"Eagle, this is Omega of the fifth airbourne recon group, ground zero is 35.341/138.709, total diameter about three kilometers, hardly visible though the smoke, copy"

First Sergeant Mori was sitting in his seat in an MCH-101, while the pilot maneuvered the helicopter closer to the smoking crater of the explosion that took place 36 minutes ago, waiting for response of Hamamatsu air base.

"Omega, this is Eagle. Move in to 1,5 kilometers of ground Zero and circle around it while keeping the distance, copy"

Two minutes after the explosion, General Malek of the UN combined forces declared the entire Honshu region a restricted area, and already hunderds of vehicles and thousands of soldiers were moving in to secure it.

"Eagle, this is Omega, understood, copy"

The MCH-101 was quickly advancing towards the cloud of smoke, when Mori noticed a metallic surface refclecting the sun through the clouds of smoke.

"Eagle, this is Omega - unidentified object hidden within the smoke, metallic surface, at least thirty meters tall, possibly more, copy"

"Omega, this is Eagle, keep the current distance and circle around target, copy"

The pilot immediately stopped the advance towards the object and started flying towards the peak of Mt. Fuji, when the object started emerging from the smoke

"Eagle, this is Omega, target is moving towards Fuji city, speed approximately 80kph, copy"

"Omega, this is Eagle-" the buzz in ground control HQ was unmistakable, and the radioman's voice was sounding more and more stressed "- do you have line of sight to the target?"

"Eagle, this is Omega, positive. Ninety meters tall, skin looks like it's polished steel, looks human minus a head, copy"

"Omega, this is Eagle, clear distance to three thousand meters, we are attacking the target with SAM missiles, copy"

The pilot of the helicopter turned the machine away from the giant and headed the other direction, while Mori was staring out to the three Kongou-class destroyers launched their guided missiles at the colossus, when suddenly a bright, red beam erupted from what would be the chest on a human, ripping one of the three ships into pieces.

"Eagle to all units, Choukai has been annihilated - steer clear of the target immediately!" the voice behind the radio was clearly panicking. Seconds later, the missiles hit their target and once again clouded the metal giant in smoke. The two remaining Kongou-class vessels were already in the process of reversing away from it, when one of them was hit by the same kind of beam as Choukai, with the same result - the second ship of the Kongou-class, once pride of the JSDFN, was annihilated.

"Eagle to all units! Myoko has been vaporised! Retreat immediately, retreat immedi-" The voice was hysterically screaming, before being cut off.

"Eagle to all Units" the callsign was the same, but the voice was a different one. Far deeper, calmer. "Clear out the area immediately, we will hit the target with cruise missiles in 48 seconds, over"

The next minute, noone dared say a single word. Ten seconds before the announced time of impact, three dots appeared on the horizon, quickly becoming bigger, until they reached their designated target and detonated in a flash of light. The shockwave following the simultaneous detonation of three ballistic missiles was enough to cause the helicopter to be thrown off course by several meters, before the pilot could get a hold of it again an elevated it back to its original height. When the smoke cleared, Mori almost dropped his binoculars at the sight of the giant standing unscathed, facing the sea.

"Eagle, this is Omega - the missiles had no effect on the target, copy"

The response from ground control came the better part of a minute later. "Eagle... to all units. Retreat to your designated home base. Over."

As the pilot turned the helicopter away towards Chitose air base, Mori was staring in disbelief, as the giant of steel was turning to the southwest, towards capital city Tokyo-2.

"Eagle, this is Omega, target is turning southwest, towards the capital!"

This time, the response followed at hand: "Omega, this is Eagle. Understood, over."

During the flight back to Chitose, first Sergeant Mori was thinking about why all troops were ordered to retreat, when suddenly, a blindingly bright flash of light erupted from Mt. Fuji, followed by a column of fire towering over anything else in his field of vision. "Shockwave, Shockwave, Shockwave!", he shouted as the rest of the helicopter crew were clenching to the holding bars inside the helicopter. The shockwave followed minutes later, and despite the distance tossed the helicopter around like a toy, until the piot managed to get it under control again. Mori, staring in disbelief at the cloud of fire still visible, muttered to himself "...so this is the power of an N2 missile. There is no way this thing could have survived"

"Eagle... to all Units. The missile did not hit its target. I repeat, the missile did not hit its target. It was struck by a beam of the being thirty seconds before reaching it, the target is unharmed. Continue carrying out your last order, over" Mori's hands were shaking. The military's ultimate weapon, combined effort of brilliant scientists from all nations, was effeortlessly intercepted. "May the gods help us in this fight... because noone else can anymore" he mumbled, to himself more than to anyone else.

