Neon Genesis Evangelion: Legacy
Episode V: SEELE Strikes Back


Chapter 8 – Lethal Weapon; Zeruel Triumphs
July 31, 2016 – Tokyo–3 South Metro Station

Kaji was pulling Shinji along a long corridor underneath the station. Shinji kept tugging for Kaji to let him go, but Kaji refused.

"Kaji, let me go!" Shinji shouted.

"No, I'm not letting your father put anyone in any more danger." Kaji said. "He was being an idiot when he kicked you out of here… and I'm not letting his shit continue."

"Kaji, just tell me where we're going!" Shinji said.

"I'm looking for something…" Kaji said. "Ah! Here we are."

"What, a shelter?" Shinji said.

"Yeah, not just a shelter… a NERV shelter, for NERV staff only." Kaji said. "We'll be safe in here while the Angel goes on its rampage, these things are built to withstand a lot."

"Fine…" Shinji said.

–––

At the apartment, while the girls all sat sullenly in the living room, they heard the Angel alarm go off and they all sat bolt upright.

"Oh… you gotta be shitting me!" Asuka shouted. "It's like they know when shit happens here! This is what, the fourteenth?!"

"Yeah… its number fourteen…" Misato said. "Get in the car everyone, we need to move, now!"

"I can't…" Mari said. "I can't go if Shinji's not here…"

"Mari, this isn't the time for your fear of driving." Misato said. "The Angel takes prescience, got it?"

"I said no." Mari said. "Without Shinji, we're fucked. We'll be slaughtered without the puppy there to pull that luck out of his ass."

"Yeah, she's right." Asuka said. "He's the one that kills the Angels, we just sit back and watch him work… hell, his berserk Evangelion has more kills than I do."

"Regardless of how inadequate we may be without Shinji… we cannot let him down…" Rei said sternly. "We must protect the city in his absence. If I have to, I will go alone."

"Wundergirl…" Asuka said. "Where did this come from?"

"What do you mean?" Rei asked.

"I think she means the steadfast determination, blueberry." Mari said.

"I have always had it." Rei said. "I just do not like to be so forceful… it does not make you seem like a nice person to others." Rei stared at both of them. "So, must I go alone, or will you assist me? I would feel a lot better if you two were there."

"Yeah… let's go…" Asuka said.

"But…" Mari said. "Can I just jog there?"

"Mari!" Misato shouted. "Get over it!"

"I can't!" Mari shouted. "I just can't, Shinji made that fear go away, but he's gone… and so is my safety blanket! If Shinji were here, he would understand!"

"Mari… I will hold your hand." Rei said softly. "Perhaps I can help make that fear go away. Would that help?"

"Yeah… it might." Mari said.

"Fine, good." Misato said gruffly as she grabbed her keys. "Get your shit and let's go, we don't have a lot of time… we need to move!"

–––

Central Dogma was a flurry of activity. Gendo was sitting on a darkened upper platform to hide his injuries he received from Shinji. He was overlooking the scene waiting for Misato to arrive.

"Status report." Gendo said.

"We have confirmation of the Pattern Blue, sir." Hyuga said. "It's an Angel, Commander, we've confirmed the Fourteenth Angel."

"Where is it heading?" Gendo asked.

"MAGI predicts it is heading for NERV HQ, Commander." Aoba replied. "And considering the power of its attacks, it should be able to get itself down here pretty quickly."

"Level–1 battle stations." Fuyutsuki said. "Deploy AIS, and ready for incursion."

"Aye, Sub–Commander!" Aoba replied. "JSSDF has also launched intercept squadrons as well… and Archangel is in the air and ready to strike."

"I doubt they will do much good…" Fuyutsuki said. "Perhaps they could distract it."

"The Angel will swat them away like pesky flies. They always do." Gendo said. "Are the Evangelions ready to launch?"

"Yes, sir." Maya said. "We're just waiting on the pilots."

"Where are the pilots, and where is Colonel Katsuragi?" Gendo asked.

"I'm here sir, and I brought the three pilots with me…" Misato aid as she glared at him.

"Three?" Maya asked.

"Yes, as of this morning, the Third child has been dismissed for various charges against NERV. Also, as of this morning… Rei is assigned to Unit–01, have her report there when she is ready." Gendo ordered.

"Yes… sir." Maya said.

"So, the Angel is coming down here then?" Misato asked.

"Yes, ma'am!" Hyuga said.

"Then we don't have time for a surface interception…" Misato said. "Alright, deploy a huge load of weapons crates for Unit–01 and Unit–02, and extra ammo pods for Unit–XP to the most likely intercept point, and deploy the Evangelions directly to the Geofront. We'll just have to stop it in our own back yard."

"Yes, ma'am!" Hyuga said.

"Got it ma'am!" Maya said.

"Do you have any idea what you're doing?" Ritsuko whispered.

"Not that it's any of your concern, but no." Misato said. "I'm used to having four EVAs… three might make this difficult."

The room shook as a blast from overhead hit the city suspended above them. The lights flickered on and off and dust rained down from the ceiling.

"That just shot through 18 armor plates in one shot!" Hyuga said. "One more hit like that, and we're completely exposed!"

"Alright, hurry the pilots up, we need to deploy now!" Misato ordered.

"The Cage reports all three pilots are loading onto their respective EVAs now…" Maya said. "Unit–02, and Unit–XP are online… Unit–01 is not responding to the pilot."

"What?!" Gendo shouted. "What do you mean?!"

"The Entry Plug will not lock into place." Maya said. "It's refusing… the pilot…"

"Impossible…" Ritsuko said. "That's just not… possible."

"Regardless of how possible it is, it's happening." Gendo said. "I will take care of this myself. Colonel, you have control of the operation."

"Yes, sir." Misato replied. "Alright, move Unit–02 and Unit–XP into position for launch."

–––

Asuka was sitting inside her Entry Plug. She was quite worried about everything that was happening. She was on a launch platform next to a battle scarred, but functional Unit–XP, and Mari's smirking face came onto her screen. Her eyes were covered by the ridiculous helmet she had to wear for her EVA, and all Asuka could see was her mouth.

"What do you want four eyes?" Asuka asked.

"Are you worried?" Mari asked.

"Oh, about Shinji not being here, or the inability for Rei to sync with Unit–01, leaving us two pilots down?" Asuka asked sarcastically. "Or maybe that the Angel seems really, really fucking strong?"

"Yeah, all that." Mari said. "I'm sure the blueberry will meet us up there. She seemed pretty determined to kick this thing's ass."

"Yeah…" Asuka said. "Well, are good to go? Your EVA looks like shit."

"Thanks princess…" Mari said. "Yeah, legs are little iffy, but it'll do… after all, I have my big ass gun. Apparently they have some new bullets for it."

"New bullets?" Asuka asked. "You mean more powerful than exploding bullets?"

"Yes, precisely, Asuka." Maya said. "They are thermobaric shells, huge fiery explosions mixed with other chemicals to increase its exploding potential. She has 100,000 rounds of that waiting for her."

"What guns do I get?" Asuka asked.

"You have an assortment of Pallet Rifles, Gatling Guns, bazookas, and ammo up there waiting for you, Asuka." Maya said.

"Awesome." Asuka said. "Where are we launching in the city?"

"You're not going to Tokyo–3, Asuka." Misato said. "You're being deployed directly to the Geofront. Are you ready to launch, Asuka, Mari?"

