Neon Genesis Evangelion: Legacy
Episode VI: Return of Reality
Chapter 10 – Warped Reality
December 31, 2016 – Geofront
Mari was nervous. It had been some time since she'd fought inside of Unit–XP, and given its damaged state, Mari could feel that damage in her own bod. Her legs were sore and felt like they were missing chunks of flesh and muscle. Mari didn't want to tell Asuka or Shinji this because they would tell her to fall back. Shinji especially wouldn't want Mari to get hurt just to prove a point, so Mari suffered in silence, not even bothering to hum, because she was in so much pain.
As the MPEs bean their assault, Unit–01 and unit–02 broke apart, running around the group, trying to come at them from behind. Mari's job was to distract them the best she could, which involved lots and lots of shooting to draw their attention. The tactic however, wasn't working too. With thirteen to three odds, the MPEs still had the numbers to thwart many of Asuka and Shinji's surprise attacks, by having another MPE attack them from the side. Ten minutes into the battle, little else had been done by the pilots other than doge and try not to get impaled by a Spear of Longinus.
"Come get me you ugly motherfuckers!" Mari shouted as she fired her Gatling guns in short bursts to draw their attention away from Unit–01's attack on an MPE. One of them took the bait, and the other kept charging Unit–01 anyway.
"Puppy, behind you!" Mari shouted as Unit–01 rolled with just enough time to dodge the Spear of Longinus being hurled at it.
"I've got one!" Asuka shouted as Unit–02 ran at an MPE. Unit–02 jumped in the air and raised its Smash Hawks over its head, only to have another MPE body slam Unit–02 from behind, sending it tumbling to the ground way off target.
"Son of a bitch!" Asuka shouted. "Mari, where's my cover fire!"
"Working on covering the puppy, princess!" Mari replied back curtly as she fired more rounds at the MPEs charging Unit–01. "I only have one line of fire ya know!"
"Well, then stop just covering him!" Asuka said.
"Asuka, it's not doing me too much good anyway." Shinji said as Unit–01 grappled with two MPEs, trying to block their Spears of Longinus from piercing Unit–01's Core. "There's just too many of them."
"That's quitter talk, puppy!" Mari shouted as she fired on two more MPEs charging towards Unit–02. The rounds caught their attention, and they changed direction, coming towards Unit–XP instead.
"Yeah, that's right you ugly motherfuckers!" Mari shouted. "Come and get me!"
Asuka took her chance and charged the two MPEs heading for Unit–XP. Unit–02 came in from behind, running at full speed, and repeated its previous attack by jumping into the air, raising its Smash Hawks above its head in an effort to strike both of them.
"Princess, on your left!" Mari shouted as Unit–02 turned and blocked the Spear of Longinus with one of its Smash Hawks. The force of the attack knocked Unit–02 to the ground, and pinned one of its weapons beneath the bident weapon prongs.
"Gottverdammt!" Asuka shouted as Unit–02 tried to push the Spear of Longinus off its trapped Smash Hawk. "Come on…!" Unit–02's weapon was freed when the Spear's MPE came and grabbed it. As it raised the Spear up to strike down into Unit–02's chest, Asuka rolled out of the way at the last moment, to find a second MPE waiting to attack her. Seeing it barely in time, Unit–02 rolled backwards to avoid that attack, and got back to its feet so it could fend off the MPEs coming to surround it.
"This is not good." Asuka said angrily. "They weren't this aggressive before."
"Maybe killing them two times pissed them off." Shinji said.
"Or maybe whoever is controlling them is stepping up the violence." Mari suggested. "Cause I doubt there are plots in these things… they remind me of the Dummy System."
"Huh?" Shinji asked as Unit–01 kicked one of the MPEs away from it and took off in a run to get away from the other one it was fighting. "I thought they were humans trying to kill us like this!"
"No, she's right." Asuka said as Unit–02 jumped over two MPEs towards where Unit–01 was running to. "They're a bit predictable, but it's like they're learning or something…"
"So, we're fucked then?" Shinji asked. "I mean, if they're learning, we can't really stop them, can we? They're already figuring out our moves."
"Puppy, we're doing something right from the playbook." Mari said. "Cover fire and sneak attacks aren't exactly new."
"So… we just have to think outside the box." Asuka said.
"What if we run at the spears instead of avoiding them?" Shinji asked. "We can draw their attention and distract them with that. Would that work?"
"It's risky, but it could pay off." Asuka said. "But we need bait, and then someone to strike from above."
"From above?" Shinji asked.
"Yeah, someone else climbs the Geofront and leaps down from above." Asuka said. "They won't be able to dodge it."
"Ok…" Shinji said.
"I'll be the bait." Mari said. "I can handle that."
"How would that work, you can barely move! You can't fucking chase them down! You lay down cover fire." Asuka said angrily. "Shinji will be the bait."
"Why me?" Shinji asked.
"Because I said so, baka." Asuka replied. "And because you suggested it."
"So, what, just keep distracting them?" Mari asked. "But I want to do more…"
"Yeah, keep them away from Unit–01… anything that gets close shoot at them… and… um…" Asuka said. "Yeah… that should work. Just shoot stuff."
"Are you making this shit up as you go along?" Mari asked.
"So what if I am?" Asuka grumbled.
"Just making sure if this gets fucked up, it isn't my fault." Mari quipped.
"No, we'll just blame Shinji for being bad bait." Asuka joked.
"No, it'll be your fault for not coming up with a better plan." Shinji said.
"Or it'll be both." Mari said. "Why don't we try this plan out and see if we can make some headway with killing these assholes before judging though."
"Whatever four eyes." Asuka replied. "Ok, Shinji, get over there and draw them to you."
"Yeah, fine." Shinji said. "Be careful, Asuka."
"You too, baka." Asuka replied.
Unit–01 moved away from Unit–02 towards the group of charging MPEs. Unit–02 moved away as though it was retreating, and Unit–XP took aim at the MPEs Unit–01 was charging through.
"Hey motherfuckers, over here!" Mari shouted. "Say hi to the hot lead!"
Unit–01 shoved past several more MPEs and circled around to charge at them again, using its Sonic Sword to knock their Spears of Longinus out of the way as Shinji kept them wholly focused on him. Each one followed Unit–01 with its eyeless face and demented, toothy grin as Unit–01 ran through them repeatedly, with them coming closer to impaling him each time.
"Asuka, hurry up!" Shinji said.
"Do you know how long it takes to climb the side of this fucking thing?" Asuka asked.
"Well… no." Shinji said.
"Then shut up and keep them distracted!" Asuka shouted.
