Wizard's Everyday

(15:43:10) Weaver: Today was a day much like any other day at the base for Weaver. Which is to say, a day much unlike any other, because variety is the key to a healthy mind. He had an impressive assortment of files open on an assortment of desks - some things could never be digitized. He wheeled back and forth between the desks on an office chair, inspecting, comparing, thinking. Some of the material was pertaining to current operations, but the vast majority he'd dug up from older archives just for today. But there was one small matter deviating from the grander schedule.-
(15:43:18) Weaver: Today, Weaver was expecting a delivery.
(15:45:48) Minaplo: [The door to his office was heavily reinforced, enough to take a moderately large explosive without splitting. This was an artefact of the base's original purpose, of course.-
(15:46:40) Minaplo: [So when the door thudded heavily with three heavy -thumps-, it was quite a shock. Or it would have been if Weaver were not used to the sound of an Iron Guard knocking.-
(15:47:03) Minaplo: [("Lieutenant Helen on schedule, Lord.") came the digitised voice over the door's speaker.]
(15:50:37) Weaver: A pause as his train of thought pulled up to a station. "Everything in order?"
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(15:56:33) Minaplo: ["Yes, lord."]
(16:01:50) Weaver: "Come in." Several simultaneous noises as the door unlocked, the weight shifting. He didn't lift his gaze from the files.
(16:02:35) Minaplo: [The door rumbled open.-
(16:03:54) Minaplo: [Lieutenant Helen, seven foot tall, dusky skin from a latin complexion darkened by sunlight. Short brown hair.-
(16:05:46) Minaplo: [Most Iron Guard had… Trouble with regular clothing. Apart from being huge, they were also slightly disproportionate, which tended to complicate matters. Many of them opted for robes; Helen was no exception, wearing a simple brown wrap-around robe tied with a thick black sash.-
(16:06:32) Minaplo: [Helen entered, respectfully. Some Guard tended to lumber, their footfalls heavy, but Helen was the exception here. She was light on her feet, making surprisingly little noise as she walked.-
(16:07:23) Minaplo: [In her shadow was… Someone else.-
(16:14:09) Minaplo: [He was a small man, and was small even by normal standards, not just when standing next to a giant. His features had an East Asian cast to them, and his hair was black, mid-length, a little shaggy and clearly dishevelled. It had obviously touched neither comb nor clippers for months if not longer.-
(16:16:06) Minaplo: [He followed Helen into the room, standing a little behind her. He had a slight slouch to his posture, and he was looking around the room with a sort of curious expression on his face.-
(16:18:40) Minaplo: [He had growth around his chin and jaw. He wore a grey sweater, brown trousers; black leather belt and sneakers. He had a knitted white scarf on. It was hard to gauge how old he was, beneath the hair and the unkempt look. He could've been thirty, forty or fifty.-
(16:19:39) Minaplo: [He reached up and scratched at his scruffy cheek with his right hand, the nails bitten down to the quick.]
(16:39:57) * Weaver looked up at him with just a hint of an inclination of the head. "Welcome to the Atelier, Mr. Han. What do you need to know to start working?"
(16:41:05) Minaplo: ["Can I smoke?"]
(16:45:44) Weaver: "Freely. We can arrange for a regular drop of your usual supplies soon."
(16:47:33) Minaplo: [Within seconds he had a cigarette to his mouth and had lit it with a match.-
(16:47:47) Minaplo: ["I also need to know what you want me to do, I guess."]
(16:58:25) Weaver: "Synthesis, primarily. Our operation requires a steady stream of materials rivaling surovite, and smaller amounts of other exotics. You'll be working with our current expert in whatever way you find most productive."
(16:59:47) Minaplo: ["Cool. Who's that?"]
(17:21:22) Weaver: "Worker, my colleague from the Markov's Adepts project. His skill is adequate for the task, but he lacks experience of advancements from the last few years. We also have Anna Reinder, one of Surov's old associates, but she'll mostly be assigned to other projects."
(17:35:41) Minaplo: ["Ok, great."]
(17:50:30) Weaver: "Excellent." Weaver got up from his chair. "I am W, and this is my army. We can talk more while I show you to your quarters."
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(18:04:20) Weaver: And by 'I', he'd clearly meant 'we'. Lieutenant Helen followed the two of them closely. "I assume your extraction was smooth."
(18:10:35) Minaplo: ["Not the smoothest, smoother than most."]
(18:25:33) Weaver: "Yeah, unfortunate. Infiltration would've required time we don't have. Ops dispatch." After another corner, the corridor turned into a walkway above a dull, but well-lit concrete hangar – a hangar not for Evas, but of a more traditional size, housing most of the field operations assets and gear. The front of the hangar was dominated by the exit, an impregnable-looking set of blast doors, with an aperture-like formation in the ceiling - potentially for VTOLs and helicopters, but possibly just for air conditioning. The cleared-out, soundproofed back serving as a testing area. Currently, Ardashir was in there, getting his flame on with some new prototype. A few Iron Guard and maintenance staff were going about their duties.
