This Too Shall Pass 3 4 19

[14:06] <Yanmei> "So how are things going over in technical?" Yanmei asked her companion. She was wearing a variation of her uniform… but due to not having any official meetings today, she'd allowed herself the rare opportunity to make it more Yanmei-like. Gone were the neat white trousers that she normally wore with it. Instead, she donned a ruffled black skirt, knee-high boots and patterned tights.
[14:06] <Yanmei> The blue, white and gold uniform jacket was tucked under one of her arms, and her remaining white dress shirt had the collar buttons undone. -
[14:08] <Yanmei> She'd even left her tablet back in her office before starting this journey across the ship to the room of a certain princess pilot, making airy conversation along the way. -
[14:09] <Yanmei> "Nothing's berserked or blown up, so you guys must be making good progress?"
[14:15] <Minaplo> ["Hmph."-
[14:21] <Minaplo> [Asuka Langley-Soryu strode at Yanmei's side. She herself wore a red silk blouse under a black leather jacket, long black jeans and a pair of black boots.-
[14:22] <Minaplo> [Yanmei had picked Asuka up from the lab itself, and although Asuka had taken the opportunity to change, all that differed was that she'd lost her white labcoat for a black jacket.-
[14:23] <Minaplo> [(Yanmei also knew that the first day Asuka had gone to the lab, she'd let Alexandre dress her in a highly professional outfit- button-up white dress shirt, long navy trousers, dress shoes, and red tie. Unfortunately, she'd discovered almost instantly that Dr. Langley wore the exact same thing.)-
[14:24] <Minaplo> [(Yanmei thus knew that Alexandre was no longer permitted to dress Asuka. At least for work.)-
[14:25] <Minaplo> ["I might just trigger a berserk some day to get out early." Muttered Asuka. "It's so awkward! Being around Alex's mum all the time is just plain weird, I always think she's watching me, trying to figure things."-
[14:25] <Minaplo> ["And Ritsuko's pet lab assistant is weird too."]
[14:28] <Yanmei> "Weird how? I thought she was only supposed to be scary when she and Dr. Akagi paired up together…"
[14:31] <Minaplo> ["Like, she's older than us, but I keep getting the urge to call her 'schoolgirl'." Said Asuka with a frown. "She's so tiny and… Young!"-
[14:32] <Minaplo> ["Also, she's all bubbly and perky and she's- like root beer." Said Asuka with a deep frown. "She's root beer girl."]
[14:33] * Yanmei started to laugh. "That's a new one!"
[14:38] <Minaplo> ["Well she is! You can't deny it!"]
[14:43] <Yanmei> "No," she grinned. "No, I guess I can't. But hey. At least she's friendly?"
[14:44] <Minaplo> ["Mmph."]
[14:49] <Yanmei> "Hehehe." Lexie's room was coming up fast. Yanmei paused to fluff her hair, briefly, before hurrying the rest of the way and pausing outside of it. She pressed the buzzer at the door.
[14:51] <Minaplo> [The door opened.-
[14:52] <Minaplo> ["Oh, Yanmei." Said Matthias Holmstrom. He wore a tracksuit and his hair had started to curl. "Come in."]
[14:55] <Yanmei> "Hey! Off duty today, huh?" Yanmei did enter, standing near the door until Asuka had made her entrance as well.
[15:05] <Minaplo> ["Uh-huh."-
[15:06] <Minaplo> [The room was neat and tidy. Anita-Margaret sat in one corner, most of her body obscured by a children's book. The television was on and set to international news…-
[15:06] <Minaplo> [… There was, however, no Lexie.]
[15:12] <Yanmei> "Huh. The mistress of the house left for a bit?" She gave Anita-Margaret a small wave in greeting. She was still an odd little creature, but Yanmei had grown more used to her after all the playdates that had been scheduled with her and Lizzie.
[15:13] <Minaplo> [She clumsily waggled her arms in return.-
[15:13] <Minaplo> ["She's having a shower. Just went running." Said Matthias, gesturing at his tracksuit.]
[15:14] <Yanmei> "Ahh." A curious pause, and also a smirk. "Do you guys have matching tracksuits too?"
[15:15] <Minaplo> [Matthias raised an eyebrow. "Yes. Why?"]
[15:16] <Yanmei> "Nothing. It's cute! Like a pair of siblings~"
[15:19] <Minaplo> ["Yep." Said Asuka smugly. "Yanyan and her sweet lover-man wear matching suits all the time…"]
[15:20] <Yanmei> "Y-you don't know that!" Yanmei huffed.
[15:24] <Minaplo> ["Sure I do. He showed me pictures."]
[15:27] <Yanmei> "What? He wouldn't dare!"
[15:28] <Minaplo> ["Oh please. What would you even do to him?"]
[15:29] <Yanmei> "Punish him. Shut up. A non-pervy punishment!"
[15:32] <Minaplo> ["Maybe you're gonna forbid him from clothes…~?"]
[15:35] <Yanmei> "I said non-pervy! We're not like you and Fontaine…"
[15:39] <Minaplo> ["That's such a lie!" Said Asuka loudly, folding her arms. "You two are like… The presidents of perv or something. Every second the two of you are thinking of some kinky fantasy… Don't think I haven't noticed!"]
[15:46] <Yanmei> "You're totally projecting? We're both too busy for that! Isaiah has to watch Lizzie and pilot, and I'm in charge of the entire Federation."
[15:51] <Minaplo> ["Exactly? You're both in high stress jobs, so you find ways to make your destress time as fulfilling as possible… In a pervy way!"]
[16:00] <Yanmei> "Grr… you're just making things up!"