"Fine… fine…" Shinji muttered. "I'll just try not to get stabbed."
"Been there, done that, baka." Asuka quipped.
"Hey guys, here's an idea…" Mari quipped. "Focus!"
"Then why don't you keep shooting!" Asuka replied back. "I'm almost at the huge hole in the roof. Baka, try and guide them closer to the edge of the hole."
"Which direction?" Shinji asked.
"Southwest." Asuka replied.
Unit–01 slowly began pushing and corralling the MPEs towards the southwest edge of the crater above them. As Unit–01 moved them closer, they were also getting farther away from Unit–XP. That still didn't stop Mari from shooting at them or anything. However, once the group of MPEs got far enough away, six of them split off and headed back towards Unit–XP, leaving seven for Unit–01 to fend off. As Unit–01 got them into position, near the edge, Shinji ended up getting surrounded, using the Sonic Sword to try and protect himself from getting impaled.
"Asuka, anytime now!" Shinji said.
"Banzai!" Asuka creamed as Unit–02 leapt off the crater's edge towards the melee below. Both Smash Hawks were extended outwards as Unit–02 crashed into two of the seven MPEs below, splitting their heads in half on impact. The other five backed away slowly as Unit–02 began slamming the Smash Hawks into one of the disabled MPEs, hacking away at its chest until the Core was exposed. As the other five MPEs moved away from Unit–01, it took the Sonic Sword and began heavily swinging it into the other MPE Unit–02 has disabled, doing the same thing, cutting the body open until the Core was exposed. In unison, Unit–01 and Unit–02 struck at the Cores, shattering them to pieces, as their respective MPEs erupted into massive cross shaped explosions, knocking both the MPEs and Unit–01 and Unit–02 well back from the explosion's origin.
"See, baka?" Asuka said. "It worked."
"Well, if they're learning like you said they're learning." Shinji said. "That trick will only work the once."
Mari saw the explosion in the distance, but had little time to focus on it. She had MPEs baring down on her, with no help in sight.
"Uh, guys?" Mari asked. "A little help would be nice!"
Everyone left in the Command Center looked on joyfully as the first two MPEs were permanently destroyed. Hyuga and Aoba had worked to restore the main monitor online so they could monitor the battle with the few cameras that remained after the various assaults on the Geofront. Even though there were only a few guards left, they certainly made a lot of noise when NERV's Evangelions were able to gain an upper hand and wipe out two of the MPEs.
"Lieutenant Ibuki, how are they doing?" Fuyutsuki asked.
"Shinji and Asuka's sync score are starting to edge above 100%, sir." Maya said. "If they keep going like this, they could be in trouble."
"Unfortunately, Lieutenant, they may need to push that boundary to win." Fuyutsuki said. "Because it appears the Dummy Plugs those Mark IIs are using have had their violence level increased."
"You mean the inhibitors that were designed…" Maya began.
"Yes, to control the violent behavior exhibited during the fight with the Thirteenth Angel before I had the Dummy System scrapped." Fuyutsuki said. "They've disabled that… I'm just surprised SEELE would steal what is otherwise a useless technology."
"Unless they thought that thirteen of those things in a less violent state would be enough." Hyuga suggested. "Unless they assumed we'd only be able to field one Evangelion."
"Well, I'm glad they were wrong." Fuyutsuki said. "We may still have a chance to defeat them if they can keep this up."
"They've made miracles happen before." Maya said. "They can do it again."
"Sub–Commander, we have a problem!" Aoba reported.
"What could possibly be worse now?" Fuyutsuki asked.
"Dr. Akagi has escaped." Aoba replied. ""
"How could she have escaped from a cell with a solid steel door eight inches thick?"
"When we cut the power, the cell doors automatically unlock." Aoba said. "When the power came back on, it should have locked…"
"But she knew it was only chance, because she knows how this base functions." Fuyutsuki said sullenly. "Have anyone not defending the entrance points to start a search for either Dr. Akagi, the Commander, or Rei."
"Why the Commander?" Aoba asked.
"Because it's them she'd be going after." Fuyutsuki said. "She has never liked Rei, she blames her for her ow personal issues… and the Commander has slighted her in a very personal manner."
"What kind of personal manner?" Hyuga asked.
"The kind slighting that only comes with a jilted and unstable lover…" Fuyutsuki said.
"No fucking way." Aoba said. "She and the Commander were…"
"Lieutenant…" Fuyutsuki said. "Tread carefully."
"…together… I was going to say that." Aoba said as he began contacting the available teams to begin the search.
"Well, that explains a lot." Maya said.
"Yeah, like why she got so pissed off whenever he dismissed her." Hyuga said. "Guess you really can't tell about a person, can you?"
"Well, what about you two?" Maya asked. "I mean, talk about a day of surprises."
"Lieutenant Aoba, have you passed along my orders?" Fuyutsuki asked.
"Not yet, sir." Aoba replied. "Was there anything to add to them?"
"Yes." Fuyutsuki said. "If they find Dr. Akagi, shoot her on sight. She is presumed to be armed and hostile."
"Understood, sir." Aoba replied as he relayed the message.
Asuka was trying her best to stay focused on the battle raging around her. Since taking out the two MPEs with Shinji and Mari's help, they had been unsuccessful in taking down any more. They had kept them busy though, getting some glancing blows on them, but nothing serious enough to earn them another kill. As Unit–01 and Unit–02 ran circles around the group, drawing them within Unit–XP's firing range, Mari would send small bursts from her Gatling guns to weaken their A.T. Fields and maybe do some damage.
"Come on, we're not doing anything!" Asuka shouted. "We need to kill some of these things!"
"What do you think we've been trying to princess?" Mari asked sarcastically. "Cuddle with them?"
"No, but we certainly haven't killed them!" Asuka said angrily.
"Asuka, we just need to find an opening!" Shinji said. "Just focus on them, ok?"
"Are you telling me I should calm down?" Asuka asked.
"No, I'm not that thick." Shinji said. "Just focus."
"Fine!" Asuka said as Unit–02 charged to attack an MPE, only to be blocked by another knocking her out of the way.
"Son of a bitch!" Asuka shouted as she slammed the control yokes. "I'm so fucking tired of this shit! These fucking things need to DIE!"
When Asuka shouted this, her eyes started to turn red and Unit–02 began to shake violently. Its eyes once again glowing the same shade of red as Asuka's. It began to struggle against its jaw restraints, trying to free itself from the bonds imposed on it by man. Finally, after a great effort, the restraints broke, and Unit–02 opened it mouth wide, letting out a mighty roar. "ROOOOAAAAAARRRRRRRRRR!" Unit–02 released a shockwave, sending the MPEs around it backwards. Asuka's sync score shot up to 125%, and Asuka was invigorated by the power now surging through her.
