This Too Shall Pass 3 4 4

[13:25] <Yanmei> It wasn't easy to find time between checking up on projects, meetings with her officers, and the international disputes caused by Prefect Han's maddening power hunger, but Yanmei was eventually able to reschedule a certain synch test two days after she had originally decided upon it. -
[13:28] <Yanmei> Now she was suited up and was sitting in the entry plug. The observation deck was awkwardly quiet. James, she knew, was there, as was Isaiah, who had insisted on coming along for emotional support. Not that she needed much? This was -Dorian- they were talking about. -
[13:29] <Yanmei> She also knew that the two of them were not alone up there. Just thinking about it made her scowl. How did her other guests even find out about this?
[13:33] <Mianplo> [Yanmei could hear the Old Men distantly chortling over the comm.-
[13:33] <Mianplo> [("You all ready, Yanmei?") Asked James.]
[13:36] <Yanmei> "Of course?" She tossed her hair. This was all routine to her by now, of course.
[13:36] <Mianplo> [("You don't need Isaiah to come down and hold your hand?") Said James sweetly.]
[13:38] <Yanmei> "Very funny," she said dryly. Idiot James! He knew those old crows were listening, didn't he? Like she needed them to make fun of her even more…
[13:39] <Mianplo> [("Oho, I see. Savin' it for later, eh?")]
[13:43] <Yanmei> "That's a fine thing to say about a pair of cool professionals," she said, folding her arms and looking as detached as she could. So cool. "Less talkin', more synchin'."
[13:44] <Mianplo> [There was a raft of patronising laughter from the Old Men.-
[13:45] <Mianplo> [("Yeah yeah. Changing operational language to Mandarin, beginning phase one connections…")-
[13:56] <Mianplo> […-
[13:56] <Mianplo> [Yanmei would feel the familiar burst of sensory static…-
[13:57] <Mianplo> [Then she was looking through the Eva's eyes at… Well, the hangar.-
[13:57] <Mianplo> [("55% ratio achieved. No problems…")]
[14:04] <Yanmei> "Yeah, nothing unusual on my end either?" She shifted around, as if trying to get used to this new Eva. It was her first time synching with anyone other than 04. Well. There was also 08, but… did that even count?
[14:11] <Mianplo> [("Judging by Sera's experience, you should expect nausea in a second.")]
[14:13] <Yanmei> "Heh. Speaking of Sera, my Synch Ratio's way higher than his was, right~?"
[14:15] <Mianplo> [("Uh… Yes.)"]
[14:16] <Yanmei> "First time for… urgh." She shut her eyes, frowning, leaning forward a bit. "Th-there it goes."
[14:17] <Mianplo> [("Good luck, sweetheart.") Said Isaiah gently.-
[14:18] <Mianplo> [… A second later, Yanmei…-
[14:18] <Mianplo> [… Would find herself standing in an elevator. A Geofront elevator. It was moving downwards…]
[14:20] <Yanmei> Moving slowly, no doubt - as Geofront elevators were wont to do. Still a little groggy, she leaned against one of its walls, waiting.
[14:22] <Mianplo> […-
[14:22] <Mianplo> [Eventually, the elevator came to a stop. With a soft chime, the doors slid open-
[14:23] <Mianplo> [Revealing Operations, Geofront. The command centre- it had been from this room that years of her life had been dictated…-
[14:24] <Mianplo> [She saw the consoles lined around the holoprojector. The raised platforms on which Fontaine and Thomas had once sat, looking down on all of them.-
[14:25] <Mianplo> [One chair was filled- the chair of OD. She saw the person's legs- one folded casually over the other- but most of the chair had its back to her.]
[14:29] * Yanmei had looked over the place, her eye lingering on the Director's platform most of all, before dropping and spotting the pair of legs. -
[14:30] <Yanmei> "…" -
[14:30] <Yanmei> "Colonel?"
