Yanmei And Zeruel

[22:30] * Yanmei was sprawled on the bed of the room she shared with Lizzie and Isaiah, an open news magazine in front of her on the blankets. -
[22:33] <Yanmei> They were both still gone, taking the fox and Reggie with them. The wolf was still there. He had already been fed, and was now up to his daily routine of ignoring Yanmei and snoozing in his corner. -
[22:35] <Yanmei> And she was fine with that. It was peaceful and calm. Just the atmosphere she needed while she got caught up on all the international news that had been going on during her absence. She peered down at a glossy picture of Mazarin with interest, skimming the caption and article underneath it.
[22:43] <Minaplo> ["Mazarin's Entente Cordiale: A new Soviet Friendship takes Root"-
[22:43] <Minaplo> [The article was about Mazarin and his attempts to warm relations with the New Soviet Union.]
[22:48] <Yanmei> "Hmm." Unusual. Maybe he was buttering them up for some type of formal agreement? She propped a chin up on her hands.
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[22:50] <Minaplo> [The article went into detail about meetings and agreements that all pointed to this warming…]
[22:57] * Yanmei read it all diligently, and then turned the page… but a chill was starting to seep into the room now. Rubbing her arms, she sat up, stretched, and then shuffled for the closet door, carelessly throwing it open.
[22:58] <Minaplo> [Vercingetorix stared back at her, tall, imposing, his helmet like a monster's mask; he seemed to ooze from the shadows suddenly…]
[22:59] <Yanmei> "…" -
[23:03] <Yanmei> Her arm went into autopilot, bypassing the complete and utter shock that rooted her feet to the ground and wired her mouth shut for a fraction of a moment. It went for her sidearm.
[23:07] <Minaplo> [Her sidearm flew out of the holster, into Vercingetorix's hand.]
[23:11] <Yanmei> She nearly leaped out of her skin at that, half-falling, half scrabbling backward toward the bed. "W-wh-wh…!?"
[23:11] <Minaplo> ["Calm down, Zhang. It's me."]
[23:14] <Minaplo> ["Vercingetorix."]
[23:17] <Yanmei> "Verc-?!" It sank in after an extra second or two. She'd started groping for something beneath the mattress with one hand, and now the motion slowed. She stared.
[23:17] <Minaplo> [Lupe lifted his head, growling a little.-
[23:21] <Minaplo> ["This is my armour, the suit I wear when I present myself as Vercingetorix. I had forgotten that you hadn't seen it before. No matter." With a few movements he ejected the bolt pistol's clip and tossed the gun itself onto the bed. "Come. It is time."]
[23:26] <Yanmei> "…" She pulled her hand out and stood up properly now, a bit more slowly than usual as if getting her bearings after a dizzying rollercoaster. "Come where? Into the closet? What's wrong with you-?!" -
[23:28] <Yanmei> Another pause. She willfully collected herself again. "I mean, I knew it was you the whole time~? But honestly. You came pretty close to scaring me." She tossed her hair.
[23:29] <Minaplo> [There was a pause.-
[23:29] <Minaplo> ["Come. It is time."]
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[23:34] <Yanmei> Tch. -
[23:38] <Yanmei> She glared at him, taking a wary step forward, arms folded. This Angel business again, was it? "Just like that, is it? No preparations? You know, the last time I was mentally attacked by an Angel, Isaiah felt it pretty heavily? Maybe you should get someone to sedate him before we go."
[23:39] <Minaplo> ["You will not be mentally attacked. Don't waste my time."]
[23:43] <Yanmei> "I don't believe that for a second?" she said sweetly. "But far be it for me to use up all the precious time you need for doing, well," a pointed look at her closet, "whatever it is you're doing."
[23:45] <Minaplo> [He stepped out of the closet and walked over to her. "Have you eaten in the last eight hours?"]
[23:46] <Yanmei> "…yes? Why wouldn't I?"
[23:46] <Minaplo> [He didn't respond. Instead, he grabbed her by the arm. "Prepare yourself."]
[23:50] <Yanmei> "…?" She blinked and threw him a questioning look, but didn't resist, just waiting for the rest of his explanation to fall.
[23:50] <Minaplo> [And then they vanished.-
[23:51] <Minaplo> [Lupe stared at where they were, blinking, sniffing the air. They were definitely gone.-
[23:52] <Minaplo> [The wolf paused for a moment, and then, suddenly realising he was blissfully alone, leapt up onto Yanmei and Isaiah's bed, curled up on the pillows and went to sleep.-
[23:53] <Minaplo> [Yanmei…-
[23:53] <Minaplo> […-
[23:55] <Minaplo> [She was somewhere else. The trip had lasted only a few seconds, and in those seconds her entire body had been taken from the safe, organised, established physics in which it had spent its entire life and then thrust violently into a world where none of that actually applied. By the time they arrived back in the real world, Yanmei wouldn't be able to take hear bearings- not for a minute at
[23:55] <Minaplo> least.]
[23:58] <Yanmei> And she spent the duration of that minute on her knees, hand clamped over her mouth, sweat dotting her brow, fighting hard against her body. No, no, there was no way she was going to do something so undignified…
[23:59] <Yanmei> …-
[23:59] <Yanmei> …-
Session Time: Sun Aug 04 00:00:00 2013
[00:02] <Yanmei> "Blrurrrrgggh…!!"
