This Too Shall Pass 3 4

[21:51] <Minaplo> [END OF EVANGELION. 19th of July, 2018. Location: The Dorian Lachapelle. "This Too Shall Pass" 3.4-
[21:53] <Minaplo> [For the first time in quite awhile, EVA-21 was being prepped for synchronization.-
[21:54] <Minaplo> [The dark steel-blue Eva had been bolted into a restraining harness. For now, the dummy signal plug protruded from the cavity drilled into its spine.-
[21:58] <Minaplo> [Within the observation deck overlooking the Eva was a small crowd of individuals- Zhang Yanmei, of course, as well as Sera de Pteres, Matthias Holmstrom, a thoughtful-looking Ariadne Delacour, a glowering Alexandrina Wales, Michael Leon and James Riel- the latter in charge of handling the usual synchronization procedures.-
[21:58] <Minaplo> [… Also there for whatever reason were the Old Men of Shadow Seele: Vladimir Romanov and Nigel Shardlake.-
[21:59] <Minaplo> ["Say the word, Chancy." said James carelessly to Yanmei.]
[22:09] <Yanmei> "We'll begin now!" Yanmei stood near the clear surovite window, hands dramatically on her hips. "Since Holmstrom requested going last, that means de Pteres is up first?"
[22:12] * Sept batted a lock of hair out of his face, betraying some discomfort. "Mm, if you think it's safe. I haven't touched a regular plug in months. We've still got my suit, I guess?"
[22:13] <Minaplo> ["I'm sure they're as uncomfortable as ever, Sera." Said Michael.]
[22:15] <Sept> "They're not that bad. Lead the ergonomics design team yourself if you want to."
[22:16] <Minaplo> [Alexandrina huffed. "Proof if needed that you haven't worn one in awhile. Or maybe it's different for males."]
[22:17] <Yanmei> "According to Isaiah… it's not that different?" Yanmei sighed. "Whatever the case, we have your suit waiting for you in the locker room. Holmstrom, we have a temporary one for you too."
[22:18] <Minaplo> ["Drawn from whose stock?" Asked Lexie suspiciously.]
[22:20] * Yanmei rolled her eyes. "Calm down? We just modified one of Michael's with his measurements. It's not like we've mass-produced a whole bunch of them."
[22:21] * Sept glanced at Alexandrina with disbelief, but let it go. Too easy a target. "The suit's not gonna eat him, Alexandrina. I'm out." And he was off to get changed.
[22:26] <Minaplo> [Lexie sighed, shooting a dark look at Sera's back as he went.-
[22:28] <Minaplo> [It wouldn't take Sera long to find a changing room. His plugsuit…-
[22:28] <Minaplo> [… Felt strangely ill-fitting for whatever reason.-
[22:30] <Minaplo> [After that, it was a quick hop over to the waiting Entry Plug. The Dummy Signal Plug was removed, and Sera's inserted.-
[22:30] <Minaplo> [After that… The process began. LCL began to flood the plug; there was a burst of sensory overload- and a second later he was looking through the eyes of EVA-21.-
[22:31] <Minaplo> ["Synchronization complete." Said James. "Sitting at 46% ratio, all systems normal."]
[22:33] <Sept> "Everything… normal as far as I can see. Just weird using one of these." Sera fiddled with the controls in the plug, just because he could.
[22:34] <Minaplo> [It wasn't a configuration he was used to. This plug seemed to have more computers and readouts and displays than he'd ever seen in such a tiny space. Even the handles were altered, capable of snapping together, then being pulled up to the chest; there were additional handles so they could be held like a rifle.]
[22:36] <Yanmei> "46…? That's a lot higher than I thought this would be," Yanmei murmured to her herself. Mayber 21 was just a super-friendly Eva?
[22:36] <Sept> "Hey, Michael?"
[22:42] <Minaplo> ["Mmm?"]
[22:42] <Sept> "These customizations are goddamn ridiculous."
[22:43] <Minaplo> ["That's just a standard HarOS plug." Said Lexie.-
[22:44] <Minaplo> ["She's right. It's built for ballistic combat." Said Michael. "Practically the norm for fighters like myself."]
[22:45] <Sept> "Back when -I- was a pilot…"
[22:49] <Yanmei> "Come on! Stop distracting yourself? De Pteres, do you feel anything unusual at all?"
