Yanmei S Denied Favour

[13:10] <Yanmei> It was a few weeks before Christmas, and so the Montrouge-2 Central Shopping Mall was ablaze with bright tinsel and flashing red, green, and gold lights. Old-fashioned holiday music filtered over the teeming shoppers from overhead speakers. -
[13:18] <Yanmei> In the center of the first floor of the mall, was a towering roped-off tree with every sort of Christmas-themed ornament imaginable glistening from its branches. There was a figure among many resting in its shadow, staring up at it with dull eyes, the fingers on her cell phone having grown slack. She was alone at the moment. Waiting for someone to return…?
[13:23] <Minaplo> ["Back~" Said Marianne cheerfully, holding a cardboard cup holder. Within sat two coffee cups. "This one's yours…"]
[13:25] * Yanmei snapped out of whatever she was thinking, and grinned at her before reaching. "Ah! Great! This'll warm us up. Thanks Marianne~"
[13:26] <Minaplo> ["Not a problem! God, I'm lucky I -only- needed coffee. The restrooms look like a nightmare."]
[13:28] * Yanmei had her cup halfway to her lips. At that she paused, and took a more tentative sip as she considered the near future. "Maybe we'd better not drink too much in that case?"
[13:33] <Minaplo> ["It'll be fine." Said Marianne. "Ok! So where do we want to look at next?"]
[13:35] <Yanmei> "I heard that there's a huge sale at one of the jewelry shops. Want to see?"
[13:36] <Minaplo> ["Hmmm." Marianne considered. "I do need to pick up a few gifts, actually…"]
[13:43] <Yanmei> "Jewelry is a nice gift. Especially if it's a ring or a romantic locket for someone~"
[13:55] <Minaplo> ["What are you implying?"]
[13:59] <Yanmei> "Hehehe… oh nothing~ Just promise me that you'll have some fun instead of working all the way through the holidays. It's so boring…"
[14:00] <Minaplo> ["Like you'll care." Said Marianne with a smirk. "You'll have other things on your mind."]
[14:07] * Yanmei coughed delicately. "Just because I'm meeting up with him doesn't mean I'll forget all of my other responsibilities all of a sudden?" She straightened the collar of the little blue dress she was wearing and mock-huffed. "I'm a professional too, after all."
[14:16] <Minaplo> ["Ah, but weren't you just telling me not to be professional on -my- holiday~?"]
[14:20] <Yanmei> "W-well, yes. But it's different for me, because I'm not overworked."
[14:21] <Minaplo> ["Oh, of course." Said Marianne sarcastically, winking.]
[14:24] <Yanmei> "I'm also not quite as brilliant and amazing and generous as you are~" Yanmei sidled up a little closer to her. "You're like a total saint or something."
[14:25] <Minaplo> ["Well, that's true." Said Marianne, eyeing Yanmei warily. "What do you want?"]
[14:28] <Yanmei> "What do you mean~? I'm just telling the truth about my favorite Marianne," she said smoothly. "That's hardly a crime, is it? There's just… one little thing…"
[14:29] <Minaplo> ["Here we go."]
[14:34] <Yanmei> "Since we were just talking about this sort of stuff, I remembered something I overheard some technicians talking about. Something that would make me look silly and effect my professionalism in the worst way! If… if only there was someone who could veto it before it happened…"
[14:34] <Minaplo> [Marianne's eyebrows rose.]
[14:37] <Yanmei> "It's… a new plugsuit design! Not -new- new. It's supposed to resemble Blanc's, and is every bit as indecent. But I like my old one, so it's completely unnecessary?"
[14:37] <Minaplo> ["Absolutely not." Said Marianne flatly, sipping her coffee.]
[14:44] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei stared a moment, and then slyly switched tact, taking a sip from her own coffee in the most mature and pokerlike manner she could muster. "You know, the other day, when you were working on your car? I noticed that some of your tools were a little dinged up. The toolbox too." -
[14:45] <Yanmei> She flashed a bright and innocent smile at her. "Wouldn't it be great if Santa left you a completely new set? Box included?"
[14:46] <Minaplo> ["Yes, that would be nice." Conceded Marianne. "And hopefully Santa would leave me a new set out of the kindness of her heart, instead of as a bribe…"]
[14:48] <Yanmei> "Bribe is an ugly word? It's more like, an 'incentive'. C'mon, please?"
[14:48] <Minaplo> ["-No-. Do you even know what the suit does?"]
[14:52] <Yanmei> "I know what it -doesn't- do: cover the wearer properly. It's… it's probably a plot by the Marketing department again!"
