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Thread: 7 Sins IC

  1. - Top - End - #331
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    Syless's Avatar

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    Aoba was 'lucky'. She'd been out touring the grounds when Ryall's call went out. She couldn't believe what she heard, but she heads to the back of the comm tower when Liza came crashing down. She had no idea what to make of this... where did this come from? There'd never been any indication that Liza would do anything like this, but... she needs to respond appropriately. She pulls a set of zip cuffs off her belt- she always keeps them, in case of more infiltrators- and reaches towards the downed Liza. "Don't resist. You'll get the chance to tell your side of the story. And I hope it's a good one. I don't... I don't understand. But you and everyone on the roof will be questioned appropriately." With that, she starts to drag Liza- towards the cells.

    As she does, she contacts the S2 agents on the roof. "Take Alyona to Dr. Blackford's office, don't leave her alone. Inform Lt. Cmd. Kuznetsov her daughter has been involved in an incident, ask her for permission to speak with Dr. Blackford before anything else, but if she insists on seeing her daughter, allow it, obviously. I'll be waking the doctor to come see her. Take Ryall for an ordinary debriefing- we want the whole situation as she saw it. I'll be questioning Pilot Petrovnya personally." There's a certain detachment at the end. She'd made a point of always calling the pilots by name, but after this... she contacts Kazuma next. <There's been a major issue between two pilots and a civilian. I'm handling the debriefing and questioning. I'll prepare a report and recommendations for you as soon as possible.>
    Last edited by Syless; 2019-11-12 at 03:57 PM.
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  2. - Top - End - #332
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    Ryall, noticing that Alyona's clinging to her like there's no tomorrow, implicitly understands that she needs some personal space right now. Deflecting S2's questions, she and Alyona hobbles downstairs as fast as they can. When they finally reach the maintenance door, Ryall turns back to Alyona. "You sure you don't need anything?"

  3. - Top - End - #333
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    Spoiler: Ryall
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    Alyona doesn't get a chance to answer before S2 rushes down the stairs after you.

    "Ms. Kuznetsov." You don't speak Russian, but you're fairly certain that's not how you pronounce her name. "You will be taken to Dr. Blackford's office."

    "But-"

    "Director Mashimo's orders. Pride, you will be taken for debriefing."

    They begin to usher you two your separate ways, completely ignoring Alyona's protests.
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  4. - Top - End - #334
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    Spoiler: Liza x Aoba: In Search of Humanity
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    When Liza comes to, it's in a brightly lit room. All that's to be seen is a door, a mirror- obviously one-way- and a metal table that she's handcuffed to. Sitting across from her is a very stern looking Aoba, staring at Liza.

    Liza's eyes half open, dazed. Then she reflexively jolts against her handcuffs and bolts upright, head swiveling as she tries to parse her situation.
    As her brain boots up, the jumbled memories filter into place.
    She takes one deep breath and settles back into her chair, staring at the empty table.

    Aoba is doing her best to remain calm and composed, what the situation warrants. "Liza. Pilot Petrovnya. We have one side of what happened on the rooftop. I would like to hear yours."

    Is this something I can talk my way out of? Or is it my chance to seize the punishment I've been earning these past two years? The details... won't matter. I can only support the people I love from the shadows, where I belong.
    If this is absolution, I may as well be honest.


    "... I... lost control. The overflowing feelings in my chest... When she told me not to fear the future, to just be happy with the momentary present... I couldn't hold back. Her hand was right there, so I took it and pulled her close to me, and gave her the love I couldn't contain. Obviously it was stupid. Not ill-considered: I didn't consider it at all. I can't undo it. God doesn't grant those kinds of miracles anymore."

    Aoba twinges. She's... sounding very emotional about this. But... "That's... very flowery, Liza. Can you slow down, go back, and tell me exactly what happened? Hard details only. What did you do, what did Alyona do, what did Ryall do."

    "...Right."

    She takes a breath.

    "Alyona approached me in the halls. Lt. Com. Kuznetsov and Commander Kazuma were fighting in her home and she wanted to be distracted. We picked up-- bought-- sandwiches from the cafeteria for a picnic, then I took her to the roof of the comm tower, picking the locks on the maintenance doors to get there. I wanted to see the view, and to show it to her. We talked about... about how the Russia we grew up in is dead, and needing to move on and focus on the happiness we have now, here, in Japan. The last thing she said... '<And if I'm wrong, at least I didn't live in fear.>' Something like, 'if I'm wrong, I didn't spend my life in fear.' We were behind a satellite dish to shelter from the wind, her standing and I lying on my back. I grabbed her arm, pulled her to the ground, rolled on top of her and pinned her and kissed her. I think I... asked if she would accept my lifetime's worth of affection. Then Ryall appeared, slammed and pinned me against a satellite dish, and tied her cheap jacket around my wrists. She went to help Alyona and call S2, at which time I escaped the roof and you captured me. The end."

    Aoba stays still for a moment to ponder what she said. "What happened when you pinned her down?"

    Liza has to wrack her brain to make sense of the memories. Even now she's not certain how much is real and how much she's making up to fill in the blanks.

    "I'm... not sure. I think... She cried, after the kiss, then screamed. Ryall hit me before I could react."

    "Why didn't you let go the moment she started crying?"

    Liza shakes her head. Her Japanese starts to deteriorate into simple, short phrases.
    "It was too fast. No time. I wonder if I would have? I... don't know. I'll never know."

    Aoba pauses, looking at the table, tapping her fingers on it. "...you realize where you made your mistake."

    "Hm? It's because I forced her, right?"

    "To say the least, yes."

    Liza nods sadly.
    "I know. I'm an animal. I tried to be human, but I'm not."

    Aoba winces. "You aren't an animal. You're here. You know what you did. But this isn't acceptable, and you're still not going to make it out of this unscathed."

    A humorless chuckle.
    "Unscathed? I'm surprised I'm alive, not even beaten. I have no expectations. I'll..."
    What are you doing?
    Being honest.

    "...probably run again, if there's a small opportunity."


    "...I see. So you're admitting you can't be trusted with independence?"

    See? They'll cage you like the little raccoon you are.
    "...I don't know."


    "...I don't have full discretion over your punishment. Kazuma will have one idea. I have my own. Irina will... want to be harsh." She sighs. "My own proposal will be this: You are kept under 24/7 watch. You will be fitted with an ankle monitor. You will not be allowed out of the pilots' dorm except for training and combat. You are to have no contact with Alyona Kuznetsov, and no non-professional contact with the lieutenant commander. And if this isn't acceptable to you... we may have to release you to the civilian justice system."

    "I'm not refusing, but... Why? I've always caused trouble. Isn't it easier to abandon me than to trust me with a Virtue?"