[22:53] * Sept huffed. "Of course not. I wouldn't expect 21 to be as dramatic as ours, but even then, it's quiet. I guess he changed his mind."
[22:55] <Sept> -
[22:56] * Sept opened his mouth to continue, but his expression turned into a grimace for a few seconds as he leaned on the controls. "Nevermind," he muttered.-
[22:58] <Sept> "Still nothing. Just dizzy. Maybe I synched too quickly?"
[22:58] * Yanmei looked at James questioningly.
[22:58] <Minaplo> ["It's not like eating lunch, bro." Said James.]
[23:01] <Sept> "No, actually, it-"
[23:01] <Minaplo> [… Sera slumped back into the seat, his head slowly lolling against his chest.]
[23:03] <Yanmei> "… not as dramatic as ours, huh?" Yanmei muttered dryly.
[23:04] <Minaplo> ["… Not to spook you or anything, but we're getting a serious nerve reverse pulse signature." Said James.]
[23:05] <Yanmei> "But that normal for berserking, right?"
[23:05] <Minaplo> ["Yeah…"-
[23:05] <Minaplo> ["…" Ariadne glanced at Matthias nervously.-
[23:06] <Minaplo> [And indeed, Matthias seemed… Less than happy with this turn of events. He was frowning and glancing back at the door…]
[23:10] <Yanmei> Yanmei did her best to assure him with a smile, turning away from James and the control panel. "Don't worry? It usually only lasts a few minutes. And it doesn't hurt at all. Right?" She looked at Michael for confirmation.
[23:10] <Minaplo> ["Not usually." Said Michael lightly.-
[23:11] <Minaplo> ["… No one told me it involved me being inside a berserking Eva!" Said Matthias in alarm.]
[23:16] <Yanmei> "It's not even a full berserk? It's not going to rip itself free and start smashing stuff up or anything."
[23:16] <Minaplo> [EVA-21 emitted a low, guttural growl.-
[23:17] <Minaplo> [Everyone instantly started- including the Old Men.]
[23:18] <Yanmei> "…" -
[23:20] <Yanmei> "We're safe," she said firmly, stowing her own rising concerns. Okay. Noise was, well, noise. She watched it carefully for actual movements.
[23:21] <Minaplo> ["Maybe Sera's just pissing him off?" Asked James hopefully.]
[23:21] <Yanmei> "That sounds incredibly likely."
[23:22] <Minaplo> ["… Do we happen to have Eva units on standby, by any chance?" asked Lexie.]
[23:24] <Yanmei> "No. Why?"
[23:25] <Minaplo> ["In case it does berserk and try to kill us all." Said Romanov.]
[23:29] * Yanmei frowned, taking a glance at all of their worried faces. "In my experience, having another functioning Eva close by just pisses them off even more. If you're really that concerned, though, I could prep and man 04."
[23:30] <Minaplo> [A video screen appeared on the window.-
[23:31] <Minaplo> [("If he makes too much mess I'll just twist his head off.") Said Tsubaki from within Unit 03.]
[23:31] <Yanmei> "That also works. Thanks, Akagi." … "You were listening?"
[23:32] <Minaplo> [("Duh.")]
[23:34] <Yanmei> "Whatever. Thanks."
[23:34] <Minaplo> ["… She can't listen in wherever she wants, can she?" Asked Lexie, glowering at Yanmei.]
[23:42] <Yanmei> "Um. She -is- powering the ship with her unit's AT-magic in such a way that if she wanted to listen in on something, we wouldn't have a way of stopping her. We don't have anything to suggest she goes around eavesdropping on everything, though?"
[23:45] <Minaplo> ["But she can, though." said Lexie.-
[23:46] <Minaplo> [("Don't fret. I only look at important things. I don't just go peeking at everything~")-
[23:46] <Minaplo> [("Unless I'm bored or it's really interesting.") Said Tsubaki sweetly.]
[23:46] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei frowned. "What."
[23:47] <Minaplo> [("What?")]
[23:48] <Yanmei> "You shouldn't listen to people's private conversations just because you're bored?"
[23:48] <Minaplo> [("You do!")]
[23:49] <Yanmei> "Like when?!"
