Yanmei And Ezekiel

[13:03] * Yanmei was alone in a sea of hungry people. -
[13:05] <Yanmei> For now, at least, she wanted it that way. Open in front of her, next to a half-eaten bowl of the grand ballroom/cafeteria's noodles and meatballs, was an open notebook with scribbled plans in it. -
[13:07] <Yanmei> It would be impossible to find 5 Iron Guards on the battleship, so she had to be clever about her backup options for bodyguarding babysitters. -
[13:10] <Yanmei> President Linden, perhaps? The girl had power armor and could probably operate her own AC Suit if she needed to. Not optimal, but better than nothing. Perhaps something more attainable was grabbing similar equipment for Mr. Isha, who didn't have any bothersome duties to attend to as a public official.
[13:11] <Yanmei> She toyed with her fork as she thought it over, quietly spearing another meatball.
[13:15] <@Minaplo> [At this point, perhaps, her attention would be drawn away from her plans and notes. Several people had just walked in- two Battleship Marines, flanking a third figure. He was of average height, with clear white skin and long, sunlight-golden hair; he wore a long, simple robe, a golden rod tucked into the belt that kept it fastened. He was, by most metrics, a beautiful-looking person.-
[13:16] <@Minaplo> [He walked through the cafeteria. There was something odd about the way he moved, and Yanmei realised that it reminded her of the way Isaiah once used to act at school, if there were jerks nearby; stepping lightly, eyes down, moving fast but quietly. The man found a table and sat down.]
[13:19] * Yanmei stared. She almost couldn't help it. The whole package was odd: the clothes, his nervous posture, and the marines around him. -
[13:22] <Yanmei> She could guess who the stranger was, though. The guards gave him away more than anything. Coolly, she observed the reactions from the other diners in the cafeteria.
[13:25] <@Minaplo> [Some ignored him, others were watching curiously, or glancing around at others like Yanmei was. And some people looked angry, or snide, or contemptuous.]
[13:28] <Yanmei> The angry looks resonated with her the most. Of course people would be pissed off that he was around. Tapping her pen lightly against the table, she looked down at her notes again.
[13:31] <@Minaplo> [A few minutes passed. The Emissary sat there quietly. He took a few books out of his bag- and started to read as he waited for his food to arrive.]
[13:35] * Yanmei scrunched her brow at the titles… then realized that she was still looking at him and tried to center herself on her notes again. -
[13:37] <Yanmei> A few more minutes ticked by before she admitted to failure and shut her notebook with a faint growl. She stood, tray in hand, notebook balanced on the tray, and then marched over.
[13:43] <@Minaplo> [He looked up at her as she approached, caution and wariness in his face. "Do you need help?" He asked quietly.]
[13:45] <Yanmei> "Not as such, no." She wasn't smiling, but she kept her voice polite, matching the low volume of his voice. "I was wondering if you would mind some company?"
[13:46] <@Minaplo> ["I would be glad for it."]
[13:49] <Yanmei> So Yanmei set her tray down and sat, nodding pleasantly to the guards around them. She was trying very hard to scrutinize the young man without being obvious about it. Any hidden wings, or out-of-place markings…? "Thank you. Let me introduce myself? My name is Zhang Yanmei."
[13:49] <@Minaplo> [None and none.-
[13:50] <@Minaplo> ["I have heard of you, Zhang Yanmei." He said, bowing his head low. "I am the Emissary of the Warmaster, and you may call me Ezekiel."]
[13:55] <Yanmei> "A pleasure." She said with another nod. "How have you been enjoying your stay with us?"
[13:56] <@Minaplo> [He was silent for a moment, pondering. Eventually he took one of his books and closed it.-
[13:58] <@Minaplo> ["It was enjoyable at first," He admitted slowly. "I made friends and was looked upon as a curiosity. But now that the Warmaster has shown his might, my stay has become less enjoyable than it was. The crew are more hostile and aggressive and making it harder for me to enjoy myself."-
[13:58] <@Minaplo> [He sighed a little. "It is not a unique case. I have been the Emissary for a very long time, and it is always the same. I am tolerated so long as the Warmaster's power is now known, and then… I become the target of fear and anger. I expect that I will be executed soon." He said directly.]
[14:00] * Yanmei didn't flinch at that. She barely even blinked. "You can't be satisfied with that outcome, can you?"
[14:01] <@Minaplo> ["I am used to it. I have been executed many times in the past. I know better than to expect a better outcome."]
[14:02] <Yanmei> "How long -have- you been doing this?"
[14:05] <@Minaplo> ["I was created eight billion years ago by the Lilim reckoning, although about five of those eight have been dormant ones. So I have existed for eight billion years, and been active for three billion."]