[00:03] <Minaplo> […-
[00:03] <Minaplo> [After a few minutes, she'd get her bearings, and slowly her body would feel less absolutely awful.-
[00:04] <Minaplo> [Vercingetorix was nearby, leaning on a railing. He looked a little weak at the knees…-
[00:05] <Minaplo> [Yanmei was on a deck, the deck of a boat of some kind. She was on a high platform surrounded by white railings, with two staircases on either side leading down to the largest deck, the broadest area. The boat was swaying gently, and above, a gloomy grey sky kept away the sun.-
[00:06] <Minaplo> [In the distance she could hear the faint but unmistakeable cries of a flock of seagulls.]
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[00:11] <Yanmei> Her entire face burned. It took a few more silent minutes to overcome it and to even take in the surroundings at all. Those fucking seagulls… -
[00:14] <Yanmei> When she had recollected enough of her dignity to spare a glance at Vercingetorix, she was somewhat startled to find him -not- staring smugly or dispassionately. Of course, the polite thing to do would have been to ask after his condition. -
[00:14] <Yanmei> "What is this place?" she said instead. Because fuck politeness.
[00:15] <Minaplo> ["A boat."-
[00:15] <Minaplo> ["In the middle of the Pacific Ocean, some thousand miles off the southern coast of Japan."]
[00:18] <Yanmei> "Oh." She tried to turn her attention to the sea around them. "And the Angel is what? Taking a relaxing swim?"
[00:20] <Minaplo> ["Hidden in the Mariana Trench." Said Vercingetorix. He turned. "Come, let us go inside."]
[00:22] <Yanmei> She followed, casting one last very wary look around outside as she went.
[00:26] <Minaplo> [Inside, it was warmer, drier and even comfortable (although, it didn't compare to the battleship). They weren't alone, here. There was a man waiting for them- thin, tall, with brown hair, wearing a pair of navy blue trousers and a white shirt. He was holding a glass of water in one hand and a bottle of mouthwash in the other. He bowed as they entered. "A pleasure to meet you, Captain Zhang
[00:26] <Minaplo> Yanmei. You'll probably be wanting these."]
[00:29] <Yanmei> Yanmei tried for a polite smile, uncertain if she managed it through her bewilderment. "Ah… thank you?" She accepted both gifts. "It's good to meet you too, Mr…?"
[00:30] <Minaplo> ["Wilwudski. Celestyn Wilwudski, madame. I am, I suppose you could say, Mr. Vercingetorix's butler."]
[00:34] <Yanmei> "Mr. Wilwudski." She said it carefully, trying not to trip over it. "Very interesting! Have you been with him long?"
[00:34] <Minaplo> ["A while, madame."-
[00:35] <Minaplo> [Vercingetorix brushed past. "I will be below. Do not disturb me until I call. Wilwudski, order the helmsman to our rendezvous destination."-
[00:35] <Minaplo> ["Yessir."-
[00:35] <Minaplo> [And V was gone, down another flight of steps.]
[00:40] * Yanmei held back a sigh. The best host. "Don't mind me," she said brightly to Wilwudski. "I'll, ah, just take a look around, I suppose."
[00:41] <Minaplo> ["If you like, I could give you a tour…"]
[00:42] <Yanmei> "That would be great! If it's not too much trouble, that is?"
[00:43] <Minaplo> ["Not at all, madame." He said graciously.-
[00:46] <Minaplo> [And so he led her around. The ship itself was rather large for a private boat. Definitely greater than any yacht. It had several bedrooms ("Here's mine, it's probably the tidiest here- the locked door's Mr. Vercingetorix's own room"), its own kitchen and dining room ("I'm the one who does the cooking, and trust me, it's better for everyone involved"), a sophisticated-looking bridge (the
[00:46] <Minaplo> helmsman being a short, thin, nervous fellow with glasses; the captain was a tall, heavyset man with a huge beard and a pipe full of acrid tobacco), the power room…-
[00:46] <Minaplo> [And then back to the deck. "And that's the Desperate Situation for you."]
[00:51] <Yanmei> "Not bad~" She had been attentive throughout the tour, joining in every now and then with her own amicable chatter. "I've been aboard a warship before, but it's my first time being on a private civilian craft? It's comfortable! No small thanks to you, I'm sure~"
[00:56] <Minaplo> [He bowed graciously. "Madame flatters me."]
[00:58] <Yanmei> "Heh. It's true! In any case, thank you for giving me such a gracious welcome. Is there anything I can do to help out until we reach our destination?"
[00:59] <Minaplo> ["You could help me prepare for dinner? Not that I like foisting responsibilities on guests, but if you wish to help, who am I to refuse?"]
[01:00] <Yanmei> "I'd be happy to? What's on the menu?"
[01:00] <Minaplo> [He laughed. "Fish."]
[01:01] <Yanmei> "Of course," she smirked. "Lead the way!"
[01:02] <Minaplo> [Of course, Celestyn was underselling it a little. Sure, they had fish, but it was fresh fish caught not a few hours ago- and there were fish of all types and sizes. There were oysters there, too, and prawns, and shrimp; Yanmei saw several living lobsters, clacking their pincers at her threateningly.-
[01:03] <Minaplo> [There was also plenty of butter and garlic and lemon and seasonings- herbs and spices and garnishes as well…]
[01:10] * Yanmei whistled softly, and rolled up her sleeves, eyeballing the lobsters like a boxer sizing up an eagar opponent. -
[01:12] <Yanmei> It took a while, but before long there were a good many delicious, steaming dishes to choose from. -
[01:15] <Yanmei> Velveted scallops, squid, black bass, clams in spicy black bean sauce, and wild rice.