    "Ah, yes, I forgot the last point. You'll require a full psychiatric assessment from Dr. Blackford before being given permission to pilot again, and you'll have to see her for weekly therapy. If she says you aren't cooperating, then your probation may be revoked."

    "You didn't answer my question."

    "Well, it's tied together. The simple fact is, no, I don't trust you right now. You just assaulted someone. But I don't understand you. I can't understand what was going through your head. I'm not a professional. Who knows, maybe you can be punished, learn from your mistakes, and never do anything like this again. Or maybe you are too unstable, and a more... permanent solution needs to be found. You're a skilled pilot and had potential in multiple other fields. And you may have just thrown that all away."

    Liza has a burst of laughter and drops her forehead on the table. The cool metal feels good.
    "After all that... After everything... I stole my own future. A theft like that, isn't it hilarious?"

    She breathes in short, sharp bursts for a moment, then stabilizes again.
    "I'll talk with Dr. Blackford. But I can't stay here. If I'm caged, I'll become more and more insane. I..."

    She heaves another sigh and sits herself upright. She finally meets Aoba's eyes.
    "I love our pilots. I never lied about that. Even if they hate me, even if we never speak again, I'll support them from far away. Whether you keep me, or send me away, or put me down, I don't really care. Just don't let me become another danger. I'll definitely break again as I am now."

    "I won't be putting you in a cell, unless you give me no alternative. But you need to be punished, not just given a warning."

    Liza thinks for a bit. Something's shifted in her mental gears again.
    This is the punishment I've been looking for all along... is it something I can control after all? Do I want it to be?

    "Say, is there... something I can do? Hard labor, or scouting somewhere far away, or dangerous lab work, or anything besides sitting in my room? Obviously, it's punishment, but... If you and Dr. Blackford really believe I can be saved, isn't that better than... <deteriorating my mental condition further?> Um..."

    Aoba sighs. "You aren't exactly in a position to negotiate. But I'm not in a position to make a final offer anyway." She pulls out a piece of paper and a pen. "I want you to write down what you told me about the events of this night and sign it. A full confession. You'll be evaluated by Dr. Blackford while Kazuma and I discuss your future. He still has final say over all of this." She doesn't know the Russian, so she didn't catch onto the untranslated piece. "Frankly, the worst case punishment seems like it would be a transfer to B-US. You'd get to risk yourself like you seem you want to, and you'd be away from the people you've hurt. But you know why I don't want things to go that way."

    Liza nods.
    "Is Russian okay? I don't think I can write clearly in Japanese."

    "I don't speak it, personally, but I can have a translator called in to verify it, so it's acceptable, yes."

    Liza gets to work, basically transcribing what she told Aoba - her aural memory is better than her visual memory - and gradually starts to relax as her fate leaves her hands for the time being.

    Her handwriting is pretty childish, even in Russian. It's been two years since she handwrote anything longer than a scrawled note.

    Aoba nods and takes the paper, folding it up and putting it in her jacket. "I'll give a choice for now. You can return to your own room under guard, or you can spend tonight in an anonymous cell where Lt. Cmd. Kuznetsov can't find you."

    It takes a moment for the implication to sink in. It's one thing if they shot her here and now, but given the choice, she's not ready to die yet.
    She giggles, but it's full of terror.

    "The cell, please."

    Aoba nods, then unlocks Liza's cuffs from the table. "If you want any books, I'll bring them to you."

    "Thanks. I should practice Japanese more."
    Liza goes along complacently. She still reflexively searches for opportunities - memorizing the cameras, vents, pathways, everything - but for now she's lost the will to act on any of it.

    For one thing, she has hope. If Dr. Blackford can teach her to become human - not just a fragile facade - then it might be too early to give up her sense of self.

  5. - Top - End - #335
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    The debriefing was excessively dry, tedious and worst of all, unhelpful. Ryall mostly spent the debrieving answering the questions with mumbled half-answers, and the second she was given the opportunity to leave, she does immediately, fishing out her phone out of her pocket and texting the others. I have to warn them about Liza.

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    Liza just tried to rape the Lieutenant Commander's daughter. Stay away from her, she's dangerous.


    After doing that, she slumps against a wall, sighing whilst trying to process what to do next. I should... I should probably check on the girl later today. I don't know anymore. What is my life now, even?

  6. - Top - End - #336
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    Spoiler: Aoba
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    When you enter Kazuma's office, he turns on the white noise machine, but doesn't immediately address you. He's looking at your report and drumming his fingers on the desk. Not looking up, he finally speaks.

    "I lost track of how many times I read your report. Irina will be kept out of this decision, due to the... Liza is very easily excitable, and far too dramatic for her own good. I don't believe the outcome is what she intended. That doesn't excuse her, but it does give us a good reason to ensure that she is allowed to be rehabilitated. Unfortunately, I fear that you're missing a key element: if she isn't sufficiently punished, it won't matter what order I give Irina or how many guards you put on Liza. I have two suggestions, that I would present to her as options. They would not replace your recommendation - they would be in addition to it. The first is I hand her off to a JSDF drill sergeant for a week. He won't know what she did - only that I want to ensure she isn't let off lightly for it. The second is yubitsume. Barbaric, yes, but I can guarantee it will save her life."

    He sighs and sets the report down, then rubs his face with both hands.

    "Listen to me talking about my lieutenant like a mob boss. But no, it's worse than that, isn't it? It's a parent protecting her child."
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  7. - Top - End - #337
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    Aoba contemplates. "...I can't believe I would ever advocate this. But if Irina wants blood, I think it's a price that Liza would be happy to pay, a material punishment and reminder of her sins. Which is to say... it's what she would pick. Ideally, I would let Alyona make the choice between the two... but the poor girl has suffered enough, I don't want to draw out her memories of the event." She pauses. "What of the rest of my recommendations? Would you rather a single heavy punishment to something drawn out?"
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  8. - Top - End - #338
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    Spoiler: Aoba
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    "Restricting her movements, keeping her monitored, and mandating therapy is, I believe, rehabilitation. I support this, but without a court martial - which would get very public, very quickly - I can only impose this for 45 days or less. An extension could only be approved by Dr. Blackford. If we do want to move forward with her punishment, Irina will need to be present. Give her no reason to suspect foul play. As for a transfer, I will only consider transferring Liza to B-US if it is absolutely necessary to save her life. That branch is... not safe. It remains to be seen if they can be salvaged at all. I will be leaving to oversee their training as soon as possible, and I was going to ask for Ryall to go with me, as an example of a model pilot. It seemed like she would be the best choice, but given recent events, I don't know that she will be able to maintain the necessary composure."
    Last edited by fibericon; 2019-11-13 at 01:52 PM.
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  9. - Top - End - #339
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    Aoba nods. "45 days to start, then. We'll make sure that Liza knows the full terms of her punishment. And I'd rather send no pilot to B-US either, but I can't imagine any other branch would take her, if transfer was deemed necessary. As far as the visit goes... extend an invitation to Ryall, but you're right, given what happens she may not be interested. I suggest Gabriel as a backup option." One more moment of hesitation. "...which of us will be speaking to Irina about the details?"
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  10. - Top - End - #340
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    Spoiler: Aoba
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    "This is my responsibility. You can join me if you think it would help, but I can't delegate this."

