Yanmei S Preparations

[22:09] * Yanmei was just about reaching the point where small talk gave way to Important Business. -
[22:12] <Yanmei> She was dressed neatly in her black suit again, doing her best to project the air of someone who was always in control. Yes, it was as if the young woman sitting across from her had never been present during the few outbursts the previous week's gaming tournament had brought forth. -
[22:14] <Yanmei> Not even outbursts, really. Cool calculated objections to conduct that was unbefitting of any workplace get-together. Yes, that was exactly what it had been like… -
[22:18] <Yanmei> "I love what you've done with this place, by the way~" she was saying. The place in question was an office. An office swamped with paperwork, but a stately one, all the same. Yanmei herself was seated in one of the available guest chairs, with Ayanami Rei right next to her. "It looks really elegant?"
[22:23] <Minaplo> ["I think that's really more the room's doing than mine," Said Minerva Linden politely.-
[22:29] <Minaplo> [The desk was heavy and ornate, and indeed covered with paperwork. Behind Linden, flanking the window- which showed the Atlantic Ocean speeding past as the Battleship headed for Paris- were two American flags. Someone had cleverly affixed the Seal of the President to the front of the desk, giving the room that official look; and finally, a large portrait hung up against one wall, but, being
[22:29] <Minaplo> unable to remove it due to the Battleship's attitude, Minerva had simply thrown a sheet over it and hung a different portrait over it, one of Abraham Lincoln. The portrait looked a little unsteady due to its weird configuration…-
[22:30] <Minaplo> [Minerva herself was wearing a crisp white shirt and an elegant, but impressive black business jacket, a sharp straight business skirt and dark stockings.-
[22:31] <Minaplo> [This was Minerva, however, and some things didn't change. Minerva's shoes were neatly placed at the head of the bed, and her feet themselves were bare but for the stockings, allowing her to wiggle her toes idly if she so wished.-
[22:33] <Minaplo> [Rei sat next to Yanmei, as noted, wearing her same red dress and yellow scarf. She looked a little nervous, but gave both Yanmei and Minerva warm looks.]
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[22:40] <Yanmei> "It's so picky," Yanmei grumbled. "It'll be a happy day for the Colonel especially when we learn how to shut its interior decorating reset button off once and for all. Anyway, I take it the redecorating means you're planning to stay with us for a while?"
[22:42] <Minaplo> ["The facilities here are excellently suited to my needs." Said Minerva. "And I'm safe here, too. I risk assassination if I leave, you see." She smiled wryly. "Should I tell you a secret?"]
[22:43] <Yanmei> "Hm? Sure," she leaned forward a little, curious.
[22:44] <Minaplo> ["It's been kept secret from the wider world, but HIC Councillor Washington was found dead a few days ago."]
[22:45] * Yanmei stared. An odd look began to creep across her face.
[22:48] <Minaplo> ["Officially, they say it was a heart attack, but I highly doubt that. Washington was fit as a fiddle, and amongst other things had implants designed to lengthen his lifespan, so I think assassination. Poison, maybe. But if whoever killed him can touch a Councillor- a member of Seele, no less, who used to be one of their most powerful figures… A little President wouldn't be hard."]
[22:50] <Yanmei> "I guess that's a good point?" Yanmei sat back in her chair again. "His death could mean any number of things, though."
[22:52] <Minaplo> ["Hm?"]
[22:58] <Yanmei> "Maybe he pissed off the wrong people within Seele. Or maybe an unrelated enemy just got lucky. Ever since you took control of the States, he's gotten less and less powerful. Maybe he finally just hit a level that made it easier for someone with a grudge to come back to take revenge." She smiled wryly. -
[23:00] <Yanmei> "It's pretty optimistic, I know. What do you think?"
[23:01] <Minaplo> ["Hm. Maybe. Someone like him has a lot of enemies. Myself included." She smiled coldly. "I'm not going to miss him, but it's kind of a pain he's dead. Someone else is going to take his place, and I prefer knowing my enemies over not."-
[23:01] <Minaplo> [Rei shifted a little uncomfortably. Perhaps she just wasn't one for talk of assassination and schemes…]
[23:05] * Yanmei noticed that, and tried to shift the conversation for her sake. "I don't blame you at all. Whether the same person targets you or not, it's probably safer to stay among friends until your people can give you an accurate view of the situation overall. Have you been keeping up with developments happening on board lately?"
[23:07] <Minaplo> ["Oh, yes. Did you hear a group of technicians attacked the Warmaster's emissary?"]
[23:07] <Yanmei> "They -what-?" Apparently, Yanmei hadn't heard, no.
[23:08] <Minaplo> ["They swarmed him in a hallway and broke his arm, one of his legs, several ribs." Said Minerva, shaking her head. "Even though he begged them to stop."]
[23:11] <Yanmei> "Of course they would do something like that. But…"
[23:11] <Minaplo> ["But?"]
[23:13] <Yanmei> "This is a bad sign? It's not the first violent incident they've been involved in since the defeat in Boston. Is anyone going to formally address this before they get even more out of hand?"
[23:14] <Minaplo> [Rei squirmed again.-
[23:14] <Minaplo> ["I hope so. Morale's low…" Murmured Minerva.-
[23:15] <Minaplo> ["I suppose it's not too unusual that people are starting to panic and become stupid, but this isn't the time. But no, I've definitely kept my ears open regarding matters on the bridge." She gave Yanmei and Rei a keen look.]
[23:17] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei cleared her throat. "Ah. You've heard, then. About the trial."
[23:19] <Minaplo> ["Mmmhm."]
[23:21] <Yanmei> "What are your thoughts on it, if I may ask?"
[23:28] <Minaplo> ["I'm not surprised." Said Minerva. "Rei… You're such a sweetheart." She shook her head fondly, reaching out to grab Rei's hand. "No more hitting people with chairs, ok? Even if they really deserve it…"-
[23:29] <Minaplo> [Rei looked ashamed. "I'm s-sorry. I promise it won't happen again…"-
[23:29] <Minaplo> [Minerva smiled. "In any case, Yanmei, it'd be bad form to let things like this slide without some type of official response. The technicians who attacked you are being court-martialled as well- and boy are they getting it…"]
[23:31] <Yanmei> "I hadn't realized." Yanmei shook her head. "It would make sense if they wanted to make an example of them? Squishing the unrest, so to speak."