Back in Hamamatsu, the usually quiet and professional ground command office looked like there had been an earthquake. Chairs were laying on the ground without any sense or method to it, all desks and a good portion of the floor were covered in paper prints, everyone was in a state of immense shock, and the moment the N2 missile detonated before hitting its target, the otherwise calm and composed General Malek took the screen of one of the control computers and threw it on the ground. "How could this happen!?" he yelled. "Not even our most sophisticated anti-aircraft systems can hit a N2 missile so that it detonates!" Colonel Mayers, second in command of the base, and visibly wishing he would be far away right now, gulped and then asked, what General Malek intends to do now. The response was stern: "What I am going to do? Like it or not, we'll have to hand over command to those charlatans of NERV and pray that one of their ominous wonder weapons will turn out to be more than a giant memorial to the waste of taxpayer's money!"

Deep underground in the geofront of Tokyo-3, the phone of NERV First Lieutnant Makoto Hyuga rang. He answered the phone with "First Lieutnant Hyuga, NERV ground command", spoken in a calm, but emphatic way. The person on the other end, a deep, male voice responded with "General Malek, UN combined forces. I hereby transfer the task of intercepting and killing the giant of steel sighted at Mount Fuji to your organization." With that, he hung the phone without even so much as waiting for a response of Hyuga.

From the back of the impressive, fort-like command bridge, a rough, deadly calm voice confirmed Hyuga's guess: "Mankind alone simply cannot take on the angels on its own." The voice belonged to Supreme Commander Ikari, the mysterious, cold man who established NERV. "Ready Unit 00 for launch, and have Rei put on her pilot suit." Vice Commander Fuyutsuki, a professor in his late 50s, was reaching for the phone. "An angel has been sighted. Rei, you will pilot Unit 00 in combat." Rei was sitting on a bench reading a book somewhere in a side corridor when the call arrived. She replied with "yes, vice Commander" before she closed her book, got up and headed for the changing rooms. Upon arriving there, she undid the red tie at her neck that held the two blue fabric loops over her shoulders in place, unbuttoned her skirt and let it slide down her legs before opening her blouse. After taking off her underwear, too, she grabbed her plug suit. Rei put the white suit on the floor, stepped in the leg pieces and pulled the piece up to her chest, sliding her arms into the sleeves and settling the triangular back section gently on her shoulers before pressing a button on her wrist that compressed the suit to make it skin tight. Rei left her regular clothing laying on the floor unsorted as she stepped out of the room into the cold air of cage seven, where Unit 00 was kept in. If the came back from this mission, she would pick them up herself; if not, someone else would have to do it anyway. Rei walked over the bridge in front of its head and looked it into its huge red eye for a second, before stepping on its shoulders to get into the entry plug sticking out of its back. The hatch shut, and for a few seconds, the plug was filled with complete darkness and silence. Rei closed her eyes. Over the speakers, she heard first Lieutnant Ibuki announce to her that the plug would be filled with LCL. When the liquid rose above her mouth, she took a deep breath and let it fill up her lungs. After First Lieutnant Ibuki announced that the LCL was being ionized, she saw a quick flash of colors through her eyelids, before things returned back to normal. Opening her eyes for a second, Rei saw the familiar sight of cage seven and closed them again, until the startup procedure was completed and the Evangelion was resting on its launch pad. "Unit 00 - Launch!" This time it was the voice of First Lieutnant Aoba. Rei opened her eyes as she was pressed into her pilots seat by the acceleration forces, and saw the armor plates and occasional lamp rushing by as the magnteic catapult was quickly taking the massive, yellow Evangelion Unit to the surface.

