You Were Born You Had Body You Died It Is Just That You Neve

[19:25] * Marianne sat, waiting, staring quietly at the door before her. Beyond it, visible through a window, was a colourful room- a child's room, actually, prepared by the psych ward. Within sat a pale little girl with dark red hair and a dark red dress, staring at a wall blankly. She sighed.-
[19:26] <Marianne> ["I hope Guillory gets here soon." Muttered Dr. Clement, next to her. Next to him sat Dr. Castillo, who was cradling a bandaged hand and hissing slightly.]
[19:35] * Raphael isn’t too far behind, and soon enough the others would hear the steady tap of his polished shoes approaching down the hall. "Good day, doctors. Good day, Colonel." He says hurriedly, giving them a tired smile and checking his watch. "Please excuse the delay. There was a minor emergency in the Thruster labs and… well, it’s nothing to worry about." He glances towards the door.
[19:35] * Raphael "She’s in there?"
[19:36] <Marianne> ["Captain." "Captain."-
[19:36] <Marianne> "Sir Guillory." Marianne nods in welcoming, smiling briefly. "Yes, that's right. We think you should sit with us first, though- we… Have a bit to talk about regarding what we've discovered about her."
[19:39] <Raphael> "Of course, ma'am." He says, taking one of the nearest seats as ordered.
[19:45] <Marianne> "First and foremost, her name is Eevi Nieminen, a Finnish orphan taken in by Gehirn as part of the NeoSpartan program. She was one of those who was reincorporised during the incident last year at Eden Base. She's eight years old biologically- chronologically she was born in 2000." Marianne crossed one leg over the other, her hands clasped together thoughtfully. "Dr. Clement?"-
[19:48] <Marianne> [Clement nodded, and handed a sheaf of X-Rays and indecipherable medical pages to Raphael. "From what we've gathered on our examinations, she has the standard NeoSpartan genetic enhancements as well as a few new ones. We don't know where they're from, because they're only partly similar to the Iron Guard. They're more akin to an Ayanami's. She also has a suite of cybernetic implants, across her spine, arms, legs, and lower chest." He reached over and tapped a small, spherical object in her chest on the X-Ray. "And a core."]
[20:04] * Raphael 's eyes narrow further and futher as the list goes on, only to let out a long sigh at the very last note. "How did the LN get their hands on her in the first place? I was under the impression that NERV had committed to keeping an eye on them."
[20:09] <Marianne> "Eevi was put up for adoption about a week after the Eden Incident- she was amongst the first 50 to do so. And she was adopted within a few days by a businessman in Naples." Said Marianne.-
[20:09] <Marianne> ["And a few days after that, Vesuvius erupted." Said Dr. Castillo sadly. "She was amongst the missing, but it seems that the LN, not the disaster, had something to do with that."]
[20:14] * Raphael nodded slowly. "So where does that leave us?"
[20:15] <Marianne> "Normally, we'd, well, put her up for adoption again, with safeguards." Said Marianne. "But this little girl is possessed of incredible strength-"-
[20:15] <Marianne> ["She sprained my wrist when I tried to get her to arm wrestle with me." Muttered Dr. Castillo.-
[20:16] <Marianne> ["-And an AT Field. We simply can't reintroduce her into the hands of a layperson." Said Marianne. "But I don't want her to be kept in a lab forever, either."-
[20:16] <Marianne> ["Nor I." Said Castillo. "She's received some -intense- conditioning, but furthermore she's suffering from various forms of trauma and emotional withdrawal. She doesn't speak unless spoken to, and she doesn't eat unless told to do so- she's completely pliable. It's horrific."]
[20:21] <Raphael> "We can hardly blame all of that on the LN, mind." Raphael notes.
[20:22] <Marianne> "No, we can't." Said Marianne. "But it's up to us to undo it."
[20:29] <Raphael> "… Alright." Raphael says quietly. "But I’m not sure what I can do to help in that respect. It seems to me that Medical is far better equipped to manage that than I am."
