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Thread: 7 Sins IC

  1. - Top - End - #121
    Halfling in the Playground
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    "Understood. I confess, I'm not particularly confident in my abilities, but I'll do my best." Xiren pauses. "Could you tell your crew to meet us at the site of the fallen Elder, please? We'll do our principal photography there." After exchanging pleasantries with Ebizo, Xiren gathers her things and sets off to gather the pilots. As she does, she thinks back to her childhood; to the crimson red posters and billboards that dotted her small mountain town. What was it that had made her stop in the street and stare at the pictures of the noble soldiers with upturned faces, flanked by bold text in Standard Chinese she could barely understand? And what had made her grandfather hold her hand a little tighter and hurry her along as they passed? She walks, and she remembers, and by the time she arrives at Carmen's door she's formed the beginnings of an idea.

    Once she and Shane have wrangled her into a semblance of full consciousness, she asks Carmen a simple, if rather cryptic question: Why do you fight? As they collect the other pilots, she asks each of them the same question, in turn, and seems to make note of their answers. On the ride over to the site of the battle they'd fought the previous day, Xiren has her nose buried in a small notebook, scribbling furiously, then repeatedly crossing out what she's written and beginning again.

  2. - Top - End - #122
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    So Envy is locked behind a language barrier for now... Clever, and more than a little motivating. As much as she hates Envy being used as a pawn, she's absolutely not going to abandon them, whether she has to unlock the barrier, circumvent it, or even break it. There's no lengths she won't go to care for her pilots, her family - and Babylon obviously doesn't feel the same.

    She excuses herself to get ready for the PR proceedings, doing up her outfit (all stolen), hair (worn loose), and makeup (very minimal) to get the most out of her exotic appeal.


    Xiren's question, as simple as it is, gives Liza quite a lot to chew on. Why does she fight...?

    At first, right after the Rapture, she fought to hold together her pride and sanity, the fragments of her shattered life.

    She grew used to that kind of living, almost comfortable, and soon began to fight just to survive and keep her stomach full for one more night.

    She started to take pride in her skills, in living outside of society while maintaining the guise of being part of it still. She fought to defy the world and god who thought they could take everything from her. They couldn't. Not yet.

    Babylon - Irina Kuznestov - came and plucked her out of her life and into theirs. She struggled to survive and master her new environment. Like always, she learned what she needed to and learned to abuse, exploit, and evade the rest.

    She met the other pilots, saw pieces of herself in them - kindred spirits - and pulled them into her heart to fill the void left by her birth family. People she wants to protect, to never let go of, to provide for physically and emotionally... and who will do the same for her (whether they will it or no).

    Why did she pull the trigger yesterday?

    Breathe.

    Feel.

    ...

    Fire.

    "<I fight to support the people I care about. The world I know is heartless and cruel. We Sins are sacrifices, rejects set above the rest to bear the brunt of that monster's fury, so that the people with warm homes and full bellies don't have to. I defy that fate; as fellow rejects, I expect us to look out for each other when nobody else gives a damn, because when we're staring down an Angel, each other is all we've got. In other words, I fight to give my Sins everything I wanted, to give them back the things God took from us... So that they'll do the same for me. Ah... Maybe don't quote all that, Xiren?>"

    Liza surprised herself with her own passion, once she got going, and let slip more than she'd intended to reveal.

    "Ah! Um... Don't say it! Wait, wait! Um..."

    After a couple breaths to reign herself back in, she fiddles with a translation app on her phone to try to get her actual quote just right.

    "I fight to give the Sins what we lost!"

    Whether or not the translation came out well is beyond her... but it sure sounds cool to shout!

  3. - Top - End - #123
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    Shane transcribes Xiren's question to text, and Carmen stares at her phone blankly for a moment, her hair frazzled and eyes droopy. She rubs her face and sighs, then gets to typing.

    And typing.

    And typing.

    She's furious. This determined glare is about as much anger as she shows - the dramatic fit throwing is just for attention. This is real.