A few kilometers outside of the city of Tokyo-3, the ground elevated and revealed the exit of the catapult shaft. Despite the shock absorbers at the top of the building, the halt was rather aprupt, causing Unit 00's head to rock up and lifting Rei a few centimeters off her seat. "Umbilical cable attached, releasing final safety locks!" This time it was Ibuki again. At each shoulder, two massive bolts retracted, dropping Unit 00 about two meters down until it stood on its own feet. "Rei, we will be sending you a pallet rifle - you know the drill!" Contrary to Rei, Hyuga was virtually bursting with excitement. At arm's length away from the Evangelion, another pice of ground elevated and, after the shutters opened, revealed a rifle. Rei made Unit 00 reach for it, and briefly looked at it before heading out into the direction the display to her left was showing that the angel to be.

As Rei made her way around the mountain, moving as silently as it is possible in a 80 meters tall war machine, she saw the first helicopters circling around the angels. "Now would you look at that. The combined forces are still pretending they have things under control." This remark came from Satsuki Ooi, one of the Second Lieutnants back in HQ. While it got a chuckle of everyone on the bridge except Supreme Commander Ikari, Rei did not pay any attention to it. Instead, she leapt forward a few steps and took cover behind a small montain. "Rei, the angel will be around the mountain in fifteen seconds! Fire as soon as you see it!", Hyuga yelled through the commlink. Instead of answering, Rei was observing the helicopters to predict when the angel would be around the corner, while counting down from fifteen.

When she reached Zero, Unit 00 jumped out of cover and fired two bursts of fire from its pallet rifle. The angel was standing about 400 meters away from her, a giant that looked like a human made of polished silver, without a head or neck, with two black holes, each possessing a faint orange light in the middle, on its chest and a red sphere right below it. For a brief glimpse, the angel and Unit 00 were standing there motionless, looking at each other. Rei pulled up her rifle again and fired another two bursts at the angel, of which all bullets hit their target, but either ricocheted or were absorbed by the angel, which in return generated one of the red beams that vaporized the destroyers earlier. Unit 00 was hit in the chest before it could get back into cover, which had Rei shriek in pain, until the massive body of Unit 00 was completely hidden behind the hill. "Rei..." it was the voice of Commander Ikari "...its body is resilient to this kind of attack, the bullets will be of no use. You have to take it down in close combat." Rei took a deep breath, and her face went expressionless again, as she made her Evangelion jump out of cover and charge towards the angel, while firing short bursts at it, as predicted to no effect.

Four steps before reaching the angel. Rei pushes a button on her rifle, and a bayonet blade unfolds from the barrel overlay.

Three steps. The angel takes a step forward.

Two steps. Unit 00's upper body twists to its right side to gain momentum.

One step. The angel's right arm reaches back for a punch.

Zero steps. Unit 00 leaps forward, brings the rifle around and jams the bayonet into the red sphere on the angel's abdomen.

The angel's swing comes to an aprupt halt, and the air is filled with a sharp, screeching noise, as the red sphere begins to crumble, and the angel melts into a river of liquid metal, covering the landscape beow it in a thick silver coat.

Back in Nerv HQ, everyone except Commander Ikari, who was putting on his usual half-hidden smirk, was letting out a sigh of relief. "Great job, Rei! You saved us all!" First Lieutnant Ibuki could barely contain her joy.

"Rei... return to the launch pod and wait for the ground forces to pick you up." The delightful laughter that filled the bridge was dying down as soon as Commander Ikari spoke. Over the commlink, Rei replied with a single word: "Yes"

-Author notes-

Thank you to everyone who took the time to read up to this point! No big revelations yet, so I will use this space to distinguish between official characters and those made up for this fic (only those who appeared for the first time in this chapter - will be included in every chapter).

Obviously canon:
Rei Ayanami, Gendo Ikari, Kozou Fuyutsuki, Makoto Hyuga, Shigeru Aoba, Maya Ibuki
Obscure, but still official:

Satsuki Ooi - NERV techie in the Shinji Ikari Raising Project

Raziel - an angel only appearing in the NG proposal. Described as a giant of steel.

Made up:
First Sergant Mori - some random chopper crew, no relevance to the plot

General Malek - commanding officer of UN combined forces

Colonel Mayers - Malek's second in command at Hamamatsu air base

All military technology and locations are either real or appear in official Evangelion media

-this was rewritten to correct a few minor mistakes and improve a few scenes-