LATER THAT NIGHT…
Alicia: Anyways Alicia pulls you aside and into their room!
Alicia: “Hey, sis… you okay?”
Marina: She forces on a fake smile. “Of… course I’m not.”
Alicia: “Yeah, I know, it was a rhetorical question. You want to sit down and talk about it?”
Marina: “Not particularly, because it’s extremely dumb on every possible level. But sure, let’s.”
Alicia: “So, uh, was that what I thought it was this morning?”
Marina: “It’s just a social engagement thing I swear.” She smacks her head into the wall and stares at it. “I was just trying to scare him out of sneaking in here without our permission again I didn’t think he’d be crazy enough to actually go through with it. Or even remember it after the past few weeks.”
Alicia: “Wait he did wha— no, no, later…”
Alicia: Alicia sighs, sitting on her bed.
Alicia: “Sit.” She points at the other bed. “That little bombshell aside… what’s the problem?”
Marina: She sits down. “I have no idea how to handle this and what if people see us and what if Daas finds out or Morgan finds out there’s got to be regulations against this sort of stuff in the NERV regulations books!”
Alicia: “So? Who cares what they think?”
Marina: “I’m supposed to be the team leader! I can’t just… let them think I’ll give that idiot preferential treatment during battle or prioritize him over the city or something!” She buries her face in her hands for a moment and groans.
Alicia: “Marina…” Alicia shifts over, moving from her bed to yours, laying a hand on your shoulder. “No one who knows you or has even read your file would think that for just a moment.”
Alicia: “And, you know… you’re human. You have to let your hair down sometimes, everyone does it.”
Marina: She sighs before glancing at Alicia. “You’re… certain? I just can’t have something… stupid like this put everything in jeopardy.”
Alicia: “Of course I am!” Her lips quirk up in a smile. “If anything, I think Morgan would be happy at the news… better unit cohesion, or something like that.”
Marina: “That’s… basically how I framed it when I sprung it on him. He was complaining about not knowing me well enough to work as a team.” She glances down, thinking for a few moments. “Yeah. It’s nothing bad, we’re just ironing out quirks so we can work together better. That’s all.”
“That’s the spir— WAIT, you asked HIM?”
Alicia: “Why didn’t you TELL me about this SOONER?”
Marina: “IT WAS JUST TO FRIGHTEN HIM I didn’t expect him to get all… gusto about it! Before this morning he hadn’t even brought it up again!”
Alicia: “Well, there’s only one thing to do, then…”
Marina: She stares at Alicia
Alicia: “You’re going to have to get control of the situation back, put Spencer on his back foot. I’ll get the credit card. We’re going shopping tomorrow.”
Marina: “What? What?!”
Alicia: “You heard me! None of your clothes will do and frankly if you want to be the team leader, you’re going to have to catch him off-guard.”
Marina: She sighs. No way out of this now.
Alicia: Recognizing the signs of defeat, Alicia beams.
Alicia: LATER THAT DAY…
Alicia: Alicia pulls Daas aside in the afternoon, crumpled note in hand!
Daas: “You know, I imagine if the Ensign finds out I’m reading that, she’ll throw me off the roof.”
Alicia: “Then it’ll just be our little secret. Want to have some fun Sunday?”
Alicia: ‘Marina, the promised time has arrived and there is no longer any avoiding it. I will meet you Sunday at the fountain on State Rd at 10:00 am. Be prepared. Don’t be late.’ – Spencer
Daas: “…we’re going to watch her kill Spencer? Is that really what’s going on here?”
Alicia: “… they’re going on a date, Naarad!”
Alicia: “And I bet Spencer has been planning this for a while, too.”
Daas: “…a date?” Daas looks a bit confused. “Then why did the Ensign look as though she’d been asked to kill him barehanded or something equally distasteful? I thought dates were opportunities for fun and also hijinks?”
Alicia: “Well… it’s Marina. And Spencer.”
Daas: “I am rather surprised she didn’t refuse him outright.”
Alicia: “So am I, but… ohhh, do you think he’s… blackmailing her??”
Alicia: She seems more excited than disturbed by the idea.
Daas: “I’d be surprised if Spencer could manage anything so devious. What would he blackmail her with, in any case?”
Alicia: “I don’t know… well, I suppose he could have found that…”
Daas: “‘That’? Wait, no, better I don’t know.”
Alicia: Alicia nods in silent agreement.
Daas: “So what did you have in mind? So they’ll be on a date.”
Daas: “I don’t imagine Spencer planned to invite me.”
Alicia: “They will! I think we should follow them… you know, make sure everything goes all right.”
Alicia: “And not murder-y.”
Daas: “As if we could stop her.”
Alicia: “Well, the surprise of seeing us might. You know, twitch reflexes and all that.”