[16:01] <Minaplo> ["Tell me, is that why Isaiah had a slight limp the other day the same time you were favouring your right side?"]
[16:02] <Yanmei> "We were training! We just overdid it a little."
[16:02] <Minaplo> ["Training for what, making Lizzie's little brother?"-
[16:03] <Minaplo> ["Is there a reason the two of you are in my room holding a loud discussion about your sex lives?" Asked Alexandrina coolly.]
[16:07] * Yanmei gave Asuka a long, irritated glare. This was not the impression she'd wanted to make… -
[16:09] <Yanmei> "Hello Pilot Wales. Sorry about that? And I'm sure Asuka is sorry for not letting the topic drop, even though she's dead wrong about it."
[16:13] <Minaplo> ["I'm totally not!" Said Asuka hotly.-
[16:14] <Minaplo> ["You seem to be very interested in the topic of Yanmei's sex life, though." Said Matthias, slowly rubbing his chin. "And you seem to be following it a little too closely… That's curious."-
[16:14] <Minaplo> ["Now who's projecting?" Muttered Asuka.-
[16:17] <Minaplo> [Lexie stalked over to her armchair and sat. She wore a short-sleeved dark green dress shirt and a pleated navy skirt that fell to her knee. Her long hair was tied up in a towel- the first time Yanmei had ever seen it off her shoulders.-
[16:18] <Minaplo> ["Please, don't pause on my account." Said Lexie, her hands folded across her lap, one leg over the other primly.]
[16:19] <Yanmei> "Then pause on mine. This is ridiculous." Yanmei tossed her hair. "And anyway, that's not why we're here today."
[16:47] <Minaplo> ["That's a relief." Said Lexie.]
[16:48] <Yanmei> "It's because, by now, you've probably heard the good news from your home country."
[16:49] <Minaplo> ["… You mean the news about my sister."]
[16:50] <Yanmei> "Exactly."
[16:51] <Minaplo> ["Well I have, yes."]
[16:56] <Yanmei> "…well?" Yanmei grinned. "You're happy about it, right?"
[16:57] <Minaplo> ["It's a complicated situation." Said Lexie, a little testily.]
[16:57] <Yanmei> "…ah? Ah."
[17:01] <Minaplo> ["Feel free to sit."]
[17:02] * Yanmei did, smoothing down her skirt.
[17:06] <Minaplo> [As did Asuka, but not before dragging her chair to be a little closer to Yanmei's.-
[17:06] <Minaplo> ["So." Said Lexie.]
[17:10] <Yanmei> "So…" Yanmei sighed. "Where do you stand so far on this?"
[17:11] <Minaplo> ["From what I've seen, I… Don't have any doubt that that really is my sister."]
[17:13] <Yanmei> "You're sure? You haven't even talked to her yet."
[17:14] <Minaplo> ["I can just tell."]
[17:24] <Yanmei> "Mmm." Yanmei folded her arms. "Do you want to talk to her? Not to verify, but just to talk?"
[15:53] <Minaplo> ["Of… Course." Said Lexie slowly.]
[15:59] * Yanmei nodded, seemingly unsurprised. "Were you guys close at all?"
[16:05] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[16:09] <Minaplo> ["We've always been fond of each other." Said Lexie stiffly.]
[16:12] * Yanmei grinned. "We're going to try to talk to her. You know, officially? You should be there!"
[16:14] <Minaplo> ["…" Lexie's brow sunk; she glared at Yanmei.]
[16:17] <Yanmei> "Ugh. Not as a representative? We'll do our thing and then leave you two alone to catch up."
[16:20] <Minaplo> [Lexie's glare only deepened.-
[16:21] <Minaplo> ["The fate of my country is on the line. If you think I'm unable to face that responsibility, you're wrong."]
[16:26] <Yanmei> "…so then you want to participate in the talks?"
[16:30] <Minaplo> ["I am still the Princess of Wales." Said Lexie, her voice hard and cold. "If a matter concerns my country, then I will not be marginalised."]
[16:35] <Yanmei> "O…kay. You're in, then."
[16:36] <Minaplo> [Lexie nodded once.]
[16:42] <Yanmei> "I'd like to ask what your intentions are, since you are now going to be at the negotiation table."
[16:45] <Minaplo> [Lexie seemed to settle a little now. "What does the Federation intend?"]
[16:55] <Yanmei> "To win her over, of course!" Yanmei tossed her hair. "We'll smooth-talk her, offer some favors, and then shake hands. At the end of the day, she could influence your country to not hate the Federation quite so much. That would make it easier to stay allies?"
[16:59] <Minaplo> ["What kind of favours?"]
[17:01] <Yanmei> "Helping out with thinning your Angelspawns using Remy's weird invention. Have you heard of it?"
[17:08] <Minaplo> ["Of course."]
[17:12] <Yanmei> "I'd also like to figure out once and for all if she's being used in a way that will come back around and harm us if we do remain allies. Like secretly making deals with UN or something."
[17:14] <Minaplo> ["Will you accede to her demands?"]
[17:17] * Yanmei blinked. "That depends on what they are."
[17:18] <Minaplo> ["You already know the core demand. She's claiming the throne."]
[17:21] <Yanmei> "If she is who she says she is and isn't actively plotting against us, I could accept that," Yanmei said slowly, watching her carefully.
[17:24] <Minaplo> [Lexie's expression was impassive. "But so far she's advocated for a neutral UK. You think you can persuade her?"]
[17:31] <Yanmei> "Yes. Persuasion is better than any other alternatives I can come up with. And even if she remains neutral, it's still better than making an enemy out of her."
[17:32] <Minaplo> ["But if she becomes Queen and wants to be neutral, she'll withdraw the UK from the Federation…"]
[17:35] <Yanmei> "If that happened, what would you do?"
