Out of the corner of her eye, Tammy spotted a spherical thing bounce along the ground, coming to a stop somewhere in the middle of their makeshift formation. At another time, she probably would've stopped to examine the object, buuuuuuuut considering the situation that probably wasn't the best idea. Ignoring the ball, she continued to strain forward, pushing into her shield and, by extension, Lillian.
Some of the other pilots, however, managed to find time to multitask. Tammy could dimly hear Mark moving around and grunting as he scooped up and tossed the ball forward. And mere seconds later, just as a hard cracking sound filled the air, she saw (and felt) Daria suddenly jump up and push a few people around. Still, when she finally came back into cover, the Arab pilot had some more advice: "Suggestion: three pilots to a shield; where one cannot push forward, three can."
"Mmmmmph," Tammy grunted in reply, struggling to keep moving forward as she turned to face the other girl. "Do you think we can get that to-"
Trailing off mid sentence, Tammy stared in horror at Daria's leg, and the crimson fluid oozing down her leg. "Christ, Daria!" she exclaimed, all but dropping her shield as she moved closer. "You're bleeding!"
Luckily, hemophobia wasn't something Tammy had even been particularly bothered by. Years of scratches, scrapes, and the occasional bloody nose had taught her how to deal with all manner of minor injuries. But a gash the size of the one going through Daria's leg was anything but minor.
And all of this damned water wasn't exactly helping things!
"Hey!" Dropping out of the formation and doing her best to avoid the cannon's aim, Tammy desperately waved up at the officers, trying to attract their attention. "Someone's hurt! Can you turn the water off!?"
"Someone's hurt! Can you turn the water off!?" Tammy screamed out, trying to get her medical attention.
Daria acting quickly. "Negative. I will be fine." she said, quickly tearing a strip of cloth from her pant leg and wrapping up the wound. It wasn't a perfect wrap given the water, but it was hardly her worst work. It took a few seconds to get it tied off, stuck behind a small shield as she was, but when she was done, the wound was temporarily staved off. "I will continue." she said, pivoting on her good heel and leaning into the shield she was behind to push it forward.
"Negative. I will be fine."
"What?" Tammy replied, stupefied by Daria's assertion. Mutely, she watched as the other pilot made herself a makeshift bandage and wrapped it around the wound, stemming the bloodflow for the time being. Not exactly the neatest treatment in the world, but it looked strong enough to hold for a while. "I will continue."
Tammy couldn't pretend that she knew a whole lot about advanced first aid. She was fairly certain, however, that performing more strenuous effort with an injured leg was a pretty bad idea. Frustrated, she turned to the officers one last time, and shouted, "Shut off the water!" Then, spinning around, she ran back over to the formation, ducking low to avoid the spraying water.
Crouching down next to the other pilot, the girl took a nervous look at Daria's bandage. The already soaking wet cloth was slowly being stained scarlet; just glancing at it made Tammy wince in sympathetic pain. "You have to stop," she said, trying to talk over the sound of crashing water, "before you hurt yourself even worse!"
Awkwardly, Tammy tried to figure out what to do with her hands. Was she supposed to put pressure on the wound? Try to hold Daria down so she'd stop moving? Even if the other girl was injured, Tammy seriously doubted she could actually overpower her. Eventually, she just let the limbs fall limply to her side as she continued to plead for her fellow pilot to stop.
"Are you certain that some of these children have had actual combat training, Colonel Uli? It did not seem to cross that one's mind that the explosive would be better suited being thrown elsewhere than directly at his enemy."
"That pilot was trained to do so out of training and duty and for that I am proud of his actions." Amira said quite proud of what Mark had done even though it ended up with one of the pilots being injured. From what she could see, some piece of shard had injured Daria but the pilot toughed it out which was also commendable. But she was just happy she did just that. "These pilots are no longer children, sadly. But there is no wrong time to teach the values of sacrifice, duty, and perseverance. We cannot replicate anything they might face in those EVAs but we can replicate the foundations of what makes great men and women. Even right now, we are instilling greatness into these children because they need it. Whether we like it or not, these children are the only things we have left to rely on when the Angels come. It's okay if they make a few mistakes here."
Amira looked back on the children as they struggled through the water cannons. They could have stopped at any moment, given up at the sight of the cannons but they still stand. Even battered and wet, these children still stand.
"Shut off the water!" Tammy said, shouting to them in a pleading attempt to stop the water cannons.
"The cannons will stop once the flag is captured." Amira said, coldly into the microphone.
"What becomes hard in training becomes easy in battle." Amira commented.
"Shut off the water!"
"You are in a combat squad simulation, Ms.O'Neal,"Jacoline announced to her from the balcony, still at standing rest,"Combat does not wait for one to heal their wounds, you will continue with this exercise, or you will all fail."