[23:33] <Minaplo> ["Assaulting a superior officer is a serious offence, and assaulting an Evangelion pilot is moreso. If you guys had just held back for a minute or so, you two could've walked out of the cafeteria without so much as a reprimand."]
[23:36] <Yanmei> "It's unfortunate? But we can't go back and change the past. We're here, in fact, because we're looking at what we can do for ourselves in the near future."
[23:36] <Minaplo> ["Oh?"]
[23:37] <Yanmei> "Would you be interested in acting as a witness for Rei's trial, Madame President?"
[23:41] <Minaplo> ["A witness? On what grounds?"]
[23:42] <Yanmei> "We're looking for people who can simply vouch for Rei's character."
[23:44] <Minaplo> ["You're using the President of the United States as a character witness?" Said Minerva, astonishment in her tone.]
[23:46] <Yanmei> "That's right~" Yanmei beamed. "Would you be opposed to it?"
[23:51] <Minaplo> ["That's… That's… That's so audacious. I want to kiss you right now~"]
[23:54] * Yanmei giggled. "If we're going to fight this, we may as well fight to -win-."
[23:54] <Minaplo> ["Well." Minerva sat back in her chair, grinning. "I'll be your witness… But you'll have to do something for me first. I think that's only fair."]
[23:55] <Yanmei> "Well, I already do you owe you a lot as it is? What can we help you with?"
Session Time: Thu Aug 22 00:00:00 2013
[00:01] <Minaplo> ["First of all, I need you to give something to the Emissary on my behalf. I consider him a friend, but I'm really, really busy these days. I want to go visit him, but…"]
[00:02] <Yanmei> "Well… we were going to go to sick bay today anyway? So we could do that easily."
[00:03] <Minaplo> ["Excellent." She smiled. "Secondly… I want to have a word with that brat Wellesley."-
[00:03] <Minaplo> [Rei coloured.]
[00:04] * Yanmei raised an eyebrow. "Can't you just command him to come to your office?"
[00:06] <Minaplo> ["It doesn't work like that, unfortunately." Said Minerva darkly. "He's actively avoiding me, too."]
[00:08] <Yanmei> "What's this about, anyway?"
[00:08] <Minaplo> ["Wellesley and I are both Companions- the NeoAlexander Project. You know that much, right?"]
[00:10] * Yanmei nodded, growing a little more somber just from the mention of that.
[00:10] <Minaplo> ["We used to be friends. And rivals, too. But friends mostly."-
[00:11] <Minaplo> ["But after the LN War… I suppose he bore a grudge against me for my allegiance. He refused to speak to me, to work with me unless he absolutely had to…"-
[00:11] <Minaplo> [Rei sighed. "I tried to get him to forgive you, but he wouldn't listen."-
[00:12] <Minaplo> ["It's not your fault, Reirei." Said Minerva warmly. "He's just a stubborn esel. He always has been."-
[00:14] <Minaplo> ["But, after the Geofront battle, I did a lot to orchestrate his rescue, even though I had electrical burns across my body. And now I bet he's just avoiding me because he doesn't want to admit he was being completely unreasonable~"]
[00:18] <Yanmei> "So you want us to help you corner him so that you two can talk properly. Seems fine to me!"
[00:19] <Minaplo> ["No no. Just tell him that if he doesn't come see me, I won't be a witness to help his dear Reirei~" Minerva giggled, as though she wasn't being frighteningly manipulative.]
[00:22] <Yanmei> "Er… that -is- just a bluff, isn't it?"
[00:23] <Minaplo> [Minerva beamed.-
[00:23] <Minaplo> [Rei squirmed a little. "Minnie-chan, you always look cutest when you're being really ruthless and scary…"]
[00:27] <Yanmei> 'Cutest' was not the word for it. And yet, the Ayanamis tended to have a weird sense of what was cute and what wasn't… -
[00:28] <Yanmei> "Yeah, we'll just… pass that message along, then."
[00:29] <Minaplo> [Minerva clapped her hands, like a cheerful innocent girl. "Thank you~ in that case, I'll happily be a witness."]
[00:35] * Yanmei exhaled, relieved. "Thanks so much~~ We really appreciate it."
[00:39] <Minaplo> ["Not a problem." Minerva reached into her desk, taking out a little envelope attached to a box of expensive chocolate. "And this is for Ezekiel."]
[00:43] <Yanmei> "We'll protect it with our lives," Yanmei vowed, standing and taking it.
[00:44] <Minaplo> [Rei stood as well, bowing respectfully. "Thank you, Minnie-chan."-
[00:45] <Minaplo> ["Don't you worry about it." Said Minerva with a smile. "I hope Wellesley isn't giving you any trouble over this…"-
[00:45] <Minaplo> ["Um, well…"]
[00:49] <Yanmei> "If he has, they already totally made up~" Yanmei smirked. "It was so sweet~"
[01:16] <Minaplo> ["T-tch." Rei elbowed Yanmei in the ribs, trying to distract from her reddening cheeks. "I-it doesn't matter! He loves me, so he's standing by my side anyway."]
[01:19] <Yanmei> "Of course, of course…" Yanmei rubbed her side, still grinning. "No one's disputing that?"
[01:20] <Minaplo> [Minerva simply smiled. "You deserve to have someone look after you like that. In any case… Is there anything else you need?"]
[01:21] * Yanmei shook her head. "That should be about it. We'll keep in touch, of course."
[01:21] <Minaplo> [Minerva nodded. "Have a good day, then."]
[01:29] <Yanmei> "Thanks." She bobbed her head to her once, in parting, and began to lead the way to the door. "See you later~"
[01:32] <Minaplo> ["Goodbye~"]
[21:47] <Yanmei> So with that, Rei and Yanmei left the royal Presidential ship quarters, and descended among the commoners. -
[21:50] <Yanmei> They passed into the sick wing easily enough, and were soon surrounded by nurses, doctors, and aides, all going about their own business. "Who do you want to see first, Rei?"
[21:51] <Mibbit‘Haplo> ["We should probably speak to the Emissary first." Said Rei slowly. She was clearly reluctant to see the technician again…]
[21:52] * Yanmei wasn’t looking forward to it herself… all too cheerfully, she asked a passing doctor for directions to his room, and they were soon on their way.
