Chapter 2, Operations Director: "We don't deal in Salvation down here."

Chapter 2, Operations Director: "We don't deal in Salvation down here."

It's the morning after Zuriel's attack, and the Nerv HQ is still a frantic hive of activity as repairs are made, reports filed, and every department analyzes their reactions to the events in search of ways of improve their disaster reaction capabilities.

In a conference room near central Command, representatives from every department have arrived for the budget allocation meeting. This would be skull-crushingly boring in any other context, but the determination of how to spend your excess dollars after facilitating Ark city renovations has ramifications for your very survival. There is a large pot of coffee in the middle of the table, in case this goes on for a while.

Megumi Saitō, the highest-ranking member present, opens the meeting.

"In front of each of you should be a summary of our budget surplus as well as an itemized list of major projects under proposal. We will begin by introducing the proposed budget plan from Captain Fitz, who as most of you should know is our head of operational command of Nerv assets in the event of an attack.

Captain Fitz's proposal places emphasis on preparing the local UNN fleet for further action, laying the groundwork on the city of Ark for advanced defensive measures such as the experimental "Recessive City" program, and pouring remaining funds into production of Evangelion-scale weaponry and equipment. Are there any objections?

A light blinked on in front of one monitor and Saito recognized the speaker. Doctor Taylor stood and gave Fitz a friendly nod before speaking his mind.

"No offense Captain, but I find the lack of any additional funding to Evangelion Research and Development troubling. Our limited tests have confirmed that the Pallet Rifle is an absolutely unsuitable option for combating any threat with the structural integrity that Zuriel displayed, and the Progressive Knife, our supposed stop-gap solution, proved to be the critical element in destroying the Angel. We need to immediately advance our maser technology up to combat specifications and quickly close the theoretical gap blocking us from pursuing Hyper-Progressive melee weaponry, which were confirmed to be nearly within our technology limitations in my department's latest report.

I propose that we eliminate the procuring of Fleet assets and the "Recessive City" project and instead close to within sight of our first production-run of Microwave Energy weapons. I've secured the assistance of Prometheus' Directed Energy department, and they believe that with our resources combined we can be in possession of a functional Maser prototype before the end of the week. MAGI's tests have shown good results on simulated combat trials against Zuriel-like opponents.
He then nodded and sat down.

"Anyone else?"

Lothmar's initial budget suggestion2 Surplus = Facilities Upgrade ((If more then 2 eva's arent using xp to buy upgrades tell me so that I cant get rid of this and change my weekly options.))
5 Surplus, 1 Requisition Support = Auspice
5 Surplus = 2x Rapier Frigates
20 Surplus = Recessive Buildings ((We receive 1 surplus weekly, so if my first week is spent on paperwork to gain 1 additional surplus, that means I should be able to pay the very last two points on this build by the end of week one.))

You have 20 surplus to play with. It should be noted that since Prometheus survived the last battle relatively unscathed (less then 10 points of ranged/berserk collateral damage took place), you also have 15 conditional points of "Surplus" that may only be spent towards Maser, Ablative, or Hyper-Progressive technology. Note that if you choose Hyper-Progressive, before it can ever be utilized you also need Research Level 2 technology! The pay-off is often well-worth it however.

Lothmar's proposal is over-budget, but if you all decide to stick with that overall plan it could be sliced back a little bit so that you don't finish Recessive Buildings until after next battle (Surplus dependent), or perhaps wait on finishing the fleet. Alternatively, there are any number of other directions the Surplus could be spent.

While Lothmar is obviously on the hot seat for this, everyone may contribute by simply picking a personality around the table, fleshing it out as much or as little as you like ('one of the large men in the starchy white dress-uniforms from the UNN Fleet,' or 'the shy, nerdy girl from the Prometheus laser research division'), and throwing in your two cents. Add an OOC section at the end where you summarize in game terms what it is you are proposing, arguing against or for, etc.

Johann leans forward slightly in response once Doctor Taylor is finished. "No offense taken Doctor," He nods in response. "As for my own report and budget plans for the future I would first make it clear that such a proposal was prepared simply on observations from our last battle and a desire to reduce costly damages and casualties - hopefully leaving a larger percentage of future funds open for more projects." He adds tapping his pointer finger silently on his armrest thinking that an equal share of the collateral damage was probably as much his fault as the eva's.

"However it is still quite open to revision, mainly as I have not had the time to meet with the various heads of all the departments before today to thoroughly discuss the various concerns." He adds moving his hand away from the armrest and unfolding it slightly displaying an open palm to the table in a gesturing manner.

"However since you are all assembled, please voice your concerns so that we may have an informed dialogue to better make such a decision." He adds with his usual warm and charming smile attempting to coax others into talking without fear of reprisal or anger on his part.