Although they noted her willingness to fight until the end, there would nothing gained by sending injured pilots against the Angels. By now, the leading edge of the phalanx was almost directly in front of the cannon. Water cascaded off the shields in all directions. They held under the pressure, long enough to reach out and pull the flag over, taking it as they retreated back.
Back at HQ, Daria's leg had been bandaged. She rejoined the other exhausted and wet pilots. Jacoline Van Niekerk was with them.
Amira was in her office, decorated with badges and honors from her time in the IDF followed by pictures of her alongside several of her comrades. Other than that the fairly spacious office was bare of anything fancy or eye-catching, a need for the unnecessary was squashed out of Amira's head while in the IDF but there was something else inside her head. She watched the replay of the training again watching the pilot's actions more closely this time from multiple angles. The prodigies were still struggling with it all but that was to be expected. The Manufactured remained indifferent as they should. Then the Neo-Spartans remained true which was a good thing. But actions of a few demanded a short meeting.
Amira chimed into the intercom. "Send Ensign Gauthier and Warrant Officer Johnson to my office once they are properly dried, please."
With a final burst, it was over. V-3 looked at his fellow pilots, they all looked like drowned rats. V-3 figured he also looked like that, but it didn't bother him. Practically half of the pilots' time was spent in fluid anyway. It was interesting that both the Operations Director and the Head of Nerv Security both wanted Daria to go on, despite Tammy's protests, but, in the end were overruled by a officer V-3 wasn't famaliar with. Then again, maybe it wasn't so interesting since Daria was ordered to break off because of health concerns. It reminded the clone somewhat of his time at Nerv-Germany being a test pilot. Testing an Eva to its limits was hard on him and the Eva being tested, no wonder his superiors paired him with an Eva known for its self-destructive tendencies and shipped him off to Britain - better to have him there with the risk of getting one unit destroyed, than having three or four out of commission because of test run 'accidents'. With naught to do, the clone ran his hands down his shins in an attempt to squeeze some water out and awaited the assessment of their performance, or whatever other lectures lay in store for them, apart from the recent call on the intercom. It didn't concern him, so it wasn't important. V-3 focused instead on getting his breath back.
Stupid, stupid, stupid...
Mark kept to himself as he dried off after the training exercise. Had the situation been just a little different, he would have relished the injures the robotic Daria sustained, but not this time. She got hurt because of his instinctive reaction, not by any malicious act or something that was simply out of his control. Instead of simply calling the whole thing a waste of time and shrugging it off, he now felt burdened with guilt, and shame.
He certainly wasn't surprised when a wage-slave drone came in and told him the Director wanted to see him. So, without uttering a word in protest or even glancing at his "teammates", he marched to the Director's office.
When he arrived, he clacked the metal bit of his heels together and saluted. "You wanted to see me, Lieutenant Colonel?"
"I am Captain Jacoline Van Niekerk,"The woman in the pristine uniform announced to the wet pilots gathered before her,"You may call me Captain or Niekerk, Head of NERV Security and specially assigned to the care of you Eva pilots. Be thankful that the Operations Director believes that some of you are essential to this facility, or else I would have made certain you were not allowed to pilot an Eva again after the Angel Kushiel attack. However, I still hold the power of the security of this facility, and will not hesitate should I consider one of you a serious risk."
"Send Ensign and Warrant Officer Johnson to my office once they are properly dried, please."
"I did not give you permission to leave yet Pilot Johnson,Pilot Gauthier"She said as the boy attempted to leave,"You are to sit and listen, that is an order."
After a few moments of silence and the NERV officer's hard stare, she continued after clearing her throat.
"Now, whether or not you believe yourself above the rules, know that there are a handful of you that I would personally ground indefinitely were it not for the Operation Director's....confidence, not the word I would unofficially use, in you, but there it stands. Backgrounds are unimportant, you are Eva pilots, but should I consider you a security risk, or a danger to those around you, know that the Director may run this facility, but I am the one in charge of ensuring the safety of the people of London-2 and the inhabitants of this NERV underground. In terms that I am sure the least mentally fit among you can understand, I am your final stop if you go off the grid."
From behind her, sitting on a desk, were two stacks, one over-sized envelopes, the other folders. She took the former and began handing them out, each with the name of one of the pilots, she explained what was within each,"Inside you will find three things. One, a single sheet of paper, each with the name,rank,Eva Unit Number, and a brief description of your fellow pilots should you still not know them. Two, a single card, with enough credit to allow you to buy basic luxuries should you wish them. And three, a key that will open your new home nearby. Myself and a handful of other NERV personnel have been living there for a period of time in preparation for everyone's arrival. You have each been paired with a family unit which is also indicated by the key within, Lillian Diana Chloe, you have been assigned to my apartment as you are of age and have been granted a small job within NERV HQ should you wish it."
