For Maria, thoughts were still distracting her even after the meeting ended.
One of which was Jason being benched on his mission so Lorenzo himself wanted to...do who knows what. But Maria knew that it may have something to do with Serah.
Which started to fill Maria with dread. But it was also one of the sad things she had learned early on even when she first started to train as a pilot.
Those above you just looked down on you.
It was one of the first things that she and six others had learned from Caulder himself. Unlike other leaders slash scientists, he didn't sugar coat it. He told the truth. Even when high command themselves told him when not to.
Now...it may seem like Maria had to say goodbye to yet another pilot...but unlike when she was Seven, saying goodbye was going to hurt.
But was that the right way to live? Just turning off your brain to the point where your just numb to the war around you? Caulder had warned the seven of them at the time to be wary. Sure, such feelings and the thing she feared, attachments, did grant you impressive sync and unimaginable potential.
"But is it worth the price you'll most likely pay? No matter how much brutal physical training and experiences you'll most likely experience, the ones that hit your soul will hurt the worst...emotional pain is ALWAYS worse than anything physical", he had once said.
As Seven, she had accepted it and simply worked on her teamwork with the other six to improve their mission odds with sync rates around averages around seventy percent or so. Back then, things were simple. All that mattered were the orders given and the mission completed. Even if some were "dirty" work.
Now...Maria looked back on it and perhaps realized something...and as she sat there in the Neo Angel, waiting for the call to move out from the NOAH...maybe Caulder was wrong about THAT part at least.
Sure, she was an emotional mess...but at the same time, she was focused. Her sync was perfect now. And perhaps better yet...she made better decisions rather than falling back on suisidal tatics like the "Ash to Ash" protocol. But at the same time, Caulder was also telling her the truth about the emotional baggage it will bring.
At the moment, even she questioned whether or not this was the right way for her. To embrace emotions. To have proper friends as Katya put it. And even the things Elora had told her during that last battle...it was starting to make some sense now.
She had her eyes closed the whole time as she thought about all this. But now wasn't the time to think. Caulder was right about one thing though.
Once the mission starts, leave thoughts outside your mission at the door.
And from inside her black helmit and red visor, Maria then opened her eyes.
"Maria Angel Twilight in the Neo Angel. Standing by in the docking day", Maria said on the comm line, verbally checking herself in.