At first, I must confess, I didn't really have any idea what I was doing. I mean, I knew what I had to do, but I didn't really know how to go about doing it. Honestly, who does? It's not everyday you go back in the past and allowed to change horrible events.
I guess I thought that if I just killed SEELE and Gendo, I could put everything right. I'd play the good little boy and pilot the Evangelion, then kill my father when he least expected it. I thought that that would be the end of it. I thought going back in time would leave me with one or two tasks. I thought going back in time would be the end of things. That everything would be easy.
I was stupid. As it turns out…my trip back in time…was only the beginning…
One Wingéd Angel
By: James D. Fawkes
A/N: Hey, Minna-san! Here's
chapter two of One Wingéd Angel! I hope you enjoy this! I've
slaved over it for the past week, typing away, editing, and deleting
until I was satisfied.
Chapter Two: Nephilim Partners
— o.0.O.O.0.o —
Grease hissed within a metallic skillet, pancakes having just been flipped a second ago. A skilled hand traveled from the skillet's black handle to another, this one sizzling with a rare food amongst the Japanese lifestyle: Bacon. A fork came down and carefully stabbed each piece one at a time, slowly flipping them over before disappearing.
As the hand traveled again, a second joined it, a whisk in its grasp. The first hand grabbed another black handle, the whisk being used to stir the vegetable contents within. The whisk retreated, and the first hand went back to the skillet with the pancakes, flipping them a second time. A timer dinged and the hand retreated, leaving all four cooking utensils alone to simmer.
Humming 'Angels We Have Heard on High' quietly, Shinji moved backward and opened the oven, pulling out a tray with delicious looking fish. It was a new, American recipe he'd come across, and this was his first time trying it.
"Angels we have heard on high," he sang, a grin on his face. Snowy white hair flopped over his skull, hanging around and in front of his face, "sweetly singing o'er the plains. And the mountains in reply, echoing their joyful strains."
Humming the next part, Shinji flipped the pancakes out of the skillet and onto a large plate, then set them down on the table. He quickly did the same with the bacon, half of which was a meat substitute.
He smiled brightly as a girl walked into the room from her room, offering a polite, "Good morning, Rei," to her.
Smiling her beautiful smile in greeting, Rei sat down and quietly ate breakfast as Shinji continued to cook lunch. Misato lumbered in ten minutes later and slouched at the table, grumbling as she slowly ate her breakfast. She immediately perked up after a beer had slithered down her throat, sighing happily.
Shinji smiled as he sat down for breakfast himself, happy for things to be so normal at the Katsuragi apartment. He dreaded the return to the horror that had plagued him before, and the loneliness that had pierced his soul. Shuddering almost unnoticeably, Shinji once again thanked his friend for the gift he had received.
Shinji glanced over at the quiet Rei, smiling slightly. It had been two days since she had moved in, and nearly as long since they'd taken that look at the remains of Shamshel. Were he a true angel, Shinji might have apologized to the angel for killing him. As it was, he wasn't a true angel, and the only true angel Shinji had any emotional investment in was Kaworu. His regret of Shamshel's demise was only minimal.
Shinji smirked lightly as he ate his breakfast quietly. Ritsuko had been surprised when she had stayed for dinner the previous night. She'd not been expecting to see Rei sitting at the dinner table with them as Shinji served the girl his special stir fry, giving the women some particularly good looking fish.
"So, Misato," Shinji started. Misato looked up from her food, a pancake hanging limply from her mouth, "I heard you talking on the phone last night. I didn't know you speak German."
Shoveling the pancake into her mouth, Misato swallowed and downed half her can of beer, sighing happily, "Oh, yeah. Well, I had to baby sit the Second Child a while back for about a year and a half. I picked it up then."
"Oh?" Shinji ate a piece of bacon. The 'gift of tongues', an ability all angels had, had translated the entire conversation for him. "Then what was that all about last night?"
Misato took another sip of her beer, "They're shipping Unit 02 and the Second Child here. It'll arrive about six weeks from now."
"Really?" Shinji quickly hid his distaste. "That means we'll have another Unit to help against the angels."
"The Eva may be of some use," Rei said quietly, her jumbled and fragmented memories providing her with an image of an irate Asuka Langely Sohryu, "but that does not guarantee that the pilot will be satisfactory."
"Don't be too sure of that," Misato waggled her finger teasingly. "She's a real firecracker, so you never know what to expect from her, but she's been training for Eva since she was just a little girl. Until Shinji came along, she held the high score when it came to sync ratios."
"Does that not imply, then," Rei countered quietly, "that Shinji is the better pilot, despite his lack of training?"
Misato blinked, then looked at Shinji, "Have you been teaching her 'debate'?"