[14:15] <Yanmei> "Your boss is an Angel, correct~?" Yanmei made an aimless gesture with a meatball. "The earliest they could have been awake and active was about eighteen years ago? So I don't understand how that Warmaster was pushing you around for three billion entire years."
[14:21] <@Minaplo> ["The Warmaster is older. The Warmaster came into being about eight and a half or nine billion years ago. The Warmaster is a Child of Adam now, but before that, the Warmaster was the mightiest of the Ancestors. And I was created by him. I am not strictly a Child of Adam, or an Ancestor, but I am made in their likeness. I am comparable to one of your Artifical Intelligences. It is an imprecise comparison, but it is difficult to explain…"]
[14:30] <Yanmei> "So, if you're like an AI, then it's like you've been carrying out the Warmaster's objectives automatically, regardless of whether he's awake or not?"
[14:38] <@Minaplo> [He shook his head. "I only act at his behest. For the Great Reincarnation, he slept, and I was put to sleep as well, and stayed with him, and awoke at his behest. If he were asleep and I awake, I would have no orders."]
[14:44] <Yanmei> That… made her forehead scrunch. "If he died in this form - and his soul went inert for a while - then what would happen to you? You'd be free to do what you want, right?"
[14:48] <@Minaplo> ["Yes."]
[14:52] * Yanmei regarded him with bright new curiosity. "I assure you that I have the utmost respect for the complex relationship between fathers and sons? Or… bosses and employees, as the case may be? But if I were in your shoes, I'd want him dead, and I'd want him dead now."
[14:53] <@Minaplo> ["… Why?"]
[14:58] <Yanmei> "Because freedom, of course? You're into the arts, right? And you enjoy watching movies? Wouldn't you rather devote a life or two to studying those things as much as you wanted instead of putting yourself in these stressful, life-threatening situations?"
[14:59] <@Minaplo> ["You do not think I am free?"]
[15:00] <Yanmei> "Are you? You tell me."
[15:01] <@Minaplo> ["I think I am not free, but you are not free either."]
[15:03] <Yanmei> "Heh. You're talking about Destiny."
[15:04] <@Minaplo> ["No." Said Ezekiel, shaking his head vigorously. "I am not. The advice you just gave me is the equivalent of me telling you to slay your lover, with whom you share a powerful bond, in the name of freedom."]
[15:12] <Yanmei> "…maybe," she said quietly. "Although, I would hope that he wouldn't willingly send me to my death over and over?"
[15:15] <@Minaplo> [Ezekiel shook his head, more slowly this time. "I have died some ten thousand times in this duty. Between those times, however, I have had eons to myself, to do as I wished, under the care of a magnanimous soul. Dying a few times in his name is a price I am willing to pay." He smiled. "Forgive me. I do not mean to dismiss your opinion. But I value many things above freedom. Loyalty, and kindness, and love, and knowledge, and wisdom. Freedom is worthless."]
[15:24] * Yanmei exhaled. "Suit yourself? I guess we'll just have to disagree on that point."
[15:26] <@Minaplo> ["I am sorry. I do not know if the word you are using and the word I am using mean the same thing. Freedom is a thing where you are completely free from other influences. No family bonds, or friendship or love bonds, or the urge to eat or sleep. A death state."]
[15:29] <Yanmei> "Interesting way of putting it? We really are using different terminology. Freedom for us commonly means being free of direct control, and having the ability to choose which bonds to forge and interests to go after?"
[15:39] <@Minaplo> ["I think I understand. In that case, do not worry about my ability to choose or act." Said Ezekiel with a smile.]
[15:42] <Yanmei> "It's not that I was worried? Just curious." She took a bite of her meal… and then felt weirdly rude about it, as his own food hadn't seemed to arrive yet. "Do you really remember everything about the past three billion years? Like, clearly?"
[15:43] <@Minaplo> ["I was asleep the past three billion years. Do you mean my first three billion years?"]
[15:45] <Yanmei> "Sorry. Yes, that's right."
[15:47] <@Minaplo> ["I remember a great deal. Some of it I have forgotten. Some of it I have tried to forget."]
[15:55] <Yanmei> "Were there others who are like you? Or is your position a unique one?"
[15:55] <@Minaplo> ["Other Emissaries? Or other 'Artificial Intelligences'?"]
[15:57] <Yanmei> "Well… if there were other Emissaries like you, it would imply that they were also 'Artificial Intelligences,' no?" She grinned faintly. "In any case, I'd like to know both?"
[15:59] <@Minaplo> ["I am the only Emissary the Warmaster had or needed." He said with pride, "But there were other Emissaries for powerful Ancestors, although they did not face the same risks I did, and were not as depended upon."-
[16:00] <@Minaplo> ["And there were many 'Intelligences' like me. We were rare in comparison to the Ancestors, for we were special. There were about a thousand of us… A few are here on this planet!"]