    He types a brief email to Ryall on his computer, then stands up and grabs his phone.

    "Irina, I'm coming to you. It is. Alright."

    He pockets the phone and looks to you. "Let's go."

    -----

    Irina is in her home - on base due to her mobility issues. It looks like Alyona has yet to arrive.

    "<You promised...>" Irina looks up, then switches to Japanese when she sees you. "When I came to this country, you promised that my daughter would be safe."

    "I'm sorry, Irina. But I can't have her monitored at all times - you know she would be miserable."

    She puts her weight on her cane to stand, and stares him down. "Let me tell you something about misery, Kazuma. I named that Sin my protege, had her in my home, and shared with her a family gathering I hadn't observed since the death of my husband. You gave that Sin the skills she needed to..."

    "Then I have failed in my duties. I can't change that. I can only affect the decisions I make going forward. We are going to present two NJP options. Both will include restricted movement, electronic tracking, and mandatory therapy. She can either choose to have one week with a drill sergeant who has been ordered to see that she's not let off lightly, or she can tribute the end of her finger."

    "Those are... wildly different options, Kazuma. No one would chose to mutilate themselves, given another choice. Especially if that choice is a mild workout."

    "You misjudge the accused, and seem to have forgotten basic training."

    Irina doesn't reply, mulling over the information. Kazuma looks to you, apparently unsure of how to proceed.


    Spoiler: Ryall
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    You receive an email from Kazuma, asking you to meet him in his office in four hours.
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  11. - Top - End - #341
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    "This in no way excuses anything she did, but Liza does feel guilt over what she did. Frankly, the harshest punishment to her will be the restricted movement- she would rather pay in blood than have her freedoms curtailed. If you left the choice to her, I'm rather certain she would chose mutilation as penitence. Not because she sees it as the lesser punishment- but because she thinks it's what she deserves. But to clarify- I intend to keep her under 24 hour guard, three personal S2 agents on standard rotation to ensure she doesn't slip away. She will be restricted to the pilots' wing of the dorm when not in training, and she'll be fitted with an ankle monitor, should she still manage to slip away. She will be barred from coming anywhere near your daughter without both of your consent- that is, yours and Alyona's. Liza will not factor into the decision.

    She will receive an initial assessment from Dr. Blackford to ensure that rehabilitation is actually viable- reading people is not my best skill, but it is hers. This will be followed up by weekly therapy and assessments, until the default 45 days are up, upon which time she will have a final assessment to determine a final response- probation or transfer. While the decision is ultimately up to the Commander, if there's any terms you would like to request to ensure that she is being properly punished and restrained from any similar incidents, feel free to offer input- as long as you recognize the final decision is out of your hands."
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  12. - Top - End - #342
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    Spoiler: Kazuma
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    Xiren shakes her head vigorously. "No, Commander. I don't want to give you the impression that I'm unhappy here. I'm happier as a pilot than I've ever been anywhere else, and I wouldn't trade this for a 'normal' life even if that was an option for me. People need rules. Me more than most. The part of me that wants to cast them off is sinful and wrong, and I do my best to keep it in check. But if I ever did feel like that, I know you'd hear me out. I... won't take any more of your time, Commander. I apologize." Xiren stands and goes to leave, but turns back briefly. "And, Commander? If you don't mind, then please, call me Xiren."

    Spoiler: The Text
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    Xiren's in her dorm, curled up on her bed with her Bible on her lap when she gets Ryall's text. She picks up her phone and stares blankly at the screen for a few moments.

    ...That can't be right.

    No, on some level this isn't all that unexpected. Ryall wouldn't lie about something like this. And Liza... gets caught up in her own head. It'd be easy for her to forget she's dealing with a living, breathing person and not a protein bar she's trying to squirrel away from the mess hall.


    And here you spent all that time trying to convince yourself she didn't mean any harm. I told you she only cared about what she could take from you. This proves it.


    Choosing not to dignify this with a response, Xiren instead focuses on the Bible in front of her. She flips through, searching for a half-remembered passage somewhere in the Old Testament.

    "But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die. But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so is this matter: For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her." She reads aloud, in a quaking and unsure voice.

    Ah yes, Deuteronomy 22. What a lovely chapter. I'm particularly fond of the bit where it says that if a woman marries without her virginity intact the men of the city should stone her to death. Or the part where it says that women wearing men's clothing is an abomination.

    Deuteronomy is God's covenant with the nation of Israel. The Law of the Covenant was fulfilled when Jesus died for us. We don't need to follow it to the letter any more. Like the Commander said, we take what works and leave the rest.

    You're just looking for a justification for your own hatred. You want to hurt Liza for betraying you and you need to believe that's okay. Feeling a certain way then going looking for Scripture to make it acceptable isn't faith. You're using the Bible as a conduit for your own desires.

    Again, Xiren doesn't answer. But this time it's because she doesn't have one.

    Don't look so miserable, xiao ren. This is a happy day for you.

    Xiren scoffs. How in the world could this make me happy?

    You began to hate Liza because you envied her. More accurately, you envied what she had. But even if they let her pilot again, she'll be an outcast. A pariah. Everything greedy little Yelizaveta took could be yours now. If you want it.
    Last edited by velvetWing; 2019-11-13 at 03:46 PM.

  13. - Top - End - #343
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    Spoiler: Aoba
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    "Fine." Irina growls. As she sits back down, it becomes clear that her tone was a result of physical pain - not anger.

    Kazuma sighs. "You need to take your medication."

    "I need an appetite to do that. Without eating first, it would be worse than not taking it at all. Very well, Mashimo. I trust your judgement. But if she does escape containment, I will shoot to kill."


    Spoiler: Xiren
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    "Very well, Xiren. If that's what makes you comfortable."


    Spoiler: Ryall and Kazuma
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    Ryall knocks on the door to Kazuma's office, waiting somewhat tensely for the go-ahead to enter.

    "It's open." Upon entry, you see Kazuma behind his desk, looking over battle data. "Ms. Lagrange, have a seat. Do you need anything? I understand these are..." He takes a deep breath and sighs, "Are you alright?"