Daas: “If we did this, it would be a… what was that term? A ‘sneaking mission’. Yes.”
Alicia: “Yes! Tactical espionage action.”
Daas: “Because otherwise, your sister is going to make death and reincarnation look attractive to me.”
Alicia: “Yeah… I don’t think she’d ever forgive me for at least six to eight weeks if we got caught. So let’s not.”
Daas: “You really just want her to have a good time, don’t you?”
Daas: “Even if it’s with Spencer Grey, Master of Annoyance.”
Alicia: “Of course! And also take some pictures, because she won’t.”
Alicia: “And hey, Spencer isn’t that bad of a guy.”
Daas: “No, he’s not, but I have to wonder how badly this will end up for him if he’s not careful.”
Daas: “He has a way of getting on her nerves.”
Alicia: “He certainly seemed to be pulling out all the stops this morning. Maybe this is a gentlemanly side we just haven’t seen yet?”
Daas: “I certainly hadn’t. He was clean. I swear to the gods I heard him showering while I was in meditation this morning.”
Daas: “Alright, I’ll help you. But carefully. And I’m blaming you completely if we’re caught.”
Alicia: “Yeah, and his clothes… they were clean and pressed, almost formal. Plus that white shirt would have showed bloodstains neatly for the medics if things went wrong.”
Alicia: “Deal. Marina’s less likely to kill me anyways.”
Daas: “Exactly my thoughts.”
Alicia: Alicia nods seriously and sticks out her hand. “Partners in crime, then.”
Daas: Daas takes it, shakes. “Until our inevitable deaths, or worse.”
Alicia: “So it is sworn.” Alicia even manages to look serious for a few moments before giggling after saying that.
Daas: Daas can’t help himself, and laughs with her, for once.
Daas: oh hey UJ you can assume at some point in these days that Daas has delivered his report
Daas: basically just a play by play of the situation from each pilot’s viewpoint, no editorial
Morgan: if daas put no conclusions or editorial (presuming it involves the shared dream) in then morgan will ask him when he hands it over “What’s your take on this?”
Daas: “Honestly, sir? I haven’t any idea. For one, how did we all share the same experience? For another, why were you and Alicia present in there at all, and for all of us?”
Daas: “My best guess would have to be some kind of shared communication between the EVAs, and with minimal comm power and the units in Emergency Mode 7, I don’t know how it was done.”
Daas: “I don’t know enough to even know what questions I should be asking, sir. But I did want to ask for a favor.”
Morgan: Even Daas can tell from Morgan’s expression that he knows something. “Go ahead.”
Daas: “The time I spend with Doctor Yarrow has shown me that there’s a great deal we haven’t been told about how the EVA system even works. Just knowing what I know about the AT Field systems is proof enough. You know I can use the MAGI, that I can interpret information. Give me more data.”
Daas: “If this phenomenon is a threat to myself and the other pilots, let me find out how to stop it, or how to use it to our benefit.”
Morgan: Morgan thinks for a long moment. “The best I can say is I’ll think about it, Daas.”
Daas: “That’s all I can ask for, sir.”
Morgan: “Do you mind if I mention this request to the Doctor?”
Daas: “Not at all. It’s been nice to have a chance to spend time with someone well and truly smarter than anyone else I’ve known.”
Morgan: daas wants more clearance, what is yarrow’s opinion: can he handle The Truth
Lacroix: Are you delivering the request personally, or just mailing it over?
Morgan: there’s gonna have to be a chat about it
Morgan: on the one hand daas seems to have some serious talent with at field manipulation that might be helpful in developing more tools to disseminate to the other branch pilots
Morgan: on the other hand it might drive him batty
Lacroix: and on the grasping hand it’s basically turning over highly-classified information to a 14-year-old
Lacroix: Doctor Yarrow is normally a cheerful man, but his smile fades as he reads the request.
Lacroix: He’s… cautious but not entirely adverse to the idea, Morgan’s logic is sound.
Lacroix: But it’s not his call, he’ll have to kick it up to the Director. In his opinion, he’s not sure if it’s wise, but Daas and the other pilots are exposed to the Evangelions on a regular basis — we can either tell them, or they can figure it out.
Lacroix: He’s willing to handle it personally, and he’ll take it to the director himself.
Morgan: Worse, Daas knows there’s something to find, so if he’s blockaded then he might well stop trusting us entirely. That’s not an impossible situation to handle, but it isn’t a good outcome
Lacroix: Exactly. So how’s Morgan going to play it with Director Lacroix?
Morgan: I think the potential gains of figuring out what the hell happened and Daas having more information for developing new AT field techniques outweigh the security risks. He’s damn likely to keep looking for an answer even if he’s turned down and he might find out on his own, or come to a completely wrong conclusion that makes him act erratically.