[14:36] <Mianplo> ["Zhang Yanmei."-
[14:36] <Mianplo> [His voice was calm, cool, measured, and firm.-
[14:36] <Mianplo> ["Take a seat."]
[14:41] * Yanmei obliged, sitting up straight, trying to look as in control as he -sounded-. As an extra measure, she crossed one leg over the other, mirroring him.
[14:43] <Mianplo> [Of course, the only seats available were near Ops- so now she could see him.-
[14:44] <Mianplo> [His hands rested on the chair armrests. His eyes were covered by a pair of black reflective sunglasses. He was wearing a pair of black jeans and a dark brown dress shirt, the collar folded down.-
[14:44] <Mianplo> ["Long time no see."]
[14:51] <Yanmei> "Yeah." Her own outfit made her feel suddenly overdressed - her shiny black armor set, cape and all, with even a copy of Excalibur at her hip. -
[14:52] <Yanmei> "You don't look too surprised?"
[14:52] <Mianplo> ["What do I have to be surprised about?"]
[14:53] <Yanmei> "That I'm… paying a visit? For the very first time? Without warning?"
[14:58] <Mianplo> ["You think I'm without warning, Yanmei?"]
[15:01] * Yanmei cocked her head slightly. "…yeah..?"
[15:03] <Mianplo> ["I knew you'd be coming. De Pteres even asked if he should tell you to come, but I told him no, I didn't need him to bring you. I knew you'd come on your own."]
[15:05] * Yanmei inclined her head the other way, eyes narrowing to hide her confusion. "How?"
[15:05] <Mianplo> ["How do you think?"]
[15:13] <Yanmei> "Hmph. De Pteres told you about how our war's going?"
[15:17] <Mianplo> ["I can see it."]
[15:20] <Yanmei> "How much of it? You've got to have -some- questions?"
[15:20] <Mianplo> ["How do you think it's going?"]
[15:26] <Yanmei> "We're at a slight disadvantage? But I'm completely confident in our ability to pull through. Just like in the Angelic War?" She grinned.
[15:30] <Mianplo> ["We both know that's not true."]
[15:36] <Yanmei> "Well. No. It's a little bit more complicated. Just about everything's more complicated these days."
[15:40] <Mianplo> ["Being in command's a lot different to following orders, huh?"]
[15:42] <Yanmei> "Seriously! Good thing I'm pretty great at it~"
[15:47] <Mianplo> ["Grow up." Said Dorian coldly.]
[15:48] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei glared, but her heart wasn't quite in it.
[15:57] <Mianplo> [Dorian stared right back, his gaze- hidden as it was behind his glasses- unwavering.]
[16:02] * Yanmei held her own gaze a few moments longer, before finally glancing away, folding her arms. "It's a bit difficult to turn it off," she said stiffly, as a way of apology.
[16:05] <Mianplo> ["Try harder."-
[16:05] <Mianplo> ["Now. How are you really finding it?"]
[16:20] <Yanmei> "I can keep everyone together," she muttered. "I can even get them territory. Weapons. Money. But it's not enough? I don't even know if all of it matters."
[16:24] <Mianplo> ["Oh?"]
[16:30] <Yanmei> "We all know who the real enemy is? Why is she so good at toying with my people and killing them when no one can touch her in return? It's infuriating…"
[16:33] <Mianplo> ["And what would you need for your efforts to 'enough' then, eh?"]
[16:45] <Yanmei> "For Caine to be dead? Then this whole thing would be over. No more casualties or suffering. We could focus on figuring out what to do long term with FAR stuff and all that."
[16:46] <Mianplo> ["Sure, that's a goal, but what would you need for your efforts to actually achieve it?"]
[16:50] <Yanmei> "Information? We don't know where she is, and we don't know how to exploit her weaknesses."
[16:52] <Mianplo> ["And how far you willing to go to get that info?"]
[16:55] <Yanmei> "You know something?"
[16:55] <Mianplo> ["Answer the question."]
[17:00] * Yanmei leaned back in her chair, arms still folded. "If I'm the one who pays the price for it, I don't care how high it is?"