[23:58] <Minaplo> [("Hmm. Let's see. Last Monday, you listened in on Chii and Bunny-san having a date at Blue's. Last thursday you were cautiously spying on Zhang Zhengsheng chatting up Lilly Norling, also at Blue's bar…")-
[00:02] <Minaplo> [("Ooh, three days ago you were also giving the S2 treatment to Maya and my sis because they were chit-chatting about guys, and Isaiah's name came up. Oh, and yesterday, this one's my favourite: you actually bought yourself two drinks so you had an excuse to listen to Matthias, Alexandre and two Iron Guard argue about who would win in a fight, and got grumpy when they said you'd lose
[00:02] <Minaplo> to Asuka.")-
[00:02] <Minaplo> [Matthias winced.]
[00:07] <Yanmei> As he should have. Yanmei gave him a long, disapproving look. -
[00:14] <Yanmei> "I don't approve of that term. The 'S2 treatment'? I'm nothing like those guys, and I resent to comparison! I just happened to overhear those things by complete coincidence, not because I was gathering intel on a target and certainly not because I was bored. In fact, I have too much paperwork to wade through these days to ever be bored."
[00:16] <Minaplo> [("Why don't you just ask your mirror to help you with the paperwork?")]
[00:19] <Yanmei> "I have no idea what you're talking about," she said firmly.
[00:19] <Minaplo> [("Isaiah? Duh. He's like your mirror?")]
[00:21] <Yanmei> "Of course," she said dryly, glaring at the window.
[00:23] <Minaplo> [("Anyway. It looks like a lot of work.") Said Tsubaki gently. ("Security asks me to keep an eye on VIPs like you in case something really bad happens to you, so I tend to watch you a lot. So many long hours in the office, going through an endless list of forms…")]
[00:30] <Yanmei> "Oh. Well, yeah, it is a lot of work. I can't imagine running the ship itself is easy either, let alone extra assignments like that."
[00:31] <Minaplo> [("I don't really do much. Ops sort of handles everything.")]
[00:34] <Yanmei> "But there are lots of long hours? I guess it's natural that you'd get bored…"
[00:34] <Minaplo> [("Mmhmm. Just little old me, twelve empty hours and several thousand stories just playing out all over the ship…")]
[00:41] <Yanmei> "I don't suppose they had you sign a nondisclosure form before hooking 03 up to the engine, did they?"
[00:43] <Minaplo> [("What would you do if they did and I broke it?")]
[00:44] <Yanmei> "…good point."
[00:46] <Minaplo> [("You'll just have to trust me to be good.") Said Tsubaki cheerfully.-
[00:46] <Minaplo> [Lexie was frowning deeply; Ariadne was fidgetting a little herself.]
[01:01] * Yanmei was frowning a bit herself. "In that case, please 'be good'? Anything less would be… creepy."
[01:03] <Minaplo> [("Would selling recordings to James count as creepy?") Asked Tsubaki innocently.-
[01:03] <Minaplo> ["H-Hey, don't drag me into this-"]
[01:05] <Yanmei> "You did not." Yanmei glowered at James, arms folded.
[01:06] <Minaplo> [James stared back at her, pale as the moon.-
[01:06] <Minaplo> [("Of course not. Just thought it'd be funny to say, hehe.")]
[01:14] <Yanmei> "Riiight." She made a mental note to get Vimes to investigate that, ASAP.
[01:15] <Minaplo> [But how would he outsmart an omnsicient Tsucchin…?-
[01:15] <Minaplo> ["So how long do these… Things… Usually take?" Asked Matthias.]
[01:17] <Yanmei> "With 04 it usually just takes a few minutes. I guess 21 is taking its time?"
[01:18] <Minaplo> ["Maybe it's torturing him." Said Romanov hopefully.]
[01:20] <Yanmei> "You sound oddly happy about that considering that he hasn't done anything to you specifically."
[01:21] <Minaplo> ["Your point being?"]
[01:23] <Yanmei> "Why are you two even here?"
[01:24] <Minaplo> ["We figured it would be a good idea for you to see what 21 has to say as well. Perhaps ask it questions about our mutual goals." Said Shardlake.]
[01:31] <Yanmei> "This is a rather sudden proposal? I don't even know if it'll work. After all, the Colonel only extended his invitation to Sera and Holmstrom."