[17:37] <Minaplo> ["I'll keep fighting, but would you really let that happen?"]
[17:39] <Yanmei> "No," she said firmly. "I'll find a way to keep it from getting to that point."
[17:40] <Minaplo> ["I am unsure if convincing her is viable…"]
[17:42] <Yanmei> "What do you mean?"
[17:43] <Minaplo> ["My sister is very strong-willed. What you've offered so far won't be enough."]
[00:10] <Yanmei> "Then you're suggesting something more… extreme."
[00:11] <Minaplo> ["I'm… Suggesting you offer more?"]
[00:13] <Yanmei> "Like an Eva. Or some other weapon!"
[00:18] <Minaplo> ["…"]
[00:20] * Yanmei sighed. Loudly. "It worked for the Soviets, you know."
[00:22] <Minaplo> ["Britain is a world away from the Soviets in many ways." Said Lexie with a frown. "Britain is poor and ravaged. It can't afford to keep an Eva. Even its current military assets rely on French and American resources. If you really do intend to persuade my sister to our side, then whatever you offer should be based on the following…"-
[00:22] <Minaplo> ["Firstly, it should not be about improving Britain's military. My sister's argument is that the war is taking Britain away from its true focus, which is to rebuild, so any offers you make should be about rebuilding the UK and repopulating it."-
[00:23] <Minaplo> ["Secondly, it shouldn't be something that you'd probably do anyway or would benefit you directly as well. Take the Angelspawn. Managing them is a fine idea, but it's something we intended to do anyway. If we tell my sister that we're offering her this, then we're also implying that we won't do it if she refuses… Which makes us appear to be callous and mercenary."]
[00:35] <Yanmei> "But, see, the only things we can offer right now are technology, military stuff, and offers to help rebuild the ravaged parts of Britain."
[00:42] <Minaplo> ["The first and the third then. Let's build on that. What technology could we offer?"]
[00:52] <Yanmei> "We have tech that could be used in medical procedures. AI that could be used in any number of ways, including farming or construction…"
[00:56] <Minaplo> ["Which would require extra work from us as those things are currently being put to military use. That's a good start." Said Lexie.]
[00:57] <Yanmei> "Hmph. If only we had something that could be applied immediately to civilian life. Like a secret super-potent biogel."
[00:58] <Minaplo> ["…" Asuka frowned.-
[00:59] <Minaplo> ["You know, we don't need to give her military stuff, but that doesn't mean we can't use our military stuff anyway." She said. "Our Evas and Superheavies are really visible signs, and we need them on the front line… So if we decided to dedicate one or two Evas and a Squad of Superheavies to Britain, that'd probably mean something too, right? Not for war shit, but for like… Rebuilding.
[00:59] <Minaplo> An Eva could telekinetically lift a whole city block of rubble easy…"]
[01:01] <Yanmei> "True. If we have the extra units to spare? There are more being repaired now, at least, so it's plausible."
[01:02] <Minaplo> ["Yeah." Said Asuka. "And… Okay, so, technology, right? We have positron reactors for energy, and a lot of the newer vehicles run off positron batteries because it's more efficient than oil."-
[01:03] <Minaplo> ["So if we build a Positron power grid for Britain, we could capture some UN vehicles, repurpose 'em and donate 'em to Britain…"-
[01:03] <Minaplo> ["Careful." Said Lexie. "That's an offer the UN could make a lot easier."]
[01:06] <Yanmei> "Yeah. If we go along those lines, we'll have to do a lot more than just repurpose them. We'd have to transform that tech into something completely different… but that'll take time and research."
[01:08] <Minaplo> ["Hrm…"-
[01:08] <Minaplo> ["I feel," Said Matthias, now speaking up after having been quiet for so long, "That any situation where we enter a bidding war with the UN is going to go poorly for us. As best we can, we should stick to what only we alone may offer."]
[01:15] <Yanmei> "I hate to say it, but you're right? Assuming, of course, that UN plays the same game and if Ezra is the one calling the shots then it's pretty likely."
[01:19] <Minaplo> ["Mmm."-
[01:20] <Minaplo> [Asuka, who had been frowning down at the ground, suddenly reached over and poked Yanmei in the rib. "Hey, you were talking about that priest guy the other day, right?"]
[01:21] <Yanmei> "You mean Cartier?"
[01:26] <Minaplo> ["Yeah. About how you wanted to get him on side?"]
[01:27] <Yanmei> "Yeah. By impressing the Pope somehow and having him vouch for us."
[01:28] <Minaplo> ["Different idea." Said Asuka. "Britain's depopulated, right? And it's rebuilding, so there'll always be more jobs than people…"-
[01:29] <Minaplo> ["Cartier has a lot of pull with like… Refugees and stuff, right? Why don't we offer Cartier the idea to resettle his refugees in Britain, where they can work to rebuild the country? Britain gets people and workers, refugees get safety, Cartier gets a role to play…"]
[01:32] <Yanmei> "Ahh~" Yanmei grinned. "Clever."
[01:34] <Minaplo> ["It is, but we have to be careful." Said Lexie. "Relations between locals and refugees can be strained at the best of times, and this isn't the best of times."]
[01:39] <Yanmei> "How do you think we could reduce the chances of that happening?" Yanmei eyed Lexie. She was the British expert, after all. "Would it help if we gave the refugees a set term to remain there?"
[01:41] <Minaplo> ["No, I don't think that'll work." Said Lexie. "We want the refugees to remain there permanently, at least most of them, to bring the long-term population up… I'm not sure what we might do otherwise."-
[01:43] <Minaplo> ["Disperse the refugee population evenly first of all." Said Matthias. "Encourage them to resettle devastated areas where the locals aren't willing to go. Ultimately, all we need to do is calm the idea that the locals might be threatened from outsiders… Brazil's taken in a lot of refugees over the past 18 years. Let's read up on what they did."]