"Wait… the Geofront?!" Asuka shouted. "It's already broken in?!"

"Yes, it's about to blast through the last of our defenses…" Misato said worriedly. "So, are you two ready or not?"

"Yeah, let's go kick this fucker's Angelic ass!" Mari said.

"I'm ready to go kill an Angel." Asuka said. "Hey, Mari, let's turn things up to 11!"

"Right on, princess!" Mari shouted exuberantly. "This thing won't know what's coming!"

"Alright then… Evangelion Unit–02, Unit–XP… LAUNCH!" Misato ordered.

Unit–02 and Unit–XP shot upwards and emerged in the Geofront moments later. They deployed near a large stack of crates, several of which were labeled "AMMO" and others which only bore silhouettes of the weapons contained within.

"How many guns did you give us?" Asuka asked.

"All the guns." Misato said. "Every last fucking one we had ready to go."

"Ok…" Asuka said. "So, where is this thing?"

"Ma'am, it's firing again!" Hyuga shouted.

Unit–02 and Unit–XP looked up as a massive explosion blew through the ceiling of the Geofront, taking several of the hanging buildings with it. As the building crashed to the ground, Zeruel descended slowly through the hole towards the Geofront's floor. Asuka stared up at the thing with awe and a hint of fear in her eyes.

"What the fuck is that thing…" Asuka muttered. "It makes everything we've fought so far seem so…"

"Weak…" Mari finished. "Uh… Misato, we need Rei up here… like now."

"The Commander is working on it." Misato said. "Just be patient and get ready to attack."

"Yeah, be patient while that thing comes towards us…" Asuka said. "Misato, this isn't the time to be cute… we really could use the extra help. I don't think two EVAs will be enough to defeat this guy…"

"It doesn't matter right now." Misato said. "Your orders are to engage in ranged combat with the Fourteenth Angel, and only if all else fails do you move in for close quarters combat, is that understood?"

"Yeah… yeah that's fine." Mari said.

"Copy…" Asuka replied.

"Then load up and prepare for the attack." Misato ordered.

Both Evangelions began to open the various weapons crates and took a defensive position while they prepared themselves for battle.

"Holy shit… that thing is scary…" Mari muttered as Unit–XP equipped its Gatling gun and aimed for the Geofront's ceiling.

"No kidding…" Asuka said as Unit–02 picked up a pair of Pallet Rifles and aimed them at the descending Angel.

"On my order…" Misato said. "FIRE EVERYTHING!"

–––

Shinji was looking around the shelter Kaji had dragged him to. It appeared to only be for a few people, yet it had enough supplies to feed at least a few hundred people for several months. Shinji was amazed and angered by how much had been stored away here.

"You know, civilians could really use more shelters like this." Shinji said.

"Yeah, well, you know NERV…" Kaji said. "They like protecting themselves first, and civilians second. You know that firsthand from your fight with the Third Angel."

"Yeah… point taken." Shinji said. "But why did you drag me here? Shouldn't we get back to NERV HQ so I can help?! Isn't that why you dragged me down here?!"

"Partly." Kaji replied. "These executive shelters are well paced so that they have direct access to the Geofront. But there is another reason I brought you here."

"Ok, so what was the other reason you brought me down here." Shinji asked.

"To tell you the reason I spy on NERV." Kaji said. "You need to know why, then things will make more sense."

"Sure, but how is that even relevant?" Shinji asked.

"It is, now all I ask is that you don't interrupt me while I explain all this, ok?" Kaji said. "It's a little rough for me to think about."

"Alright… so the Second Impact, was the beginning of everything. The aftermath was pure hell. It'll be hard, but try to imagine it. Major coastal cities and entire areas of the world were flooded, war, disease, famine, and even death ravaged the planet, and everything was in chaos. For a year, the four horseman rode across the planet until over three billion people had died. My mom and dad were two of them, but thankfully my brother lived." Kaji explained. "Orphaned kids like us were everywhere back then. Our home had been wiped out by the tidal wave and rising waters, so the government did the only thing it could think to do, they dumped us all into mass shelters."

"What happened?" Shinji asked.

"Well, firstly, it didn't solve a damn thing. There were hundreds of thousands of us, so the facilities were soon bursting at the seams." Kaji explained. "There wasn't enough food or clothes to go around, we punched and kicked each other to over who got to sleep in the beds, and who just got to use the floor. There weren't even enough adults to keep a proper eye on us, so they tried to make up for the lack of supervision with overly harsh rules."

"So… I'm guessing this doesn't end well." Shinji said.

"Yeah…" Kaji said. "We could only take so much shit, so we decided to escape. Came up with a plan to get me, my brother, and five of our friends out of that hell hole. Once we got out, we did what we had to. We foraged, looted, and scavenged for any food or supplies we could find. We found a small town we stayed at for a while, but then the military started moving in. So we headed for the coast. We found a nice warehouse to camp at, found some furniture in half destroyed houses, and set up a nice place to live. After a while we found a military supply base not far from where we were, security was a joke after Second Impact, so we started to raid it. Only one of us went in at a time, and we only took what we needed. One night, it was my turn to go in."

"What happened?" Shinji asked.

Flashback

As Kaji was loading up his bag he heard a voice. "Hey! Who's there! Show yourself!" It was a guard, shining a light in the direction of Kaji. Kaji stayed very still, so as to not attract any attention. "We know you're there! Come on out, or else!" The few cans Kaji had left in his hands clattered to the floor. The guard walked over to the noise and shined the light on Kaji. When they came closer it was revealed that five men were standing there looking over him. The guard that had been shouted moved forward and swiftly kneed Kaji in the gut. Kaji was on the ground, gasping for air.

The guards watched in amusement as Kaji was on the ground "Well, well, well. This worthless little punk thought he could get the five finger discount on our shit, like you have been for a while, you little punk." The guard that had hit Kaji pulled him up by his hair. "Where are your friends you little fuck?" He spat. "Rats got nests right? Where are they hiding?!" He shook Kaji by the hair. "We got proper places for little shits like you. You're going back where you belong, got it?"

"Wh… What're you sayin'? I'm alone, it's just me." Kaji realized he needed to protect his friends. "I don't got any friends…"

The guard punched Kaji hard with a right hook to the face. "DON'T YOU FUCKING LIE TO ME YOU LITTLE BASTARD!" He yelled. "We know you…" He punched him again. "Hang out in a…" He slammed Kaji into the wall. "PACK!" The guard kept hitting him as he continued to speak. "You wanna tell me where they are yet, dipshit? You think this is as bad as it can get?!" He threw Kaji at the floor.

Kaji, who had a little fight left in him had a coy response for the bastard beating him up "Go ahead… make my day."

"Well, well, this kid's got balls, a regular, fucking Harry Callahan." The guard quipped as he pushed his foot into Kaji's back. "I guess he's not so much of a punk after all." He moved his foot to the back of Kaji's head and pressed down "Well, if violence isn't going to work, why don't I appeal to your intellect instead, alright?" He pulled his sidearm from its holster. "Regulations state that deadly force is authorized." He released the safety. "Towards trespassers at military facilities." He cocked the gun. "You know what that means?" Kaji turned his head to see the gun being pointed at him. "It means that no one will give a fuck if we kill you right here, right now." The guard lifted Kaji off the ground by his shirt with one hand and pushed the gun against Kaji's cheek with the other. "Kid, this is your last chance. Tells where the others are hiding, and I'll spare you're your worthless little life." The sadistic guard decided he wanted to push Kaji just a little bit harder and looked him straight in the eye. "And just so you know, the manual for this gun says the trigger pull is about two and half kilos. So, I have one last question for you. Do you feel lucky? Well do ya, punk?"