[01:33] <Minaplo> ["Worth a shot, no?"]
[01:35] <Yanmei> "I suppose."
[01:36] <Minaplo> ["I'm still going last, right?" Said Matthias.]
[01:39] <Yanmei> "Yes. That's ok, right?"
[01:39] <Minaplo> ["Absolutely."]
[02:01] <Yanmei> "Ariadne? You've been pretty quiet. Are you doing okay?"
[02:09] <Minaplo> ["Huh? Oh, uh…"-
[02:10] <Minaplo> [Ariadne glanced around furtively. "Do you mind if I have a word with you elsewhere?"]
[02:12] <Yanmei> "No problem~" Yanmei walked over to the door. "We'll be back."
[02:20] <Minaplo> [And Ariadne followed.-
[02:21] <Minaplo> ["Whew. Good to be away from those old bastards." Muttered Ariadne.]
[02:22] <Yanmei> "I know, right?" Yanmei shot a glare back the way they'd come. "They ruin everything."
[02:23] <Minaplo> ["Ugh. They've been giving you a hassle, haven't they?"]
[02:24] <Yanmei> "Ever since we rescued them? This is the first time they've showed any interest in the Eva's though. Mostly they just like throwing insults around at hardworking innocent people."
[02:25] <Minaplo> ["And also you, apparently."]
[02:25] <Yanmei> "Hey!" Yanmei pouted.
[02:26] <Minaplo> ["Heehee." Ariadne beamed, putting an arm around Yanmei's shoulders. "You're hardworking? But we've shared too many winey evenings to pretend you're innocent…"]
[02:27] <Yanmei> "It's all relative. Compared to, like, Katsuragi, I am."
[02:28] <Minaplo> ["Based on what?"]
[02:34] <Yanmei> "Er. You know." She gave Ariadne a bright, wide-eyed look. "Innocence~~?"
[02:35] <Minaplo> ["Time to ask Tsubaki a few pointed questions…"]
[02:38] <Yanmei> "Y-you don't have to do that. Hmph. I need to think of a way to restrict her prying…"
[02:40] <Minaplo> ["Oh, I think we can use it to our own advantage…"]
[02:40] <Yanmei> "Oh~?"
[02:40] <Minaplo> ["I'll be blunt: I don't trust those old lizards."]
[02:46] <Yanmei> "Oh, they are absolutely using us for their own gain? My one comfort is that when they eventually betray us, it probably won't be to Mary Caine."
[02:51] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, agreed."-
[02:51] <Minaplo> ["What I was thinking was that we could ask Tsubaki to keep an extra-close eye on them…"]
[02:53] <Yanmei> "She might have even already been doing that. I was going to ask her later."
(14:18:01) AdEvaGM: ["That's my girl~ Always a step ahead." Said Ariadne with a grin. "Those bastards are probably too sly for S2, but I'd like to see 'em avoid Tsubaki's roving eye."]
(14:23:30) Yanmei: "Same~ We'll keep it between just us, of course. And maybe Fontaine. If we were spying on anyone else, I'd feel bad about it? This crosses a couple of boundaries."
(14:25:00) AdEvaGM: ["No kidding. Maybe we should set someone to watch Tsubaki…"]
(14:26:13) Yanmei: "Ezekiel? But he has too much to do already…"
(14:31:03) AdEvaGM: ["Well, Ezekiel or Mortens are obvious choices, but perhaps we don't need someone to enforce things on her, but just someone to monitor her?"]
(14:34:33) Yanmei: "Mortens is…" Yanmei averted her gaze for a second. "He might not be as reliable as we'd hoped."
(14:35:32) AdEvaGM: ["What do you mean?"]
(14:39:29) Yanmei: "I have some concerns about his boss and, by extension, Morten's motives for sticking with us."
(14:40:17) AdEvaGM: ["Well, that's definitely fair."]
(14:42:53) Yanmei: "Yeah…" Yanmei sighed, looking around more attentively. "Let's hope he's not listening to us right now. Never can be too careful."
(14:45:22) AdEvaGM: ["Let's hope Tsubaki isn't." Muttered Ariadne.-
(14:45:42) AdEvaGM: [There was a cough from the door- Lexie. "Excuse me, Yanmei. But EVA-21 just coughed up de Pteres."]