Shinji laughed nervously, "Um, well, I thought it would be a good skill for her to have."
Misato grinned slyly, "What else have you been teaching her? How to give a blo—?"
Shinji's hand clapped down over Misato's mouth, a blush rising to his cheeks. He glanced over at Rei, whose cheeks also held a pink tinge, and concluded that she had understood what Misato had been about to ask as well. He forced his best glare at his guardian, but his flushed appearance offset any menacing properties of his eyes.
— o.0.O.O.0.o —
Shinji took in the face of the giant purple robot, looking into the glowing white eyes hidden within recessions in the armor. The beast's stoic gaze would seem malicious to most others, but Shinji wasn't afraid of the creature in front of him.
"You poor bastard," he told it pityingly, "trapped within a shell of metal and other alloys with no name and no sense of self. All you know is that you exist. Truly a pitiful existence."
He could have sworn that the eyes flashed brighter, but ignored it, "I think it's time you received something in return for all of the help you've given us. I can't free you from your prison, so…how about a name?"
He had to strain his ears to hear the low growl that answered, but he smirked nonetheless, "Yes, a name. One befitting of such a monstrous and powerful being. I'll call you…Seraphiel."
This time, he could clearly hear a growl of satisfaction, though it was only loud enough for him to hear. All of the sudden, the beast's glowing white eyes were focused on him, as if it somehow understood just how powerful that name was. His smirk widened a bit, "Yes, Seraphiel, the greatest, largest, and most powerful of God's angels, matched in power only by Lucifer and the Creator himself."
Shinji chuckled lightly, "I have great plans for you, Seraphiel, plans that will make Father's Scenario seem like a cliché prank amongst five-year-olds. If we can pull this off…you'll ascend into the pages of history as the most powerful being on the planet."
He walked along the railed platform, catching a glimpse of flesh beneath the heavy armor plates. His lips twitched, "You're amazing. Your body is so malleable that, so long as one such as I is in control, your form can be anything at all. No wonder Zero's integration into your systems was so smooth. Hmm, this should make things much easier."
Shinji sighed, sitting down and leaning against the railing. He chuckled mirthlessly, "'General Shinji', huh? I guess Kaworu was right. Sometimes…" haunted red eyes looked out at the room, "I really can be…just like my father."
He looked back up at Unit 01's solemn, motionless form, "What do you think, Mother? Am I doing the right thing?"
Shinji looked out at the otherwise empty chamber, suddenly seeming thrice his age, "Or am I doomed to follow the same path as Father?"
Silence reigned for several minutes, the only sound the slight rush of air as it left Shinji's lungs, then Shinji chuckled mirthlessly again, "That's right, huh? I really shouldn't have expected an answer from you, but I honestly thought you'd be able to hear me."
He sighed, "Seraphiel, this next battle will leave you severely injured, but you'll survive it. You'll survive everything thrown your way. That's how you are, because you…are the greatest Evangelion, no matter what Asuka says on the matter."
— o.0.O.O.0.o —
Rei jumped back, panting heavily from the physical stress her muscles had endured. Her red eyes were sharp and focused, no motion in front of her escaping her notice. Sweat dripped down her face and brow, her hair matted and glued to her cheeks by the moisture. Her mouth hung open as she desperately fought for oxygen, her cheeks slightly flushed.
With a sharp grunt, she jumped again, out of the path of her opponent's weapon. She watched, quite clearly aware of the danger, as the weapon sunk into the marble floor, melting the hard rock around it. The sword was pulled up from the ground, leaving behind a strange, almost liquid crater behind.
Rei gripped the bare nondescript handle of her own sword, lifting the blade's flaming metal in front of her. She held it in a shaky guard, fully aware that she was an amateur at this method of fighting. That was the reason she had taken up this training to begin with.
Rei strengthened her resolve, raising her sword up at speeds her arms protested to and blocking the fiery metal of her opponent's blade. With a grunt of exertion, she pushed back against her opponent's sword, realizing, for the first time, just how much strength his deceivingly lean muscles held. She nearly fell when the muscles in her knee twitched, threatening to bring her down in a heap.
Shoving the other's blade to the side, Rei did a barrel roll to her left, standing weakly as she stopped. Gentle red eyes met Rei's own as their owner readied his sword again, taking up an almost professional stance. Gaze flickering, Rei noticed that his sword was longer than hers was, resembling a katana in length while hers wasn't much bigger than a wakizashi.
"You're getting better, Rei," he told her, a speck of pride in his voice. "When we started, you couldn't get more than a tiny little pocketknife. Now, you've got a sword of respectable size and are capable of using it."
Rei felt a smirk tug at her lips before she could stop it, "I have a very good teacher, Shinji."