Kaji was afraid 'What should I do… I don't want to die, but I shouldn't give up my friends for my life.' Kaji thought, his face was bloodied and bruised from his beating.

"One…"

Kaji couldn't think, he was so scared. 'I can't protect my brother if I'm dead. If I die, he'll have no one else to help him, he'll have no family left.'

"Two…"

End Flashback

"And you know what, Shinji, I found out I was afraid of death." Kaji said.

"So… did you tell them?" Shinji asked as Kaji nodded silently. "Then… what happened?"

Flashback

Kaji needed to make a choice. 'I don't want to die… … … … … I don't want to die… … … …I don't want to die… … … I don't want to die… … I don't want to die… I don't want to die. I don't want to die! I DON'T WANT TO DIE!' Kaji spoke, and as he did, he also started to cry. "Down at the abandoned building… near the highway."

"Okay." The guard said, and he turned the safety for his gun back on. "Good boy." He turned to the other men. "Let's go guys. You…" He pointed to one of them. "Stay here and watch him, until we confirm his friends are where he says they are."

"Yes, sir!" The other guard said, as the rest of the guards left, leaving Kaji to sit and cry quietly while this other guy berated and teased him. "I guess we're going to play house together, huh kid?" The guard turned away as he chuckled at Kaji's misfortune.

'What did I do? I put everyone in danger just to save myself.' Kaji thought, as he sat there and endured the pain. 'I have to get away and warn them, before that sadistic guard gets to them. I have to get to Taichi.' Kaji saw that near his hand there was a can of juice he'd dropped. 'If I throw this hard enough at the back of his head I should be able to knock him out cold, or at least distract him long enough to get away.' Kaji picked up the can quietly and hurled it at the base of the guard's head. It made contact, and made him stumble. Kaji grabbed the backpack next to him and ran off.

The guard regained his composure and fired his rifle in the direction Kaji had run of in "Come back here you little fuck!"

Kaji ran and ran, not looking back until he was off the base. He got under the fence, and hightailed it back to the abandoned warehouse. By the time he got back, he saw a military truck burning rubber. 'Oh no…' Kaji thought as he ran to the door. Kaji saw that the door had been blasted off its hinges. And inside, the sight was too much for Kaji to take. All Kaji could make out were six lifeless lumps covered in blood, and riddled with bullet holes.

Kaji saw his brother was on the couch, his chest was full of holes, and his lifeless eyes were staring at Kaji. "I didn't mean to!" Kaji yelled at his brother's dead stare. "I didn't think that they would kill you!" He walked over to his brother's body and shook it. "I didn't want to die, I didn't think I had any other choice!" Kaji started to cry. "I'm sorry, Taichi… I just didn't want to die…"

"What have I done?! I traded my life for all of theirs! They didn't deserve this! I did!" Kaji screamed at the ceiling. "I killed them! I'm a murder! I deserve to die!"

"IT'S ALL MY FAULT!" Kaji screamed while holding Taichi's lifeless body.

End Flashback

Shinji stared at Kaji in shock.

Kaji looked back at him sadly. "I lived to tell this story by taking the lives of friends… and that of my brother." Kaji explained. "After that day… I tried to kill myself… I couldn't go through with it because I was afraid to die. I wanted… I wanted to atone for my sins… and the only way I knew how to do that was to find out who had really caused Second Impact. To bring them to justice, at my hands… that thought, that goal gave me the power to live on… to bring myself back up from rock bottom."

"So, what happened after that?" Shinji asked.

"Well, I found some extended family of mine to take me, and they got me back into school." Kaji continued. "It was around the time I got into college that the U.N. released its report on the cause of Second Impact, which as such a blatant lie… it just added to my resolve. So, when I got to college, I set out planning to find a way into the organizations I figured were responsible… Gehirn and SEELE."

"What's Gehirn?" Shinji asked.

"It's what turned into NERV some time ago." Kaji said. "I still don't know why… but the name changed for some reason or another… I'll find that out eventually. Anyway… in school, I fell in love with Misato… we were madly in love then too… but then at some point I realized I didn't deserve to be happy. I had killed my brother… and I didn't deserve Misato… that's why I can't admit to her that I love her… I'm not able to with the guilt I carry. I don't deserve to be happy, Shinji, but you do. You saved your friend from dying, he's going to be fine… he'll need some time to recover, but what's important is he's ok… I can't fix my mistakes… but you can… you can get back in Unit–01 and go out there and fight the Angel… and help protect your friends."

"I… I can?" Shinji asked.

"Yes, you can." Kaji said. "We still have time… I can get you back into HQ, and get you right to your EVA. Do you feel up for it? Can you trust yourself to fight again?"

"I… I think so…" Shinji said. "But… what if they get hurt again?"

"Shinji, as long as you try your best during the fight, it doesn't matter." Kaji said. "Plus, considering all the shaking we're feeling, I'll bet they'd appreciate the help."

"Yeah… I'll go…" Shinji said. "I want to save my friends… I want to kill the Angel."

"Just remember what I told you before, Shinji." Kaji said sternly. "The Angels cannot make contact with Lilith, otherwise we're looking at Third Impact… and I doubt that humanity could survive it."

Shinji nodded his head. "Right."

"But there's something else you need to know, Shinji…" Kaji said. "The EVAs are made from the First and Second Angels. They have the power to become stronger than anything we've known before… the power to become gods if they wished to."

"So… is that bad?" Shinji asked.

"Yes and no…" Kaji said. "It just means that the Evangelions are the only things on this Earth that can defeat the Angels once and for all."

"Alright…" Shinji said. "But what else is there to do?"

"Nothing but get you to the Cage." Kaji said. "I think we've killed enough time talking, let's book it."
–––

Unit–02 and Unit–XP were sending a thick blanket of fire right at Zeruel after having been given the order to commence the attack. Unit–01 was using twin Pallet Rifles, and Unit–XP had its massive Gatling gun. The weapons were aimed right at Zeruel's Core, but even the new rounds Mari was using weren't having much effect other than to show off a very powerful A.T. Field.

"It's not fucking working!" Mari shouted. "We're not going to be able to do this!"

"We have to keep trying though!" Asuka shouted. "We don't have a choice!"

"Fine, any suggestions?" Mari asked.

"Yeah, focus our fire on a singular point, and hope for the best." Asuka said. "A.T. Field to maximum!"

"Yeah, let's kill its field!" Mari shouted.

Unit–02 and Unit–XP extended their A.T. Fields to their limit. The air around them turned red and the ground shook. The shockwaves got the attention of Zeruel and it started to move towards them. The stream of bullets focused onto a meter wide point on Zeruel's A.T. Field and started to chip away at it. Zeruel fired a blast towards both EVAs.

As the blast cleared, there was a crater around the EVAs, but the ground they had been standing on was still intact, having been protected by their collective A.T. Fields.

"How powerful is that thing?!" Asuka shouted.

"I don't know… but I'm going to fucking kill it!" Mari shouted.

