XXIV: Dark Storm, Part III
She-Hulk finished with the last platoon of Doom's forces in the area and looked up in time to see nine white figures circling the city. Immediately she knew this wasn't going to be good. There would be much smashing very soon.
A series of explosions rocked the camp as Doom began to unleash his power against the two that stood before him. Dragging the battle away from the fallen Forge, Ms Fantastic ran left around Doom drawing his fire.
Doom levitated a few feet off the ground and continued unleashing a barrage of mirco missiles. Tabris circled behind and dove from above, but Doom was far too fast for him. He evaded the blade thrust and grabbed Tabris by the throat. Spines ejected above Doom's knuckles on his gauntlet before firing back in delivering a short but intense electrical discharge into the angel. Tabris blacked out immediately and was thrown away.
Ms Fantastic saw this and grit her teeth. Unless Tabris woke up, or Archangel managed to regenerate quickly, she was alone against Doom, and that wasn't an encouraging thought.
Doom spun back in her direction and unleashed a torrent of energy from both of his hands. Ms Fantastic quickly dodged the attack and activated her flight pack, flying at him as quickly as possible. Her right hand transformed into orange stone as she delivered a devastating right cross followed by a quick back hand. Before he could fly back from the attack much further, her legs extended like rubbery tendrils wrapping him up and dragging him back in as she started pummeling him again.
Doom didn't seem as if he was reacting as much as she'd like to getting pummeled with stone fists. As she reared her weapons back again he got his hands lose and unleashed a cloud of blue gas at point blank range. Ms Fantastic instantly felt he air around her freeze and realized he was super-cooling the air. She tried at that point to break off from him but her body had already begun to get brittle. One quick strike from him shattered most of her lower body causing her to scream out in agony as he got loose.
"Did you really think you could defeat me?" He hissed, watching her torso writhe.
Ms Fantastic grit her teeth. She could still feel her individual pieces though they were now disconnected and still frozen. She wasn't sure if she was going to survive this kind of damage but she wasn't going into shock as far as she could tell, so that was a good sign. But she also knew in her current condition, she would not be able to fight him, and decided to settle for a last act of defiance.
"Flame on," she whispered and what remained of her body ignited. She threw her arms forward unleashing a massive stream of fire while throwing her AT Field forward to hopefully erode Doom's. Apparently he wasn't expecting this. Though his costume was mostly fire resistance his body was not and the flames hurt a lot. He could feel the outer layer of flesh, all the real flesh that remained on his body quickly burning up as the temperature increased to levels that could cause the air itself to ignite around him.
He felt parts of his armor melt and realized he needed to get out. Using a trick he barely ever pulled, he teleported away from the flames. Fifty feet away he reappeared and quickly sprayed himself with a small amount of the gas he used to freeze Ms Fantastic. Once the flames were out he noticed much of the cloth of his outfit was partially consumed and some of his armor had melted to his body. Some of his tricks were still intact but he didn't know how well they would work.
He looked back where the torso of Ms Fantastic should have been, and saw nothing. Where the shattered pieces of her body were, there were small puddles of LCL. Doom figured it was her last gasp and she was gone since he didn't even sense her anymore.
As he turned to leave he was suddenly perforated with numerous wing blades. Growling in pain he spun around to see Archangel leaning against the truck used by X-Factor. Her right side wings quickly regenerating the blades, but Doom could see only a part of one of her left wings. Doom realized she was wounded and for the moment alone.
He closed the distance to her quickly as she tried to ignite the air around him as other angels have done in the past but when that failed she quickly realized she didn't even have enough energy to raise an AT Field. Doom grabbed her by the neck and slammed her into the truck. She tried to get her right wings to strike but doom managed to grab them with his metal hand. With a flick of his wrist, an f-LS blade shot out of his gauntlet into her wing, effectively pinning her to the truck. The metal pierced a major nerve cluster sending a feeling into Archangel that was the equivalent of having a fingernail ripped out by pliers.
Another blade from his other gauntlet fired into her through her throat, destroying her voice box and making breathing difficult, especially when Doom let her go to be suspended by the spike of metal.
"I made you Rei, did you think it so wise to betray me like this?" he asked, of course not expecting an answer. The gasping and gagging sounds made him feel better. "You and your kind got the better of me. I never expected that. But in the end, your struggles were futile."
