This Too Shall Pass 3 4 11

[01:31] <Yanmei> The wide open deck of the Dorian Lachapelle offered a wonderful view of Paris-2. There was also no paperwork in sight there, so sometimes, like today, Yanmei took her lunch breaks there, leaning against the observation railing with a sandwich in hand. -
[01:33] <Yanmei> She kept a sharp eye out for flying feathered pests, for once envying their ability to soar wherever they wanted… even to places without angry, bitching politicians.
[01:37] <Minaplo> [Is there even such a place?-
[01:38] <Minaplo> [Several sparrows alighted on a nearby railing, paying Yanmei no mind. They were small and quick, darting here and there…-
[01:39] <Minaplo> [Yanmei would hear footsteps behind her- casual, assured ones.-
[01:39] <Minaplo> ["So this is where you go to escape the machinations of Prefect Han." Said Liu Lin.]
[01:42] * Yanmei whirled around, straightening up properly. Without thinking about it, she hid the sandwich behind her back. "G-general Liu! What are you doing here?"
[01:43] <Minaplo> ["I wanted to give you a strategic situation review, but you weren't in your office." Said Lin. "Is now a bad time?"]
[01:47] <Yanmei> "Not at all? I'm not really doing much, as you can see." Then, cautiously… "You heard about Prefect Han, huh?"
[01:48] <Minaplo> ["Of course." Said Liu Lin. "I wouldn't worry about him too much. In the older days, he would be a Yuan Shikai, An Lushan or Yuan Shu; a man with more connections and ambition than talent."]
[01:52] * Yanmei chuckled. "That does sound like him? Ugh. Such a troublemaker. Have you ever met him personally before?"
[01:55] <Minaplo> ["Han? No." Said Lin. "There are nearly 655 prefects in China; Han distinguishes himself only by his bad behaviour. Not worth my time."]
[01:55] <Minaplo> <-nearly>
[02:02] * Yanmei nodded in smug agreement. "Well said? But, well, what other things have you been spending your time on?"
[02:02] <Minaplo> ["Preparing for combat." Said Lin.]
[02:05] <Yanmei> "How do you think it'll go?"
[02:07] <Minaplo> ["As far as composition goes, the Asgard Strike Force is more brutal hammer than subtle knife, but I find it to my liking in this situation."]
[02:09] * Yanmei nodded enthusiastically. "And of course, if you're leading the charge, there's no way anything will go wrong~~"
[02:10] <Minaplo> ["I wish I had your confidence in me." Said Lin with a small smile.]
[02:14] <Yanmei> "Hm? Why don't you? You're totally great!"
[02:15] <Minaplo> ["But I'm not infallible."]
[02:15] <Yanmei> "W-well, no one is."
[02:15] <Minaplo> ["Exactly."-
[02:16] <Minaplo> [Lin raised her left hand, which was gloved with a black glove- one of those given to ODs which doubled as a holocomputer. "Care to hear that report?"]
[02:17] <Yanmei> "Yes, please."
[02:17] <Minaplo> [The palm of the glove glowed with a million miniscule pinpricks of light; a rectangular holodisplay burst colourfully into life.-
[02:18] <Minaplo> [Lin quickly began to flick through it with her other hand, the light reacting to her touch. "The major concern I have comes from China, and it's not about Prefect Han." She said.-
[02:18] <Minaplo> ["In fact, Prefect Han is soon going to be the least of your problems from our homeland."]
[02:25] <Yanmei> "Is… that so?" she said glumly. "What makes you say that?"
[02:27] <Minaplo> ["Compared to some places, our homeland wasn't too hard hit by the Angelic War, but it still took heavy damage. Beijing-2 might've been rebuild, but many cities across the north and west remain in ruins due to Ramliel's attacks."-
[02:35] <Minaplo> ["You've seen first hand what sort of person Prefect Han is- he's a fish in muddled water, but unfortunately there's plenty like him in positions high and low, people who've reached office more through connections than through ability."-
[02:36] <Minaplo> ["They're bungling the job." Said Lin bluntly. "Reconstruction is taking much longer than it should in many areas, and people are becoming restless."-
[02:37] <Minaplo> ["That, however, is only the second worst news."]