With all the information passed out, Jacoline began again at the front of the room, shoulders again parallel with her knees,though her gloved hands were crossed,"The rest of you will continue your studies as though nothing has happened in your lives outside of the norm for those born post Second Impact. You will eat, sleep, and live beneath my eye, and those of the Operations Director. Do try to keep the pranks to a minimum if you would please,"She brought the folders to beneath her arm and began heading for the door,"Leave the sheets of paper with the pilot id's with one of NERV security when, and do not reveal your status as an Eva pilot to anyone, should your code to enter the Geofront be used without your knowledge, both you and the party responsible will be held accountable."
At the door, she turned and stood to the side,"Dismissed, Johnson,Gauthier, you are both free to go. Oh, and one more thing everyone, allow me to officially welcome you to London-2."
Lillian did her best not to roll her eyes at Captain Van Niekerk's 'Welcome' speech. Great, another military type with a 2x4 so far up her ass, you can probably see it behind her teeth. She thought. She'd met more than enough of those type, both during her initial training, and during her first few years of service.
"... Lillian Diana Chloe, you have been assigned to my apartment as you are of age and have been granted a small job within NERV HQ should you wish it."
Hearing her name she perked up a bit, then tried not to flinch. Oh I bet you'll just LOADS of fun to room with... She thought, once again doing her best not to roll her eyes. As the Captain kept speaking, she leafed thought the pilot dossiers; pretty quickly she realized she'd got the basics down.
"Dismissed, Johnson, Gauthier, you are both free to go. Oh, and one more thing everyone, allow me to officially welcome you to London-2."
Placing the folder back on the desk, she made her way to the door, and stopped by Jacoline. "Captain." She said. "What is the job?"
Iggy was not terribly fond of this bit. Getting wet was fun: pools, dancing in the rain, sudden training exercises versus high pressure water cannons, etc. Being dry was fun, of course. But this inbetween bit, where everything was ever so slightly damp and clothes stuck in odd places, this bit wasn't so pleasant. Iggy sighed and continued to towel himself off. Well, at least they'd found success. The formation had nearly broken up for a second or two there, with one of the prodigies (it was Tammy, wasn't it? Hard to be sure during the moment) having some minor freakout over a cut on Daria's leg (which had apparently been precipitated by a deactivated grenade?). Ahhh but Daria was here, alive, with both legs intact, apparently all was well!
Bright eyes scanned drenched comrades all looking for the most efficient way to wring the most water from their garments. They were a good bunch overall, easy enough to like, even the grumpy ones.They were all cut from different sorts of cloth, but that didn't matter much to Iggy. What mattered was their willingness to climb into several thousand tons of giant cyborg death machine and wage war against monsters of ludicrous, otherworldly power for the sake all humanity. That was a pretty big deal, it took a special kind of person and Iggy liked that kind of special.
An aide seemed to materialize somewhere just right of Iggy's general vicinity. Such quite efficiency was a bit startling, but the young pilot was adjusting, things at NERV HQ ran smooth, one way or another. He hugged the man (because hugs were always necessary) and gladly took his message, even though its contents made his stomach turn a bit. Oh dear, a summons from boss lady, Iggy suspected he was in trouble. It seemed safest to assume that any time a superior officer singled him out he was in some degree of trouble. He stroked his chin, pensive for a moment. But for what? The incident with the fire extinguisher in the locker rooms? Impossible! Iggy knew how to cover his tracks when pranking.
"I did not give you permission to leave yet Pilot Johnson, Pilot Gauthier. You are to sit and listen, that is an order."
Iggy found his trip out the door curtailed rather abruptly by a rather stern looking woman. He made quick note of her rank insignia and offered a small salute before plopping down in the nearest chair. He did his best to listen to her spiel, he honestly did, but growing up military meant a great deal of it sounded awfully familiar. In short, she was the pilot nanny, and the kiddies ought be on their best behavior. The dossiers were nice, but nothing Iggy hadn't already sniffed out (because really, the personnel officers just needed a good snuggle, and it was amazing what they'd divulge once you showed them some love). Iggy was however looking forward to new quarters, and roommates! The little temp cells were awfully lonely. Iggy had never slept in a room on his own before then, and to be honest, he hated it with a passion. Living with others had been Iggy's norm for as long as he could remember, and the sooner things got back to normal, the better. Likewise, real school looked to be a treat, classes wherein the final didn't revolve around working as a group to bring down a rabid grizzly bear while armed with nothing more than combat knives. He wondered if high school would be like it was in the films, what with drama over dates, and exams, and suchlike. Sounded sort've awesome!
"Dismissed, Johnson,Gauthier, you are both free to go. Oh, and one more thing everyone, allow me to officially welcome you to London-2."
Dismissed! Now there were the magic words! Iggy offered the captain a quick salute and trotted on off, throwing a grin back at the military woman and offering a word in parting, "Thanks ma'am! Oh, and you can call me Iggy if you want, s'not gonna hurt my feelings or nothin'."
