Sonic the Hedgehog: Genesis
Chapter Thirteen: RE:VENGE, Part 2 - Maze of Love
Asuka's mind raced as she tried to figure out what to do about the large group of humanoid machines pointing the guns at her person.
"Uh, uhm, watch where you're pointing those things, you tin cans! Somebody could get hurt."
The Collaboration Units did not change their position, several now pointing their guns at her face.
"No sense of humor," she sighed, closing her eyes. If they were going to off her, they might as well do it now, while she had some pride left. Instead, she got a prod in the chest, the robots pointing forward down the hall.
"If you weren't just machines, I'd slap you for touching me there... Then again, they would probably blow me away and move on."
More pointing was the response. Asuka decided it would be best for her to do what she was told, for the time being, at least.
Shinji couldn't believe what had happened. Not only had he saved one of his best friends from something far worse than tragic, he had also stood up to his father, which had wound up freeing him from two of his biggest burdens.
So, why didn't he feel free? He didn't feel like he was running away again, guilt was the farthest thought in his mind. He should feel something, good or bad, but all he felt was emptiness.
He looked back at the gates, maybe he should head back. But, he had no more purpose there now, right? Was that why he felt empty, because he had no greater purpose?
It didn't matter anyway, right? He had his freedom. Besides, the way back in had suddenly been closed off, so he sighed and went on his way, blissfully unaware of what was happening inside NERV at that very moment.
"Well, it looks like the base just went into full lockdown mode," Misato grumbled as she kicked the giant security door, but to no avail.
"Probably won't get out that way, Sonic replied "Let's go down the hallway and check another spot."
"Only thing we can do, I guess. Maybe we can get to a door with a card reader and use it to stop whatever this is. If it were an Angel, I would have gotten called and brief-- Duh! I'll try calling somebody from outside the base, maybe that'll work."
She grabbed her cell and chose the first speed dial number on it. The signal was completely dead and blocked, it seemed.
"Damn it! Something's jamming the signal. Just what in the hell is going on here?!"
"Something's up, and I have a really bad feeling about it, Misato," the hedgehog replied, a visible frown on his usually smiling or grinning face "Let's try and find a door with a card reader and see if we can't get out that way."
"Guess we have no choice."
On they went, checking several halls and intersections, everything was blocked off! And no card readers in sight, either. But that finally changed as one was found, Misato running her ID through the card reader and punched in her code, only to get a big, fat "ERROR".
"Oh, you've gotta be kidding me!" she cried, trying a few more times, with the same result, she then punched the reader in frustration, cursing from the pain of doing such to a solid object. "Damn it, damn it, damn it!"
"Yep, definitely something spooky goin' down around here," Sonic replied... and then, silence, except for Misatio's phone giving off a text recieved beep.
"Finally, some luck!" she said with a grin, checking the message.
"What does it say?"
Misato blanched, her skin now even paler than Rei's, also looking like she ahd turned to stone.
"What's it say, Misato?!"
She responded by simply showing Sonic the phone and the message on it.
"NO ESCAPE. WE ARE IRUEL. THIS BASE BELONGS TO US NOW, AS DO YOUR LIVES. THE END OF THE LILIM IS NIGH. NO ESCAPE."
"Isn't that the system you said Eggman made with Dr. Akagi?!" Sonic shouted, Misato doing nothing but nod shakily in confirmation.
Those very two people, along with Maya were wandering through the base as well, having slightly better luck due to having override codes. But, some of the areas, especially the very important ones, seemed to have been reinforced with the Angel-computer's commands, and therefore inaccessable.
"I still don't know how the hell this could have ha-a-atchoo!" Ritsuko lamented "Happened. The control program was stupidly powerful."
"The only way I can think up, Ritsuko, is not a pleasant theory," Eggman replied, also sneezing.
"Yes. Unpleasant, but the most likely way this happened is if someone sabotaged the control program or the entire system."
Maya remained silent at this. This was her fault it had happened, after all. The virus was supposed to kill the whole system, not make it do this! That brat she had bought it from had lied about its effects. Either that, or there had been a flaw that had caused this situation. Or... This could have been intentional, someone wanted this to happen! She suspected Eggman, but somehow, she had a feeling of doubt about that. Why would he do it to something he had great pride in making? Then again, this was a mad scientist here, he could have easily done this to prove a point.
