Vassa's Secrets

(12:11:23) * Sept was taking a walk around the NERV HQ again, looking for a change of pace from the still hospital rooms and the Geofront wilderness. He was still wearing his mental patient bracelet, but they couldn't possibly keep him under 24/7 surveillance much longer.
(12:23:27) Minaplo: [It was quiet inside, and cool, and he was mostly alone, yet not completely- he saw others in the corridor, of course. Workers, storm troopers. It was a curious type of freedom.-
(12:23:56) Minaplo: [He'd hear, however, something behind him snuffling quietly, the padding of many quiet feet…]
(12:30:01) Sept: "Stop that, Joshua."-
(12:31:15) * Sept stopped suddenly, turned around and located the actual source of the faint, errant sounds. "Oh. It was just you."
(12:31:52) Minaplo: [Felix the Tiger was stalking- well, no, stalking was the wrong word for a tiger. He was following harmlessly, staring up at Sera with curious eyes.]
(12:35:28) Sept: "Yeah. Sorry." He crouched down so that his face was level with the tiger's. "Hello, Felix. You're stuck here too, right?"
(12:35:53) Minaplo: [Felix responded by licking Sera's face energetically. Hot breath, rough tongue…-
(12:36:15) Minaplo: [And the distinct smell of strawberries and milk. Someone had been feeding this tiger milkshakes.]
(12:39:27) * Sept calmly wiped his face down afterwards. "You've gone -soft-," he said admonishingly. "Did you forget the taste of prey? Lose your hunter's appetite?"
(12:41:50) Minaplo: [Felix didn't seem to understand. He nudged Sera, not enough to hurt but firm enough to push him a little.]
(12:45:57) * Sept had to shift his footing so he didn't fall on his back. "And what was that supposed to be?" He nudged Felix back.
(12:46:48) Minaplo: [And so Felix decided Sera had chosen to play. He sprung fully at Sera, paws out, putting the significant weight of a fully-grown tiger into his spring.]
(12:51:09) * Sept yelped, trying to shift his weight onto one foot and divert the couple hundred kilos of feline to the side instead of letting it land on top of him.
(13:01:07) Minaplo: [Not enough. And a second later, a couple hundred kilos of feline is sitting on his chest, licking his face triumphantly. The mighty Sera has been felled.
(13:01:08) Minaplo: ]
(13:11:19) Sept: "..nnhgthank you, Joshua," the voice came from under the tiger. Sera struggled against Felix' weight futilely, breath wheezing slightly from the pressure on his chest.
(13:15:26) Minaplo: ["Felix. Come." Came a quiet, dreamy voice. Felix obediently leapt off of Sera, heading down the hall towards Eevi- for Sera's benefit, a girl perhaps ten years old, pale with neat, straight red hair. She turned to Sera. "You are Sera de Pteres."]
(13:17:44) * Sept lifted his head briefly to identify the girl, then let it fall back down. "Trying my best to be."
(13:19:30) Minaplo: ["Akagi Tsubaki is looking for you."]
(13:21:27) Sept: "I see." There was something wrong with the ceiling… But Sera soon realised it was just a crack in one of his glass lenses. "Where can I find her?"
(13:27:15) Minaplo: ["The library."]
(13:27:39) Sept: "Thank you. Have we met?"
(13:34:46) Minaplo: ["No."]
(13:40:29) Sept: "Nice to meet you, then." Sera began to pick himself up off the floor. "I'm Sera. Who're you?"
(13:41:06) Minaplo: ["Eevi."]
(13:46:35) * Sept dusted himself off and nodded to the two. "Well. You won't catch me off guard like that again, Felix. See you both later." And he turned the corner, heading toward the library – glancing behind him to make sure the cat wasn't following.
(13:47:03) Minaplo: [He would see Eevi mount the tiger, the two of them heading off for adventures unknown.-
(13:50:12) Minaplo: [The Geofront Library was a quiet place, if not particularly expansive. Most of its 'books' were digital, stored on computer systems.-
(13:54:48) Minaplo: [Within was Tsubaki, staring at a computer pad, the internet browser on a NERVPedia tab, one of about thirty that Tsubaki currently had open.-
(13:55:31) Minaplo: [Sitting opposite her was an Ayanami- Ayanami Ni, dressed in a uniform. She had red hair.]