"This is awesome!" Asuka shouted. "I can feel the EVA… even more than I did before… like I'm the EVA… and the EVA is me…"
"Asuka, is everything alright?" Shinji asked. "You're, uh… glowing."
"I'm fine, baka." Asuka said. "I'm ready to kill things!"
"No offence, puppy, but when you get pissed off in the EVA, you kinda look like this." Mari quipped. "It's nice seeing someone else do something important. Kill them all, princess! Make them regret coming here and bugging us!"
"Oh, I intend to…" Asuka said through gritted teeth. "Bring it on!" Unit–02 charged two MPEs with reckless abandon, moving much faster than it could before, slamming Smash Hawks into their chests, splitting their Cores on contact, and quickly pulling the Smash Hawks as the pair of them were engulfed in cross shaped explosions. Unit–02 braced against the twin explosions and its A.T. Field flashed, protecting it from harm.
"That's more like it!" Asuka shouted as Unit–02 rounded on another pair. Unit–02 charged at them, only to have their Spears of Longinus, only to dodge them as they flew past, narrowly avoiding them and continuing its charge on the now defenseless MPEs. "Now what are you gonna do!" Asuka shouted as unit–02 made contact again with the Smash Hawks, shattering their Cores on contact, but the this time, the Smash Hawks were trapped in the Cores, and they were vaporized as a result, and Unit–02 narrowly missed being caught in this pair of cross shaped explosions, it's A.T. Field barely able to hold back the blasts from the second set of twin explosions.
"Damn it!" Asuka screamed as Unit–02 waved its arm, flashing her A.T. Field and ripping up the ground in its path as it did. "What the hell…?" Asuka muttered as she tried repeating what she did, only tore up more ground with her A.T. Field. "Oh, that's how I do it… this'll be fun…"
Asuka glared at the other MPEs around her and waived Unit–02 arms fiercely towards them. Instead of cutting them up, she only made their A.T. Fields flare up in defense of the attack, which pissed her off to no end.
"Come on!" Asuka shouted. "Work gottverdammt you! Momma, make it work!"
Unit–02 obliged and ran for the closest MPE. As if out of instinct, the Dummy Plug controlled MPE threw its Spear of Longinus right at Unit–02's head. This time however, instead of dodging it or being hit by it, Unit–02 grabbed it right out of the air and twirled it around in its hand. "Ha, now who's got the upper hand?!" Asuka shouted as Unit–02 took aim with the bident and slammed it right into the MPEs chest with such force that the bident grabbed and ripped the MPE's Core right out of its back, taking its spine and Entry Plug assembly with it. The Core promptly exploded, vaporizing the MPE and the false Spear of Longinus with it. Unit–02's A.T. Field protected it once again, and then Asuka faced the remaining MPEs with a glint of power in her still red, glowing eyes.
"Wow Asuka, that was amazing!" Shinji said happily as Unit–01 parried an attack by an MPE. "Now what?"
"That's seven of you fuckers gone!" Asuka shouted. "Who's next?!"
Rei was still sitting in the Evangelion graveyard. She could hear and feel the battle still raging on around her. It did not concern her however, she felt very safe where she was. It would be nearly impossible for anyone to come down this deep without meeting resistance, and she was far enough away from the balcony that she wouldn't be discovered unless they came looking. However, as Rei was just beginning to relax again, she felt a chill go down her spine almost as if someone she cared about was in trouble.
"Onii–chan…" Rei murmured. "I shouldn't go… I shouldn't get involved… but… my onii–chan… he's always been there for me… it would be selfish if I stayed here and didn't try to help him…" Rei sighed. "But how can I help…I don't have an Evangelion anymore… but I do have…" Rei brought her hand up and cleared her mind, making her A.T. Field appear in front of her. "Perhaps I can use this… like a benevolent Angel…"
Rei stood up and looked around. "This is my path… I will not start instrumentality… but I will help prevent it."
Rei began walking back to the balcony. As she found herself facing the sheer wall of steel, she began looking for the ladder. As she found the ladder and began her ascent, she felt another shiver down her spine.
"I am no longer alone in this place…" Rei muttered.
When Rei got on the balcony, she walked towards her old room, What Rei now thought of as a dungeon. When she went inside, she found the source of her discomfort. On the floor was Gendo. There was a considerable amount of blood everywhere, coming from a very wounded Gendo, who appeared to have dragged himself down there. He was holding his left hand against his stomach, and had an orange hue emanating from beneath him, very similar to an A.T. Field.
"Oh, it's you." Rei said.
"Rei…" Gendo said weakly. "Help me… I was shot…"
"No… you deserve far worse than that." Rei said coldly.
"That's rather cold… even coming from you, Rei…" Gendo said weakly. "Now please, help me… I need you…"
"Why should I help you? I was just a means to an end for you, it shouldn't be that surprising." Rei said. "Or the fact that you left that sadistic woman in charge of my care… It should have been you… or the Sub–Commander, he at least has some human decency."
"How would you know that?" Gendo asked.
"He created me when his sorrow was deepest." Rei replied. "I may not have been the intended result… but I am forever grateful to him."
"Rei… there is still time…" Gendo said weakly. "We can still bring Yui back…"
"Why should you get what you want?" Rei asked. "You don't deserve to get what you want… evil like yours never deserved happiness."
"Rei… that is… not untrue." Gendo said. "I never deserved happiness… but I was glad to have it…"
"You wasted it." Rei said. "When you lost her you had a son… you abandoned him… and he is a sweet boy, he deserved a better father than you."
"He did… but I am what he received." Gendo said weakly. "He was well cared for by others…"
"But he was emotionally neglected." Rei said. "As I was after my first death… I was left alone… in this room… this dungeon."
"To protect you." Gendo said. "It was all to protect you…"
"From what?" Rei asked. "Human interaction?"
"Yes… it as too dangerous for you to be exposed to emotions I thought you could never understand." Gendo explained. "I thought that you…"
"Couldn't handle it?" Rei said. "I was never given a chance."
"Could I trust that someone not entirely human cold understand humans?" Gendo asked. "I couldn't bear to see you hurt by others… so I isolated you to keep you safe."
"That's utterly ridiculous." Rei replied. "I can handle people just fine."
"No you can't…" Gendo said. "You are separated from them by DNA… you are not like other people."
"I may not be like other people, but I should have been given a chance." Rei said. "I could have still been normal if I was allowed to talk to people."