(18:26:19) Weaver: was serving*
(18:27:15) Minaplo: [Han took a puff of his cigarette, taking it out to blow a stream of tobacco into the air. He gestured vaguely up at the aperture. "You use Guard Spheres?"]
(18:31:44) Weaver: "Not yet, no benefit. More black ops so far. But inevitably and soon, yes. Why?"
(18:34:03) Weaver: »Not really yet*
(18:34:30) Minaplo: ["Helped design 'em." He shrugged.]
(18:35:06) Weaver: "While with the LN?"
(18:35:21) Minaplo: [He nodded.]
(18:40:04) Weaver: "This first project will be the first step towards upgrading the Spheres as well as the Guard suits and our vehicles. The board has changed since they were first designed." They headed back into the corridors.
(18:43:22) Minaplo: [And Han mutely followed, Lieutenant Helen stalking after them.]
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(18:55:53) Weaver: The Science Department, Reinder's, and occasionally Worker's, domain, was a lot more… white, in contrast with the hangar, and a lot more busy. People milled about between large vats and more delicate-looking equipment. "This is for the mass production science. Separate facilities for more delicate projects. With any luck, your work won't stay in the theoretical realm for long and we can properly set up space for that, too."
(18:59:04) Minaplo: ["Cool." Han looked around curiously.-
(19:00:45) Minaplo: [Reinder was at work here, of course, standing a level above them on a viewing platform, overlooking an enclosed testing chamber. Inside, a weapon- held by a robotic arm- was firing small pulses of energy at a metal plate.-
(19:03:10) Minaplo: [She glanced over at them, looked away- then her head swivelled- in a way eerily reminiscent of an automated gun turret- towards Han, who gave her a timid wave.-
(19:03:39) Minaplo: [Meanwhile, Weaver would no doubt hear the rapid pitter-pitter of Worker's footsteps heading their way…]
(19:06:53) * Weaver motioned towards him without another look, looking back at Han. "Your partner. Han, Worker, Worker, Han."
(19:12:40) Minaplo: ["Hi! I'm Worker!"-
(19:12:45) Minaplo: ["Hi."-
(19:13:50) Minaplo: ["You invented the wave-absorbing alloy they use on Spheres! I read about that! I want to synthesise it with you, we should do that right now-" Worker reached out to grab Han's arm, and Han showed the most emotion he'd shown yet, jerking backward.-
(19:13:54) Minaplo: ["Please don't touch me."]
(19:23:20) * Weaver smirked slightly, pushing up his glasses. "It's quite alright. Not everyone's cages had the luxuries - or terrors - of yours, Han. Respect of space, Worker. Professional."-
(19:25:42) Weaver: He turned back to the older man. "And if he's too much for you, he'll be quite satisfied with just learning from example. You both do your best separately, combine the working parts, move on."
(19:28:13) Minaplo: ["Sure." Said Han, nodding once, taking another drag of his cigarette.-
(19:28:52) Minaplo: [Worker, on the other hand, nodded several times, gave Han a wide, terrifyingly innocent smile, then ran off to watch the robot laser next to Reinder.]
(19:31:17) Weaver: "Science deprivation, you see. And brilliant nonetheless."
(19:32:03) Minaplo: ["He's trying to make my alloy?"]
(19:34:25) Weaver: "Technically has done. But we haven't synthesized any. Out of courtesy until you check it out, and resource rationing."
(19:35:37) Minaplo: ["Ok."]
(19:48:56) Weaver: And they headed off again. "Your gear will be in that hall - you have access - by tomorrow morning, you can work from there or your quarters, which is the next door down."
(12:44:35) Minaplo|Out: [Han shuffled after him, sticking his hands in his pockets. "Great."]
(12:50:27) @Weaver: Eventually, then, they'd reach the right door. Weaver handed Han a keycard. "Any questions?"
(12:50:46) Minaplo|Out: ["How's the food?"]
(12:53:07) @Weaver: "As competitive as it needs to be, but for most in the base, rations and ramen."
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(13:03:26) Minaplo|Out: ["Right."]
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(13:10:01) » Weaver (+o) Minaplo|Out
(13:10:08) » Weaver (-o) Weaver
(13:15:35) Weaver: "Good luck, then. I'll see you."