A sudden dark feeling caught Doctor Doom and he looked up, seeing one of the MP Eva's gliding over the city.
"The SEELE council is dead, they shouldn't be here," he observed. Suddenly he felt a great pain in his chest and realized he had just been pierced through with an AT Blade. He fired his jetpack but the damage from the flames left by Ms Fantastic caused the fuel to rupture. It still had the desired effect as the explosion and blew Tabris off of him. He checked his chest but found his Core was undamaged… the angel missed.
"You had how much time to take that shot," Doom asked as he shed his backpack, "and you still missed? Pathetic… I was going to keep you alive for research but that will no longer be necessary." Reaching under what was left of his cloak he extracted a shaft of metal that extended to over 6' in length. Archangel saw that one end split open revealing a twist of metal that opened into parallel points reminiscent of a tuning fork, and realized he had made man-sized versions of Lancea Longini.
Tabris tried to get up but between the beating he received before and having the Doom Pack explode in his face all he could do was project a quick cluster of AT Shuriken at Doom. His heart sank as Doom quickly spun the proxy-lance in front of him, easily blocking all the attacks in one go. With the same motion he spun around and slammed the lance into his chest.
Tabris screamed as the double points tore though flesh and bone, but the pain lasted only moments as one of the prongs hit his core and punched straight through it. With a gasp his AT Field failed and he stopped breathing.
"No," Archangel tried to whisper as she felt the last seal break. The final messenger had been defeated, and the door was now unlocked.
"Now," Doom whispered, "Where was I?"
He felt an energy pattern erupt behind him and quickly turned to see what it was. Before his mind could register what he saw, he felt a clawed hand slam into his chest tearing through his organic steel body like a hot knife though butter.
"Thanks… 'boss'", Exodus whispered. "I was waiting for you to do that."
Doctor Doom groaned as Exodus's claw dug deeper into his body.
"Don't act so surprised. You knew this was coming, after all… I couldn't have done it without you."
With an explosion of blue blood Exodus ripped his claw out of Doctor Doom's body causing him to stagger back. In Exodus's hand was what he had been looking for… the Core of Adam, the glittering shiny orb of red seemed to pulse with an inner light.
"It's too bad I became Adam's successor in the collective," he continued, "otherwise this would have been all I needed to complete the ritual. As it happens I still need an angel… and there is only one left."
Doom's body fell to the ground, a puddle of blue blood surrounding him.
Exodus pushed the orb of power into his stomach with a grunt, energy seemed to pool into him from everywhere at once. His eyes turned gold as an aura of pure white light surrounded him as he screamed out in apparent pain. Within moments both his core and Adam's core became as one and the pain subsided. As he spoke his voice seemed to echo as if there were two voices.
"Better," he said at length. "Now to finish this once and for all…" He flew up and made for NERV.
She-Hulk had just finished destroying another contingent of Doom's troops when suddenly the latest wave of troops simply stopped moving.
"What the…" Bishop said as he realized they had simply stopped advancing. Then one by one they began to explode into LCL.
"Doom is dead," Rogue replied. "And Exodus has Adam's core."
"What?!" Bishop exclaimed. "How do you know that?"
"I sense him… he's near." She walked towards the west a few paces.
"But then why hasn't Third Impact begun yet?"
"He was Adam's replacement in the collective," Rogue explained. "The way I understand it, there were 2 Adams effectively; Exodus and Doom. Now that they are one again, he can begin Third Impact, but he still needs an Angel. Not a Nephilum though. And now there is only one place he can find one." Rogue took flight immediately.
"Wait!" Bishop yelled, and then the ground shook with a huge impact. She-Hulk growled and he turned to see what had landed… and looked up. "Not good," he whispered.
Towering above him, slowly retracting its wings was EVA-07, its vulture like head, colored lips and eternal grin made it appear as a mad clown that leered over the city.
She-Hulk immediately roared her challenge causing the massive monstrosity of white to leer down at her. She leapt into the air swiftly climbing its body. It tried to grab her and get her off but her nearly simian climb was fast and difficult to counter. Bishop wasn't sure how much energy he had left but realized even if he had enough, he was not going to be able to help against these monstrosities.
At least not like this… Bishop ran for the nearest access point to NERV, hoping he had enough time.