[14:52] <Minaplo> ["It is not. I was the one who put the order in."]
[14:53] <Yanmei> "You?" Her eyes widened. "But.. but why? What's wrong with the old one?"
[14:55] <Minaplo> ["It's not a problem of old versus new, it's a problem of roles. The new plugsuit has a special function."]
[14:56] <Yanmei> "I don't understand."
[14:59] <Minaplo> ["You're familiar with oversynchronisation contamination, right? It happened in the last battle, and the one with Silas as well…"]
[15:00] <Yanmei> "Well… yes." Yanmei glanced aside, not liking the feelings that came with the memories.
[15:02] <Minaplo> ["The new plugsuit has a special limiter- a cable that connects to an interface in the Plug. So long as its connected it essentially limits your synchronisation to 100%- the highest safest limit. So as long as it's in, no permanent damage will occur. It's to keep you -safe-."]
[15:07] <Yanmei> "But…" She tried to shake her uneasiness. "What are the chances of something like that happening again? I usually don't synch as high as Blanc, or even de Pteres. M-maybe we don't have to take such precautions?"
[15:12] <Minaplo> ["It's happened with regularity in the last few battles." Said Marianne, her eyebrows knitting together. "You're a professional, right? Sometimes professionals have to do something unpleasant, but it's for the right reasons."]
[15:17] <Yanmei> "Ugh…" Yanmei's shoulders sagged a little. "I am a professional. Just… couldn't they make it a little less… you know…"
[15:18] <Minaplo> ["I asked about that, but apparently it's something to do with the material, it conducts the electrical charge in a certain way." Marianne patted Yanmei on the shoulder sympathetically. "Think of it as a bikini!"]
[15:20] <Yanmei> "I stopped wearing bikinis a while ago," Yanmei mumbled.
[15:21] <Minaplo> ["W-well…" Marianne looked momentarily wrong-footed. "I'll try to speak to them about it. Try to maybe see if they can provide more coverage over the chest. I bet even a bit of gauze would cover those up, right?"]
[15:22] <Yanmei> "Gauze. Am I allowed to use that?" A spark of hope.
[15:23] <Minaplo> ["It's never stopped us before."]
[15:25] <Yanmei> "You're right. So maybe it's not hopeless?" She considered her options quietly and seriously… and then broke that with another grin. "Thanks, Marianne~"
[15:30] <Minaplo> ["Not a problem~" Said Marianne with her own grin. "Just remember, I'd rather not see you turn into LCL."]
[15:36] <Yanmei> "Yeah, same here? I guess it's one less thing we have to worry about now."
[15:38] <Minaplo> ["Allowing us to focus on more important things."]
[15:41] <Yanmei> "Like more battles. Heh. We were all pretty good in the last fight. That formation training paid off, big time?"
[15:42] <Minaplo> ["It did! Even I was impressed."]
[15:45] <Yanmei> "The battleship had some pretty fancy shooting going on too~"
[15:49] <Minaplo> ["That was more Archibald's doing, of course…"]
[15:51] <Yanmei> "What do you think of her?"
[16:04] <Minaplo> ["Intelligent, professional. She'll do her job well."]
[16:06] * Yanmei nodded her agreement. "You'll want to be careful, though? I think James is plotting to get close to her when he gets back on his feet."
[16:06] <Minaplo> ["Good luck to him."]
[16:10] * Yanmei snickered and finished off the rest of her coffee cheerfully "Yeah, I told him the same thing. Oh well."
[16:12] <Minaplo> [They walked on a little bit, Marianne's eyes narrowing in dislike as she passes a crowded restaurant.-
[16:13] <Minaplo> ["Oh!" Her face brightened quickly. "Did you see our new houseguest~?"]
[16:15] <Yanmei> "Ah…?" Yanmei thought a moment, and then scowled. "That darn bird…"
[16:16] <Minaplo> ["Don't be mean. Fino's a good friend!"]
[16:19] <Yanmei> "To you, maybe. And unfortunately, Lizzie seems to love him too."
[16:22] <Minaplo> ["I saw her giving him some of her lunch the other night. That's how I made friends with him too~" Marianne beamed. "You just don't like birds."]
[16:26] <Yanmei> "Because they're loud, have no concept of personal space, and they try to steal your lunch when you're not looking. And I don't hate -all- birds? Katsuragi's bizarro penguin's okay in a sideshow freak sort of way."
[16:30] <Minaplo> ["Don't be so mean. You know Pen-Pen's intelligent, right?"]
