Neon Genesis Evangelion: Altered Destinies

Launch Twenty Eight

The angel didn't function like others of it's kind had. Foolishly the Angels had followed instinct, seeking out their 'father' Adam, to achieve ascension. This angel had determined a new method of achieving it's goal, instead trying to control the entire city. It spread it's substance all over the city, like a disease of technology, and remade the machines of humanity.

The humans scurried entertainingly as they tried to escape, running on foot or foolishly trying to escape using vehicles. Only a touch from the angel was enough for it to start reshaping the cars and trucks, and it got a strange pleasure in reshaping the vehicles around the screaming humans.

Now it was pulling material together, armoring it's core in human machines to ready itself for a advance on NERV. Across the city cars, trucks, tanks and other machines came together, each one becoming a unique extension of the angel. Lumbering, powerful organic steel creatures came together, armed with re-purposed technology, then almost as one they began to move.

In the launch cages the Evangelions were each readied for launch. Shinji sat in the cockpit of Unit-01, her short hair flowing in the LCL. She turned to see Rei and Asuka in their Evangelions, and on the other side was Kensuke in Unit-04, the silvery Evangelion waiting to go.

"You ready for this, Ken?" Asuka asked him pointedly as they monitored the radio traffic on the surface. There was a lot of panicked police and military chatter coming in, but not much practical information yet.

Ken shrugged slightly as the young man answered, "Ready as I'll ever be." He paused then asked, "Do the bosses have a plan yet?"

"Working on it," Misato cut in from the bridge. "Looks like we're going to have to launch you early, however," she said.

"What's the situation?" Rei asked as they moved to the magnetic launch rails that would send them to the surface.

"Bardiel has created several metal bodies which are advancing on NERV," Misato said, "and conventional forces haven't stopped them."

"So it's up to us," Shinji said as she eased her Evangelion onto the rails."Weapons?" she asked as she braced for launch.

"I want you to use the rifles," Misato answered, "and do your best to stay out of these things reach! We still don't know if the Evangelions can be taken over too."

"Sounds fun," Asuka said dryly as the redhead braced for launch. In seconds the Evangelion squad were fired up towards the surface, to attempt to fight something unlike the other enemies they had faced before.

0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0

Gendo Ikari was disturbed as they studied the security camera feeds they were getting from out in the city, sitting just above the command crew on his observation deck slash throne. The team was readying the Evangelions for launch, even as they watched the chaos out in the city grow. "Bardiel isn't acting like the typical Angel," he noted quietly to Kozo.

"No, it isn't," Kozo agreed as the older man studied the data. "Not that there is a typical Angel anyway. They each seem to be prototypes for new lifeforms..."

"Hmm," Gendo grunted. He understood the theory that each Angel was a successor life form for humanity, and that they needed to reach Adam to replace us. Anyway, the scrolls had been frustratingly vague as to what Bardiel would be, and this was NOT what he had expected.

"We've lost vehicles, but thankfully the entity isn't absorbing buildings," Kozo noted. "I wonder why though?"

Gendo nodded as he raised his voice and asked the bridge crew, "Doctor Akagi, do we know why it isn't absorbing buildings and other large structures?"

"Mobility issues, I expect," Ritsuko admitted as she watched the Evangelion launch up into the city, "it can absorb the buildings, but then it would have to tear them up from the foundations. That would be a waste of energy."

It was a guess, but Gendo nodded, as a guess, it did make sense. He watched the screens as the four Evangelions deployed, moving out together to face the enemy. Three of them walked fairly smoothly as they each retrieved rifles, only the silvery Unit-04 moving at all awkwardly.

"Is Aida really ready for field operations?" Gendo asked flatly.

"He's better prepared than Shinji was," Misato answered dryly, getting a frown from Gendo. "Besides, I intend to not have him directly engage the enemy. Sniping and long range attacks only, this time," she shrugged.

Gendo didn't mention the old saying that plans never survived contact with the enemy. They all knew it anyway. "Miss Ibuki, status of the Positron Rifle?" he asked.

Maya looked harried but answered, "We're nearly finished. We had to recruit Jet Alone to haul it, and we've mated it with Jet Alone's reactors for power."

"Clever," Kozo muttered.

Gendo, however, did not look pleased. "I am not happy that we are allowing non-staff into NERV's sensitive areas," he said flatly.

Maya gave a surprisingly casual shrug. "I asked you, it was in the original ops plan," she met his eyes, "I though you had read it?"

