This Too Shall Pass 3 4 9

[14:17] <Minaplo> [What had started as one man's foolish ambition had now become an international crisis.-
[14:28] <Minaplo> [Even now, after the holographic heads in Yanmei's office had faded away, she could still hear the screams and shouts.-
[14:31] <Minaplo> [To her left, Premier Leonid Kuzmin; to her right, Zhou Xunhan, President of China.-
[14:32] <Minaplo> [Now the heads were gone, and Yanmei would have a few hours of blessed quiet paperwork to get the shouts, insults and wishes for the other to pick up venereal disease out of her head.]
[14:45] * Yanmei squandered much of that time sitting silently at her desk, cradling her head in her hands and fuming. The world was so unfair. If only she'd been born with the ability to dirac jaunt. She could have teleported across the world twice, punched both world leaders, and made it back to her office without being missed by anyone at all.
[14:50] <Minaplo> [There was a trill- someone was making a call to her office comms.]
[14:52] <Yanmei> She waited several seconds, working through any suspicions about it being a trap. Eventually she answered it with a dull "What?"
[14:57] <Minaplo> ["Madame Chancellor, Sgt. Awala and Albus Mortens have returned from their expedition." Came Archibald's voice.]
[15:02] <Yanmei> "I see. I… think I'll go and get a report from them now." It wasn't as if she was getting a whole lot else done, after all…
[15:03] <Minaplo> […-
[15:04] <Minaplo> [The Dorian's VTOL hangar was well-stocked with vessels, ranging from light scout vessels to heavy long-range gunships like the Stormbird. All of them were sitting in their own bays- all except one, which had just arrived.-
[15:06] <Minaplo> [It was a long-range transport, lightly armed; it sat in the middle of the room upon the recessive helipad that transported craft from hangar to deck. Standing outside of it were two people- Albus Mortens, visible from a mile away in a fog; and Remy Awala, wearing a barzilite coat and a strange gauntlet-like object on his left hand. The two of them were talking.]
[15:12] * Yanmei strolled right up to them, a faint smile on her face. The fact that they were here at all and were uninjured was at least a partial success. "Gentlemen! Welcome back?"
[15:12] <Minaplo> ["Chancellor Zhang." Said Albus, bowing elegantly.-
[15:13] <Minaplo> ["Yanmei, hey!" Said Remy, waving. He grinned. "You doing ok?"]
[15:13] <Yanmei> "As always?" She tossed her hair. "Not a ton has happened to the ship while you were out."
[15:17] <Minaplo> ["Except for the unexpected reemergence of Iruel, of course." Said Albus.]
[15:18] <Yanmei> "…except that," she said grudgingly. "But it's contained and no one has died."
[15:22] <Minaplo> ["Well, that standard bodes well for the auspicious culminations of our own effervescent expedition." Said Albus.-
[15:22] <Minaplo> [Remy chuckled awkwardly.]
[15:25] <Yanmei> "…what's that supposed to mean? You did well… right?"
[15:27] <Minaplo> ["Better than well. We did perfectly." Said Remy with a grin.]
[15:32] <Yanmei> Yanmei's grin slowly began to match his. "That's great! We'd better get it over to Technical right away. Um… did you guys cache the specimen?"
[15:32] <Minaplo> ["Oh, he's in the VTOL."]
[15:39] <Yanmei> "Hm?" Yanmei peered over at the entrance to the VTOL, reluctant to see the creature's mug up close. "Well, that's fine? Should I get a vehicle or something over to help you move it more easily?"
[15:39] <Minaplo> ["Nah." Said Remy.-
[15:39] <Minaplo> [He glanced at Albus. Albus glanced back.-
[15:40] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[15:40] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[15:40] <Minaplo> ["It is entirely capable of self-sufficient locomotive action." Said Albus.]
[15:40] <Yanmei> "…" -
[15:43] <Yanmei> Yanmei stared. Her eyes narrowed. "Remy." There was a grave warning in her voice now.