[01:16] <Minaplo> ["Well, I think we've done pretty well here." Said Wilwudski brightly.]
[01:18] <Yanmei> "Agreed?" Yanmei rinsed her hands off in the kitchen sink one last time. "How much time left do you think we have?"
[01:18] <Minaplo> ["Well, we arrived at our rendezvous about fifteen minutes ago, so… No idea, really."]
[01:21] <Yanmei> "We're already there?" She dried her hands hastily. "Excuse me. I'll just take a quick look around."
[01:21] <Minaplo> ["Alright."]
[01:22] <Yanmei> She left the kitchen, making her way back to the deck. She didn't expect an enormous shift in scenary, but it would still probably pay to see if there was anything new going on out there.
[01:22] <Minaplo> [The sky was darker- not a storm, but just the passage of time.-
[01:23] <Minaplo> [The sea was calm, and completely vast. Not a speck of land could be seen…]
[01:25] <Yanmei> Yanmei leaned against a rail and sighed. "What the hell," she muttered under her breath. What the hell was she even doing here? This whole thing was bad news, and she -knew- it, and yet she was still here.
[01:28] <Yanmei> Her grip on the rail tightened for a moment, and then she twisted away, going back inside. Instead of going back to the kitchen, she headed for the bedrooms, stopping and knocking on Vercingetorix's door.
[01:29] <Minaplo> [The door opened. Gendo was there, wearing a normal woollen red turtleneck and a pair of black trousers. "It is time."]
[01:33] <Yanmei> A split second to register the change. "Don't do that again," she said. "You have a crew at your disposal? It wouldn't kill you to send a message through one of them instead of slipping things into my head."
[01:34] <Minaplo> [Gendo placed his glasses on his face. "Fine. Let's go."]
[01:35] * Yanmei turned aside, prepared to let him lead.
[01:36] <Minaplo> [He walked past, and, with her following, went down a flight of steps into a room that had to be on the bottom of the boat.-
[01:37] <Minaplo> [There were potholes on the side, beneath the waterline; Yanmei could see a few fish going by. The room itself was bare…]
[01:39] * Yanmei entered a little more cautiously. There wasn't anything to see here beside the portholes and Ikari himself. She moved a little closer to one of the former, squinting out into the murky water beyond it.
[01:41] <Minaplo> ["Are you ready to meet Zeruel?"]
[01:44] * Yanmei turned back around sharply at that question, eyes settling on Ikari. "As ready as I'll ever be?"
[01:44] <Minaplo> ["Very well. Stand close to me."]
[01:46] * Yanmei hesitated, memories of teleportation still fresh in her mind, but she did as she was told, reluctance or no reluctance.
[01:46] <Minaplo> [And that's when the bottom fell out of the boat.-
[01:47] <Minaplo> [Or so it would've seemed to poor Yanmei. For a moment, there didn't seem to be anything beneath her feet as the plating on the bottom of the boat receded away…-
[01:47] <Minaplo> [But she'd realise that somehow, she was still standing- and that no water was coming in. There was still something between her and the ocean.-
[01:48] <Minaplo> [Or perhaps she wouldn't notice any of these things.-
[01:49] <Minaplo> [Perhaps all she would notice was the giant, sinister-looking malformed skull-face that stared up at her, barely metres from her, bone-white, framed by several layers of ossified plate. Huge sunken eye sockets and a leering grinning mouth…]
[01:57] <Yanmei> It was the same shock as before when she had found Vercingetorix in her closet - a certain beat of silence as the utter surreal came smashing down amid normal everyday things and blew them to pieces like a fallen bomb. -
[02:00] <Yanmei> Only this time, the resulting explosion was much, much worse. -
[02:04] <Yanmei> Her lungs stopped functioning. Her thoughts stopped. She was almost certain that her heart did too. Then, the sheer, incomparable terror rolled in, and all those bodily functions not only resumed, but were suddenly doing so at speeds she had never known were possible. -
[02:06] <Yanmei> To her credit, she didn't flail or curl up into a ball. She just stood, stiff as a board, staring down and waiting for that giant maw to open and…
[02:07] <Minaplo> [… It just kept staring.]
[02:09] <Yanmei> She stared back. -
[02:09] <Yanmei> She was supposed to do something now. Something beyond panicking…? -
[02:11] <Yanmei> "He…" She struggled with the herculean effort. "…hello?"
[02:13] <Minaplo> ["HRRRRRRRRR.-
[02:13] <Minaplo> [It wasn't a tremendously loud sound. It was low, and -very- deep, and the sound shook the ship just a little.]
[02:20] <Yanmei> That did nothing to dispell the terror running through her, and in fact - oh god - made her want to vomit again a little. But it -was- promising. Right? "Y-yeah, good to meet you? Meet you again, I mean?"
[02:21] <Minaplo> ["He recognises you."]
[02:25] <Yanmei> Ah. Ikari was still here. She blinked at him for a second, incredibly, before the spectacle below them pulled her attention again. "Right. 'Course he does?" she muttered. -
[02:26] <Yanmei> "Can he… understand me? Or are you playing translator both ways?"
[02:27] <Minaplo> ["I am translating, yes."]
[02:32] <Yanmei> She tried to the think for a minute. Something to not piss off the giant monster… "Tell him that a lot of people appreciated what he did in the fight against the Sixteenth? And that he saved a lot of lives."