[16:33] <Yanmei> "His choice in roommates says otherwise~"
[16:35] <Minaplo> ["Hey now. You shouldn't speak so badly of Major Katsuragi. She's been good to you!"]
[16:38] <Yanmei> "Aw, I was just joking!" Yanmei chuckled, and glanced around easily at some of the clothing stores they passed. "But yeah. Pen-Pen's… unusual. He drinks beer, like a human."
[16:38] <Minaplo> ["He also uses credit cards, like a human."]
[16:39] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei raised her eyebrows. "Come again?"
[16:39] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, he bought Raphael beer last year, didn't you know that?"]
[16:43] <Yanmei> "I… did not." She tried to sort it out in her mind. To imagine it. "Was it good beer?"
[16:43] <Minaplo> ["Very good beer. Top shelf."]
[16:44] <Yanmei> "You're sure it wasn't just Katsuragi pretending to be him?"
[16:45] <Minaplo> ["Quite sure."]
[16:53] <Yanmei> "How did he even get the credit card?" Yanmei muttered. "Did someone co-sign the application for it? Maybe he nicked it…"
[16:53] <Minaplo> ["It's a mystery." Said Marianne with a grin.-
[16:53] <Minaplo> ["Maybe you should visit Tokyo-2 this christmas~"]
[16:58] <Yanmei> "Hmm…" Her expression shifted slightly. "Sorry! Maybe another time. If it's Christmas, than Elizabeth should get to see her other mom, right? So…"
[17:00] <Minaplo> ["Ah, so you three are off to Nairobi this Christmas…"]
[17:03] <Yanmei> "We could all meet up in Tokyo or Boston or someplace, if I thought there was a chance they'd let her move around freely," Yanmei grumbled. "Or Russia. I here it's pretty in parts of it? I still have to secure a VTOL for the trip, at any rate."
[17:05] <Minaplo> ["Well, that shouldn't be too hard. I'm not sure where I'm going yet…"]
[17:06] <Yanmei> "You're always welcomed to come with us," she offered.
[14:46] <AdEvaGM> ["Hmm. I don't think Kenya's quite my style…"]
[14:47] <Yanmei> "What about the States, then~?"
[14:53] <AdEvaGM> ["Maybe." Said Marianne diffidently. "Maybe I should just stay home…"]
[14:56] <Yanmei> "But why? If you stay here, you'll probably end up working again or something…"
[14:57] <AdEvaGM> ["True." Said Marianne. "Actually, I might go visit Naples again."]
[14:58] <Yanmei> "You should take Fino with you." With luck, he would decide to stay there instead. "Any word on William's plans?"
[14:58] <AdEvaGM> ["He's heading to visit his old monastery." Said Marianne. "At least for a week."]
[15:00] <Yanmei> "Oh, yeah. I guess he would do something like that? He says the monks there are his family."
[15:01] <AdEvaGM> ["Yeah. They must be an odd bunch…"]
[15:05] <Yanmei> "We should get him to take photos so we'll know what they're like. But to be honest, I'm surprised he didn't want to head to Italy or anything. To see how the rebuilding's going?"
[15:06] <AdEvaGM> ["I think he might be, at some point, to be honest."]
[15:07] * Yanmei nodded slowly. A faint crinkle formed in her forehead.
[15:07] <AdEvaGM> ["What's up?"]
[15:12] <Yanmei> "We still don't know why the Spectre went out there, do we?"
[15:14] <AdEvaGM> [A dark shadow crossed Marianne's face. "We don't. We can only assume it went out there to free our captured pilots."]
[15:18] <Yanmei> "Nothing it does makes any sense," Yanmei muttered.
[15:19] <AdEvaGM> ["It doesn't seem like it wants to hurt any of the Pilots." Her face became bitter. "Anyone else is fair game."]
[15:25] <Yanmei> Yeah…" Yanmei shook her head, more than a little sober by now. "I'm sorry, Marianne."
[15:26] <AdEvaGM> ["It's alright." Said Marianne, her face tightening. "I didn't know Severin well, but he was a good man."]
[15:28] <Yanmei> "Yeah, he was…"
[15:30] <AdEvaGM> ["Well." She took a breath. "All that's left to do now is go over the evidence the cameras produced."]
[15:32] <Yanmei> "They caught something after all?"
[15:34] <AdEvaGM> ["They did. The cameras worked as advertised."]
[15:45] <Yanmei> "If that's true, then we're pretty much done with following it around for data, right?"
[15:46] <AdEvaGM> ["Hmm. Not quite. There's still a lot about it we don't know. There is one thing we -do- know, though."]