One of the Agents from Section 2 watching the meeting while he leaned back against the wall spoke up next. It was the same agent who had gone to pick up Amanda and Pala from their school. "Doctor.. For the rest of us who might not be so well informed, what exactly would the benefits of this.. Microwave Energy weaponry be?"

"The advantages of the Microwave weapons are significant. All of our current Evangelion-scale weaponry suffers from complexities in propellant and bullet design that limit their range, a challenge easily met by Microwave weapons. Depending on their design, Maser weapons can also display an excellent capacity for cutting through heavy armor such as the uniquely dense material that comprised the previous target. If we were to encounter another Angel similar to Zuriel, MAGI has estimated that an increase in the power and efficiency of our Evangelion ranged weapons would be the most effective counter.

However, it does bear note that our most recent analysis of pilot skill proficiencies raises into question just how well suited the Pilots and the Evangelions are for weapons of this complexity. Unit 04 is poorly disposed to ranged combat due to behavio---uh, software problems which we are having trouble adjusting for. There is some debate between our Applied AT Physics Research division and the Weapons Development teams as to whether it would even be efficient to arm Unit 05 and 06 with any ranged weapons at all, based on their unique, err, capabilities...

At this Taylor offers a glance at a section of the table currently occupied by other Nerv Science department heads, clearly encouraging them to speak up on their areas of expertise.

OOC: Maser guns are nice, but if the entire party is going to be too busy hitting stuff with swords or shooting mind bullets at the Angels, they can also be fairly easily skipped. Hopefully you can all check the weapons tables (at the end of the Evangelion chapter) on your own and make a judgment as to whether one weapon technology tree or another looks legitimately useful to you.

Another problem arises from considering how many career levels it is before anybody (even the Skirmisher!) is sufficiently advanced to actually purchase Weapon Proficiency: Maser. Hmm... that seems like a design flaw. I may have to consult the creators.

A short, petite woman with black cat's eye frames, dressed in a lab coat, with black hair tied up just so, raises a dainty, pale hand and makes a barely perceptible, "Umm..." For a second, everyone in the room looks at her, and she gets a bit of the 'deer-in-the-headlights' look, and avoids eye contact with the other assembled for a split second. She gets a reassuring nudge from another egghead, who seems happy to pawn off the duty to someone else.

"It''s just...that we don't know what capabilities the other Angels posses. The only constant is their desire to end humanity's existence." The scientist gulps audibly at this fact. "And that they are capable of generating an AT Field." Holding some papers in front of her, she continues her speech. "We stayed up all night analyzing the readings on the subatomic level. The AT Field defies our knowledge of conventional physics, and with our limited resources on the quantum level...well, it is theoretically possible to create a weapon that can neutralize an AT Field, at least partially, by a resonating stream of positrons, which would annihilate the electrons composing the AT Field if on the particular resonance, causing the atoms to become positively aligned and that would cause the atoms to be cations, which naturally repel each other due to their corresponding positive charge. The benefits of this, while less capable of penetrating armor as the suggested Maser suggestions, have a remarkable use against a strong AT Field. Zuriel's field was neutralized by the Eva's own fields, but it was postulated that we might not have all of our Eva pilots available."

She takes a breath, before continuing. "Our only problem is that we have nothing in terms of equipment to test it. We need material to undergo beta decay to obtain positrons, we need a chamber to test matter/anti-matter annihilation, a large power source. Right now...we just have the math to prove that it's possible." She pauses for a second. "I am sorry." She bows her head, cheeks flush with embarassment, "I shouldn't have said anything."

"Hmm, an interesting suggestion..." Johann adds rubbing his lip with his thumb slightly as he moves his closed hand in front of his chin. "General scientific advancements and awards aside for this research - if we were to focus funding on any of these projects that have weaponized applications, would the Eva's and their pilots even be able to use them as they are?" He asks curiously assuming such training would take a lot of time and possibly extensive modifications to the Eva itself.

A hearty chuckle emerges from one corner of the table. It is convincingly occupied by the large form of Iosef Brezhinsky, lead designer of the team that constructed Unit 04. Apparently he arrived yesterday on the same flight as several of the pilots, out of a linking terminal in Australia.

"She is right! Nothing wrong about Positron beam, not in concept, no. I have seen the math. We looked at positron guns too in development of 04, fundamentals of the physics were sound, our funding... not so sound. If you Nerv people can sustain the research needed for such a weapon, I will be most impressed!