    "Sir, I'm fine," Ryall lied surprisingly convincingly to Kazuma. "I'm currently more concerned with the current status of Lt. Kuznestov's daughter. Is she doing okay?"

    "I can't disclose that, out of both policy and respect to her. However, I can tell you that she is a very resilient person. This isn't why I called you into my office, however. I'm going to present an option to you, and I need you to understand that it is, in fact, optional. You won't be penalized in any way if you refuse. In light of Eva Lorentz's death, I will be overseeing pilot training and command structure revisions at B-US. I would like you to join me. The pool of English speaking pilots here is admittedly small, but you are my first choice, as you are the most experienced, and also the most skilled at personal scale combat."

    Ryall falls silent, seemingly lost in her own thoughts before speaking up. "Sir, I am honored by your invitation, but I must refuse. With what... happened with Yelizaveta and the Lieutenant's daughter, I'm not confident enough in going to another Branch and risk not noticing signs of troubling behavior in the other pilots in B-J, and to leave them at risk as a result."

    Kazuma nods. "You have a respectable level of self awareness. Matinpoika will be joining me instead. He has been far enough removed from these events. There is one other thing, however. Have you already figured out why we chose you for special training?"

    "No, though I'm curious as to why."

    "We suspect that we may need to kill another Sin capable of personal scale AT abilities. I don't know how he obtained these abilities - what we did to grant you yours is an experimental procedure. What we do know is that he's reportedly unaffected by ordinary weapons, and apparently uses mind affecting abilities on those of Abrahamic faith."

    "...I see."

    Kazuma gives you a moment to process this before dropping the rest of the bombshell. "I'm referring to the pope."

    Ryall is in shock when Kazuma drops the bombshell on who she's about to face. "The Pope... is a Sin? How? Isn't he just an old, frail and wrinkly man?"

    Kazuma types on his keyboard a bit, then turns his monitor to face you. On screen is a clip of the interrogation of the Vatican commandos.

    "If you'd seen his radiance, you would understand. It is clear, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that he is blessed. He is chosen by God. No weapon can hurt him. If you are truly one of the faithful, just speak to him. I promise you, that's all it will take, just one conversation, and you will dismantle this organization of your own accord."

    Kazuma pauses the video and grunts. "I was rather unsettled by this interrogation, so much so that I had a lot to think about. I'm also a Christian, and I felt compelled to actually place that call. But I'm Christian, not stupid. I instead gave my phone's battery to Irina until the feeling passed. But to be able to do that over such a long distance is troubling. I haven't allowed anyone to interrogate them since, nor have I mentioned this urge to Director Mashimo."

    Ryall nods. "I see. This explains the Vatican still being a factor in all of this, then. What's the current plan, beyond training me up to beat him?"

    "We're going to crush the Vatican in public perception, and not just with a commercial block in prime time. We're also gathering information from the inside. By the time you do go in, they will be at their least well funded, and thus, weakest. I do wonder what he's truly capable of, and don't want to send you in blind. Ideally, you would kill him from a kilometer or so away with a Disrupting Shot, and never have to worry about dealing with him in close combat."

    "So, aside from honing my AT abilities, I should focus on my marksmanship for now, then?"

    "That would be my advice. I would also advise you learn a bit about Italy - you'll be travelling through it to get close enough. I won't be sending you alone, but you'll only have Suzuki - Akari, I mean, not Takeo - for backup. She will get you in and out, and be your spotter. If, for some reason you need to get closer, she will aid with that as well."

    "Any potential obstacles I should worry about?"

    "You've seen the Potifical Guard in action. Italy is bound by treaty to protect the Holy See in times of war, and this will very much be considered an act of war. In fact, Italy is the main reason the Holy See isn't under US occupation already. If you're caught... use every trick at your disposal to ensure that you aren't caught. Your extraction would be an international incident."

    "...I understand."

    "I'm sure you have a lot to think about. If you have other questions, my schedule is clear for a bit. Otherwise, you're dismissed."

  14. - Top - End - #344
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    Spoiler: Alyona and Shara
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    Alyona is ushered into your office by S2 agents. You knew she was coming, but you didn't realize they'd be tossing her in and closing the door. She stands there awkwardly when they leave, not really sure what to do with herself.

    Shara was a bit groggy, nursing a cup of coffee, but this was urgent, from what she understood. One of the Sins... but for now, all that was important was this girl. "Alyona... my name is Shara Blackford. I'm normally the Sins' therapist, but I was called in to help with you." She pulls a small fidget toy out of her purse and hands it to Alyona. "If your thoughts start drifting, please try and distract yourself with this. It sounds weird, but trust me."

    Alyona takes it and nods. She stares at it for a moment before replying, not looking up at you. All she can muster is a look of minor consternation. Her voice is hollow. "I think I just killed a lot of people."

    That's a jarring moment. "...why do you say that, Alyona?"

    "They say they have to protect the Sins because one death among them means it's harder to stop an angel. It might do more damage before it goes down, or worse, win the battle. They're not just interchangeable, even if you have reserves and transfers. It's not free. It's never free. Someone pays with their life. A lot of someones. But if Liza is in prison, it's the same as being dead. She can't pilot. So, because I panicked, I killed all those people. If I'd stayed calm, everything would be okay."

    "That's not how this works. You're more important than that. You matter. Just because you aren't a Sin doesn't mean your life is less important. You took care of yourself. Don't worry about Liza."

    She fiddles with the toy a bit. "No, I don't think so. My intention was not to panic. So, this has all been my failing. But I'm not worried about her. I'm worried about the state of Babylon as a result of my actions."

    "Liza wasn't in the last fight, and it was a resounding success. The team will compensate, whatever her punishment."

    "Well, that is good." She flips the toy to another face. "I think I always knew. Given the behavior leading up to it, I mean. I didn't want to hurt her feelings, so I never outright rejected her advances. I led her on. Like petting a bird's head."

    "That's not leading her on, Alyona. Rejecting someone is always hard, but interpreting a lack of rejection for approval is entirely on her, not you."

    "Is it? Others are only responsible for what I say, not what I intend." She furrows her brow and flips to another cube face. "There aren't many people on base who speak Russian, especially my age. I should have just..." She shrugs. "Done whatever it is she wanted from me. Simpler, yes? Simple, easy... no fuss, no therapy, no S2, no fighting or jumping off buildings or..."

    "Only your own pain and trauma. Which is just as real. Why do you think so little of yourself?"

    "Well... let me see... Father was a soldier in Russia. When he died, mother and I were sad. His friends and fellow soldiers were sad. It was a big impact. When mother was crippled, there were medals, and doctors, and generals, and Babylon was formed... but... notice how, through all of that, I didn't mention anyone noticing me? It's because I'm not noteworthy. If I died right here, brain aneurysm in your office, my classmates might make a mural. They will forget by the next pizza day in the cafeteria. I've never done or been anything." She shrugs again. "I'm surrounded by heroes, but I'm nobody."