[20:34] <Marianne> ["You're right in most aspects." Said Dr. Clement. "Although there isn't much we can do physically. As it stands, removing those cybernetics could be dangerous to her health. They're -clever- pieces of work, in that they're integrated in ways not to impede her growth-"-
[20:34] <Marianne> ["Which is a rare consideration from the LN…" Muttered Castillo.-
[20:34] <Marianne> ["… Quite, but removing them is a different story. Psychologically, well, Felix here is very good at what he does."-
[20:36] <Marianne> ["Well, thank you." Said Dr. Castillo sheepishly. "In any case, Captain, I value your opinion here. You're close friends with Miss Ayanami Rei, and in some ways their situations are quite alike."]
[20:56] <Raphael> "The similarities are there, certainly, but as I understand it Rei was… ‘born’, so to speak, ready and willing to connect with others and live her life. At least that was the case by the time I met her. With Eevi, it seems to me that even if she were placed with a foster family today she’d need a permanent carer just to deal with the basics." Raphael said with a look towards the
[20:56] <Raphael> door.-
[20:56] <Raphael> "But beyond that… The most important thing for Rei, in my opinion, was that she found people who were willing to help her find who she was right then, rather than rediscover who she used to be. Too much had changed for the latter to serve any useful purpose."
[21:02] <Marianne> ["And what of Eevi? Do you believe it would be better for her to find out who she was, or who she is?"]
[21:04] <Raphael> "If what you're saying is correct, between the cybernetics, the conditioning and the core it seems to me that the NeoSpartan Project and the LN were quite thorough in ensuring there was very little of the old Eevi left."
[21:06] <Marianne> "What does that even mean? The 'old' Eevi." Asked Marianne. "She was an orphan of 2I and trained to become a child soldier at the age of six. It seems to me as though that's hardly something to go back to."
[21:10] <Raphael> "Perhaps not, ma'am, but it's certainly a more whole human being than the one we have sitting in that room, wouldn't you say?"
[21:12] * Marianne nodded slowly. "Yes, it is…"-
[21:14] <Marianne> ["Regardless, beneath the genetics, cybernetics, etcetera- there's a human being in there. I think, quite simply, right now our best option is to consider how to heal her." Said Dr. Castillo. "Regular sessions- daily, perhaps- are a must. But I really do not feel that putting her into a room when we -aren't- doing sessions is going to help."]
[21:17] <Raphael> "Even if she's not functioning socially yet, it seems like making sure she was simply around people in day-to-day environments would be helpful."
[21:23] <Marianne> ["Yes, I agree." Said Castillo. "I want you to help me look for candidates."]
[21:24] <Raphael> "… Are you sure, sir?"
[21:25] <Marianne> ["Ah, you have reservations?"]
[21:27] <Raphael> "No, sir. I'm quite happy to help." Raphael says quickly. "It's just that, again, beyond my contact with Rei I'm not sure what qualifies me to make that decision."
[21:30] <Marianne> ["First and foremost, that in itself is a formidible recommendation. Some people find themselves unsure how to deal with the Ayanamis and their idiosyncrasies, and some have intense aversions to them. You, however, handle yourself admirably on both counts."-
[21:31] <Marianne> ["Secondly, I emailed miss Rei myself, and she gave you a -glowing- recommendation, saying that she herself felt that without your guidance, she would not be who she was today."-
[21:31] <Marianne> "Aww." Coos Marianne, momentarily forgetting herself.-
[21:32] <Marianne> ["T-" Dr. Castillo pauses, blinks at Marianne owlishly, then continues. "Thirdly… You yourself are a father, and methinks you know what to look for."-
[21:32] <Marianne> ["And fourthly, you have been described by some as a 'crusader' when it comes to children and their treatment."]
[21:33] * Raphael gives Marianne a sidelong look. "… By who, precisely?"
