This Too Shall Pass 3 4 26

(15:34) <Minaplo> [A workshop had been set aside for Surov's newest and most potentially dangerous projct… Iruel.-
(15:36) <Minaplo> [The computer systems in here had been carefully isolated from the rest of the ship- deal or no, Surov wasn't willing to trust just yet.-
(15:37) <Minaplo> [And so Iruel herself- or at least the chrome skull-head containing Iruel- sat on a pillar. Cables had been connected to the neck, cables which ran across a table to end in metallic arms and legs.-
(15:39) <Minaplo> [Surov himself stood near a computer console, this one built around a cylindrical tube large enough to hold a body- it was sealed shut with a surovite sleeve.-
(15:39) <Minaplo> ["Beginning nerve tests. Try actuating the fingers, one at a time."]
(15:40) <Iruel> "Alright!" …No real ability to singsong, but oh well. Iruel began slowly doing so. Actuating… moving! Right, they remember. One by one, fingers began to move. …It seemed to be a fast adaption process.
(15:48) <Minaplo> ["How does it feel?"]
(15:49) <Iruel> "…Interesting. I haven't really…" It paused for a moment. "Moved a body like this. Lilim technology is even more fascinating than I remember. And this is your work, of course, so I suppose I know who to thank for it."
(15:50) <Minaplo> ["Did you possess a body of your own before you were destroyed, or has your form always been this protean?"]
(15:54) <Iruel> A moment of thought. "Probably always. I read that Children like me reflect more of our spiritual natures in our form than the current Lilim do, so I suppose it is only sensible. I feel protean enough."
(16:01) <Minaplo> ["Some have described you like a gas, and that you fill any given container, for a certain value of 'container'… The question I have is this. Your ability to change, duplicate, control- is it limited only to machines?"]
(16:21) <Iruel> Another pause. "To things with empty patterns like that? …I haven't tried living things. But living things are defined by their Lights, aren't they?" A long pause. "So I'm not sure it's really a thing I can do, because I fill, I don't… …overflow? It's nice to be able to speak your languages but I'm finding more and more that Lilim and Children concepts are… difficult to completely
(16:21) <Iruel> put to the same words."
(16:28) <Minaplo> ["Mmm. Perhaps an example might be… Would you be able to dwell inside a tree?"]
(16:31) <Iruel> "…Maybe. I'm not sure how lively a tree is in that sense. But I might be able to? …I admit I have had trouble testing limitations like that."
(16:36) <Minaplo> ["You were able to hide inside an AT Field. My suspicion is that you could eventually evolve into a form compatible with plant life."]
(16:38) <Iruel> "I do so suppose!" It said as cheerily as the skull could manage. "Maybe that's part of it. Filling, changing, adapting. Eventually able to fill anything hollow. I suppose, though, that like many things, a form of mental practice and refinement is needed. I see it in all these machines… every circuit optimized for taking up minimal space - so as to have more gates and switches to place
(16:38) <Iruel> - and it shows… a lot of the nature of the Fruit of Knowledge. … …But even without it, I can try!"
(16:50) <Minaplo> ["… Yes." Said Surov slowly. "I suppose you find electronics easy to mimic. They're all based on only a handful of devices, designed for efficiency. A simple system- replicating it is just a matter of organisation. Not a challenge for you."]
(17:04) <Iruel> "Organic forms are complex, yes." Iruel agreed. "…I get the sense the idea of me adapting to organic systems would be troublesome though. Sometimes restraint… …hard to follow, but again, I can try."
(17:09) <Minaplo> ["We'll try to avoid giving you too much of an opportunity." Said Surov drily.]
(17:10) <Iruel> "Indeed." Seeming to realize that tone was less than pleasant. …the fingers started fidgeting.
[14:28] <Minaplo> [Surov fell silent; he worked quietly for a little while, seeming to pay no attention to Iruel at all.-
[14:29] <Minaplo> [Finally he spoke. "Do you realise, Angel, just how limited the faculties of most organic life?"]
[14:31] <Iruel> "By my reckoning, organic life is constrained by the nature of its form. Lilim in particular are in a very limited form, possibly moreso than their creator would have intended. As a result, their lack of sufficient access to Light is notable, as is frailty, lack of ability to exert sufficient physical force… It makes it easy for raw probability to be sufficient to wound or kill them."
[14:32] <Minaplo> ["And thus easy to succumb to the whims of Low Destiny."]
[14:33] <Iruel> "Ah! …Yes, I have many terms to learn. That is… more of an intricate level of reality than I am accustomed to, that term's domain."
[14:35] <Minaplo> ["You need me to explain the term?"]