Ever since Rei had relived the memory of how easily the Commander had overtaken her and tried to initiate Third Impact, she'd insisted on learning to use more of her angelic powers than just the AT field. Initially surprised, Shinji had agreed to teach her how to use Angel-fire, the white-hot flames that he could summon on command.
Unfortunately, Rei had proved unable to call upon the fire as easily as Shinji could, so he'd begun teaching her to access it subconsciously. This way, she wouldn't need to concentrate for minutes of a time just to summon a small bit of it. The only way Shinji knew of to do this quickly enough to show the results she was looking for was by steadily forcing her to call upon it instinctually during battle.
So, he'd grabbed her hand and nearly dragged her to this abandoned warehouse, and started teaching her from there. At first, she'd only managed a small dagger, nothing to be too proud of, but she'd steadily gotten better. He could sense the disappointment in her gaze, as she no doubt realized just how far she was behind him.
Gripping the handle of his sword, he swung again, watching as she blocked with a finesse that an ordinary observer would call professional. Then, for the first time, she swung back, seemingly intent on taking his head off. He blocked, blinking in surprise at the amount of power behind the slash.
Shoving her sword away with his own, he settled back into a ready stance, blade held in front of himself. She was learning at an amazing pace, one that many would be hard pressed to match. Were he watching, Touji would simply be gawking at the azure-haired beauty. That she was improving at such a swift rate only proved just how capable she was of helping his scenario.
Up on one of the railed walkways, a translucent figure smiled, his crimson eyes dancing with satisfaction.
— o.0.O.O.0.o —
Shinji stared up at the pale, azure-haired beauty amongst the girls of his class, watching her with a small smile on his face. While the other girls bustled around, talking and drying off from swimming, Rei merely sat against the fence, her face expressionless.
"You're amazing, Rei," Shinji whispered, red eyes locked on her form. "Despite all of the changes you've gone through recently, no one realizes how different you are now. It's as if you're the same person you were before we met."
"Hey, Ikari!" Touji and Kensuke walked up behind Shinji, who was too busy watching his love interest to notice them. Touji knelt down beside his friend and followed Shinji's gaze, "What're you looking at? I never figured our Ace for a pervert. And this is from the guy who acts like he don't care 'bout nothing!"
Touji aimed his finger, trying to pinpoint the object of Shinji's attention, "Who're you looking at? Horaki? Oh! Ayanami! You sure go for the sullen ones!"
Rei turned her head in that instance, locking eyes with Shinji. She smiled slightly, more of a small quirk of the lips to most normal people, but it was indeed a smile to Shinji, then turned back around. She'd paused long enough, though, because Shinji hadn't been the only one to see the expression on her face.
"Dude," Kensuke whispered in disbelief, eyes wide as saucers, "no way!"
"Did she just…" Touji paused, as if searching for the right word, "…smile at you?"
"Huh?" Shinji wasn't honestly surprised by her behavior, so it wasn't out of the ordinary to him. That, and he hadn't been paying that much attention to the two of them and their comments. "Why wouldn't she?"
"Why wouldn't she?" Kensuke echoed incredulously. "She's Ayanami! She never smiles!"
"Well, I don't know about you guys," Shinji told them matter-of-factly, "but I would certainly hope she would smile for her boyfriend."
"Boyfriend?" asked Touji, staring at Shinji as if he'd grown a second head. "You scored Ayanami? The most frigid girl in our class?"
"When you put it that way," Shinji shrugged, "yeah, I guess I did."
"Dude," they both bowed down, as if worshipping him as some deity, "you—are—a—God!"
Shinji grinned and shook his head, chuckling lightly. Kensuke and Touji would never change, despite just how different he himself was. It was refreshing and comforting to know he could count on some things staying a certain way.
— o.0.O.O.0.o —
Shinji walked next to Rei as they headed towards the large, pyramid like building a scant 200 yards in front of them. Today was the day, they both knew, that many things would happen, and that many risks would be taken for the sake of furthering their own scenario. One slip up could ruin everything.
"Are you ready, Rei?" Shinji asked her, his tone serious. He wouldn't let her take those risks unless she was ready.
A small smile crossed Rei's lips, "I am as ready as I can be, Shinji. Together, we will defeat brother Ramiel."
"I have no doubt in your conviction, Rei," Shinji said, smiling back at her. "But are you ready for the other things we must face today?"
She shot him a questioning look.
"Are you ready for your reactivation test?" he clarified. "It's today, you know. Are you scared of what may happen?"
They walked in silence for a minute as Nerv's building came closer. She seemed to be pondering his question, as if weighing the chances over and over in her mind. The memory of her accident was too recent for her to decide immediately, and so many things could go wrong. She was so much different than before.
