Red garbed fists slam against the butterfly controls and a Germanic swear echoes in the cold metal tube. Glaring at the metal walls, blue red eyes narrowing, he slams his fists into the controls and swears again. This is getting him nowhere.
"Damn it," Uri growls, "Work, damn it! We don't have time for you to be a temperamental arschloch!"
Pitches his head forward and growls, only hearing that the battle has begun. Once again, he's going to get shown up. Once again, he will fail. From the day he first opened his eyes he has trained for this, but every Angel he has come up short against.
"Damn it," he growls, clenching his eyes shut, "Why don't you work?!"
The last step gives way to a leap. Unit 01 flies through the air, both hands gripping the handle before bringing it down in a single, sweeping strike…and hitting the field. It becomes visible, a solid sphere of rolling white. Purple feet slam down and the Evangelion flips off, landing in a crouch on the edge of the sphere as buildings, trees, the cement itself turns cold and brittle.
The arm does not move, but ADAM's hand is raised. There is a crack of thunder and a flash of light, and the blast stops upon Unit 01's AT Field as the armor cracks and fissures of light inch up the arm.
In the cockpit, heavy breathing and his eyes are glowing. He can feel the pain inching up, feel the bruising. It doesn't matter. The Core of Eva is singing in his ears, and he urges it forward once more.
Eyes like coals, He levels his hand and sends out His barrier. The air is thick and almost solid as Unit 01 advances, armor shredding, eyes glowing and the armor around its mouth beginning to contort and stretch. It will not yield. It will not falter. The armor around its chest bulges out and it pushes its arms forward, the air turning purple as the ground shudders. Anything not nailed down, from cars to benches to trailers rise into the air and fly towards ADAM.
And the field flashes and bends back, and for a moment, ADAM regards Unit 01. If one could see past the radiant aura and see the face, one would see an expression of pure surprise followed by terrible Anger.
And the Giant of Light continues its advance. Hands at its side open, crackling with light along its fingers, the First Angel determines to teach this upstart shadow a lesson.
Chapter 17: Fall
"Unit 01 is engaging the Angel," Maya calls out, "Its deployed its AT Field! Angel's advance has slowed!"
"I don't believe this," Ritsuko whispers, staring at the screen, "Shinji's managed to slow down ADAM?"
A small, wicked grin passes Misato's face as she slaps her friend on her shoulder.
"Better believe it, Ritz," she says, "Status on the other Evas!"
"Unit 00 and 02 non-responsive," Makato says, turning his chair to her, "I'm getting gibberish from 00's Plug. Both Evas are still rejecting orders."
"All commands rejected from Entry Plugs," Kyoko shouts, "Only getting audio signal!"
A muted swear comes from Misato's lips, followed by a louder one.
"F___! Then who's going to fire on it?!"
"The cannon's rigged for a manual activation," Ritsuko says, "We can get someone up there and have it fired that way."
Misato turns on her, a grin crossing her features before she slaps her on both arms.
Turning from her, she looks over to Yui, who snaps out of her staring on the screen to stare at Katsuragi.
"Doctor Ikari," she shouts, "Take command! I'll take care of the cannon!"
"What?" Yui asks, "Katsuragi! Don't do anything stupid!"
Which falls on deaf ears, as Misato has already run out, skidding to a stop in the elevator as it speeds up to the surface. Swearing, Ritsuko turns back to the screen. They had to anticipate this sooner or later with Him appearing. What they didn't anticipate is another member of the bridge crew abandoning their post.
The first blast shatters the orange barrier. The second blast shreds Unit 01's armor at the shoulder and makes Shinji scream in pain. His synch ratio is too high. He can feel everything that is done to his chariot, all the way to the eva's own voice screaming in his ears. Biting back bile, gripping the controls, he continues onward.
Unit 01 runs, runs into the barrier, breaking through it as ADAM brings up His hand. Unit 01's hand burns, smoking at the metal joints, the material underneath boiling as Shinji's eyes lock with the eyes of the First Angel.
For a moment, he stares into the Face of God.
Then, he smashes it with a 15,000 ton hammer.
The head of the hammer dents, collapsing inward, but there is a reaction. ADAM takes a single step back. Another swing sheers the head off and makes ADAM's head turn. Everything around Unit 01 save for the Eva itself is crystal and ice, the very heat being drawn into the primordial god.
But ADAM does not yield.