Unit–XP's Gatling gun ran out of ammo, it was tossed aside. Unit–XP then activated its rockets and launched itself at Zeruel. Unit–02 continued to fire weapons at. Unit–XP's shoulder pylons opened up and the spikes inside of them armed. As Unit–XP got close to Zeruel, it pulled its spear back and lunged forward, with the spear impacting Zeruel's A.T. Field. The spear started to push through the field, and Unit–XP fired all of its shoulder spikes, but before any of it could make contact, Zeruel fired a blast from his eyes right at Unit–XP's chest, melting the armor and causing Mari to scream out in pain. The blast sent the EVA flying backwards into the ground, where it impacted and created a massive crater. Unit–XP dragged itself up and glared at Zeruel.

"MOTHERFUCKER!" Mari screamed. "THAT WASN'T VERY NICE!"

"You ok, four eyes?" Asuka asked.

"Yeah… but I'm fucking pissed!" Mari shouted. "Now my tits hurt, and I don't like being thrown into the fucking ground!"

"Fine… this time we attack together!" Asuka said.

"How exactly?" Mari asked.

"Just follow my lead, four eyes!" Asuka shouted.

Zeruel landed in front of the two Evangelions. They stood there silently for a moment, and then Unit–02 moved forward. It grabbed a Prog Axe from an open weapon's crate, and charged Zeruel. The axe came up and Unit–02 swung it at Zeruel's A.T. Field, impacting it and causing it to crackle under the strain. Unit–XP followed Unit–02's lead and charged Zeruel with its spear, Unit–02 side stepped the charging Unit–XP while keeping the Prog Axe in place. Unit–XP's spear hit the exact same point as the Prog Axe, and with their combined efforts, they pierced the A.T. Field. Zeruel glared at them as his A.T. Field exposed outwards in a fury, sending both Evangelions flying away from him.

"I think we're in trouble." Asuka said.

"Yeah, I know their faces don't move…" Mari said. "But it looks pissed."

"Yeah…" Asuka said. "I'm afraid…"

Zeruel charged a blast and sent it at Unit–XP, taking off its left arm, and sending the EVA careening into the lake. Zeruel then turned to Unit–02 and stared it down.

"Oh shit…" Asuka muttered.

Zeruel unfolded its arms form the paper towel like things hanging from its shoulders. They shot forward towards Unit–02, but they were intercepted by a damaged Unit–XP, which took the heavy hit. Unit–XP's arms were removed on one swipe, and then Zeruel brought his arms around again and took off Unit–XP's legs, crippling the Evangelion

"AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!" Mari screamed. "Sorry, princess… I can't let you get hurt because I got knocked on my ass…"

"Thanks… I'll try to pay you back." Asuka said. "You stupid idiot…"

"Cut Mari's nerve connections, now!" Misato ordered.

"Done!" Maya replied.

Unit–02 picked up two positron rifles as Zeruel aimed another blast at the main body of Unit–XP, which severely damaged the remaining armor and made the torso to bleed. Asuka looked on in horror and aimed the rifles at Zeruel.

"Eat this you fucking bastard!" Asuka shouted as she opened fire, impacting Zeruel's body with several shot, but not doing all that much damage, other than leaving slight red marks where the blasts hit. The weapons rapidly ran out of ammo, and as they did, Zeruel swept his arms forward and cut off Unit–02's arms at the shoulder joints, which sprayed blood everywhere.

"AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!" Asuka screamed. "I'm not going down that easy you fucker! I don't need my fucking arms to beat you… just my fucking head! I'll show you not to mess with the likes of Asuka Langley Soryu!"

Unit–02 crouched down and aimed its head at Zeruel's Core. Unit–02 charged the target with reckless abandon, hoping to inflict the fatal blow.

"I'LL FUCKING KILL YOU!" Asuka roared as she ran at Zeruel with all her might.

"Maya, cut all her nerve connections, now!" Misato ordered. "Before it's too late!"

"I'm working on it…" Maya said.

As Unit–02 got close to Zeruel, he moved his arms again, this time, aiming right at the neck of Unit–02. As it approached, Zeruel struck, taking the head clean off. The head clattered on the ground and Unit–02 collapsed to its knees in front of the Angel.

"My… my head…" Asuka muttered as she felt her neck. "It's still attached… I'm… I'm still alive…"

"She's alive ma'am, the connections were severed just in time!" Hyuga said.

"Good, send out recovery teams for Asuka and Mari immediately." Misato said.

'Yeah… whatever…' Asuka thought. 'Shinji… I hate having to say this, but we need you right now… where are you? I need… I need your help…'

Asuka then felt her Evangelion get blasted off the ground by another blast from Zeruel, and when she landed, she lost consciousness from the impact, and the fact she wasn't restrained like she should have been.

–––

Shinji watched in horror as Unit–02's head was cut off. He had seen Mari intercept the first attack from Zeruel, and her brutal takedown, but Asuka's was even harder for him to watch.

"ASUKA, NOOOO!" Shinji screamed as Unit–02 was blasted out of Zeruel's way.

"Shinji, give me your stuff." Kaji said. "There's a door about 200 meters that way, it will give you direct access to the Cage. Go… quickly."

"Will they be ok?" Shinji asked as he handed Kaji his bag.

"Yeah, I'll go help the recovery teams and tell them the good news." Kaji said. "Well, what are you waiting for, Shinji? Get moving!"

Shinji stared at him. "Right… sorry…"

"Don't apologize, Shinji, run!" Kaji said sternly.

"Take care of them, Kaji!" Shinji shouted as he ran for the door. "Don't let them be dead… don't let them be dead…" Shinji said to himself as he ran.

Shinji got to the hatch and pried it open. When he got inside to the main corridor, he knew where he was. "It's not far from here…" Shinji muttered. "I just need to get there quickly."

–––

Misato was pissed. She slammed her hands on the console between Hyuga and Maya.

"We're getting slaughtered out there" Misato asked angrily. "Is Unit–01 ready to launch yet?!"

"No, ma'am." Hyuga replied. "It keeps burning out the Dummy Plugs that are being inserted. There are only two left to try."

"What about Rei?" Misato asked.

"Unit–01 refused to sync with her." Ritsuko said.

"But why?" Maya asked. "She's done it before."

"Something happened with Shinji and Unit–01 during that last fight." Ritsuko explained. "I believe that Unit–01 will only accept Shinji as pilot."

"So, what now?" Aoba asked.

"I don't know…" Misato said. "Unit–00 isn't combat capable is it?"

"No, the left arm is still under repair." Ritsuko said. "At best it could distract the Angel from us until we figure out what to do with Unit–01."

"Then why is Unit–00 launching?" Hyuga asked as an alert came up on screen.

"WHAT!?" Misato shouted.

"Who's the pilot?!" Ritsuko asked.

"Confirming synchrograph…" Maya said. "It's Rei."

"Son of a bitch!" Misato shouted "Get me in contact with her, now!"

–––

Rei was inside her Entry Plug awaiting her arrival on the surface when Misato's face came up in the video feed.

"Rei, just what the hell do you think you're doing?!" Misato shouted. "Return to base immediately!"

"I am doing what needs to be done." Rei said. "I am replaceable."

"Rei, you don't even have a rifle!" Misato shouted. "What are you going to do?!"

"I will do what the military was unable to accomplish." Rei replied.

"Colonel, two N2 warheads are missing from storage." Aoba reported. "Their detonators were taken as well."

"They're armed?!" Ritsuko asked.

"Yes, ma'am." Aoba replied. "Armed and dangerous…"

"Rei, tell me you don't have those!" Misato begged.