Finally, as they were about to pass through the doors, she smiled at him and said, "I am not afraid, Shinji-kun, because I know that, no matter what happens, you will be there to catch me if I fall. You are the only thing in this world that I have faith in."
Heart warmed beyond conventional measure, Shinji smiled back and followed her as she walked through the doors and into Nerv's main base of operations within the Geofront.
— o.0.O.O.0.o —
Unit 00 stood within the white room, alone on its feet, it's orange armor gleaming in the bright light. It's single eye was dull, its power offline. Its armored arms hung by its sides, limp and lifeless as the beast they belonged to. The entire room was silent, but for the nearly inaudible buzz of the luminescent lights on the ceiling.
Metal clamps held the creature's shoulders in place, hopefully strong enough to immobilize it if it went berserk, as it had before. Unfortunately, everyone in Nerv knew that those simple metal clamps would crumble under the might of the Evangelion, no matter what they reinforced them with.
Up in the command center, at least a dozen hands flew over keyboards, fingers typing out different commands and activating multiple programs. Three adults stood, watching and supervising the people typing in those commands. One was a woman, her hair dyed blonde and a lab coat on her body. Another was an elder man, dressed in what looked to be a military uniform.
The third figure brought his finger up and pushed the dark frame of his orange-tinted glasses further up his nose, his gaze stoic and immovable, as though it were chiseled onto the face of a statue. A frown was permanently etched above his bearded chin, and his dark eyes seemed to absorb all the light around them.
A fourth person stood farther back, a young, teenage boy with unruly white hair and red eyes, staring out at the hulking form of Unit 00. His hands clenched and unclenched nervously, as though he were expecting something bad to happen.
Shinji resisted the urge to bite his lip nervously, knowing that the likelihood of something going wrong was only about fifteen percent. It was natural, he knew, to be worried about those you cared about when they were in a potentially dangerous situation.
He had to have faith. He had to have faith, ironically, in his father's work. He had to trust that his old man knew what he was doing when he repaired and fixed Unit 00, or else the worry would tear his insides apart. That wouldn't do anyone any good.
Calming himself, Shinji opened the link of Commonality, the mental link that connected himself to Rei. It was the same method the angels used to learn from each other's battles, and it was quite an effective method. For Shinji and Rei, it wasn't permanent since a portion of their DNA was human, but they could create a telepathic link with any other angelic being they chose. It was this link of Commonality that Gendo had tried to suppress in Rei, to ensure that Lilith couldn't make contact with the girl, by using a special medication.
Tentatively, Shinji prodded Rei's mind through the link, hoping to catch her attention. His answer came in the form of a quiet, "Shinji-kun?"
"Rei-chan," he hesitated, still nervous about the whole affair. There were so many things that could go wrong. "Are you sure about this? I can handle Ramiel by myself, you know."
Rei gave him the mental equivalent of a loving smile, "Of course, Shinji-kun. Do not worry for my safety. I will be fine."
"We will now commence the reactivation test for Unit 00," Ritsuko's voice dropped into the telepathic conversation, forcing the link of Commonality to break as Shinji lost the concentration to maintain it.
"Rei," Commander Ikari spoke, his face never changing, "are you ready?"
"Yes, sir," Rei's voice came over the intercom, calm and emotionless.
Gendo adjusted his glasses again, "Initiate primary contact."
"Main power contact," Ritsuko said.
"Operational voltage critical point, cleared!" Maya Ibuki announced, sitting at her terminal.
"Shift format to phase two," Ritsuko commanded. "Begin linking pilot to Unit 00."
"Pulse and harmonics normal," Maya said. "Synch is green. All nerve links connected."
Her eyes scanned over the terminal in front of her, "No abnormalities in the CNS. List items one through two-five-nine-zero have been cleared. Two point five until absolute borderline."
Shinji bit his lip, praying to whatever deity existed that Rei would make it out of this unscathed. His fingers clenched tightly into a fist as his brow crinkled with worry.
"One point seven."
"One point two."
"One point zero."
"Zero point eight."
"Zero point six."
"Zero point four."
"Zero point three."
"Zero point two. Zero point one…"
A bead of sweat rolled down Shinji's cheek.
"Borderline cleared!" Maya shouted. "Unit 00 has been activated. Now commencing linkage test."
Fuyutsuki slammed the phone back on the receiver, his face grim as he turned to Gendo, "Ikari! An unidentified flying object is heading this way. It's most likely an angel."
There was a pregnant pause, in which Gendo seemed to take the information into consideration. Then, "Abort the test! All personnel, go to level one yellow alert!"
"Can we use Unit 00?" Fuyutsuki asked.
"It's not battle ready yet," Gendo told him. "What about Unit 01?"
"We can have it up in three-hundred-eighty seconds," Ritsuko told him.
"Good," came the reply. "Scramble it."