    After some time, her phone begins to speak for her. It sounds flat and robotic, like most text to speech voices, but it's somewhat close to her own. Not that she knows the difference right now.

    "If you had asked me this even one day ago, I wouldn't have an answer. Now I do. From my ivory tower, the rapture didn't look real to me. I heard stories, but saw nothing that would suggest they were anything more. Then the Vatican, the one organization that should be built on love and compassion, took my hearing. I laid on the ground and watched as innocent people fell. I couldn't move when their blood pooled and flowed toward me, then over me. When the Russians stood against the monsters, they did not have what we have now. When Russia had all but fallen, my homeland suffered as well, also unable to defend themselves. When Japan stood against the monsters, the monsters crumbled. We have a chance to stop the monsters now. We have a chance to make sure another rapture never happens. And I have a chance to make sure what happened to me never happens to someone else."

    Shane stares uncomfortably at her. And Carmen... flops on her side. That's about all anyone's getting from her for a bit.

    -----

    Gabriel takes a lot longer to reply. Though he was hurt in the attack as well, he's a paragon of self control. But then again who isn't, compared to Carmen?

    "An interesting thought. I fight because I'm needed to fight. A great many people, with much in the way of talent, training, experience, and critical thinking, reviewed my person and decided that I was to be a part of this. This wasn't done lightly, and the consequences are dire. To reject such an important request would be beyond selfish. Simply put, the world needs me. This is bigger than any one of us."
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  4. - Top - End - #124
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    Aoba can't help at chuckle at herself in response to the message. "You're right. This is just in light of yesterday's events. This is my last major request on the matter, I can wait for general info drops past this. But the pilots are our most valuable resource, and they're in my charge, so I'm using all the pull I have to ensure I can protect them. I'll meet you at your office when possible, no line is secure as long as it's spoken aloud."

    She stays on the line, but starts making her way to the medical wing, should Director Hitta have any other questions to make before arriving.
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  5. - Top - End - #125
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    "Then I suppose there's nothing more to say right now. Would you like me to prepare you some black tea? Coffee? Adderall?"

    Given the night you all had, she might not be joking.

    When you get to her office, Muromi has your stimulant of choice ready, and black coffee for herself. There are seven folders on her desk - she's already begun reviewing the Sins' files. Once the door closes, she flips a switch on her desk, activating a white noise machine.

    "Aside from the fact that Ryall has a superiority complex, and so on, why do you feel the need to have urgent mental care for the Sins? And what makes Xiren a priority?"

    Notably, there's no battle report on her desk. Either she neglected it, or, more likely, she was not provided with it.
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  6. - Top - End - #126
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    Aoba takes the energy drink she'd been left and she walks into the director's office. "Short answer: Angels- or at least Elders- are capable of psychological attack. It's our responsibility to ensure that the attacks leave no lasting damage on the pilots. If you haven't been informed past that, it's beyond your clearance."
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  7. - Top - End - #127
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    Muromi taps her pen on the desk, glancing back and forth as she considers this. She takes a sip of her coffee, looking down at her hand, then nods and looks back up at you.

    "Whoever I provide for this is going to require elevated clearance. You and I both know the Sins are rather... laissez faire with classified information. You do remember the Pride/Core incident, yes?"

    It would be hard to forget the time the Australian Pride started blabbing about his Virtue's core on a BBS. At least he didn't know much, but still.

    "I suspect that anything that comes out of their mouths during the sessions will be above my clearance level, and I won't have my staff penalized for doing their jobs. That is my one requirement, and it is non-negotiable."
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  8. - Top - End - #128
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    Aoba nods. "I'll request security run extra vetting to get them pilot-level clearance. We need the pilots to be able to be completely open. Once there's a suitable candidate I'll put in the formal transfer request, for now I'll get moving on the security end." Aoba adopts a joking tone. "I won't tell them it's highest priority."
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  9. - Top - End - #129
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    Spoiler: Aoba
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    As you make your leave from Muromi's office, you receive a text from your assistant. The commandos from the Vatican are being brought to interrogation with the commander. Kazuma has had them sent far underground. By the time you get through the layers of basement security, Kazuma has taken a chilling step.