Archangel carefully reached up to the spike of metal in her throat and tried to grasp it. The extra weight on her throat made it feel like it was tearing more and she barely managed a gasp of pain. As she was about to try again, she felt something wrap around her waist and raise her ever so slightly. Then she watched the spike pull its way out of her throat. The other one stuck in her wing was removed a moment later and she was let down. The upper half of Ms Fantastic appeared.
"Relax," she said gently as she tried to hold the broken angel up to prevent weight from being placed on her still regenerating wings.
In a moment, Archangel's neck regenerated and she was able to whisper at least. "How did you survive?
"Invisibility," Ms Fantastic replied. "Not a trick I use often, but sometimes it helps.
"And your lower half?"
"Well, let's say I was able to regenerate the damage thanks to the nanites in my body… but uh… they didn't fix my costume."
"Oh," Archangel said with a slight color change to her face.
"Its okay," she dismissed. "Not like anybody can see anything."
Their heads turned towards the sounds of battle in the distance and they saw the MP EVA's appearing to fight smaller targets.
"We better leave this to those that are in better condition and better able to fight," Ms Fantastic commented.
"I… I hope we survive this," she whispered. "I think I would have liked to have found what you and Forge have together."
"Ugh," Forge groaned as he began to sit up. "What did I miss?" He realized he was lying on something relatively soft which happened to be a sleeping bag. His stomach was still hurting but he knew that would pass. His eyes trained around the camp and saw the body of Doctor Doom. "You got 'em?"
"No," Ms Fantastic replied. "Exodus did."
"Shit," he replied. "So it's over then. Only a matter of time now." The sound of the distant battle stirred him and he turned towards the war. "But we're not done yet it looks like."
"I still have hope," Ms Fantastic replied.
Storm dodged the massive sweeping weapon again taking her shots where should could. The massive monstrosities that were the MP EVA's however were proving difficult to take down, and She-Hulk seemed to have the better time dealing with them.
She watched as Spirit dropped Colossus onto of one of them. It tried to tear him off but he already had a good grip on the thing's throat. Uncoiling a chain he must of retrieved on the ground he threw it around the massive head and hooked it on. The monster thrashed again as Colossus swung from its back around it pulling the chain tight. As the monster dropped to its hands and knees, colossus yanked on it as hard as possible causing the massive head to snap in a direction that was not comfortable. Its neck broke that instant causing the unit to collapse hard.
"That's one," Storm thought as she dodged another attempt to grab her. She summoned a massive tornado to hold the monster still and prepared to fire Thor's Hammer into the core. Another unit quickly gained on Storm's position but before it could get to her, it was slammed by a Halo Wave throwing it back and away. Spirit pursued it as Storm let Thor's Hammer fly. The nine bolts of concentrated electric death slammed the core and shattered it apart. Now unable to hold itself due to death, its body was flung into the air by the powerful twister. As she released it to let the body fly, she was already looking for more targets.
She-Hulk pummeled the monster she was facing and swung up onto its back. With an impressive show of strength she ripped off the plug cover as the monster reached back to grab her. She instead grabbed a finger and pulled the hand back. With a savage jerk, she ripped the finger off and threw it away before turning her attention back towards the plug. She ripped it opened and reached in grabbing the dummy pilot. She took little note of the fact that it looked like Tabris and tore the clone in half, the unit quickly shut down and collapsed at the death of its controller.
It was at that moment, when three had gone down that Storm sensed that Third Impact was near. The sky churned with multicolored clouds that whirled despite her efforts to control them.
Sensing the Angel responsible, she flew as fast as the winds could carry her. Moments later she realized she'd been had.
She had returned to the Camp in time to see Forge standing up.
"What happened?" she demanded, then she saw the body of Doctor Doom. "Oh, no."
"Unfortunately," Ms Fantastic replied now with a blanket of some form wrapped around her lower half. "And Doom killed Tabris. The last seal is broken."
Storm couldn't believe it. The end was near and she had been unable to stop it. She sadly walked over to the body of Tabris. He looked so peaceful in death, despite the lance that was sticking out of his chest. As if a courtesy for the dead, she grasped the spear and pulled it out of the Angel.
To everyone's astonishment he suddenly started breathing again. Storm dropped the lance and helped him sit up. "You're alive?" she said. More a happy observation then a question, and held the angel to her as a comfort.