[02:37] <Minaplo> ["HRRRRRR."-
[02:38] <Minaplo> ["He wants to know whether his sacrifice was worth it, in your eyes."]
[02:44] <Yanmei> "My eyes?" Her voice hit a surprised note. "From the perspective of someone who immediately benefitted from it, yes it was worth it? It's obviously a biased answer, though."
[02:46] <Minaplo> ["HRRRR.'-
[02:46] <Minaplo> ["He wants to know if you're afraid of him."]
[02:51] <Yanmei> "Of course not!" She tossed her hair for emphasis. "I'm… just not used to conversing with someone of his size, that's all?"
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[02:58] <Minaplo> ["HRRRRRRRR."-
[02:58] <Minaplo> ["He says that you shouldn't be afraid of him."]
[03:02] <Yanmei> "I said that I wasn't!" She frowned, deeply. "Ask him why he's helping us."
[03:04] <Minaplo> ["HRRRRRR."-
[03:05] <Minaplo> ["He says that he does not want to see humanity destroyed. It would be wrong if we were destroyed."]
[03:08] <Yanmei> Like the Warmaster… "Ask if he's worried about the Angels being destroyed by humanity?"
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[03:08] <Minaplo> ["HRRRRRRRR!"-
[03:08] <Minaplo> [The boat rocked a little harder, then.-
[03:09] <Minaplo> ["He says that he will not let humanity destroy the Angels, either. The only solution he will allow is for both to survive."]
[03:12] <Yanmei> "Not let us…" She closed her eyes briefly against the shaking, but it slowly evened out again. Still holding it together pretty well. Just had to do it for a bit longer… "How is he so sure a solution like that even exists?"
[03:14] <Minaplo> ["HRRRRRRRRRR."-
[03:14] <Minaplo> ["He says that he has -my- word that it does. He trusts me because I brought him back from death."]
[23:07] <Yanmei> "But he doesn't have -proof-, does he? What'll he do if that turns out not to be true?"
[23:10] <Minaplo> ["HRRRRRRRR." The sound was even deeper this time, and ominous.-
[23:10] <Minaplo> ["Judgement." Said Gendo simply.]
[23:11] <Yanmei> "I… see," she said slowly. -
[23:16] <Yanmei> Some part of her almost admired that response. "Will he fight other Angels again, if it means meeting his goal?"
[23:40] <Minaplo> ["HRRRRRR."-
[23:40] <Minaplo> ["Yes, but he will not fight the Warmaster."]
[23:41] <Yanmei> "Ugh. -Why-?"
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Session Time: Mon Aug 05 00:00:00 2013
[00:00] <Minaplo> ["For the same reason you couldn't fight Isaiah." Said Gendo. "Zeruel is an A-Type, and the Warmaster is his Eve."]
[00:07] <Yanmei> "…" Any snide remarks that had been waiting on her tongue died rather abruptly. She started to laugh, quietly, instead. "Yes, of course. Why not?" -
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[00:08] <Yanmei> "And if do somehow manage to kill his Eve, he's not going to hold a grudge against us? Seriously?"
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[00:33] <Minaplo> ["HRRRRrrrr."-
[00:34] <Minaplo> ["Zeruel is hedging his bets on being reunited with the Warmaster after all this is done. He understands." Gendo gave Yanmei a flat look. "You should understand what an incredible sacrifice this is on his part."]
[00:37] * Yanmei struggled to keep herself from scowling outright back at him. -
[00:38] <Yanmei> "Provided that it's not a big setup? Yes, I understand just fine."
[00:38] <Minaplo> ["It isn't a 'setup'." Said Gendo. "That I can tell you for certain."]
[00:43] <CakeyCake> She didn't say anything to that. Just peered down at Zeruel with, perhaps a bit more curiosity than terror now.
[00:58] <Minaplo> [14:44] <Minaplo> ["HRRRRRrrrrrr."-
[00:58] <Minaplo> [14:44] <Minaplo> [Gendo's eyebrows rose.]
[00:59] <Yanmei> "What? What did he say?"
[01:02] <Minaplo> ["Something interesting, I'll bring it up with you later. Do you have other things you want to ask him?"]
[01:08] <Yanmei> "…how does he view the Dysangelion pilots? They're enemies, obviously, and really lame and pathetic too? But they used to be on the same side." She paused. "Sort of."
[01:09] <Minaplo> [Gendo rolled his eyes at Yanmei's doth-protest-too-much.-
[01:09] <Minaplo> ["HRRRRRRRRRRRRR-HRRRRRR!"-
[01:10] <Minaplo> [The boat trembled again, a little more violently than it had last time.-
[01:11] <Minaplo> ["He says it is- a wrong thing that has been done. An enslavement of his people. He will destroy them if he can, if but to free them from the Empress of the Lilim."]
[01:13] <Yanmei> Yanmei sucked in a short, angry breath. "Don't call her that! She doesn't rule over us? She just -thinks- she does."
[01:14] <Minaplo> ["Are you reprimanding me, or him?"]
[01:15] <Yanmei> "Because you of all people need a lecture about it?" She rolled her eyes. "I'm talking to him, of course."
[01:18] <Minaplo> ["Are you going to seriously reprimand Zeruel over titles? Don't be so proud. Even an Empress can be overthrown."]
[01:21] <Yanmei> "It's important! Things have been screwed up enough because of the assumption that she… she represents us as a species? Are you really okay with perpetuating that?"
