I Was a Teenage Dummy Plug
Part 13: I've Got It! I've Got It!
A Neon Genesis Evangelion fanfic by Logan J. Goodhue
Neon Genesis Evangelion is © and ™ GAINAX, et al.
This story is for nonprofit entertainment only.
I've Got It! I've Got It!
"Major Katsuragi, we need to talk," I said as I walked into the briefing room. She blinked owlishly at me and looked at the cell phone in her hand.
"I was just about to call you," Misato said, shaking off her confusion. "Emi, we've got an Angel on the way. Where's everyone else?"
"I'd imagine that Shinji, Asuka, and my sister are in school," I said. I waited for her brain to shake off the fog of a long night. "I suppose you should contact them so that they can get ready to fight it."
I laughed silently to myself as she frantically dialed the number that would signal the Angel alarm on all of the pilot's phones. She gave me a glare without much heat in it.
"And why weren't you in school, Emi? I know you weren't scheduled for any tests today," she stated.
"That's what we need to talk about." I glanced around the room, trying vainly to locate the hidden cameras. "How secure is this room, Major? I need to discuss something with you that's at least security level Gamma."
Misato's eyes widened, and she grabbed me by the shoulders, causing my plug suit to squeak under the pressure of her fingertips. She looked directly in my eyes. "Are you serious?" I calmly nodded. "We can't discuss anything like that here. I'll arrange something after this Angel is dealt with."
"That's fine, Major." I said. "However, Mister Kaji needs to be there as well." Seeing her doubtful look, I continued. "The subject deals with him as well, and I've already told him that I won't say anything without you there."
She nodded curtly and turned her attention back to the video screen, a troubled expression on her face. I looked at the screen myself and caught the familiar shape of Sahaquiel. The grainy quality of the video made it almost perfectly resemble the ink and paint version I was familiar with, but I was enthralled by its terrible beauty anyway. The single huge "eye" flanked by the smaller, sundew-like flanges drew my attention. Of course, the strength of my thoughts seemed to invoke a response.
::DUTY.:: Sahaquiel's "voice" echoed in my mind for the seventh time that day. On each repeat, it had increased in intensity, much like a train of monks walking down the road towards a listener, chanting at the loudest volume they could muster.
I sat in a nearby chair and considered my upcoming foe. This was supposed to be one of the easiest Angel battles, but something was nagging at my subconscious. I sat there trying to figure it out until I found a Styrofoam cup entering my field of view. The rich scent of chocolate rose to my nose. I followed the arm holding it up to a gently smiling Maya Ibuki.
"Th-thank you, sempai," I said, my cheeks burning. I couldn't help it; she was just so cute!
"You're welcome, Emi," she replied and looked at me with concern. "Are you all right? You look a little flushed."
I smiled weakly. "I'm fine, really." I took a sip of the hot chocolate and opened my eyes wide at the explosion of flavor. "This is incredibly good!" I would have tried to continue the conversation, but I heard Ritsuko calling for Maya.
The lieutenant rapidly answered the summons, leaving me alone with my hot chocolate, my thoughts, and the low murmurs of Misato and Ritsuko's planning until the other pilots arrived. Once they did, we quickly made our way into the briefing room.
I examined the holographic representation of the geofront on the floor as Misato gave the preliminary information on the Angel. The "aerial" view of the main buildings was well-crafted and the resolution was spectacular. My musings on the technological wonders of NERV headquarters were cut short as Asuka reacted to Misato's announcement of the plan to deal with Sahaquiel.
"So we're going to catch it by hand?" she asked. Skepticism colored her question.
"Yep!" the major beamed and pointed as the holodisplay changed into a map projection. "We'll place you at these intervals around the estimated point of impact. You will then intercept it with your AT fields at full." The four of us pilots examined the map; Rei dispassionately, Asuka critically, Shinji nervously, and myself calmly.
Shinji's frown tightened, and he asked, "And if the Angel goes considerably off course?"
Misato's smile collapsed into a neutral mask. "Then it's over."
Asuka thought for a moment. "And if the EVAs can't withstand the shock?" she asked.
"Then it's also over."
"What are our odds of winning?" Shinji asked.
"I have no idea," Misato said. "Only God knows."
I couldn't let that lie stand. "Didn't Doctor Akagi say that the MAGI had it at less than ten thousand to one?" I asked, arching an eyebrow. Misato had the good grace to blush.