    He removes his uniform jacket, folding it neatly and placing it on the chair. You receive an impassive look as you enter, before he turns his attention back to the prisoners.

    "Please disconnect the security camera so we can begin, Director."

    Hard to say if it's a bluff or not, but the tension in the room is very real.
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  10. - Top - End - #130
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    Ryall was slightly bemused by the engineer's enthusiasm, but chalks it up as just excitement on his part. Must be a damn good upgrade if he's so eager to test it, she thinks before quickly heading off to the PR proceedings.



    When Xiren asks her what she's fighting for, Ryall has to stop to think about it for a while before speaking up about it- in English, of course. She's not even going to try and translate her thoughts to Japanese. <"Why do I fight? When my brother, the only family I had left, died in the crossfire of the Lamb's attack, I was left completely alone, without any purpose or way to keep myself afloat. It was Babylon that took me in, that offered me the chance to be part of something bigger. To take the fight against the ones that took everything away from me,"> she says with a hint of anger in her voice, before returning to her usual terse and stoic voice. "So why do I fight? Put simply, it is because of gratitude. Because I believe in the cause of Babylon."

  11. - Top - End - #131
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    When Xiren comes to find Takeo, he's waiting for her outside of the AT facility, thinking about what this could entail. He wasn't exactly an expert about these things, but anything he could do to help against the Vatican was a worthwhile use of his time as far as he was concerned.

    He doesn't give Xiren's question much thought before responding. Although his initial response is calm, as he speaks he quickly builds up into the fervor that typically comes when he speaks about the Angels and the Vatican. "Isn't it obvious? The enemy wishes to destroy us all, regardless of who you are or what you believe. Fighting back is the only thing you can do in the face of such evil - you can't act like the traitors in the Vatican and worship the destroyers as holy beings, not without turning your back on the rest of humanity. They have already done too much, and I - we - will have justice for the people they've killed. We have to. There is no acceptable alternative."
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  12. - Top - End - #132
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    By the time the Sins have arrived at the site of the previous day's battle, Xiren has stopped scribbling. She tears off a sheet of paper and presents it to the Director, for his approval, unable to contain just a bit of pride.

    "Let me know if it's too much. I know it's a little... dramatic."

    Spoiler: Why We Fight
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    [EXT. BATTLEFIELD. DAY.]

    The seven PILOTS stand in a line, their backs turned to the camera, surveying the fallen ELDER. A wide shot slow-pans from left to right, intercut with close-ups of the PILOTS’ faces as they speak, upturned and well lit. Suitably dramatic orchestral music in the background.

    CARMEN: For the people I can still save.

    RYALL: For the people who saved me.

    GABRIEL: For the people who depend on me.

    LIZA: To take back our future.

    TAKEO: To avenge the past.

    XIREN: To safeguard the present.

    Final shot of the PILOTS, this time from the front, panning out and away. Slow fade to the Babylon logo, with a slogan beneath: “We Fight For You”.

  13. - Top - End - #133
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    "Let's start simple." Kazuma says, looking at the commando on his left. "Name and service number."

    "Go to hell." the man growls.

    "You think what everyone thinks: if your nation's military isn't implicated, it won't be considered an act of war. What you seem to be forgetting is that foreign terrorists can trigger military occupation of their country of origin. This has actually been happening for a long time. And if we find evidence that your nation did fund you, it becomes state sponsored terrorism, and we can capture, try, and execute the pope." Turning to the other soldier, he adds, "Explain your connection to the elder attack."

    Kazuma waits for a few seconds, but when he receives no response, he nods. Rolling up his sleeves, he speaks again. "Alright. I see you've chosen the hard way."


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    "I like it!" the director replies excitedly, "The only thing that's missing is a call to action. People are going to watch this and they're going to think, 'This is great, but what can I do?' Here's what I'm thinking: right at the end, juicy snippets of interviews with the pilots - maybe a group interview - and a website where people can go to watch the whole thing." His phone rings and he groans, "I'll be right with you."