"I cannot do that, Colonel." Rei said. "I would never lie to you."

Unit–00 arrived on the surface. Under each of its arms was an N2 warhead, armed and ready to use. Unit–00's left arm was still heavily damaged, and had no armor on it whatsoever, but it was capable of picking things up and moving them with the damaged arm. The other damage, including that to the head sustained in the attack from Bardiel had already been repaired, but arms were a tricky business to fix.

Unit–00 stood up and faced Zeruel. Zeruel turned curiously towards the new opponent and eyed it suspiciously, not viewing it as an active threat.

"Rei, return to base at once!" Ritsuko shouted. "I'd expect this kind of behavior from any of the other, but not form you!"

"Then you do not know me very well, Dr. Akagi." Rei said as she cut the video feed. "Only my brother and my two best friends know me. I refuse to let them down." Rei glanced at the fallen Unit–02 and Unit–XP and her eyes narrowed. "You should not have made me mad… you will pay with your life… A.T. Field at maximum!"

Unit–00 charged Zeruel with all its might. As it approached it lifted both warheads, one in each hand, level with Zeruel's half exposed Core. Unit–00 plunged at Zeruel's powerful A.T. Field and struggled to push through it, and with some effort, was able to punch though. However, just as the warheads were about to make fatal contact with the Core, a covering closed the Core off, and protected it, leaving Rei in shock.

"Extending A.T. Field to contain the blast…" Rei muttered as she saw the covered Core and the N2 warheads blinked to life. "Shinji… where you are… it is all up to you now…"

The blasts went off simultaneously, causing a massive mushroom cloud to develop inside the Geofront. Unit–00's A.T. Field contained the fireball and shockwave however, with the already damaged Evangelion taking the brunt of the explosion single handedly.

As the blast cleared, anyone could tell that the melted and warped armor of Unit–00 meant it didn't stand a chance to be able to fight anymore.

–––

Kaji looked on from behind Unit–02 as he held an unconscious Asuka in his arms. He had shielded Asuka form the blast caused by Unit–00, but the blast had been contained by the A.T. Fields of both combatants.

Unit–00 stood up for a moment before Zeruel struck and bisected Unit–00's head from the top, right down the middle. Unit–00, severely damaged from the blast, fell to the ground and deactivated, and Zeruel took his shot, and fired a blast at the disabled Evangelion, removing the threat. Unit–00 landed not far from where Kaji, Asuka, and Unit–02 were, and was still smoking as Kaji opened his eyes.

"Well… that was unexpected, but it was effective, Rei." Kaji said proudly. "Nice work, kid…" Kaji looked at the smoking Evangelion. "I just hope you survived that little assault mission of yours. Maybe you just bought Shinji enough time to make to Unit–01… or at least I hope you did anyway."

Kaji looked down at Asuka and saw a trickle of blood run down her face. "You did good too, Asuka." Kaji said. "You lasted pretty long against such a powerful enemy… all three of you did wonderfully… but none of you are in sync with your EVA like Shinji is… I hate to say it, but he's our last hope of killing this thing… cause if he doesn't, it's the final curtain call for humanity."

Zeruel turned towards the remnants of the pyramid and fired a massive blast at it, which exposed the sub–subterranean inside of NERV HQ.

"Well… that looks like the main shaft for HQ… open and exposed for all to see… looks like that Angel is headed to its final destination. Nothing stands between it and Lilith now…" Kaji said. "Come on Shinji… where are you?"

–––

Gendo stared at Unit–01 as the last remaining Dummy Plug was burned out and rejected by an obstinate Unit–01. Gendo was alone in his control room, and in a fit of rage, he slammed his fist into the console.

"Why… why is she rejecting the Dummy Plugs? She's rendered them all useless!" Gendo shouted. "Why is she rejecting Rei… why is she rejecting me?!" Gendo looked out at the back of Unit–01's head. "Yui, what do you want from me?"

The screens around Geno flickered and were replaced with the image of Shinji… the image that Unit–01 saw the day he was brought in the previous year and asked to be a pilot.

"This…" Gendo said. "This is who you want?" Gendo turned and looked out at Unit and saw a familiar figure on the catwalk. "Shinji…"

On the catwalk, Shinji was panting after having run the entire way there. Shinji looked around and saw only his Evangelion was in the Cage, realizing that Rei had already been deployed, he looked straight at Unit–01

"Unit–01, I'm here, and I need your help! My friends are in danger! I want to help them!" Shinji shouted. "Let me pilot! I need to pilot! I have to pilot!"

Unit–01's eyes glowed and it broke its restraints with ease and removed the final Dummy Plug from its back. The technicians in the Cage were scared and ran away from the EVA as it grabbed the proper Entry Plug and roughly inserted it into its back. Unit–01 then moved its hand towards Shinji to give him a quick route to the Entry Plug.

"Thank you…" Shinji said.

Shinji ran up Unit–01's arm and went right into the Entry Plug. Shinji saw his father staring blankly at him from the window of the command room.

"I don't care what you want father!" Shinji shouted. "I'm not abandoning my friends just because you told me to go away!"

"Warning! Evacuate the base, repeat evacuate the base!" Hyuga said over the intercom in a panic. "The Angel has invaded the base and has infiltrated the main shaft and is heading for Central Dogma! All personnel are ordered to evacuate at once!"

"Father, which way is the Command Center!" Shinji shouted.

Gendo simply pointed to Unit–01's left and Shinji nodded. The Entry Plug closed itself and inserted into Unit–01, and Shinji manually synced himself with the EVA. He sat there, glaring out through his view screens and looked towards the wall he was going to break through.

"Unit–01 is online and ready for combat… power cable disconnected… Unit–01, launching!" Shinji shouted. "Hold on Misato… I'll protect you, I'll protect everyone…"

–––

Misato was staring at the main screen of Central Dogma, and saw that the signal for Zeruel was getting very close.

"Alright, you all heard the order!" Misato shouted. "Get the hell out of here, now! The Angel will be here any second!"

Just Misato finished talking, Zeruel crashed through the wall on the far end of Central Dogma, and stared down towards everyone still remaining. Misato grabbed the cross around her neck and grimaced at the Angel, while Maya clutched Misato's arm out of fear and Ritsuko slowly backed away. Hyuga and Aoba glared at the Angel, and Fuyutsuki stared indifferently towards the Angel.

As a glint in Zeruel's eyes showed he was reading for an attack, Misato shut her eyes as Maya quivered next to her, but then she heard another crash, a large fist slamming through the right hand wall of Central Dogma, followed by the massive body of Unit–01, who landed a hard left hook to Zeruel's face.

"Unit–01?" Misato said confusedly. "Shinji…"

Zeruel was on the ground where the holographic display used to be. Unit–01 stood crouched over it and it glanced at Misato.

"Shinji!" Misato said. "Open comms!"

"Right!" Hyuga said as he tapped his console and opened a channel to Unit–01.

"Shinji, are you ok?!" Misato asked.

"I'm fine, just make sure to get Asuka and Mari to safety!" Shinji shouted. "And get yourself to safety too!" Unit–01 looked at them. "Move it!"

Zeruel stood back up and Unit–01 stared it down. Unit–01 grabbed Zeruel and charged him though the opposite wall, crashing through another Cage, and destroying the support facilities in the room. Unit–01 disappeared from sight and Misato could hear the crashing sounds of the EVA and Angel fighting.