[02:40] <Yanmei> Second?! Then what's the worst?"
[02:42] <Minaplo> ["At the height of our troubles with Metatron, she deployed waves of Angelspawn across the world. You remember?"]
[02:42] <Yanmei> "Yes…"
[02:43] <Minaplo> ["They too caused a good deal of damage to the countryside, especially since our army was slow to respond- a third of our forces were stationed in Southeast Asia and Korea at the time, suppressing local revolts."-
[02:43] <Minaplo> ["That number's grown so now it's closer to two fifths." She added darkly.-
[02:44] <Minaplo> ["We hoped that the damage might be contained, but the government has performed an audit." She said.-
[02:47] <Minaplo> ["… It seems as though the harvest in the North China Plain has failed this year."]
[02:48] <Yanmei> "What are they going to do…?"
[02:53] <Minaplo> ["The government's reported that it intends to increase the tax-in-kind of agricultural produce from Southeast Asia, Korea and India." Said Liu Lin.]
[02:55] <Yanmei> "Won't that just add more fuel to the rebellion problem?"
[02:59] <Minaplo> ["Of course." Said Lin. "It'll cause food prices in those regions to skyrocket… That said, food prices are going to rise all over China, but the government hopes to mitigate that somewhat by selling the taxed food to markets in the Han regions."]
[03:10] <Yanmei> "Is that really going to help much?"
[03:12] <Minaplo> ["In all honesty… I don't think so."]
[03:17] * Yanmei sighed. "Anything we should do to help them through this?"
[03:17] <Minaplo> ["What did you have in mind?"]
[03:19] <Yanmei> "I mean, isn't it normal to send some kind of aid package? Not that we have many resources to spare, but…"
[03:20] <Minaplo> ["We don't, no." Said Lin. "And whatever we gave wouldn't be enough to make a dent."-
[03:21] <Minaplo> ["Besides, transferring the aid is a problem as well. The UN controls the Panama Canal, which means the only naval forces we have in the Pacific are China's own, and they're not enough to confront the Pacific Fleet."-
[03:22] <Minaplo> ["Shipping supplies would thus be an issue." She said. "And with the Soviet Union and the homeland at odds over Prefect Han's landgrab…"]
[13:51] <Yanmei> "I don't know what to do, but we must do something. If we don't, China will be drastically weakened, and the rebel territories will think we've abandoned them like the UN did."
[14:03] <Minaplo> ["When it comes to Federation members, the greatest contributor to food supply is Canada." Said Liu Lin. "But most of its output is tied up in contracts with Non-Aligned states, or with France and the US. Furthermore, we'd have to wait until around october for Canada's supply to increase, and even then it wouldn't be enough."-
[14:04] <Minaplo> ["Too many of America's farmlands have been abandoned or are underequipped to generate enough surplus." Said Lin. "And the Soviet Union's richest agricultural regions have either been damaged by Angelspawn or are currently under attack, such as Ukraine."-
[14:05] <Minaplo> ["We could see if we could buy food from non-aligned states, but I doubt they'd have enough surplus either, and they'd charge through the nose for it no doubt."]
[14:11] <Yanmei> "And I doubt we could steal enough food or supplies from the UN to make a difference on this scale."
[14:11] <Mianplo> ["I was thinking of something along those lines, yes." Said Lin with a smile. "Borrowing food from our enemies is a neat little solution, but you're right, I'm not sure if it'd be enough."-
[14:15] <Mianplo> ["The UN only needs food enough to food ten million soldiers, but we need to feed five hundred million Han and three hundred million Southeast Asians, Koreans, Indians and Mongolians."]
[14:26] <Yanmei> "So there might not be enough accessible food on earth for that," she grumbled. "I don't suppose we have anything that can miraculously speed up food production somehow?"
