|Summary: Anew boards the TDD-1 to question Soma regarding the whereabouts of Allelujah Haptism.|
In the time since she last spoke to Captain Teletha Testarossa, the reports of the guards in Soma's cell being 'creeped out' have become much less frequent. Oh, there's still a few... but at least she's stopped doing nothing but staring at the wall all day. She's returned to a somewhat normal sleeping cycle, and quite a lot of her active time is spent doing basic exercises. She can't very well run in here, but she can at least do things like pushups, situps, squats... even a few more exotic things like handstand pushups. Soma also completely ignores any stares directed her way by the guards. She just isn't focused on them enough to be bothered by it.
While the Tuatha de Danaan has no actual prison cells, the room where Soma is being kept is secure enough. There are a pair of guards stationed outside the door in the hall, and another pair inside the room. The only other things in the room are a simple cot and chair.
The door to that simple room swings open, and Anew Returner steps in. In her hands, she holds a simple tray of food. It's not altogether disimilar from most mealtimes; the only difference is the person delivering it.
She's different from the usual guards stationed outside of her room. In fact, with just one look at the attire--a pale-colored suit and a red jacket--one could easily deduce that the girl is not a member of Mithril at all. It's the uniform worn by the members of Celestial Being, an organization that is currently missing several of their members.
One of them to the Earth Federation Alliance. Allelujah Haptism.
"I have brought your meal," she says, holding out the tray.
It is probably fortunate for all here that Soma has never actually seen a Celestial Being uniform. When the door opens, she pauses mid-pushup and turns her head. No words are spoken, but she nods once, then resumes her pushups. She has to finish the set, after all! Three more times up and down, and she pushes herself to her feet. "Thank you."
One hand comes up to idly sweep some hair out of her face, though the oddly-plaited bangs do a good job of keeping the long platinum hair mostly tamed. She steps toward Anew and takes the tray without looking down at it, but doesn't step back just yet. "You are not a crewmember of this ship." It's a statement more than a question. However, given that the guards haven't seemed to object to anything yet, Soma can only assume that this lavender-haired person is from an allied organization.
Anew's arms reflexively twist behind her--the way they often do when she's nervous--and she clasps her hands together. Somehow, she manages to look smaller and less threatening than she already is--a difficult feat to manage with her pale looks and her soft voice.
Anew does not need to be prompted to volunteer the information; she had planned on giving it from the beginning. "Nice to meet you," she says. "My name is Anew Returner. I'm with Celestial Being." She already knows who Soma is. And that is part of the reason why she is here.
"One of the members of our crew is missing. We believe that he is in EFA custody. I was wondering," she says, expression slightly uneasy, "if you knew where we may find him. His name is Allelujah Haptism."
On the other hand, Soma, despite not being incredibly tall or large, has a more intimidating feel to her. She's not quite so aggressive right now, still thinking over her talk with Tessa the other day, but she still has that presence about her. With tray in hand, Soma turns and begins walking back toward her cot. She sits down, sets the tray in her lap...
And she visibly flinches and tenses up at mention of Anew's organization. "Celestial.. Being..." It's almost a low growl, but not quite. There's soem definite venom in those repeated words, though. Amber eyes shift up to look straight at Anew. "Lieutenant Soma Peries." She's being extremely formal, perhaps painfully so, as she tries to restrain herself from doing anything rash. That's one strike so far against this visitor.
"Mmm. Well." Soma tilts her head slightly, glancing across at the guards, then back toward Anew. "I would not know where Subject E-0057 is." So she had to ask about that person. Strike two. Picking up her spoon, she scoops a bit of food into her mouth, chews, and swallows. Only after that does she speak again, "Why? What makes you think I would tell you anything?"
Anew did not expect her to give the information away that easily; in fact, she had come here prepared to know nothing at all. But with Commander Sumeragi missing and Feldt currently recruiting, she knew that she had to do something--even if it were simply all in vain--to bring the members of Celestial Being back together again.