(14:02:08) * Sept looked at them both from the safety of the doorway for a moment before clearing his throat. "Hello. How's… Paris?"
(14:06:02) Minaplo: ["Paris is fine, pilot." Said Ni.-
(14:06:44) Minaplo: ["Nii-san!" Tsubaki looked up at him with a frown. "Why didn't you tell me about the park, Nii-san?"]
(14:07:56) Sept: "The park?"
(14:13:54) Minaplo: ["The park!" She said firmly, shoving the computer pad at him. Even from a distance Sera would read the headline of the article: 'Sera de Pteres Park (Paris-2)'.]
(14:15:09) Sept: "..what?" Sera seemed genuinely offended at this. "Let me see. Where is it?"
(14:25:08) Minaplo: [The 7th Arrondissement, apparently. It had been named around Christmastime.]
(14:29:30) Sept: "God. Did I hear about that..?" He took a step back from the screen, looking a bit lost. "Damnit, Paris. When did it get like this?"
(14:31:01) Minaplo: ["Like what, Nii-san?" Asked Tsubaki. She looked back at the article. "What's an EVA-01 jungle gym like?"]
(14:33:20) Sept: "I -don't know-. I used to know everything that was going on here. But ever since the riots, they've barely been letting me outside, and my focus has been elsewhere."
(14:34:51) Minaplo: ["Oh."-
(14:35:07) Minaplo: ["You know, Nii-san, sometimes they don't let me out because I get sunburned." She eyes Sera's complexion suspiciously.]
(14:39:41) Sept: "Maybe they just don't want to worry for your safety outside", he said absently, still looking at the screen.
(14:40:19) Minaplo: [One of the tabs next to the open one read "Barbarian Sera Figurine".-
(14:40:45) Minaplo: ["Maybe. They haven't been letting me out very much at all recently, and it's very boring. I've been sleeping a lot."]
(14:48:04) Sept: "Yeah, it's been the same here. Has -anything- happened with the Tokyo base recently?"
(14:54:10) Minaplo: [Tsubaki tilted her head dreamily, trying to think. "Doctor Ikari collapsed, and all these people in funny yellow armour started showing up. They're nice to me, and they speak to me sometimes."]
(14:56:23) Sept: "The same armor that the guys here are wearing?"
(14:56:52) Minaplo: [She looked at Ni, who nodded.-
(14:57:00) Minaplo: ["Yeah." Said Tsubaki.]
(14:58:25) Sept: "What was that about Ikari? Is she alright?"
(14:59:26) Minaplo: ["I don't know. I think so."]
(15:03:24) Sept: "Mmh. Try to take care of her, alright?"
(15:07:41) Minaplo: ["Ok, Nii-san." Said Tsubaki slowly. "Anyone you know collapsed recently, Nii-san?"]
(15:10:45) Sept: "Uh? Well, sort of…"
(15:10:53) Minaplo: ["Oh?"]
(15:15:12) Sept: "Something happened, and I had a bit of a breakdown. They're still trying to figure out what to do about it." Sera waved his braceleted hand, making the thing jingle.
(15:17:13) Minaplo: ["Well, that's not good, but at least it wasn't a really big breakdown." Frowned Tsubaki. "Putting you back together would be really hard, because you're so hard to find."]
(15:19:44) Sept: "..yeah, so now there's a person I see and hear all the time who I can't get rid of, and apparently Felix – the psychiatrist Felix – can't, either."
(15:21:25) Minaplo: ["Who?"]
(15:26:12) Sept: "It's like… He thinks he's Mary's, Mary Caine's son and my brother. But he's not like a normal hallucination, we confirmed that."
(15:27:44) Minaplo: [Ni looked up now to stare at Sera.-
(15:27:58) Minaplo: ["Oh." Tsubaki frowned. "That sounds crowded."]
(15:30:08) Sept: "Well. Yes."
(15:30:27) Minaplo: ["Is he nice, at least?" Asked Tsubaki. "If I had hallucinations I'd prefer them to be nice ones. Friendly ones."]
(15:35:27) Sept: "The whole point of him is that he wants us to follow Mary's plans, though, and I could never agree with them. But he… could be… worse."
(15:35:52) Minaplo: ["Well, that's good then, Nii-san." Said Tsubaki brightly. "… What do I call him?"]