[14:26] <Mianplo> ["A great Angelspawn hunt?" She offered.]
[14:27] <Yanmei> "I…" she scrutinized her for signs that she was joking around.
[14:28] <Mianplo> ["That was a joke."]
[14:28] <Yanmei> "Oh," she looked relieved. "Of course, I knew that?"
[14:29] <Mianplo> ["Mmm."-
[14:29] <Mianplo> ["I doubt there's enough giant whales in the ocean, either."]
[14:33] <Yanmei> "We have cloning technology? Couldn't we start cloning fish? Or rice plants? Or said giant whales?"
[14:35] <Mianplo> ["There has been work done on technology that can clone and cultivate just the meat of an animal." Said Lin uncertainly. "But I think cloning a whole animal would probably cost more in resources than it would produce, and besides it wouldn't be ready in time."]
[14:37] <Yanmei> "What about simple organisms that can be harvested quickly under man-made conditions? Mushrooms, for example…"
[14:38] <Mianplo> ["… Mmm. I'd have to speak to Technical about it."]
[14:42] * Yanmei nodded. "We should have a talk as soon as possible, then. But in the event that that's not an option and we -do- have more rebellions break out anyway…" Her brow furrowed. "Well. What would you do under those circumstances if you were in my shoes?"
[14:44] <Mianplo> ["Well." Said Lin slowly. "You know as well as I do that the occupied territories are snakes' eyes disguised as pearls."]
[14:48] * Yanmei hesitated, and then nodded. For a second, she could recall dumb Pham Thi Tien's furious expressions perfectly.
[14:51] <Mianplo> ["Furthermore, we've tied up a huge portion of our homeland's forces in putting down these rebellions. Imagine if our homeland was attacked? Two fifths of our armed forces would be in regions that might very well side with the attacker- bogging them down in territory not giving us anything, whilst the enemy cuts through our homeland."]
[14:53] <Yanmei> "So you would encourage our homeland to free those territories? and consolidate its own resources for the war?"
[15:02] <Mianplo> ["I would, but it would be an extremely hard sell." Said Lin with a sigh. "Unfortunately the Wuyue stereotype fits well with Zhou Xunhan. He's an arrogant peacock with more business sense than political, and he doesn't particularly like me."]
[15:08] <Yanmei> "Should we…" she looked around worriedly. "I mean. If we're worried he's going to do something, should we take him out?"
[15:09] <Mianplo> ["I'm not sure if an assassination is going to help China's stability…"]
[15:11] <Yanmei> "Hmm. Then we just have to figure out way to get on his good side somehow?"
[15:12] <Mianplo> ["Mmm… If only we had something to barter with."]
[15:13] <Yanmei> "The two things they're probably after are food and Evas."
[15:14] <Mianplo> ["I don't suppose donating Eva and Iron Guard meat is out of the question?"]
[15:17] <Yanmei> "Too sounds tough, gamey and expensive, I'm afraid~"
[15:17] <Yanmei> ^Sounds too
[15:18] <Mianplo> ["Surely not that expensive. It grows back."]
[15:21] <Yanmei> "Not quickly enough if you ask me. Surov's still grumbling about repairing this and repairing that…"
[15:24] <Mianplo> ["Mmm."]
[15:26] <Yanmei> "Anyhow, was there anything else you wanted to report?"
[15:28] <Mianplo> ["I'm concerned about Germany."]
[15:30] <Yanmei> "What are they up to now?"
[15:34] <Mianplo> ["Our attacks against the German fronts gained good successes. We defeated a large offensive on France and the Russians pushed them out of the Baltics and Belarus." Said Lin. "But our momentum's slowed since then as our forces need time to repair and re-equip, and the Germans are gearing up faster. They're still making good gains in Ukraine, and those Mass-Production Evas are starting to
[15:34] <Mianplo> show up more frequently. They often appear alone, making quick strikes on Russian positions, then fleeing before we can Jaunt in a strike force."-
[15:36] <Mianplo> ["Our anti-Eva forces can't be everywhere at once." Said Lin. "And no one's willing to disperse our Evas out into situations where they might be without allied Eva support."-
[15:36] <Mianplo> ["All things considered, I suspect Germany may be preparing for another major offensive."]