[16:04] <Yanmei> "Is that so? Like who?"
[16:08] <@Minaplo> ["The Twelve Warriors of the Silver Empress, the Ever-Slaying Sword of the Youthful King, the two Godkillers…"]
[16:13] * Yanmei nodded along. She didn't seem very surprised by most of those… but the last one made her tilt her head. "Godkillers…?"
[13:09] <Minaplo> ["Powerful ones. They were given to each Seed as a measure to prevent problems from arising. On this planet, the Youthful King's Godkiller stopped your creator from devouring him and becoming a divine being."]
[13:11] <Yanmei> "…the Lances… Yeah, I think I understand you?"
[13:12] <Minaplo> [He nodded.-
[13:14] <Minaplo> ["The Twelve Warriors and the Ever-Slaying Sword are designed for an ancient war, and are very powerful. The Godkillers are even more powerful than that. What else could disable a Seed so easily? I am nothing in comparison. I am not designed for fighting, so I am comparatively weak. My abilities lie elsewhere."]#
[13:21] <Minaplo> ["Yes. The ability to understand thoughts and words and customs. It allows me to read. It is also responsible for my memory." He looked around, wondering where his food was.-
[13:22] <Minaplo> ["I can protect myself, but if it comes to that then I have failed."]
[13:23] * Yanmei shoved an untouched chunk of garlic bread in his direction. -
[13:24] <Yanmei> "You've done a decent enough job assimilating, I'll give you that."
[13:28] <Minaplo> ["Thank you." He said, smiling, taking the garlic bread with both hands and nibbling on it.]
[13:31] <Yanmei> "If you know all the AIs, then you must know their masters too?" she speculated slyly. "And the rest of the Ancients."
[13:32] <Minaplo> [He nodded slowly, still nibbling on his bread.]
[13:37] <Yanmei> "One of the AIs organized an attack on us not too longa ago? Called himself the sword of the 'Imperial Star'. Do you know who that is?"
[13:40] <Minaplo> ["That is one of the Twelve Warriors of the Silver Empress."]#
[11:40] <Idrilyn> ["I am uncertain. You have fought ten of them, but I doubt the ones that were defeated will stay defeated. It takes more than that to defeat one of us. How else would I have survived my executions?"]
[11:46] <Yanmei> "Ten," she muttered. "So there are two that we've never seen before. And the rest of them might already be back on their feet." Her eyes rose to his, slowly. "The Warmaster is a match for Met- the Empress, isn't he?"
[11:48] <Idrilyn> ["Yes." Said Ezekiel proudly.]
[11:50] <Yanmei> "But he's still compelled to follow her?"
[11:51] <Idrilyn> ["It is his oath."]
[11:53] <Yanmei> "What oath is that?"
[11:54] <Idrilyn> ["To treat the Silver Empress as though she were the surrogate for the Youthful King himself."]
[11:55] <Yanmei> "…why?"
[11:56] <Idrilyn> ["Because she is a leader, and wise, and created the Chantry that brought the Children together, and the Warmaster knows better than to introduce divisions into an already dying people."]
[11:58] <Yanmei> "But they're the only ones left? Aside from the AI's and the creatures they themselves create."
[12:46] <Idrilyn> ["Yes." Said Ezekiel.]
[12:48] <Yanmei> "He's not even -thinking- of a backstab, even at this point?"
[12:48] <Idrilyn> ["The Warmaster #never# betrays his code." Said Ezekiel. "Why would he do so when unity is more important than ever?"]
[12:50] <Yanmei> "How strict," Yanmei muttered. And unfortunate for them of course. "You may have already learned this? But we have no such unity. Humanity, I mean."
[12:51] <Idrilyn> ["I have learned this."]
[12:55] <Yanmei> "What do you think? Do you find it confusing? Pitiable? Exciting?"
[13:00] <Idrilyn> ["Interesting. There are many facets to this state. Your people are very diverse, which is #fascinating#, and there is so many things to learn about all these different cultures that I wish I had six thousand years to immerse myself in it all. With that richness comes conflict, and that is something I have observed many times throughout my life. I do not think it is a thing that you should be disappointed in. I think it is natural, but at the same time, I think that your people will eventually share a common purpose."]
[13:03] <Yanmei> "Ha! If we were going to, it would have happened already?" Yanmei shook her head, smirking. "It's good that you've learned a lot about us, but that optimism makes me think there's a lot more left for you to study~"
[13:12] <Idrilyn> [He shook his head slowly. "It is not optimism. It is experience and observation. I have read many history books since I arrived. I have seen the evolution of your people into a greater, interconnected society. I saw how the great disaster caused your people much devastation, but saw how you came to slowly unite afterwards. A divided people could not create your Evangelions."]