[01:46] <Yanmei> "Or ask them directly! We do have some men over there, after all." A pause. "We'll get Minerva to do it. Or Brown. He can be tactful when he wants to."
[01:46] <Minaplo> ["Got it." Said Matthias.]
[01:54] <Yanmei> "Of course, this all hinges on winning over Cartier, so we'd better get started on impressing the Pope right away?"
[02:03] <Minaplo> ["Maybe we won't need the Godbother Supreme?" Said Asuka with a huff. "I think this could be something Cartier would be happy to do anyway."]
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[02:13] <Yanmei> "Hm. Not that we can't make the offer multiple times if the first time doesn't work! And anyway, we should probably be trying to seduce the Pope anyway over time."
[02:14] <Minaplo> ["'Seduce'?" Said Lexie coolly.-
[02:14] <Minaplo> ["Yanmei has a thing for older guys." Said Asuka casually.]
[02:14] <Yanmei> "That's a lie!"
[02:17] * Raphael (ua.ten.letxof.dlq.57-58-291-271-epc|leahpaR#ua.ten.letxof.dlq.57-58-291-271-epc|leahpaR) has joined #nervfrance
[02:18] <Minaplo> ["Gerard Depardieu?" Said Asuka smugly.]
[02:18] <Yanmei> "Shut up. That never happened?"
[02:19] <Minaplo> ["'Oooh, he's so dreamy, look at the old Frenchie with the big honker…'"]
[02:22] * Yanmei kicked her. And then, smoothly pretending to be the bigger person, casually crossed her legs as if it had never happened. "Anyway. Have you guys heard about the UN trying to cut in on our efforts in Brazil?"
[02:22] <Minaplo> ["I have not." Said Lexie. "Tell me more."]
[02:23] <Yanmei> "They sent their own investigation team there! Can you believe it?"
[02:24] <Minaplo> ["I can." Said Lexie, but she frowned nonetheless. "Do we know anything about them?"]
[02:28] <Yanmei> "They sent Promised Landers, with Caine's own wife to lead them, along with Wu Yuanzhang."
[02:31] <Minaplo> ["Hmmm. I'm not very familiar with any of them."]
[02:31] * ZackStudy is now known as Zack
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[02:36] <Yanmei> "So. Promised Land is like Ezra Caine's personal army of child mercenaries? Only they seem more like a close-knit family unit of rescued Neospartans and Companions, with him and his wife practically being the parents. When he joined the UN, they followed him."
(17:41) <Minaplo> ["Hmm, I see. NeoSpartans like you, Asuka?"-
(17:41) <Minaplo> ["That's right?" Said Asuka. She tossed her hair. "I never had much to do with Promised Land, though. I was their best, after all, so I went straight into NERV's command structure."-
(17:42) <Minaplo> ["But, y'know, only a handful of spots and a lot more candidates, so…" Asuka shrugged. "I hear good things about it, though. And there's some Promisedlanders on the ship. That Kirishima girl's one. So's Remy."-
(17:42) <Minaplo> ["Really…?" Lexie's eyes widened slightly.]
(17:48) <Yanmei> "Remy was pretty affectionate when it came to them," Yanmei recalled darkly.
(17:48) <Minaplo> ["That's to be expected, though. If they really are like parents." Said Lexie.]
[15:17] <Yanmei> "It's making me a little worried? They're our enemies. What if Remy and Kirishima decided to go back to them?"
[15:19] <Minaplo> ["Are they really our enemies, though?" Said Matthias.]
[15:21] <Yanmei> "They're making things rough for us, so we have to treat them as if they are regardless of their intentions."
[15:21] <Minaplo> ["But they're less of enemies to us than Mary Caine."]
[15:22] <Yanmei> "That's not saying too much!"
[15:25] <Minaplo> ["I mean, we can at least work with them to a point." Said Matthias. "Kirishima and Awala are like bridges to them."]
[15:27] <Yanmei> "We can't discount Promised Land using that to their advantage too. What if their warmer and friendlier routine is just an act?"
[15:28] <Minaplo> ["Do you believe it is?" Asked Matthias.]
[15:31] <Yanmei> "There are good arguments as to why they're not so bad, and how we might be able to work with them. I can only trust them so far while they're working for the UN, though?"
[15:34] <Minaplo> ["Agreed." Said Lexie. "No matter how palatable they must seem compared to Mary Caine, throwing trust to them unreservedly could be a disaster."-
[15:34] <Minaplo> ["I understand." Said Matthias slowly. "But I'm worried about… Morale."]
[15:35] <Yanmei> "Oh?"
[15:38] <Minaplo> ["You said Remy and Mana were close to them."]
[15:40] <Yanmei> "They are. I guess it must be hard to fight your parent figures…"
[15:43] <Minaplo> ["Yes." Said Matthias. "But it's more than that. Because of that tie, they're under suspicion now, too. People they may have been able to rely on may treat them differently."-
[15:43] <Minaplo> ["And Mana suffered personal losses at Asgard as well."]
[15:45] <Yanmei> "So they need what? Special counseling? Some time off?"
[15:45] <Minaplo> ["Trust."]
[15:48] <Yanmei> "…"
[15:49] <Minaplo> ["…"]
[15:51] <Yanmei> "It's not like I already have them under lock and key," Yanmei muttered. "I'll try not to make them think that I'm considering something like that."