[21:57] <Mibbit‘Haplo> [And Yanmei would soon be guided to the room, which in retrospect was a rather obvious location due to the pair of stony-faced battleship marines toting fully loaded bolters outside the door.-
[22:00] <Mibbit`Haplo> [Inside was Ezekiel, the Emissary. But he didn’t look very emissarial now. He laid in the hospital bed, NERV limb mittens on his arm and leg, wearing a night gown, bright gauze wrappings visible beneath the flimsy fabric. The Emissary's sceptre sat against the wall, harmlessly.-
[22:01] <Mibbit‘Haplo> [But Ezekiel wasn’t alone. He had a guest- a guest who wore a pair of long black trousers, snappy-looking leather shoes, a white shirt, a neat red sweater vest…-
[22:02] <Mibbit‘Haplo> [Two long arms ending in clever thin fingers, and two more arms ending in incredibly sharp energy claws.-
[22:02] <Mibbit`Haplo> ["Oh, jolly, you have guests, dear Ezekiel!" Said Ban-Ban cheerfully. In one hand-hand he had a cup of tea, and with the other he waved to Yanmei and Rei.-
[22:04] <Mibbit`Haplo> ["Hi, Ban-Ban!" Said Rei brightly, immediately lighting up at the sight of her… Son? She ran over to his side and kissed him on the top of his elongated, distorted head.-
[22:05] <Mibbit`Haplo> [Ezekiel smiled a little at the sight, then looked over at Yanmei. "Zhang Yanmei." He said, with a tone of surprise. "You came to pay me a visit?"]
[22:08] <Yanmei> "Well… I was asked to deliver something to you." She had smiled and nodded politely to Ban-Ban, trying hard not to show her shock. Now she faced the broken Emissary, happy to have someplace else to look during the loving runion. "Chocolates from President Minerva Linden? She says she’s sorry she hasn't come by herself."
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[22:16] <Mibbit`Haplo> ["Oh." Ezekiel held out a hand and gave Yanmei a small smile. "Thank you very much."]
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[22:20] <Yanmei> "You’re welcome. Since they're from her, they're bound to be extra fancy ones~" She handed the little box and envelope over to him. "Enjoy!"
[22:21] <Mibbit‘Haplo> ["Can you open the box for me, please?"]
[22:23] <Yanmei> "Oh, right. That’s totally thoughtless of me?" She chuckled, doing just that and resting it on the bed by his good arm.
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[22:29] <Mibbit`Haplo> ["Thank you." He put a small chocolate truffle bunny into his mouth, with a satisfied, contented sound. He swallowed, then looked up at Yanmei with a newfound look of childlike contentedness. "Chocolate makes me happy."]
[22:36] <Yanmei> "I couldn’t tell," she smirked. "I'll tell her to send more? She'd probably be happy to know that it cheered you up a little."
[22:38] <Mibbit‘Haplo> ["It is a shame she couldn’t say hello in person. I understand she is busy. But I enjoy her company very much."]
[22:38] <Yanmei> "Is… that so?"
[22:40] <Mibbit‘Haplo> ["It is so." Said Ezekiel, nodding firmly.]
[22:40] <Yanmei> "What do you like about her, if you don’t mind me asking~?"
[22:44] <Mibbit‘Haplo> ["She is very intelligent, she knows much of philosophy and she is a fine listener. She is interesting to speak to, because she knows much about many things. She understands the heavy responsibility of war and leadership, which gives her maturity beyond the youth of her physical body, and she is nevertheless gentle and accepting and warm."-
[22:44] <Mibbit`Haplo> ["It is natural for me to like her. She reminds me of the Warmaster in some ways."]
[22:48] <Yanmei> "The Warmaster? Really?" She blinked, a little surprised by that, and then thought it over more carefully. "Maybe. If anyone could compare the two, it would be you?"
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[23:24] <Yanmei> [22:44] <Mibbit`Haplo> ["She is very intelligent, she knows much of philosophy and she is a fine listener. She is interesting to speak to, because she knows much about many things. She understands the heavy responsibility of war and leadership, which gives her maturity beyond the youth of her physical body, and she is nevertheless gentle and accepting and warm."-
[23:24] <Yanmei> [22:44] <Mibbit`Haplo> ["It is natural for me to like her. She reminds me of the Warmaster in some ways."]
[23:24] <Yanmei> [22:48] <Yanmei> "The Warmaster? Really?" She blinked, a little surprised by that, and then thought it over more carefully. "Maybe. If anyone could compare the two, it would be you?"
[23:25] <Mibbit`Haplo> ["That is true." He said with a smile, taking another chocolate. "Would you like a chocolate?"-
[23:26] <Mibbit`Haplo> [Rei was talking to Ban-Ban, who was telling Rei all about his day, and showing off his shiny new S2 ID…]
[23:28] * Yanmei stared at the ID with an expression that was hard to read before turning back to Ezekiel with her own smile. She shook her head. "It’s ok? They're all for you, so you should enjoy them. How have you been holding up in here, anyway?"
[23:30] <Mibbit‘Haplo> ["It has been lonely and painful. I miss being able to travel around." Said Ezekiel quietly. "… Fortunately, Ban-Ban here has ben keeping me company. He has many insights- you are fortunate to possess him amongst your number."-
[23:30] <Mibbit`Haplo> ["Cheers, Ezekiel." Said Ban-Ban, draining the rest of his cup of tea, his long, prehensile ichor-black tongue slithering out to lick the sides of the cup clean, the tongue seeming to almost pulsate slightly as it did so…]
[23:34] <Yanmei> "W-well," Yanmei laughed. "He usually is pretty nice company? I’m glad there's been some comfort around. And don't worry. With our medical technology, you'll be up and around again in no time?"
[23:35] <Mibbit‘Haplo> ["The physical injuries heal quickly." Said Ezekiel. "But there are other injuries that have been done that will not heal."-
[23:35] <Mibbit`Haplo> ["I’m really sorry that they hurt you, Ezekiel-san." Said Rei respectfully. "We'll try out best to stop it from happening again."]