A cell-phone rang all of the sudden, and all eyes turned to Shinji, who pulled the device out of his pocket and turned it on. Putting it up to his ear, he said, "Moshi moshi. Ikari Shinji desu ga…" (Hello. This is Ikari Shinji.)
The person on the other line said something, and Shinji's expression turned serious, "Aa. Soudesu. Owarimasenka? Soshite, nanji de tsukumasuka?" (Yes. I see. Are you/Is it finished? And when will it arrive?)
The other person spoke again and Shinji looked at his watch, "Nijuuji desuka? Nijuuji wa chotto…Nijuuichiji wa doudesuka?" (Eight o'clock p.m.? Eight o'clock p.m. is bad…How about nine o'clock p.m.?)
The person responded, and Shinji nodded. "Iidesu. Arigato gozaimasu. Sayonara." (That's good. Thank you very much. Good bye)
Shinji put the phone away and looked up to see the entire room staring at him, "What?"
Gendo glared, "Get going!"
— o.0.O.O.0.o —
The blue, diamond shaped angel hovered, slowly making its way towards downtown Tokyo-3. It cast a menacing shadow over the city, forcing the few people still outside into shelters, trying desperately to escape certain doom. And they had right to be scared, for this fearsome beast resembled more of a flying fortress than a simple UFO.
"The target is now above Lake Ashino!"
Miles and miles beneath the earth, a giant purple robot was loaded onto a catapult that would launch it to the surface to face the monster floating in the air. Mechanisms clicked into place as the catapult set it at one of the many gates, preparing the rush him up the chute that seemed to just barely fit the massive machine.
"Evangelion Unit 01 is ready for takeoff!"
"Eva Unit 01!" Misato shouted. "Launch!"
Sparks flew all over the place as the catapult shot up the chute, taking the enormous Evangelion with it. Up on the surface, however, well aware of its enemy's approach, Ramiel charged up a powerful attack that would incinerate lesser beings in an instant.
"I'm getting a high energy reading within the target!"
"What?!" Misato shouted, eyeing the tech that spoke with a mixture of surprise, anger, and terror.
"It's accelerating on its periphery! It's starting to converge!"
"Can't be…" Misato whispered in horror, "a particle beam?!"
At that time, Unit 01 reached the surface, still locked to the launch pad, its gleaming white eyes menacing. Inside, Shinji prepared himself for what he knew was to happen, gripping the control yokes anxiously. He waited for the appropriate moment, knowing that he was dancing with death.
"No!" Misato's voice came over the intercom. "Shinji! Get out of the way!"
Shinji had only a moment to spread the Eva's arms out and deploy its AT field, as a large blast of pure energy tore through the building in front of him, melting it down. It crashed into the phase-shift space of Seraphiel's field with a loud bang, pushing on it with incredible force.
Shinji, his Eva still trapped in the catapult's launch pad, winced as the beam started to push his AT field back, a foot or two at a time. Grunting, he tapped the power of his own S2 core, hoping to reinforce his failing defense. It seemed to work, if only slightly, as the beam suddenly stopped moving forward.
"Unit 01 has become blue-pattern again!" Shinji grimaced as the results of his struggle played into his ears over the intercom, a single wing sprouting from his back. Unfortunately, even as much power as he was expending, the beam started to inch closer to him again, and showed no sign of letting up.
"Damn it!" Shinji swore mentally, growling as he tapped once more into his S2 core, overlapping the Eva's AT Field with his own. He twitched as a second wing ripped from his flesh and tore a second hole identical to the first in the back of his plug-suit, its white feathers stained with red and orange.
Shinji pushed with his AT Field, hoping to at least deflect the blast off in another direction. He was disappointed, however, when his AT Field could not be maneuvered in a manor that would force the beam to some other target. The pressure was too equalized and centered to be moved in such a way.
Seconds before he faced the pain of his enemy, Shinji screamed out his frustrations, "Aaaaah! Damn-it!"
Finally, his AT field could take no more of the attack and collapsed, allowing the particle beam to collide painfully with Unit 01's chest and vaporizing several layers of the armor. Ramiel's attack struck true, causing severe damage to its target, and no obstacle could deter it from its path.
Shinji screamed in agony as the pain hit him, not just the sympathetic pain caused by his synchronization with the Eva, but the scorching heat as the LCL within the entry plug started boil. Within the command center of Nerv, Rei collapsed to her knees, tears streaming from her eyes as she held her hands over her ears and bit her bottom lip.
"Shinji!" Misato cried fearfully. She turned to the nearest computer tech, screaming at the top of her lungs, "Get him back! Hurry!"
Immediately, the launch pad sank into the elevator chute again, heavily damaged but still in one piece.
"Target has gone inactive!" someone shouted.
