Neon Genesis Evangelion: Altered Destinies
"Damn, damn damn!" Misato Katsuragi swore as she swung the little car into a dangerous turn. "I am so late!" she whimpered.
The plan had looked so simple just this morning. She would go out and get Shinji Ikari, then take him right back to NERV headquarters. They'd brief him on the Angels and explain Evangelion to him then hit him with the sales pitch: the opportunity to pilot Evangelion. She was sure they could sell him on it, especially if they kept the Commander away from Shinji at first.
Then of course it all went straight to hell.
An Angel was on it's way here and they weren't prepared, not really. No healthy pilot, the UN forces nearly useless against the Angel and Shinji coming to a city with no active transport because of the emergency shut-down. So Misato grabbed her car and bolted, hitting the streets and praying that she could reach Shinji before the Angel arrived.
Misato looked down at the folder sitting on the seat beside her then back out to the road. Shinji looked like a nice kid, a bit repressed but nice in his school photo. The delicate face oddly suited the casual T-shirt, though she did find herself wondering why the kid wasn't dressed in uniform. 'Wish I had more time, I barely looked through the file yet,' Misato thought glumly.
The car hit a bump and sailed up into the air a moment before hammering down so hard her teeth rattled. "There goes the suspension," she muttered, thinking despairingly of all the payments that she still had to make on it. Her cellphone rang and she fumbled with it, "Yes?"
"Have you found Shinji yet?" Ritsuko Akagi's voice was crisp, but there was real concern in her tone of voice. She could almost imagine the blonde scientist standing there, her hands hidden in the pockets of that white labcoat she usually wore.
"I'm on my way to the train station now," Misato answered as she steered with one hand on the wheel, the other holding the phone to her ear, "should be there in a few moments."
"You may not have the time," Ritsuko answered seriously, "the UN forces are barely delaying the Angel. It's going to be walking the streets of Tokyo-3 soon and I don't want you there."
"We can't leave Shinji out here all alone," Misato answered, "but as soon as I grab him I'll be heading back, I promise."
"Him?" Ritsuko sounded confused, "Misato, you didn't read the file..."
"I looked through it," Misato swung the car around a corner, clipping a sign, "besides, I think this is all just a bit too much of a coincidence."
"The Angel attacking us now, with Shinji here..." Ritsuko murmured, "you think that the Angel is aware of Shinji, somehow?"
"I hope not. I see him," Misato exclaimed excitedly as she slammed on the brakes and hung up with a fast, "see you later, Ritsuko!" The car skidded to a stop and she flung the passenger door open as she yelled to him, "Get in!"
The slim figure in T-shirt and pants blinked at her in confusion, "What?"
"Get in here now!" Misato barked out, trying to put all of the command that she could into her tone of voice.
Just then the street shook, almost as if a giant foot had struck it, then the sound of a boom roared over them. "Right," Shinji dived inside even as Misato slammed the door shut behind him and raced off, stomping on the gas pedal. "Miss Katsuragi, right?" Shinji asked nervously.
Misato nodded crisply. "Sorry I'm so late but I ...," Misato started only to trail off once she got a good look at her passenger. The photo had been deceptive, hiding the long ponytail and concealing the delicate curve of breasts beneath the white shirt. "You're a girl?" she blurted out.
"Ah, yes," Shinji blinked, her expression clearly quizzical. "Is that a problem?" she asked Misato tentatively.
"Sorry," Misato turned her eyes back to the road as her thoughts raced. 'Oh hell,' she mused, 'I sent her that photo of me in that bathing suit, too....'
"What's going on?" Shinji asked as attack helicopters roared by overhead.
"Oh hell," Misato breathed as the figure moved between the buildings off in the distance. It looked like a parody of a human being, a black skinned, eagle beaked figure shambling through the city, ignoring weapons fire and everything else that they could throw at it.
"What is that?" Shinji squeaked.
"Something we don't want to mess with right now," Misato muttered as they raced away, the whine of the car's engine showing the strain it was under. Out to the edges of the city they ran, Misato concentrating on putting distance between them and the Angel.