    He answers his phone, clearly annoyed. "I have a-... Really? Yes, of course. I cant not do it now, can I? Uh huh. Buh bye now." He hangs up and looks at you, tilting his head. "We're announcing the attack on the gala. We can't officially say the Vatican did it, but we can say the attackers claimed to be attacking in the name of the Vatican." He offers a wicked grin. "They're going to have to do something in response to that! So, the interview snippets? If you decide to go with that, maybe have someone who got hurt? I know there were civilian injuries - and casualties - or you could maybe go with Carmen? They say she had the worst luck of all of you."
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  14. - Top - End - #134
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    Xiren sighs. "Before we can make an effective call to action we need to build up goodwill. But you're the director. If you think it will help." At the suggestion that Carmen be interviewed, Xiren bristles ever-so-slightly. "Let me ask her if she'd be comfortable with it. We can't just trot out the disabled when it's politically convenient, even if they are Carmen. It wouldn't look dignified." Xiren thinks back to the gala. "That said... Why tell, when you can show? You and I both know there was security footage of everything that happened yesterday. See if you can get clearance to use it in the commercial. Intercut that footage with the rest of it. Nothing graphic, you understand. Just little flashes. Focus on the heroism of S2, and the Pilots helping each other escape. But make sure we get a couple of shots of the attackers in those wonderfully distinctive Vatican uniforms."

  15. - Top - End - #135
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    "Ah, of course. The steady approach. Well, unless the calls I'm about to make go through." He hands the page to his crew. "Start getting this footage while I get the security tapes! Move it, people! We're losing the magic hour!"

    As he runs off with his phone, a woman furrows her brow at the script. "I'd have gone for the blue hour myself." she sighs and pinches the bridge of her nose, then looks up at you. "Hashi is just excited. I also favor a slower campaign, but in the end, you were put in charge for a reason. I just... don't think we should use footage of a tragedy for our own gain. Right, let's get this footage"
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  16. - Top - End - #136
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    Xiren purses her lips, mulling this over. "This isn't just a PR campaign. We're doing the Lord's work by fighting against the Vatican's deceptions. When Jesus cleansed the Temple Mount, he didn't bring a strongly-worded letter, he brought a whip. The Holy See has been the epicenter of Christian belief for a thousand years. It's going to take more than a sad little rich girl's text-to-speech app to turn people against them. So if throwing their atrocities in the faces of everyone who believes their heresy is what it takes to stir them, I'm prepared. Are you?"

  17. - Top - End - #137
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    "I-I... uh..." The woman averts her gaze, looking at the script as an excuse. "Yes, I'm on board."

    They begin shooting, and calling up other pilots. Carmen will probably be carried in by Shane shortly. Gabriel may well be there before the crew member hangs up the phone, knowing him.

    Between takes, the director approaches you. "Xiren, you evil genius! The security footage is on its way!"


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    You receive calls from a member of a filming crew, informing you that transport has been arranged to take you back to the site of the fallen elder. This must be the PR work you were told about earlier.
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  18. - Top - End - #138
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    Aoba bites her tongue at first, but isn't about to let this move forward. "Commander. This man wants you to beat him. Even kill him. He thinks he'll be martyred. Your tactics rarely work at the best of times, and this is far from that. Let's see if we can bargain. And if not... we'll find better ways to break him." She walks over and looks the captured soldier in the eye. "Why don't we make a trade. You answer the Commander's questions- the ones he's already asked you- and we'll bring you a Bible. How's that sound? You can have your token to cling to, and we can move forward from there." She turns around to brush by the commander and whisper into his ear. "If you want to break a spirit, you have to know it's weaknesses. If he dies, he wins. We need to find what it means for him to lose- in his case, sacrilege. Give him something... and then make him cast it into the flames."
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  19. - Top - End - #139
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    Kazuma listens to you carefully, then nods. As one the captives begins to speak, he gestures toward the mirror. An S2 agent arrives moments later with a bible, then leaves.