[15:54] <Minaplo> ["That's a start." Said Matthias. "You also might want to speak to them yourself. Ask them for information about Promised Land, but at the same time you should make sure that they know you'll try to keep Promised Land safe if you can help it."]
[16:03] <Yanmei> "I guess that couldn't hurt," she admitted. "Hmph. You're good at this. Have you ever considered becoming Doctor Castillo's assistant or something?"
[16:13] <Minaplo> ["Sorry, already have a job."-
[16:13] <Minaplo> [Lexie smiled.]
[16:15] <Yanmei> "Too bad. You might have even helped him figure out the mysteries of what makes Asuka tick." She lightly patted her on the shoulder.
[16:16] <Minaplo> ["Hmph!" Asuka swatted her hand. "Aren't you forgetting something?"]
[16:17] <Yanmei> "What?"
[16:19] <Minaplo> ["The mysteries of what makes who tick?"]
[16:23] * Yanmei scoffed. "I already know about what makes Lexie tick. Right?" She winked at her.
[16:24] <Minaplo> [Lexie frowned.-
[16:24] <Minaplo> ["Nooo." Asuka folded her arms. "What are you supposed to call me?"]
[16:25] <Yanmei> "…"
[16:25] <Minaplo> [Asuka beamed.]
[16:26] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei cleared her throat. "Hey… so how about those Evas? Completely wild, right?"
[16:27] <Minaplo> [Asuka reached out and snapped her fingers right under Yanmei's nose. "Say it."]
[16:29] <Yanmei> "Mmph." She folded her arms, looking away stubbornly.
[16:31] <Minaplo> ["C'mon… Or I'll do something undignified."]
[16:33] <Yanmei> "It's too late for that," Yanmei said smugly. "You're practically always undignified~"
[16:34] <Minaplo> [Asuka leapt.-
[16:34] <Minaplo> [One second she was sitting, the next she'd folded her legs against herself and pushed upwards. She fell on Yanmei, both hands extended, jabbing straight into Yanmei's ribs. "Garrr!"]
[16:42] * Yanmei gave a squeaky yelp, and flailed frantically. "Nn-!! What-?!?!"
[16:43] <Minaplo> ["Say ittttt!"]
[16:44] <Yanmei> "Lemme go! Nooo!"
[16:46] <Minaplo> [Asuka dug her fingers in ever-deeper. "Three…"]
[16:49] * Yanmei squirmed. She tried to execute a clumsy reverse hold of sorts.
[16:50] <Minaplo> ["What is going on!?" Cried Lexie.-
[16:50] <Minaplo> [Asuka immediately moved to lock her arms in under Yanmei's- which left her fists just above Yanmei's head.-
[16:51] <Minaplo> [Asuka instantly curled her hands into fists; mercilessly, she rubbed her knuckles hard against Yanmei's scalp. "Two…!"]
[16:53] <Yanmei> "Ow! D-damn it!" She muttered something after that that was almost inaudible.
[16:54] <Minaplo> ["Louder!"]
[16:55] <Yanmei> "Grrr… Big Sis!"
[17:01] <Minaplo> ["There."-
[17:01] <Minaplo> [Asuka beamed, gave Yanmei a peck on the forehead, then flipped back to her own chair.-
[17:01] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[17:02] <Minaplo> ["You two…" Lexie's eyes were wide.]
[17:06] * Yanmei sullenly avoided eye contact, indignantly tossing her hair. "Idiot. That was completely unnecessary?"
[17:07] <Minaplo> ["It was." Said Asuka warmly. "If only you'd just said it in the first place~"]
[17:11] <Yanmei> "It'll the last time you ever hear it!"
[17:11] <Minaplo> ["Ah-ah." Asuka waggled her hands. "Don't forget the terms of the agreement!"]
[17:12] <Yanmei> "Grrr…!"
[17:17] <Minaplo> ["Are you two done?" Asked Lexie.]
[17:18] <Yanmei> "Yes!"
[17:19] <Minaplo> ["How interesting." Said Matthias quietly.-
[17:20] <Minaplo> ["Yes. Er." Lexie coughed. "… What were we discussing?"]
[17:26] <Yanmei> "Knowing what makes people tick."
[17:26] <Minaplo> ["Right."]
[07:37] <Yanmei> "In any case… it'd be nice to have something around that could ease the psychological stress everyone's been suffering through these days. Looks like spa fieldtrips aren't enough."
[07:43] <Minaplo> ["Agreed. Have any ideas?" Asked Matthias.]
[07:47] <Yanmei> "Some sort of wide-scale sporting event? Or a big celebration, just because. Little worried about letting our guard down, though? Caine could totally attack us while we're having a good time."
[07:47] <Minaplo> ["It's been known to happen." Said Matthias.-
[07:48] <Minaplo> ["Look, all we gotta do is hold out, ok?" Said Asuka. "Once we're up to twelve or fifteen Evas we can create rotation units."]
[07:50] <Yanmei> "Mm. Fortunately, we're getting closer to that number every day?"
[07:52] <Minaplo> ["I suppose I'll be ready for deployment soon?" Asked Lexie.]
[07:53] <Yanmei> "Yeah. Barring any big setbacks."
[08:03] <Minaplo> ["Maybe…" Matthias frowned.]
[08:06] <Yanmei> "Hm? What's with that reaction? You seem convinced that we're having another setback soon."
[08:09] <Minaplo> ["It's not that. I was thinking about ideas for morale."]
[08:09] <Yanmei> "Oh."
[08:11] <Minaplo> ["There's an idea I've heard floating around: bringing more civilian business onto the ship."]
[08:14] <Yanmei> Now it was Yanmei's turn to frown. "I've heard the sentiment. It worries me. Seems like the perfect opportunity to sneak spies on board. There was a decent alternative, though…"
[08:18] <Minaplo> ["Mmm?"]