"Come on Shinji…" Misato whispered. "We're all rooting for you…"

"We may be…" Maya said. "But did you notice he didn't have a power cable attached?"

"Oh no…" Misato said. "I hope he can do this in less than five minutes…"

"We're all hoping for that Colonel." Fuyutsuki said. "I'm sure Ikari can handle it."

–––

Unit–01 slammed Zeruel into the ground again, breaking more equipment around them. Gendo ran out onto the catwalk against the wall and watched in horror and shock as the battle raged in front of him.

Shinji stared at the Angel as he continued to beat it with his fists. The Angel looked angry, and a glint appeared in his eyes as Shinji brought Unit–01's left arm in for another punch. Zeruel fired his energy blast, severing the left arm above the elbow and sending it careening into the wall next to Gendo. When the arm impacted the wall, it disintegrated into a pile of blood and bits of flesh, covering a shocked Gendo in blood.

"YAAAAHHHHH!" Shinji shouted. "I guess I'll have to kill you with one hand then!"

Unit–01 picked Zeruel up by his face, and threw him towards the launch elevators. Unit–01 slammed Zeruel into the wall and restrained him buy his face.

"Misato!" Shinji shouted. "Launch me!"

"Hyuga, do it!" Misato ordered.

"Roger!" Hyuga replied.

The elevator released and shot upwards, with Zeruel's face being dragged along the sides of shaft during the ascent. As the elevator reached the top, because they were unrestrained, Unit–01 and Zeruel shot into the air. Unit–01 activated its retro rockets and shifted its weight to slam Zeruel into the ground, and when they landed, Unit–01 buried its knees into Zeruel's gut, causing the Angel to cry out in pain.

Shinji looked around him and saw the smoking Unit–00, the decimated Unit–02 and the half submerged and charred Unit–XP laying on the ground around him. Shinji glared down at the Angel in a rage.

"YOU BASTARD!" Shinji roared. "WHY DO YOU ALL KEEP HURTING MY FRIENDS?! CAN'T YOU JUST LEAVE US THE FUCK ALONE?! CAN'T YOU!?"

Unit–01 took its remaining hand and relentlessly and heavily beat Zeruel's face with it. With the force of each impact, blood spirted out form around Zeruel's face mask as the Angel lay helplessly on the ground, unable to defend itself.

"GO BACK TO HELL YOU SON OF A BITCH!" Shinji roared. "JUST FUCKING DIE!"

Unit–01 grabbed the holes in Zeruel's face mask and pulled, trying to tear the mask away from the body. The material stretched out like gum form behind the face mask as Zeruel wriggled helplessly beneath the hulking and angry Unit–01. Just as the face mask was about to tear away from the body, Unit–01's eyes went dark, and it shutdown, as did the Entry Plug, leaving Shinji in utter darkness.

As it shutdown, the bridge crew ran outside, and Maya had her laptop with her, and Misato carried a portable radio so she could try to communicate with Shinji.

Shinji, inside his darkened Entry Plug, tried desperately to get the Evangelion to move before it was too late.

"NO! NO… NO, NOOOO!" Shinji screamed. "YOU CAN'T BE OUT OF POWER YET!" Shinji slammed the control yokes with his hands. "DAMN IT! COME ON, MOVE! WE CAN'T JUST WAIT TO ATTACK, HE HAVE TO KILL THIS THING!"

"Unit–01 is at its activation limit!" Maya shouted unnecessarily.

"Shinji, get up!" Misato shouted. "The Angel is getting up!"

"Yeah, I kinda figured that!" Shinji shouted.

Zeruel realized he had a chance and moved to get Unit–01 off of him and tossed the shutdown EVA aside like a rag doll by blasting it point blank in chest with a powerful blast from his eyes. Unit–01 soared through the air and landed hard against the shattered and melted remains of the pyramid, with a large portion of its chest armor and pectoral flesh missing, leaving Unit–01's Core completely exposed.

"Shinji!" Misato shouted.

"Our last hope…" Aoba whispered. "He can't do anything…"

"Come on, Shinji…" Hyuga said. "You've done it before… get out of this mess…"

"Oh my god…" Misato said. "Is that…"

"Unit–01's Core…" Ritsuko said. "Shinji, you have to eject!"

"NO, I'M NOT RUNNING AWAY AGAIN!" Shinji roared.

Zeruel noticed the exposed Core and lifted up his fragile looking arms and began to repeatedly strike the Core. Each strike left a mark on its surface from the impact and the sparks that occurred. Zeruel looked as though he was enjoying toying with his prey, and continued the assault while Shinji tried even more desperately to get Unit–01 to activate.

"COME ON, MOVE!" Shinji shouted. "I NEED YOUR HELP! IF YOU DON'T MOVE, WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE! EVERYONE WILL DIE, EVERYONE I CARE ABOUT!" Shinji screamed as he punched the control console between his legs. "MISATO… KAJI… MARI… REI… ASUKA… I DON'T WANT THEM TO DIE! I DON'T WANT TO FAIL THEM! I REFUSE TO LET ANYONE ELSE GET HURT BY ANY ANGEL! ENOUGH PEOPLE HAVE DIED, JUST HELP ME, PLEASE! HELP ME KILL THIS MONSTER!"

A bright light erupted inside the Entry Plug, and Shinji felt a warm sensation wash over him. Then the Plug was once again plunged into darkness, then his exterior feed came back online, and he could see what was happening once again.

Unit–01's eyes lit up in a blaze of fury. Its right hand reached up and split Zeruel's hand with its fingers, and then grabbed the injured hand tightly. Nit–01 ducked its head down and pulled the arm, tugging Zeruel in and impaled Zeruel's right eye with its massive horn, spraying blood everywhere. Unit–01 then took both its feet and kicked Zeruel with all its might, and sent the Angel flying through the air, without his left arm. Zeruel impacted the ground and created cloud of dust while Unit–01 slowly stood up and glared at the cloud. Unit–01 took the remnants of Zeruel's arm and slammed it into where the remnants of its missing arm was. The flesh around the wound bubbled and turned red, and then out of the mushy goo shot a band new, fleshy arm, without any armor to speak of. The arm itself looked quite human, just Evangelion sized.

–––

On the ground just outside the base, the bridge crew stood and watched in terror and amazement at the events unfolding before them.

"Did it absorb part of the Angel?" Hyuga asked.

"Yeah… and its arm…" Aoba said. "It looks like a human one…"

Maya was staring at her laptop. "Oh my…" Maya said in shock. "I can't believe it…"

"What?" Misato asked.

"Shinji's sync ratio…" Maya said "It's over 400% and stable! And his Plug Depth, its way in the negative!"

"So, she's finally awake…" Ritsuko said quietly.

Unit–01 struggled against its jaw bolts one last time, breaking them off and letting out a mighty cry. "ROOOOAAAAAARRRRRRRRRR!"

–––

Shinji felt the power flowing through his body when Unit–01 let out its mighty roar. Zeruel had stood back up and took the opportunity to attack one more time while Unit–01 was distracted. Zeruel shot his right arm towards Unit–01's Core, but Shinji reacted quickly and blocked it and tore through the hand again, tearing it to shreds.

Shinji looked down and could feel he fleshy material as if he were actually holding it in his own hand. Shinji looked at Zeruel and could feel his hand becoming hot.

"I THINK THIS BELONGS TO YOU!" Shinji roared.