Though her intentions were as innocent as they could be, she unknowingly was also following orders--orders given to her by her Innovade twin, Revive Revival, to locate Soma Peries.
Subject E-0057, she thinks, filing the information away in her head. "I am not going to force you to volunteer any information you do not wish to." As unthreatening as Anew is in comparison to Soma, it is likely that she could even if she had any desire to. "But Allelujah-san is an important friend of ours. Even if you couldn't tell us where he is, I am sure the others would be happy just to know that he's all right."
Considering this is basically prison food, it doesn't taste too bad. Of course, they had to give her food that could be eaten without requiring a knife. Completely understandable and intelligent. Soma has not yet made any violent actions toward anyone (despite what rumors from the medical bay may be saying right now), but trusting her with a potential weapon would just be stupid.
It's true that asking didn't really harm anything. Though if the same questions had been asked only a few days ago, Soma would be much less calm than she is. As is, she's -very- tense, trying to not focus on the fact that this person is in Celestial Being. Trying not to think about Allelujah Haptism. Taking a deep breath, Soma lets out a long sigh. "The last time I saw Subject E-0057, he was alive. There is not much more I can tell you." He almost wasn't still alove, thanks to Soma's own hands, but... well, she isn't proud of how she acted, but she felt compelled to do that.
After another long pause, Soma looks up from her food, amber eyes settling on Anew. "You are a friend of his, then?" A friend, and not just a teammate. She's a little curious. "Does the rest of Celestial Being know I am here as well?"
Anew lets out a small sigh of relief. Still, she is not entirely assuaged by Soma's words. Though Allelujah was okay when Soma last saw him, there was no telling what condition he may be in now. To make matters worse, his safety may very well only be guaranteed as long as they held Soma Peries hostage. If Mithril ever lost the super soldier, there was no telling what would happen to the pilot of the Gundam Kyrios.
There's no reason to doubt Mithril, she tells herself, and she believes it. The TDD-1 was a state-of-the-art vessel; it was well equipped, too, and not just with weaponry. She's seen the guards outside of Soma's doors--Mithril's soldiers were obviously well-trained. While underwater, the TDD-1 couldn't be attacked directly, either, without risking Soma's life as well. There could be no place safer for her to be held captive.
"He's a very important friend of ours." The crew of the Ptolemy was small; barely a dozen crew members ran the ship. Now, there were even fewer than that. Things would be difficult onboard a ship that small with so few people if the crew did not get along. Fortunately, all of them did. "He was not just our pilot."
A pause. "Are you acquainted with Allelujah Haptism?"
Because Soma was willing (however reluctantly) to give her the information she wanted, she is willing to supply an answer of her own. "They do," she says. "Why do you ask?"
Whether the TDD-1 could be attacked directly was a secondary concern anyway. It's very unlikely that the submarine could even be detected in the first place. It really os an ideal place to keep a prisoner who is intelligent and sane enough to realize that escaping from a submerged submarine isn't exactly a wise choise. Soma doesn't know anything about the safety of Allelujah at the moment, though she would have doubts that his own life was at all related to hers. He was captured before she was, after all. Soma is somewhat surprised that Celestial being hasn't tried to set up a prisoner exchange yet... but assumes that it may be that MITHRIL doesn't want to hand her over to the other group. She's rather glad that she isn't being used as a commodity, in any case.
"An important friend..." Soma closes her eyes, thinking back to the other members of the GNX team. Louise was probably worried sick about her. Leo... was probably angry. Michael likely made a joke. Worried over an important friend, though... Soma wasn't sure. "Subject E-0057 has tried to kill me on numerous occasions." She glances down, taking another bite of her food. After she's swallowed, Soma doesn't bother to look up at Anew. "I have also attempted to kill him on several occasions. Neither of us were particularly successful." IF that was a joke, she isn't smiling. Then again, if Soma had a sense of humor, she'd probably be the ultimate straight man.