"Look what talking to people has gotten you, Rei." Gendo coughed. "You're down here hiding away from the world, afraid of your emotions. You've isolated yourself because you are different… which is what I tried to protect you from!"
"I don't need to be protected!" Rei shouted.
"Yes you did." Gendo said. "Why do you think your emotions were suppressed? Why deal with them if you could avoid them?"
"It was you?" Rei asked. "You had that done to me?"
"At Dr. Akagi's suggestion… yes." Gendo said. "It was to help you deal with your brutal death… to be able to cope with it…"
"Because her mother snapped my neck!" Rei shouted. "You can't cope with that! I can still feel as though my neck has been broken! I can feel the fire burning my skin! I can't forget dying twice, it's impossible to forget, and suppressing it doesn't fix the problem, it just makes it worse!"
"Rei… you're being unreasonable…" Gendo muttered. "I only did those things to help you… can't you see that… can't anyone see that?"
"Your motivations are always self–serving." Rei said. "You did those things to me to help yourself, it had nothing to do with me."
"Rei… please…" Gendo pleaded.
"Am I not the only person to disagree with you today?" Rei asked. "I assume that is how you became so… injured."
"How I became injured is of no consequence." Gendo replied. "I just need help… and then we can begin instrumentality…"
"No." Rei said.
"Rei… it's your sole purpose in life now." Gendo said. "You can no longer pilot an Evangelion, but your destiny has always been to help begin Third Impact…"
"Destiny… fate… they are inconsequential. Friendship and doing what you believe to be right is what's most important." Rei explained. "Shinji showed me this through his kindness towards me… he always cared about my well–being, even without knowing me… I owe him so much… and because of him, I see now that the circumstances of one's birth are irrelevant. It is what you do with the gift of life that determines who you are." Rei said sternly. "I will no longer be your pawn, or anyone else's pawn. I am my own person, and I can decide what I want to do for myself. I will not help anyone begin instrumentality. I make my own destiny."
"Rei…" Gendo muttered.
"Oh, how quaint." Ritsuko said from behind her. "The doll thinks it's a real girl…"
Shinji was in trouble. Unit–01 was having trouble keeping up with Asuka's apparent berserk Evangelion… and Shinji was having problems bringing that bout for himself. It usually only happened when things seemed dire, or when he was angry, neither of which was the case at the moment. Shinji simply watched in amazement as Asuka had wiped out five MPEs in short order, with little effort on her part after her Unit–02 had let out its mighty roar.
"No, Asuka, I mean it." Shinji said. "What's next?"
"We kill them!" Asuka replied angrily. "What else can we do?"
"Kill them faster!" Mari said. "But they've learned… they're avoiding you princess and heading for the puppy!"
Shinji looked to see if she was right. They were completely avoiding Unit–XP and its Gatling guns, but also were now avoiding Unit–02 and its frenzied attacks, instead turning their singular focus to Unit–01.
"Oh shit…" Shinji muttered as Unit–01 raised its Sonic Sword. "This isn't going to end well…"
The six remaining MPEs charged at Unit–01, their Spears of Longinus poised to strike. As they got close, one of the MPEs was impaled by two other Spears of Longinus, one went through its head, and the other through its Core, triggering yet another cross shaped explosion. The now five remaining MPEs scattered and moved away from the Evangelions as Unit–02 waived to Shinji.
"See, was that so hard?" Asuka asked.
"Well, it helps when you steal their weapons." Shinji replied. "But thank you all the same."
"All's fair in love and war, puppy." Mari quipped. "But you may want to pay attention, that distraction didn't last long."
Unit–01 turned around to see the five MPEs charging him again.
"Oh boy…" Shinji muttered.
"Hang on, puppy, I'm coming!" Mari said as Unit–XP ejected its power cable and charged towards Unit–01, raising its own mounted spear like a jouster. "Let's get it on!"
"Four eyes, what the hell are you doing!" Asuka shouted.
"Feeling my awesome sync score, princess!" Mari said. "So shut up and let me have my moment!"
As Unit–XP charged on its shoddy wheeled legs, Unit–01 raised its Sonic Sword and braced itself for a heavy assault, which it got. Two of the MPEs leapt at him, thrusting their Spears of Longinus at him, as Shinji parried the twin attack from above, another MPE slammed Unit–01 to the ground, and held it there, snapping and biting at it.
"Get off me!" Shinji shouted.
"Puppy!" Mari screamed as the MPE pinning him down raised its head and saw it's A.T. Field shattered, and then its neck impaled by Unit–XP's spear, tearing it off of Unit–01 as Unit–XP passed overhead much to Shinji's surprise. Unit–XP rolled to a gentle stop, holding its catch aloft in the air, its mouth sputtering blood as it appeared to gasp for air. "Stop fucking with my friends!"
"Mari!" Shinji shouted as he started to ease Unit–01 up, he was slammed by another MPE from the right, knocking his Sonic Sword away, having it skid across the flattened landscape. "Mari, get out of there!"
"Well, I've come too far for that now…" Mari muttered as the three unoccupied MPEs surrounded her and their wounded comrade. "Shame I missed the Core… but then you would've gotten hurt… so this is really the only way I can help."
"Mari, what are you saying?!" Shinji asked as Unit–01 wrestled with the MPE that tackled it. "Just pull out your spear thingy and get out of here!"
"Afraid I can't do that, Shinji." Mari said. "I fried the motors in the legs on that final charge here, so there isn't anything I can do but sacrifice my EVA for you guys. I'm dead in the water…"
"Four eyes, stop talking out your ass!" Asuka shouted as Unit–02 ran towards them. "This is why you needed to stay out of it! Don't do what Rei did!"
"Oh, don't worry so much." Mari joked. "I can eject…" Unit–XP held the injured MPE in the air, causing it to slide further down the spear, which increased in diameter, wounding the MPE even more than it already was. "But I need to finish off this thing's Core before I do…" Unit–XP raised its Gatling guns to the MPE's chest and pressed the barrels against it. "Eat lead, asshole!" Mari screamed as the Gatling guns unleashed a barrage of hot lead, ripping through its chest and out the other side. "Lock all control inputs and initiate emergency evacuation order Omega–055 on a ten second delay, activate self–destruct in twelve seconds." Mari said as the stream of bullets began to fracture the Core.
"Mari!" Shinji screamed. "MARI!"
"Oh relax, puppy." Mari said. "I'll be just fine."
The Entry Plug hatch cover blew itself off and the Entry Plug was fired into the air well away from Unit–XP. However, Mari's short two second delay between escaping and the self–destruct just wasn't long enough. The Entry Plug was caught in the ensuing explosion, just as the MPE's Core breached and created a cross shaped explosion, its shockwave slammed against Mari's Entry Plug, sending it flying off into the distance.