[15:42] <Yanmei> "We could simply designate an Eva squad to that region, especially if the upcoming attack will be as big as you expect. A standard 3-man team?" She frowned slightly. "Would that be too predictable, though?"
[15:45] <Mianplo> ["Trouble is, I don't know where they intend to attack." Said Lin. "And the problem with deploying a 3-man team to the region is that the MP Evas are alone. They attack and then run- if our Evas pursue, then our other forces are without Eva support, and they can hit them with two other MP Evas or even a Dysangelion. But if we split our attack team, then they'll definitely pounce on the
[15:45] <Mianplo> weakest."]
[15:55] <Yanmei> "Order them to defend and protect the whole time instead of pursuing? But I suppose that's not very practical."
[15:58] <Mianplo> ["They can't be everywhere at once- the MP Evas will just attack wherever the Evas aren't."]
[16:06] <Yanmei> "Ugh. In that case, shouldn't we try to just take Germany completely? Relieve old troops with new ones wherever possible and just march on it before they switch up their dumb MP Eva game with something more deadly."
[16:07] <Mianplo> ["Easier said than done, unfortunately, but taking Germany should be a priority goal."]
[13:42] <Yanmei> "Do you suppose they're testing us?" Yanmei wondered aloud. "Like, poking at someone to see how they attack so they can devise a strategy for the real battle?"
[13:44] <Minaplo> ["That's one possibility. The other is that they already have a strategy in hand and are trying to create the right circumstances for it." Said Lin. "Ezra Caine's something of a trickster- he knows better than most how to exploit a mistake."]
[13:50] <Yanmei> "It would have been useful if he'd ended up working for us instead." Yanmei folded her arms with a frown. "You should see the guy. He's also completely charming?"
[13:52] <Minaplo> ["I've heard as much, yes. You've met him in person, haven't you? What did you think of him?"]
[13:57] <Yanmei> "He tried very hard to come off as trustworthy, or at least non-threatening? Which suggests to me that he is, in fact, very dangerous." She frowned a little more. "At least he doesn't have a massive ego? That's actually pretty refreshing."
[14:04] <Minaplo> ["Yet he must have a good deal of self-confidence nonetheless."]
[14:11] <Yanmei> "He does. Given his accomplishments, I think that's ok? I'm just saying he doesn't speak to people as if he's some sort of lofty king of the world, or whatever. He's…" She made a vague rotating gesture with her hand as she groped for the right words. "Approachable? More approachable than most in his family, anyway, which isn't saying much."
[14:17] <Minaplo> ["No doubt that's one of his strengths… Appearing strong yet approachable. What else did you notice?"]
[14:24] <Yanmei> "He's frightened of Mary Caine and her creepy boyfriend, but not so terrified that he can't openly defy them. He's even able to make fun of them to their faces, according to the story he told me. If he's telling the truth that means any conditioning he was subjected to doesn't run very deep. It also means that he could, hypothetically, abandon her."
[14:25] <Minaplo> ["Abandon her- and go where?"]
[14:29] <Yanmei> "Us?" She laughed softly. "It's either that or he'd have to flee the planet. But. Yeah, leaving her is risky. And if he stays by her side, nothing can touch him. That's probably why he hasn't made a move."
[14:45] <Minaplo> ["I wonder."]
[14:46] <Yanmei> "Well… what else could it be?"
[14:49] <Minaplo> ["Are we sure he intends to abandon her eventually?"]
[14:55] <Yanmei> "It… might be wishful thinking," Yanmei admitted. "We both know how tricky he is. Maybe he's actually content working for her and is just trying to toy with us."