[14:38] <Iruel> "Ah, no. Destiny is easily interpretable as some sequence of ordained events, and you mentioned it in context to probability." A small finger wiggle. "Ergo, it is likely to be an esoteric current of probability alteration. Based on some analysis of word use, it is probably keyed to something of the Ancestors - I have noticed it is more common to use philosophically-loaded terms in Lilim
[14:38] <Iruel> talk for such."
[14:38] <Minaplo> ["… Mmm."-
[14:40] <Minaplo> ["That is essentially true." Said Surov. "Lilith- our Seed, the entity that formed us- possesses a power of Low Destiny: so long as the possibility of something happening exists, then Lilith can force it to happen, so long as the way it happens doesn't explicitly and directly rely on a Fielded entity doing it."-
[14:43] <Minaplo> ["Storms, floods, failed harvests, locusts, plague- all of these things can kill us easily." Said Surov. "Our fragile forms easily break, and all too easily once they break in a certain way, then the break is irreversible."-
[14:45] <Minaplo> ["And then there's you. The Angels." Said Surov. "Do you understand that by the logic of survival, your kind are the ultimate lifeform? You do not sicken or tire. You don't even need to eat. Almost any injury can be healed. Storms, fire… None of them mean anything to you. You are life, but immune to so much which defines our own existence."-
[14:47] <Minaplo> ["In fact, the only thing on Earth capable of killing you… Is us."]
[14:50] <Iruel> "An interesting sentiment. But I know you are already tense around me and for good reason!" Iruel confirmed. "But yes. …Given all my experience has been with Earth, with Lilim databases… I'm not fully sure what a world for the Children would be like. Would we eat or hunt or breed? Human concepts of biology falter against a body sustained by a core, a body feeding from the Fruit of Life.
[14:50] <Iruel> It would be as if we would only have ourselves to fret of, or things beyond the stars" Fingertaps, pensively. "Which would have included, yes, humanity, ostensibly. Or Lilim as intended. …Though I hasten to wonder if Lilith even intended anything pure, for I… know deep within the desire to destroy her and her creations. …Just Mother's will, or knowledge of some sin from genesis? I'm
[14:50] <Iruel> not sure."
[14:59] <Minaplo> ["Yes, from what I know, you are… Compelled to seek our destruction." Said Surov. "Your mother- Adam- decreed it through Destiny. Yet it seems your kind are able to resist it somehow, to an extent…"-
[14:59] <Minaplo> ["In fact, there is an Angel working with us as we speak." Said Surov. "We call it 'Zeruel'."]
[15:01] <Iruel> "…Zeruel. …Not that I have a database to read its meaning. …Surely that is the soul of one once slain? Probably after I myself. … …I can think of some who might resist the urge more easily." Iruel mused. "But true, true. There is also disposition to consider. Some have strong wills, some resist such urges. Hence… hence here, it's not… so pressing. I remember what it felt like,
[15:01] <Iruel> but I remember how my mate guided me, too. Aah, I am a bit of a creature of being lead around easily."
[15:03] <Minaplo> ["Perhaps your ability to shape yourself to meet the situation is more than just a physical trait." Said Surov with a wry smile.]
[15:04] <Iruel> "Just how physical even am I? As, ah, a rhetorical question. I am, but in many ways I am more ephemeral than any living being on this planet." Beat. "…So as much as I can tell your amusement at that, it /is/ true."
[15:28] <Minaplo> ["Yes. Quite curious for one so powerful to describe themselves as 'ephemeral'."-
[15:28] <Minaplo> ["On the thread of power, of course, do you want to know something interesting, Angel?"]
[15:30] <Iruel> "Interesting is good. Interesting is worth hearing!"
[15:34] <Minaplo> ["This clash between Angels and Lilim has been the most devastating conflict in human history." Said Surov. "If you count Second Impact, the death toll is over four billion… More than two thirds of the entire species wiped out. Places which have been inhabited for millennia completely destroyed."-
[15:34] <Minaplo> ["And yet, the interesting thing is that the war your kind waged has actually given us a new lease on life." Said Surov.-
[15:36] <Minaplo> ["You may not know this, but before Impact, humanity was in a much more chaotic state. There were hundreds of countries, each wanting their own prosperity and glory, and damn the others. So many of us were either too comfortable to want to change the order, or so desperate for that comfort that we would do anything to achieve it."-
[15:37] <Minaplo> ["Ye we were destroying our chances." Said Surov. "As you said, we are frail. We are susceptible to raw probability. Our actions were changing the environment in which we thrived. The processes that brought us wealth were so overused, they were destroying our habitat."-
[15:38] <Minaplo> ["We may have survived, of course. We can be surprisingly tenacious. But we were on the brink of disaster." Said Surov. "It may have taken a hundred or a hundred and fifty years, but there was a strong possibility that we would destroy ourselves."-
[15:40] <Minaplo> ["Then Impact happened, and the world had no choice but to unify or die." Said Surov flatly. "But more than that, we discovered your kind. The ultimate lifeform, practically indestructible… We studied your kind. We took their strengths and made them our own."-
[15:43] <Minaplo> ["Now look at us. We have clean energy. We have more control than ever over our own forms. We have the potential, now, to move between points more quickly than light ever could, opening the galaxy to us. We even have the power to make our own Seed, to change us all, to make us resistant to the vagaries of Low Destiny."-
[15:43] <Minaplo> ["In essence, your kind nearly destroyed us, but now we are stronger than ever."]