(13:17:57) @Minaplo|Out: ["'Bye."-
(13:18:59) @Minaplo|Out: [And with that, Han shuffled off towards the reinforced door that protected his quarters, tapping a touchpad embedded into the wall alongside the door. It slid open, and he stepped through, the door automatically shutting behind him.-
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(13:21:49) @Minaplo|Out: [Weaver would have a few minutes to himself- no hapless Koreans to lead around, nothing but him and a corridor and the passage down thereof- before unbidden, something small and sharp jabbed into his upper arm.]
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(13:25:57) Weaver: It was inconceivable he'd be poisoned in his own fortress. So Weaver just calmly lifted his arm away from the whatever, and turned his head to look at the assailant - and their weapon.
(13:29:26) » @Minaplo|Out is now known as @Minaplo
(13:31:20) @Minaplo: [His assailant was none other than Talker- his glasses glinting somewhat in the strip-lighting, wearing a blue and white polo shirt and his hair fashionably mussed up. He was holding a syringe in his hands, which had a small quantity of Weaver's blood.-
(13:32:09) @Minaplo: ["Congratulations," Said Talker sardonically. "You are not a Shadowman."]
(13:35:47) Weaver: "Smooth," Weaver said, rubbing his arm. "Identifying them is that simple?"
(13:44:28) @Minaplo: ["Sure. Shadowman bodies are a single organ." He waggled the syringe. "They can't maintain the shape of parts of themselves separated from the whole, so you take a blood sample, and voilà! The blood turns to black ooze."]
(13:46:51) Weaver: "Hah. That seems like a pretty major flaw."
(13:49:42) @Minaplo: ["It is." Said Talker with a dark little grin. "But most Shadowmen rely on their infiltration lasting just long enough for them to move into key positions. Of course, it doesn't help if your syringe is a Shadowman in disguise, eh?"]
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(13:52:50) Weaver: "Problematic! So, would it be less suspicious if you just took some of their hair?"
(13:54:34) Minaplo: ["That depends on how covertly you can cut someone's hair. Why?" Talker self-consciously ran a hand through his own hair. "You leave my hair alone, you little devo."]
(13:56:40) Weaver: "…is that a word actual people use?"
(13:59:32) Minaplo: ["Do you understand the meaning? If so, then yes."]
(14:08:20) Weaver: "Fair. Worker and Trooper haven't adapted as quickly."
(14:09:13) Minaplo: ["You think so? I thought Worker's problem was that people weren't adapting to him."]
(14:11:37) Weaver: "Some of Trooper's jargon would sound archaic to Caesar."
(14:12:29) Minaplo: ["There's a funny story about that, you know." Said Talker, nodding sagely. "About Caesar, I mean…"]
(14:13:10) * Weaver raised an eyebrow, not sure if he was being serious. "Go ahead."
(14:33:23) Minaplo: ["The name 'Caesar' is a Roman cognomen, used to differentiate a branch of a family within a clan. They often have roots in nickanmes, see." Talker grinned. "In one interpretation 'Caesar' is translated as 'Hairy', which is funny, because Gaius Julius was balding… Irony, you know?" His grin became wider.-
(14:34:26) Minaplo: ["But the -really- funny thing is that over time, that stupid nickname became important. In all kinds of languages the word came to denote an imperial status- you know, Tsar for the Russes and Kaiser for the Germans?" Talker started chuckling, seemingly uncontrollably.-
(14:35:00) Minaplo: ["So you got all these high-ruling emperors calling themselves Caesar this and Caesar that as an Imperial title- but the word refers to fucking body hair!"]
(14:38:32) * Weaver laughed, if with less volume. "Yeah, I see. Like presidents?"
(14:39:32) Minaplo: ["Yeah, exactly." A grin.-
(14:39:48) Minaplo: ["Now, Western leaders got some shitty titles if you look back at it, but you know who got lucky there?"]
(14:40:53) Weaver: A pause. "I don't."
(14:41:57) Minaplo: ["The Chinese. You start at the top with 'Son of Heaven' and 'Holy Ruler' and then you work down to titles like 'General who Rocks the West' or 'General who Conquers the Mountains'."]
(14:43:57) Weaver: "I guess those would still be around to some extent?"
(14:46:36) Minaplo: ["Nah. Most of them were done away with by the Communists. The new government has a few neat little titles though. They named Liu Lin the "Colonel who Commands Tigers", you know."]
(14:50:52) Weaver: "Liu Lin. Mm. Never heard the translation, at least. Does she?"
(14:51:33) Minaplo: ["Only in a few folk tales. Most tigers went extinct in Impact, although I hear…"-
(14:51:53) Minaplo: [Talker grinned. "… That some survived, and the radiation from Impact has mutated them to be three metres high and feast exclusively on human flesh."]
(14:56:41) Weaver: "You hear a lot of shit, yes. So, when did you get back?"
(15:05:19) Minaplo: ["About five hours ago."]
(15:10:18) Weaver: "I don't need to ask if you enjoyed it. Anything new?"
