[A/N]: This story was finished mid 2001. Next planned fanfic will be one featuring Julia Chang from the Tekken video game. Afterwards, I hope to return to finish up the Evangelion series I've started. This story is complete, but I plan on about three more stories with the evangelion characters to tie into this story. C&C is most definitely welcome. Please enjoy the story. Take care.

[Disclaimer: This is a work of fan fiction and I claim no ownership of the character of Evangelion.]

Evangelion I: Dance of the Marionette

By: Akihiro Katayama

-Chapter 1-

"Rei, you're back-up. Fall back to the rendezvous point and wait for further orders."

"Understood."

I hung back as the other two units piloted by Shinji Ikari and Asuka Langley proceeded towards the designated target. Maneuvering cautiously around the tall buildings, taking care not to scrape any of the structures with my giant rifle, I made my way to the specified area at the edge of the city where I would have a clear shot at the Angel should the need arise.

The bright sun was gone now, barely peeking over the dark mountains on the horizon. Rising tall above the silhouetted buildings was the massive frame of an Angel. Two long and thick tentacles were in place of its arms and another four tentacles, just as long but not as thick, protruded from its back. It stood motionless, allowing the Evas to slowly surround it. Set deep within its chest was a glowing red crystal. The Angel's core seemed to wink in the pale light.

Unit Two, a bright red color like a living torch, stalked closer and closer to the Angel. The tall, slender shoulder blades that extended up beyond the top of its head could be seen occasionally as they slipped quietly through the evacuated city. The large external power cable jutted out from behind its back, and trailed behind Unit Two like some giant, mindless snake. There was the faint sound of hydraulic legs coiling up as Unit Two slowly crouched down, holding its incredible spear in front of it.

"Asuka?" Ikari-kun said with a slight edge in his voice.

"Relax, Shinji. I know what I'm doing."

And with that Unit Two jumped high in the air, twirling its spear in a whirlwind frenzy, and landed directly beside the Angel. I saw a thick cloud of dust explode around the figures as the pavement broke beneath the tremendous impact. With a quick turn of its mighty torso, Unit Two spun around and caught the Angel full in the chest cavity, embedding the spear deeply within the Angel's thick hide. Asuka's image soon appeared on my control panel; she was looking in Ikari-kun's direction.

"How's that for piloting?" she asked, a small smile creeping out from the corners of her mouth. She twisted the spear a little, wringing a few desperate twitches from the Angel before continuing. "I bet even old Wondergirl couldn't do this," she said, glancing in my direction for emphasis.

I looked back at her but said nothing. I disliked the name she had given me, but was unsure how to tell her without causing a conflict. That was Asuka. Always striving to become the best even at the expense of others. To her, life is a battle to be fought, not a path to be traveled.

I was about to severe the connection between our Evas when suddenly Ikari-kun's voice came over the audio link. It was loud and frenzied.

"Asuka! Look out!"

He had barely spoken these words before Unit Two suddenly turned to witness the impaled Angel bear down upon her. It reached out one of its tremendous tentacles, wrapping it around Unit Two's waist and, with its great strength, lifted it up kicking and twisting into the night sky. Unit Two reached behind its back frantically, desperately seeking its progressive knife. The right shoulder blade slid open and the progressive knife was quickly grasped by a panicked, giant red hand. It had just begun to apply the knife's edge to the tentacle when the Angel suddenly jerked its limb downward, bringing Asuka's Eva crashing into the ground. The knife skittered out of Unit Two's hand as the Angel once again raised it up only to slam it once more into the pavement. Asuka's picture disappeared from my console in a quick flash of static.

Instinctively, I raised my rifle and sighted along the barrel, the automatic locking mechanism created a targeting circle and crosshairs. The sights lined up perfectly, my finger poised on the trigger. Inside the targeting circle, Unit Two was hoisted once again, directly in the path of the target. I didn't have a clear shot.

"ASUKA!!" Ikari-kun screamed over the intercom.

Unit One, all dark purple and raging fury, suddenly sprinted forward as though it sought to impale the Angel with the single long, sharp horn that extended from where its nose should have been.

"Shinji! No!!" Misato's voice came through the audio link as Unit One continued to charge the Angel, shouldering its rifle as it ran.

Ikari-kun brought his Eva to a halt a few blocks away from the Angel and opened fire. The bullets ricocheted off a shimmering area surrounding the Angel. An A.T. field. One of its limbs lashed out at Unit One like a whip, sending Ikari-kun headfirst into a cluster of buildings in the middle of Tokyo-3. The Angel raised up its tentacle, looked once at the limp form of Unit Two, before hurling it into a separate section of buildings. The structures bent easily, collapsing under the weight and force of Unit Two. Unit Two was stopped only by the reinforced armory building, leaving it propped up against the lone building, facing the Angel. Its four eyes had grown dim, and I knew that inside Asuka was fighting to stay conscious.

The Angel began to glow and pulsate, the air around it seeming to warp and twist in response to this unearthly force. The sky seemed to brighten as the Angel suddenly emitted a brilliant red glow. I quickly trained my rifle in the area between Unit Two and the Angel.

With a deafening howl, the Angel arched back and a flash of light suddenly filled my vision. I closed my eyes tightly against this intrusion, praying that I would not miss as I tensed my hand and pulled the trigger.

A series of bursts shook my Eva as my rifle fired off a volley of bullets. It didn't take long for my vision to return, and when I opened my eyes, I found that my bullets had hit my target and that the spear that had violently shot out from the Angel's body had been deflecting enough for Unit Two to avoid it by simply rolling onto its side. The weapon sheared through a city block before coming to a rest a short distance from me.

Ikari-kun had managed to regain control of his Eva and brought it standing to its feet. The Angel faced Ikari-kun, once again raising its A.T. field. I saw Unit One raise its rifle and sight along the barrel to the Angel's core. As Ikari-kun vainly tried to punch through the field with his bullets, a barely calm voice reached my ears.

"Rei. You've got to neutralize its field and engage it in hand to hand combat. Shinji, you cover Rei's unit and Asuka's escape. Shinji? Shinji, stop firing and listen to me."

But Ikari-kun didn't stop until his rifle was out of rounds, and once it did, he simply reloaded another clip and began firing wildly at the Angel.

"Shinji! Dammit! Asuka, get out of there now. Your Eva's too badly damaged."

"No." Asuka managed to say. "I'm not beaten yet.no way in Hell I'm gonna run away with my tail between my legs."

"That's an order, Asu-- damn," Misato said.

I looked back at Unit Two, which had slowly begun to rise to its feet. She must have cut the communication to headquarters. My attention was soon drawn north as Ikari-kun was thrown against yet another building complex.

I have to help, I thought and prepared to lay down the rifle to rush the Angel and hopefully neutralize its A.T. field with my own, when a bright red blur appeared out of the corner of my eye.

Unit Two ran towards me, snatching the rifle from my hands and roughly pushing me aside. She turned towards the Angel and let loose a barrage of fire. The bullets easily penetrated through the buildings that stood around the Angel, bringing many of them crumbling to the ground. She continued holding the trigger even after Angel had faded from view.

"Asuka! Asuka!!" Misato's voice was loud over the link, clearly upset over disobedience displayed by both Asuka and Ikari-kun during this training mission.

The imaginary bullets coming from the practice rifle soon disappeared into thin air, signifying that the simulation was over. Asuka finally released the trigger and the rifle slide from her open fingers to fall crashing down upon the virtual battlefield.