"No reason. I was curious." She finally looks up again, golden eyes fixing on Anew's. "I have had several encounters with many of the Celestial Being pilots. I am certain they would not be sad if I were to be killed somehow."
Anew, fortunately or unfortunately, is unaware of this. Her encounters with ranked members of the Earth Federation Alliance have been from behind the helm of the Plotemy; this is, in fact, the first time she has ever talked to one face-to-face; before, her knowledge of the organization was limited to what she heard from others.
Anew casts her eyes downward, averting Soma's penetrating gaze; her expression is clearly uncomfortable. What is she supposed to say to that? For a moment, she fumbles mentally for some sort of reply, not quite knowing what is the right thing to say, or if a right thing even exists.
"The one thing Celestial Being wishes for is peace," she says, gaze still set on the floor. "Though it may seem a backwards way of doing it, we are willing to fight anyone for that cause."
A beat. "If it were possible that we did not have to fight anyone to meet our goals, we would gladly give up being members of Celestial Being."
When Anew looks away so quickly, Soma is somewhat surprised. Just who is this person? She claims to be in Celestial Being, yet she can't even take a piercing gaze? "Tch..." Soma glances down to her food again, since she isn't able to properly stare into her visitor's eyes, and very carefully extends her mental fingers. If she can't stare down Anew, maybe she can feel her Quantum brainwaves. This isn't exactly an easy task for Soma, but she can at least -try-... and the attempt likely won't go unnoticed by an Innovade.
"Peace. You wish for peace by starting a war? I do not see the logic in that." She lifts her spoon, but instead of poking it into her food, she gestures vaguely at Anew with it. "You are terrorists. That is not making peace. You kill people. Do not try to hide what you do with pretty words." Soma pauses, waggling the spoon again. "Just what is it you do for Celestial Being?"
What Anew has in knowledge, she lacks in experience. She is an authority on astrophysics, mobile suit engineering, and regeneration treatment; she was skilled at both piloting and cooking, to boot. But no matter how skilled she was in the medbay or in the kitchen, she still had difficulty coping when it came to matters of the human heart.
Soma's fingers mentally reach into the young innovade's thoughts. For a moment, she can read hesitation, as if Soma's words somehow made her conviction waver. The girl's uncertainty is short-lived, as her conviction returns with full force. If Soma tries to reach in further, she's stopped by a mental barricade; it's as if there's something stopping her from reaching in beyond just those surface thoughts.
It's at that moment that Anew gets a strange feeling in the back of her head; she tries to shake the feeling from her thoughts, apparently unaware of Soma's doing.
"War is created by misunderstandings," Anew says. "But no matter how different they are, people will work together if the situation is bad enough. If we have to be the force to unify the world against us for the sake of peace, then we will do what we must."
Though her hands are still clasped tightly behind her back, Anew's posture is not as stiff as it once was. "I am the Ptolemaios's co-pilot," she says. "I also help in the medical bay when necessary, and help maintain Celestial Being's mobile suits." Is there anything that she doesn't do?
"Peries-san," she says carefully, using the girl's name for the first time. "Why do you fight?"
The emotions she picks up matches what she saw in Anew's face. For someone in an organizaiton like Celestial Being, this person seems rather... soft. When she hits that mental barricade, Soma tries once to push past, then withdraws. She isn't the best at reading other people unless she knows them well, and a strong-willed individual can shut her out with enough willpower. Even though Anew doesn't seem like a strong person, Soma still marks up the block to that. After all, she can't really try to ivnade any more without making her mental intrusion painfully apparent.
"War is sometimes created by misunderstandings," Soma offers. "Sometimes it is created simply by greed or the desire to cause problems for others. Not every conflict has a gray area." She isn't pointing out any specific war... just in general. "You really think you can bring about peace that way? By annoying everyone to join together to destroy you?" Soma shakes her head slowly. "Once you are out of the way, it is only a matter of time before the previous conflicts resume. That is how humanity works."