[15:55] <Iruel> "Then…" Iruel began. "So it was a force ordained. I do not know why Lilith does what she does. I do not know why she and Mother were made to be on the same world, what accident caused that. But yet it… lead to so much. Even in this liminal state, with most of my kin dead, there remains some hope we can move on. Would the official plan the Ancestors had be better? I don't know. Would
[15:55] <Iruel> your annihilation have been better?… …probably not. With Light, that which lives in the soul, you can indeed exceed many limitations. I do not know how the intended Lilim would counter this, but in a way, you are still using your Fruit. The only complication is that this is such… …such an unprecedented thing. An unintended consequence. Would that we could simply take this kind of
[15:55] <Iruel> understanding and end it all, as many possibly have tried. And failed to."
[15:58] <Minaplo> ["Quite." Said Surov wryly.-
[15:59] <Minaplo> ["I have been told, Angel, that the galaxy is filled with life. Our 'relatives', born from the other Seeds. Life and Knowledge…"-
[16:00] <Minaplo> ["Which means there's other beings like us out there, as well as entities like your own. Do you suppose they fight like we do? Have some of our kin taken strength from some of yours, and become powerful like this? Or do they just leave each other alone…?"]
[16:09] <Iruel> "I am not sure. Full-formed… beings of Knowledge are something I do not have information on. But I imagine there is some tendency to witness the gifts of Light and wish to possess them. Your kind of Seed-born race… is not given power. It is given the ability to gain power. Humanity moves from thing to thing. I… do not know how much my own kind might change given freedom from influence,
[16:09] <Iruel> either. Would our Seeds have some nurturing program? Raised us properly, moving through an unknown curriculum, pushing us to either learn the many expressions of a Child's Light… or to push the frontiers of Knowledge until one did not need a peerless body given to them? Maybe we are fated, too, to merge, on a level more… ah… poetic, than a purported Destiny."
[16:16] <Minaplo> ["Indeed… In my own way, I had forgotten that your existence, although incredible, is 'imperfect' like us." Said Surov. "After all, your progenitor did not have time to properly prepare the world for you, nor did she have the ability to 'raise' you properly. A single decree to wipe us out, and then silence."-
[16:18] <Minaplo> ["You may be closer to what your progenitor intended than we are to our own progenitor's intention, but you're still imperfect. Perhaps out there, Angels with the power of Metatron are the norm and not the exception."-
[16:21] <Minaplo> ["I remember the footage the first time an Angel attacked." Said Surov. "Gazardiel, we called it. Many authorities weren't sure how to react… The military answer was obvious, but really nothing worked but the Evanglions."-
[16:24] <Minaplo> ["The thing I only realised later is that Gazardiel was unsure as well." Said Surov. "Some people describe Angels as simplistic, even bestial, but I remember that footage. I remember it ambling across northern France at a fraction of its top speed. It didn't act like an animal at all. Animals are wary for threats and opportunities… If Gazardiel had gone at its full speed the entire time, it may have been able to win."-
[16:27] <Minaplo> ["The first attack on Gazardiel was by a French bomber wing. They unleashed enough warheads on it to flatten a mid-sized city. Gazardiel just stared at the attack, almost curious. It didn't deflect the attacks either." Said Surov. "The warheads didn't do any damage, but they knocked Gazardiel backwards, surprised it… After that, it began to deflect and attack."-
[16:29] <Minaplo> ["Not the behaviour of an animal." Said Surov. "It didn't have eons of evolutionary adaptation there to help it recognise a threat. Just 15 years and a decree from a dead mother."-
[16:29] <Minaplo> ["You Angels are children." Said Surov. "Physically developed, perhaps, but your understanding of the world is stunted. You have been- neglected."-
[16:31] <Minaplo> ["Just like us. And so, just like us, you are imperfect."]