The shreds of Zeruel's arm flew towards the Angel at high speed. Zeruel extended his A.T. Field to block them, but it did nothing. The A.T. Field was split in half and dissipated with the impact, and the shreds of arm cut though the unprotected Angel, leaving him a bloody mess. Zeruel fell to the ground with writhing in pain as Shinji looked on with a sadistic smile on his face. His eyes had begun glowing red and Unit–01 crouched down like an animal and prepared to pounce.

"NOW I'LL FUCKING EVISCERATE YOU, YOU SON OF A BITCH!" Shinji roared. "YAAAAHHHHH!"

And Unit–01 roared with him. "ROOOOAAAAAARRRRRRRRRR!"

–––

Misato and everyone else watched in shock as Zeruel fell to the ground, bleeding profusely. Unit–01 clawed at the ground on all fours like a wolf.

"Is Unit–01 acting on its own?" Ritsuko asked.

"No… it's uh… it's working under Shinji's orders." Maya said. "His… his… sync rate is highly unstable… he's almost at the bottom of the Entry Plug!"

"No… he'll get contaminated!" Ritsuko shouted.

"Can you override it?!" Misato asked.

"No… I… I can't…" Maya said. "I… I just lost the feed!"

"Shit!" Misato said. "What is he about to do?"

"I don't know… but I think his humanity is gone…" Hyuga said.

"Yeah, the EVA isn't even acting human anymore…" Misato said. "It's like he's an animal…"

Unit–01 charged the downed Zeruel, and pounced on its chest. Unit–01 grabbed Zeruel's Core and tugged on it. It fractured and exposed the soft interior to the outside. Zeruel looked up at Unit–01 and charged its eye beam. However, Unit–01 shoved its fist through the mask, shattering Zeruel's face, and keeping him from firing another shot. Unit–01 then focused back on the Core and the exposed S2 Engine. It glared at it lustfully and bit into the exposed fleshly Core. It tore chunks of the S2 Engine free and swallowed them whole.

Maya threw up all over her laptop and Hyuga patted her back.

"Is it… eating?" Misato asked.

"Yeah… is ingesting the S2 Engine…" Ritsuko said.

"What does that mean?" Misato asked.

"It means Unit–01 is no longer under our control…" Ritsuko said worriedly. "It is its own master now…"

Unit–01 finished eating the S2 Engine, leaving only the thin, hollowed out Core. Blood had poured all over the ground from the hole where Zeruel's face had been. Unit–01 had stood up and it began glowing. The armor all over its body began to strain at the seams. It broke apart and scattered the armor all over the ground.

"What do you mean?!" Misato asked.

"The armor isn't on the Evangelions to keep them safe…" Ritsuko said. "It's to keep us safe. Now… now it can tap its full potential…"

"Didn't you think this kind of information was worth sharing before?!" Misato shouted.

"It wasn't relevant then…" Ritsuko said.

Misato glared at Ritsuko and clenched her fist. "You are the stupidest smart person I've ever fucking met…" Misato spat. "Anything else you're hiding from us that may become relevant later on?"

"No…" Ritsuko said nervously looking at Misato's fist. "It's beyond our control now…"

Unit–01 stood straight up and craned its neck towards the sky. Armor missing from its arms and legs, and from around its head. It let out a mighty cry into the night sky.

"ROOOOAAAAAARRRRRRRRRR!"

–––

Shinji was inside the Entry Plug, and he was enjoying every moment of it.

"Now… now I'm…" Shinji said in a distorted voice. "I'm one with EVA…"

The Entry Plug around him glowed. The colors blurred and the video feeds cut out. Shinji the heard a whisper.

"Shinji…" The voice said. "Shinji, come to me…"

"Yes… yes… I will be one with EVA…" Shinji said in the distorted voice. "I want to be one with EVA…"

–––

Gendo and Fuyutsuki were standing in the remnants of the pyramid. They were overlooking the battlefield, and Gendo was smirking from ear to ear.

"What has you s happy, Ikari?" Fuyutsuki asked. "I thought you wanted to get rid of Shinji for good."

"Well, this is far better than anything I could have hoped." Gendo said. "An Evangelion with unlimited power… anything is possible now… we can finally set my plans in motion. This is where it begins."

"Was this your plan?" Fuyutsuki asked.

"No, but it was a hope." Gendo said. "It certainly makes things easier now that we have an Evangelion with an active S2 Engine."

"So… what will you do now?" Fuyutsuki asked.

"Anything I want." Gendo said. "Now, I'm unstoppable."

–––

Kaji was standing with the recovery teams near the lake. Asuka and Rei were being tended to, and Mari had just been recovered from her EVA. Mari's plugsuit was covered in flash burns, as were Rei's and Asuka's. They were all still unconscious.

Kaji looked over at the howling Unit–01 and smiled. "Good job Shinji, you saved everyone." Kaji said proudly. "That and you're really fucking over SEELE now… you're really good at destroying people's well laid plans…"

Kaji looked over at the girls being carted away. "He did this for you guys…" Kaji said softly. "He did this to protect you… and I'll tell you that when you wake up too." Kaji looked back to Unit–01. "Shinji… I hope you're ok in there."


August 1, 2016 – NERV HQ

The sun has just risen over Tokyo–3, which was still under lockdown. The Geofront was a wreck. The pitched battle between all the Evangelions had taken the serene looking Geofront and turned it into a total warzone. Unit–02 lay without its head or arms, a pool of blood and its severed limbs laying around it. Unit–XP's torso was half–submerged in Lake Alcion, its armor melted and deformed, and lake had turned red with blood, its limbs scattered around the Geofront. Unit–00 was headless and bleeding out from the brutal assault it received and the dual N2 detonations it set off. Dozens of craters and impact marks were all around the Geofront, and several buildings were still scattered around from the surface. The remnants of the pyramid Shinji had destroyed were even more twisted, and a hole had been bored though it to a shaft that led directly to Central Dogma.

The battle below the surface of the Geofront had decimated many of the key Evangelion facilities. Several of the Cages had been destroyed, the walls between the Cages and the Commander Center, generally referred to as Central Dogma, had been breached. The Command Center had been ripped apart by the fight. Repair crews could be seen working in and around the Cages and the Command Center, trying to repair the extensive damage caused by the fight.

Misato, Ritsuko, Maya, Hyuga, and Aoba were standing in the remains of the Commander Center, walking around the rubble and transferring the operational control to the Auxiliary Command Center 10 levels down.

"Maya, how bad is it?" Misato asked. "Can the EVAs be fixed?"

"Well, they can be…" Maya said. "A lot of the damage to them has exceeded the Hayflick Limit… it will take a lot of time to bring them back. Unit–XP is the easiest to repair… but its cybernetic limbs aren't exactly in the best shape…"

"What the hell is the Hayflick Limit?" Misato asked.

"The Hayflick Limit is the number of times a normal human cell population will divide until cell division stops." Ritsuko explained.

"So…" Aoba asked.

"So, that means it'll take a while to repair them… the damage is too extensive for a quick repair job." Maya explained. "That Angel really did a number on this place."

"Yeah, well it was an Angel, Maya." Hyuga said.

"Thanks, Makoto, I didn't realize that." Maya said sarcastically.

"Recovery from this attack will take a lot of time." Ritsuko said sullenly.

"Well, will this place ever be repaired?" Aoba asked.

"Yeah, I heard the Commander." Misato said. "Repair and maintenance crews are being shipped in from NERV facilities around the world. Top priority is to get the Command Center and Tokyo–3 back together, then they'll fix the landscaping in the Geofront."