Iggy stole little glances at Mark all throughout the silent walk to the Director's office. The guy seemed a bit worried. Iggy would've offered a friendly pat, but this one was another Neo-Spartan, and a bit moody to boot, it'd take a few more weeks of general Iggy love before this one softened enough to get to the hugging stage. Meh, Iggy had time.
The warrant officer's salute before Ms. Uli was more than a little formal, while Iggy's was rather relaxed, though still in accordance with basic protocol, "S'up, boss lady?"
Iggy wasn't overly concerned with rank. Hell, most of the people around here kept calling him ensign, when in reality, Iggy was a sub-lieutenant if he recalled his translations correctly. He just didn't care enough to point out the inconsistency. Did rank really matter in an organization like NERV? Once you started controlling giant death beasts then so much protocol seemed rather moot.
With the training exercise over and Karl now official off duty, the old soldier found himself sitting in the canteen finishing off a plate of potatoes and sausages. While putting the last few forkfuls of potato and sausage into his mouth, Karl thought back on the past events of the day. The training exercise was a success, and from the looks of things the young pilots had learnt a good bit about teamwork and the power of a group over an individual. However while not completely perfect, the group was taking a step in the right direction and Karl could bet on it that in the future the team would become an effective and efficient fighting force.
With his plate of food finished, Karl stood up from the table and stretched. Giving a quick look around the room Karl saw that apart from him and a few other NERV personal the canteen was virtual empty, which was a shame. Having not played a game of chess in a few days Karl was virtually itching for a game and due to the small roster of NERV personal within London HQ there was nobody that Karl had not played. Placing his plate over to the washing area and giving a quick wave to the kitchen staff, Karl let out a sigh as he made his way out of the canteen and towards the recreational area. It seems that yet again he is forced to play against his virtual opponent...Marx.
"Dismissed..." the Captain - and apparent guardian - said, letting them go.
Daria took and scanned her packet; taking the ID card and credit card and left the room. She had what she needed and was dismissed so she refocused on the mission at hand; trying to "have fun". Truthfully, she hadn't an idea of how to accomplish the mission
As she wandered the halls of NERV London-2, she tried to think of "fun" things she could do. Her research listed many fun activities - games and sports and movies and music and books and... yet fun itself was an emotional state of happiness so how could she feel it? Such were her thoughts as she moved through the base.
Eventually, in an attempt to meet her orders, she found her way to the recreational area; perhaps in hope of mimicking the activities of fun to learn how to have it. As she rounded a corner however she walked face first into another soldier. Glancing at his ID - Colonel Jaeger - she quickly spoke up. "Pardon me Colonel" she offered, trying to apologize for the action.
The Head of Nerv Security's - or Captain Jacoline Van Niekerk's - speech basically boiled to 'behave like a good, normal and mundane boy when you're not in the Eva or else'. The only thing of note was that they had been assigned to family units, of course V-3 didn't mind, but it wasn't necessary. At least in the clone's view. He had been created solely to pilot an Eva and he couldn't imagine himself as something other than an Eva pilot. The whole setup of a family unit and school was just for the sake of keeping up appearances anyway. People would start asking questions if children were taken to Nerv facilities and never seen again. His focus moved onto the envelopes Niekerk handed out; on his was that fake name again:
Ortwin Fromm-Coenders, but he tore through that and absent-mindedly scanned through the list of names and numbers which could be summed up as:
Name: Mark Johnson
Rank: Warrant Officer
Eva: Unit 13-B
Name: Lillian Dania Chloe
Rank: Recruit/Sergeant (Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry [Honorary])
Name: James York
Name: Tamara O'Neil
Name: Gale Edwards
Name: Igander Gauthier
Rank: Enseigne de vaisseau de première classe Sub-Lieutenant
Name: Daria Al-Fayed
Name: D. Waters
Afterwards with the list partially memorised, V-3 took the key and the card, and handed the piece of paper back as he left. The clone decided to hit the showers and get into dry clothes - there was no point in staying wet and dripping everywhere, after all. He stripped, then stepped into the shower and washed himself off, not even bothering to use shampoo or shower gel. That done, he grabbed a towel, dried himself off and changed in dry clothes. His stomach rumbled as he slipped on a shirt, so V-3 headed towards the canteen and got a meal. He ate quickly, not caring for the taste of the food. Almost mechanically, one could say. Pick up fork, pick up food with fork, place fork in mouth, slide food off fork, chew food, swallow, repeat. While he ate, he turned to watch Daria and whatever she was doing with the Colonel, simply because it would serve as a distraction for a bit.
The two arrived at her office carrying the papers that Niekerk had probably given them concerning their stay in London-2. Mark saluted Amira while Iggy nonchalantly greeted her. If she were more strict, she'd probably whip him right then and there but there were other matters to attend to. Amira rose from her chair and approached the pair with her hands behind her back. Her shoulder holster was still strapped onto her with her Desert Eagle still inside.