[17:01] <Mianplo> ["And if someone else has to pay that price?"]
[17:06] <Yanmei> "I'd… have to think about it. Carefully."
[17:07] <Mianplo> ["And what if forcing someone else to pay that price meant sparing a thousand, ten thousand others from having to do it?"]
[17:12] <Yanmei> "It wouldn't be pretty. But yes, probably."
[17:13] <Mianplo> ["…"-
[17:13] <Mianplo> [Dorian was silent. For long, painful seconds he stared at her. Judging her from behind his lenses…?-
[17:13] <Mianplo> ["Let's talk about Asgard."]
[17:15] <Yanmei> To her credit, Yanmei didn't visibly wince. "What about it?"
[17:19] <Mianplo> ["You're right, I am talking about the massacre." Said Dorian. "And not just the massacre. The ambush in space as well."-
[17:22] <Mianplo> ["Hell, let's start with before the massacre." Said Dorian. "The battle with Michael. You and your commanders were sloppy."]
[17:41] * Yanmei grit her teeth. "Well, they did call him the 'Warmaster' for a reason, you know."
[17:52] <Mianplo> ["That's a reason for you to be on your guard." Said Dorian. "Instead you all treated him as just another Angel from the first, when you all knew he wasn't. After that, when it would've been prudent to pull back, fortify Paris and try to figure out his behaviour, you went and gave battle in a city that wasn't worth defending."]
[13:11] <Yanmei> "Boston was totally worth defending?" Yanmei shifted forward, to the edge of her chair. "You do realize how much money we lost out on after all our industries there were wiped out, right? If we had pulled it off, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have to worry about the UEF's Head of Finances breathing down my neck as much as I do now."
[13:13] <Minaplo> ["Were the industries in Boston worth more or less than the Evangelions you lost, eh?"]
[13:23] <Yanmei> "Maybe less," she said grudgingly.
[13:37] <Minaplo> ["You're goddamn right it's less!" Shouted Dorian. "Six units lost for a base and a single city's worth of factories. A 7th disabled. Pointless. Of those, only two were ready for Metatron, which you both lost! Two of them are still waiting to be repaired from Michael's attack."-
[13:38] <Minaplo> ["What could you have done with six extra units, huh? You tell me! You coulda kept some in reserve to head off attacks on Asgard or the battleship! You could've made your life in the Egg fucking easier!"-
[13:38] <Minaplo> ["You all spent three years fighting Angels, and you all got used to fighting stupid ones. You get one Angel with a bit of sense and you all turn into dipshits."]
[13:50] <Yanmei> "I can't disagree with the fallout of that battle," Yanmei said after a long, long pause on her part. "Is that all it would have taken to brush off Caine's ambushes?"
[13:58] <Minaplo> ["You know it isn't." Said Dorian. "You knew there were people who had info that could've helped your staff plan. Info that they wouldn't give."]
[14:01] <Yanmei> "Except I didn't know that they knew until after it had already happened! William was the exception to that, and he wasn't exactly in a position to give us advice?"
[14:05] <Minaplo> ["Bullshit, Yanmei! You sat there and heard Gendo fucking Ikari ask Sera to tell him about Caine's resources. About her hidden bases and weapons. And he refused. He did not say he couldn't, he said that he would not."]
[14:18] * Tyra is now known as Zack
[14:29] <Yanmei> "You expected me to drag that information out of him when even Ikari couldn't?" Yanmei scowled deeply. "I'd hoped that even if he was witholding specifics on those, I could at least trust him to come forward if he knew about an immediate danger. Something that would make or break us? Endanger the lives of people he actually knew? Clearly I was fucking wrong."