"So, they won't condemn this place?" Hyuga asked.

"No, they want to repair it, and quickly." Misato said. "They want the base and the city ready and back in shape in the next month or two for the next Angel attack."

"So, what should we do then?" Makoto asked.

"We'll work in the Auxiliary Command Center until this place is repaired." Ritsuko said. "But what might be an even bigger problem is Unit–01."

"You mean the whole thing where it's beyond our control?" Misato asked.

"Yeah…" Ritsuko said. "The straps and the Cage won't hold if it turns back on, but there are no internal thermal, electric, electromagnetic, or chemical energy readings. The S2 Engine isn't putting out anything either."

"But can we trust that assessment?" Misato asked. "I mean, Unit–01 has activated spontaneously at least four times already… it could happen again."

"Well, we won't know for sure." Ritsuko said. "That's the nature of these things."

"Well, you apparently, are the only one who actually knows." Misato said.

"And what does that mean?" Ritsuko asked.

"I think she means you hide things form the rest of us." Maya said angrily. "Things that we should know considering we work around these crazy machines all the time."

"Can we just try and get Shinji out of there?" Misato asked. "We can save the arguing for when he's back."

The group made it to the Auxiliary Command Center and saw that no one was there.

"Where is everyone?" Aoba asked.

"Probably helping with repairs." Hyuga said. "There is a lot to do after all."

"Yeah, well, we still have to worry about Shinji." Misato said.

"Well, we haven't been able to get a signal to or from the Entry Plug since it cut out when Unit–01 was…" Maya said.

"Eating the Angel." Aoba finished.

"Yeah… that." Maya said.

"Can we try the ejection sequence again?" Misato asked. "I know you've tried it a million times since we dragged that thing back in here."

"I can try, ma'am…" Maya said. "But I don't think it will work."

"I'll work on getting a visual inside the thing, maybe see if he's ok." Hyuga said.

"I just called the Cage for Unit–01." Aoba said. "They connected the diagnostic cables, we can try to transmit over the direct line rather than wirelessly."

"Good idea." Maya said. "Aright, running ejection sequence through now… still no good. I think Unit–01 is actually rejecting the command… the command transmits and appears to be received, but its being overridden…"

"So, Unit–01 doesn't want to let go…" Ritsuko said.

"Uh… I got the video screen." Hyuga said. "Moving it to the main monitor."

An image came up on the screen showing the interior of Shinji's Entry Plug. The problem was, there was no Shinji. The only sign anyone had been in there were his clothes, floating around endlessly in the LCL.

"Where the hell is he?!" Misato shouted. "Why are his clothes there?!"

"So, my theory was correct…" Ritsuko muttered. "A sync rate that high… and you're A.T. Field fails…"

"Where is Shinji?!" Misato shouted. "This is the second time in two days that I've lost him, tell me where he is!"

"He's gone, there isn't anything we can do!" Ritsuko said.

SLAP

Ritsuko staggered back and the others just looked. Misato was glaring at Ritsuko with a cold fire in her eyes.

"Bullshit!" Misato shouted. "Stop standing there like a limp of shit, stop looking at what happens as a perfect experiment and find a way to bring him back! You know all the secrets about these Evangelions, use that stupid brain of your and figure something out!"

Ritsuko rubbed her face. "I'll do my best, but I can't promise anything…" Ritsuko said. "This will not be a simple task either… I need to look into some prior research…"

–––

Kaji was standing in in Gendo's office.

"So, what did SEELE have to say?" Kaji asked.

"Nothing…" Gendo said. "This concerns me…"

"Well, it shouldn't, they're just mad about something probably." Kaji said. "Something like Unit–01 has become something like a god?"

"Yes…" Gendo said. "This wasn't in their plans… it wasn't even mentioned. That's two things that will be knocking them off balance… they must be in a panic right now."

"Well, we have another issue besides that." Fuyutsuki said.

"What?" Gendo asked.

"Shinji." Fuyutsuki said. "He's trapped in the EVA…"

"Dr. Akagi is working on it." Gendo said.

"Yes, but can she get him out?" Fuyutsuki asked.

"I do not know…" Gendo said.

"Have the others been informed?" Fuyutsuki asked.

"Yeah… I uh… told Asuka and Mari… Rei's still unconscious." Kaji said. "Asuka left the hospital and went home, and Mari's still in the hospital for observation."

"How… how did they take it?" Fuyutsuki asked.

"Not that well…" Kaji said. "Not well at all."

–––

Asuka was home alone. She had been cleared to leave the hospital, as she didn't have anything more than some cuts and bruises. Her other wounds weren't as bad as the others as she had not been hit as many times by the Angel. Still, the emotional damage the Angel caused was far worse. She was holed up in Shinji's room like the last time he went missing, but she was not in a good place. Asuka was crying into Shinji's pillow, and she was wearing one of his t–shirts, and nothing else.

Asuka was shaking. "Shinji, why did you have to leave again?!" Asuka screamed up at the ceiling. "Why can't you be here to hold me?! WHY DID YOU HAVE TO GO?!" Asuka rolled over and started crying into the pillow again. "I'm so fucking useless!" Asuka shouted at Shinji's pillow. "First Mari has to save me form that thing… then I can't even attack and kill that thing myself! It defeated me without even a second thought! Then Shinji has come back and save me, just like always! Why can't I save him just once! JUST FUCKING ONCE!" Asuka continued to sob into Shinji's pillow. "How can I say I truly love Shinji if I can't even protect him like he protects me? I don't deserve him… I'll never be worthy of him…" Asuka slammed her face back into the pillow. "Why can't I prove to him that I deserve to be with him by actually killing an Angel without any fucking help?! Why does Shinji always get hurt when I fuck up?! WHY AM I SO FUCKING STUPID?! WHY AM I SO FUCKING USELESS?!"

To Be Continued


A/N: I do not own Evangelion or any of the characters, GAINAX and the other distributors of NGE related material do. I am simply using them as a backdrop for my fanfic.

Sync Score Rankings!
Shinji – 73.6% (+2.3%)
Asuka – 71.7% (+2.3%)
Mari – 69.6% (+2.5%)
Rei – 67.1% (+1.7%)

So, not much has changed in this battle other than Mari and Asuka working together, things went down basically how they did in the series, and manga. Shinji comes in a little late to the party, and kills Zeruel in a vicious assault that makes Unit–01 into a living god, and Shinji's ego borders disappear and he becomes trapped in the Core of Unit–01.

Next chapter is the month he's trapped in his personal hell with his mother, and how everyone reacts to it, then things start to get worse, like in the show when the next two Angels show up before this Episode comes to a close.

Now, just to note. I have Shinji's sync score listed as 73.6% when the chapter specifically states he went over 400%. Well, he had help with this chapter's sync scores and the last chapter, and the help came from Unit–01 and the controlled berserk mode, where Shinji's sync rate gets high, but becomes dangerously unstable. The longer he uses it at any given time, the more humanity it takes from him until his ego barriers fail and becomes one with the LCL in the Entry Plug. When his sync rate is more natural, and controlled, then he can use the EVA without the EVA's primal influence, and he won't run that risk, but that's a ways off, so for now, he has controlled berserk.

As I said before, and will always say at the end of chapter, please leave comments, as I would like to try to improve the story going forward any way I can. And, hell, constructive criticism is a good thing.


つづく