"At ease..." Amira said, talking to Mark in particular. "Gentlemen, today you displayed extraordinary effort in the test but also in the previous fight against Kushiel. You're not here to be praised, that's for the coming days when the press starts to run stories about you. No, you are here because you both show promise. What do you think that may be?"
Mark couldn't help but blink with surprise. He wasn't here to be reprimanded for his goof in the previous exercise? He pushed past that question for the time being and focused on the one actually directed at him. What did he show promise for? He knew his Eva piloting was a proven skill, but Mark doubted the director was thinking of something so general.
The boy suppressed the urge to look at Iggy as he tried to narrow down what Amira was thinking by contrast. The boy had a good head on his shoulders, Mark was willing to admit that, even if it probably wasn't screwed on right.
With another motion, a shrug, suppressed, Mark decided to take an educated guess. "If I had to guess, ma'am, it would be my role as support for our Eva team. While the other pilots are concerned with offensive and defensive roles for themselves, I'm the only one who assists in whatever task they choose."
Gale grabbed his fumbled through his folders, reading through the list of pilots again despite having read them numerous times already:
Name: Mark Johnson
Rank: Warrant Officer
Eva: Unit 13-B
Name: Ortwin Fromm-Coenders
Name: Lillian Dania Chloe
Rank: Recruit/Sergeant (Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry [Honorary])
Name: James York
Name: Tamara O'Neil
Name: Gale Edwards
Name: Igander Gauthier
Rank: Enseigne de vaisseau de première classe Sub-Lieutenant
Name: Daria Al-Fayed
Name: D. Waters
The same names flashed across his eyes as he eyed the names, stopping at one of the names and then continuing as he looked around the room. The same green eyed pilot caught his eye for a minute before taking out his card and key, tucking them both into one of the pockets on his pants alongside his N.E.R.V ID card. Gale's left arm ached as soon as he tucked the items away with it, causing a slight grimace on Gale's face as he clutched it with his other hand and did a few stretches to relax the muscle. Gale tucked the paper back inside the folder and walked over to hand it to the Captain. With a small salute and a glance back over his shoulder to look at one of the pilots again he left the room.
Tammy had barely listened to the debriefing, though she believed she'd gotten the gist of it. Nerv was moving them to new quarters, eh? Hopefully these would have decent mattresses. And naturally, she'd taken her packet when they were being passed around; it was a little hard to miss a giant manila envelope being waved around in your face.
But she'd be lying through her teeth if she claimed to have been paying attention to the particulars of Captain Niekerk's speech. The girl had been far too focused on remembering what everyone had said to her during the training exercise.
"Negative. I will be fine."
"The cannons will stop once the flag is captured."
"You are in a combat squad simulation, Ms.O'Neal. Combat does not wait for one to heal their wounds, you will continue with this exercise, or you will all fail."
"I will continue."
Daria had been injured. No, more than injured. Tammy was well aware of her lack of knowledge, but she knew that people weren't supposed to lose that much blood that quickly. And the officers hadn't done a thing about it. They had expected Daria to just carry on with the exercise, to keep going even when she was so wounded. And she'd been so willing to do it too... It made Tammy feel sick to her stomach.
Of course she knew that this was dangerous. She knew that fighting the Angels was real, that she and the other pilots would be risking their bodies and minds to keep the rest of humanity safe. She knew that, if someone was injured, or even killed, fighting an Angel they couldn't afford to stop and try to help. She knew that they'd have to keep fighting...
But to force someone to continue for a damn training exercise? How was that justifiable? How could the officers just stand back and refuse to help? How could Daria just keep going? Was this how Nerv did things? Were things really that insane?
Was this why Thomas had gone missing?
"Thomas," she muttered, barely noticing she was talking aloud, "where'd you go?"
Forgetting to hand back part of the information she'd been given, Tammy filed out of the room, her still damp clothes doing quite a bit to weigh her down. "I need to change. And a shower wouldn't exactly hurt."
Her immediate course of action decided, the girl retrieved the key she'd been given, and tried to make her way to her assigned room. Hopefully they'd at least have a robe or something she could borrow, if they hadn't already moved her clothes and other belongings to her new lodgings.
"While the other pilots are concerned with offensive and defensive roles for themselves, I'm the only one who assists in whatever task they choose."
"Not only that Johnson but I believe you have a decisiveness to you. You acted and if you didn't act then the other pilots would have either panicked or threw the grenade without the quickness you did." Amira said. "You're all gifted pilots. The best we can send to fight the Angels but there is more to each and every one of than the ability to fight. I need quick thinkers in case communications to HQ is cut off for any reason. Not only that but when the situation calls for it, I need tactical autonomy. I cannot command every one of you at once so you two are here because I trust in both of you to lead the pilots when I can't. I'm not promoting you two but I am trusting you with some responsibilities in leadership. Do you understand?" Amira looked to both of them.