"WAHHHHHHH!" Mari screamed as her communications were cut off.
"No… I let it happen again…" Shinji muttered angrily. "I let my friends get hurt while I sat here and did NOTHING!"
A burst of energy emanated from Unit–01, sending the MPE it was grappling with flying backward. Unit–01's eyes turned dark red and it began to float on in the air and righted itself without having to move. Unit–01 deployed its impressive A.T. Field, ripping the ground apart and beginning the process of turning the sky red. Shinji saw his sync score jump to 150%, he didn't notice his eyes turn red once again, but he could feel his heart pounding in his chest. As he looked towards the three MPEs in front of him, Unit–01 broke its jaw restraints once again and let out a mighty roar. "ROOOOAAAAAARRRRRRRRRR!"
"No you're gonna pay!" Shinji roared as Unit–01 charged the three MPEs in front of him, using his right hand as his A.T. Field focused around it, he sent that fist through the first MPE's chest, vaporizing it and its weapon before it could even explode. The other two MPEs began a retreat, but Unit–01 was right on their heels, and leapt on the nearest one, with both of its hands engulfed in A.T. Field energy. It ripped right though the MPE like it was issue paper, and shattered it Core before the MPE had even finished being vaporized.
Shinji turned on the third MPE that was running from him and charged after it
"Here I go!" Shinji cried as Unit–01 leapt on more time. "Take this!" The MPE turned around just in time to see Unit–01's A.T. Field enhanced right hand plunge right at it. The MPE threw its Spear of Longinus at Unit–01, which was knocked aside by Unit–01's left hand. When Unit–01's hand struck the MPE, it sunk through the MPE's head, and slammed into the Core, shattering it and causing another cross shaped explosion that totally engulfed Unit–01 in the process.
"Shinji!" Asuka shouted.
As the blast dissipated, Unit–01 walked out of the cloud of dust and debris completely unscathed. It walked towards the discarded Spear of Longinus and picked it up, gripping it tightly as he turned and looked around for the final MPE.
"Shinji, you ok?" Asuka asked as she noticed the red sky beginning to dissipate.
"Yeah." Shinji replied curtly as Unit–01 focused its gaze on the final MPE. "Found it."
"Good." Asuka said happily. "So… one left…" Asuka said proudly. "Which of us should go kill it dead…"
"You should, Asuka." Shinji said. "It's only fair you finish these assholes off once and for all, considering…" Unit–01 tossed the final Spear of Longinus to Unit–02. "This should help."
"Thanks baka…" Asuka said. "I'll make sure it regrets fucking with us!"
Lilith was still motionless on its cross. She had been strapped there for so long, she had forgotten what leaving the Black Moon was really like. She had not had a reason to care for the outside world for some time, but instead dwelled on the endless cycles she spent hanging here, doing little to nothing but waiting for the inevitable, the coming of Third Impact. However, this time around, Lilith was still intact to feel Unit–01's mighty presence up on the surface.
'How quaint…' Lilith thought. 'I don't believe I've ever been witness to this power. He is awakening the beast within… I want to see that power for myself… I want to take that power as my own…' Lilith tried moving her body only to feel the twinge of pain where her hands were still securely fastened to the cross. 'Perhaps more effort would move these for me…' Lilith drew her hands forward sharply, ripping them free of the retraining bolts and falling into the sea of LCL below her, creating a small tidal wave emanating from where she had made contact.
Lilith slowly and unsteadily got up and looked above her, feeling Unit–01's power radiating downward. 'What would I do with the power when I take it…?' Lilith thought. 'This planet was already made in my image… but perhaps I could break this vicious cycle… I am so tired of being hung like a trophy in their basement.'
Lilith looked at her hands and saw the wounds had already healed. She took her hands and reached u to the mask covering her face and restricting her movement and tore it off, revealing nothing but a blank slate with a small nose and two dots for eyes. She walked through the broken doors that Kaworu had so kindly had removed the week before. She looked up the shaft and could see a speck of light high above her.
'Well…' Lilith thought. 'I've never had to do this myself… but can I still produce one…' Lilith focused and created a small, but powerful A.T. Field and began slowly ascending the shaft. 'I can't do much more than this… but that shouldn't be a problem for long.'
Rei stood there calmly, facing Ritsuko's gun without a look of fear or surprise. She gave her a blank look and disregarded her threatening stance.
"I thought you were in jail." Rei deadpanned.
"It's easy to escape when they cut the power." Ritsuko said. "The doors unlock themselves." Ritsuko looked at the Commander. "Well, at least someone is getting what they deserve." Ritsuko smiled maniacally. "Who beat me to it?"
"Does it matter?" Gendo asked. "I am dying."
"Oh it matters." Ritsuko said. "I want to know who to thank for this sight… this wonderful sight of you getting exactly what you deserve."
"S… Shinji…" Gendo said weakly. "He shot me."
"Well, look at that… the useless lump actually did something right for once…" Ritsuko muttered.
"Don't talk about him like that!" Rei shouted at her. "He is a better person than you could ever hope to be!"
"My, my." Ritsuko said sarcastically. "The doll's having an emotion. Come on doll, are you going to hurt me?"
"I don't need to." Rei said. "You have a self–destructive personality."
"Well, you out of anyone else would know about self–destructing." Ritsuko replied coldly. "But there isn't any way you can stop me."
"I can try." Rei said.
"Go ahead." Ritsuko said. "It won't do anyone any good."
"What are you planning, Akagi?" Gendo asked. "Are you going to shoot us?"
"I don't need to shoot you anymore." Ritsuko said. "I'm satisfied with the job someone already did on you, but her, the doll, I'll make her suffer first… and then I'll destroy this base."
"That is not possible." Rei said. "You do not have that power."
"Oh, but it is possible when your own mother designed the MAGI." Ritsuko said as she reached into her pocket and pulled out a remote. "Melchior, Balthasar, and Casper are the pieces of my mother's great mind… and I know how to manipulate them to do my bidding… and I will have them activate the self–destruct and destroy us all."
"It won't work." Rei said.
"Of course it will, doll." Ritsuko said. "Science is on my side, and there won't be any more lives for you either… I already saw to that. We all get to die together."
"I will not die." Rei said.
"That's what you think." Ritsuko said as she pressed the button on the remote. "Die with me mother… and take this horrific place straight to the depths of hell!"
Ritsuko closed her eyes and waited, but nothing happened.
"What… no… how could this be?" Ritsuko asked as she looked at the remote in horror seeing all three of the MAGI rejected her command. "You cannot deny me, you're only a machine!"