[01:23] <Minaplo> ["Do you honestly think he is not aware of that? He who burst into the Synfront and ripped three Evangelions from Caine's grasp? That he would somehow be blind to the difference?"]
[01:25] <Yanmei> "Be that as it may, it's still pretty insulting."
[01:26] <Minaplo> ["What would you prefer he call her, then? By all means, instruct the Angel below you on how a being with an alien mind and alien language should refer to the woman who controls the one world government and the souls of our race when we die."]
[01:34] * Yanmei flounced, turning her attention back to the Angel to do just that. "Just call her The Abominable Usurper. Simple, sweet, and conveys her role more accurately."
[01:35] <Minaplo> ["Fine. Anything else you want to ask?"]
[01:38] <Yanmei> "Only one last thing? Why does he have so much sympathy for us humans?"
[01:43] <Minaplo> ["A fair question, considering how little we deserve." Said Gendo to himself, before looking down at Zeruel.-
[01:44] <Minaplo> ["HRRRRRRrrrrr."-
[01:45] <Minaplo> ["He says because he knows humanity and Angels are kindred, and that in another time, another place, we would be allies and friends, instead of the lonely enemies we are thanks to circumstance. He thinks that destroying us would be criminal, because whilst this place was supposed to be the Angels' home, we have truly made it ours, and so it should remain."]
[01:49] <Yanmei> "…I see," she said eventually, her voice calm. "I guess that's it from me, then?"
[01:52] <Minaplo> [And with that, Zeruel started to sink, slowly, down into the depths. As it sank, Yanmei would be able to see more of its body- the huge shoulders glistening like hardened gemstones, the black, slightly morphic body that dissolved into ribbons; the 'arms' that terminated into long strands of blackness, flaring out like the wings of some huge bird, and finally, that gleaming red core in its
[01:52] <Minaplo> chest.-
[01:52] <Minaplo> ["There." Said Gendo. "You came face to face with Zeruel and survived." He said dryly.]
[01:57] <Yanmei> "You'll recall that I never put up much of a fuss about it?" She watched the descent, frowning a little. "Are you satisfied?"
[01:57] <Minaplo> ["Are you?"]
[01:59] <Yanmei> "In the sense that I've had my questions politely answered, certainly."
[02:00] <Minaplo> ["And in other senses?"]
[02:03] <Yanmei> "What do you people want me to do, anyway?" She was still frowning, even though it was just her reflection in the dark glass now. -
[02:09] <Yanmei> "Is there something I'm supposed to prepare for that hinges on my attitude toward the Angels? Because I can't see you or Elisha Caine going out of your way to educate me on this sympathetic angle unless there was." -
[02:10] <Yanmei> "Be straight with me. Does it have something to do with what 04's eventually supposed to do with Adam?"
[02:13] <Minaplo> ["Yes."]
[02:16] * Yanmei made a noise under her breath. "You both messed this up. After three years of hating them, it's a -little- difficult to change my outlook."
[02:18] <Minaplo> [Gendo shrugged.-
[02:19] <Minaplo> ["More to the point, I wanted to see whether you could see beyond your own hate. Whether you could look at Zeruel and see an individual entity instead of just another Angel."]
[02:20] <Yanmei> "And what are your observations?"
[02:30] <Minaplo> ["My observations… Let me ask you this simple question."-
[02:39] <Minaplo> ["What would you say to someone who denied the individuality of Rei? Who called her less of a person, a non-person?"]
[02:42] <Yanmei> This was almost certainly a trap. She paused, knowing it full well, and yet equally dissatisfied with her silence. "I'd disagree," she said grudgingly. Fine. She would play along.
[02:45] <Minaplo> ["Why?"]
[02:47] <Yanmei> "Because I know her? And I've watched her grow. And I've seen for myself that she's become her own person, just as her sisters have."
[02:49] <Minaplo> ["So did Rei have to earn that from you?"]
[02:50] <Yanmei> "Earn what? My opinion?"
[02:56] * SyntaxTerror has joined #nervfrance
[03:14] <Minaplo> ["Your acceptance."]
[03:22] <Yanmei> Another pause that went on too long for her tastes. -
[03:23] <Yanmei> "It just sort of happened," she muttered, "as I watched her struggle?"
[03:23] <Minaplo> [Gendo shook his head.-
[03:24] <Minaplo> ["I think Rei would be disappointed by that answer."]
[03:31] * ZackAFK is now known as Zack
[03:34] <Yanmei> "Then it's a good thing she's not here? Look. It's not like I inherently thought that about her right from the beginning? It took an incident or two to make me understand her a little better."
[03:34] <Minaplo> ["I know that. I understand that." Said Ikari quietly.-
[03:36] <Minaplo> ["Set aside your pride for a moment. Think about this person who denies Rei her personhood. No, forget it."-
[03:37] <Minaplo> ["No more hypotheticals. Think about you, back after that incident in Tokyo-2. That you who denied Rei her personhood. Is that you wrong?"]
[03:46] <Yanmei> "Yes," she muttered. "I was."
[03:46] * Raphael has joined #nervfrance
[03:47] <Minaplo> ["And why were you wrong? Think about this. You told me that you 'sort of happened' to accept Rei as time went on."-
[03:47] <Minaplo> ["What would you tell that you from the past? Would you tell her to accept Rei because she'll be worthy of acceptance one day?"-
[03:48] <Minaplo> ["Or would you tell her to accept Rei because she has always been worthy of acceptance, from the moment she was created?"]