[14:59] <Minaplo> ["There's a saying that comes to mind when I think about those two Caines: 'Two tigers refuse to share one mountain'."]
[15:02] <Yanmei> "Hrm. Then you thing he'll try to bump her from the top?"
[15:04] <Minaplo> ["We both know that's impossible unless he knows where the Eternity Drive is truly stored. But I do think a confrontation between the two is inevitable." Said Lin.-
[15:04] <Minaplo> ["Do you agree?"]
[15:07] <Yanmei> "It's possible. I don't think he stands much of a chance on his own, though?"
[15:08] <Minaplo> ["Also agreed… But you also think his only option otherwise is to flee to us. Does that mean Ezra will inevitably become an ally?"]
[15:11] <Yanmei> "Yeah. Assuming he doesn't have another motive. Like, what if he fled to us and then tried to take over?"
[15:13] <Minaplo> ["Heh." Lin smiled ruefully. "What if he decides to flee to the Non-Aligned?"]
[15:16] * Yanmei looked confused. "How is he going to get revenge on her or grab power by going to them?"
[15:20] <Minaplo> ["The Non-Aligned states aren't helpless." Said Lin. "And they have plenty of resources to tap. If Ezra Caine were to time it right, he could cause an uprising in the UN, then bring himself to the Non-Aligned League with all those assets in tow. It'd weaken the UN, strengthen his hand, and depending on how good he is at this, he could end up turning the Non-Aligned League into a legitimate
[15:20] <Minaplo> power."]
[15:24] <Yanmei> A worried expression began to creep over her face. "I'm not sure if that's a good thing?"
[15:25] <Minaplo> ["It definitely complicates matters… Assuming that's his goal, at any rate. "]
[15:26] <Yanmei> "To be on the safe side, we need to capture him as soon as we can?"
[15:30] <Minaplo> ["… Hm."]
[15:36] <Yanmei> "Of course, he's no match for someone with your skill?" Yanmei beamed at her, her eyes bright. "Together, we can definitely catch him."
[15:39] <Minaplo> [Lin gave her an irritated look. "Yanmei, let's say you're separated from your enemy by a broad river. Your enemy intends to attack you, but the only place to cross is a muddy ford. When is the best time to attack your enemy?"]
[15:42] <Yanmei> "As they're crossing the ford?" she said slowly.
[15:46] <Minaplo> ["Exactly." Said Lin. "Whatever Ezra Caine is planning, chances are he intends to harm Mary Caine in the process, and in a way we can't. If we capture him too early, we might end up neutralising him as a threat; we'd just be doing her a favour. If we wait too long, it might be like giving wings to a tiger and we'll never get him under control without great effort."-
[15:46] <Minaplo> ["But if we wait for just the right time, we can capitalise on their chaos…"]
[15:47] <Yanmei> "O-of course! That's another good option. Yes, you make a good point."
[15:49] <Minaplo> [She smiled thinly.-
[15:50] <Minaplo> ["Taking down a powerful foe whilst they're bogged down in something… It reminds me of something. Defeating Emperor Qianwu, 17 years ago."]
[15:52] <Yanmei> "Oh?"
[15:56] <Minaplo> ["The Emperor and his elite army were in the Southlands when the mass desertification set in, throwing the region into chaos." Said Lin. "Whilst they were mired in that, I led my forces into Sichuan and took his base out from under him, leaving him no choice but to surrender."-
[15:58] <Minaplo> ["You're a Sichuan girl yourself, aren't you?" Said Lin. "You were probably told all about cruel Liu Lin throwing down the noble Emperor…"]
[16:04] <Yanmei> "I was really little when I lived there," Yanmei admitted. "And my house was isolated too? No one explained much about it until I was much older and living in Beijing."
[16:07] <Minaplo> ["Hm."]
[16:10] <Yanmei> "My mom would know all about it, though. Probably my cousin too."
[16:13] <Minaplo> ["Hm. Might be worth asking them about it." Said Lin.-
[16:14] <Minaplo> ["In any case, Qianwu was very popular. A charismatic man, all told." Said Lin. "Such people are dangerous in ways beyond weapons, as you're learning with Ezra Caine."]