[23:42] <Yanmei> "The problem is the crew's morale. They're losing their nerve and lashing out? It's… actually going to be pretty hard to control without drastic measures."
[23:43] <Mibbit‘Haplo> ["They’re putting me on crowd control!" Said Ban-Ban enthusiastically.]
[23:44] <Yanmei> "So they're taking drastic measures," Yanmei relented. "Which means things will get better."
[23:45] <Mibbit‘Haplo> ["I see." Said Ezekiel neutrally.-
[23:46] <Mibbit`Haplo> ["Speaking of things getting better. Yanmei." Ban-Ban cleared his throat. "Reirei was telling me you helped her find a home for the dear poor abandoned Angelspawn Annihilator…"]
[23:50] <Yanmei> "The Princess of Wales is going to take him. It really surprised me…"
[23:53] <Mibbit`Haplo> ["It is a good sign." Said Ezekiel quietly. "That some among you can accept Angelspawn shows that there is hope that one day, your people and mine will understand that we are the same people."]
Session Time: Fri Aug 23 00:00:00 2013
[00:01] <Yanmei> "Mm." Yanmei nodded slightly. "Rei adopted Ban-Ban ages ago, you know."
[00:04] <Mibbit`Haplo> ["He was tiny! A baby, and he was so scared and harmless. I had to do it." Said Rei fervently.-
[00:04] <Mibbit`Haplo> [Ban-Ban… Blushed? It was a blush, right? His cheeks turned blue and his bulbous head started to glow luminescently. Literally, a purple-red light was emanating from his head.-
[00:06] <Mibbit`Haplo> ["You are a good person, Rei Ayanami." Said Ezekiel quietly.]
[00:13] <Yanmei> What on… She -very politely- averted her gaze from the bizarre Angelspawn. "Rei~ You should come visit him more often."
[00:14] <Mibbit`Haplo> ["I’ll try, Ezekiel-san." Said Rei, bowing.]
[00:15] <Yanmei> "And I'll bring more chocolate next time. From Linden."
[00:16] <Mibbit‘Haplo> ["Thank you. I wish I could return her favours, but I am not sure what would be fitting."]
[00:19] <Yanmei> "She probably wouldn’t mind just sharing your company some more~ It seems like she enjoyed your conversations too."
[00:20] <Mibbit‘Haplo> ["I would be happy to visit her, but I am currently unable."]
[00:22] <Yanmei> "Well, after you heal up a bit and can move, I mean." She frowned just a little bit. "It seems like we’ll have to move on again shortly ourselves."
[00:22] <Mibbit‘Haplo> ["Yeah. We need to go visit someone…" Said Rei reluctantly.-
[00:22] <Mibbit`Haplo> ["I see. I wish you both well." Said Ezekiel.]
[00:27] <Yanmei> "Thanks~ Get some rest." She backed away for the door.
[00:29] <Mibbit`Haplo> ["Auntie Yanmei~" Ban-Ban stood up, his body unfolding slightly like a twisted origami figure. He was eight feet tall now, but his curved back made him look only six and a half.-
[00:29] <Mibbit`Haplo> [He walked over and spread his arms.]
[00:36] * Yanmei hesitated. For a second she tottered on the verge of offering a friendly handshake instead… and even balking at that as memories of man-eating Banshees rampaged through her head. -
[00:40] <Yanmei> She stiffened further, stopping the movement of her hand before it got high enough to embarrass her. Then, she pushed through the rest of whatever extended mental process she seemed to be struggling with and slowly, stiffly, moved into the hug.
[00:45] <Mibbit`Haplo> [Ban-Ban wrapped his arms around her tightly.-
[00:45] <Mibbit`Haplo> [… He felt warm, and Yanmei could feel his breath on her face.-
[00:45] <Mibbit`Haplo> [It was dry and hot and… Smelled of mint and lilacs. Like, a -lot-. It was actually a little overpowering.-
[00:46] <Mibbit`Haplo> [… And then the trap was sprung. Ban-Ban’s arms became python-like in their grip, and they hoisted Yanmei higher, until her feet dangled a foot off the ground. So trapped, Ban-Ban's long, clever fingers dug into her side- and began to *tickle*.]
[00:54] <Yanmei> Acid. Energy claws. Aphyxiation by murder-hug. Sharp teeth on her shoulder. …tickles…? -
[00:55] <Yanmei> The reality was so far off from expectations that it robbed her of her ability to move at all at first. Then she squirmed. "Down. Now, please," she managed.
[00:57] <Mibbit‘Haplo> [And he set her down, but not without ’kissing' her on the cheek, which was a sort of snuffle against her cheek with the tip of his tongue briefly brushing against her skin. "Love you, Auntie~ <3"]
[01:00] <Yanmei> "You're oddly affectionate today, Ban-Ban." She gave him a congenial pat on the shooulder. "We'll catch up with you later. Good luck on your new crowd control duties?"
[01:01] <Mibbit‘Haplo> ["I’m always affectionate for my favourite auntie." He smiled, showing inch-long teeth sharpened to a point like a hundred little daggers.]
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[01:08] * Yanmei smoothly smiled back. It lacked the same effect, because she had decidedly more human-looking teeth, and her ability to make them look simultaneously terrifying and disarming could only go so far. For someone who had spent many illusionary years in politics, it was rather awe-inspiring. "Chiisana would try to fight me to the death for that title, I'm sure," she said wryly. -
[01:08] <Yanmei> She bobbed her head to him - and then past him, to Ezekiel. "Take care, both of you?"
[01:09] <Mibbit‘Haplo> ["I will." Said Ezekiel.]
[01:10] <Yanmei> And with that, Yanmei went for the door, nodding at Rei.
[01:10] <Mibbit`Haplo> [Rei followed on, closing it behind them. She smiled with pride. "Ban-Ban’s so healthy and smart these days."]
[01:13] <Yanmei> "Really smart," Yanmei muttered in seeming agreement. "But, I'm surprised this is the first I've seen him since boarding. I would have thought that you two would be hanging out pretty much all the time?"
[01:14] <Mibbit‘Haplo> ["Ban-Ban’s been very busy." Said Rei. "And he hasn't always been on the battleship. Because he works for S2, sometimes they sent him out on missions into Boston during our preparations, so…" Rei began to walk down the corridor towards the technician's room.]