    "My name is Martin Hertig. I am a member of the Pontifical Guard. We do not carry service numbers."

    Kazuma considers this briefly. "Is your organization no longer called the Pontifical Swiss Guard?" After waiting for an answer that doesn't come, he adds, "No need to answer that verbally. Your silence is enough. Tell me about the Vatican's connection to the elder attack."

    "I have nothing to say about that."

    Kazuma looks to you and raises his eyebrows. Perhaps it's time to show him what can be accomplished when you have more tools than a hammer.
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  20. - Top - End - #140
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    "Clearly Switzerland is no longer comfortable providing the full military of the Vatican. Likely it's now akin to the French Foreign Legion, taking recruits from all nations loyal to their cause. Tell me, soldier. Would you rather betray your faith, or betray your cause?"
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  21. - Top - End - #141
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    Spoiler: Aoba
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    The other soldier, previously silent, finally speaks up. "They are the same." Kazuma winces, but holds his tongue as the man continues. "King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, sixty cubits high and six cubits wide. Once again, Babylon rises with giant idols and demands we fight god himself to lick its heels. But He did not strike down your throne Himself with lightning or plagues - an army did. Today, we are that army."
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  22. - Top - End - #142
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    Aoba breaks down laughing. "Except you failed. Catastrophically. But you're going to have to pick. See..." Aoba is now thinking in terms of history. To the Kiri****an purge. Not exactly a high point in history, but when you're working with zealots... she pulls out a lighter. "For every question you refuse to answer, I'll tear out and burn a chapter of that bible. Back to front. If we run out of bible, then... I'm sure we can get a picture of Jesus for you to trample. Or a crucifix to break. Show that you're more concerned with this mortal world than the spiritual. I'm sure that will get you in great with your god. Or just answer our questions, keep pure, and who knows, we might even accelerate your trip to Heaven, if you ask nicely."
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  23. - Top - End - #143
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    "Stop." Martin replies. "We attacked the gala on orders of the pope. He did not mention the elder, only that Japan had to be attacked first, and it had to happen at a particular time and date. We thought it was so that we could eliminate the arms manufacturers' personnel and investors at the same time."
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  24. - Top - End - #144
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    Aoba grins. "Thank you for your honesty." She puts away the lighter, then turns to Kazuma. "Any other questions? We have the biggest ones."
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  25. - Top - End - #145
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    Spoiler: Aoba
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    "There's still one thing that's bothering me." Kazuma replies. "Why do you follow the pope?"

    "God speaks to him directly." Martin replies.

    Kazuma shakes his head. "A popular opinion, but I don't think I believe it. See, I have faith in God. You have faith in a man. The Old Testament is rife with prophets, but God was right there to back them up. You're just taking this man's word for it."

    "Faith is blind." The determination in his eyes suggests that he believes it.

    "Is it? Is that why you brought assault rifles into a party to butcher children?"

    "You stole their childhood when you put them in those abominations."

    Martin remains calm in the face of Kazuma, who is clearly losing his composure. Punching probably wouldn't have gotten you very far.

    "Minghuan He was twelve years old when his father brought him to the gala. You double tapped his skull for the crime of being dragged to a party he didn't want to go to. You better damn well have an answer for his death or I swear to-"

    "We were told to purge the gala."

    Kazuma slams his fist down on the table. "You murdered a child! Tell me why you believe that strongly in the word of one man!"

    "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 stares at the man for a moment, then replies softly, "I think we're done here." He turns to you and adds, "Unless you've thought of another question, I'll need you to join me for a meeting."
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  26. - Top - End - #146
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    Aoba shakes her head. "No more questions. Let him keep that bible for solace in a cramped cell until we have a permanent solution. But yes, there are... implications to what he said we need to discuss."
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  27. - Top - End - #147
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    As you and Kazuma leave the interrogation room, he's clearly tense. His pace has picked up a bit. He takes out his cellphone and places a call. "Irina."