[16:28] <Yanmei> "Absolutely? Although, I guess I should be happy that he hasn't used that against me too much. Yet."
[16:30] <Minaplo> ["In what way?"]
[16:31] <Yanmei> "Like, he's not rushing out and wooing massive crowds of third-party bystanders to join him. That we know of."
[16:32] <Minaplo> ["Heh."]
[14:14] <Yanmei> "Maybe that's something I should be doing myself. Lately, it just feels like I'm on damage control and nothing else."
[14:15] <Minaplo> ["Quite. Although you're doing a fine job of it."]
[14:16] * Yanmei tossed her hair, grinning. "Thanks? Hasn't been easy."
[14:19] <Minaplo> ["It is true though that we're on the back foot right now in a lot of ways…"]
[14:27] <Yanmei> "How do we shift forward? If we could figure out a way to turn those recent victories into momentum…" She tilted her head slightly. "Hm. Do you think Father Cartier would be open to be recruited now?"
[14:28] <Minaplo> ["'Recruited'?"]
[14:29] <Yanmei> "He's incredibly charasmatic? And he gets lots of people to listen to him! We could use someone like that, right?"
[14:31] <Minaplo> ["Undoubtedly, but I wonder." Said Lin. "How could we persuade him?"]
[14:32] <Yanmei> "Call a meeting. Sweet-talk him. Get him to believe that he's better off helping us to end the war as soon as possible by winning."
[14:36] <Minaplo> ["You'll need something more concrete than that."]
[14:39] <Yanmei> "…blackmail?" Yanmei hazarded, trying to gauge any positive reactions on Lin's part to that.
[14:41] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[14:43] <Minaplo> ["And I suppose option two is to kidnap his mother, copy her handwriting and send him a letter telling him to join us." Said Lin irritably.]
[14:49] <Yanmei> "I wouldn't go that far," Yanmei mumbled. "But, come on. We don't have money to bribe him with, and he's going to be against us naturally because he's a pacifist."
[14:52] <Minaplo> ["He's a priest." Said Lin.]
[14:55] * Yanmei sighed. "Maybe we should leave the whole idea alone…"
[14:57] <Minaplo> ["That's your reaction?" Said Lin shortly. "Him being a priest is helpful to you if you intend to recruit him."]
[15:01] <Yanmei> "Wait, how? You mean… oh. By getting on the Pope's good side and getting him to vouch for us?"
[15:06] <Minaplo> [Lin folded her arms. "No. I mean you tell him what Mary Caine is actually doing."]
[15:12] <Yanmei> "But we don't have proof. Without that, we'll just sound desperate and crazy."
[15:18] <Minaplo> ["Persuade him."]
[15:24] <Yanmei> "…" She squared her shoulders. "I will. I'll pour all of my effort into it."
[15:26] <Minaplo> ["Good."]
[15:36] <Yanmei> "Out of curiosity… do you believe, generally, that we should be telling more people about Caine's plans?"
[15:38] <Minaplo> ["As best as we can without losing credibility. It's easier to persuade a single person than it is to persuade everyone, after all."]
[15:42] <Yanmei> "Do you think we should start spreading that information around among our troops too?"
[15:43] <Minaplo> ["Mm… I'm not sure. It might be helpful, but once we begin talking about mass information, we need more solid proof."]
[15:45] <Yanmei> "It could backfire terribly? What with the effect on their morale. And then they'll start asking questions about what -our- goals are too."
[15:46] <Minaplo> ["Mmm."]
[15:48] <Yanmei> "General Liu?"
[15:48] <Minaplo> ["Mmm?"]
[15:50] <Yanmei> "What made you stick around with us instead of following the UN? Like, back before that business on the moon took place?"