(15:27:32) Minaplo: ["A few things you might find interesting, sure."]
(15:31:53) Weaver: "Mm. My office?"
(15:34:07) Minaplo: ["Lead the way. Hey, did you take my advice…?"]
(15:36:07) Weaver: "On?"
(15:38:06) Minaplo: ["The beauties-in-the-sanctum thing. You can't be a real mastermind if you don't have a pair of beauties."]
(15:40:57) * Weaver laughed. "Yeah, you've adapted well enough. Beauties are off the table. Well, my table. It's filled with stuff. Recruit them yourself if you think they'll pull their own weight."-
(15:43:08) Weaver: "Speaking of recruits, I'll need an analysis on Han. Everything you said about him's been accurate so far, but I'm sure you can get something new by seeing him in person. Maybe motivate him."
(15:44:50) Minaplo: ["See? Those beauties can pull their weight after all."]
(15:47:04) Weaver: "Limited budget."
(15:48:50) Minaplo: ["'Limited budget'. Tch. Hey, you wanna know something interesting?"]
(15:51:52) * Weaver glanced back at him over his shoulder. "Yeah?"
(15:52:27) Minaplo: ["I found out the average budget allocated to nutrient resources to grow a cloned Ayanami in a year."]
(15:53:21) Weaver: "Could we grow a cloned Ayanami in a year, Talker?"
(15:54:47) Minaplo: ["Do you have 876,000 francs aside for it? That's -just- the nutrient budget, mind."]
(15:57:09) Weaver: "We could just ask our dear benefactor for one, of course."
(16:21:13) Minaplo: ["No thank you. That might please Charmchi, but I'm not -that- inerested in charity from our tin tyrant ally."]
(16:26:37) Weaver: "It's only a matter of time before we can challenge them. Vercingetorix knows it, they just hope they'll reach their goals before that happens."
(16:28:18) Minaplo: ["They probably will."]
(16:29:08) Weaver: "Likely. Can hope it won't affect us."
(16:29:44) Minaplo: ["Maybe we should ask to borrow an Ayanami. I can charm her into lending us her Evangelion."]
(16:35:34) Weaver: "'Secret SEELE Project Adept Found Dead Following EVA Joyride'."
(16:36:17) Minaplo: ["If you gotta go out, you might as well go out with a bang."]
(16:37:55) Weaver: "So you'd need four."
(16:38:17) Minaplo: ["Like Voltron, yes."]
(16:48:29) Weaver: "Voltron."
(16:48:57) Minaplo: ["I'll form the head, baby."]
(16:56:21) Weaver: "Pretty sure that's always the first to go. Feel free." Arriving at the imposing door, Weaver punched in the lengthy numerical code for the door and watched it slowly swing open.
(16:59:49) Weaver: ~WHAT'S BEHIND THE DOOR~
(16:59:57) Weaver: ~FIND OUT IN PART 2~
(17:00:01) Weaver: ~intermission, brb~
(17:51:45) Weaver: ~AND NOW FOR THE THRILLING CONCLUSION~
(18:22:04) Minaplo: ~THIRTY MINUTES LATE~
(18:23:09) Minaplo: [Vercingetorix stood in front of Weaver's desk, over six and a half feet tall in his ornate dark red armour, framed by a huge mantle that fell to his armoured ankles. His arms were folded across his chest, his helmet staring at Weaver, its mask one of permanent disapproval.]
(18:37:41) * Weaver scoffed. "Hello. We're still working on that isolation and/or detection field for jaunts. Anything we can help with?"
(18:39:26) Minaplo: ["You could start by abandoning your intention to double-cross me."]
(18:46:14) Weaver: "We'll be happy to keep disappointing you on that front. If you wanted loyalty instead of professionals, we'd be buried with Angelspawn back 'home'."
(18:47:51) Minaplo: [A USB stick fell out of the air and bounced off Weaver's shoulder.]
(18:52:09) * Weaver picked it up. "What's on it?"
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(19:28:30) Minaplo: ["Data files on a plethora of topics. Old Gehirn and NERV research documents. More practically, a list of old UN Valentine and LN supply depots and hidden bases, as well as detailed information on New World Army convoys moving through the continent."]
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(19:33:28) Weaver: "Hah. I'll have to make a night of it. It's appreciated."
(19:38:29) Minaplo: ["Fifty-ninth Rule of Acquisition." Began Talker. "Free Advice is Seldom Cheap. What do you get out of this, Vercingetorix?"-
(19:38:47) Minaplo: [Vercingetorix shook his head. "Obviously, the stronger you become, the more useful you are to me."]
(19:52:47) Weaver: "Obviously," Weaver laughed. "But more seriously, is this all?"
(20:03:48) Minaplo: ["No. You are prepared for the operation in four days?"]

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