"I thought you weren't paying attention," she muttered.
Asuka's face fell. "It's going to take a miracle to win!" she whined.
"Miracle, nothing," I snorted. I took Rei into a one-armed hug and flashed a victory sign. "The Ayanami sisters are on the job, Red! Add us to Ace's luck and your elite skills, and this Angel doesn't stand a chance!"
"If you say so," Asuka said, clearly not impressed, as Rei gently removed herself from the hug. The redhead turned back to Misato. "So, we've got to find some way to do this, right?"
Misato sighed sadly. "I'm sorry, there's no other way that we can see."
"So it's an official order, then?"
"No. We can't force you to undertake a plan with this little chance of success. If you guys are unwilling, you can refuse." She looked at each of us and seemed to see the resolve I felt in each of the other faces present. "Are you okay with this?"
"Well," I said, looking her in the eye and smiling, "I'm sure I speak for us all when I say we'll do it." The other pilots nodded around me.
Misato shifted uncomfortably. "Officially, you're required to write out a last will and testament in the case of your death. Do you have one?"
"No," Asuka said firmly. "I'm not going to die."
"Neither do I," Rei stated. "There is no need."
"Me neither!" I said. "Besides, Rei'd get everything anyway," I muttered under my breath.
"I don't either," Shinji said.
Misato seemed a little bummed. She brightened up and said, "Tell you what, I'll treat you guys to a steak dinner afterwards!"
Asuka took a considering glance at Misato. "Really?"
Misato nodded, smiling again. "I guarantee it." This earned a smile from Asuka.
Shinji's response was a little more enthusiastic. "Wow!" he said.
"Don't forget that Rei and I are vegetarians, Major," I added, smiling widely enough for both Rei and myself.
"I'll remember," Misato said with a wink. "It'll be a dinner you'll never forget."
Moments later, when we were in the elevator and out of the adults' hearing, Asuka blew out an exasperated breath. "Who does she think she's fooling? Does she honestly expect us to be impressed by a steak dinner?" She leaned back against the corner of the elevator and crossed her arms across her chest. "Those of the pre-Second Impact generation sure have low standards."
Shinji looked at Asuka out the corner of his eye and blushed slightly. He screwed his eyes shut for a second and relaxed. "Well," he said, once he had his capillary action under control, "Sensei did say that things like that were much more expensive then. They just can't help it."
She turned her head and snorted. "Whatever." She leaned forward and looked Shinji in the eye. "Just what was that with the 'Wow!' earlier? I know you were only pretending to be excited."
Shinji jerked back in embarrassment. "Isn't it better if she can command without worrying about us?"
"Fat chance of that, Ace," I said. "She's going to worry about us regardless. You and Red, especially."
"Why would she worry about me?" Asuka asked, frowning. "Nothing's going to happen to me out there."
"No, it's not," I replied cheerfully. "Ace, Sis, and I have got your back. And I know you've all got mine." I laid my arm across Rei's shoulders. "Isn't that right, Rei?"
My sister turned her head ever so slightly and met my gaze. "Yes, it is. I shall protect you and Ikari, Emi."
The conversation ended when the elevator reached its destination. The doors opened and we scrambled for our respective Evangelions. The insertions and startup went smoothly, though my mother's presence in Unit Three seemed to be somnolent. Once all of the EVA's were ready, we were catapulted to our positions.
As soon as my internal organs returned to a somewhat normal state, I took a quick look at my surroundings through Unit Three's instruments. I was positioned on the west, with Rei to the north, Asuka to the south, and Shinji to the east. I stepped out of the launch chute, allowing it to retract.
A map of Tokyo-3 appeared before me, marked with several concentric circles. Misato popped up in a vid window beside it and said, "Although we currently can't pinpoint it precisely, this is where the MAGI predict the Angel will strike based on the data we were able to collect before we lost the target."
I examined the map and noticed the scale. Apparently, Asuka also wasn't pleased by the prediction.
"The range is that wide?" she groaned.
"That's a long distance to the end," Shinji noted.
Doctor Akagi replaced Misato in the window. "With its AT field," she said, "the target can completely annihilate the geofront wherever it lands in that circle." Four glowing numbers appeared on the map, indicating each of the EVAs, and Misato returned to the screen.
"Under these circumstances," Misato said, "we'll put an EVA at each of these points."