"It is more than that…" Gendo said as she shifted on the ground. "As eternal penance for killing Rei, your mother's soul was trapped in the MAGI, becoming a part of her work, and doing other's bidding… she would never listen to you… she never loved you."
"How dare you…!" Ritsuko screamed as she pointed the gun at Rei. "You cannot…"
Ritsuko dropped her gun to the floor and fell to her knees with blood slowly starting to pour out of a hole in chest.
"I never loved you." Gendo muttered.
"L… liar…" Ritsuko replied weakly.
Gendo looked over to Rei. "Go, now." Gendo said.
"I did not plan on staying." Rei replied. "There is someone more important who needs my help."
"Who could that possibly be?" Gendo asked.
"Shinji…" Rei said as she stepped over his dying body.
"Ah… he knows about you now." Gendo said. "Do not expect a warm welcome."
"I doubt very much that Shinji cares what my origins are." Rei said. "He is my onii–chan, and I will protect him."
"Rei, please do not leave me…" Gendo said. "I need you…"
"No." Rei said. "Whatever good deeds you could accomplish would not change my mind. You are beyond help and they could never make up for years of neglect towards myself and Shinji."
Rei left without another word as she listened to Gendo's muffled cries. She heard them all the way to the elevator, along with his shouting for her to come back to him and that there was still time. As the doors closed, the noise stopped and Rei breathed a sigh of relief. As the elevator began to ascend, Rei began to feel nervous.
"I hope I'm doing the right thing." Rei said quietly. "No.. I am doing the right thing… this is for onii–chan… no one else…"
Asuka was overjoyed. She could feel the weight of the false Spear of Longinus in her hand, almost as though she was holding it herself. She sighted the final MPE trying to run away, its wings slowly unfolding from the storage capsule in its back.
"Oh no you don't!" Asuka shouted as Unit–02 began charging the final MPE, spear in hand. The final MPE took to the sky slowly beating its wings to gain altitude, and Unit–02 sped up to try and catch it. As Asuka got near the MPE, Unit–02 leapt into the air and activated its retro rockets blue jests of fire, giving it just enough power to catch the MPE by the leg.
"I've got you now, you fucker." Asuka said proudly as the MPE tried to fly higher into the air, with the extra weight of Unit–02, it was only able to fly very slowly into the air with a very large amount of effort. The MPE then began to try and shake Unit–02 loose, to no avail.
"I'm not letting go that easily!" Asuka shouted. "You'll have to try harder!"
"Asuka, why didn't you use the damn spear?!" Shinji shouted.
"Well, I didn't want to miss!" Asuka shouted at him. "Then it would have gotten away."
"Stab it now!" Shinji said.
"But I'll fall like 1,000 meters." Asuka said. "That would hurt!"
"Asuka, I promise I'll catch you." Shinji said. "Just end this so we can go find Mari!"
"Oh, I forgot about her…" Asuka muttered. "Hold on a sec…"
Unit–02 took aim very carefully and brought the spear back as far as it could, aiming for where she hoped the Core was. "Take this!" Asuka shouted as Unit–02 plunged the Spear of Longinus into the MPE' back, fracturing the Core and setting off a cross shaped explosion, throwing Unit–02 from the explosion.
"Shinji, you better catch me!" Asuka shouted as Unit–02 fell from the sky.
"I'm right beneath you!" Shinji shouted. "Just hold on!"
"I swear to god, baka, if I even ouch the ground, I'm gonna kill you!" Asuka shouted.
"Asuka, just trust me." Shinji replied as unit–02 came flying at Unit–01, with Unit–01 catching her and skidding backwards several feet to absorb the force of the fall.
"See, you were worried about nothing." Shinji joked.
"You could have made it a nicer landing." Asuka said grumpily. "Now put me down, I can walk ya know!"
"I know Asuka." Shinji said as Unit–01 placed Unit–02 on its feet. "Better?"
"Yeah." Asuka said. "So… do you know where Mari went?"
"No, Asuka, that's why we need to look." Shinji said. "She got caught in the explosion… and…"
"Well, Rei survived, I'm sure that moron will be fine." Asuka said.
"But Asuka, Rei didn't…" Shinji caught himself.
"She didn't what, baka?" Asuka asked.
"She died that day, Asuka." Shinji said. "The Rei we know… isn't Rei…"
"Baka, you're not making any sense." Asuka said.
"Rei is a clone of my mother!" Shinji said loudly. "She died and was put into a new body!"
"Wha… are you high or something?" Asuka asked.
"No, Asuka, I'm not." Shinji replied. "I can explain it better later…"
"Shinji, are you ok?" Asuka asked.
"Yeah, it's just complicated." Shinji said. "She's like my sister… and we don't even know where she is."
"We'll find her, Shinji." Asuka said. "Don't worry."
"But it's what I do best." Shinji joked.
"I know, just stop." Asuka said. "Why don't we go and find Mari, then we can all look for Rei together."
"You think Mari's ok?" Shinji asked.
"She's too stubborn to die." Asuka replied. "She'll be fine." Asuka sighed. "So, she shot off in that direction… you go left, I go right."
"Ok." Shinji said. "What should we do when we find her?"
"No idea." Asuka said. "We'll figure it out when we find her."
The tone in the Command Center was quite elated. After watching the final MPE explode, the room erupted in cheering, and everyone breathed a sigh of relief. So, as Unit–01 and Unit–02 split up, the room calmed down and searched for signs of another incursion from the still present JSSDF.
"Status of defensive positions." Fuyutsuki ordered.
"All entrances are secure with the people we have left, sir." Hyuga reported.
"Fall back defensive positions are set up." Aoba said. "If they're in danger of losing the access point, they're to fall back immediately."
"Excellent." Fuyutsuki said. "Status of our search?"
"No sign of the Commander, Rei, or Dr. Akagi, sir." Maya reported. "The teams are stil looking, but perhaps it would be better if they were to help defend the base."
"Until the JSSDF attack, keep them on the search." Fuyutsuki ordered. "What about out in the Geofront and around the city? Are the air and ground clear of enemy targets?"
"No enemy armor or aircraft are present." Aoba replied. "The JSSDF lost all their aircraft in the attack."
"And based on the explosion of the N2 bombs, there aren't any left in the JSSDF arsenal." Hyuga replied. "At least according to our records."
"Where is Mari?" Fuyutsuki asked. "Do we have any idea of her whereabouts?"
"Well, after her last sync reading of 95.5%, we don't have any data. The Entry Plug stopped transmitting as soon as it ejected." Maya replied. "There's no sign of her emergency transponder, almost like she's disappeared or something."