Their personalities differed but Amira believed that complimented them. Where Mark could be defensive, Iggy could be offensive. While Mark could support, Iggy could press on. When Mark lays down suppression, Iggy can advance. These two were Neo-Spartans, trained from a young age to fight and they had acted decisively throughout the test along with the attack. These boys weren't all that different from each other.
"Captain." She said. "What is the job?"
Jacoline looked at the voice and quickly gave the face a name. Grabbing another folder, she opened it and quickly scanned it before closing it and replying,"The job would involve working here at NERV HQ. However, you file is still under review, but there are two jobs you will be assigned, depending on the level of clearance I give you. Ask me again later tonight when I am off-shift. I'm sure you'd rather have your final evaluation done in a place less clinical than this, wouldn't you?,"Her tone indicated that she WOULD prefer it to be in the Captain's home,"Dismissed Pilot, I have paperwork to file and personnel files to review, as well as making sure the computer recognizes your codes."
"I'm sure you'd rather have your final evaluation done in a place less clinical than this, wouldn't you?"
"Understood ma'am." Lillian replied. Oh yeah...she'll be BARRELS of fun. Gathering her key-card and such, she left to find her new accommodations so she could change. The trip to the apartment was short, and once she was inside, she only looked around long enough for her to find her room.
Stripping off her wet clothes and underwear; she set about checking her tattoo, applying moisturizer and re-sticking the saran wrap over it, before getting dressed. Pulling on fresh underwear, and dry pants, she dug a dry top out of her bag and stopped to look at it. The top was an olive drab tank top, with the PPCLIs unit crest on the left side; it'd been given to her when 41 was seconded to the unit. Shit, people do know what I do...I should tell Captain Van Niekerk about that really soon.
The streets were calm, the mid-afternoon air cool on Gale's skin as he walked from the N.E.R.V headquarters to his apartment complex. Gale stopped at a sidewalk, allowing some cars to pass by as he looked around the city. It appeared as lively as it had been before the angel attacked, a few construction vehicles passing by to work on the destroyed parts of the city, but for the most part it was a normal day. Gale started across the road to make his way into the parking lot of the apartments. They were big, at least four stories up with more windows on each level than Gale could be bothered to count. Gale made his way up a few flights of stairs to his apartment, unlocking the door and opening the door to his apartment. It was completely dark inside, so Gale assumed that his roommate was still on their way here. Gale pushed inside, his backpack being dropped unceremoniously to the ground as he fell down onto the couch, not bothering to examine the room as he closed his eyes for a moment to let the days events sink in.
Thoughts of the days training flashed through his mind; the girl who seemed unfazed by the shrapnel flying through her leg, the boy who had quicker reaction time than himself to fling the grenade away from his allies, and the girl who screamed behind him about their injured ally. Gale tried to close off his mind to unnecessary thoughts, and focus on searching the apartment to make himself a place, after all he was still in his drenched clothing from earlier in the day.
Pushing himself up from the couch with a little difficulty, Gale decided to meander his way around the room. It was a decent sized apartment; there were two bedrooms, a full bathroom, and a kitchen area that blended in with the dining room via a half-wall connecting the two areas. A sofa sat against one wall and a tv sat on a stand opposite that. Both bedrooms had a window, and a small closet and twin bed. After Gale was finished look at the room, he decided that he would simply wait for his roommate to arrive.
"Pardon me Colonel"
"Don't worry about it" Karl responded raising his hands in a non-threating manner "It was an accident it's not like you were trying to assassinate me...Well at least I hope not" he spoke chuckling
Karl's run in with Daria meant that the pilots debriefing was over and to be honest, this was not something Karl was expecting to happen anytime soon, especially since the bureaucratic Captain Niekerk was commander of the Pilots well-being. However with the pilots being released this early, it meant that there was still hope for the HQ's Bureaucratic Boer. Thoughts aside Karl's mind once again came upon his desire for a chess game and with Daria not looking too busy it seems that the old soldier now has a potential chess partner.
"Seeing as you're not busy Daria, interested in playing a game of chess? I haven't had the chance to play a human opponent in a while so you're exactly what am looking for. Although if you do say no to my request it may become an order" Karl finished smiling
"Seeing as you're not busy Daria, interested in playing a game of chess? I haven't had the chance to play a human opponent in a while so you're exactly what am looking for." the Colonel said. D-18 wasn't entirely sure what to say. Her plan HAD been to visit the recreation area to go through the motions of fun and Chess had been on her list. on the other hand, she couldn't genuinely say she was "interested" in it - she wasn't interested in anything.
Those thoughts went out the door a moment later when the Colonel continued. "Although if you do say no to my request it may become an order." Even if she declined, it would likely become an order anyway. Resolving herself she replied. "Very well Colonel. I am however unfamiliar with Chess and its many rules; an explanation of Chess operational procedure will be required" she said before moving into the rec-room to begin the game.