Lacroix: So he’s taking it upstairs himself?
Morgan: There’s a contingency plan if he tries to leak any classified information, and he has a good relationship with Yarrow and can talk with him in order to share his worries and relieve psychological stress
Lacroix: You pass the inspectors leaving as you come in. Katsuragi is all smiles and pleasantness as she leaves, offering a brief hello, while Inspector Ayanami is customarily silent.
Lacroix: Raising the matter with the Director, she stonewalls you entirely.
Lacroix: Flat-out refusal, which isn’t usually the case with her — she’s at least willing to listen to reasoning, but now she just shuts you down.
Lacroix: It’s raining that night when you get a knock on the door. Director Lacroix is on the other side, bundled up in an overcoat.
Lacroix: “May I come in?”
Morgan: Morgan opens the door to let her in. “Of course.”
Lacroix: “Thank you,” she says, stepping inside. “I shall try not to take up too much of your time.”
Lacroix: She reaches into a coat pocket, pulling out a small black box — Morgan recognizes it as a bug jammer, Section 2 issue — and clicking it on. “I wanted to speak with you about the matter you raised this afternoon. In private.”
Morgan: Morgan raises an eyebrow “Things have gotten that bad?”
Lacroix: “I… know Inspector Katsuragi. I am fairly certain she hasn’t discovered anything damning yet, but around her, I shall not be using half-measures.”
Lacroix: She looks at you seriously. “Do you think Pilot Daas can handle the information he wants?”
Morgan: (need to ask: are your evas made with human sacrifice like canon)
Lacroix: Not so far as you’re aware
Morgan: but of course~
Lacroix: do you need a less evasive answer?
Morgan: morgan would honestly never consider the idea if he didn’t know
Morgan: so if he doesn’t know then he doesn’t have to consider that in answering the question
Lacroix: I mean, who wold
Lacroix: Actually I will put a firmer point on it: there have not been incidents like those on Eva activation in the series
Morgan: “Very probably. He’s got a good relationship with Dr. Yarrow, so he’ll have someone he can talk to about it. It’s…shocking, but I don’t think it’ll be bad enough to qualify as trauma or harm his ability.”
Lacroix: “And do you trust him not to speak about this information to anyone?”
Morgan: “Anyone other than us and Dr. Yarrow, yes. I’ll impress upon him the critical importance of not letting the other pilots know; he’ll agree that Spencer and Marina are both too much of security risks, albeit in different ways. If it gets to the point where I think he might leak in the future, I have a contingency plan ready.”
Lacroix: “Good.” She sighs. “As Director of NERV-07, I authorize Pilot Daas’ access to certain files regarding the Evangelion Project and AT Fields, on the condition that it remain absolutely secret.”
Lacroix: “And… unofficial.”
Morgan: Morgan nods. “He already works closely with Dr. Yarrow on AT field theory, so that continuing won’t raise any suspicions, and the doctor of course has access to those files.”
Lacroix: “Indeed. I shall pass word to Doctor Yarrow. Please inform Pilot Daas of the terms of this agreement somewhere you are certain people aren’t listening.”
Lacroix: “Now then, I shall take my leave. Good evening.”
Morgan: in order to minimize suspicion i think daas will end up being informed the next time he works with yarrow and hey there’s more information than usual
Spencer: Friday Evening Spencer appears at Morgan’s doorstep. “Hey Morgan, can I crash here for a few days?”
Morgan: Morgan blinks a few times when he answers the door, looking a bit surprised when Spencer doesn’t vanish. “Did something happen?”
Spencer: “see I think things might be weird at our place for a couple of days”
Spencer: “besides I figure we could have a guys night out or something. Gets some steaks and watch Diehard.”
Morgan: “I can see why you’d think that, but don’t you think you ought to go back and let it be weird?”
Spencer: “absolutely not”
Spencer: “see it’s all about the style and effect”
Spencer: “too much would ruin it now”
Morgan: “Sounds like you’ve got a pretty complicated plan going.”
Spencer: “I like to think of it as an intervention”
Morgan: Morgan opens his door the rest of the way so Spencer can come in if he likes. “Definitely a complicated plan, then.”
Spencer: Spencer walks inside
Morgan: “I’m afraid there’s not much steak or Diehard to be had, but you’re welcome if you need a place to stay.”
Spencer: “don’t worry, we can fix that”
Spencer: over the next two days Spencer spends most of his time outside walking around or at the library.
Morgan: Morgan’s house is packed with things. A shitload of things, lining the hallways, under shelves and in closets, all of various utility and largely military
Spencer: he tries to get Morgan to buy steak and watch diehard
Morgan: He has no beds, but one of the many things is a spare cot
Morgan: He also has no television
Morgan: only a magi terminal which is locked down on account of having a secure connection
Spencer: “Look it’s got a monitor and sweet internet access, why can’t we watch it on there?”