[03:53] <Yanmei> "First of all? I don't remember Rei's personhood being defined by my acceptance at all. I believe that she had worth as a person when she was born, even if it wasn't immediately obvious to the old me." -
[03:59] <Yanmei> "So say I tell the old me this, and badger her into accepting Rei, and the old me refused. Doesn't it not matter one way or the other? The only things affected would be the old me's perception, and possibly Rei's self esteem, but it doesn't take away from the fact that Rei is actually an individual. Correct?"
[04:00] <Minaplo> ["Heh."-
[04:08] <Minaplo> ["That was always the central conflict. I remember what you said about Rei and her sisters that night. That logically, you would have to accept them as people, but you would never accept it emotionally, realistically, because you had no incentive."-
[04:08] <Minaplo> ["It was not Rei that changed this. It was you, forced to face reality, that drove the epiphany home."-
[04:12] <Minaplo> ["You saw Rei, and you learned what you knew but would not accept- that Rei was an individual, with feelings and beliefs, and wishes, who felt pain and loneliness, and who felt happiness and fulfillment. And that is when you began to respect her as a truly living thing, not a tool of myself or NERV."-
[04:13] <Minaplo> ["And you know full well that you should not, cannot turn away from that. From that understanding of sentience, that empathy. That beneath the face, the flesh, the AT Field, the body formed by borrowed genes and Angelic dna- is someone who feels and thinks."-
[04:14] <Minaplo> ["It does not matter whether Rei is a young girl, or whether she is a Disciple, or an Evangelion- does it? Do you accept, now, that Rei is Rei?"]
[04:18] <Yanmei> "Rei is Rei," she agreed with a simple nod. "And the same is basically true of her sisters?"
[04:19] <Minaplo> ["And knowing what you know now, knowing that acceptance of that doesn't depend on the individual being -worthy- of it, but rather the observer realising it, you accept, now, that Zeruel is Zeruel. Not an Angel, not a being to be hated. But a -person-. Zeruel is Zeruel."]
[13:17] * Yanmei formed a careful, cool mask of an expression. -
[13:22] <Yanmei> "I know where this is going? You're going to extend that argument to -all- of them, aren't you?"
[13:29] <Minaplo> ["That's the idea." Said Gendo. "That's -always- been the idea. Every Angel, every Lilim, every Ancestor and every Descendant."]
[13:34] <Yanmei> "Just so we're clear? Acknowledging their individuality doesn't invalidate my contempt for their cause or their previous actions."
[13:39] <Minaplo> ["Their cause? And what cause is that?"]
[13:40] <Yanmei> "Their actions, then," she said firmly. Stupid Adam and its stupid High Destiny.
[13:43] <Minaplo> ["Ah."-
[13:43] <Minaplo> [He applauded, slowly.]
[13:46] * Yanmei waited for him to conclude, determined not to openly shoot daggers with her eyes.
[13:47] <Minaplo> ["This isn't sarcastic applause."]
[13:50] * Yanmei blinked. "Something actually impressed you, then?" Had hell, perhaps, begun to freeze over?
[13:51] <Minaplo> ["Oh, yes. You learned- or seemed to have learned- to treat beings as individuals, and to judge them based on their actions, and not on their background or origin."-
[13:52] <Minaplo> ["A simple, basic thing, perhaps. But it is distressingly rare to see."]
[13:54] <Yanmei> "You must not be keeping up with Rei and the other Ayanamis, then," she muttered.
[13:57] <Minaplo> ["I didn't say it was unseen, I said it was rare." Said Gendo, his applause stopping abruptly.-
[14:01] <Minaplo> ["This reminds me. I have questions regarding the Spectre, with whom you had communications."]
[14:02] <Yanmei> There was a slight shift behind her eyes. "What about her?"
[14:03] <Minaplo> ["Tell me about her."]
[14:04] * Yanmei gave him a puzzled look. "Like, in general?"
[14:05] <Minaplo> ["Yes."]
[14:09] <Yanmei> She folded her arms, pacing a little at an easy, careless stride. "Our first meeting was pretty well-documented? But we met a few times afterward, off the record. Personality-wise, she was very… harsh. Rigid?" She tilted her head slightly before settling on a better descriptor. "To the point." -
[14:11] <Yanmei> "At first, the only thing I could get from her were evaded answers and weird fixation on the pilots' safety and her own privacy. But. But! She did unexpected things, too. Leaving Christmas gifts. Adopting a cat. Not killing me when I caught her without a mask once."
[14:12] <Minaplo> [An eyebrow rose.-
[14:12] <Minaplo> ["It sounds like you two were practically friends."]
[14:14] <Yanmei> "You're familiar with her combat capabilities, I'm guessing?" she went on quickly.
[14:26] <Minaplo> ["Yes."-
[14:26] <Minaplo> ["Don't change the subject. You were friends, weren't you? Or at the least, you felt as though you were."]
[14:29] <Yanmei> "We were on good terms, yes," she said stiffly. "Why?"
[14:30] <Minaplo> ["Curiosity. Unless I am mistaken, the Spectre is the same type of entity as the Solomon Primes- the one you encountered off the East Coast of the United States, or the two that destroyed my alpine base, for example."-
[14:32] <Minaplo> ["De Pteres thinks it is possible that they could be befriended, persuaded or recruited, and whilst most of what de Pteres says is mad raving lunacy, he may actually have a point here. Although I doubt these Solomons have such a loose leash… Almost certainly they have been conditioned and brainwashed into servitude, and knowing what Caine's capable of with her skill and technology, enslaved to her in a Destiny-like state using her Eternity Drive."]