[14:31] <Minaplo> ["He did." Said Dorian. "It wasn't Sera's fault. For as much shit as I give the boy, he did as best as he could. Caine had him heavily conditioned. Sera had to pick and choose carefully what he revealed- and he ended up choosing to reveal William's nature as a double agent."-
[14:31] <Minaplo> ["He couldn't do anymore." Said Dorian.-
[14:34] <Minaplo> ["But Ikari could've." He added. "You know Ikari could've. He had that AT Field of his after all- how hard would it have been to drag the information out of Sera's mind?"-
[14:36] <Minaplo> ["But you didn't back him up." Said Dorian coldly. "You acted like it was two brats squabbling over nothing. When the boy who has fought alongside you- for THREE GODDAMNED YEARS- sits there and says he's not willing to divulge strategic secrets about the resources of the woman who is keeping our families hostage beyond death, you apparently decide that's not enough of an alarm
[14:36] <Minaplo> bell."-
[14:36] <Minaplo> ["You're a fucking moron. Ten thousand people paid the price."]
[14:39] <Yanmei> "That makes absolutely no sense," Yanmei snapped.
[14:41] <Minaplo> ["He was supposed to be on your side!" Shouted Dorian. "He had an obligation to tell you what he knew, and his not following through should've prompted action on your part!"-
[14:46] <Minaplo> ["If you'd let Ikari interrogate him, you would've known about Caine's battleship, about William, more about the Primes and her resources. You would've had time to plan, to capture William without him triggering his own goddamned bomb. You could've interrogated him, learned more about Walpurgis Night, maybe even captured them during your coup."-
[14:47] <Minaplo> ["Look it over." He snapped. "From the time Michael appeared, Caine banked on you burning your resources out on fighting that Angel. And you promptly did. She banked on you being weak enough to fall to an ambush with no warning, and you did."-
[14:48] <Minaplo> ["The coup at the Geofront gave you two Primes and could've given you even more." Said Dorian. "If you and your allies hadn't wasted so many resources and had preparation for the ambush, you could still have those prisoners, and the war might already be over."-
[14:49] <Minaplo> ["Instead, you have been doing exactly what Caine expected. She built her plans around that, pushed the dominoes, and you've dutifully fallen in a neat little row."-
[14:50] <Minaplo> ["Now you have some breathing room, but you could've had a victory. Your breathing room's over. From now on Mary Caine is going to hit you hard and fast and I don't know if you can weather what she can give."]
[15:07] <Yanmei> "I won't deny the domino effect from the battles with Michael? And I accept that my reaction to Sera wasn't the best thought out. But if you must not think much of me if you expect me to accept that it's my fault because I 'didn't let Ikari interrogate Sera'. As if he'd needed my encouragement to do anything back then. As if he didn't have ample time to do it before I showed up. As if
[15:07] <Yanmei> I was the one with influence over his position back then." -
[15:15] <Yanmei> "Moreover, the fact that we're still alive, even after falling into all of Caine's traps must mean that we're not complete failures. That there's something we've been doing right or that she's been doing wrong up until now. Underestimating us, maybe?"
[15:23] <Minaplo> ["Sure. You're bright people, you don't fuck up all of the time."-
[15:23] <Minaplo> ["But really, if Ikari had seized Sera and interrogated him without your consent, don't act like you wouldn't have punished him."]
[15:26] <Yanmei> "Oh, yes. Punish Vercingetorix." Yanmei rolled her eyes. "How, pray tell, would I go about doing that?"
[15:35] <Minaplo> ["… Are you really asking me that question with a replica of Excalibur on your hip?"]
[15:47] <Yanmei> "You really don't think much of me." She looked kind of sad at that. "I mean, look. I probably wouldn't have ever trusted him again. And maybe I would have used Excalibur if it had been in my possession when I found out about it. But what the hell do you think the fallout would have been if I'd attacked our most powerful ally? Or worse, what if I'd attacked and then missed him? He can
[15:47] <Yanmei> teleport, you know." -
[15:49] <Yanmei> "If there's one thing I've learned during while you've been gone, it's that restraint is important? Why do you think the Old Men from SEELE are still hanging around? Or those insufferable fucking politicians I have to mediate between? Or the old Marketing Department?"