[16:01] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[16:02] <Minaplo> [Lin was quiet for a minute or so, frowning slightly down at the ground.-
[16:03] <Minaplo> [Eventually, however, she nodded slowly and looked up. "Did you know that Emperor Qianwu asked for my hand in marriage, all those years ago?"]
[16:04] * Yanmei gaped. "I… no, I did not…"
[16:06] <Minaplo> ["Not out of love or any such thing." Said Lin. "A purely political union. At that time, the two of us constituted the two greatest factions in China. A political union would've ended the chaos early and unified the country. Qianwu would get his empire, the people would get their peace, and I would have the chance to reform the country as his wife."-
[16:08] <Minaplo> ["When he offered, I told him about myself. That I supported democracy over autocracy, and so could not support the rule he espoused."-
[16:08] <Minaplo> ["Do you know what he said?"]
[16:14] <Yanmei> "What…?"
[16:22] <Minaplo> ["He said… 'Democracy is hard.'"-
[16:24] <Minaplo> [Lin chuckled ruefully. "He said, 'how can you think of sustaining democracy in a state so long ruled by dictators? The world burns, the land's broken, and the people want only for security, safety, food and peace. Many of them don't know freedom is truly an option. When your democracy is created, the scared people of this land will choose the ones who offer them safety and food.'"-
[16:27] <Minaplo> [She shook her head. "He said, 'the people chosen will not be the meritocrats you idealistically seek. They will be self-serving strongmen who know how to exploit a scared people. They won't have our talent or firm ideals. If you truly want democracy in this land, then it must be cultivated slowly over decades, the little buds submerged in opportunity and safeguarded by righteous leaders. You will either rule like I will, or you will step aside and your work will turn to ash.'"-
[16:29] <Minaplo> ["He was telling me that unless I took power in my own right, there'd be no one to safeguard the growth of democracy." Said Lin.-
[16:30] <Minaplo> ["I disagreed. I resigned from power once the country was unified." She sighed. "And they sent me to conquer our neighbours. People who had aligned with me in the chaos now became my enemies to be subjugated."-
[16:31] <Minaplo> ["In the end, Qianwu's predictions came to pass. The people were scared and chose selfish, cynical leaders who exploited the system for their gain and others. Mediocrities came to power, and gave positions to other, even lesser fools."-
[16:35] <Minaplo> ["I realise now what Qianwu meant." Said Lin. "He understood that the impulse for democracy had to be nurtured and given time to mature. that's what he was giving me. He was more than just a dictator… He wanted us to work together, to build a truly democratic state over many long decades, to rule as an enlightened despot seeking a gradual transition."-
[16:36] <Minaplo> ["I won the war." Said Lin. "But I lost the peace. China withered on the vine, so to speak. It is much weaker now than it could've been. Weaker than it would've been, if I'd accepted Qianwu's proposal."-
[16:38] <Minaplo> [Lin sighed.-
[16:45] <Minaplo> ["The UN isn't a good thing right now." Said Lin. "Almost the whole world has shifted toward autocracy, and the UN has only encouraged it."-
[16:47] <Minaplo> ["I want to fight against that. I want to topple the status quo the UN has created. I want to give people freedom, but… I don't want it to make the same mistakes I did." Said Lin. "So that's why I'm with the Federation. It has a chance to restore the world, but this is more than just about overthrowing the UN. The Federation needs to be ready to win the war and the peace."-
[16:48] <Minaplo> ["So that's why I'm here now, and here to stay- to keep it honest, to keep you honest." Said Lin. "To keep it from rotting like my own efforts did."-
[16:50] <Minaplo> [Lin laughed a little. "You always seem to worship me as a hero; I've always felt deeply uncomfortable with that. Ask your uncle why Shu girls sing sad songs about me, and you'll understand why I don't feel I deserve such adulation."]
[17:00] <Yanmei> "W-well. I mean. You're cool. Even your reasons for being with us are cool. Like. You're not giving up or anything?" Her face felt flaming hot. Yanmei fidgeted. "It'd be easy to retire and not have to deal with any of this at all? But you're still trying."

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