    "You're still young, Alyona. No one expects anything of you. The Sins were flukes of fate, that's the only reason anyone expects anything of them. Your whole life is ahead of you- if you want to be remembered, you have a hundred years to accomplish that." Shara pauses. "But let's take a different route. You seem to be thinking of this all in terms of dominoes, of one thing leading to another and ending badly. If something bad happened to you, your mother would be crushed. And your mother is more integral to Babylon than any one Sin. They would lose her, and the branch would start to fall apart. All because you're her daughter- and that makes you important."

    "Hmm." She fiddles with the toy a bit more. "I know I'm being rude, not looking at you. It's not that I don't care. It's just easier. If I can be just... not here. I heard a comedian once. He said getting stabbed was worse than getting shot. You get shot, it happens and it's done. You get stabbed, you're there the whole time. If I look at you, if I acknowledge that you're in this room, then I will be... here... the whole time."

    "Not at all, Alyona. That's the point of the toy. We want you to let out the thoughts without ruminating on them to keep this incident from growing in your mind. If you'd prefer, I also have a few video games on a tablet."

    "No. I don't think I can... focus on that. But I don't know where to go from here. I know cause and effect isn't so direct, but mother and the commander were arguing, so I wanted to talk to someone I could relate to. That... went a different way. And now, I have no one. My classmates see me as this exotic accessory. We have fun, but we're not friends. We're not friends." Her hand drops, and she grimaces. "That feels horrible to say. I have no friends now. This is surely worse than the alternative."

    "The alternative is still having no friends, but having an oppressor. How would you feel about pen pals? I'm sure there's plenty of people fluent in Russian who would be happy to get to know you."

    "At least... it's something. I don't have anything to offer. So when the bakery is throwing out bread at the end of the day, you take it instead of complaining, right? Because if you had something to offer, you wouldn't need to beg. I go through boyfriends like tissue paper because once they get to know me, they realize there's nothing there."

    "What do you do for fun, Alyona?"

    She looks up, a little startled. "Oh. I... I like the movie theater, and shopping, silly group adventures, I suppose."

    "What's the last movie you saw?"

    "I watched that Korean one, with the sea monster. I can't remember what it was called, but it was strange. They have a different social contract. What they consider a happy ending... it was strange. It was a very dark comedy."

    "How so?"

    "They're running from this monster, and the father is pulling his daughter by the hand. He looks back and it's someone else he grabbed. And everyone laughed. His daughter was taken by the monster and held captive. She was like... little match girl. Always checking her phone, trying to get a good signal while the battery died. And they killed little match girl. But the monster was destroyed and the father adopted a new child and we're supposed to accept that as a happy ending?"

    "So what you're saying is... people aren't interchangeable? Everyone is valuable?"

    "I... yes. Yes, I think so."

    "Including you?"

    Alyona looks down and pouts. "It would be easier if I wasn't, yes?"

    "No. It's never easier."

    She takes a deep breath and sighs, then looks back up at you. "Everything is so hard. I bet you can't even fix this with a pill. If you could, I would have already taken it. So what do I do then?"

    Shara shakes her head. "I wouldn't prescribe anything for this, no. Not off this, anyway. Right now I suggest, well... regular therapy. Not necessarily with me. There's plenty of qualified therapists, I have a few I can recommend, unless your mother wishes you to keep seeing me. Find ways to be active. Look for any local Russian ex-pat groups that might have kids your age, who can sympathize with what you've been through. There's a lot of options."

    She raises her eyebrows and puts the toy down. "Right. I will try harder to have friends. And what do I do about mother? Nothing and let her sort it out?"

    "I'm not saying you need to try harder. But you've expressed why your friendships don't work, and there's ways around it, if you care to try. Just don't let yourself sink into idleness. As far as your mother goes... what is your concern? What do you think she'll do?"

    "There was this thing the commander once said to her, right after Ryall punched some boy. He said, gang bangers, mobsters, even terrorists have a code of honor. A parent protecting his child does not. She said the first time someone puts their hands on me will be the last time they have hands. They laughed about it. I know it sounds strange to hear that the commander laughed, but he is a different man around mother. She was joking, but a lot of truth is said in jest."

    "And what would you prefer she did, in response to this?"

    "I would prefer she not get herself shot. I don't have any other family. If she gets in trouble or dies for revenge I didn't ask her to take... I'll have no one."

    "Then tell her that. Ask her to stay within the lines. Tell her you don't want to lose her."

    She nods and sniffles, quickly wiping her eyes. Her voice cracks when she replies. "I need to tell her."

    Shara nods. "You do. Do you want anyone there with you when you do?"

    "I don't have anyone I want to be there. Maybe it's better if I do but I can't help being selfish right now. She's not anyone else's mother so no one needs to be there."

    "That's fine. I just wanted to make sure the offer was there." She thinks for a second. "How are you feeling, Alyona?"

    "I'm... scared and sad and lonely and I just want someone to actually want to be around me and not just be using me for something! Alright?! Are you ****ing happy now?! Did you get what you wanted?! I'm the girl who can get you in to see giant robots, right? Except I can't! I'm a civilian! Oh well, drop her. No point dating her, right? Just use me and throw me away! Just... god, look at me." She takes a ragged breath. "I'm not even surprised. Not at this point."

    "If you had a choice, Alyona, where would you live? You don't seem to like being at Babylon."

    "I don't know. My home is dead. I don't want to live in ashes." There's a sigh of defeat. "My new home is lovely. But the people have more interesting people to talk to. I don't fit in anywhere. Maybe I should just try to blend in more. Dye my hair black. No one will mistake me for Japanese, but maybe for half. I don't know. I just wanted to have a friend. Just one, one real one. That's all."

    Shara ponders. She might be about to break confidentiality. "There's another girl here at Babylon who feels like an outsider. She's not a pilot, but she's here- she wouldn't think she could get anything from you that she can't do on her own. And due to... health concerns, she would never do what Liza did."

    "New girl, yes? That's what mother and the commander were arguing about. I never met her. Maybe I should."

    "I think you two would get along well."

    "I think... I will let her sleep for now. I need to try to keep my mother out of trouble."

    "Of course, I didn't mean right this second. But sometime soon, when you're ready. I'll talk with your mother sometime about long term care, but for now, if you need someone to talk to, just ask to see me."

    "Thank you, doctor. I'm sorry I shouted."