[14:36] <Yanmei> "How is the Spectre situation any different? If she was sent as a spy, and the whole thing was just an act…"
[14:37] <Minaplo> ["I am not entirely sure her role was just that of a spy. The Spectre did rescue Blanc and de Pteres after the Brother fiasco in Italy. She may have committed espionage, and she definitely committed murder, but her main role seemed to be ensuring the safety of the pilots."]
[14:41] <Yanmei> "…" She considered it, warily. "What are you proposing based on that shaky assumption and de Pteres' clearly biased idea?"
[14:43] <Minaplo> ["Nothing." Said Ikari. "I am, however, musing, trying to find a way to measure these new enemies. The Spectre is still being kept at the Geofront- so far, all she has requested is her cat."-
[14:43] <Minaplo> ["But I will ask you, since you know better than I here- do you think her friendship was all just an act?"]
[14:49] <Yanmei> "I don't know. If she did, she's an incredible con artist? Some of it felt real."
[14:50] <Minaplo> ["Mm."-
[14:51] <Minaplo> ["All in all, would you prefer that she survive this- conflict?"]
[14:54] <Yanmei> "My opinion might change when her real motives come to light? But it would be nice if she did," she said at last.
[14:55] <Minaplo> ["Even though her soul is that of Ramliel's?"]
[14:56] <Yanmei> "What." She stared. Her gaze hardened.
[15:05] <Minaplo> ["Indeed. It is not so surprising. Ramliel's soul was harvested even before Mary- by Azariah, who placed a half of her soul into this." He held up his hand, and Yanmei saw something round and bulbous moving beneath the flesh of the palm.-
[15:05] <Minaplo> ["The other half must've been kept elsewhere, and Caine claimed it."]
[15:18] <Yanmei> "And she kept that from me too, huh?" she said bitterly. She was wearing a dangerous scowl now. "Maybe she had the right idea. To hell with her!"
[15:18] <Minaplo> ["It's possible she might not remember." Said Gendo.]
[15:20] <Yanmei> That didn't seem to console her much. "Ramliel! Of all of them, it had to be that one…"
[15:23] <Minaplo> ["Yes." Said Gendo. "Ramliel. In fact, I'm -sure- she doesn't remember. The Aline clone that attacked my base- who I am sure is Qaphsiel- bore a burning grudge against Aline, but you killed Ramliel- and the Spectre did not seem to let that affect your friendship. Perhaps it would be best for you to simply let bygones be bygones and embrace the new Ramliel."]
[15:28] <Yanmei> "No. No no no, you are asking way too much?" She shook her head furiously. "Don't just spring this on me and expect me to take it in stride! Just… let me think."
[15:29] <Minaplo> [Gendo inclined his head.-
[15:29] <Minaplo> [But Gendo being Gendo…-
[15:29] <Minaplo> ["Have it your way, Watcher."]
[15:32] * Yanmei didn't bother to hide the eye-daggers now. "And don't call me that!"
[15:33] <Minaplo> ["Fine. Let's talk about something else whilst you come to terms with the Spectre's previous identity."-
[15:34] <Minaplo> ["Earlier, I mentioned that Zeruel told me something interesting."]
[15:35] * Yanmei waited for him to continue. If he'd trained Zeruel to make his own snide side comments…
[15:36] <Minaplo> ["Come. Let us go topside." And with that, he brushed past her and up the stairs.]
[15:38] <Yanmei> "What-?" But it was either follow or be left alone in that empty glass-bottomed room. Yanmei frowned, and ascended as well.
[15:38] <Minaplo> [On the deck, once again. The wind blew at Yanmei's face, carrying with it a salty, clean smell.-
[15:39] <Minaplo> ["The Pacific Ocean." Said Gendo, waving dismissively at the water. "The largest ocean in the world."-
[15:39] <Minaplo> ["Do you know what makes it special for people like us?"]
[15:46] * Yanmei shrugged. "Some sort of navel tactical advantage? I've no idea."
[15:49] <Yanmei> ^naval
[16:01] <Minaplo> ["Nothing so prosaic."_
[16:02] <Minaplo> ["This is where it began for us." Said Gendo. "This is where, eons ago, Lilith's Black Moon crashed into the earth- a large, dense object simultaneously travelling at a speed exceeding that of light, potentially."-
[16:03] <Minaplo> ["This is what they call First Impact. The impact had so much force that it shifted the earth's rotational axis and created a massive impact crater- the Pacific Ocean."-
[16:03] <Minaplo> ["The debris from that impact was launched into space, where it eventually became the Moon."]
[16:12] <Yanmei> "So humanity and the moon got their start from the very same incident. But what does that have to do with what Zeruel said?"
[16:14] <Minaplo> ["You know that all Seeds- Adam, Lilith- travel with a security device, a device designed to disable the Seeds should they fight, or to prevent a situation where two Seeds unify into a godlike entity. The Lance of Longinus, for example."]
[16:18] * Yanmei nodded slowly. "But one of them was lost, wasn't it?"
