <Minaplo> ["Well, Weaver is one of them." Said Shardlake. "I did say that."]
[13:58] <Yanmei> "Yes, I realize that, but that has no meaning to me unless I know what that is?"
[13:58] <Minaplo> ["Oh, so you want to know what it is?"]
[14:02] <Yanmei> "Do you wnat me to know that that is? You're the one who stopped me to ask about it!"
[14:04] <Minaplo> ["I don't know, do you want me to know what you want?"]
[14:05] <Yanmei> "Just tell me already!"
[14:07] <Minaplo> ["Well since you asked." Shardlake shook his head.-
[14:07] <Minaplo> ["Markov's Adepts were… An insurance policy."]
[14:10] <Yanmei> "Insurance for what?" She already had a feeling she wouldn't like the answer.
[14:10] <Minaplo> ["As you know, Seele relied quite heavily on a specific model of action: the conditioned soldier." Said Shardlake.-
[14:12] <Minaplo> ["However, there was always the risk in training a large body of soldiers, giving them advanced abilities and access to advanced equipment with the only assurance of their loyalty being conditioning. Conditioning that, in the early stages, did not seem to be a sure thing."]
[14:16] * Yanmei frowned, waiting for him to go on.
[14:20] <Minaplo> ["So we created contingencies, in case we faced an uprising from our own soldiers." Said Shardlake. "Markov's Adepts- that was one of them. The programme was designed to produce a quartet of individuals with exceptional abilities in their own fields, trained to work together as a unified team, complementing each other- but trained separately from our other programmes, their loyalty assured through other means."-
[14:22] <Minaplo> ["In the event of an uprising, we would unleash Markov's Adepts. The idea would be to fight fire with fire." Said Shardlake. "They would be trained to defeat conditioned soldiers using their own abilities. They would also seek to either create their own power bases with which to confront a rebel state… Or through their own machinations, take control of that rebel state themselves."-
[14:23] <Minaplo> ["Since we deliberately designed them with vulnerabilities, they would pose no threat to us."]
[14:24] <Yanmei> "What sort of vulnerabilities?"
[14:29] <Minaplo> ["Kill-switches, shock-implant chips." Said Romanov. "All the fun ones."]
[14:33] <Yanmei> Yanmei's frowned deepened. "So how badly did this backfire on you lot?"
[14:33] <Minaplo> ["What do you mean?"]
[14:37] <Yanmei> "Either Weaver's working independently in spite of his vulnerabilities, or he's been deliberately placed with us in order to eventually take control of the UEF. I think the latter's pretty unlikely?"
[14:39] <Minaplo> ["Unlikely in the sense that he's unlikely to pull it off, or unlikely in the sense that you don't think it's his motivation?"]
[14:42] <Yanmei> "Unlikely in that I don't think it's what his motivation is. Doubly unlikely in that he was specifically recruited by someone from our side who probably had an inkling on what his background was like."
[14:48] <Minaplo> ["Oh, well. I see you're clearly the expert on these things despite having learned about the programme five minutes ago." Said Shardlake icily.]
[14:50] * Yanmei held back a deep, baleful sigh. "Then what's your assessment?"
[14:52] <Minaplo> ["Markov's Adepts were trained with the carefully cultivated belief that with their abilities, they could and would achieve world domination." Said Shardlake. "Their behaviour thus far suggests that they remain on this path."-
[14:54] <Minaplo> ["You see, for all his smugness, this also makes Weaver and his pack of rejects easily manipulated." Said Romanov. "Ikari would've known that the chance to align with the Federation, to infiltrate it from within, would be too great a lure for Weaver to pass up. Yet Ikari also knew that in reality, Weaver would have nearly no hope of actually achieving that goal."-
[14:55] <Minaplo> ["But that doesn't mean he won't try." Said Shardlake. "And even if he fails, that could damage us enough to make us pickings for Caine."]
[14:56] <Yanmei> "So you're saying to keep him on a much shorter leash?"
[14:58] <Minaplo> ["Not exactly." Said Shardlake. "He has his uses. He is quite capable… You could, of course, just have Gabriel-Wei forcibly take control of the Iron Guard, but that would be a waste."-
[14:59] <Minaplo> ["The goal, schoolgirl, is to find the balance between giving Weaver enough power to be useful, but not so much power that he feels he has the ability to strike at you." Said Romanov. "The little rejects will handily accomplish any task you set them, but any power that goes along with that must be carefully guarded…"]
[15:04] <Yanmei> "Hmph. Fine. I understand?"
[15:06] <Minaplo> ["I wonder about that." Said Romanov, before he finished his sandwich.-
[15:06] <Minaplo> ["Anything else you want to know, Zhang?" Said Shardlake, who had taken the change to dig back into his pudding.]
[15:13] <Yanmei> "Hm. I was going to send a team to ask you this later, but I may as well do it now and save them some time?" -
[15:17] <Yanmei> "We're searching for a science team that might have built a functioning Eva prototype that pre-dates EVA-00. Assuming, of course, that any of their members are still alive?"
[15:18] <Minaplo> ["Fascinating."]
[15:21] <Yanmei> "We suspect that Caine had one created 'in secret' to house or possibly control her precious Eternity Drive? But to verify - and to figure out its weak spots - we need to either locate the people who worked on it, or track down any existing data on it."