    "It's okay, Alyona. This room is always safe to shout in."
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  15. - Top - End - #345
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Planetar

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    Most of the things Ryall had planned for the evening fell through with the fallout of what Liza tried to do; of course, considering her days mostly consists out of "eat, train, sleep" with the occasional Angel attack mixed into it, she didn't really have much to do.

    Which is why she's now standing in front of the Lieutenant Commander's house, holding a box of chocolates and a bouquet of flowers . She wanted to make sure that the Lt. Commander's daughter (oh wow, I don't even know her name, do I?) is okay after what happened to her, and wants to cheer her up- of course, considering she doesn't know anything about her, she decided to go the safe route and buy a box of chocolates. As for the flowers, they were part of a buy one get one deal, and Ryall didn't know what else to do with them. Maybe she'll like them?

    Ryall tentatively knocks on the door, noticeably more nervous than usual. I have to help her feel better... but what should I say? What can I say?

  16. - Top - End - #346
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

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    Spoiler: Ryall
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    When the Lieutenant Commander opens the door, she looks down at your gifts, then up at your face. She stares blankly at you, blinking a few times.

    "I'm going to close the door now."
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  17. - Top - End - #347
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    "No, wait!" Ryall hastily responded, perhaps a little bit too forcefully, putting her foot in the door. "I wanted to give these to your daughter and check up on how she's feeling right now. You know, to make her feel better. How is she doing?"

  18. - Top - End - #348
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

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    Spoiler: Ryall
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    Irina sighs and mutters something. You don't speak Russian, but you're fairly certain she just swore.

    "She will be fine, thanks to you. But she is not ready to start dating, and I don't think you are her type. She dates skinny Japanese boys, and you are none of those words."
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  19. - Top - End - #349
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Ryall looks a bit confused as to what Irina's implying, then it all sinks in. Wait, is she actually implying that...?

    "Oh. Ohhhhhh. No, it's not like that, I promise! It's just that I wanted to get her a gift and I didn't know what she likes, so I decided to buy a box of chocolates. Then I found out that I also get a free bouquet of flowers, so I took that along with me, and I don't know what else to do with them so I decided to just carry them along with me. There's not a single romantic intention here, I swear, only an attempt to cheer her up." Whilst talking, Ryall could find her face involuntarily slowly going red from shame and embarrassment; if it weren't for the box and bouquet in her hands, she'll be burying it in them.

  20. - Top - End - #350
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

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    Spoiler: Ryall
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    "Well, throw those things away if you want to see her. But make it quick. She needs to rest."

    Irina opens the door and hobbles into the living room, where Alyona is laying on a sofa. She looks up at you and opens her mouth, but closes it before saying anything. Her eyes are red and puffy.
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  21. - Top - End - #351
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Volthawk's Avatar

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    Up until reading the text, the latter part of Takeo's day hadn't been too bad - sure, all the frustration and confusion was still there, bubbling away under the surface, but he had managed to put it to one side for a while by focusing on other things. In particular, he was practicing his singing when the message came through - he never really performed for anyone or made it a major part of his life, but it was calming and helped him remember the good times in the past, not just the bad.

    Naturally, this all changed after he read what Ryall had to say. Confusion and denial came first, the parts of Takeo's mind that clung closest to the idea of him and Liza coming up with alternative explanations - Ryall wanting Xiren alone, perhaps. That didn't last long, however, trust in Ryall, lingering doubts about Liza and ideas about how it could have happened winning over blind denial. Now what.

    After an hour of silent thought alone, Takeo didn't have an answer. Conflicting ideas, regrets and feelings clashed in his mind, a stalemate that only served to prolong the experience.

    More time passed, and the hordes of small thoughts died down a little, leaving the central principle he'd built his post-Rapture identity around.

    He was Wrath, and destroying those responsible for the evil he'd seen was why he remained here. Winning the war was more important than anything else.

    For now, focusing on that would do. The rest of him could wait.
    Blake avatar by Cuthalion

  22. - Top - End - #352
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Spoiler: Ryall x Alyona (no, not in that way, Irina)
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    Laying down the chocolates and the flowers near the front door (she spent good money on it, so she's not going yo just throw it away), Ryall slowly approaches Alyona. "Hey. Is everything okay?"

    Alyona takes a deep breath and sighs. "I will be fine. Dr. Blackford made me talk about things I didn't want to think about. Is your hand okay?"

    "It's fine. It's not sprained or anything like that. Though really, right now I want to know more about you. What's your name?"

    "I'm Alyona. I already know your name - you're famous. You like punching, I hear."

    "Nice to meet you, Alyona.... wait, what's that about me liking to punch people?"

    Alyona chuckles. It's a little broken, but doesn't sound forced. "That was the first time I heard your name. 'What should we do about Ryall? She punched the Cole boy at the gala.'"

    Ryall looks a tad offended for a bit, but recovers quickly. "...Well, okay, that's fair. Technically, though I didn't punch him, I just threw fruit punch at his face and kicked him in the family jewels."
    There's a short silence before Ryall realizes that what she said just makes her look like a violent lunatic, and she hastily adds, "But the guy was a skeezeball that was really laying on the moves on Xiren, so..."

    "Well, you remind me of mother. I don't hear many stories - she tries to protect me from them. But from the ones I know about, violence is necessary to protect people."

    "I'm not really sure about that. It's definitely an option, sure, but it's not the only one. Probably not even the best one."

    "So tell me what other option you had today. Because I don't see it." She shrugs, then realizes how awkward it is in her position and sits up. "Soldiers, police, they have rules about when it's okay to kill someone. But that's the point - they know it's sometimes okay to kill someone. And getting there, there are a lot of other things they can do first. Tasers, pepper spray, tear gas, clubs. Russian police use martial arts a lot. Less in Japan, but they do too. Sometimes they talk first. Sometimes they don't."

    "Yeah, there wasn't any other option today, but..." Ryall takes a breath before continuing. "Have you ever heard of the saying 'an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?' Sure, I stopped Liza today, but if I was anywhere near as good with people as Xiren was, then maybe I could've seen the red flags coming from a mile away and act accordingly."

    "Maybe. I don't know anything about that. My father was military too. They don't show up until something has already gone wrong. So at that point, what's left? What is your training like?"

    "It was tough, and still is, but I can do it no problem. I used to be trained mainly in Virtue combat up until a few weeks ago, and I found out the hard way that fighting in a Virtue is different from fighting on foot."

    "I don't have your magic, so I can't fight in the Virtue. But would it be okay if I joined you for your other training?"

    Ryall shrugs. "Sure. I don't think you can just plunge right into advanced combat training, but I'll ask the Commander about if you can attend the classes too. As for the time being, you're always free to join me on my morning runs, though I'm warning you, I wake up at 4:30 AM every day, so..."