[15:46] <Yanmei> "What's that?"
[15:49] <AdEvaGM> ["I'll show you later." Said Marianne, looking around at all the people warily.]
[15:52] * Yanmei followed her gaze briefly around, and then nodded, and tried to cheer her up a bit. "Hey. Let's get some stuff for William and Lizzie while we're here."
[15:53] <AdEvaGM> ["O-Oh. Sure! What should we get Will?"]
[15:56] <Yanmei> "More posters~? Or maybe some music."
[16:01] <AdEvaGM> ["Hmm." She rubbed her chin. "Maybe. I don't even know where to find the sort of posters he likes."]
[16:08] <Yanmei> "Me neither. He has the worst taste in decorating? But if we search hard, I'm sure we can find it."
[16:09] <AdEvaGM> ["Or we can find something else for him. What about Lizzie?"]
[16:13] <Yanmei> "Hm… do you think she has enough toys?" Yanmei fussed with her own hair thoughtfully. "Well, a few more couldn't hurt, right~? It seems like she's big on animals lately."
[16:14] <AdEvaGM> ["A cute seagull toy would be nice~"]
[16:18] <Yanmei> "Hmph! I won't let you two brainwash her over to your side with toy propaganda. She'll learn to eat her meals properly instead of giving them away and like it!"
[16:26] <AdEvaGM> ["There's nothing wrong with -sharing-."]
[16:31] <Yanmei> "Only in certain contexts!" Yanmei pouted. "He'll keep coming back at this rate."
[16:33] <AdEvaGM> ["Of course." Marianne frowned sternly. "I like Fino, meanie. I want him to stay~"]
[16:38] <Yanmei> The pout deepened. "That long-term friendship thing, huh?"
[16:38] <AdEvaGM> ["Of course. If you ever had a pet that wasn't your fluffy boy, you'd know that."]
[16:42] <Yanmei> "H-he's not my pet!" Yanmei folded her arms and huffed again. "Well, whatever. On a scale from 1 to Otis, I suppose he's not -that- intolorable."
[16:43] <AdEvaGM> ["Otis is the top limit there?" Asked Marianne with a grin.]
[16:45] <Yanmei> "Yes. Although, to be fair, there are certain people who don't even fit on the scale."
[16:45] <AdEvaGM> ["Oh really…?"]
[16:48] <Yanmei> "Yes. But I'l leave that to your imagination~"
[16:54] <AdEvaGM> ["I wonder where I fall…"]
[16:55] <Yanmei> "You'd be in the negative numbers~" Yanmei grinned. "You're not annoying at all."
[16:56] <AdEvaGM> ["Aww, you're so sweet. What do you want for Christmas, hmm~?"]
[17:00] <Yanmei> "Hmm…~ Maybe a credit card of my own~?"
[17:24] <AdEvaGM> ["What? Why do you want a credit card?"]
[17:25] <Yanmei> "Oh, for, like, emergencies? It would need a high limit, too. Some of the shops around here are expensive!"
[17:26] <AdEvaGM> ["Nope." Marianne said succinctly. "Your monthly allowance should be fine. You turn 18 in a year, you can get one then." She said primly.]
[17:30] <Yanmei> "What's with this stern attitude?" Yanmei complained. "The penguin gets to mess around with a credit card, no questions asked, and I have to wait? That's not even fair!"
[17:31] <AdEvaGM> ["That's because a penguin who only needs beer and fish is a lot less prone to credit card disaster than a seventeen year old teenager surrounded by shops."]
[17:33] <Yanmei> "It's not like I'd buy -everything-…"
[17:33] <AdEvaGM> ["No." Said Marianne sternly. "I thought you'd know how dangerous credit cards were after a few decades of adulthood."]
[17:35] <Yanmei> "Of course I do~ That's all the more reason to trust me, right?"
[17:36] <AdEvaGM> ["If I -were- to get you a credit card…" She tapped her chin. "It'd be low-limit. 100 francs, max."]
[17:39] <Yanmei> "I was hoping for… ten or twenty times that?"
[17:40] <AdEvaGM> ["If it's for emergencies, you wouldn't need more than 100 francs."]
[17:45] <Yanmei> "Super stern." Yanmei shook her head. "I'm sure we'll have plenty of time to discuss it later, though?"
[17:45] <AdEvaGM> ["I'm sure." Said Marianne with a smile. "C'mon. Let's hit up the music store for William- see if we can beat the crowds…"]
[17:47] <Yanmei> "I think I can handle that~ Let's go!"

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