[15:49] <Minaplo> ["Absolutely."-
[15:50] <Minaplo> ["Now turn it on its head. What do you think the fallout would've been if Vercingetorix had antagonised his most powerful ally in such an extreme way?"-
[15:50] <Minaplo> ["Maybe you'd let him off the hook, or maybe you'd attack him and his plans would all go to hell."-
[15:51] <Minaplo> ["All the arguments you have for not attacking him work in reverse for him not antagonising you."]
[15:54] * Yanmei exhaled slowly, a soft, noncommittal sound.
[15:58] <Minaplo> [Dorian was silent.-
[15:58] <Minaplo> [A few minutes passed, nothing beind exchanged…-
[15:59] <Minaplo> ["I fucked up." He said eventually.]
[16:00] * Yanmei blinked, looking up at him again. "That's… not something I expected to hear from you."
[16:01] <Minaplo> ["I know. It's not something I like to say."-
[16:01] <Minaplo> ["But it's true. I took stupid risks." He said. "I made fuckups from day one with you three."-
[16:02] <Minaplo> ["I did the exact same thing you all did. In a moment of stupid arrogance I underestimated the intelligence of an Angel. I paid the price."-
[16:03] <Minaplo> ["Listen, Yanmei. I didn't bring you here just to tell you how wrong you've been." Said Dorian. "I wanted to tell you how wrong I've been as well."-
[16:03] <Minaplo> ["Whatever work I did with you kids, with your commanders, it wasn't enough. I fucked up. I failed all of you. I had high hopes for all of you, and none of you have met them, but that's my fault, not yours."-
[16:04] <Minaplo> ["You might not've met my hopes, but you've exceeded honest expectations. You've done better than I thought you would, but you haven't done as well as you could've. That may have been different if I hadn't been an idiot, if I'd been around to finish beating you lot into shape."-
[16:06] <Minaplo> ["I'm disappointed in you. I'm disappointed in all of us."-
[16:06] <Minaplo> ["But that doesn't mean I'm not proud of you either."]
[16:13] <Yanmei> "Heh. You know, when I got in the entry plug today I think I was hoping to hear those words? Like a pat on the head. 'Well done, Yanmei'." -
[16:16] <Yanmei> She was wearing a small, bitter smile. "Deep down, I knew it wouldn't be that simple. Too much went wrong on my watch, and I -knew it-. I'm surprised you haven't brought up Blanc yet."
[16:18] <Minaplo> ["Yanmei, kicking your ass when you screw up is how you know I still love you." Said Dorian gruffly.]
[16:23] <Yanmei> "I'm not dumb? That was… just more brutal than I was expecting. And I'm annoyed for not being able to kick your ass back. Yet."
[16:24] <Minaplo> ["Heh."-
[16:25] <Minaplo> [Dorian unfolded his legs. He stood up, walked over to her, and tousled her hair vigorously. "Well done, Yanmei."]
[16:27] <Yanmei> "Mmph." Yanmei tried in vain to smooth her hair down. "That wasn't a pat? But… thanks."
[16:27] <Minaplo> ["Heh."-
[16:27] <Minaplo> [Dorian sat back down.-
[16:27] <Minaplo> ["I know why you're here, by the way." Said Dorian. "You want help. To deal with the Drive and all that."]
[16:31] <Yanmei> "Yeah. Also, advice on any of the potential backstabbers I have in my alliances. Need to backstab them first, and in a way that doesn't cost me anything."
[16:31] <Minaplo> ["Sure."-
[16:31] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[16:31] <Minaplo> [Dorian sighed.-
[16:32] <Minaplo> ["I know of a way to give you those things." He said. "However… It'd involve breaking a twelve-year promise."]
[16:33] * Yanmei raised an eyebrow. "Promise with who…?"
[16:33] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[16:33] <Minaplo> ["Have you ever heard of the Shangri-la Settlement?"]
[16:38] <Yanmei> "Yeah. A-types with crazy powers all living together on a mountain in China. I've met some survivors?"