(14:47:08) Yanmei: "I see," Yanmei raised her voice. Had -Lexie- been listening? That was… concerning. "Let's go back in, okay, Ariadne?"
(14:47:39) AdEvaGM: ["Sure."]
(14:50:08) Yanmei: So the two of them strolled the short distant back to the observation deck. "How's he doing? Nothing weird happened while we stepped out, right?"
(14:50:50) Sept: Meanwhile, in the entry plug of unit 21, Sera was blearily trying to pry his eyelids open after the noncorporeal asskicking he'd received. "…nything broken?" he muttered.
(14:51:10) AdEvaGM: ["Uh, no. You're good, Sera. Wanna cut out?"]
(14:55:09) Sept: "Yeah, do it now." He shook his head, trying to clear everything out. "Tell me when it's done."
(14:55:30) AdEvaGM: [Sera would feel a sharp spike of dizzying vertigo- then…-
(14:55:33) AdEvaGM: ["Clear."]
(14:55:54) AdEvaGM: ["And no, nothing weird to report." Said James to Yanmei.]
(14:56:53) Sept: "You got a trash can in there?"
(14:57:50) AdEvaGM: ["Yeah, we do…?"]
(15:02:56) * Yanmei glanced over to Matthias. "We should get suited up for our turns too."
(15:03:17) AdEvaGM: ["… I suppose." He said.]
(15:03:38) Sept: "Wanna- fuck, nevermind. Just get me out."
(15:08:59) Yanmei: Suddenly, a cheery pop song rang out throughout the observation deck. A frowning Yanmei cut it short by pulling out a cell phone and answering. "Yes~~?" -
(15:10:04) Yanmei: "Oh. Ugh. Fine. Wait there?" -
(15:11:21) Yanmei: Frowning once more, she lowered the phone. "Gotta take a rain check, I'm afraid."
(15:12:19) AdEvaGM: ["W-What, really?!" Said Matthias, his eyebrows shooting up.]
(15:13:23) AdEvaGM: [Meanwhile, Sera would feel the plug begin to screw outwards… A minute later, the hatch was popped and the LCL was draining out.]
(15:14:22) Yanmei: "Yeah. Marshall Amatore-DeForest wants me for something?" She paused and then offered Matthais a comforting smile. "Don't worry. It's going to be fine, okay?"
(15:16:19) AdEvaGM: ["…" Matthias gave her an extremely doubtful look.]
(15:16:27) * Sept fidgeted in his plug, shifting around constantly as the LCL began to drain and the safe extraction procedures progressed. He eyed the communications screens, but said nothing. He got up, spat out the LCL from his lungs and stalked off to the changing rooms.
(15:18:00) Yanmei: "I'm serious! Look, go get changed, ok? James will guide you through the rest. It's really simple?"
(15:23:38) AdEvaGM: ["… Yeah, ok."-
(15:23:48) AdEvaGM: [Still frowning doubtfully, Matthias nevertheless stalked away.]
(15:27:53) Yanmei: "I'm bowing out. If anything happens, alert me right away?" Yanmei backed towards the door.
(15:28:24) AdEvaGM: ["Will do." Said James.]
(15:28:51) * Yanmei gave one last nod, and with that, turned properly and left.
(15:30:10) * Sept was just getting out of the shower wearing a towel when he ran into Matthias. Apparently, Sera's post-piloting shower routine was very barebones.-
(15:31:42) Sept: "Hey," he said simply, picking up his glasses from the table where he'd left them and washing them off under a tap.
(15:32:48) AdEvaGM: ["Hi." Said Matthias. He headed over to one of the changing rooms and pulled the curtain over.]
(15:33:58) Sept: "Still worried?"
(15:35:07) AdEvaGM: ["Mmhm."]
(15:35:40) Sept: "I don't think he's dangerous. Hope I softened him up for you, though."-
(15:35:55) Sept: "He'll certainly appreciate it, in any case."
(15:40:24) AdEvaGM: ["Yeah. Just not comfortable with Eva stuff."]
(15:40:52) * Sept found his clothes and got himself dressed again. "Well, good luck and try to relax."-
(15:41:03) Sept: "Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to find something no one cares about so I can smash it against a wall."
(15:41:46) AdEvaGM: [rip liline]

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