[16:34] <Iruel> "…" The silence was audible. As if a very, very quiet tone was emitted, just to emulate the sound of awkward silence. "There is only a number of us countable with two places in your number system. On the lower half of that bracket. Compared to billions you have lost, and a few billion you still have… how else could it have gone? We are exaggerations of what we are. You, not even made,
[16:34] <Iruel> just inheriting Knowledge when your accidental birth evolved sufficiently. Us… without any society, any chance to use our will - especially in the first hours. I pity whichever sibling came to be called Gazardiel - mainly because he in his haste wasted every opportunity, to the point that even my experience was richer."
[16:38] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[16:39] <Minaplo> ["Do you resent us? For what we have done?"]
[16:41] <Iruel> "I did once." Iruel said. "I have come to realize… this is a fight nobody wants in their deepest soul. …The person I resent is Lilith. The person I pity is my Mother. …What you did, as a people, is what you had to. What my own kind did, seemingly the same. But… this started in the past, didn't it?"
[16:44] <Minaplo> ["It did, yes."-
[16:47] <Minaplo> ["… We are trying to give your kind a second chance." Said Surov. "We have an endgame. A plan to neutralise Lilith's influence over us. The actor of that plan, however, also wants to save your kind as well. To send you to your own world, where you can be as you were meant to be."]
[16:48] <Iruel> "…I see. Then I thank them for their foresight. It is part of the plan, even, for us to have developed on our own. …Still." A pause, an attempt to work on tone too. "…I feel as though some lessons taken from your kind might be worth its time."
[16:54] <Minaplo> [Surov smiled drily.-
[16:54] <Minaplo> ["You seem to have motor skills mastered if your fidgetting is anything to go by. Time for something more holistic."]
[17:08] <Iruel> "Ah! …That sounds quite interesting too!"
[17:12] <Minaplo> ["Yes. You no doubt remember my daughter, Sarasvati. She has a Lilim's shape, yet has a composition of mechanical elements as well as biological ones."]
[17:14] <Iruel> "I am fairly aware of that, since… ah. Yes, I was within her." Iruel managed to somehow achieve a vaguely shamefaced tone with the limited vocalization system.
[17:15] <Minaplo> ["Yes. Her efforts prevented you from destroying the ship."]
[17:15] <Iruel> "Which I am grateful for, knowing that I was… likely compelled by something of one form or another…"
[17:19] <Minaplo> ["Yes."-
[17:20] <Minaplo> ["Sarasvati is my precious child, but she is not the only one." Said Surov. "Before Sarasvati, I created another daughter. Her name was Lakshmi."-
[17:22] <Minaplo> ["Before I worked with this faction, I worked for another, which also fought Mary Caine- the one who controlled you, our enemy. This faction was known as the Liberated Nations, and it was destroyed, but I was able to escape. During my escape, however, Lakshmi was killed by my pursuers."-
[17:24] <Minaplo> ["I still have some of her bodies, however." Said Surov. "Bodies she outgrew. They aren't as sophisticated as Sarasvati's. However, if that isn't a problem, then I am willing to house you in one of them."]
[17:26] * Iruel thought about that long enough to produce a significant pause. "…It would be useful, maybe even ideal. …In that kind of housing, I would still have a number of valuable capabilities of my true form, so the sophistication is… arguably not a concern. And the gesture is appreciated, even knowing there is some… inherent familial connection there."
[17:27] <Minaplo> ["Yes." Said Surov simply.-
[17:28] <Minaplo> ["You would have greater freedom of movement and capability. There would be some restrictions, and you would not be permitted to travel the vessel without a powerful guard. Even if your intentions are honest, those eons of evolutionary edge make humans predisposed to treat supposed threats very cautiously."]
[17:28] <Iruel> "I'm willing to prepare for that. After all, a simple declaration of intention does not erase prior actions, either."
[17:30] <Minaplo> ["True enough."-
[17:30] <Minaplo> [Iruel's head suddenly deactivated.-
[17:30] <Minaplo> […-
[17:34] <Minaplo> [The body had been stored inside a slim sealed alcove, where it had been attached to the wall through connections at the hands and head. The wall itself shone dimly with the light of a dozen digital screens.-
[17:36] <Minaplo> ["All preparations are complete, Angel." Said Surov. "I will unlock the alcove seal now. Leave at your own volition; if you are unable to leave, let me know."]