"Why are we stopping?" Shinji asked as the car pulled over.
Misato produced a pair of binoculars from the glovebox, gazing back towards the Angel that was moving through the city. "We need to know what's going on," she answered, magnifying the view of the Angel. It took her a moment to realize that the aircraft were moving away from the Angel, zipping off as fast as possible.
"What's wrong?" Shinji asked, the young woman noticing her tensing up.
"They're going to use an N2 mine," Misato murmured, eyes wide. She turned to grab Shinji, forcing her down even as she yelled, "Duck!"
The sky went pure white over the Angel, a mushroom cloud rising up over where it had been standing. The shockwave rapidly rippled outward, hammering at the car and sending them rolling until they thumped to a stop on the side of the car. There was a moment of silence, the car rocking slightly while dust and smoke hung in the air.
"Are you all right?" Shinji asked, the young woman awkwardly hanging there in her seat held in by her seatbelt.
Misato shook her head, trying to clear the cobwebs. "Yeah, I think so," she answered, reaching for her seatbelt, "how about you?" She unclipped it and then thumped down to the side door, whimpering softly, "Owee."
Shinji managed to get free a little better, gripping the seat as she unclipped. "My ears are ringing," she conceded as they crawled out of the battered car, "but I'm fine."
"Unlike my poor car," Misato said, looking over the car mournfully. 'Definitely going to owe money on this,' she thought, running through all the repairs it was going to need.
Shinji looked back towards the city, her expression worried. "Do you think they stopped that thing?" she turned back to ask.
"I doubt it," Misato said frankly, "which means we need to get out of here soon." She walked over to the car and braced herself to push, "Care to give me a hand?"
"Right," Shinji hurried over to help.
Together they pushed and rocked the small car, eventually managing to get the wheels back onto the ground. Rummaging around in the back Misato found some duct tape and roughly reattached the front fender then swiped some car batteries from a nearby store to get them the juice they were going to need to get going.
"Are you sure this is legal?" Shinji asked.
"I'm a government official," Misato waved it away casually as she continued, "and this is an emergency situation."
Shinji gave her a skeptical look as they entered the darkness of the tunnel, "I don't think the store owner is going to buy that."
Misato had to smile at that, feeling oddly glad this Shinji had some nerve. "You're not as cute as I thought you were," she said with a slight smile as they moved onto a specially built conveyer belt. The car was carried on through a heavy metal door even as Shinji looked around her, wide eyed.
"What is this place?" Shinji asked as the car came to rest in a large cradle that swiftly carried them downwards.
Misato took a folder and passed it over to her, "We're in the headquarters of the United Nations special agency, NERV."
"NERV?" Shinji echoed as she took the folder, looking through it curiously.
"We were founded by the United Nations with one purpose only," Misato said as the car passed through the layers of armor into an open area, "to combat the Angels."
Shinji's eyes went wide as they descended, the underground construction of NERV's headquarters visible to her at last. "Wow," she exclaimed excitedly, "a real geo-front!"
Misato smiled, quietly filling in details for Shinji even as her thoughts were elsewhere. 'Can this girl do what we'll need her to do?' she wondered. 'Do we even have the right to ask this of her?' They came to a stop and got out of the car, standing on a moving sidewalk. "We'll be there before you know it," Misato said only to stop in surprise as they passed through a gate to see who awaited them.
"It took you long enough, Captain Katsuragi," Ritsuko scolded, quickly checking them both over for any sign of injury.
"Sorry, Ritsuko," Misato said with a smile, "things got kind of hectic out there."
"I know," Ritsuko said quietly.
Shinji was looking curiously between them. "Where are my manners," Misato smiled, "Shinji Ikari, I'd like you to meet NERV's head scientist Ritsuko Akagi."
"Welcome to NERV," Ritsuko gave Shinji a surprisingly gentle smile, at least for her.
"Hello," Shinji bowed slightly then plaintively asked, "what's going on?"
"You didn't explain?" Ritsuko gave Misato a look.
"Started to, but..." Misato shrugged.
"The commander wants to see us," Ritsuko said as she lead them off, "I'll explain everything I can on the way."
To be continued...