[15:25] <Minaplo> ["Hah." Said Romanov. "Striking the Eternity Drive makes sense. But…"-
[15:27] <Minaplo> ["Most of what we were told about the Eternity Drive turned out to be a lie." Said Shardlake.-
[15:31] <Minaplo> ["So you're looking for clues." Said Romanov. "Of course, it would take more than just Caine and her father to build such a powerful device. They would need a very large pool of experts, as you say…"-
[15:31] <Minaplo> ["Such an undertaking would leave traces. And you want us to look for them." Said Shardlake.
[15:37] <Yanmei> "Or, at least, to point me in the right direction so that my designated Drive-busting team can look for them? Remembering anything at all would be useful."
[15:37] <Minaplo> ["What about Surov? If anyone would be called to work on the Drive, it would be him." Said Shardlake.]
[15:39] <Yanmei> "He says he doesn't know anything about it. He doesn't even know anyone who might have worked on it."
[15:39] <Minaplo> [Their eyebrows rose.-
[15:40] <Minaplo> [In unison, even. It was rather impressive.-
[15:41] <Minaplo> ["It's a shame de Orleans is gone." Said Romanov. "The man was a living computer. If anyone of us knew something, it'd be him."-
[15:44] <Minaplo> ["I do have one suggestion." Said Shardlake.]
[15:44] <Yanmei> "Oh?"
[15:45] <Minaplo> ["Most of the modern bases you know about are NERV bases." Said Shardlake. "The Geofront, Boston Minifront, Tokyo Minifront, Berlin, Leningrad-2…"-
[15:46] <Minaplo> ["But most of these only entered construction after principal research into the Evangelions had been completed." Said Shardlake. "You want to look at the Gehirn bases."]
[15:47] <Yanmei> "I see?" She peered over at the ever-silent Fontaine. "There are probably quite a few of them, right?"
[15:48] <Minaplo> [And indeed, Fontaine had been watching this exchange quietly.-
[15:48] <Minaplo> ["Yes. Of course, you've already seen two of them." Said Shardlake. "Eden and Asgard."-
[15:50] <Minaplo> ["No one in SEELE knew the exact location of every base, only the general continent." Said Romanov. "Which was a deliberate thing, done when the Caines' hand was much weaker than it was now."-
[15:51] <Minaplo> ["As it stands, though, we know the location of four extra bases." Said Shardlake.]
[15:54] <Yanmei> "Well, that's lucky? We can sneakily sneak our way to them without triggering attacks from the UN, right?"
[15:57] <Minaplo> ["Not exactly."]
[15:58] <Yanmei> "Then they're heavily armed enough to require an entire invasion force…?"
[16:02] <Minaplo> ["You could just ask where the bases are and perhaps see the problem like that, but please do keep asking closed questions on a topic you know nothing about."]
[16:03] <Yanmei> "Grr… Where are the bases and what's wrong with them?"
[16:09] <Minaplo> ["The four bases are as follows: Atlantis Base, Jinnah Base, Nirvana Base and the Flammenschwart Base."-
[16:10] <Minaplo> ["Atlantis Base was built in the bottom of the South Atlantic." Said Shardlake. "Jinnah lies beneath Saudi Arabia. Nirvana has been built into the Himilayan mountain range, and Flammenschwart Base occupies the whole of Tasmania."-
[16:10] <Minaplo> ["Now you see the problem." Said Romanov. "Or rather, problems."]
[16:16] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei folded her arms and thought for a moment before speaking, "we could probably get to the underwater one, if it's abandoned?"
[16:21] <Minaplo> ["Enemy territory and Caine's sure to know about it." Said Romanov.]
[16:28] <Yanmei> "The mountain one too, I suppose." Yanmei frowned deeply. "But you just said there are others out there, right?"
[16:29] <Minaplo> ["Jannah in Saudi Arabia- neutral territory- and Flammenschwart, which is still in operation by the UN."]
[16:32] <Yanmei> "Well, I meant others beyond those four? Ones that might not be as risky. We're looking for another retired SEELE member at the moment. He might know where such a base is?" She glanced back at Fontaine again. "In the meantime, we'll need a fallback plan if we're unable to touch base with him. Secret operatives and all that."
[16:35] <Minaplo> ["I see."]
[16:36] <Yanmei> "Thank you gentlemen for the information. It was actually really useful?"
[16:44] <Minaplo> ["Isn't it always?"]
[16:45] <Yanmei> No reply on that. She was reluctant to give them the satisfaction after the events that had played out earlier.
[16:49] <Minaplo> ["Have it your way, schoolgirl."-
[16:49] <Minaplo> [With that, Romanov and Shardlake left, although Yanmei could hear their prattle as they went.-
[16:49] <Minaplo> ["(So I'm surprised; this 'Plumhead Pudding' is exquisite.)"-
[16:49] <Minaplo> ["(Hmm. I didn't think it'd meet your expectations…)"]
[16:51] <Yanmei> "I guess some good things came out of inviting them after all," she muttered, when she was 100% positive they were too far away to hear her. "…we should get going too."
[16:53] <Minaplo> ["Agreed." Said Fontaine, getting to her feet.]
[16:54] <Yanmei> So Yanmei led the way out, turning in a fully different direction than the one the old men from SEELE were heading in.

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