[08:21] <Yanmei> "Holding, like, local business fairs outside of the actual ship when we land in a new place for the first time."
[08:22] <Minaplo> ["That may work…"]
[08:23] <Yanmei> "If local businesses are even interested? I'm not sure how much the general populace really likes us right now."
[08:27] <Minaplo> ["Be that as it may, it has been my experience that businesses love more customers than usual, and a flood of well-paid soldiers looking for a good time can help stimulate things nicely." Said Matthias.-
[08:28] <Minaplo> ["And cause lots of fights with the locals!" Said Asuka eagerly, pumping her fist.]
[08:33] <Yanmei> "No fights!" Yanmei frowned.
[08:34] <Minaplo> ["Why not?!"]
[08:39] <Yanmei> "Because it'll make us look like bullies!"
[08:48] <Minaplo> ["Nah it won't." Said Asuka. "Nothing like a bit of high spirits…"]
[08:56] <Yanmei> "Our soldiers will behave properly. That includes the Iron Guards."
[08:56] <Minaplo> ["Having brawls with locals is proper soldier behaviour…"-
[08:57] <Minaplo> ["Tch." Asuka folded her arms. "Boring!"-
[08:57] <Minaplo> ["It would be better for the locals to see us as courteous and accomodating." Said Lexie.]
[09:06] <Yanmei> "See? So no fights." Yanmei tossed her hair. "If you want to hit someone, save it for your fellow soldiers."
[09:06] <Minaplo> ["Like you…?"]
[09:08] <Yanmei> "Like Fontaine." She said hastily.
[09:12] <Minaplo> ["… Ultimately," Cut in Matthias, "Yanmei, if you're concerned about the health of your soldiers, then the best way to help them is a swift end to the war."]
[09:18] <Yanmei> "You're not wrong?" she muttered. "Although doing that is really difficult."
[09:19] <Minaplo> ["Alright. What's the most decisive way to achieve victory?"]
[09:20] <Yanmei> "Murdering Mary Caine."
[09:20] <Minaplo> ["And how do we do that?"]
[09:21] <Yanmei> "If I knew that, she'd already be dead?"
[09:22] <Minaplo> ["Alright, why can't we kill her then?"]
[09:23] <Yanmei> "Because we can't get close to her and we haven't identified a way of killing her that will result in her actual death."
[09:24] <Minaplo> ["What's stopping us?"]
[09:32] * Yanmei sighed. "We don't know where she is, how to get to her, the defenses she's erected around herself, and it will require at least an Eva to put her down for good."
[09:34] <Minaplo> ["Wouldn't she be in the Synfront?" Asked Lexie.]
[09:38] <Yanmei> "Yes and no. If you're worried about morale, you won't repeat this to anyone? But there's a chance that the Mary Caine we know is just an avatar. Like, a puppet, almost. And that her actual form is something else, like an Eva."
[09:40] <Minaplo> ["…"]
[09:45] <Yanmei> "I know, right?"
[09:56] <Minaplo> ["What are we doing to find her?" Said Matthias, who hadn't reacted.]
[10:08] <Yanmei> "We can't find her with regular scans? Our alternatives are getting to people who might know about some obscure hiding places that might contain that data - or better yet, that might contain Caine herself."
[10:11] <Minaplo> ["Hmmm. Who?"]
[10:14] <Yanmei> "Some former SEELE member who've been on the lam for ages. Old guys who were way before our time."
[10:20] <Minaplo> ["You mean beyond the ones we already have, huh."]
[10:21] <Yanmei> "Yeah. One of them is actually an Ikari."
[10:22] <Minaplo> ["Really…?"-
[10:22] <Minaplo> ["Another Ikari." Said Lexie flatly.]
[10:23] <Yanmei> "Yeah. That's gonna be fun," she sighed. "But it's our best chance."
[10:23] <Minaplo> ["Maybe he'll be a nice Ikari." Said Asuka, rolling her eye.]
[10:25] * Yanmei chuckled mirthlessly.
[10:28] * Raphael (~ua.ten.letxof.dlq.031-791-291-271-epc|oaT#ua.ten.letxof.dlq.031-791-291-271-epc|oaT) Quit (Quit: )
[10:29] <Minaplo> ["She's set herself up well, though, hasn't she?" Murmured Matthias.]
[10:31] <Yanmei> "She's had decades to do it. Also, all that power."
[10:36] <Minaplo> ["And us without a chance to even the playing field."]
[10:40] <Yanmei> "Yeah. Although, we're learning more about Evas these days. We might be able to catch up to her? Speaking of which…" she eyed Matthias curiously.
[10:40] <Minaplo> ["…?"]
[10:41] <Yanmei> "You should tell Asuka how your first experience in an Eva went?"
[10:43] <Minaplo> ["Oh yeaaaah." Said Asuka, suddenly sitting a little straighter.-
[10:43] <Minaplo> ["Uh."-
[10:43] <Minaplo> [Matthias coughed. "Yanmei, lunchtime. Run with me down to the cafeteria. You want anything, Lexie?"-
[10:43] <Minaplo> ["You choose." Said Lexie calmly.]
[10:45] * Sept is now known as Syntax
[10:46] * Yanmei blinked and then pouted. "Well played." She stood up. "We'll be back soon, Asuka."
[10:47] <Minaplo> ["Eh? Eh. Get me a coke." Said Asuka. "And a pack of the wings! And my pizza!"]
[10:50] <Yanmei> "Fine, fine…"
[10:51] <Minaplo> [And so the two of them were out.-
[10:51] <Minaplo> ["Asuka's ordering more than usual." Said Matthias. "Because the Fed's paying?"]