"How's Shinji?!" Misato asked fervently, ignoring the previous statement.
"EEG abnormal! Pulse faint!"
"Unit 01 to cage number seven for retrieval!" Maya shouted.
"I'm going to the cage!" Misato yelled, already on her way out the door. "Ritsuko! Get the medic team—stat!"
"Got it!" Ritsuko replied.
"Pilot brains waves erratic! Pulse faint! Correction—pulse has stopped!"
"Set life support system to maximum! Commence CPR!" Ritsuko commanded.
Shinji's body jumped in his seat.
"Hurry!" Ritsuko told Maya. "Force-eject the entry-plug! Emergency LCL flush!"
"Yes, ma'am!" came the response.
Amidst all the commotion, no one noticed Rei sobbing quietly in the corner, just outside the command center's door.
— o.0.O.O.0.o —
Hovering over the city of Tokyo-3, Ramiel took advantage of the silence he'd been rewarded with. Taking out that abomination that had come to the surface had felt good, as if he was serving divine justice on a heretic. Now, with it out of the way, Ramiel was free to do as he pleased, and no one and nothing could stop him.
Moving into position, Ramiel stopped right above the place where he sensed the disturbance, the one he and his brothers had come to look for. With but the mere exertion of his will, he dropped a drill from the bottom of his form, pushing the head through the concrete and the thick metal and dirt that lay beneath it.
It would take a while, but Ramiel knew he had time to spare. There were no other annoyances to take time out of his day, so he could drill away until he reached his target and did with it what he willed. So long as the Light of his Soul burned brightly, none could damage him, and any that tried would be struck down by the hammer of his particle beam.
Were Ramiel more humanoid in his mental capacities, he probably would have giggled gleefully, or chuckled darkly or maniacally at the smoothness of the success of his plans, but such things were for humans only. Regardless, his plans were going off without a hitch, and the only one who could have stopped him was already beaten.
Within the command center miles beneath him, Ritsuko and the tech team noticed his assault. Ritsuko was confused, "What's the enemy started doing, now?"
"It's drilling a hole into the Geofront— towards Nerv Headquarters!" the computer tech in front of her answered.
"It's trying a direct attack against us?" Ritsuko asked incredulously.
A beam streaked across the sky as a giant balloon shaped like Unit 01 was destroyed the instant it had gotten within range. A human would have chuckled derisively at such a feeble attempt, but Ramiel merely went back to drilling.
A tank like object came out of a tunnel and fired a beam of energy at Ramiel, but it was deflected off of a force field made of red octagonal ripples. An instant later, a retaliatory beam shot out from Ramiel, blowing the tank like object into billions of tiny atoms.
"Type-12 self-propelled mortar destroyed!"
"According to the data collected thus far," on of the bridge bunnies said, "it seems that the target automatically eliminates enemies coming within a fixed radius."
"The instant they enter that radius, its particle cannon destroys them with one-hundred percent efficiency," Misato said, biting the eraser of her pencil. "Which means we can't get the Eva close enough to neutralize its A.T. field for close quarters combat…Shinji's fire-sword is useless…What' about the enemy's AT field?"
"Still active," one of the other bridge bunnies said. "It's so powerful that you can actually see the phase-shift space with the naked eye."
"It's perfect in both attack and defense. The thing's practically an impregnable flying fortress," Misato grumbled. "So, what about that drill?"
"It's reached the number two armor plate."
"What's its ETA?" Misato asked, still chewing on the eraser.
"Tomorrow morning, zero hours, six minutes, and fifty-four seconds. By that time, we believe it will have cut through all twenty-two armored layers and reached Nerv Headquarters."
"Less than ten hours, then…" Misato's brow furrowed. "Doctor Akagi! What's the status of Unit 01?"
The doctor looked at Misato, then said, "The chest is completely melted down to the third armor plate. We're lucky that the functional center wasn't damaged. We'll have the armor swapped out within three hours."
"And Unit 00?" Misato dreaded the answer to her question, but asked anyway.
"Reactivation is no problem," Ritsuko said matter-of-factly, "but there are still some feedback problems."
"Damn!" Misato swore. "What about Shinji? How is he?"
"No physical damage. The nerve pulse is a bit unstable, but within acceptable parameters. He's still under sedation."
"Doesn't look good, does it?" Misato sighed.
"Captain Katsuragi," Misato looked up at Rei, who was holding out a slip of paper. Misato was more focused on the girl's eyes, though, which were red and puffy from crying, even as she absentmindedly took the paper from the Ayanami's hands. "That is the written form of Shinji-kun's earlier phone conversation. Good bye."
Without another word, she turned on her heel and left the room.