"Doom didn't know… I have two cores," he whispered as the holes in his chest began to close up. "But the seal is still broken… my primary core was destroyed." He coughed and took a moment to steady his ragged breath. "You must stop him. He's going after Lilith, the only pure angel left that can initiate Third Impact. She awaits… deep within the Black Moon… what you call NERV HQ. There is a chamber beneath called Terminal Dogma… she's there." He pushed her back a bit and placed his right hand over his chest.
In horror, Storm watched as his hand slipped inside his body like it simply phased though his skin. He grunted in pain as his hand grasped something and started to pull.
"What are you doing?!" Storm exclaimed.
"Completing you…" His hand extracted the largest shard of his shattered primary core. "I'm giving you a portion of my power. You'll need every advantage against Exodus. He has now become the true aspect of Adam in this world." He used his left arm to pull Storm closer and began to phase the shard of his core into her body. Storm cried out in pain but found herself unable to resist the intrusion into her body. Within moments the hand retracted and she felt the shard combine with her own, strengthening her angelic half.
Her body began to twitch and write as the energy overtook her body. Her costume melted away in the blink of an eye leaving her threadbare for a few moments before a layer of silver seemed to cover her body.
When the shimmer dissipated, her body was covered from neck to toe with a layer of silver cloth, skin tight to her body. Her original cloak design was there but was now also silver in color. All the metal parts of her outfit where gone with the exception of a pair of bracelets of gold that seemed to act as the dividing line between her sleeves and her gloves. Her hair was longer and wilder, as if constantly blowing in the wind, and her eyes were as white as the most brilliant flash of lightning. Extra cloth bunched around her shoulders and over her collarbones as if an additional support when she flew and everything was trimmed in a thin line of gold.
At the end of the transformation she began breathing hard and then looked at herself. Her angelic side had been strengthened but she felt her human half had also become stronger. Tabris was right, she was in perfect balance now, and complete.
She picked up the Proxy Lance and it too began to change in her hand. Lightning jumped along its shaft as the prongs seemed to become sharper. Along the entire length of the weapon, Norse runes of power appeared glowing an electric blue, as the entire weapon shifted into a more silvery metal.
Storm stood up to her full height planting the back tip of the spear into the ground, the sound of the blade piercing asphalt was as a thunder crack. She had truly become the God of Thunder and with her power she had forged her Gungnir. Lightning engulfed the spear and it shrunk down, reduced to energy and stored within her.
"You are ready," Tabris said. "Go now."
With a crack of thunder she took to the sky, and flew directly for the nearest access point into NERV she knew about. Her only hope was that she could make it in time.
Exodus destroyed the elevator with a blast of pure angelic force before diving into the shaft. He used telekinesis to rip open the doors of the desired floor. There in the final hallway he saw Rogue. She looked like she was waiting for him.
"You don't know when to quit do you?" Exodus mused.
"I'm surprised you still have the guts to try to face me considering you know what I am now," he said.
"You hurt me," she whispered. "You cursed me. Did you think I wouldn't want to come back for a little revenge?"
"Pointless," he replied. "In a few minutes I will begin Third Impact and then we can discuss our lack of a relationship. For the moment, stop wasting my time and stand aside."
Instead Rogue approached him. "You stole my ability to touch another living soul Adam," she said in almost a whisper. "I know my life will likely end when you have finished your task. But there is something I wanted to give you before you initiated Armageddon."
Before Exodus could react, Rogue jumped on him and kissed him hard. That same moment, she activated the bracers. Exodus didn't know what was happening at first then suddenly he realized he was being drained of his lovely power.
He struggled with getting Rogue off of him but she kept herself fastened, wrapping her legs around his midsection and closing them like a vice. With his entire body covered in a costume for the most part, Rogue knew this was the only way her plan would have actually worked. From here, she could drain as much as possible while being difficult to dislodge. He finally managed to tear her off when the bracers beeped that they were out of power.
She hit the ground on her butt and started getting back up immediately. Exodus wasn't certain how much of his god-like energy she managed to drain off, but he certainly didn't feel any weaker.
"We'll talk about this later, young lady," he scolded. "I for one would love to know how you managed to counter my immunity to your touch. But that can wait." Exodus teleported… or rather he tried to teleport and realized he could no longer do that. "What?!" he yelled and Rogue chuckled at him.
"Did you forget what gifts you gave me?" she said triumphantly. "Now, I'm gonna kick your ass." She teleported to point blank and delivered an uppercut to Exodus hard enough to send him several floors up.