    "So you do what special forces do? Then I will do that too. I can still make it to school on time after. It does not feel good to be the damsel in distress. All those cartoon princesses." She feigns an exaggerated swoon. "Oh, my prince! Save me! No. That is not the woman I want to be. There is no joy in hiding behind someone else."

    Ryall smiles a bit. "Yeah, I can see where you're coming from. Being helpless and not being able to do anything really is the worst."

    "Yes, exactly. I... I hope that is okay. I don't really have anything to offer in exchange."

    "It's fine. Helping you is good enough on its own."

    She smiles at this. "You are a good woman, Ryall. I'm glad you're here."

    "No problem."


  23. - Top - End - #353
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

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    Day 15

    Spoiler: Takeo
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    You're so close. You're right there. But because someone else isn't doing what they're supposed to, you have to wait. Your blood boils with impatient rage. Only a dead forest stands between you and your reunion with yourself.

    When you wake up, there's a note that's been slid under your door.

    Spoiler: Note
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    Had an early morning flight to go on a mission. Don't know if I'll be gone a day or a week. Stay safe, kid. If you think **** already hit the fan, you ain't seen nothing yet.

    Love,
    Akari



    Spoiler: Xiren
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    Your recovery has been made a primary directive, which mostly means the medical team whines at you whenever you try to do anything. Still, they're doing their best, even if they're doing so obnoxiously.

    On the bright side, the medical wing is where you hear gossip. Some you already know. Some is of questionable value - apparently one of the orderlies watches children's cartoons. But some is interesting. The commander's trip has been delayed a day. Akari was missing for her morning coffee. They're preparing for a new patient transfer to intensive care.


    Spoiler: Ryall
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    The documents you've been given to read about Ren paint a grim picture. When the seal on the AT drive chamber was broken, the two in the room with her received a dose of radiation roughly equal to the Demon Core incident. Their fates were already sealed at that point, but they would have lived for another 48 to 72 hours if they had stopped. When the chamber was opened, Ren didn't fall or climb out - she flickered into existence. This instantly rendered the others in the room comatose. They were dead in under two hours.


    Spoiler: Liza and Aoba
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    The time has come for Liza's decision. Kazuma, Irina, and Aoba stand outside her cell.

    "Yelizaveta Petrovnya," Kazuma begins, "For the charges brought against you, you can choose to request a court martial. This will remove your ability to opt for a non-judicial punishment. If you do, it will be a very public affair that will reflect poorly on Babylon Global. If found guilty, the possible range of sentencing will be harsher. If you instead choose non-judicial punishment, it will remove your ability to opt for a court martial. You will be sentenced on the spot, and the range of sentencing available to me is lighter. The sentencing non-negotiable, but you will be given two options.

    Your first option is seven days under a drill sergeant who has been ordered to ensure that you are not let off lightly. This does not constitute boot camp, and will not grant you any military position. It will involve eighteen hours a day of intense physical activity and verbal abuse. Refusal to cooperate with the drill sergeant will be considered a breach of parole, and new charges will be brought against you.

    Your second option is a Japanese tradition known as yubitsume. If you choose this option, you will be provided with a knife and ordered to remove the final digit of your left pinky finger. There will be no anesthetic or reattachment surgery. Medical staff will ensure that no complications arise.

    Whichever option you choose, you will also be fitted with an ankle monitor. Your movements will be restricted, and you will be required to attend weekly therapy. At the end of 45 days, you will be evaluated by Dr. Blackford, who will determine whether to extend your probation. I can neither affect nor overrule her decision in this matter.

    Those are your options. Please make your decision."



    Spoiler: Aoba
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    Your agents are now in place in the GoL facility. GPS confirms their location is a match to your previously gathered data. Kazuma's people have tracked Robert to B-N, where he will be for several days. This wasn't much of a feat on its own, but he has also deployed Akari to The Netherlands to await your signal.

    Finally, you receive your first message from your Vatican infiltrator: "PR duty."
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  24. - Top - End - #354
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

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    Spoiler: Chloe
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    The boy standing in front of your open door is David Wilson. Military school, but doesn't show it. His sister and Jeanette get along pretty well. You've had the occasional jam session with him. The best and worst thing you can say about his musical ability is that he stays in his lane. He knows how to play chords, and never does anything particularly complicated. He knows the range of his voice, and makes no attempt to stray outside it. So while he never sounds bad, he never sounds amazing either.

    Despite being a wrath, he's generally a pretty nice guy. Generally. When Eva Lorentz died, you got to see why he was classified as a wrath. In the seventeen seconds between Director Miranda Hernandez pressing the panic button in her office and S2 responding, he had caved in her left orbital with a paperweight. He blamed her for the disaster of the last battle, and by extension, Eva's death. Command opted for therapy in lieu of punishment, much to her chagrin.

    "You're really going to Japan, huh? I heard a wild rumor it's not all cosplay and vocaloid covers. Well, I'm excited to meet Nakamura at least. He was supposed to be here today, but he got held up dealing with something back home. I wanna hear how he fought angelspawn without a Virtue. Must be a hell of a story."
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  25. - Top - End - #355
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Griffon

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    Chloe's mood is... complicated. Eva's death, Marin's hospitalization, B-US command's descent into desperate madness, their impending transfer to Japan, all the greetings and partings that will entail, concern for how little Jeannette will cope with everything...

    It's a lot.

    There's not much she can do about it right now. The transfer paperwork, and matters of Jeannette's custody, are being handled between the Pascals, the hospital, and B-J's blessedly reliable officers. Marin's condition is serious but stable, and as much as Chloe might like to remain by his side, she has too many other responsibilities to indulge herself like that. She needs to pack, and study B-J's handbook, and brush up on her professional Japanese, and take care of Jeannette while Marin and his parents are indisposed, and now command - the audacity they have to still consider themselves command - assigned her to accompany B-J's Commander Nakamura and Mr. Matinpoika for the duration of their visit, as the most qualified speaker of Japanese with the time and flexibility to indulge their guests. It's practically a mercy that their arrival was delayed.

    Reviewing her mental to-do list frequently helps her keep it straight without constantly referencing her journal. It's stressful, but well within her capabilities, and that knowledge gives her the strength to continue pressing on.

    Right now, Chloe is sorting and folding clothes - the ones she can pack right now, the ones she and Jeannette will still need to wear before their departure. She just put an idol performance on her laptop to drown out the echoes of Eva's screams.
    The little lady herself is lying on the bed reading a comic book, kicking her legs in the air with no regard for the neatly-folded clothes that Chloe's been stacking on her back - given that she chose to occupy the largest available workspace instead of helping.