[01:20] <Yanmei> "I see," Yanmei muttered. Preparations? Missions? S2? Everyone seemed to trust him… -
[01:21] <Yanmei> But instead of dwelling on this, she pushed it out of her mind the best she was able and straightened her uniform primly. Soon, they were right at the door.
[01:22] <Mibbit‘Haplo> ["… D-do you mind opening it?" Mumbled Rei. "Sorry…"]
[01:24] <Yanmei> "Certainly." Yanmei flashed her a quick, comforting smile. "It will be okay? Don’t worry." And with that she knocked briefly and opened the door. "Hello~? May we come in~?"
[01:26] <Mibbit‘Haplo> [… A scene.-
[01:27] <Mibbit`Haplo> [The technician was lying in bed, not moving, completely and utterly still.-
[01:27] <Mibbit`Haplo> [… Well, not utterly still. He was trembling very slightly, his eyes popping as he did so. And the reason was obvious.-
[01:27] <Mibbit`Haplo> [Crouched at the end of the bed, hovering over the technician, with bright eyes and a vibrant orange and black coat, drool dripping from its open teethy maw…-
[01:27] <Mibbit`Haplo> [Was Felix the Tiger.-
[01:28] <Mibbit`Haplo> [And above the technician, on the roof, was a little girl, affixed to the roof through no visible harness. She was just hovering over him, staring at him with unblinking eyes.-
[01:28] <Mibbit`Haplo> [Staring forever.]
[12:04] * Yanmei was staring too. Only her stares were fueled by incredulity, not sheer bedwetting terror. She squinted at the door number as if making sure that they had the right room, then at the little girl, as if trying to recognize her. "…Eevi…?"
[12:13] <Minaplo> [Eevi turned to look at Yanmei and Rei- then back towards the Technician. "Hi." She said. "It’s nearly lunch time." She added quietly.-
[12:13] <Minaplo> [The technician was starting to shake much more violently now. "G-G-G-Get it a-away!"-
[12:13] <Minaplo> ["Eevi…" Rei stared up at her, shaking her head. "What are you doing up there?"-
[12:14] <Minaplo> ["Judging."]
[12:18] <Yanmei> "That's enough, Eevi. Why don't you and Felix judge him from a little further away? Rei and I have to talk with him."
[12:27] <Minaplo> ["Why? He hurt Rei…"-
[12:27] <Minaplo> ["And I hurt him back, Eevi. Come on." Rei held up a hand, and smiled. "It's alright."-
[12:27] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[12:28] <Minaplo> [Eevi fell slowly from the roof, until she was but a few inches from the technician's face.-
[12:28] <Minaplo> ["Bye."-
[12:29] <Minaplo> [She turned in mid-air, falling onto the bed, from which she leapt, right towards Rei, who automatically bundled Eevi up in a hug. Eevi wrapped her arms around Rei, snuggling in close, resting her head against Rei's chest and looking all the while like just an innocent little girl, and not someone who had threatened to make her tiger eat a man.-
[12:30] <Minaplo> [Felix jumped off the bed, padding off outside, where he primly sat and waited for Eevi, who eventually kissed Rei on the cheek, jumped down and ran off.]
[12:32] * Yanmei watched her go, the bewilderment plain on her face. "She seems… different?"
[12:34] <Minaplo> ["Um." Rei looked back at Eevi fondly, but a little sadly as she went. "One of the Angelspawn that attacked the Geofront apparently did things to Eevi's mind. Made her remember a lot of bad stuff, and then brought back all her emotions, really strongly. K-Kinda like Akhraziel…"-
[12:35] <Minaplo> ["A-Anyway, she's feeling things again, and she relies on me to help her handle them, and herself. She's really attached to me now." Said Rei, blushing a little.]
[12:37] <Yanmei> "I see~ Then you've totally turned into a mom all of a sudden. Very interesting~"
[12:39] <Minaplo> ["S-So are you." Rei's blush deepened.]
[12:42] * Yanmei cleared her throat, trying to steer the conversation away from that hotseat by calmly regarding the technician.
[12:47] <Minaplo> ["W-What?" He stared back, trying to look baleful but was still clearly terrified of the tiger, even though it was gone.]
[12:50] <Yanmei> "You have our sincere apologies about that? It doesn't seem that Eevi is all that great at self control yet. Is there anything we can get for you? A glass of water, or…?"
[12:51] <Minaplo> ["H-Hmph. I won't say no."]
[12:54] * Yanmei nodded. She went to the door for a moment to call for a nurse to bring them a glass of ice water, and then meandered back over to the bedside. "How have you been, anyway? Aside from Eevi and her tiger friend, I hope you've been treated well."
[12:56] <Minaplo> ["Oh yeah, I've been just fucking fine, what with the broken arm and the fucking broken rib."]
[12:57] * Yanmei spared a quick, subtle glance at Rei.
[12:58] <Minaplo> [Rei was looking ashamed, averting her eyes…]
[13:04] <Yanmei> "About that…" Yanmei shook her head. "You two should talk if only for a few minutes. It's why we're here, after all?"
[13:04] <Minaplo> ["About what?"]
[13:06] <Yanmei> "You're a smart man. I'm sure you can figure it out? Rei…"
[13:09] <Minaplo> ["I… I wanted to see how you were going." Said Rei quietly, abashedly. "I-I wanted to apologise…"-
[13:10] <Minaplo> ["Really." Said the technician dryly. "Didja consider maybe that this is past fucking saying sorry?"]
[13:19] <Yanmei> "No one's forcing you to accept the apology?" Yanmei pointed out. "But you of all people should be informed of what was going through her mind back then… and presently too."
[13:20] <Minaplo> [The man didn't say anything, he just stared at Yanmei expectantly.]