[16:19] <Minaplo> ["Yes. Lilith's device was broken during the impact. Shattered into fragments. Lilith recovered most of them, but not enough to repair it."-
[16:21] <Minaplo> ["When I told Zeruel to hide in the Mariana Trench, I did it because the Trench is a naturally difficult place to scout. It is nearly 11 kilometres deep, 2,500 kilometres long- at depths of 11 kilometres, an Evangelion will crumple beneath the pressure in an hour, unless it is wearing D-Type Equipment."-
[16:22] <Minaplo> ["But Zeruel grew bored. He began to explore the trench. Apart from finding all types of creatures, he also found- with his own Angelic senses- something else. I didn't realise it, but the Trench is a scar- a scar from Lilith's weapon, a massive gouge in the Earth from when it sensed what was happening and tried to stop it."-
[16:22] <Minaplo> ["Zeruel found the last piece."]
[16:27] <Yanmei> "Did… he?" Yanmei blinked hard, prodding at the deeper implications in her mind. "What do you plan to do with it?"
[16:30] <Minaplo> ["Keep it hidden." Said Gendo. "And, if the situation becomes truly urgent, I will reforge it myself, although… I don't think I could restore its proper power. It would merely be the equal to Excalibur, maybe a little more- but still a powerful weapon."]
[16:35] <Yanmei> "Well, best of luck with that? Though if we're fortunate, it won't even have to come to that."
[16:36] <Minaplo> ["Mm."-
[16:36] <Minaplo> [He turned to her abruptly. "Ready to go?"]
[16:38] * Yanmei hesitated. "Via VTOL?" she asked hopefully.
[16:39] <Minaplo> ["And give Caine a chance to find us? Not a chance." Said Gendo swiftly. "Come. It will only hurt for a few seconds. Would you prefer I jaunt you into your bathroom?"]
[16:42] <Yanmei> "That's not necessary," she grumbled. After a second, she threw her shoulders back, and tossed her hair. "Anyway, I'm sure I'll fare better this time? Since I know what to expect."
[16:42] <Minaplo> ["Hnh."-
[16:42] <Minaplo> [He grabbed her by the arm, and in a second- they were gone.-
[16:43] <Minaplo> […-
[16:43] <Minaplo> [Oh god, why?-
[16:43] <Minaplo> [Her head, her body, everything- it was almost worse the second time around…!-
[16:43] <Minaplo> [And a lot of noise was happening, too, there was something howling and…]
[16:48] <Yanmei> "D… d'fff…" She struggled to figure out which way gravity was pulling her. Or… if gravity even a thing again.
[16:48] <Yanmei> ^was even
[16:48] <Minaplo> [Down, it seemed.-
[16:48] <Minaplo> [It took Yanmei a minute to realise she was being held.]
[16:50] <Yanmei> And an extra minute to question it, eying the appendage holding her and following it up to the culprit.
[16:52] <Minaplo> [Light skin, fair hair. Blue eyes. Isaiah, looking both worried and relieved.]
[16:54] * Yanmei stared blankly at him, trying to work out why he was there. Then she remembered their room on the Battleship, and tried to sit up suddenly.
[16:55] <Minaplo> ["Whoa. Easy now."-
[16:55] <Minaplo> [He helped her up a little.-
[16:56] <Minaplo> [The room came into focus. Lupe was standing on the end of the bed, sniffing curiously, warily…]
[16:57] <Yanmei> "W-what did you see?"
[16:59] <Minaplo> ["You appeared in here with Gendo, you toppled, and then he stumbled into the closet and vanished. What on Earth is going on?"]
[17:01] <Yanmei> "…" -
[17:02] <Yanmei> "Oh, god, I feel so sick! If I just had a little peace and quiet to rest a while…"
[17:06] <Minaplo> ["…" Isaiah eyed her suspiciously- but he sighed, shaking his head. "Probably not a bad idea anyway. Should I leave you to your nap?"]
[17:11] <Yanmei> "Sure…" She eyed the wolf with a little smile. "Heh. I guess he was kind of worried too?"
[17:12] <Minaplo> ["He's not used to sudden changes like that."]
[17:14] <Yanmei> "Mmph, I guess." She flopped back tiredly, head on her pillow again. "…listen. Stick around a minute. I think I can explain some things to you after all?"
[17:17] <Minaplo> [He flopped down on the other side. "Take your time."]
[17:22] <Minaplo> [A few hours would pass, and Yanmei would be lulled to sleep by the softness of the pillows and the blankets…-
[17:23] <Minaplo> [Isaiah would sneak off at this point to go meet Rei.-
[17:24] <Minaplo> [Once he'd picked Lizzie up from Rei's room, he returned, grabbing some food for Yanmei along the way- and it was this lovely food that would eventually tempt Yanmei back into consciousness.-
[17:24] <Minaplo> [Lizzie, of course, would find the closet a little ajar, and look inside- occupied for a few minutes with whatever she found.-
[17:24] <Minaplo> [And then she emerged, running up to Yanmei with pure eagerness, holding a toy up to Yanmei. "Maamaa, look~"-
[17:25] <Minaplo> [That bastard had made Elizabeth a small stuffed Zeruel toy. Purely to get Yanmei's goat.-
[17:25] <Minaplo> [And now that Lizzie had it…]
[17:29] * Yanmei stared incredulously. All right. This wasn't a huge problem, surely… -
[17:30] <Yanmei> "Very nice, Lizzie! But wouldn't you rather play with General Bear~?"
[17:31] <Minaplo> ["Play both, maamaa!"]
[17:35] <Yanmei> "Of course." Yanmei sighed deeply. That bastard. With her luck, Marketing would start getting weird ideas…
[17:49] <Minaplo> [And so Lizzie did, clutching tightly onto her new toy- and when she went to sleep, she did so with General Bear in one hand, Fluffy Zeruel in the other, and Mini-Marianne in the corner.]

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