Gendo opened his mouth to slap her down for disrespect, then closed it. He couldn't recall the entire plan, and it WAS possible she slipped it in there... "Very well," he said after a moment, "but we will discuss this later."

"The Evangelion have engaged the enemy," Misato announced.

0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0

Kensuke Aida did his damndest not to let the pants wetting terror get to him, but it was hard. Up until a short time ago he had been a ordinary high school student, but now he found himself piloting a giant war machine. Of course the military otaku side of his personality was squealing with joy, but... he understood a bit better how dangerous this all was.

"Hey Shinji?" Ken asked as he pulled one of the rifles from it's storage bay in a fake building.

"Yeah?" Shinji asked as she did the same.

"Sorry for bugging you so much about the Evangelions when we first met," Ken said, readying the rifle to fire as he'd been taught in simulations.

"Sure," Shinji shrugged then asked, "What brought this on?"

"Nothing," Ken answered as they advanced on the first Bardiel-creature.

The thing shuffled up the street awkwardly, standing nearly as tall as a Evangelion. It reminded Ken oddly of his old Transformers toys, with cars and other bits wielded together to make up it's form. But unlike the toys the parts were twisted and warped together, almost like some mechanical cancer.

"Mein Gott," Asuka muttered softly, "there are people..."

Ken used the sensors on his Evangelion to 'zoom in' on the creature, then nearly choked. The thing had... pulled in cars and vehicles, as he had noted. And apparently with people inside. In the mangled mass of metal that made up it's leg he saw the broken pieces of some poor soul...

"You.. die!" Asuka yelled, clearly having been rendered incoherent with fury. She opened up with her rifle, spraying it with massive bullets, blasting away pieces of metal.

"Back her up, Ken," Shinji ordered, "Misato wants Rei and I to try to engage another one!"

"Got it," Ken agreed, stepping up beside Asuka and firing his own rifle.

The creature staggered under their fire, a leg being blown clean off as it staggered sideways. But even as their bullets damaged it it sucked up more material, pulling in street lamps and garbage cans as well as any vehicles that were still on the road. They were slowing it down, thankfully, but it wasn't stopping. And their rifles would run out of bullets some time.

Meanwhile Rei and Shinji hurried to where another one of the creatures were advancing towards the NERV Pyramid. "Why don't they just pull everything down into the Geofront?" Shinji wondered aloud.

"If we retreat behind the armor Bardiel might infect that, too," Rei said mildly. She consulted the map, "We are nearing the combat zone."

A group of police officers were raining fire on another of the Bardiels, blasting at it with light arms and delaying it a bit. They started pulling back as soon as they saw the Evangelion arrive, both opening fire as soon as they had a clear shot.

"Holy fuck," Leona Ozaki breathed out as she looked up at the giants. Not that she hadn't seen them before, but that was at a distance. Now... she was staring right up at them.

"Please clear the area," one of the Evangelions boomed.

"Let's go, Leona." Al urged her as they raced to a police car.

"Right," Leona agreed reluctantly even as she wanted to watch them blasting away. It was pretty damn impressive...

Shinji swept the rifle back and forth, while Rei tried pinpoint strikes. They did as much damage as they could, staggering the composite creature, but they barely slowed it down. Worse, it kept absorbing material to rebuild itself, doing more damage all around it.

"This isn't working," Shinji hissed.

"We just have to slow them down," Rei said as she blew the 'head' off the Bardiel, showering the street with scrap.

"Yeah, but..." Shinji started.

"Shinji, Rei!" Mana's voice boomed across their communication system, "DUCK!"

Deciding to obey that order Shinji hit the floor, Rei almost as fast. IN the space they were standing a beam of pure, raw energy blazed forth, engulfing the Bardiel creature and, apparently, vaporizing it.

"Wow," Shinji managed a moment later.

Jet Alone clanked it's way up the street, hefting the positron rifle. The weapon had been secured via a shoulder mount, but the steel robot had to be careful not to list to one side. "You guys all right?" Mana asked briskly.

"Yes, thank you," Rei said. "Do we have a plan?" she asked politely.

"Go around and use this bad boy to fry them," Mana said with a grin. "Come on, let's go rescue Asuka and Ken, then mop the rest of this up."

"Right," Shinji said, even though she was worried this wouldn't be that simple.

"Well, that was anticlimactic," Leona noted from where she and Al were watching from their car.

"Life is like that sometimes," Al shrugged. He looked at her hopefully, "Wanna go grab some dinner, maybe?"

"Nah, I wanna start getting our gear repaired," Leona shrugged.

To be continued...