[13:36] <Yanmei> "Rei… is not the sort of person who would attack an unarmed person for kicks? If you have even the slightest familiarity with her reputation, you would be aware of that. Moreover, you should already be aware that her reputation - and the reputation of her Commanding Officer - had taken continuous beatings for a while. Ever since the LN war." -
[13:43] <Yanmei> "This time, it was too much. She and her teammates prepared desperately for that battle, as much as anyone in the short time they were given, and then when their plans fell apart, they ended up shouldering the blame for it again. Not just a millitary loss… but the potential destruction of the world itself." -
[13:47] <Yanmei> "Can you comprehend that sort of pressure? The sort of frustration and self-loathing a situation like that generates? And with all the additional pressures going on with her loved ones dying and being taken captive, and well…" She frowned deeply. "Her patience snapped. For a second she stopped thinking the way she normally does, and when the fog cleared, she was horrified at what she did in that moment when she wasn't in
[13:48] <Yanmei> -control. She's still horrified? If she wasn't, she wouldn't be here today. Right?" She glanced over at her.
[14:00] <Minaplo> [Rei nodded. "I don't like hurting people." She said quietly. "I just want to make people happy. I didn't want to hurt you. I-I did anyway, and that was wrong. We're all on the same side, trying to do the same things, s-so we shouldn't be fighting…"]
[14:02] * Yanmei eyed the technician now, hoping for some kind of response.
[14:04] <Minaplo> ["S…" He looked away, frowning. He didn't say anything.-
[14:04] <Minaplo> [That nurse arrived, with a glass of water for the technician, who took it in his good hand. He sipped it slowly.-
[14:08] <Minaplo> ["So… You're saying she's under pressure too." He said eventually. "It's not like I didn't know that. We're all under pressure."-
[14:08] <Minaplo> ["I dunno if you pilots really get it, though."]
[14:12] <Yanmei> "What do you mean?"
[14:25] <Minaplo> ["I'm a technician, assigned to NERV Boston. My main jobs involve maintenance work on Evangelion units with my work gang. That's everything- attaching limbs, refitting armour, swapping out wing docks, moving them for deployment, assembling their weapons, draining the bakelite chamber… It's not easy work. Sometimes it gets dangerous. There's been accidents. I once had a harness rope snap on me, and I nearly broke my spine. I kept doin' it, though, because it was work that had to be done. That's what all of us techs do down at my level. We do what has to be done, when it needs to be done."-
[14:28] <Minaplo> ["It's usually ten hour a day work. Usually. During the LN War, me and my guys were workin' eighteen hour days. We'd work, hit the sack for six hours, and then do it all over again. Over and over for weeks. Some of my friends had breakdowns from the strain. Some guy even killed himself. Turns out the LN'd taken over his hometown, and his family got caught up in the collateral."-
[14:32] <Minaplo> ["You know the siege of Boston? I got shot then, y'know. Me and my gang were above-level trying to prepare a supply cache for deployment, and then the LN started sendin' foot soldiers in via the elevators. Well, NERV locked all the interior doors then, didn't it? Me and my gang were left for dead. A few of my friends were killed. I got away with a few maser burns- I was lucky."-
[14:36] <Minaplo> ["But that was the LN. It wasn't so bad if it were the LN, since they're human too. But now it's an Angel, and it's different. This fucker's forcing people to quit the cities, then levelling factories and crap like that. So the pressure's on for us to do our jobs and to do it right, and we're all worked up, because if we fuck up here, then we could fuck up our entire species. It's not like we don't feel that pressure. We feel it all too much, but you pilots, you got protection, and anyone important to you is taken care of, and if you go down in battle, you almost always survive either way. It isn't the same for us. Our families are in danger. I told my family, don't tell anyone I work for NERV, 'cuz Jackie down in Munitions, her family got attacked by the Children of Adam. She lost her little brother and two cousins. So they don't, they just tell people I'm a construction worker."-
[14:37] <Minaplo> ["You pilots aren't replaceable. We are, which means that if a pilot dies, it's a fucking disaster, but when a tech dies, we're just collateral, let's hire some other guy in to replace that guy. We work just as fucking hard, if not more, than any pilot does. You're doing the fighting, but we're risking our lives too."-
[14:38] <Minaplo> ["Twenty fucking hour days, this time, getting nine Evangelions prepped for this battle. That's hundreds of workers, each putting in close to 140 hours- you do the math. That's what, 14,000 work hours total?"-
[14:38] <Minaplo> ["And that battle was over in about four fucking minutes!"-
[14:39] <Minaplo> ["What's the fucking point, then? What's the fucking point if we do everything we can to prep for this, and it's pointless? We lose our lives and our blood and sweat and then we just get fucking walked over? I'm from Boston! I live in Boston! My family does too! And we couldn't even hold it for five minutes!"-
[14:41] <Minaplo> ["So yeah, I'm sorry you're both under fucking stress. But no one sheds more for this fucking organisation than techs do, and no one gets overlooked like techs do either."]
[14:57] <Yanmei> "I don't doubt that at all? You and our ground troops both have it incredibly tough." -
[15:02] <Yanmei> "But you didn't join this operation and go through all that hell to fight with us? Rei's right in that we're both on the same side." She gave a quiet, reflective pause. "We are sorry that things didn't go well. We're -always- sorry when they don't? Even if we're ignorant of the details, we at least know that everyone in this organization trusts us to get the job done properly."
[15:11] <Minaplo> ["Is there -any- hope?" He asked bitterly. "Or are we all fucked?"]
[15:14] <Yanmei> Yanmei gave a humorless smile. "We're not all dead yet, you know."
[15:14] <Minaplo> ["So you think you can win it?"]
[15:19] <Yanmei> "Yes." she said firmly. "It's partly thanks to the retreat at the end of the last battle? We still have the units we need to fight properly." -
[15:20] <Yanmei> "We can't screw up this time, though. Whatever it takes…"
[15:20] <Minaplo> ["Fight to the death?"]
[15:21] <Yanmei> "It definitely looks that way."
[15:21] <Minaplo> ["Right."-
[15:21] <Minaplo> ["So what do you want from me, then?"]
[15:29] * Yanmei blinked. It was hard to switch her train of thought just like that. "We…" She tried to get her bearings. "We're preparing the defense for Rei's court martial? You'll probably be called to testify there regardless, but we thought we should see if you were okay with us calling you to the stand instead of the prosecutor."
[15:30] <Minaplo> ["What, you want me to be a witness? Why?"]
[15:34] <Yanmei> "It makes sense, doesn't it? You were at the center of everything. Besides, you seem… honest."
[15:37] <Minaplo> ["Hmf. You don't want me to apologise?"]