(15:37:24) Sept: "..Joshua?"
(15:39:38) Minaplo: ["Joshua-niichan!"]
(15:45:58) * Sept winced. "..yeah. That's right. I find that it's a bit easier to cope with than if I just try to ignore him. He's glad to meet you."
(15:47:35) Minaplo: ["Hooray! What does he look like? I bet he looks like you, but he has bigger eyes and neater hair."]
(15:50:04) Sept: "Well, that's not entirely false… Blonde. I-it's deeply symbolic or something, I'm sure."
(16:03:10) Minaplo: ["Blonde is pretty." Said Tsubaki dreamily. "Maybe you should go blonde, Nii-san."]
(16:10:15) Sept: "I… don't think so, Tsubaki. People are giving me enough weird looks already."
(16:10:58) Minaplo: ["He'd look too much like Major Wellesley, too, I think." Said Ni, looking up. "When you're free, Pilot de Pteres, I'd like a moment of your time."-
(16:12:22) Minaplo: ["And we could put you in special clothes, and a hat!"]
(16:18:50) Sept: Sera's eyebrows went up significantly. "Wellesley? I look nothing like that-" He thought again, cleared his throat and collected himself. "Mmh. What is it, Ni?"
(16:21:42) Minaplo: ["I have things for you. Volkova willed them to you."]
(16:31:49) * Sept stopped, at that, looking back at the door he came in through. "Yeah. I should… Sorry, Tsubaki. I really should get this done."
(16:34:53) Minaplo: ["Do you want me to go?"]
(16:37:15) * Sept thought about that. "No, that's fine. You can stay if you want."
(16:37:41) Minaplo: ["Alright."-
(16:37:48) Minaplo: [Ni placed a box upon the table.]
(16:44:43) Sept: "She already knows what's in here, anyway." Sera went to open it.
(16:46:33) Minaplo: [Within the box were…-
(16:46:59) Minaplo: [At the very top was an envelope- a letter inside, obviously. The envelope was being clumsily gripped by a familiar teddy bear.-
(16:47:19) Minaplo: [Beneath the teddy bear were a collection of EVA-01 figurines- some just action figures, others full model kits with movable joints.-
(16:47:47) Minaplo: [There were also a stack of books. The Art of War, the Thirty-Six Stratagems, and the collections of Clausewitz, all well-read, all marked with notes.]
(16:52:00) * Sept lifted the bear out carefully and liberated it of its cargo. He looked over the rest of the box's contents, and then opened the envelope with great care.
(17:47:14) * Sept read through the letter, glancing back at the items and his friends in the room occasionally. When he'd finished, he set the letter back down next to Vassa on the table, and sighed. "Natasha never wanted this. She may have tried to fit in, but she deserved another kind of life. How do you justify keeping that life from her for even a day?" Notable overtones of bitterness crept into his voice.
(17:59:20) Minaplo: [Ni and Tsubaki glanced at each other- Ni then looked back at Sera. "I am sorry for your loss."]
(18:10:39) Sept: "-My- loss? You have no idea. There's nothing about this that's mine, we are all -less- for not having her! Humanity grows weaker each moment she stays dead! And Mary…"
(18:13:15) Minaplo: ["Pilot de Pteres, perhaps you ought to be alone for a little while. Collect your thoughts…"]
(18:22:04) Sept: "No, no, no, that's it, I -can't do that-! I was attacked, specifically with the intent of impairing my judgment, if not subverting it completely. So… what if I don't make decisions? What happens if all the secrets are out in the open? What happens?"
(18:23:31) Minaplo: ["I don't understand what you mean, Pilot." Said Ni, frowning, clearly out at sea.]
(18:37:28) Sept: "…yes, you. May be right." The excitement of a way out escaped from his muscles, and Sera quickly packed the bear and the letter back in the box. "I'll see you around when I'm feeling better." He grabbed the box and headed out of the room.
(18:38:07) Minaplo: ["N-Nii-san…"]
(18:42:19) * Sept stopped at the doorway, looking back at her with an expression that said he was expecting something of her.
(18:44:50) Minaplo: [She held her arms out.]
(18:51:30) * Sept set the box down with a not entirely satisfied look and gave her a brief, but sincere hug.
(19:04:55) Sept: With one more look at Tsubaki and Ni, still looking no less distraught, Sera took his box and took off.

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