Well well, this was a lovely change of pace. Commendation instead of a good, solid tongue lashing? Iggy could dig it, even though he doubted the praise was well earned. To be quite frank, Iggy responded better to head pats and hugs than words, words were noise after all. To be even more frank, in this case at least, commendation was unnecessary. Boss Lady seemed impressed with their performance in both the water cannon trial and the battle against Kushiel, but in both instances, what was their really to praise?
In the water cannon trial, Iggy spoke first, that much was true. However the boy was not deluded; he typically spoke first in every circumstance outside of an entry plug, he just happened to be talking sense this time around. And Mark... well, that whole bit with the grenade was more than a bit silly, in retrospect. Iggy didn't hold the other pilots actions against him (blaming people was stupid and counterproductive), and not everyone had to drill instinct suppression into their psyche if they wanted to maintain basic control of their Eva. Mark was worthy of a bit of slack, though basic logic did dictate that NERV would never intentionally maim Eva pilots, especially with something as crude and non-discriminatory as a live grenade. They were too valuable, too difficult to replace. Then again, this Mark was a Neo-Spartan, and though Iggy didn't know how their training compared, he well remembered life as nothing more than a 'potential,' perfectly disposable. Quick and unthinking response to threat kept you alive under those circumstances, some holdovers were to be expected.
The battle with Kushiel was no more impressive than the water cannon trial. As far as Iggy understood it, both he and Mark had performed adequately. Mark spoke of his flexible support role as though it were something unique, rather than a basic function any competent unit. Iggy offered the other boy a somewhat troubled look, but kept silent. If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. That was good advice, Iggy'd heard it in a movie once. Had Mark forgotten 75, 67? Both units maintained the same support role (though in the case of the latter, that might have been due to an inability to do much else.) No, Mark's most distinct contribution had been the elimination of Kushiel's swarm, just as Iggy's had been the neutralization of the tentacle. Both were key objectives, both were fulfilled with skilled ease, but did you give a dog a bone simply because it fetched a stick well? Mark, Iggy, they were born for this, conditioned to perform precisely this function. Of course they had the sharpest teeth, they had the tightest collars. That thought felt a little mean and a little demeaning, so Iggy kept it to himself. Boss Lady's words rang of sincerity, and a slight shift in Mark's manner spoke of relief, Iggy would not rob him of that.
Iggy's brow wrinkled further as Ms. Uli spoke of leadership. He had only a hazy understanding of centralized authority, and what bits he did understand seemed rather absurd. Leadership belonged to the group, the group had a goal, the group pursued that goal, and everyone ate well. But perhaps... perhaps Boss Lady shared some of these sentiments. This was a diffusion of power after all, an admission that the necessary orders might not always come from her person. Again, Iggy could dig it. He offered the director a great, warm smile, and a slight nod. When he spoke, the words seemed to come from a deeper sort of place, as though he were reading words chiseled along the inside of his skull.
"The superior leader is first and foremost servant to those he leads, I will serve as best I can," The words seemed a tad strange rolling so easily off of Iggy's tongue, but the smile soon grew toothy and a bit of play found its way back into his voice soon enough, "Also, I think there should be a mandatory hugging policy, like every pilot should have to give another pilot at least one hug a day. Cuz' that's good for uh... unit cohesion and suchlike."
I never did like P.E.
Jamie's spirits were almost as damp as his clothes, hopefully this wouldn't turn into a regular thing. He didn't savour the thought of going all the way home, leaving a puddle behind him. Plus Jamie's mum would yell at him if he did. The water cannon exersise had turned into some kind of chaos about half way through, something had happened at the back of the group and it had looked like someone had thrown something but it had all kind of gone over Jamie's head, he was too busy trying not to get knocked over by high powered water, something which certaily wasn't as fun as it had sounded in his head!
And why can't I stay at home? I live here!
But no doubt it was in case they needed to be called in on super secret important NERV emergency stuff. Plus if Jamie tried to get out of it then he'd look like a big baby. Plus, looking at the files of everyone it was clear that Jamie was the youngest so the other pilots already had a reason to treat him like a little kid. Which he wasn't! He was a teenager now! But the worst thing, the absolute worst thing; was that they'd have to keep going to school.
I'm an EVA pilot now, EVA pilots shouldn't have to go to school! He huffed on his way to his assigned flat. It looked like was the first to arrive.
The place was big enough, though it had that whole sterile feeling that empty houses usually do. They could always make it more homely later he supposed. For now Jamie could only claim a room and pack away the small amount of clothes he'd brought with him from NERV. He made sure to fold them up neatly and organise the drawers properly. Jamie would have to tidy up after himself while he was here and he was determined to get off to a good start.
Should I wait for my room mate?
"Cuz' that's good for uh... unit cohesion and suchlike."