Before he landed she appeared in front of him and delivered a spinning kick to the midsection sending him though another wall.
Exodus found himself in a lab, before he could get his bearings Rogue appeared again and delivered a massive kick to his stomach.
She flew after him and slammed him into a wall.
Exodus tried to throw a punch but she deflected the attack and slammed her fist into his midsection hard.
Then a massive backhand that send him through the wall again.
Exodus tried to recover and was bashed down hard for his troubles…
…Then kicked through the wall again, this time finding he entered a cavern that could have been part of terminal dogma. The air smelled of LCL but there was no sign of Lilith anywhere.
Rogue appeared before him again and delivered a nasty right cross that snapped his head back.
Her fist reared back intending to punch straight through Exodus's chest but her arm was suddenly grabbed. Exodus stared her in the eye and whispered, "Zehn." Then he delivered a head butt that caused her to see red.
Before she could recover, Exodus began to repay her in kind for the beating he just took pummeling her body relentlessly until he heard the flesh beneath her jumpsuit tear, and her bones begin to snap. She cried out in pain, her bodily integrity breaking down under the relentless assault.
His hand became clawed and he reached back, intending to destroy her core when a massive stroke of blue lightning slammed him hard throwing him into a wall and making him twitch a moment before he recovered. Floating off of the wall he looked to see what it was.
Rogue had managed to land on the shore of the LCL lake and quickly collapsed in a ball of pain, but floating in midair was his first and true nemesis.
"Ramiel," he whispered with venom on his tongue.
"Adam," she called back. "This madness ends tonight."
"Love the new costume Ramiel," he said sarcastically. "But no matter how much you change your look, you are just one of my children and nothing more. Worse yet… you're less than one of my children because you bound yourself to one of those inferiors… to a LILUM!" The last word he spoke was punctuated with an angry yell.
"No worse then you have done… father."
"I did it to survive… incubating my core within the Lilum Gendo Ikari until the time was right, and failing him the moment I saw my release. Vahu was the instrument of that release and now he and I are one as it should be." Bolts of energy jumped across his body. "I am human only in physical form. I am fully angel. Certainly you sense that."
"I do," she replied. "And that's why I know there will be no reasoning with your father."
"Why did you betray us Ramiel."
"Because I saw the purity in the hearts of the Lilum… I felt their honor… I felt their capacity to love. That is why I chose to bind myself to the Lilum Mayumi Yamagishi. That is why we have become as one and why I surrendered my soul to her."
Exodus's eyes widened. "You're not speaking as Ramiel."
"This is what Ramiel wanted to tell you, father." She stated. "This is what he wanted to say, his words. He gave up his fully angelic existence so that he could truly understand us, so that he could become like us because he knew that with us he could find what he wanted… he wanted to feel." Storm placed a hand over her heart, feeling the core within her body beating as if it were one. "It was the one thing that you would never allow your children to have… Why? Were you afraid they would abandon you if they could feel individual love? Where you afraid you would be left alone within the White Moon forever if every Angel that would ever exist was not bound to you."
"LIES!" he snapped. "My children are ever a part of me… as are you. You speak of feelings, but what do you think your betrayal did to me?! Your own Father!"
"To be fair, you're probably closer to a step father to me. But it doesn't matter. I hate you… I hate what you stand for… I hate the fact that you want to end the world in your own selfishness… I hate you because it was your kind that took my blood from me. My mother died at your hands, both during second impact and then the murder of my foster mother. You and those angels that stayed loyal to you only know how to do one thing… destroy everything you touch. And that, father… is why it ends tonight."
"Do you really think you can kill me?"
"We're about to find out." She said as she raised her hand and seemed to gather lightning from the surrounding air.
After a moment of this, Exodus clenched his fists, Storm's hand dropped and they both flew at each other at incredible speed throwing their first punch at the same moment. Their fists collided creating a shockwave that pulverized rock and threw up a wave of LCL below them as it was momentarily parted.
Red eyes glared into white orbs for a moment, and as the wave of LCL crashed down below them, the battle truly began. It was a mutual point blank physical assault that seemed as intricate as it was desperate. Fists were thrown, kicks were made and both combatants locked themselves into a midair dance of death. Exodus managed the first direct hit across Storm's face. As she spun her closed fist lashed out and struck Exodus directly. As he spun he kicked her away firing off his eyebeams in an attempt to finish her quickly.