Spencer: anything else you want to do during that time?
Morgan: Morgan will talk to him plenty over the weekend, obviously worried about spencer, but is not around most of the time
Morgan: he’ll offer to take spencer along to the hq for work
Spencer: he’ll tag along one day and spend his time at the EVA bay if possible
Spencer: bugging the engineers
Morgan: it is
Spencer: “you know american made EVA parts are more reliable”
Spencer: perhaps not that obnoxious though
Morgan: does spencer take any of morgan’s many things, btw
Spencer: unless offered
Morgan: it is definitely obvious that everything is in a very particular place, nothing is haphazard and it is a sort of low level creepy, really
Spencer: after a brief exploration Spencer seems too preoccupied to notice
Morgan: spencer would be the first one to know that morgan’s got a prosthetic leg
Spencer: Spencer may crack a joke about how they both get the best parking
The Fated Day
Despite being late, Spencer does eventually show up, groomed and properly dressed, at the place where he told Marina to meet him. While she can’t shake the feeling of being watched, she and him head off to the first stop he has planned, an old bookstore by the name of ‘Castle Books’. A place with a nice atmosphere and specializing in used books, Marina finds a wealth of romance novels there and ends up accidentally making Spencer buy her one, stomping out after the clerk gets the wrong idea. She’s still unable to shake the sensation of being followed, but chalks it up to Section 2 having been extra cautious today.
Spencer drags her to his next location, a small cafe in the center of the city. However, the visit is stopped before it’s started by Marina spotting an incredible betrayal occurring inside, and directs Spencer to take her elsewhere, anywhere. For steak. Which is how the two end up at a maid cafe in downtown Seattle, Spencer managing to duck once more under Marina’s exasperated fisticuffs. It’s also there that they run into none other than their class rep, Kate Kennedy, fulfilling her part time job.
“Konnichi-wa, goshujin-sama! May I take your or— Marina? Is that you?”
The waitress straightens up.
It’s Kate Kennedy, your class rep!
“Hello Clas re…I mean Kate.”
Spencer makes a little jaunty wave motion with his hand
Marina’s face freezes and goes red in a combination of horror and rage.
She manages to control her fight or fight harder reaction though, and after a mutual agreement to keep this meeting between the three of them, Kennedy heads off to have their food prepared.
She glances around again before staring at him, face blank. “You honestly enjoy… the costume thing?”
“It’s not the costume thing as much, though it’s fun seeing people in different clothing. This is a place where everyone is having fun. The customers, the waitresses, the staff everyone. Otherwise they wouldn’t work here. This is where I go to remind myself about that.”
The two also talk about Marina and Alicia’s lives before coming to NERV-07, revealing the two have suspected that they were selected for the NAU’s Evangelion project in its early stages, and her telling Spencer about their parent’s death in a fire before the NAU military took them in. Spencer reveals a little about his own history as well.
“Still it must be nice living with your sister all these years. I have a sister you know, two actually.”
She raises an eyebrow. “Really? And you didn’t bring them here with you?”
The two eat, Marina nearly managing to complete the ritualistic sacrifice of a level of cow that’d potentially make Daas implode, before she pulls aside the class rep and has a private conversation with her. Afterwards, Spencer drags her to the movies for a silly flick with people in spandex suits punching other people in bad rubber costumes. It’s enjoyable in a dumb sort of way.
What is not enjoyable in any manner of way is the Tilt-A-Whirl, which leaves Marina in the bathroom looking at the sacrifice again. Afterwards, Spencer proves he’s getting handy at dodging her assaults, but not handy at remaining on his feet and not falling down a hill and getting hit with a boat in the Tunnel of Love. With nary a park employee to be seen, Marina slides down and attempts to help him up, failing between his weight and the vicious assault on her stomach by the Tilt-A-Whirl.
At this point, a new girl she’s never seen and a betrayer who will be dealt with later hop the fence and come to assist, the three of them and a not so subtle Section 2 agent managing to drag the now non-breathing Spencer out of the water, Daas starting first aid while Morgan directs him via ear-piece and Marina assists with less kosher elements of it so that Alicia doesn’t need to.
After they manage to get the idiot breathing again, the girl is introduced to them as Nadyezhda Zeema Ivanova, a new Evangelion pilot who will be joining the group as a permanent addition to NERV-07’s roster.
Daas starts helping Spencer out to the SUVs. He’s done his bit; after all that effort, Spencer and Marina deserved their kiss. So to speak.
Marina feels a sudden cold shudder down the back of her neck, for no identifiable reason.
The day ends, as stupidly as it began.