[15:44] <Minaplo> ["Yanmei, hey, listen." Said Remy quickly. "It's totally safe. To-tal-ly safe. It's fine, hey! Didn't do anything at all the entire way over!"-
[15:44] <Minaplo> ["He's right." Said Albus.-
[15:44] <Minaplo> ["W-Why don't we show you and you can see?"-
[15:44] <Minaplo> [The rear cargo door of the VTOL opened. It slowly lowered toward the floor…-
[15:45] <Minaplo> [… Within was an Annihilator. Not a cute tiny one like Anita-Margaret. This one was tall, bulky, huge, as big as an AC Suit, with two tridactyl claws capable of tearing such a vehicle apart; a red core glowed on its chest, capable of emitting an energy strike that could shear a tank in two.-
[15:46] <Minaplo> [It was currently staring at the wall.-
[15:46] <Minaplo> [It took a step forward.-
[15:46] <Minaplo> [Its head clunked hard against the VTOL side.]
[15:48] <Yanmei> "What… did you do?" Yanmei was watching its approach, her eyes wide with horror. "What the hell did you do?!"
[16:00] <Minaplo> ["I dominated it!" He said proudly, holding up his gauntlet.-
[16:00] <Minaplo> ["Er, hold on…"-
[16:00] <Minaplo> [He began hitting buttons on his gauntlet's computer display; the Annihilator turned to its left, toward Yanmei, and began making stout steps out of the VTOL.]
[16:08] * Yanmei took a few stumbling steps backward… and then recognized the connection between his arm-thingy, and the Annihilator's behavior. Or existance. Or whatever. -
[16:09] <Yanmei> She stiffened, and then pounced, scrabbling for Remy's collar. "Have you lost your damned MIND?! Kill it! Stop it! Kill it!!"
[16:10] <Minaplo> ["Gah!"-
[16:10] <Minaplo> [Remy stumbled backwards, his hands reflexively reaching up to grab at her wrists. "Itsfineitsfineitsnothurting-"-
[16:11] <Minaplo> [The Annihilator blithely walked right past them.-
[16:11] <Minaplo> [There were distant shouts of horror as techies and idle pilots saw it. Yanmei could hear the sudden rush of feet…-
[16:11] <Minaplo> [Albus watched on idly.]
[16:13] * Yanmei stopped shaking him, and her collar numbly slipped from her fingers. The three of them were still alive. Was it going to attack the crew? "How… how could you do this? Both of you?!"
[16:18] <Minaplo> ["Yanmei, you gotta trust me on this, hey!" Said Remy. "It's totally fine! It's spent hours in a VTOL and did nothing the whole time! It's SAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAFE."]
[16:22] <Yanmei> "It won't stay safe! Look at it!" She pointed at the Annihilator for emphasis. "You explain yourself right now! How are we supposed to keep it from killing and eating anyone it wants?!"
[16:22] <Minaplo> ["How did you stop Iruel?" Asked Albus idly.]
[16:22] <Minaplo> [The annihilator at this point was still doggedly going in a straight line.]
[16:25] <Yanmei> "We didn't stop it! We only trapped it! It was seconds away from screwing everything up beyond repair! And if it gets loose again, we're still in trouble?"
[16:27] <Minaplo> ["Well then, this mere Angelspawn should be far less hassle." Said Albus with a laugh.-
[16:27] <Minaplo> ["We can put it in a cell, Yanmei!" Shouted Remy.-
[16:28] <Minaplo> [There was a clang; the Annihilator had walked into a maintenance trolley; the trolley toppled, a million bolts, wrenches, screws and nuts spilling across the ground.-
[16:28] <Minaplo> [It kept walking, heedless.]
[16:33] <Yanmei> "It's nothing to laugh about!" In her fury, she tried to give Albus a shaking as well, grabbing what she could of his furry dress cape and… sort of tugging at it ineffectually.
[16:36] <Minaplo> [Albus stared down at her.-
[16:36] <Minaplo> ["My dear Madame Chancellor, you had but to ask." He said; in one elegant movement he had removed his ermine cape and draped it around her shoulders.-
[16:37] <Minaplo> [Well, it was very soft.-
[16:37] <Minaplo> ["My dear Chancellor, you fret for no good reason." He said gently. "I could swat this thing like you swat your many foes."]