"Is there any way we can deploy a recovery team to the Geofront?" Fuyutsuki asked. "She may be in need of medical attention."
"I'll see what we can do, sir." Maya said as something caught her attention. "Uh… sir?"
"What is it, Lieutenant?" Fuyutsuki asked.
"Something is floating out of Terminal Dogma." Maya said. "The sensors are down in the shaft… but I am picking up a latent Pattern Orange."
"Direct a sensor down there so we can get a clear reading." Fuyutsuki ordered.
"Understood, sir." Maya replied. "Oh my… sensors are detecting a Pattern Blue… and it matches to a pattern already registered in the system."
"Oh no…" Fuyutsuki muttered. "The Second Angel."
"Correct, sir." Maya replied.
"Inform the pilots of this development." Fuyutsuki said. "Tell them to get ready."
"Understood, sir." Maya replied.
Mari was sitting in her darkened Entry Plug waiting for someone to get her. She was otherwise unscathed, but she was afraid. Her restraints were stuck and she couldn't free herself, so she had to try and keep calm so that she didn't have a panic attack. The darkness kept reminding her of her first jaunt in an Entry Plug, when she was absorbed.
"Don't think about that now…" Mari muttered to herself. "You're not going to get absorbed again… everything's going to be fine… Shinji and Asuka will come get me… I won't be alone for very long…"
Mari looked around the darkened Entry Plug and couldn't see much, but she certainly couldn't see any light, so there weren't any leaks. The LCL was beginning to taste stale though, which meant the life support was offline.
"Oh… that's not good." Mari muttered. "I hope they get here soon, I'd rather not die in here… it wouldn't be very fun…"
Mari leaned back in the seat, which wasn't very easy considering Mari believed the Entry Plug was on its side, as she was leaning against her restraints awkwardly. Mari closed her eyes and breathed in deeply.
"Shame that I had to blow up my Evangelion…" Mari muttered. "It's not like there's any others just lying around to be used…"
Mari felt a dull pounding from outside. She looked up and started screaming. "Hey, I'm in here! I'm in here you guys!"
Mari got jostled as something picked up the Entry Plug.
"Guys, this isn't funny!" Mari shouted. "Just open the fucking hatch, I'm stuck!" Mari felt the Entry Plug shake. "Asuka, I swear to god, I will take a fucking piss in your panty drawer if you don't put me down!"
Mari felt the Entry Plug stop moving as the LCL began to heat up.
"What the fuck…" Mari muttered. "This isn't right… guys?" Mari called out. "Hello?!"
Mari looked in front of her as a figure materialized in front of her from the LCL itself. "Hello again, Mari."
"Oh, fuck no." Mari said. "Not you."
"But it is me, Mari." Lilith replied in her faceless form. "Didn't you miss me?" Lilith's form changed to that of Yui. "Hmm… this doesn't seem quite right anymore, does it?" Lilith's form changed again to that of Rei. "Oh, much better… I can see the pain on your face already. This will be very enjoyable indeed."
"How are you here?!" Mari shouted.
"Well, now that my proper body is free from the depths of NERV's subterranean complex, I took back my Core, which you so kindly left lying around… and of course, I sensed you all alone in this lovely little tube and thought it would be nice to catch up again… so I absorbed this too… it's been so long since we had a chat… isn't that right, Mari?"
"Fuck you!" Mari shouted.
"Ah… that mouth of yours is still a problem…" Lilith replied. "Well, it appears I'll have to try and correct that… especially if we're to spend eternity together again."
"That's not gonna happen you stupid cunt." Mari shouted. "My friends will come and get me this time!"
"Oh, the ones in those little armored abominations out there?" Lilith asked. "They won't be around much longer…"
"If you hurt them, I'll kill you myself." Mari shouted.
"Oh… it's so cute that you think you can still hurt me." Lilith said as she flicked her hand towards Mari. "It's time to remind you just how wrong you are." Lilith closed her hand into a tight fist, and Mari began screaming in agony and writhing in pain. "Oh how I've missed that sound…" Lilith said absentmindedly.
Shinji saw the great white mass ahead of him. After hearing Maya describe the Angel that had been restrained in Terminal Dogma, Shinji was of course worried about it, but when he felt Lilith blast herself from below them, he became even more worried.
"Asuka… did you feel that?" Shinji asked.
"Of course, baka." Asuka replied. "But what was that?"
"Probably the Angel." Maya replied. "The top of the Terminal Dogma's shaft was just blown off."
"Great… just when we thought we were done…" Asuka muttered. "Will this fucking day ever end?"
"Apparently not." Shinji muttered. "I found it though… Lilith…"
"Shinji, how do you know its name?" Maya asked.
"Kaworu… mentioned the name." Shinji said with a pause.
"So, its name is Lilith?" Asuka asked. "Doesn't matter… let's go kill it."
"We can try at least." Shinji said as he saw his Sonic Sword lying on the ground a short distance away. As Unit–01 picked it up, Shinji saw Lilith do the same. Unit–01 stood up and Shinji looked in Lilith's direction, zooming in on what she was picking up. "NO!" Shinji screamed.
"What now, baka?" Asuka asked.
"The Angel… she's got Mari!" Shinji shouted as Unit–01 ran towards Lilith. "She absorbed her Entry Plug and the Core!"
"What!?" Asuka shouted.
"Shinji, this is Sub–Commander Fuyutsuki." Fuyutsuki announced. "Do not engage Lilith."
"Why not?" Shinji asked.
"If you engage her in that state, you could begin instrumentality." Fuyutsuki said. "Do not engage Shinji, and the same goes for you, Asuka… we cannot risk it."
"What the fuck is instrumentality?" Asuka asked.
"Nothing good." Shinji said. "So what do we do?"
"Keep it occupied, but do not make contact." Fuyutsuki ordered. "It's the only way."
"Fine, we'll do our best." Asuka said. "Shinji, let's try and contain that thing."
"Right…" Shinji said. "Hold on Mari… we'll save you."
Lilith lifted herself off the ground and floated towards Unit–01. As it got close, she raised her right hand and sent Unit–01 flying backwards, and slammed Shinji into the ground.
As Shinji shook his head after the impact, he looked up to see Lilith standing over him and felt a kick to his gut, sending him rolling across the ground. "This is going to be tougher than we thought…" Shinji muttered.
"Don't you hit my baka!" Asuka screamed as Shinji saw Unit–02 body slam Lilith away from him. But before Asuka could follow up her attack, she too was flung across away from Lilith, and slammed into the ground.
"Asuka!" Shinji shouted.