[21:34] <Marianne> ["The Colonel here, Major Katsuragi, Major Wellesley- actually, I think if you could get an endorsement from Major Harken you could have yourself an OD flush."]
[21:37] * Raphael falls silent at that, perhaps busy considering potential retribution. "Then I defer to the judgement of my superiors, sir."
[21:38] <Marianne> ["Excellent." Doctor Castillo stood up. "Perhaps you'd like to take this to my office?"]
[21:40] <Raphael> "Of course." Raphael says, getting to his feet. "Doctor Clement, Colonel."
[21:40] <Marianne> ["Captain."-
[21:40] <Marianne> "See you, Sir Guillory. Ah, Sir Guillory? Miss Zhang wants to know if you're good for dinner on the weekend, with Suzanne."
[21:46] <Raphael> "Oh, of course." Raphael says, smiling a little. "What time would you like us there? I believe I finish here a little after five…"
[21:49] <Marianne> "Six thirty?"
[21:50] <Raphael> "That should be plenty of time, ma'am."
[21:50] <Marianne> "Excellent." She smiled.
[21:53] * Raphael smiles back before giving Marianne and the doctor a nod before following Castillo's lead down the hall.
[21:55] <Marianne> [Castillo leads Raphael into his office, which he may have been in before, or maybe not. But it's a very comfortable office, with the requisite couch and soft, comfortable leather chair. A mahogany desk sits in the corner, its desktop kept very neat; bookshelves dominate one wall, and qualifications another. "May I offer you some refreshment? I have some brandy, a bit of one malt whisky…"]
[22:01] <Raphael> A visit or two to Castillo's office was basically a given after his encounter with Omniel, and so Raphael was quite well acquainted with the surroundings. He takes a seat in the leather chair across from the doctor. "Not while I'm on duty I'm afraid, sir. Thank you for the offer, though."
[16:19] <Dr‘Castillo> "Quite understandable." He nevertheless (carefully) pours himself a glass of whisky and sits down. "Well then. I of course have my list, but if there are any people who jump to mind…"
[16:27] <Raphael> "Not off the top of my head." Raphael says after a moment of thought. "The closest person I could think of would be Euphrasie Beringer, but she suffers from most of the same constraints on her time that I do."
[16:34] * Dr`Castillo nodded slowly. "She helped take care of Eevi before she attacked, yes?"
[16:38] <Raphael> "Correct. And she has a son of her own."
[16:39] * Dr`Castillo nodded. "Interesting. I think I might see what she thinks. Now…"-
[16:39] <Dr`Castillo> "Starting from the top of our list- one of the suggestions we were given was for us to ask President Mazarin to do it. The MAGI nearly ruptured a valve vetoing this, but what do you think?"
[16:42] <Raphael> "… You are honestly considering putting a cybernetically enhanced and conditioned LN agent anywhere near the president of France?"
[16:43] <Dr`Castillo> "Yes, the MAGI said something along those lines." Said Dr. Castillo. "Of course, there’s a reason I'm even asking this, because of who made the suggestion."
[16:44] <Raphael> "Who was that, sir?"
[16:45] <Dr‘Castillo> "President Mazarin."
[16:47] * Raphael raises an eyebrow and leans back in his chair. "Interesting. I’m surprised that word of her situation made it that far."
[16:48] <Dr‘Castillo> "Lieutentant Gagnier told him. It’s her job to spy on us."
[16:48] <Dr‘Castillo> <Lieutenant*>
[16:51] <Raphael> "… Hmm." He murmurs. To his credit, that’s almost the entire extent of his reaction. "I suppose that makes sense."
[16:54] * Dr‘Castillo nodded. "The MAGI didn’t like the idea of an LN agent being so close to the President, but equally it didn't like the idea of the President having influence over Eevi, either. Finally, it didn't think such a high-profile individual was a good candidate, but I much prefer to see what a human says first."
[16:58] <Raphael> "I would tend to agree with all those concerns, in all honesty." Raphael says. "That said… I've only met the President once in person, but I'd tend to believe that if he's making the offer it's because he cares about the girl's wellbeing. He seems to genuinely adore his own daughter. But a brief meeting makes it difficult to tell for certain."