"No accusations today, Lieutenant?" Eggman asked, breaking Maya's thought process.
"I don't think you would do this to something you put so much effort into, is all," she replied.
"Yes," Ritsuko answered "I know how important making the system was, for the both of us."
"Hm," Eggman began his response "This is quite the conundrum. I didn't do this, and I don't think you would do this either, so..."
Maya completely froze. He suspected her! Her career, her personal relationships, her life, they would all be over if he suspected this. Surely he wanted her...
"Ikari!" Eggman stated "He was never fond of this project, nor of me. And he's certainly the type to pull this."
And, Maya realized it was entirely possible this was the Commander's doing Only, it was that he had duped her, not that he was the sabateur. Still...
"I hate to admit it, Sempai, but I agree. I actually agree. With. Him."
"Gendo?" Ritsuko balked "While he's... a wily man I doubt he'd do something of such a scale, especially to the base that he runs. There has to be another explanation."
"That doesn't matter right now, anyway," Eggman replied "We need to get out of this first, before we start pointing fingers. Agreed?"
"Agreed," the women responded.
"If we can meet up with some of the others, we could work together with the additional manpower and stop this before it puts us in an early grave."
"So, we're basically trapped in the base under the whim of a sentient supercomputer that used to be an Angel," Misato griped "Just freaking wonderful!"
"So, what do we do about it?" Sonic replied.
"I don't know yet! Let me think, would you, spiky?"
Sonic tapped his foot in response. Was there really time to be thinking about how to act, rather than just acting? In his world, he knew what he would do - find out how to access the... core of the problem, so to speak, and smash it. But, maybe here, it wasn't so simple. But, still...
"Hey, Misato, quick question."
"What?! I'm still thinking!"
"There any vents or ducts nearby?"
Misato blinked, before responding.
I'd like to think so, yes. In fact, if we are where I think we are, there should be an access point that we can... Wait! Yes! If we can use the vents, we could access other parts of the base."
"My thoughts exactly," Sonic said with a grin.
"Ah, dammit, I'm probably too big to fit in the shafts. Which would mean you would to go by yourself. And I wouldn't know where to go without a map of the ventilation system."
"You sure are overconfident, but we have no other choice at this point," she chuckled "Let's get moving!"
Shinji had forgotten how long he had been wandering around Tokyo-3 now, his track of time had vanished on him when he had left those gates. He was just an ordinary person now, he needn't keep track... right?
All he knew right now was that he was walking along a grassy area, looking downwards at the ground. Then, the faint sound of someone whistling a tune.
Curious, he wandered towards the source, finding something unexpected... young watermelons, and the whistler, who was watering those watermelons, he knew the person.
"Well, hello, Shinji," the scruffy man answered, stopping his current task "Never expected you to show up here, of all places."
"S-sorry, to intrude, I was just walking around and heard you whistling. I'll go now."
"No need, kiddo. Actually been wondering what you've been up to since last time. Saw the action earlier, pretty interesting you did there, ripping the entry plug out of that rogue Eva. I bet you got quite the praise for that."
"I got, uhm... I'm no longer an Eva pilot. It's... it's all done with, Kaji. I guess I'm free now, but..."
"But?" Kaji was curious.
"I don't feel free, I don't feel sad, in fact, I don't feel anything about it right now. And it's confusing."
Kaji's eybrow had been raising in incriments with each sentence Shinji spoke. But he simply listened and pondered without a word.
"Oh, sorry. That's pretty disconcerting, kiddo. But, I do think you feel something, in fact, you just stated it. You're just confused. You don't know how to feel yet. It should come in time. I'd ask you waht you plan to do now, but if you're feeling as you are..."
"G-guess I'll finish school and go to college after that and see what goes on, well, if the world is still around."
"I see," Kaji replied "Well, good luck to you. You going to stay here in Tokyo-3, or...?"
"Misato will probably tell me about that."