[10:53] <Yanmei> "Yeah. And probably to annoy me specifically as a bonus." Yanmei tossed her hair. "Whatever. I won't give her the satisfaction?"
[10:55] <Minaplo> ["Heh."-
[10:55] <Minaplo> [They walked silently for a few minutes before Matthias spoke up. "Wanted to talk about Lexie a little."]
[10:55] <Yanmei> "Oh yeah?"
(14:42) <Mianplo> ["What did you think about her response to the… Sister situation?"]
(14:44) <Yanmei> "Annoying. She was very businesslike about it when she probably crazy emotional in secret? She said before that she missed her family and didn't want to rule by herself. So why isn't she more happy?"
(14:49) <Mianplo> ["You should know by now." Said Matthias. "Lexie doesn't want to look weak. She doesn't want to give off the impression that she'll put family over duty."-
(14:50) <Mianplo> ["… Lexie's relationship with her family was always rocky, but Catherine is an exception." Said Matthias. "She loves Catherine, and Catherine adored her."]
(14:57) * Yanmei nodded. "So they're both going to be thrilled to see each other. Only we won't know it because they'll be too busy looking tough."
(14:57) <Mianplo> ["It's their way."]
(14:58) <Yanmei> "But. I wonder if their different stances on the UEF will come between them…"
(15:00) <Mianplo> ["Likely."-
(15:00) <Mianplo> ["Another likelihood is that Catherine will try to play on Lexie not wanting to be Queen."]
(15:02) <Yanmei> "How do you mean?"
(15:06) <Mianplo> ["Catherine will try to angle it as an opportunity for Lexie to give up something she doesn't want."]
(15:21) <Yanmei> "Do you know if that's actually what Pilot Wales wants to do? I'm not talking about her duty or whatever. Just whatever she's feeling."
(15:28) <Mianplo> ["I think if offered a 'legitimate' opportunity to give it up, she would at least be tempted."]
(15:28) * Yanmei sighed. "I don't really blame her?"
(15:30) <Mianplo> ["Nor do I."-
(15:31) <Mianplo> ["Lexie feels like she was created just to be a spare for someone else. I… Would like it if she had the freedom to choose her own path."]
(15:33) * Yanmei looked a little worried, but she slowly nodded. "It'd be better, healthier, for her self esteem."
(15:42) <Mianplo> ["Yes. And, I think she would benefit others by doing so."]
(15:45) * Yanmei (~ten.nozirev.soif.apalhp.302-7-511-89-loop|ekaCyekaC#ten.nozirev.soif.apalhp.302-7-511-89-loop|ekaCyekaC) has left #nervfrance
(15:45) * Yanmei (~ten.nozirev.soif.apalhp.302-7-511-89-loop|ekaCyekaC#ten.nozirev.soif.apalhp.302-7-511-89-loop|ekaCyekaC) has joined #nervfrance
(15:46) <Yanmei> "Do you think she'd stick with the UEF if we no longer needed her as a pilot? And if we didn't need her to be the next queen?"
(15:49) <Mianplo> ["I think… We might need to ask her."]
(15:50) * Yanmei nodded again. "I bet Asuka's chasing her away right now by doing all sorts of undignified things to her."
(15:53) <Mianplo> ["Hm… You think so?"]
(15:54) <Yanmei> "Absolutely. She's probably calling out for her bodyguard right now?"
(15:58) <Mianplo> ["Hm."-
(15:58) <Mianplo> ["I really am hungry, though." Said Matthias with a sudden wide grin.]
(16:20) * Yanmei side-eyed him. "You'll probably order even more than Asuka, huh?"
(16:27) <Minaplo> ["'Course."]
(16:33) <Yanmei> "Let's hurry up, then~" And Yanmei quickened her pace.
(16:34) <Minaplo> […-
(16:35) <Minaplo> ["Yes yes yes." Said Asuka eagerly as they returned. She quickly tore her wings, coke, pizza and pizza soup from Yanmei's hands and rushed back to her chair.-
(16:35) <Minaplo> ["And this is for you." Said Matthias, handing Lexie a plate of grilled herb and butter cod with a cucumber salad side.-
(16:35) <Minaplo> ["Thank you." Said Lexie warmly.]
(16:36) <Yanmei> "I could use a 'thank you' too," Yanmei said, giving Asuka a pointed look as she settled back into her chair.
(16:43) <Minaplo> ["Thanks, little sis." Said Asuka.]
(16:44) * Yanmei glowered and yanked the lid off her own container of salad. "No one said you could call me that."
(16:52) <Minaplo> ["It's only natural…"-
(16:53) <Minaplo> [Lexie dug into her fish, but not before eyeing Yanmei and Matthias curiously for a moment.]
(16:56) <Yanmei> "Now where were we before we had to go…?"
(17:01) <Minaplo> ["Fielding Evas." Said Lexie.]
(17:02) <Yanmei> "Ah, yes." She let her eyes settle brightly on Matthias.
[11:44] <Minaplo> [Matthias wasn't paying attention; he dug into a large grilled steak burger with gusto.]
[11:45] <Yanmei> "Holmstrom was super nervous before he actually got into the entry plug. I'd never seen him like that before~"
[11:46] <Minaplo> ["Like you weren't?" Asked Asuka smugly.-
[11:46] <Minaplo> [Matthias still wasn't listening.]
[11:46] <Yanmei> "I was a total trooper! Just ask Marianne?" Yanmei tossed her hair.
[11:48] <Minaplo> ["I betcha cried~" Said Asuka. "'Oh nooo, this sticky LCL is filling everything…'"-
[11:48] <Minaplo> ["It is a fairly harrowing experience the first time." Said Lexie.]