[17:00] <Dr‘Castillo> "Mm, agreed, agreed. I might ask Zhang about it as well."-
[17:00] <Dr`Castillo> "Speaking of Zhang, there were also suggestions that either she or the Colonel would make good guardians."
[17:06] * Raphael frowns, seeming to genuinely consider the idea. "… It’s certainly not an awful suggestion. Again, I’d note the security concerns, but Yanmei has been an exemplary guardian for Elizabeth." He says slowly. "But Eevi’s case seems like it would require a significantly different skillset than caring for your average child. In the very best scenario she’d still require a good
[17:06] * Raphael deal of support and guidance. I suspect it’d be rather emotionally draining."
[17:11] <Dr`Castillo> "Yes, I agree. The Colonel works long hours, and Yanmei… Yanmei has -plenty- to handle. School- theoretically-, piloting, and with Gabriel-Wei in Boston…"
[17:12] <Raphael> "Indeed. Still, it may be worth keeping her in mind or perhaps even broaching the subject with her."
[17:14] <Dr`Castillo> "I agree."-
[17:15] <Dr`Castillo> He took a sip from his drink. "On the same tack- you know them better than I do- what do you think of the idea of Majors Katsuragi or Wellesley handling it?"
[17:24] <Raphael> "… Major Wellesley would actually be an excellent suggestion, age aside." Raphael says thoughtfully. "Nevermind that being around the Major means contact with Rei, and I suspect that’d be rather helpful in itself."-
[17:24] <Raphael> "Major Katsuragi…" He falls silent, carefully weighing his options. "No, sir. I don’t think so."
[17:24] <Dr`Castillo> "Oh?"
[17:42] * Raphael shifts uncomfortably. "Just instinct, sir. The Major is beginning to make strides in working through some of her own problems, but I don’t know if she’s ready to take on something of this nature yet."
[17:50] <Dr`Castillo> "No, that’s fair, that's fair." He mulls this over. "Major Wellesley, you say? Apart from his relation with Rei, what else recommends him, do you think?"
[17:57] <Raphael> "He’s mature, level-headed and patient for a start. He’s also no stranger to dealing with the unusual, either. Are you aware of Rei’s… creature? She calls it Ban-Ban."
[17:59] <Dr‘Castillo> "Oh yes." Dr. Castillo’s eyes crinkled in delight. "Rei asked me to help her with Ban-Ban a few times. He's quite a fascinating individual. Has a curious mind, which isn't surprising. I actually have a few notes around somewhere on his psychology, I was going to write them into a journal for the American Psychological Association but I never quite got around to it. If I remember correctly, I summarised it with 'He has the soul of a poet and the body of a 200 pound massacre machine'."
[18:02] <Raphael> "… Yes, well." Raphael coughs. "You can attribute a good deal of that poet to Major Wellesley. He took the time to teach Ban-ban to read, and has been acting as something of a mentor to him ever since he and Rei met."
[18:03] <Dr‘Castillo> "Aha. He’s done a good job." Said Castillo. "Of course, Ban-Ban's development has also been due to one other key feature."
[18:04] <Raphael> "Sir?"
[18:05] <Dr‘Castillo> "Rei’s unceasing optimism."
[18:06] * Raphael stares for a moment, before letting out a quiet chuckle. "She's certainly indefatigable in that respect."
[18:07] * Dr‘Castillo chuckles. "It’s enough to warm an old man's heart. You know, I think the world would be a better place if we had a few more people like Rei."
[18:12] <Raphael> "Agreed, sir." He says fondly. "Although sometimes it's a struggle… Making sure to encourage that optimism while making sure it doesn't lead her into disappointment."
[18:14] <Dr‘Castillo> "Ah, yes. I suppose it’s the tribulation of fatherhood. Those same things that allow us to fall in love with them can also lead them into poor choices…"
[18:26] <Raphael> "… Indeed." Raphael says slowly, having glanced away at the first mention of fatherhood.