Slowly tearing her eyes from where the blue-haired girl had been, Misato looked down at the piece of paper, her eyes slowly widening. It read:
Shinji: Hello. This is Ikari Shinji…
Unknown: Ikari-san? This is your private contractor. I've called about the twin particle rifles you commissioned my crew and I to make.
Shinji: Yes, I see. Are they finished? And what time will they arrive?
Unknown: Yes and no. One is finished, but the other is not. If you would like, we can ship the finished one to you now and it would be there at eight o'clock this evening.
Shinji: Eight o'clock p.m.? Eight o'clock p.m. is bad…How about nine o'clock p.m.?
Unknown: I'm afraid that nine would be a little too late. Is eight thirty okay?
Shinji: That's good. Thank you. Good bye.
Unknown: Good bye, Ikari-san. As always, it's a pleasure doing business with you.
At that moment, in the hospital, Shinji woke up to the teary but smiling face of Ayanami Rei.
— o.0.O.O.0.o —
"Enemy has breached number seventeen armor plate! Three hours fifty-five minutes till it reaches headquarters!"
"All right," Misato stood in front of Shinji and Rei, Doctor Akagi and Ibuki Maya standing next to her, "listen to what we're about to say."
She gestured at the large gun behind herself, "This is a particle beam rifle, one that was just recently sent here, courtesy of Shin-chan's private contact. We don't know the extent of its capabilities because we've not tested it yet, so we're playing by ear.
"According to our calculations, at its current setting, it can punch right through the enemy's AT field, even at this range. However, at its current range setting, it's a precision instrument, not suitable for field operations or anything too ambitious."
Shinji resisted the urge to smirk. She was telling him what he already knew. After all, he'd been the one who'd given his private contractor those blueprints, shouldn't he at least know how they worked? It was simple logic, but giving away the true extent of his technological knowledge might bring unwanted suspicion.
Misato gestured a second time, to Unit 00, which carried a big shield shaped like a space shuttle, "And that shield is just something we jury-rigged from the bottom of a single-stage-to-orbit rocket that was given ultra electromagnetic coating. It can withstand the enemy's beam for seventeen seconds.
"Since it was designed for Unit 01 and Shinji has the higher sink ratio," Misato moved back to the rifle, "Shinji will be the gunner, and Rei will handle defense."
"Yes, ma'am," both pilots answered.
Deciding it would be prudent to ask, Shinji posed the question, "What happens if the first shot misses?"
"If the first shot misses," Doctor Akagi said, "then it will take ten to fifteen seconds for the barrel to cool down and prevent the dangerous degradation of the metal caused by repetitive firing. In that time, we predict that the angel would counterattack and likely cause a great amount of damage."
"So the first shot has to be the only shot," Shinji concluded, checking the watch on his plug suit. Misato did the same, and her face, if possible, became even more serious.
"It's time," she said firmly. "Get ready, you two."
— o.0.O.O.0.o —
Misato glared at the video feed of Ramiel, "This is it, Shinji. You're our last hope."
"Yes, ma'am," Shinji's voice said over the intercom.
Nodding to herself, Misato shouted, "Release final safety systems! Commence Operation Yashima!"
With a few high-pitched beeps, the green scope on the particle rifle came to life, lighting up the azure-gray of the weapon's metal. Within the hands of Unit 01, the rifle began to hum, its metal framework warming slightly as it prepared to fire its explosive power. It was a weapon of massive destruction, one that could end any war.
Inside of Seraphiel's entry-plug, Shinji turned off the response system to his intercom, ensuring that the people at Nerv could not hear his next words. Twisting the right control yoke slightly, Shinji commanded, "Zero, run program XXXG-stroke-X-one-zero-D (XXXG—X10D). Calculate coordinates on the X and Y-axis, then triangulate the enemy's position. Calculate power and targeting necessities involved with punching through the enemy's phase-shift space, then make adjustments accordingly."
Pulling the special visor over his eyes, Shinji watched as the world flickered to life in front of his face. He could clearly see each and every object within the Eva's line of sight, and within the range of the targeting scope on his rifle. A green ring and box appeared on opposite sides of the screen without warning, two dotted lines showing him the path the beam would take. A light, fast, high-pitched beeping sound rang in his ears as the ring and box moved closer together, clearly on a path of convergence. He couldn't help the words that escaped his lips, "Mato o erushita." (Target acquired)
The targeting computer made a—bernt!—sound in Shinji's ears.
He smirked as the circle fit itself into the box perfectly, a triangle forming within it as Zero locked on to the target, the Fifth Angel. Before he could pull the trigger, however, a voice came over his intercom, "High-energy reading within the target!"
Misato's voice came next, "Fire!"