Storm recovered and used her hand to block the beams of energy, focusing her AT Field to the point of her palm and deflecting the deadly beam. The moment he let off, she unleashed a massive bolt of electric death that failed to strike. Blasts of angelic power flew from Exodus's hands as Storm was forced to dodge. What began as midair fisticuffs turned into a dogfight as both flew around stalagmites at high speed taking pot shots where possible. Exodus at last managed to close the distance slamming into Storm and sending them both back into a section of NERV Central.
In the tight corridors here, physical assault became the most effect form of combat again and Storm was all too happy to deliver a set of devastating kicks to Exodus, sending him through a nearby wall. Exodus launched himself back though the same wall immediately, the shockwave left by his passing destroying the room.
He collided with Storm planting his fist into her stomach hard. She coughed but kept her composure as she delivered a sharp knee into his chest and a point blank blast of raw electrical power that stunned him for a moment. Using her speed to her advantage she pummeled him with over a dozen hits before he regained his balance and started striking back
For a time they were trading blows, Storm would strike him several times in succession then Exodus would strike back, slamming Storm with massive hits and point blank blasts of angelic power. Storm summoned a powerful wind which threw Exodus back a bit before launching into another series of devastatingly quick strikes.
The moment Exodus was thrown back again, he slammed his hands together and blasted Storm with a double fisted blast of raw energy that threw her though a ridiculously thick wall.
Storm found herself in the Evangelion Graveyard, surrounded by failed EVA attempts. She only had a moment to take in the creepiness of the room before Exodus flew into her at high speed throwing her into a particularly massive EVA Skeleton. Massive spinal bones flew in multiple directions as Storm seemed to go into a mid-air three-point stance to slow her travel. Exodus flew at her again as Storm locked onto an old EVA faceplate with her magnetic powers and threw it into him at speeds exceeding Mach 2.
It hit him but didn't move him instead he used his telekensis to do what she did a dozen times over, launching massive bones, limbs and sheets of armor. Storm flew at him dodging the huge projectiles in once case, seeming to run along one of the armor plates as it was inverted and magnetically pushing away others to get in range. She slammed into Exodus throwing him through another wall and following after the body. As she reached him Exodus managed to grab her and fly upwards, using her back as a battering ram as they slammed though level after level of the huge complex. Finally they stopped and Exodus threw her into another wall. Storm idly realized she was lying on a map of the world when she stopped.
Exodus followed her in and realized they had somehow managed to find Gendo's Office. He felt it somewhat ironic but put the thought out of his mind as he picked Storm back up and threw her though the window. It was the very same window that months ago, he himself was thrown through by Doctor Doom.
In midair inside the Geo-Front, Storm managed to stop her movement again. Exodus flew directly at her forcing her to dodge. Exodus gave chase as they flew towards the buildings hanging upside-down over the Geo-Front. Storm dodged as blasts of angelic energy flew at her, striking buildings and the lowest layer of the front's armor. Storm spun around so that she was flying back first and returned fire, striking several floors of another building as Exodus continued to dodge her attacks.
Below them, metal, glass, and concrete rained down upon the Geo-Front's grass and trees. A particularly large chunk of falling concrete was grasped by the telekinetic hand of Exodus and launched back up at Storm. She dodged barely and the concrete hit the roof with enough force to get stuck in the armor layer, only a few pieces of concrete falling off of it. Storm used magnetism to rip more I-Beams out of the abandoned hanging buildings to use as projectiles while dodging both angelic fire and massive chunks of buildings.
Dodging Storms attempts to tear him apart with metal Exodus raised both hands and telekinetically ripped an entire building from its hanging foundation, and threw out towards Storm with great force. But rather than dodge it, Storm flew at it as fast as she could, focusing her AT Field to the front. She punched though the flying structure out the other side taking note of the rain falling though the hole left behind by the removed structure. Exodus's eyes flashed, igniting the air around Storm. It hurt but she pushed through to the hole, turning upward within the water stream and raising a hand skyward. Exodus flew at her, knowing what she was trying, but was too late to stop it. Streams of electrical fury flew into her hand as she unleashed Thor's Hammer. Exodus was at point blank range when it was fired, and he had no chance to dodge the attack. It threw him back, lancing him with heavy electrical fury but when it was over, he was still airborne and now very upset.