"What is this arrangement based on?" Rei asked.
Misato smiled weakly. "My intuition."
"Intuition?" Shinji and Asuka asked flatly.
"Sure!" the Major replied. "Female intuition, you know?"
"How crude!" Asuka whined. "I feel the miracle slipping further and further away."
"Misato never wins the Lottery, either," Shinji added.
"It's not quite as bad as all that," I said. "She just might have all her luck on the battlefield, instead."
"Thanks for the vote of confidence, Emi," Misato said. "I think."
"You're welcome." I smiled gently. "So, how long until we see our target?"
"The MAGI predict," Doctor Akagi answered, "that the Angel will appear in approximately . . . one hour, fifty-six minutes and forty-two seconds."
I groaned. "Well, if I had any doubt about NERV being a military organization, it's gone now." I leaned back in my seat and crossed my arms across my chest in a fit of pique. "'Hurry up and wait.'"
"We have you out there," Ritsuko said, "in case the Angel can somehow reduce the air resistance of its entrance into the atmosphere."
"Thus making it faster and giving it more kinetic energy for its impact. I know."
I sat back and began scanning the surrounding area to head off the boredom. Most of the buildings had been retracted into the ground, except for the weapons lockers, umbilical power stations, and those few old houses and businesses that weren't officially in Tokyo-3 proper. I also began checking for the obstacles like power lines and low hills that would hamper my sprint for the Angel's target.
My observations included a small formation of military vehicles that I assumed to be from the Japanese Self Defense Force, until I zoomed in and noticed Old Glory flying from an antenna on one of the tanks. I smiled when I recognized the globe, anchor, and eagle of the United States Marine Corps.
"Hey, Misato?" I asked.
"Were you aware that we have a unit of military observers on our western flank?"
The Major's image pursed her lips. "No, I wasn't. Can you tell me what's there?"
"Three M1 'Abrams' main battle tanks and fifteen armed Humvees," I answered, "The markings seem to indicate USMC." I scanned a little further and added, "There appears to be a unit of German Panzers, as well."
I heard Asuka squeal in German over the comm net, "Where? Where!?" I smiled and kept my focus on the Major.
Misato visibly relaxed. "That's not as bad as it could be. The US and German governments provide a good deal of NERV's funding."
"Well, that's nice." I frowned. I was certain that SEELE had set that up. "Would you like me to warn them out of the perimeter, Major?"
"If you would, please."
"Understood." With that, I raised Unit Three from the starting position and ambled over towards the tanks. The resolution of the cameras impressed me when I caught the expression on the young lieutenant's face as I asked his unit to go hull-down behind some hills two kilometers away from the projected impact zone. Apparently he hadn't been expecting a New England accent from NERV personnel.
I was about to return to my position when Lieutenant Aoba's voice broke into the comm net. "We've regained visual contact with the target."
"Range appears to be twenty-five kilometers," Hyuga added.
"The enemy is in sight!" Misato barked. "Get ready, everyone! Emi, don't bother to return to your previous position. Start from where you are right now."
"Roger," I replied and put Unit Three into a sprinter's start position. A window appeared in my heads up display, showing the Angel and an apparent distance ticker.
"The Angel's calculated trajectory is based solely on visual observation," Misato said. "The MAGI can guide you until the range is one kilometer. After that, you're on your own. I know you can do this. I trust you all."
"Range is twenty kilometers," Aoba stated.
"Begin the operation," Major Katsuragi ordered.
I deepened the focus I had on synchronizing with my EVA until I could feel the fibers of "my" leg muscles tensing. Three twinned heartbeats and the release of my umbilical cable later, Unit Three burst into motion. We dashed over low hills and a business district, and I was able to carefully place the EVA's footfalls within the reinforced streets without sacrificing any speed. I almost lost balance as we hurdled a set of power lines, but I was able to regain my composure and lost only one kilometer per hour from the dash. 'Easily replaced,' I thought.
I heard a sonic boom as Shinji started his dash in Unit One a little after Rei, Asuka and I had.
"Range is twelve kilometers," Aoba said.
::DUTY. AMUSEMENT.::Sahaquiel broadcast.
::Laugh it up, Sundew.:: I sent back and tried to spread Unit Three's AT Field. I was in for a shock.
The field spread, all right. But mine did, too. A tone like a church bell rang across my consciousness, accompanied by a choir of clarions.