"Oh, of course. Oh, speaking of her, when you see her next time, tell her I've been looking for her. Been trying to call her, but everything's been going to voicemail since I started trying about a half an hour or so back... I've got some info she'd really like to know."
Shinji simply nodded and headed on his way, not knowing just why Kaji's calls weren't being answered.
The robots moved through the base with ease, each one an extension of the main system, giving them complete and utter access. Easily, they could overtake the whole base and its residents, but that seemed to be the furthest so-called "thought". No, they simply stood guard, only to attack if approached directly firsthand. For the time being, transporting Asuka Langley Soryu seemed to be the top priority, and the redheaded pilot could swear they were headed for the Eva cages. Asking them anything was obviously useless, so all she could do was ponder. If that's where they were going... waht did the hordes want with her Eva?
Gendo and Fuyutsuki continued to sit in the dark, just as trapped in Iruel's web as everyone else. Obviously, Gendo thought all of this was worth the trouble, but his compatriot wasn't as sure. They could easily die here, their legacy snuffed out in an instant, on a gamble. And the whole world would go down the proverbial toilet, along with everything else.
Fuyutsuki highly doubted Yui would appove of this madness.
Surely enough, and thankfully, a ventilation duct was in close proximity of where Misato and Sonic were trapped, and as very good luck would have it, there was nothing to block their access of it, except for the grate, which was easily removed.
"Alright, I hope this works, Sonic," Misato instructed The main system should be a few levels down from here, but try to find some of the others first. They might know more, or alternative strategies to this. Which might mean..."
"Asking Eggman? He knows as I do that this isn't the time for any of us to argue, and..."
"I've had to bail him out of this sort of thing before," Sonic replied dryly, before rushing into the ventillation system.
"Good luck, Sonic, Misato said with a sigh, slowly sliding to the floor. They were going to need it, she was sure of that.
"Damn it," Ritsuko sighed "We can't go any further, the AI has wised up to what we were doing."
"Sempai, are you saying we're going to be stuck here until we die of starvation?!" Maya squeaked, and in her panic, almost blurted out her being at fault, but was interrupted by an answer.
"We'd die of thirst first, Lieutenant," came from Eggman "Or have you forgotten basic living functions already?"
"Shut up, I'm nervous, okay?! And both of us are wrong. or have you forgotten your thing has all of those robot soldiers... They might get the pleasure of killing us first."
"Guess it's better than dying the other way," Ritsuko chuckled, rather amused by the sudden reminder of mortality.
"T-this isn't funny, sempai!!!"
"I sadly agree with Ritsuko, though I'm not amused by the situation," Eggman interjected "Only way out now is to get to the control room and shut the system down manually, but..."
"We just can't get to it because we're too big to reach it by the ventilation system," Ritsuko sighed "Even with a map. Which we don't have."
"So... all we would need is someone small enough to get it!" Maya exclaimed.
"You aren't suggesting--" Eggman was about to protest, his words cut off by a vent grate being smashed off its spot, a streak of blue flying from the opening and skidding to a halt.
"Surprised to see me, Egghead?!" Sonic laughed "Oh, hey, Maya, Dr. A!"
"Sonic," Ritsuko said nonchalantly, whilst Maya exclaimed the same with glee.
"Ugh, hello, hedgehog," Eggman scoffed "You are the last thing I wanted to see. Sadly..."
"He's our only hope, Ivo?" Ritsuko said with a sheepish smile.
"He's our only hope in making it out alive, yes."
Asuka looked up at the face of her Eva, her captors' numbers now cut in half, the rest having gone to attend to other business, none probably good. But, now she knew what they wanted - they needed her to pilot it, to an end she couldn't fathom.
But, the robots and their control system, they knew that end.
This was a suicide mission. The pilot was going to die, as Zeruel was going to arrive very soon... and he was going to tear the Eva nad the entire base apart.
To be Continued
Hey, readers, it's been another couple of months since the last chapter, but I've had a really good reason! My computer at home finally kicked the bucket a couple months ago, and I can't afford to buy a new one, so I've had to resort to writing new chapters in a notebook, coming to the library, and typing them out. There should be another chapter within the next few days, I finished it and just need to transfer the mediums.