[15:40] * Yanmei blinked, genuinely surprised. "Do you want to?"
[15:44] <Minaplo> [He shrugged. "I figured you two would -want- me to apologise. That's what I thought you wanted when I saw you come in. It's what that crazy little girl wanted me to do as well."]
[15:45] * Yanmei glanced at Rei.
[15:49] <Minaplo> [Rei was quiet, an unhappy expression on her face, but there was a strange, steely look in her eyes.-
[15:50] <Minaplo> ["You should apologise." Said Rei quietly, but firmly.-
[15:50] <Minaplo> ["What?"-
[15:56] <Minaplo> ["You should." She repeated. "I came here to say sorry. I really -am- sorry that I hurt you. I hate that I did it. It makes me sick just to think that I did that." But Rei shook her head. "I know you technicians work hard. And it's not easy for you, and it never has been. But that isn't my fault. I've tried as hard as I can to help everyone. I don't forget about the technicians and the lots of other people who work so hard to keep NERV going. I do this to help you, too. I'm not your enemy- I'm your friend. And I don't deserve to be rubbished like that. And neither does Meimei."-
[15:57] <Minaplo> ["…" The technician frowned, and looked away.-
[15:59] <Minaplo> [But Rei didn't stop. "I'm sorry I snapped and attacked you. The words you said were ones I've heard a lot, and I should be used to them, but instead the anger just builds up instead. But I know I'm different. I know I'm a clone who was grown in a vat, and that a lot of my memories are from some other girl. But you're wrong if you think I don't feel things. My thoughts are real. And my sacrifices and efforts are real, too. And so is my love for Major Alphonse. And all of that is precious to me, and none of it should be worth insulting because you're scared. I'm scared, too."-
[16:02] <Minaplo> ["I was wrong to hurt you. But you were wrong to call me those things. To call anyone those things. I'm not Alphonse's toy, or his bitch, or anything else. I'm not a doll for others to hurt."]
[16:10] * Yanmei smiled, slowly, gradually, impressed.
[16:13] <Minaplo> ["… Tch." The technician drank the rest of his glass, and put it down. "I guess it's hard to say you're a doll when you say things like that. Things that need backbone."-
[16:13] <Minaplo> [He seemed almost impressed.-
[16:14] <Minaplo> ["Fine. I take it back. I don't mind saying that to a strong person. I fucked up. You fucked up. We all fucked up, and we should fuck up less for the good of mankind."]
[16:16] <Yanmei> "Well put, Mr. Chambers." Yanmei folded her arms, nodding. "Hopefully we all really will."
[16:17] <Minaplo> ["We should shake hands." Offered Rei, looking at Yanmei.]
[16:18] <Yanmei> "I don't see why not?" Yanmei extended her own hand toward him, making it easy for him to take it with his good hand.
[16:19] <Minaplo> [The man eyed the hand a little reluctantly, then slowly held his good hand out, took it, quickly shook, then let go. He repeated the process with Rei.]
[16:21] <Yanmei> "Thanks a lot for your time. We'll be in touch? And of course, if you need us, all you have to do is send a message."
[16:22] <Minaplo> ["Right…"]
[16:23] <Yanmei> "…we'll keep the little kid and her tiger away from you too," she added.
[16:24] <Minaplo> ["… Thanks." He said nervously. "She was here when I woke up, just staring at me. I tried to call security but she disconnected my fucking phone."]
[16:26] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei frowned, moving over to check it out and reconnect it. "Rei, you need to have a talk with her."
[16:28] <Minaplo> ["I'll try." Said Rei quietly. "Remember, she was trained to assassinate people, Meimei. Infiltrate, disable, then execute them and make it look like an accident if she needed to. She probably snuck in at night time and was hiding in the shadows for the entire time, just watching him sleep."-
[16:29] <Minaplo> ["Anyway." Added Rei brightly. "I'll have a word with Eevi about appropriate behaviour." Said Rei, seemingly oblivious to the wide-eyed terror her words had inspired in the man's eyes.]
[16:32] <Yanmei> "R-right…" Yanmei straightened up properly, having finished. "Well. With that resolved, try to get some rest, Mr. Chambers and have a good day." She made for the door.
[16:32] <Minaplo> ["'Bye."-
[16:33] <Minaplo> [And Rei followed Yanmei out, closing the door behind her. "That went well." She said, her voice sounding relieved. "It's a weight off my shoulders…"]
[16:37] <Yanmei> "Yeah. I know what you mean? He was weirdly reasonable." She stretched, and then sighed. "We'll have to drag Eevi along with us now, but what do you want to do from here?"
[16:39] <Minaplo> ["… W-Well, we need to…" Rei glanced away, blushing. "… Minnie-chan's other message."]
[16:40] <Yanmei> "In other words, you want to find and hug Alphonse," Yanmei deadpanned.
[16:42] <Minaplo> ["… I-I bet you want to find and hug Zaizai right now, too." Said Rei defiantly, even as she blushed and tugged self-consciously on her thick scarf. "It's perfectly natural for me to want to snuggle Al. But more importantly, we have a message to deliver. And this time we're going to force Al to make up with Minnie-chan."]
[16:45] <Yanmei> "Right, right. Well, I'll leave the convincing up to you this time. Just a few warm looks and batted eyelashes…"
[16:47] <Minaplo> ["If only it were that easy." Muttered Rei. "I've been trying for a long time to get Al to make up with Minnie-chan. Warm looks and batted eyelashes don't cut it. Not even smooches and snuggles. He's been an ass about it."]
[16:47] <Yanmei> "Kidnapping, then. I still have a lot of research to do today after this?"
[16:51] <Minaplo> ["Mm. I bet he'll cave if we tell him Minnie's scary threat."]
[16:52] <Yanmei> "Oh." Yanmei thought about it. "I guess? And it's a lot less messy than kidnapping or having them fight out their problems."
[16:53] <Minaplo> ["Kidnapping. Were you gonna kidnap him if he kept ignoring me?"]
[16:54] <Yanmei> "…oh, hey! I think I see Felix over there!"
[08:56] <Minaplo> ["T-tch. Meimei…"-
[08:56] <Minaplo> [They found Eevi and Felix waiting for them patiently. Eevi quickly leapt over to Rei, grabbing her hand and holding it tight whilst snuggling up to her side.-
[09:00] <Minaplo> ["Time to see Al, Eevi."-
[09:00] <Minaplo> ["Yay."]