His finger jerked and Shinji pulled the trigger, launching a powerful beam at his enemy. Simultaneously, Ramiel fired his own beam at Shinji, probably hoping to either eliminate him or knock the attack off course. It succeeded, knocking both beams off course and nearly hitting Shinji in the process.
Klaxon alarms went off within the command center, "Enemy drill has penetrated the Geofront!"
"Move it, Shinji!" Misato shouted across the intercom. "Buy us some time for the barrel to cool!"
"I'm getting another high-energy reading from the target!"
Ramiel shot a second beam faster than Shinji thought it could, and the ray of solid energy rushed towards him at a dreadful speed. At what seemed to last possible second, Unit 00 jumped in front of the blast, blocking it with the shield poised in front of its body.
"Rei," Shinji breathed, half relieved, half worried.
The beam hammered away at the defense set before it, trying to blast through and hit its target. Under the constant barrage of such a powerful surge, the shield began to disintegrate and melt, threatening to yield to the enemy's attack.
"The shield isn't going to last," he heard Doctor Akagi say, her tone grave.
"Are we ready to fire?" came Misato's voice.
"How much longer?" he asked them.
"Ten more seconds," came the response.
As Shinji counted down, he could only watch as the shield finally dissipated into thin air, leaving Unit 00 to take the brunt of the blast. He felt a block of ice slip into his stomach, "REI!"
Shinji scowled, his voice filled with icy fury, "Omae o korosu." (I'll kill you)
Shinji pulled the trigger a second time, launching an orange-ish yellow beam at Ramiel. It barreled towards him at amazing speeds, speeds too fast for such a slow object to dodge. Without even hesitating at the AT field, it collided with its target, lighting up the city with an explosion of brightness.
As the light died down, a large hole could be seen in Ramiel. It would have bisected him had it been big enough, but it had clearly been a fatal blow anyway. The beam had traveled right through the Angel's core, disintegrating it instantaneously. Nothing could have survived such a devastating blast.
"The enemy bore has stopped directly above headquarters! It's fallen silent!"
With a sigh, Shinji whispered, "Mato o koroshita. Shimei o kanseishita." (Target eliminated. Mission accomplished)
Hastily setting the gun on the ground, Shinji jerked on the control yokes, yanking Unit 00's dorsal hatch from its body. Immediately, the entry-plug shot outwards, stopping just short of a complete ejection, spewing LCL. Reaching over with Unit 01's big hands, he pulled the entry-plug out and set it down gently, then ejected from his own.
Jumping down from his Eva, he ran over to Rei's entry-plug, pulling on the superheated metal of the butterfly handles to the emergency door. He ignored the scorching burns his palms suffered, jerking the door open with all his might.
She laid their, looking for all the world to be asleep. He could find no visible injuries, but that did not placate his worries. He shook her shoulders gently, "Rei-chan! Come on, Rei-chan, wake up!"
Rei groaned softly, her eyes fluttering open. She gazed at him with half-lidded eyes, "Shinji-kun?"
Shinji smiled, happy tears forming in his eyes. He held out a hand, "Can you stand?"
Rei nodded, grasping his hand with her own as she stood. She closed her eyes for a second, bathing in the feeling of love his concern brought her, then stared directly into his own crimson eyes. She smiled at him, a simple, innocent smile.
Shinji blinked, then a single tear traveled down his cheek as he smiled back.
— o.0.O.O.0.o —
"Oh man, she is hot!"
"If I am ordered to, then I will. If it is the wish of Ikari, I shall be your friend."
"I've heard of you! You're the Commander's favorite! His little DOLL!"
"This doesn't look good."
"Just stay out of my way, idiot! All of your battles were stupid luck! Watch how a REAL Eva pilot works!"
"Actually, Asuka, the Third Child has an average synch ratio of ninety-six percent."
"Here we go again."
"What about you? Does your daddy pamper you? Oh my, what a great father! He's given you an Evangelion! Lucky!"
"Please, Shinji-kun, can I kill her?"
"Damn, Asuka could throw a wrench in everything."
"So this is the first Angel, Adam."
"I don't like these odds."
Next time, "The Vivacious Beauty!"
— o.0.O.O.0.o —
A/N: Ah, there we go! I finally have this one off my chest!
Disclaimer: I do not own Neon Genesis Evangelion, Gundam Wing, or Fallen (which is where most of Shinji's Angel powers come from).
This chapter is probably the only one where I'll write so many sentences in Japanese.
This is how I'm going to work from now on. Once I finish the ASCTS trilogy, I'll work on One Winged Angel till it's done. Then, once I complete OWA, I'll work on Azure Moon.
I know I won't ever get around to Order of the Phoenix: Reconvened, so who wants to write it for me?
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Sic Luceat Lux…
James Daniel Fawkes
James Daniel Fawkes(Signature best viewed in Wendy Medium font style)