[16:40] <Yanmei> "Y-yeah…?" she stood, lost in his cape, staring down at it in complete bafflement. For the moment, the momentum of her anger was lost. She sighed deeply and then inhaled deeply, not quite composed, but getting there. "Stop it, before it breaks any more machinery, please."
[16:42] <Minaplo> [Remy nearly broke his wrist punching in the commands.-
[16:42] <Minaplo> [The Annihilator suddenly froze.]
[16:44] <Yanmei> "Right." She ran a hand through her hair. "Thank you. Now, kindly explain to me what that thing is?" She raised her arm. Her hand was lost beneath yards of fur so Remy wouldn't be able to tell, but she was pointing at the gauntlet. "Unscientific terms, please?"
[16:48] <Minaplo> ["Uh, Albus calls it the 'Angelica Dominatus'." Said Remy. "I had a proper name for it-"-
[16:48] <Minaplo> ["A terrible name-"-
[16:48] <Minaplo> ["But that's what we ended up with." Said Remy.]
[16:49] <Yanmei> "It controls the Annihilator?" she tried to confirm, glancing between the two of them.
[16:54] <Minaplo> ["Yeah!"]
[16:55] <Yanmei> "Will it control the Annihilator forever? Assuming it doesn't get broken or anything…"
[21:24] <Mianplo> ["Heh, even if it gets broken, the Annihilator's already keyed into my AT Field. It'll just keep repeating the last order it gets."]
[21:31] * Yanmei frowned, trying to silently guess at how this was even possible. It only lasted a few moments or two. "Why did you need to bring one of them back alive anyway? That wasn't your mission!"
[21:36] <Mianplo> ["What was our mission again?" Said Remy.]
[21:37] <Yanmei> "To bring back an Annihilator to study. But you know darn well that we didn't mean a live one!"
[21:38] <Mianplo> ["My dear Chancellor," Said Albus gently. "Surely you're familiar with the sanshiliu ji?"]
[21:40] <Yanmei> "More than I ever wanted to be, thanks to Katsuragi's training regimes," she grumbled. "What about it?"
[21:40] <Mianplo> ["Then you are familiar with the sixth stratagem of the second chapter?"]
[21:42] <Yanmei> "'While carrying out your plans be flexible enough to take advantage of any opportunity that presents itself, however small, and avail yourself of any profit, however slight.' We're supposed to benefit from this?"
[21:43] <Mianplo> ["Of course, my dear Chancellor!" Said Albus. "At the very least, any biologist will tell you that it is more beneficial to dissect a living specimen than a dead one."]
[21:47] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei sighed. She pulled out her phone and quickly dialed a number. "Hello, Ms. Archibald? You're probably aware of the chaos going on in the aircraft hangar, right?"
[21:49] <Mianplo> [("Yes ma'am. I've already dispatched Security Teams Six through Eleven.")]
[21:54] <Yanmei> "Lethal force will not be necessary. Apparently. Staff Sergent Awala is controlling the Annihilator through some sort of device. Please have the security teams stand at alert while we escort it to a more suitable containment chamber."
[21:54] <Mianplo> [("Yes ma'am.")-
[21:58] <Mianplo> […-
[22:00] <Mianplo> ["Good news!" Said Albus, stepping back into the room. "The panic on Deck 11 has becalmed. I stepped up and soothed the multitude."-
[22:00] <Mianplo> ["Next time, let us endeavour to choose a more clandestine route." He added darkly.-
[22:01] <Mianplo> ["That's what I thought we did, hey!" Said Remy. "How was I supposed to know there were kids playing hide and seek, huh?"-
[22:03] <Mianplo> [Meanwhile, the Annihilator sat docilely in its transparent surovite cage- almost identical to the one that had held Remy's cubs once, albeit much more heavily reinforced. Its disproportionately thin legs were splayed out in front of it; its arms hanged at its side. It had made no moves or noise since the Angelica had made it sit.]