[11:52] <Yanmei> "Especially if you were a little baby the first time you did it. Like Asuka." She peered at her with a smirk. "No wonder you brought up crying so easily~"
[11:55] <Minaplo> ["Are you comparing yourself to a child? How fitting~" Said Asuka; with a flippant hand she tossed her hair. "And no, I didn't cry."]
[11:56] <Yanmei> "Well neither did I!"
[12:03] <Minaplo> ["Heh, no, you probably didn't, huh…?"]
[12:07] <Yanmei> "That's right? Looks like you're finally acknowledging how tough and professional I am~ It took you long enough, though."
[12:08] <Minaplo> ["You probably went 'pfft, this is no big deal? Look how tough and professional I am' and started drinking it!"]
[12:09] <Yanmei> "Wha- Ew! Where do you even come up with this stuff?"
[12:11] <Minaplo> ["Brr." Lexie visibly balked at the idea.-
[12:12] <Minaplo> ["Watching you, where else?" Said Asuka lightly.-
[12:12] <Minaplo> ["… I'm still going over my experience." Said Matthias suddenly.]
[12:15] <Yanmei> "You are?" Yanmei honed on him again, curiously. "Anything jump out in particular?"
[12:16] <Minaplo> ["Uh, it felt like everything jumped out."]
[12:21] <Yanmei> "Ah…" She paused, trying to figure how to go from innocent questions to more interesting prying on that alone. "Is it something you'd do again?"
[12:22] <Minaplo> ["No idea…"]
[12:26] <Yanmei> "Mmph. You really are still thinking it over. Well, if you want to, let me know. I'll get it set up for you."
[12:33] <Minaplo> ["Got it."]
[12:36] <Yanmei> "Anyway, what about you, Wales~? Did you panic a little during your first time?"
[12:38] <Minaplo> ["Of course not."]
[12:39] <Yanmei> "Not even a little? You did just say it was harrowing~"
[12:42] <Minaplo> ["Panic doesn't come easily to a Princess." Said Lexie calmly. "It's not in our nature."]
[12:43] <Yanmei> "Oh yeah? What if I told you that this room was going to detonate… right now! In ten seconds!"
[12:45] <Minaplo> ["… I would assume you were wrong." Said Lexie.-
[12:45] <Minaplo> ["It's not a hard leap, that one~" Said Asuka.]
[12:47] <Yanmei> "You shush." Yanmei took an irritated bite of her salad.
[12:48] <Minaplo> ["Besides, I would simply trust that Matthias would be able to protect me." Added Lexie.]
[12:52] <Yanmei> "D'aww." Yanmei beamed. "You guys really are close~"
[12:54] <Minaplo> ["Not as close as I wager you and Asuka are…"]
[12:56] <Yanmei> "Hmm. Hey Asuka, would you protect me if this room was going to detonate in ten seconds?"
[12:57] <Minaplo> ["Sure."]
[13:04] <Yanmei> "…without rubbing it in my face later on?"
[13:11] <Minaplo> ["What a daydream."]
[13:16] <Yanmei> "Uh-huh," she said flatly and then glanced back to Lexie. "I guess that's as good as I'm going to get."
[13:19] <Minaplo> ["Don't worry, Chancellor." Said Lexie, giving her a beautiful smile that lit up her face. "My sister was the same."]
[13:20] <Yanmei> "Hmph!" Grumbling, Yanmei went back to chewing.
[13:32] <Yanmei> Almost as an afterthought, she reached over to spear a chicken wing from Asuka's order with her fork.
[13:35] <Minaplo> ["Wh-hey!" Asuka scowled. "You little shit!"]
[13:36] <Yanmei> "I'm the one paying for it! What's one little wing?"
[13:39] <Minaplo> ["I like my wings!"]
[13:40] <Yanmei> "You should be more generous to your 'little sis'~" Yanmei took a deeply satisfying bite out of it.
[13:45] <Minaplo> ["You could've ordered wings yourself, you know…"]
[13:46] <Yanmei> "But I didn't want them. Until now."
[13:49] <Minaplo> ["Grrrrr…!"]
[13:50] <Minaplo> ["Rei Ayanami says that food tastes best when shared with someone you love, Asuka." Said Lexie sagely.]
[13:52] <Yanmei> "Yeah! Listen to Rei's- Wait." Yanmei frowned a bit, suspicious of the undefined sort of love in question.
[13:52] <Minaplo> ["Problem?"]
[13:55] <Yanmei> "Nope." she hastily went in again for another wing.
[13:57] <Minaplo> ["Nu!" Asuka grabbed her wrist. "My wings!"]
[14:00] <Yanmei> "Hey," Yanmei whined. She tried pushing her hand forward, still trying to get to them.
[14:07] <Minaplo> ["Geez, just ask for one like a proper person."]
[14:08] <Yanmei> "Oh." Her cheeks flushed. "Can I have one?"
[14:09] <Minaplo> ["Say 'please, big sis'…"]
[14:10] <Yanmei> "I'll withdraw my fork," Yanmei said primly.
[14:16] <Minaplo> ["Heh heh heh…"]
[14:19] <Yanmei> "Speaking of wings," she said, still primly, trying to change the subject. "Let me tell you all about what my cousin's been up to while Blue's away…"
[14:20] <Minaplo> [Matthias coughed. "Oh good."]
[14:23] * Yanmei peered around, happy that her diversion was working and that she had everyone's attention. Then she cheerfully launched into an exciting tale of poorly received recipe experiments and the birth of several new cocktails. -
[14:24] <Yanmei> For now, at least, it was a peaceful scene with just the four of them - and Anita-Margaret - wasting away the afternoon.

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