[09:03] * Suzune has quit IRC (Ping timeout)
[09:05] <Yanmei> They went to his office, Rei, Yanmei, Eevi, and Felix trailing behind. There were a fair few who avoided them in the hallways, but not nearly the number that changed direction whenever Yanmei and Isaiah took Lupe out for his walks. Maybe people were simply used to the tiger being around. Maybe it was because he was comparatively laid back. -
[09:06] <Yanmei> Eventually, they reached Alphonse's door, and Yanmei knocked and entered. "Hello, Major~~"
[09:14] <Minaplo> ["Yessir, I'll-" Alphonse looked up from a small hologram that sat on his desk- a hologram of a man. He smiled at Yanmei and Rei, giving them the 'hold-on-a-second' gesture of a hand up. "I'll be ready of course, sir. See you soon."-
[09:16] <Minaplo> [The hologram dissipated, and Alphonse stood up, pushing some of his fringe behind his ear. "This is a pleasant surprise." He said with a smile.-
[09:17] <Minaplo> ["H-Hi, Al~" Said Rei with a smile, blushing lightly. It was Yanmei's fault that she was blushing at all…]
[09:19] <Yanmei> "We let you get back to your work in a minute. We have news. Also, we found an Eevi?" She nodded at the little girl and her tiger.
[09:29] <Minaplo> ["Mmm, I can see that. Hello, Eevi." Alphonse walked over, crouching a little to ruffle Eevi's hair. "Look at you, cuddling up to Rei~ it's so cute~"-
[09:31] <Minaplo> [Eevi's pale cheeks went a little red, and she let out a tiny giggle.-
[09:31] <Minaplo> ["Don't I get any cuddles?" He asked, grinning.-
[09:32] <Minaplo> [Eevi tugged Rei over, leaping up onto the desk to latch onto Alphonse's side tightly, pulling Rei over to create a close group hug with herself firmly in the middle.]
[09:38] * Yanmei watched off to the side with a little smirk. It was like a bizarrely… normal family portrait.
[09:44] <Minaplo> [Felix padded over, flopping onto his side and laying down lazily at their feet.-
[09:48] <Minaplo> ["How're you?" Asked Alphonse quietly to Rei, his arm around her waist. "Everything ok?"-
[09:48] <Minaplo> ["Mmmhm. We just went to visit a few people. Like the technician in the incident. And Minnie-chan!"-
[09:48] <Minaplo> ["R-really…"]
[09:52] <Yanmei> "Yeah. We ran into a slight problem when we were talking with President Linden? It's nothing we can't solve with your help, though~"
[09:54] <Minaplo> ["… Indeed?"]
[09:55] <Yanmei> "She says she won't be one of our witnesses unless you go talk to her face-to-face."
[10:02] <Minaplo> [His eyes narrowed. "… That's… You're joking."]
[10:05] <Yanmei> "Nope." Yanmei shook her head. "That's what she said? It's probably best if you go alone, too. I had the impression that's what she wanted."
[10:13] <Minaplo> [Alphonse's face darkened. "Damn her. I don't have a choice, do I?"]
[10:16] * Yanmei gave him an apologetic look. "It will be ok. She's usually pretty reasonable, isn't she? Maybe she has her reasons?"
[10:16] <Minaplo> [Alphonse grumbled to himself.-
[10:16] <Minaplo> ["Tsk." Rei reached over, pecking him on the cheek. "She's only being drastic because you keep refusing to meet her, Al."-
[10:17] <Minaplo> ["Tch, I know, I know." He muttered. "Fine. I'll fit it into my schedule." He glanced at Rei. "You better appreciate how much pride I have to swallow here on your behalf, you know, kitten."-
[10:17] <Minaplo> ["I do~"]
[10:18] <Yanmei> "We both do~ Thank you, Major."
[10:18] <Minaplo> ["Hmf."-
[10:20] <Minaplo> ["Now." He relaxed slightly. "As much as I enjoy having you all here, now's not a great time. That man I was speaking to was the High Judge presiding over the Court-Martial. I'm meeting him here in ten minutes, and… Probably not the best impression, all things considered." He said, slightly abashedly.]
[10:21] <Yanmei> "Is that so…?" Yanmei's eyes drifted over the office, keenly finding the closet door for a moment.
[10:22] * Raphael has quit IRC (Quit: <Minaplo> I like Louis XIV, because he seems like this incredibly wasteful extravagant partyboy, but beneath that double chin, jowls, fourteen ermine capes, moustache, 15 pound wig and 18th century parachute pants is a cunningly machiavellian mind.)
[10:22] <Minaplo> ["… What are you planning?"]
[10:23] <Yanmei> "Planning?" She chuckled amicably. "Oh, Major~ I don't know what you mean?"
[10:24] <Minaplo> [Alphonse gave her a stern look.]
[10:25] <Yanmei> "…fine, fine," she sighed deeply. "We'll leave. No tricks."
[10:31] <Minaplo> ["We won't be discussing anything of value to you, anyway." Said Alphonse, shaking his head.]
[10:31] <Yanmei> "What's he like? Have you met him before?"
[10:37] <Minaplo> ["A few times. He's a reasonable fellow. Fair."]
[10:42] <Yanmei> "Then he must have a compelling reason for wanting to talk to you? Let us know what's going on later, ok?"
[10:42] <Minaplo> ["I suppose I can do that."-
[10:43] <Minaplo> ["Alright. Let's get out of Al's hair for now." Rei leaned over, gently pulling Al over and kissing him. "See you, Al~"-
[10:43] <Minaplo> ["Mmm, bye, kitten." He leaned back, giving Eevi a little squeeze. "And goodbye to you too, little Eevi~"-
[10:44] <Minaplo> [Eevi gave a tiny little bashful smile and kissed him on the cheek, before she and Rei both pulled away, Eevi clinging to Rei now.]
[10:47] <Yanmei> "See you later!" Yanmei tried very hard not to raise an eyebrow at Eevi's… unEevilike behavior. Instead she turned for the door. The next stop had less essential conversation in store for them… a quiet place to continue her research.

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