[22:05] <Yanmei> "You're assuming there will be a next time," said Yanmei coldly, still staring up at the mighty Annihilator.
[22:10] <Mianplo> ["C'mon, Yanmei." Said Remy. "I get you're mad, but think of the potential benefits this could have."]
[22:17] <Yanmei> "I am thinking about them? That's why I didn't have the Annihilator put down. But I think that what you guys pulled here was complete bullshit."
[22:21] <Mianplo> ["What should we have done better?"]
[22:27] <Yanmei> "Well, I wouldn't have developed and tested an Annihilator mind-control device in secret. And I would have probably brought back a dead specimen, as expected of me. And if I'd absolutely had to capture one alive, I would have radioed ahead to make sure my supervisors were prepared for it."
[22:29] <Mianplo> ["Oh, it doesn't just control Annihilators. It can probably control any kind of Angelspawn." Said Albus brightly.-
[22:29] <Mianplo> ["Yo! No!" Screeched Remy, slashing his hand across his throat rapidly in Albus's direction.-
[22:30] <Mianplo> [Albus stared at him with a politely puzzled expression.-
[22:32] <Mianplo> ["L-look, Yanmei." Said Remy with a sigh. "I get it. See, I had a real feeling that you'd never allow this if we were open about it. But… But I feel this is important, hey. Not only for the Federation, but also for my own understanding of the world."-
[22:33] <Mianplo> ["So I did it like this. I figured, if you saw proof that it worked, you'd be more willing to go with it, hey." He scratched under his left armpit awkwardly. "But… I guess I set things up in a way that forced your hand. That wasn't cool." He said. "Sorry, Yanmei."]
[22:44] <Yanmei> "Thank you. For the record, I probably would have given you a hard time about it, so you're right on that part. Even now, I'm going to have to work out a punishment for you so that nobody else gets it in their head to bypass my approval like that. Still, I guess I can understand your point of view."
[22:46] <Mianplo> ["Be that as it may, it is true that I too flouted your authority." Said Albus.-
[22:47] <Mianplo> [He fell to one knee and lowered his head before Yanmei. "My dear chancellor, for this egregious betrayal I offer you my head to take." He said in deep, sorrowful tones.]
[22:51] * Yanmei blinked a few times. This was… a bit much. But it was also Albus, so… "I understand. I accept your apology? Um… you don't have to kneel."
[22:51] <Mianplo> ["My dear Chancellor, how would you reach if I did not?"]
[22:59] <Yanmei> "It's fine." She patted him lightly on his shoulder. "Stand up, alright? It's not like you're going without a punishment either."
[23:01] <Mianplo> ["I defer to your judgement." Albus rose, and once again Yanmei was eye-level with his abdomen.]
[23:10] <Yanmei> "Thank you. I'll give you guys a day or two to tie up loose ends first. Please arrange a meeting with technical to discuss the details of your arm thingy. They may want to try to replicate it."
[23:10] <Mianplo> ["Angelica Dominatus." Said Albus gently.-
[23:10] <Mianplo> ["Uh, sure." Said Remy. "It's a little basic at the moment, but I'd be happy to have 'em help me refine it!"]
[23:14] <Yanmei> "Good. For what it's worth, your invention will probably save lives." She straightened up, adjusting the lapels of her jacket primly. "Also, I should apologize for losing my head back in the hangar. That was very unchancellor-like."
[23:26] <Mianplo> ["Hah, losing one's head. I admire your bon mot." Said Albus with a wink.-
[23:26] <Mianplo> ["Yeah, heh, you keep that sorta behaviour up, Yanmei, and we'll have to change your name to Langley-Soryu." Said Remy cheerfully.]
[23:30] <Yanmei> "There's no need for that," Yanmei huffed. "Also no need to tell her about this incident. Or many other people either."
[23:34] <Mianplo> ["I will endeavour to refrain from informing anyone else." Said Albus.]
[23:38] <Yanmei> "Thank you. In that case, I'll leave you to your own devices." She nodded to each in turn, and then swiveled for the door. She needed a nap. Or a drink. Or a punching bag. Badly.

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