    Not a good sign. Kazuma must be pretty worked up to start using first names.

    "Get Akari and Mimi into my office immediately for a meeting. Also-... No, no, that's fine. Let her work, the AT Drive is more important to us right now. No, leave Muromi out of this. She can't contribute to this meeting. Also, I need the dossiers on all active Sins stationed in Japan."

    In Kazuma's office, he briefly scans the Sins' files as he speaks. Ryall's file contains a sample of her target practice, which he holds up for a moment before returning it to the folder.

    "We've just finished interrogating the Vatican commandos. They've admitted to being with the Pontifical Guard, which is apparently no longer supplied by the Swiss. They were acting under direct order of the pope. I dismissed Akari's report on Takeo's intuition out of hand as teenage aggression, but based on what we know now, I should have taken this more seriously. The pope is a Sin, reportedly capable of using personal scale AT abilities. After Mimi's team has finished reverse engineering the AT Drive, I need to see if she can outfit it to a personal scale weapon."

    "We serious about taking a shot at the pope, commander?" Akari asks, raising an eyebrow.

    "Yes. If it is possible to use the AT Drive that way, we need to see if you can make use of it. That would be my preference, but I suspect you cannot. Aoba, which of the Sins would be most capable of receiving the necessary training? They will need to be combat trained and receive additional AT training."

    Irina stares, wide eyed and silent. She clearly suspects Kazuma has taken complete leave of his senses. Akari is obviously uncomfortable with the idea of turning a teenager into an assassin, but keeps her mouth shut.
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  28. - Top - End - #148
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    Aoba bites her lip. She doesn't like this idea... it's far too dangerous. And there's one other option... "Sir. Before we prepare this plan, there's one other option to consider. We know that the Elders can affect minds. What if the Pope isn't a Sin... but a vessel for an Elder? If that's the case, a single Sin, however trained, doesn't stand a chance."
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  29. - Top - End - #149
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

    Join Date
    Dec 2016
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    Default Re: 7 Sins IC

    Spoiler: Aoba
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    "I didn't ask-!" The commander stops himself and takes a deep breath. "I apologize. There would be no point to having anyone else in the room if I wasn't willing to hear them out. This is just... a very stressful situation. Thank you for keeping your composure. Yes, we need to do recon before we can commit such a valuable resource. Normally, I would have Akari do this, but no one is going to believe the aunt of a Sin and known Babylon employee is suddenly joining the Pontifical Guard. And with the pope reportedly having the ability to affect the minds of believers, we need to ensure whoever we send does not have any Abrahamic faith. Comb through S2 files, and do it discretely. The less people who know about this, the better. I still want a Sin trained, in case it comes to that. Better to have one and not need it."

    Akari loosens up a little at this. "Wouldn't hurt to give these kids a kick in the ass with basic training, maybe induct one or two into the half moon club."

    "I'm not sure if it would be better to offer additional training to all of them or to simply pick one for it. The Sins aren't known for their discretion. Perhaps if we offer the training to all of them, and let the ones that wouldn't make it anyway drop out or ignore it entirely, they won't think anything's amiss. Thoughts?"
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  30. - Top - End - #150
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Syless's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Female

    Default Re: 7 Sins IC

    Aoba nods. "I wasn't refusing. I just wanted to make sure all options are considered. I agree with the notion of letting all pilots have access to the proper training, and this means we shouldn't pick an agent yet- but as it stands, my recommendation would be Ryall. Takeo would take to the mission most enthusiastically, but I worry he would be consumed by his fury towards the Vatican and risk compromising himself. Carmen and Gabriel lack the temperament. Envy is... Envy. I doubt Xiren would take to this particular training- force doesn't strike me as her style. Liza... Liza is the wild card in this situation. The incident at the Gala shows she does have a killing instinct, so she could likely be molded into the role, but... I'd worry about her in the long run for it. So you have my assessment. Offer additional combat training to all pilots, and we will assess them as they take to it, should this plan be implemented."
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