[13:18] <Yanmei> "The war machines we produced as a whole will cause greater conflict should we all survive? Nations will fight bitterly over them. On a smaller scale, individuals and small groups able to purchase the technology we developed will ruthlessly use them at the expense of others with lesser technology. Conflicts like that will never ever go away. And let's not even get started on the current power struggles already going on in t
[13:18] <Yanmei> - the upper ranks…"
[13:19] <Idrilyn> ["Untrue. For a simple reason."]
[13:19] <Yanmei> "Oh yeah?"
[13:20] <Idrilyn> ["Your Evangelions do not belong to nations. They belong to people. And organisations. Whoever controls the Evangelions controls the world, and who controls them right now?"]
[13:22] <Yanmei> "We do," she said grudgingly.
[13:23] <Idrilyn> ["Then once your conflicts have ended, you will rule the world." Said Ezekiel, nibbling on his bread. "And by then your people will learn the fruits of unity, and will never wish to go backwards to disunity. It has happened before."]
[13:25] <Yanmei> "There are certain individuals in power who will see to it that things don't turn out that way. Do you think the rest of society is strong enough to counteract them?""
[13:27] <Idrilyn> ["Do those individuals control the Evangelions?"]
[13:29] <Yanmei> "They're trying their hardest to control those who -can- control them? They might succeed."
[13:30] <Idrilyn> ["Do those individuals control the Evangelions?" He asked again, slowly.]
[13:31] <Yanmei> A look of clear irritation shot across her face. "Not presently, no."
[13:35] <Idrilyn> ["Then it will not be so difficult to ensure that it stays that way."-
[13:36] <Idrilyn> ["Or else, these other individuals will control the Evangelions- and control humanity, and unify it anyway. Humanity's fate is unification or destruction. It is inevitable one way or another."]
[13:41] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei's eyebrows knit together.
[13:47] <Idrilyn> ["Do you know what I hope?"]
[13:48] <Yanmei> "What would that be?"
[13:53] <Idrilyn> ["I hope that humanity unifies, and it is peaceful and allows for all to grow, and that humanity grows out into the stars and spreads. Because the stars are very beautiful. And three billion years was not enough for me to truly explore them. I would love for humanity to share that bounty." He said, a warm smile on his face, utter, sincere #peacefulness# in his entire demeanor.]
[14:02] <Yanmei> So earnest… it was like his smile touched her in her heart and made it grow warmer too. Yanmei's forehead smoothed out gradually again. -
[14:06] <Yanmei> "I doubt you're alone in that? But I'm a little surprised to hear that from you, given who you're working for?"
[14:14] <Idrilyn> ["Why?"]
[14:15] <Yanmei> "Because if the Warmaster wins, we'll cease to exist. Wanting to see us thrive isn't compatable with wanting to see him win."
[14:17] <Idrilyn> [He shook his head slowly. "It is. Do you think the Warmaster does not want what I want?"]
[14:18] <Yanmei> "What -does- he want?"
[14:20] <Idrilyn> ["If it were in the Warmaster's hands, your people would give us our Seed, and we would go our separate ways and leave you in peace. He does not want to fight. He does not like to kill."]
[14:28] <Yanmei> "So I've heard before," she said dryly. "His name is pretty ironic? But I digress… Regardless of what he actually wants, he's stuck in this position by his own willingness to follow someone else. It can't really be helped."
[14:39] <Idrilyn> ["It is a tragedy."]
[14:44] <Yanmei> "I suppose so."
[14:46] <Idrilyn> [At this point, a Silas holo floated over, holding a tray of food for Ezekiel. A salad, some apples and a few pieces of watermelon…]
[14:52] <Yanmei> Super healthy. She eyed her own plate, feeling somehow disappointed in herself. "So I heard you chatted with Asuka the other day."
[14:58] <Idrilyn> ["Yes, a little."]
[14:58] <Yanmei> "What do you think of her? Kind of scary, hm~?"
[15:00] <Idrilyn> ["Interesting, I think."]
[15:00] <Yanmei> "Oh? She didn't yell at you?"
[15:00] <Idrilyn> ["No."]
[15:03] <Yanmei> "Oh, I see." Slightly bemused, she politely pushed her chair back, and began to stand. "Maybe I'll drag her along the next time we have a chat."
[15:03] <Idrilyn> ["I would appreciate that. I hope you enjoyed my company, Zhang Yanmei. I enjoyed yours."]
[15:05] <Yanmei> "Thanks. It's been pretty educational?" One last nod, first to him and then his guards. "Goodbye for now, and enjoy your meal?"
[15:06] <Idrilyn> ["Thank you."]

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