"Let's see how you like this," Shinji says with a grin, "Access Magoroku!"
The air around Unit 01's right arm distorts. The hilt appears first, peaking out through the rip in space, the air splitting as Unit 01's hand grips the hilt. The rip expands, swirling into a portal of light and nothingness, the sound of sliding metal, like a sword unsheathing filling the air as the segmented blade almost as long as the Eva is tall revealed.
The engine within the blue hilt hums as it comes to life. The cracks in the air become brighter and more pronounced, the blade glowing orange as Unit 01 brings the sword over its head. With a yell, Shinji brings it down. The air splits, the AT-Field blade coming to life as the single most powerful weapon in his arsenal comes down on the First Angel.
Who catches it in His hand.
The Progressive Blade shatters and Shinji's eyes go wide as ADAM directs His gaze upon him. There is a flash of light and a crack of thunder, and Unit 01 goes flying backwards.
It lands at the feet of the other two Evas, armor shredded. Shinji breathes in sharply before coughing up blood.
"That was stupid," he groans, "Eva?"
He grits his teeth, gripping the controls. Unit 01's eyes glow as it rises, coming to a stand over long, painful moments. For a moment, he considers deploying the Progressive Knife, but quickly comes to a realization that won't do much. Heavy footsteps echo as Unit 01 begins its advance-
Before it slows to a crawl.
i am scared
"I'm here," he says, "Don't be. He won't harm you while I'm alive, got it? If he wants to get to you, he gets through me!"
ADAM levels His gaze upon Unit 01 and extends His hand. The air comes alight and warps, and-
"The Angel's modified its AT Field," Maya calls out, "It's creating some sort of distortion effect! Unit 01's movement has slowed to minimal speeds!"
The intercom crackles. Pieter's face appears on a screen to the right of the central monitor.
"Dr. Ikari, preparations are done!"
Narrowing her eyes, adjusting her glasses, Kyoko turns from her station in Dogma.
"What preparations?" she asks.
"Our weapon against ADAM," Yui responds with a smile, "We recovered the S2 organ from Shamsiel. We weaponized it and put it into a warhead, and now we're going to use it against ADAM."
"Can't sleep, ADAM will eat me. Can't sleep, ADAM will eat me. Musn't run away. Musn't run away. Musn't run away."
Red eyes open in the darkened entry plug. The song of the First Angel echoes through her ears, shutting down all rational thought. Tapping her fingers on her arms, staring out and past the steel at the form of ADAM, she gazes and waits.
"…Rei? Rei, can you hear me?"
"Rei, it's Asuka. A-are you alright? W-we can't get any visual signals."
"All your base are belong to ADAM."
"…what? R-Rei, you're not making any sense."
"Is it can be hugs tiem now plees?"
The waves of force buffet Unit 01 as it advances, slowly and painfully against the waves of ADAM's presence. Every step is painful. Every inch feels like moving through knives and brick. Every step makes a renewed gush of yellow LCL splash onto the street, and every step makes Shinji grunt in pain.
He will not fail. He will not fall.
The pain focuses him. It is a good pain. A waking pain. In his ears, he hears Eva and his thoughts are with hers. Every inch will be fought for and this victory will be taken step by step.
"I'm coming for you," he growls.
"Rei," Asuka says, "Rei, l-listen to me. I n-need to walk you through the manual activation for Unit 00."
"Lalalalala not lisn!"
Shrugging, turning back to Yui with a confused expression on her face. Sighing, she turns back to the console, clicking the intercom once again. On the main screen, the image of what should be the Entry Plug is blacked out, leaving only the words SOUND ONLY.
"Rei," Asuka says, "R-Rei, please listen. It's m-me. Y-you can trust me, can't you?"
"Ur password is FAIL! Entry are denied!"
A pause as Asuka turns back to Yui. The two share a confused look, followed by the channel crackling again.
"Invisible man r pissed!"
"What is she doing," Yui asks, "This isn't any code. Has Rei snapped?"
At his station, Shigeru Aoba peaks his head up and snaps his fingers.
"Wait!" he yells, "Doctor Ikari! Rei's speaking in LOLcats!"
Slamming the release for the restraints, Uri finally stands up, staring into the Entry Plug and gritting his teeth.
"You're a coward!" he shouts, "And you can hear me, can't you!? Why won't you get up and do your job?"