[16:39] <Minaplo> [He nodded.-
[16:40] <Minaplo> ["Seele attached one of the survivors to my staff during my campaigns. To look after him, apparently. To train him. He was a weird kid."-
[16:41] <Minaplo> ["But he was good at it." Said Dorian. "However, when Azariah and his lot split from Gehirn, that boy decided he'd go into hiding. And he asked me to promise that I'd keep any clues of his location a secret."-
[16:44] <Minaplo> ["So I did. I wrote those clues down somewhere, hid them, then had them erased from my memory." Said Dorian. "Even now I still don't remember where his location is."]
[16:45] <Yanmei> "You're saying this guy could help us?"
[16:46] <Minaplo> ["Yeah. He was only nine at the time the Settlement was destroyed, but… You'll see if you meet him. His mind's built differently to yours or mine. And he knew von Brandt and Mary Caine very well. He's probably the only person alive outside of Mary's control that could accurately predict their behaviour."]
[16:48] <Yanmei> "How do we know he's still where he told you he'd be? And if he is, how do we get him to trust us?"
[16:50] <Minaplo> ["… If that little shit's anything like I remember, then he's probably left clues to any new homes." Said Dorian with a grumble. "And… He'll trust you. I don't want to say too much about that."]
[16:54] <Yanmei> "Mmm." Yanmei rubbed her chin, leaning back in her chair. It squeaked softly. "I don't suppose you left any clues for yourself about where you hid the clues to his location?"
[16:55] <Minaplo> ["'Course. You have them."]
[16:55] <Yanmei> "Huh?"
[16:56] <Minaplo> [Dorian grumbled.-
[16:56] <Minaplo> [The holographic projector flickered to life. An image appeared on the screen… Maximilian von Leitzkow.-
[16:56] <Minaplo> [Yanmei suddenly remembered- back to the funeral. Dorian's funeral. And…-
[16:57] <Minaplo> ["But you… You get something else. See, Dorian was an important man. Over the years he made a lot of friends- important friends in high places. People who owe him favours. Or, occasionally, people who require him to keep secret about certain matters." von Leitzkau smiled. "He said here that you were a person who would soon find themselves wading into the political arena. So he asked me
[16:57] <Minaplo> to grant you my help, and who am I to deny him? But… He also asked me to pass along the journals, notebooks and the like that detailed these people who owe him favours, why, and how they should be utilised."]
[17:00] * Yanmei shot out of her chair, staring at the holoprojector. "Of… course. Of course!"
[17:05] <Minaplo> ["I left the clues in one of 'em. His name's Kourosh Rustami." Said Dorian.-
[17:05] <Minaplo> ["But in those notebooks he's referred to as the Simurgh."]
[17:06] <Yanmei> "Simurgh," Yanmei echoed, likely butchering the pronounciation. "Got it. What made him so weird, exactly?"
[17:07] <Minaplo> ["… You'll see when you meet him." Said Dorian. "Be very respectful to him."-
[17:07] <Minaplo> ["… But if he does join you, you'll need to be firm with him. Firmer than with Lizzie, in fact."]
[17:09] <Yanmei> "What makes you think I can't be firm?"
[17:10] <Minaplo> ["I'm not saying you can't be." Said Dorian. "I'm just saying, you'll need to be really firm."]
[17:12] <Yanmei> "All right. I hear you?"
[17:18] <Minaplo> ["Good."]
[17:19] <Minaplo> ["… Tell as few people as possible about this." Said Dorian. "Especially keep it from those Old Men."]
[14:31] <Yanmei> "Ugh. Them? Not even if they begged me."
[14:32] <Minaplo> [Dorian nodded, satisfied.]
[14:36] <Yanmei> "Speaking of the Old Men, I don't suppose you have any dirt on them? I'm pretty sure they're two of many people who are planning to put a bullet in my back one of these days."
[14:37] <Minaplo> ["What sort of dirt would work, do you think?"]