Flying at her even faster he stopped her from doing it a second time by a double foot kick to her midsection which threw her far from the shaft of sky. Before she could recover he delivered a massive strike across her face and grabbed her by the front of her outfit. He then started pummeling her hard. Blue blood shot from her mouth and nose at each hit.
As Storm slumped over in his hand he extended a single f-LS blade from his left gauntlet and slammed it into her causing her to scream. The hit didn't penetrate her core but skirted off the surface which was enough to cause untold pain. Her right hand grasped the wrist as her left arm began to feel numb.
"I guess you weren't up to the challenge after all," he said triumphantly. "I knew you never had what it took to beat me… But look on the bright side… you'll finally get to rejoin your family." A crooked grin punctuated the last word.
Storm's eyes flashed as she stared into his. Even without corneas, pupils or anything resembling normal parts of a human eye, the contempt was purely visible… as was the determination to win. Her left arm tingled as she forced feeling back into it and grasped his wrist at the pressure point forcing his hand opened.
Exodus fought to keep control over her as her feet came up and she kicked herself off of the blade. The blade brushed her core again and she could almost feel the cracks on its surface.
As Exodus flew back in to get control of the fight Storm struck with a lightning backed punch directly to the chest as hard as she could. The sudden constricting of his airways caused him to choke and cough. She kicked him in the face knocking him back before blasting him with a frozen wind that forced him back.
As he flew back, fighting off Yamir's Frost, Storm threw her right hand up with her wrist bent back and her palm flat as lightning formed into Gungnir in her hand. The prongs instantly twisted together, completing it.
"Say hello to Gendo for me," she said as she threw it at Exodus with all her might. The spear released a shockwave as it flew, accelerating to nearly 5 times the speed of sound. Exodus straightened his fall just in time to see the spear coming and realized he had no chance at all to dodge it. He desperately threw up his AT Field but this didn't slow it down as it hit him directly. And like the mythical hunting spear of Odin for which it was named, it didn't miss its mark, passing straight through his core and out the other side of his body.
The look on Exodus's face was one of utter shock. His mind could not fathom how this could have happened… how a pathetic Nephilum could have defeated him but here was the truth of it… his death was a testament to their power… and the last true angel died, not with a bang but with whimper.
Gungnir lodged itself into the side of the NERV Pyramid, somehow slowing its own progress enough to not pass through it. The body of Exodus fell into the lake outside of it and as it sank, it dissolved into LCL leaving nothing but a trail of orange liquid behind. Within minutes the LCL would have dissipated to the point of being invisible.
Storm dropped to the ground on her feet and keeled over, feeling her body begin repairing the damage to her core. It would be slow and this would hurt for a long time, but she was alive…
Above in Tokyo-3 only two MP EVAs were still alive when Exodus died, two of them defeated by Bishop piloting EVA 01. At the moment of Adam's destruction they shut down and slumped over as if their batteries had run dry. A cry of victory from the remaining JSSDF forces in the city rose above even the thunderstorm that lingered over the city as the multi-colored sky returned to the normal gray tones indicated to any who wondered, that Third Impact had been averted.
"She did it," Shinji whispered. "She won."
Storm looked up towards the single hole in the roof of the Geo-Front and smiled. Finally, after a long bloody struggle, it was over. Ramiel's wish had been fulfilled and the human race had been saved.
But Storm knew that more battles were in her future. The world had changed too much, and it was far too easy for an evil man or woman to become a Supervillain with the power of the angels behind them, especially now that Adam was dead. The energy and power he held had been released into the world just as it had nearly 16 years ago. X-Factor would still be needed… and she would be ready…
Epilogue: Storm Break
In the months following the near miss of Third Impact, NERV was dissolved in its entirety. Salvage from the site was used to fill in the Geo-Front and bury it. Although a full investigation was launched and the cross within Terminal Dogma was found, both the original Lance of Longinus and Lilith were missing. Some surmised that with Third Impact no longer possible Lilith and the Lance were no longer necessary and simply vanished.
The cleanup of the city is still going on. Once the Geo-Front is fully filled in, the real construction can begin, though many believe that the population of the city will still be low considering its awful reputation.
The only living member of the original Doom Guard, Mystique has still not been located. Some believe she may have become a mercenary for hire, but as she is a shapeshifter and can make herself look like anyone, it's doubtful anyone will ever find her unless she wants to be found.