Once more, Soma fixes her sharp gaze on Anew. "So you do not fight." She holds that gaze, golden eyes piercing, though she isn't going for a stare-down. "I would not expect you to fully understand the situation, then."
Why do you fight... Soma has been asked that several times since she's been here. Although her viewpoint has changed a little, her answer is still much the same. "I am a soldier. I fight to protect the people. I fight so that others do not have to." It's as simple as that for her.
Anew bites her lower lip thoughtfully, mind trying to stumble forth some sort of metaphor that could perhaps explain how she feels. It's difficult enough articulating her feelings normally to friends; it's even more difficult when she's trying to do so to someone who is supposed to be an enemy.
"You have friends in the Alliance, don't you?" she asks. "If someone close to you were injured, and it was likely that they would die before you could get them to safety, would you leave them there just because their chance of survival was low?" She turns her gaze towards Soma. Her hands are no longer tucked behind her back, but are at her side. "It is like that. Even if the likelihood is low, I won't give up on it. I believe that once peace is in their hands, humanity will make the right choice. I believe in Celestial Being."
It's perhaps foolish of her to believe that--maybe even naive, but it was better to wish for peace than it was to resign herself to eternal conflict.
"Because other people fight, I don't have to, so there's probably a lot I don't understand that you do," Anew concedes. "But not fighting is difficult, too. Because being away on a ship, sometimes far from the battle, there's nothing I can do for those that fight for me until it's ended. And," she says, her voice growing soft once again. "Sometimes I can't do anything even then."
When the lavender-haired woman speaks up, Soma softens her gaze somewhat. She doesn't want to intimidate her visitor -too- much. "I have a set of priorities. I do not, however, give up on a comrade." She tilts her head slightly, eyes narrowing just a bit. For a few seconds, she says nothing. Finally, though, she gives a vague nod. "I do not agree with you." The spoon is used to gesture again. "However, you seem to believe in what you are doing. So long as you have strong conviction for your cause, I can not fault you for that." Her voice is... not exactly soft, but there's no accusation, no strong emotion in it when she adds, "You are still wrong, though." Soma won't bend on -her- convictions either.
"You are a non-combatant. You should remain as one. There is no shame in that." She takes another bite of her dinner and chews thoughtfully. "I am sorry that I cannot be of any help to you regarding Subject E-0057."
There's no way she could be a combatant if she tried; cooking and regeneration were one thing, fighting was another. As she had told Lyle, she'd never so much as used a gun. If a situation ever arose onboard the Ptolemy, Anew would be defenseless against it. Piloting a mobile suit was completely out of the question.
"This was my first time meeting someone from the Federation," she says. "To be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect. But now that I've met you, I think that Celestial Being's plans are not out of reach. Even though we're different people, who have come from different places and have different opinions, we can still be accepting of those differences."
That's what Celestial Being was hoping for. It was what she was hoping for, too.
"Thank you for your help," she says, clasping her hands back behind her back. "Everyone will be relieved to know that Allelujah-san is okay." Even if Soma was unable to offer more, she is genuinely appreciative. Before, he was simply missing in action; now they actually have a status.
Some may say that the kitchen is a battlefield, or that armies run on their stomachs. It still isn't quite the same as frontline combat.
Soma gives Anew a dubious look. Just how sheltered was this person? She seemed to be older than Soma, yet she'd never so much as met a Federation soldier? "Do not take me for typical of the Federation." In fact, Soma has been far more agreeable than she often is. Maybe it's because Anew isn't seen as a threat. She's not a fighter, she seems firm in her beliefs... but she isn't trying to force them onto Soma. It's probably that.
It definitely isn't any leftover feelings from the hug the other night. That did not happen, and Soma is definitely not still trying to feel out her emotions regarding it.
"Do not thank me. Okay is relative." Soma gestures vaguely with her spoon again. "I am reasonably sure that Subject E-0057 is alive, but I can not be sure of anything else."