[14:41] <Yanmei> "I don't know? I already have a little. About Romanov and one of our Evas. I don't know if it'll deter either one of them, though? Certainly not Shardlake."
[14:42] <Minaplo> ["That's kind of the problem." Said Dorian. "They're not the sort to be dissuaded by blackmail or public recrimination. The best way to neutralise them is to keep them weak, or kill them."]
[14:44] * Yanmei scuffed forlornly at the floor with her boot. "Marianne won't let me kill them…"
[14:44] <Minaplo> ["How come?"]
[14:48] <Yanmei> "She thinks they'll come in handy? Which means I just have to watch them carefully and block them if they try anything."
[14:50] <Minaplo> ["Sounds about right."]
[14:56] <Yanmei> "What about the Soviets? No matter how you look at it, they're waiting for their opportunity to get at us too."
[14:56] <Minaplo> ["Heh."]
[14:57] <Yanmei> "What?"
[15:05] <Minaplo> ["Dealing with pain-in-the-ass allies… Brings back memories."-
[15:05] <Minaplo> ["Look, if you want to know how to handle the Soviets, or your other so-called 'allies', then seek out the Simurgh. I'll leave it to him to help you on that."]
[15:12] <Yanmei> "All right. In that case, I have a non-military question for you~"
[15:13] <Minaplo> ["Oh?"]
[15:14] <Yanmei> "What do you think of Matthias Holmstrom? You two had a nice chat the other day, right?"
[15:17] <Minaplo> [He gave her a flat look.]
[15:18] * Yanmei grinned broadly. "Ariadne was watching from the observation room, you know~"
[15:19] <Minaplo> ["Y'want me to gossip about my own damn son?" Muttered Dorian.]
[15:23] <Yanmei> "I'm curious! He won't tell me about it."
[15:25] <Minaplo> ["And I s'pose you just go around tellin' everyone about your intimate moments with your mother, huh?"]
[15:27] <Yanmei> "Th-those are delicate…"
[15:28] <Minaplo> ["Exactly. So keep your peepers to yourself."]
[15:35] <Yanmei> "Hmph. Whatever. What about Sera?"
[15:37] <Minaplo> ["Oh, we just had a talk." Said Dorian. "Kicked his ass a little like I did yours. He was a lot more sour about it though. Damn he's hard to talk to."-
[15:38] <Minaplo> ["You're gonna need to kick his ass a bit." He said. "You're the only one who has a hope of getting obedience from Sera, and it's necessary to stop him from antagonising everyone."]
[15:42] * Yanmei sighed, flopping back into her chair. "Everyone was getting on my case about that a few days ago."
[15:42] <Minaplo> ["Yep."-
[15:42] <Minaplo> ["And they're gonna keep doin' it."]
[15:46] <Yanmei> "Ugh. They're so… persistant," she grumbled. "And tramatized, in some cases."
[15:53] <Minaplo> ["That's part of being leader. You got problems to handle, and interpersonal ones will always be some of your most important." Said Dorian.]
[16:03] <Yanmei> "I was hoping everyone would pull together on Mars. It was freezing up there? Maybe if we'd had access to one of those dance videogames…"
[16:05] <Minaplo> ["A lot of your guys did exactly that." Said Dorian.]
[16:07] <Yanmei> "A lot of them fell apart, too."
[16:08] <Minaplo> ["Yeah."]
[16:14] * Yanmei hesitated, and then decided it was prudent to quickly change the subject. "Got any more questions for me?"
[16:30] <Minaplo> ["What do you want the Federation to be?"]
[16:38] <Yanmei> "I want it to become what the UN was supposed to be? A force that mediates between nations and generally benefits humanity."
[16:38] <Minaplo> ["All of humanity?"]
[16:40] <Yanmei> "Of course? Though it won't be easy."
[16:41] <Minaplo> ["It won't."-
[16:41] <Minaplo> [But Dorian grinned.]