[18:44] <Dr‘Castillo> There’s a twinkle in Castillo's eye. "You're also a candidate, of course, Sir Guillory."
[18:50] * Raphael just stares for a moment, his eyes widening a little. "… Sir, no." Raphael says, raising his hands in protest. "I struggle just to find enough time for Suzanne on my own. I don’t have the time this girl obviously needs."
[18:56] <Dr‘Castillo> "That is true, but there are other advantages." Said Dr. Castillo. "Eevi doesn’t need schooling, for obvious reasons. You could take her to work with you. She could even help out a little, and in any case there's plenty of people there who could assist you. And at home, she would have the benefit of a 'big sister', so to speak."
[19:07] * Raphael gives Castillo a narrow, doubtful look. "So how much of the meeting was simply a leadup to asking me this, sir?"
[19:10] <Dr‘Castillo> "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar." Says Dr. Castillo, smiling. "I really did want to go through the list, with your help. Your points about the others -were- genuinely helpful- I really am going to speak to Mr. Wellesley and Miss Beringer. You, of course, I am speaking to right now."
[19:15] <Raphael> "Mmm. Well, if you’re asking for my opinion, sir, I'm not the right candidate for this. I'm still not entirely certain I was equipped to manage Suzie."
[19:17] * Dr‘Castillo nodded slowly. "That’s fair, that's fair. Although if you ask me, I would say that you have been doing an exemplary job yourself, you know."
[19:19] <Raphael> "And I'd like to continue doing so, if that happens to be the case. But I'm not sure that will be possible if I try to add one more child into the mix." Raphael says with a sigh.-
[19:20] <Raphael> "… But if nobody else is willing to take her in, let me know."
[19:24] * Dr‘Castillo nodded. "I will." Castillo takes a sip of whisky. "In the meantime, if you find the time, why don’t you come in and say hello to her and try to engage her a little?"
[19:27] <Raphael> "Of course, doctor." Raphael nods, glancing down at the man's bandaged wrist. "I'll make a note to avoid arm wrestling."
[19:31] * Dr‘Castillo chuckles sadly, waving his hand. "It was my fault, really. She didn’t understand the rules. When I explained, I told her she had to push has hard as she can, and, well…"
[19:34] <Raphael> "… Ah. Yes, I can see where that would go wrong." Raphael says with a little grin. "I suppose you're lucky she didn't break it."
[19:35] <Dr‘Castillo> "Yes indeed." He shakes his head. "Do you know she actually asked me a question? ’Is this fighting?' She asked. I said no, it was a game. I asked her why she asked, and she said, 'I am not to fight anymore'."
[19:41] * Raphael sighs again, his jaw working gently. "… That was his last order."
[19:43] <Dr‘Castillo> "Of the Iron Guard?"
[19:43] <Raphael> "The LN agent who was keeping her as a pet, yes. He ordered her not to fight, and to be free." He says quietly.-
[19:43] <Raphael> "She was confused, doctor. She told him that she didn’t know how."
[19:46] * Dr‘Castillo stares down at his knees, very quietly.-
[19:46] <Dr`Castillo> "That makes me feel very old, Sir Guillory." He puts his whiskey aside. "Damn this whole war."
[20:05] * Raphael nods, staring over at the opposite wall. "I know how you feel lately, sir."
[20:05] <Dr`Castillo> "What would Rei say at a time like this?"
[20:17] <Raphael> "She would…" He closes his eyes for a moment. "I’ve never been very good at this, I'm afraid. But she would probably remind us that no matter how much pain Eevi had been through, as long as one person loves her that might be enough."
[20:18] <Dr‘Castillo> "Ahahahaha." Castillo laughs, and it’s a deep, genuinely cheerful sound.-
[20:18] <Dr`Castillo> "God bless her. You know, I think she might just be right…"

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