Captain raises excellent question. For this Microwave weapon of Mr. Taylor's to work, research and groundwork much closer then Positronics... but design and integration of the weapon to Evangelion targeting systems is not! No offense to Nerv Science, but I don't think also that they have military background needed for rapid weapons training of these maser guns to Pilots. But don't worry, I make a few phone calls, bring in some friends? Russian military already in production of smaller tank-size microwave weapons, not at right scale for compatible with your research, but we have experienced personnel familiar with specifics of such weapons. Don't say to anyone I told you though please, haha.

Give children a few days with my friends, and they will shoot super-heat beams like old professional Han Solo from Star Wars. Your microwave dinners will never come faster!

He laughed self-indulgently once again and picked up his foreign language newspaper from the table, immersing himself once again in an apparently fascinating article about Russian peacekeeping operations in whatever was still left of the Caucasus mountains region these days.

OOC: Ok, making a hard judgment call here. "Basic Weapons: Maser (100 xp)" will henceforth be a career rank 2 talent available to all Pilots, aside from the Skirmisher. Who may purchase it for the same cost at Career rank 1, instead. So the earliest your whole team can benefit from Maser weapons will be right after your second battle, Amanda even earlier.

Almoston Iosef's heels, the section 2 representative spoke up. "He's right. While the benefits of the Positronic weaponry, from my understanding of them, seem much more appealing than this.. Microwave energy weapon system.. I notice you didn't mention Unit 08 earlier."

He paused for a moment as he came over to the table, sitting down in the empty chair that had been left for him. "Both the Evangelion and its pilot would benefit from either weapon's research, but the pilot may not be ready to train for the more intricate Positronic weapon systems. With the help of Iosef's 'friends,' I believe training her for the microwave technoogy would not be difficult at all, she is already a marskman with anything but the pallet rifle, and displays impressive ability even with that deffective slag."

OOC: Amanda will benefit greatly from the 2 surplus thing to reduce her XP costs.. While she can not only get her hands on a Mas Gun if they are researched, but Commission one specificly for her, be trained in it's use (and the ProgKnife's), and increase her Ballistic Skill without the 2 surplus being spent to decrease WUP costs.. doing so would let her get Armor Ehancement, an Ammo or Pistol Dock to swap with her MLA, train for the ProgKnife, and do some funky stuff with WUP.

Saitō absorbed the debate in front of her for a few minutes before tapping at her screen and standing.

"Based upon project cost estimates, a finalized budget proposal for this week's surplus funding could reasonably cover the entirety of the Maser beam project. That would likewise require us to rely upon all available resources from Prometheus' civilian Laser Energy division. It would leave us with only our weekly income to cover any other defense-related projects, such as rebuilding the fleet or facilitating additional parts and labor for Evangelion equipment production. It's an extreme option, but we have confirmed that we are in a shortfall of effective weapons with which to combat the Angels. I've sent you all a draft proposal based upon the Microwave Weapons project."

She sat back down and waited for the discussion to continue.

OOC: Consider this -

The Microwave Option20 Surplus => Maser Technology
+15 Surplus (Prometheus facility bonus) => Maser Technology

That is just enough to complete the Maser technology project and make Tier 1 Maser weapons available for purchase. Now the silver lining to the cloud... it also doesn't necessarily block off the Pilots from attaining the Facilitate Upgrades bonus. The only tricky part is that you have to gamble on having a two-week period where the pilots save the XP they want to spend on Upgrades until your regular 1 Surplus/week income can catch up to allow you to have an Upgrade Point spending spree.

Two weeks in which you'll be pretty much caught with your pants down if an Angel should attack.

A lean young man in a beige and red military uniform clears his throat in a call for attention. The cough belongs to one Albert Cullen, NERV technician and general asshole. He brushes a stray lock of stringy long hair out of his face before addressing the speakers.

"Look, shooting heat beams is cool and all but now is not the time to be waving our technological dicks in the air. Data from the last battle clearly shows that those kids doing freaky shit with their AT-Field is cheaper and more effective than almost anything we have. Keeping them safe and secure inside those walking metal death traps is our best bet. We need stuff that doesn't fold like cardboard when faced against enemy attack. You saw what that thing did to Unit 05, how it took Unit 13's leg clean off." He pauses, a smug smirk on his face, "And if we ever get another instance of friendly fire, who's to say it won't be even more catastrophic?"

He tenses, lines in his face taking on a sharper quality. His hair flies about as he gesticulates. "Not only that, you're going to sap all of our budget for this? Do you realize how hard it is to put a godsdamned giant robot leg back together?! I'd say you guys are just bending us over the table, but if an Angel comes when we're chasing this you'll be getting boned too. Ablative's quicker isn't it? Or at the very least safer for all of us." He chuckles darkly, "We should at least have protection while these freaky-deaky things sodomize us."


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