"Was zum Teufel?" I heard Asuka exclaim over the comm net.
"Concentrate on the Angel, Asuka," Misato scolded. The redhead responded with an inarticulate growl.
Shinji, in Unit One, arrived underneath Sahaquiel first, his AT field scattering photons in concentric orange hexagons. The Angel's own AT field struck it, producing a sound like waves crashing. Rei arrived as the Angel's body pressed against the junction of AT fields and I arrived soon afterwards. The vibrations of all five AT fields seemed to coalesce into something like a Mahler symphony in my mind. It was unnerving, but beautiful.
Asuka, having had the furthest to travel, arrived last, with her progressive box cutter deployed and ready for combat. She forced it up through the opening and directed it at the central eye. I braced myself and tried to form my AT Field into a parabola to direct the coming blast up and away.
I was shocked to see Asuka's cut extend rapidly at both ends across Sahaquiel's form. A white clawlike protrusion extended from it and the angel seemed to turn itself inside out. I stood dumstruck as it lifted into the air with an Immelman turn, knocking us down with a swipe of a glistening tail, and hovered in full display.
The white monstrosity before us vaguely resembled some of the depictions of Seraphs from medieval angel lore. A long, sinuous body supported six wings and a elongated head that made the Angel look like nothing so much as a dragon. Of course, I recognized the appearance as being that of a "design an Angel" contest winner. Back in my original reality, Gainax had produced art for the winner of Unit One fighting it. Apparently, Sahaquiel wanted to mix things up. I hoped we could handle it.
Asuka was the first to right her EVA followed by Shinji, Rei, and myself. I scanned the horizon for the Angel and only the sensation of something like a diminished seventh chord against my combined AT Field warned me in time to mostly dodge Sahaquiel's strafing run. My EVA's right pauldron fell to earth in a mangled heap with a large bitemark out of the back corner.
"Emi!" Shinji called out.
"I'm okay, Ace," I replied. "Watch out for its mouth."
I kept a watchful eye on Sahaquiel as he circled for another run. Flickering gracefully like a swallow, the Angel came in on a shallow trajectory, passing just out of the reach of Shinji's progressive knife and lashing at us with its tail. Rei placed Unit Zero between it and me, getting knocked into my EVA. I had difficulty maintaining my balance with the awkward mismatch in Unit Three's shoulders.
"Misato, permission to jettison my remaining pauldron?" I asked.
"Granted, Emi," she said. "Just try to keep it in a salvageable piece, okay?"
"Understood." I slammed my hand down on a control on the side of my seat and reached my Eva's right arm across to catch the pauldron as the explosive bolts separated it. I set it on the ground as gently as one could set a multi-ton object anywhere while in a combat situation.
Asuka growled in frustration, putting away her box cutter. "These pissant things don't have enough reach! Can we get some longer-range weapons?"
"On their way," Misato said. "Weapons Tower 14."
The tower rose from a mostly empty lot and the doors slid open, revealing four "naginatas" like Asuka had tried to use against Israfel. We armed up as Sahaquiel circled. Shinji and I with the most glaringly obvious lack of skill, while Asuka performed a flashy spin as she set for the next pass. I checked the countdown for my batteries and found we had just over a minute and a half left.
While we had been arming, the Angel climbed high into the sky and began a diving attack. I tried to set the butt of the naginata against my EVA's heel for the charge. The rapidly growing blob of white filled my vision and I prepared for impact. My breath exploded in a torrent of bubbles in the LCL as Sahaquiel slammed into me. The Momentum of the charge knocked Unit Three on its back and we skidded a kilometer.
The Angel latched its maw on one of Unit Three's chest plates, and I felt a sudden surge of pain racing along my veins.
:: Little Gabriel:: Sahaquiel said. :: Why do you stand against our duty::
:: I-I am doing my duty. ::
:: Truly? Then permit me to grant you the tools to complete it. ::
My world exploded into more pain than I had ever known. Flashes of images and snippets of song filled my mind while myriads of textures warred with aromas and flavors across my sensorium. The jumbled mess was too much to bear and I blacked out.
The battle with the Tenth Angel continues. Emi is injured; can the other pilots defeat the flying enemy? Recovery, apologies, and revelations. Next time on I Was a Teenage Dummy Plug: Different Viewpoints: Asuka/Mea Culpa. Expect more fanservice, too!