"What, I'm fine. Don't worry about it." Asuka replied. "But you're right… this one's gonna be tough…"
Rei could feel the battle raging on the surface of the Geofront. Her connection to Lilith let her feel what was happening. As she got closer, she could see flashes of the battle. She saw Unit–01 and Unit–02 getting flung around like ragdolls, unable to get very close before being flung back. She also kept seeing flashes of Mari writhing in pain, screaming for help.
"I must hurry…" Rei muttered. "They are all in grave danger."
Rei began running until she found an access hatch to the Geofront and used her A.T. Field to rip it off its hinges, flinging it out of her way.
"I do not have time to waste…" Rei muttered as she ran up the stairs to a blocked passageway. She raised her hands and closed her eyes. "I said I do not have time for this…" Her A.T. Field flared up again and blew the debris out of her way, exposing the Geofront to her. Rei walked up out of the hole and looked around at the now barren landscape. All that was left of the once beautiful Geofront was the remains of NERV's pyramid, some of the sculpted hills, and three figures in the distance.
"There you are…" Rei said. "Onii–chan…"
As Rei began moving, she saw the two figures she assumed were Unit–01 and Unit–02 charge the third, Lilith, together. As they got close, Rei felt Lilith's A.T. Field form.
"Watch out!" Rei screamed.
She saw as her friends and their Evangelions get thrown towards her. Rei raised her won A.T. Field and caught her friends before they slammed into the ground. She lowered them gently down and watched as Lilith approached them.
"Rei?" Shinji asked through Unit–01's external speakers.
"What, what?" Asuka shouted using the same.
"Get out of here." Rei said. "I will handle this."
"Listen wundergirl… you may have hit your head… but you can't take on an Angel!" Asuka said. "Not without an Evangelion."
"I will be fine." Rei replied as the two Evangelions got up, with Unit–01 using the Sonic Sword still gripped in its hands. "I can handle this myself."
As Lilith stood in front of the Evangelions, its faceless form looked down on Rei and reached out her hands. Rei raised her own AT. Field and blocked Lilith from grabbing her.
"Stay away from my friends!" Rei said as he A.T. Field lifted Lilith into the air and restrained her.
"Rei, what are you doing?" Shinji asked.
"Saving Mari." Rei replied. Rei pushed one of her hands outward and blew out Lilith's chest cavity, ripping Mari's Entry Plug was from Lilith's body, sending it flying backwards, with the Core trailing not too far behind it. As Lilith writhing in pain, Rei slammed her into the ground, creating a small crater in the process. Rei then lifted Lilith back into the air and repeatedly slammed her into the ground until she got tired from exerting herself. Rei slowly picked herself up from the ground and looked over at Lilith's unconscious form. She watched as Lilith pulled herself up the same way Rei did and loomed over them.
"She is powerful…" Rei muttered. "But I will not give up."
Lilith reached out to grab Rei, and Rei tried to block it using her A.T. Field, but it would not form and Rei collapsed once again from exhaustion.
"No!" Shinji shouted as Unit–01 cut off the arm reaching for Rei with its Sonic Sword which, despite his efforts, still continued towards Rei and fell on top of her.
"I… have failed…" Rei muttered as Lilith's disembodied hand began to absorb her. "I tried so hard to stop this from happening… yet it has begun anyway. I am sorry… onii–chan…"
As Rei was absorbed into Lilith's hand, it began to morph into a pile of goo and shot back toward Lilith's body. Lilith's body then began to reform, with her chest cavity filling itself back in, and then began to change shape into what looked like a Giant Naked Rei just slightly taller than an Evangelion. It loomed over Unit–01 and Unit–02 and stared directly into Unit–01's eyes.
"What the hell is that…?" Shinji muttered. "Rei… REI!" Shinji screamed as Unit–01 and Unit–02 charged Lilith, only for Unit–02 to get thrown back and Unit–01 to get stopped midstride, and held in place by Lilith's reformed A.T. Field.
"Onii–chan…" Lilith said in a booming voice. "Join me…"
"No!" Shinji shouted.
Lilith reached out towards Unit–01 and grabbed it around the middle, and began to absorb Unit–01. Unit–01 tried to get away, but Lilith was too fast. Unit–01 struggled against her grip, but it was too late. Unit–01 was drawn into Lilith, and they merged with Lilith literally enveloping Unit–01 in a hug, tapping into its S2 Engine, and culminated in a massive, red, cross shaped explosion that turned the sky blood red and broke apart and cascaded into a massive tidal wave of energy and LCL, leaving the Lilith and Unit–01 standing there in their forced embrace as instrumentality began around them.
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 – 150.0% (+50.0%)
Asuka – 125.0% (+25.4%)
Mari – 95.5% (+10.0%)
Rei – 20.0% (No Change)
Firstly, the title does refer to instrumentality, which, even though it's been avoided like the plague, has inevitably begun because it is unavoidable.
Secondly, Rei. She has repeated the same line twice now, a line that fits her so perfectly, it may as well have been written for her. But it wasn't. The quote "I see now that the circumstances of one's birth are irrelevant. It is what you do with the gift of life that determines who you are." was spoken in Pokémon: The First Movie by Mewtwo. Rei said it once in passing to herself in Chapter 6, but this time, she says it to a wounded Gendo, and is basically telling him she's free from his plans, choosing her own path by making her own decisions. This line also ties into the dolls Shinji and Rei have, Shinji's Mewtwo, and Rei's Mew, further showing the odd brother/sister relationship the two have, similar to Mew and Mewtwo's own strange sibling relationship. Also with Rei, she hasn't just been sitting in the dark for the past few days, she's been training to use her power. Learning slowly how to manipulate her A.T. Field just to see if she could do it. So, when he attacks Lilith, she uses her newfound control to take what's in Lilith out, but ends up being absorbed into the whole, kick starting what was simply a plan to help save her friends. Rei is also able to take on Lilith because she is not weakened from years of being tied to a bunch of ancient warding meant to drain her power, and with her emotions in check and focused, unlike Lilith's fractured soul, Rei has the advantage.
Finally, the final battle between the MPEs and the three, then two Evangelions. After the incident with Bardiel, Ritsuko created an inhibitor program to control the Dummy System better. Because Fuyutsuki cut the program and Unit–01 fried the Rei based system it was never implemented at NERV. But seeing as Ritsuko was an agent of SEELE, they ended up with the technology and implemented it on the MPEs. However, seeing as they were faced with more resistance than they originally assumed, they shut off the inhibitors, allowing the MPEs to become stronger. But they are finally gone and they aren't coming back, that much I can promise you.
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.