[16:47] <Yanmei> "What…? You're not gonna say how cheesy it is, are you?" she narrowed her eyes suspiciously.
[16:48] <Minaplo> ["Course not." Said Dorian.-
[16:49] <Minaplo> ["A force for all people, for all nations… That was the dream that motivated us. That the promise of a unified earth might be fulfilled."-
[16:49] <Minaplo> ["You could be the one to unite the nations and reforge our civilization."]
[16:58] <Yanmei> "Sure. If our civilization is still the same after the war, I'll totally perfect it?" She puffed up happily.
[17:00] <Minaplo> ["I'll look forward to seeing it with my own eyes, then."]
[17:05] <Yanmei> "Just wait a bit, then. I'll come back to visit with updates soon?"
[17:05] <Minaplo> ["Good."]
[17:06] * Yanmei stood up, sweeping her cape dramatically over one shoulder. "Any messages you want passed along to people on the outside?"
[17:07] <Minaplo> ["Don't be lewd."]
[17:09] <Yanmei> "Hehehe." Yanmei tossed her hair. "I'll see you around, then."
[17:09] <Minaplo> ["Oh, I do have one message."]
[17:10] <Yanmei> "Oh yeah?" She paused.
[17:10] <Minaplo> ["Tell Isaiah… 'Congratulations'." Said Dorian mysteriously.]
[17:12] <Yanmei> Congratulations about the wedding, clearly? Yanmei grinned. "Thanks. I'll be sure to tell him?"
[17:13] <Minaplo> ["Yep." Said Dorian. "He'll find out what I mean in about… nine months…"]
[17:13] <Yanmei> "…"
[17:14] <Minaplo> ["I can show you pictures." He said, gesturing to the holographic display.]
[17:17] <Yanmei> "Y-you're bluffing!"
[17:21] <Minaplo> [The holographic image began to resolve.-
[17:21] <Minaplo> [Dorian remained cool and calm. "Ready?"]
[17:22] <Yanmei> "No!"
[17:22] <Minaplo> [The image resolved.-
[17:22] <Minaplo> […-
[17:22] <Minaplo> [It was just a generic baby body with Isaiah's face edited on the front. He was frowning.-
[17:22] <Minaplo> ["Gotcha."]
[17:33] * Yanmei stared. Gradually, she began to shake with anger. "COLONEL!"
[17:35] <Minaplo> ["Heheheheheheh." Dorian laughed smugly.-
[17:36] <Minaplo> ["Shoulda seen the look on your face."-
[17:36] <Minaplo> ["It was kind of like this, actually."-
[17:36] <Minaplo> [The holographic image resolved into one of Yanmei on a bridge set against a dusk red sunset. She was screaming.]
[17:38] <Yanmei> "Grrr!! You…!" She turned away, folding her arms. "I'm leaving!"
[17:41] <Minaplo> ["Hehehehe. Seeya."-
[17:42] <Minaplo> ["… I really do wish you both congratulations though. Wish I'd been there to see it."]
[17:47] <Yanmei> "It was okay." Yanmei's words were still a little stiff with anger. "We literally cobbled it together in the bowels of a wrecked battleship. But it was nice."
[17:47] <Minaplo> ["Yeah."-
[17:47] <Minaplo> ["Maybe one day I'll get to go to a more proper ceremony."]
[17:49] <Yanmei> "That's the dream? We'll save a seat for you. Despite my sudden reservations…" She glared again over her shoulder at the projection.
[17:50] <Minaplo> ["You have reservations 'bout my reservation?"]
[17:50] <Yanmei> "Ugh. That was bad…"
[17:50] <Minaplo> ["Hehehe."-
[17:50] <Minaplo> [The elevator doors slid open.-
[17:50] <Minaplo> ["You just gotta go through there."]
[17:54] <Yanmei> "Right…" So Yanmei started toward it. Already, she was thinking up all sorts of lies to feed the stupid Old Men. "Thanks for the help, Dorian."
[18:00] <@Minaplo> ["Don't mention it."]

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