    Chloe greets David with a friendly smile and pauses the video, but keeps working on the clothes as they chat. Occupying her hands is the only way she can relax lately.
    Jeannette yawns a "Hiiiii" without looking away from her comic.
    Both of them speak English perfectly naturally, with French accents picked up from their parents that are just strong enough to give them an exotic charm. Chloe's accent is notably heavier than Jeannette's; she was often complimented on it when she first came to the States, so never made an effort to hide it.

    "It really is happening, isn't it? Honestly, these past few days have felt so much like a dream... or perhaps a nightmare. I wish I could take all of you, but...

    David's comment about Commander Nakamura's stories calls up images from her own fight against an angelspawn two years ago. It's a bitter thought, that she can so clearly remember the incident that lead to her forgetting so much else. That bitterness reflects in her eyes for just a moment, and not at all in her face. She doesn't dwell on it, instead steering the conversation and her thoughts elsewhere.

    "I should not be rude, but it's comforting to think that Babylon's supreme commander will be with us for a while. It's hardly reassuring to feel that I must second-guess every order we're given, when they come in a timely manner at all. Ah, speaking of orders! I'm to escort our Japanese guests for the duration of their stay. Would you be able to take Jeannette for those days? I'm sure she'd like more time with Rachel before we go, and it would be a favor to me besides."

  26. - Top - End - #356
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

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    Spoiler: Chloe
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    "Yeah, it would be nice if he could fix that too, but I'm not holding my breath. Anyway, she's no trouble. I can take her for a while. Just whatever Rachel wants times two most of the time. We should try to squeeze in one last jam session before you run off and join a J-Pop group."

    David might want Kazuma to fix the command structure, but it's not popular with the staff. You've been hearing murmurs about creeping foreign influence. Perhaps it could stand to creep a bit faster.

    "Oh yeah, I actually read up on Japan when I heard. Gift giving culture is a big deal there. You thought about that at all yet?"
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  27. - Top - End - #357
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    Griffon

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    Default Re: 7 Sins IC

    Chloe laughs at David's J-pop comment. As if she would have time for anything like that. Though it strikes a chord exactly because she would love to be an idol instead of a soldier...

    "Thank you, David, you're a li-- ...A true friend."

    She looks over at Jeannette, still absorbed in her comic. The pages are turning less often, meaning she's only pretending not to listen.

    "I would have time to sing with you now if someone were helping like she promised. Why don't we join you two for dinner and jam afterward?"

    Chloe finishes folding a shirt, adds it to the pile on Jeannette's back, then goes to flip open her journal beside her laptop. Every moment with her friends here is precious, here at the end, and she wants to record their plans the very moment they're decided.

    "Perhaps I should pick up souvenirs for the Japanese pilots and officers while touring the downtown. What do you think, David? Would giving Commander Nakamura a gift constitute propriety or bribery, under the circumstances?"

  28. - Top - End - #358
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: 7 Sins IC

    Spoiler: Chloe
    Show
    "Pretty sure you can't bribe that guy if you tried. You hear the rumors."

    He glances at Jeanette, thinking better of repeating what you've been told. The rumors are conflicting, to say the least. Kazuma is said to value human life as a variable in a math equation. They say he deliberately sacrificed civilian lives in the South China Sea to give the Virtues a strategic advantage. But at the same time, he supposedly took valuable time out of his retreat from the rapture to rescue others. Hard to know what to believe.

    "Anyway, you think that's gonna cut it? Here, look." He brings up an article about the gift giving culture on his phone. "This is... complicated. There's so much to account for. Like, come on, man. Just send me a bill."

  29. - Top - End - #359
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Griffon

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: 7 Sins IC

    Chloe walks to David's side to read the article over his shoulder, carrying her journal with her to take notes. Her brow scrunches further and further as she reads.

    She doesn't give voice to how ridiculous and impossible it seems, instead focusing on what she can do. Even if she doesn't appreciate the custom's value to its practitioners, this is a case where a good first impression is worth bending over backwards. For Jeannette's sake as much as her own.

    "Something small but valuable... That can go on a plane... In gift bags from the store... Edible, universally appealing, and hard to get in Japan... How many will I need to buy? There must be seven Sins, our direct superior, and of course Commander Nakamura and his famed lieutenant... I should get something for their medical director, and for Jeannette's principal at school... I'd like to give something different to my friends here... Am I forgetting anyone? Is that... twenty gifts?"

    She's written everything down as she listed it. You can practically see the smoke coming out her ears; she's taking this very seriously, as she always does, and she's sincerely relying on David to make up for any glaring lapses in her memory or logic. She's gotten pretty good at managing her amnesia over the past two years, but with that comes the understanding that she can legitimately - if rarely - lose things even in the seconds between seeing it and writing it down.

    When her pencil stops, she takes a moment to breathe, then looks at the clock and at the folded clothes piled precariously on Jeannette's back. Of course she needed more to do. She's eternally grateful to David for his support; she would definitely start failing in her duties if she had to shoulder them all alone.

    "Hm... Are you and Rachel free right now? We could go shopping and get dinner in town, then come back for our 'sendoff concert'. My treat, of course. I will finish packing in the evenings; I would not have time to shop once our guests arrive."

    Jeannette starts to bolt upright at the imminent prospect of playing with Rachel, but she telegraphs the movement enough that Chloe barely crosses the distance in time and puts her hands on the clothes piles to keep them from spilling. Chloe sighs in relief, then quickly starts moving the piles to the floor, Jeannette laying still until the moment her burden is lifted.

  30. - Top - End - #360
    Halfling in the Playground
    Join Date
    May 2019

    Default Re: 7 Sins IC

    The first thing Xiren does once she's woken up the next morning is reply to the text from Ryall.

    Thank you for telling me. I just don't know how to feel about any of this anymore. I hope you're not too upset. I wish I could come see you, but the staff keep yelling at me for getting out of bed...

    Xiren does her best to absorb as much information as she can from the medical staff. If she's useless otherwise right now, the least she can do is listen. No doubt the Commander pushed his trip back to deal with the Liza situation, which is about as close to that particular knot as she's comfortable letting her mind get right now. Akari... well, with any luck, she's after Robert. But the idea of a new patient in intensive care is interesting. One doesn't normally have time to prepare for those sorts of things, right? Otherwise the care wouldn't need to be so intensive.

    Xiren picks the target for her little impromptu interrogation carefully. For her best chances of success, she needs to find someone... Young. Attractive. Caring. Pliable. Once she decides on the right button to push, she waits for the orderly in question to come in to check on her.

    After the requisite smalltalk, Xiren sets her phone down on the side table and smiles brightly at them. "I heard some of the nurses talking earlier... Is it true I might be getting some company in here soon? You've all been so nice, but, I know you're very busy. It'd be nice to have someone to talk to."

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