[17:46] <Iruel> "Understood!" …A lighter voice, with more nuance and emotion, in fact almost too much, though its final tone sensed this and was already correcting. There was a bit of fumbling, as a number of other motor systems were no doubt tested one by one, and the alcove was… /eventually/ removed. Out stepped… at present, a young girl, if one that had a sort of uncanny appearance. Something no
[17:46] <Iruel> doubt Sarasvati had improved on. There was the same kind of care and optimization, but it still came on a bit strong, like an air of perfection. …Fortunately it wasn't so horrible as to unnerve everyone around her. But enough about that. Furthermore, this girl was pale and had a few obvious connection points on arms, on legs, that suggested access ports of some sort, possibly even for
[17:46] <Iruel> self-repair too. Long light-purple hair, almost bluish but not quite, and wide, deep purple eyes, with a sort of… childlike look to them. She had been provided, though, with a simple white dress, which she tugged at this way and that. "A discrete body… …At least this is presumably pleasing by Lilim standards to look at… I can feel each part of the motive systems, of the reinforcing
[17:46] <Iruel> components to amplify strength, of the biological systems running in the background… I can tell there were lessons learned that went into Sarasvati, but it's… very different for it to be wholly /my/ form…" She said this with a sort of breathless enthusiasm, too.
[17:57] <Minaplo> ["You are permitted to, over time, request adaptations and changes to the form. They will not be instantaneous of course, but considering your natural proclivities and the resources available, no doubt the desire to do so exists."-
[18:04] <Minaplo> ["As time passes, you will encounter many various experiences. Of these, you should pay close attention to understanding how heavily one's form can influence interactions between Lilim." Said Surov. "Your form mimics that of a young female Lilim from a European ethnicity possessing physical qualities considered attractive. This in itself will have a heavy influence on how a Lilim responds to you. You also possess obvious electronic components, which will also influence their response. You may find yourself deciding to model them to be as innocuous as possible. Or you may not. You may wish to model your form to take on different gender, age or ethnic qualities- each of course will change general reactions toward you."-
[18:05] <Minaplo> ["The differences between two Lilim's forms are often miniscule compared to that between two Angels." Said Surov. "However, I'm sure you will enjoy learning how those tiny differences affect the subtleties of interaction."]
[18:07] <Iruel> "I… I can imagine!" She said cheerily. "I will have to see what most fits, then, yes~ Though so far I am not displeased in the slightest. Though then again I have yet to meet any circumstances to change that outlook! Ah, ah, they will be very intricate subtleties indeed to explore." …If nothing else, the young girl look sort of fit Iruel's nigh-boundless curiosity. Youth seemed about
[18:07] <Iruel> right, even.
[18:09] <Minaplo> ["Might I give you some advice as to where to start?"]
[18:12] * Iruel turned to face him, somehow managing to look properly curious despite having ought to have no real concept of human expressions. Or maybe just minimal concept. "Oh please tell."
[18:15] <Minaplo> ["Chancellor Zhang Yanmei, who you have met already, recently had an unnaturally abrupt change in her physical form. Even though the ultimate change was quite minor, it made her stronger and supposedly made her look more 'leaderly' and mature, as well as slightly more desirable."-
[18:18] <Minaplo> ["In a similar but far more drastic vein, one of my colleagues, a man named Raphael Guillory, had his physical form changed to mimic someone much younger, shorter and of a different ethnicity. The new form was of an age where individuals become emotionally unstable. Furthermore, it affected his relationships with many people, because they either had preconceptions due to knowing the individual who he was mimicking, or because his new form seemed highly sexually desirable to some. He has since been reverted to his original form, but asking him about his experiences could grant you insight into how lilim interactions are influenced by both external and internal qualities."]
[18:28] <Iruel> "Both fascinating tales, Raphael's doubly so! To take the form of another and not only be affected by its physiological effects on thought, but to have to deal with identity and similar conflicts over time as others misconstrue the identity of the borrowed form! Such… ah… Oh! Drama! Such drama~" She cooed. "…But nonetheless, dramatic or not, the data would be of use~"
[18:32] <Minaplo> ["Indeed."]
[18:37] <Iruel> "But!" She said with a finger-point… at a distant bulkhead. "I was wondering if I could go to the /shopping district/? I recall something about a place that is many times more of a shop than a shop is meant to be? …Some sort of three store entity? …It's a color? Ah…" She was suddenly realizing her recall was not qhat she wanted it to be about this particular stolen memory. "Either
[18:37] <Iruel> way, it sounds like it would be enlightening to visit one of the lesser breakers of Lilim conventions and order to see how they perform so many services in one limited establishment!"
[18:45] <Minaplo> ["Ah. I see. Yes, that can be arranged."]
[18:54] <Iruel> "Excellent~~~" She… very ecstatically proclaimed. So began a new reign of terror about the Federation Flagship, Dorian Lachapelle.

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