"I'll keep that in mind, Iggy. Both of you are dismissed." Amira said, going back to her desk to finish her paperwork. She stole a quick glance at the departing duo, still remembering Iggy's smile along with Mark's visible surprise. She always saw outright, brutal criticism as detrimental to morale. She saw first hand how men and women would respond to shouting at how terrible they did or how weak they performed. That often had negative effects rather than positive outcomes so Amira believed in constructive criticism and often a good boost in self-confidence. A prodigy could act like a Neo-Spartan if they believed that they could.
V-3 watched the Colonel and Daria leave, then carried the empty tray to the stack of similar empty trays. Bits of red and white stained them - it seemed that chilli con carne had gone down well, even if it was just bits of meat covered in a sauce spicy enough to cover the fact that the meat itself was of poor quality. Nevertheless, food was food and V-3 ate it all up. The only problem he had after that was the problem of what to do next. 'Sleep?' It seemed like the only logical option at the time, not like there were any interesting books available to read in the rec-room and he couldn't just sit there and drown himself in imagination. That would bring about the attention of others, clearly an activity reserved for situations where he could blend in - like school. V-3 failed to see why such a thing was necessary, but then again, his life had simply been an endless cycle of Eva testing.
His routine had been simple: wake up, test run, black out, recovery of test unit and pilot, wake in a hospital bed, wait until injuries heal and repeat. In short, his was a simple existence until V-3 had been transferred. He didn't know what to do with the strange thing known as 'spare time'. So, V-3 went for the default option - rest. He made his way to his assigned home and noted the fact that someone else was there. Like an outside looking in, he stared at the other figure, who was in the process of organising his things. From the list, V-3 recongised the pilot as James York. Regardless, V-3 finally crossed the threshold and entered the dwelling, walked towards the pilot and greeted his room mate. Though, the clone wasn't sure how to do such a thing. Nevertheless, V-3 decided a rather plain course of action and dangled his key in front of James and said, "Mr. York; I am your room mate."
One last time, Tammy checked her room assignment and compared it to the plastic nameplate in front of her. The four numbers displayed there matched the sheet perfectly; yep, this was certainly the place.
Taking hold of the key, the girl bent forward to unlock the door, only to find that someone had beaten her to it. Giving the handle a twist and a light push, she swung the door open, and stepped inside. "Hello? Anyone home?"
A few quick steps carried her through the entryway, and Tammy found herself in a small living room of sorts. It was neatly furnished, with a couch, a small coffee table, and a sizable TV hanging from the wall. It was also already occupied.
"Oh," Tammy sputtered, stopping mid stride. "Uh, hey."
Raising her hand in a halfhearted wave, the girl stared blankly at her apparent roommate, struggling to remember his name. He had one of the weird ones, didn't he? "You're... Gale, right?"
Gale looked up from the coffee table to find himself looking at the sandy-haired girl with bright green eyes. It took Gale a second to register what was going on before he managed to speak up. This girl was apparently going to be his new roommate.
"Yes, good to meet you. You're... Tammy right?" Gale asked, his eyes sizing up his new roommate for a minute before he mentally nodded to himself.
Now dressed, and with nothing better to do Lillian raided the kitchen for a snack, before heading into the living room. Not much of a view. She thought, looking out the window at the cityscape. She'd always preferred the countryside. Finishing her food, she shifted some of the furniture about to create some floor space.
The floor clear, she set about a yoga routine. After all of what happened in the past little while, she just wanted to de-stress and relax. MP3 player going, she shut her eyes and focused solely on the feeling of her movments.
"Yes, good to meet you. You're... Tammy right?"
"Yep, that's me," Tammy replied with a forced, somewhat awkward smile. She knew that she was supposed to act all polite and cheery in a situation like this, but she just didn't have the energy or mental wherewithal for it; the training exercise had taken a lot out of her, and her heavy thoughts weren't exactly helping anything.
As her expression fell back into its tired, neutral state, the girl slumped forward a bit, her uncomfortably damp clothes sticking to her skin. She really needed to get changed. And by the look of his outfit (and the damp spot slowly spreading across the couch), so did Gale.
"Look," the pilot began, dragging an open palm across her face, "it looks like both of us are gonna need the shower. You wanna flip a coin for it? Or just go first, I guess; looks like you've been waiting here longer than I have."
Gale shrugged, standing from the couch and shouldering his backpack with what he brought from N.E.R.V headquarters. Gale made sure to only slide his good shoulder in through the straps, leaving his sore shoulder out and hanging quite uselessly beside him.
"By the look of you, I'd say you need a relaxing shower more than I do right now." Gale said, watching as the girl slumped forward and her face sunk. It appeared that the training from earlier had been harder on her than most, which must mean that she was no neo-spartan.
A prodigy huh? Interesting... No, I can't jump to conclusions. I'll just ask her about it once she's rested up a bit. Gale thought to himself, looking over the girl once more, her wet clothes sticking to her as Gale knew they were doing to him.
"Alright, why don't you go shower and I'll get your bag to your room?" Gale said, trying to be friendly since he was going to be living with this girl.