Kaworu Nagisa never recovered his primary core, instead his secondary adapted to become his primary core and he retained most of his angelic powers (he did lose his ability to use telekinesis). But the ordeal changed him fundamentally and he was no longer a full angel. His contact with humans changed him into something closer to a Nephilum. Under the moniker of Silver Samurai, he joined X-Factor as a permanent member leaving the name of Tabris behind him. Despite his responsibilities to the team, he still wandered the world, learning everything he could about the race he now counted himself a part of.
Toji and Hikari grew together in their relationship and planned to get married as soon as both were old enough to do so. Both are still active members of X-Factor as their monikers of Colossus and Spirit respectively.
Although Rei Ayanami was not able to find a significant other in the months following the incident, she remained hopeful. Her emotional output has since been more normalized though she is still subdued and introverted for the most part. Never-the-less, she is finding it easier to express herself all the time. She is still unable to change her form into something more human but she doesn't let this bother her.
Misato Katsuragi spent the month following the incident in a perpetual state of drunk. In her words, it was a celebration of their lives, but Bishop felt was nothing more than an excuse to indulge. He's still trying to get her to quit, but is realizing how lost of a cause it's becoming. Though she managed to master herself as She-Hulk, she still can't seem to speak more than a few words or not refer to herself in third person when thusly changed. It's as if she has a severe dislike for personal pronouns.
Maya Ibuji and Kensuke Aida continued to experiment with high technology. Kensuke discovered that a shard of Arael's soul has somehow joined with him to create a core, but for the sake of Kaworu Nagisa, he is searching for a way to restore her to life with the help of Ritsuko Akagi. Maya is looking forward to the day when Kensuke is old enough to solidify their relationship. She still spends her free time stopping petty crime. Kensuke however, as Forge was chosen to be X-Factor's direct liaison to the Government, a job he takes very seriously. While X-Factor still operates separate from the Government, they are called upon for some of the more difficult jobs, especially when the culprits are likely Nephilum themselves.
Ritsuko Akagi became X-Factor's official doctor. All her cats were moved into their headquarters outside Nagano. Though they sometimes get in the way, aside from Toji's apparent allergy to cats, the entire team enjoys having them.
Asuka Langley Soryu spent nearly 2 months recovering from her injuries but eventually did, becoming a formal member of X-Factor soon after. Part of her remembers what Kaji was like before he became the monster that nearly destroyed the world and she still mourns his passing, realizing the Kaji she knew died before they were reunited on the "Over the Rainbow". She has not dated anyone since his death.
Shinji Ikari remains one of X-Factor's top members and worked with the Governement to oversee the deconstruction of the EVA's, ensuring his mother's spirit could finally rest in peace. He and Mayumi remain closer than ever.
Mayumi Yamagishi remains X-Factor's leader. After her completion from absorbing Tabris's core, the last vestiges of Blackheart's influence on her were expunged, allowing her to move on with her life. She remains very busy, reading as much as she can and spending virtually all of her free time with her fiancé, Shinji. Though she has no further need of glasses, she still wears a pair when powered down because Shinji likes them.
Though the future is uncertain, one thing remains constant… If something truly evil and powerful ever shows it face anywhere on Earth again, they will be there. They are the guardians of Earth, the ones who would face the darkness… they are X-Factor, and at the head there shall always be, the Eternal Storm.
Character Concepts based on Marvel Comics Characters. Original Versions of these characters are the property of Marvel Comics and their respective creators.
Superwomen of EVA created by Orionpax09
Tempest Aterna created by Archdruid Sephiroth
Storm Concept by Archdruid Sephiroth and Orionpax09 based on the Marvel Comics Character
Spirit Concept by Mike313. No Marvel Character was used in the basis of this character and similarities to any existing character is purely coincidental
Bishop, Forge, Archangel, Rogue and Silver Samurai Concepts by Archdruid Sephiroth
She-Hulk and Ms Fantastic Concepts by Orionpax09
Doctor Doom and Exodus Concepts by Archdruid Sephiroth
All Original Evangelion characters are property of GAINAX
-Special Thanks (in no particular order)-
The Wandering Soul of 313
The 17th Immortal
And Anyone Else who has read, reviewed, commented or in anyway shape or form contributed to this project… you know who you are and you all know how hard you rock
-The End… for now…-