No response. He didn't expect one, either. Unit 02 doesn't respond to him like Unit 01 does for Ikari, after all. It wouldn't. There's something wrong with the purple giant, but yet…
"Is because of him?" he asks, "Because of ADAM? Because you're made from a cell culture from that monster?"
More silence, and he balls his fists. There's something in the pit of stomach, something uncomfortable as he growls and begins to wonder if there's anything to even respond to.
"So that's it?" he asks, "You're afraid? You're the single most advanced fighting machine on the planet and you're afraid? Of what? What he'll do to you?"
Clicks his tongue, shrugs, folds his arms and stares at the metal bulkhead.
"Maybe you're afraid of him being disappointed in you. Maybe you're afraid you won't be good enough for him! Is that it?!"
A small pulse in the floor, something stirring deep below.
"Fine, then!" he shouts, "Stay down! Cower! Are you just going to do what he tells you for the rest of your life?!"
The walls turn transparent, light returning to the Entry Plug as the sleeping beast lurches.
"Synchronization holding at 68%. Unit 02 has activated."
Grinning, Uri slides back into the seat, snapping on the restraints and gripping the butterfly controls.
"Well, that was easy," he says, clicking the mental switch for the intercom, "Central Dogma, this is Unit 02. Taking position on the treadmill!"
The pressure lessens. The knives and bricks become thick mud as Unit 01 advances. It stands upright now, and a grin splits Shinji's face. The air around Unit 01's hand shifts, becoming a large short blade, summoned from the Dirac Armory.
"I'm coming for you."
"Rei," Asuka says, leaning on the console, teeth grit as her mother urges Uri on, "Rei, please listen to me. I know you're scared. I-I know that the Angel terrified you. He terrifies all of us, alright?"
A crackle comes over the intercom.
"No can brain today. Want cheezeburger."
Asuka sighs. Smacking her hand on the console, she grabs the corded walkie talkie and brings it up to her face.
"Listen to me," she growls, "You're terrified. Well, s-so's everyone else! And do you know what? I'm pretty sure Shinji's f___ing terrified of that to, but he's still charging that thing and he'll be killed if we don't help him!"
Silence over the communicator. Leaning against the console, a small, knowing grin on her face, Asuka stares at the screen.
"And Rei," she says, "Do you know what terrifies every l-living thing in Tokyo-3 more than any Angel? And what would terrify that Angel if i-it came out right now?"
Silence on the other line as she considers the thought. She can almost feel her smiling in the plug.
"Terrifying Rei is terrifying?"
"Ya," Asuka says, "Rly."
"Unit 00 is re-activating!" Maya shouts.
On the screen, the cycloptean Evangelion rises, taking its place on the treadmill next to Unit 02 as the meters on either side of the central screen fill towards the red line.
"Cannon charge at 70%," Shigeru shouts, "Both Evas have extended their AT Fields!"
The mud has become water. The crawling becoming walking becoming a run. Unit 01's eyes flash and the armor around the mouth loosens, bonds breaking as the great purple titan gives off a knowing growl. Vibromotors in the Progressive Dagger come to life as he clears the last hundreds of feet, driving the blade into ADAM's shoulder.
A whine fills the air as the treadmills transmit power over the lines. Deep within the bowels of NERV, eight thousand bikes hooked up to turbines transmit electricity to the charging weapon's core.
And Shinji, body hurting and mind reeling, knows he is not alone. The Angel is angry, the Angel has been wounded. The Angel is a beast powered by rage and more powerful than anything else that walks the Earth. But the Angel is alone, and he has the entire human race behind him this day. As he stares into the black pits of its eyes and sees the excuse it has for a soul, he reacts quicker than by any rights he should. The hand comes up, but Unit 01 grabs it, grappling with the physical god before it.
For the first time in its endless existence, ADAM is held fast.
"We're not going to yield," Shinji yells, "We're not going to fall! Not today! Not ever! You hear me?!"
"Power capacitors at 85% and climbing," Maya shouts, "Unit 01 is holding the Angel in place!"
Yui nods, stepping to the center of Dogma and watching both her son and masterpiece wrestle with a creature that nearly destroyed the human race. Maternal pride brews within her as they do the impossible, just as they have done every other time they've been out there.
This will go down in legend, the day Man wrestled God.
Assuming they survive.
"Package is on its way to the surface," Akagi shouts, "All we need is the cannon!"
The wind whips around her as she clears the last shaft, climbing onto the surface next to the burlap covered platform. Running over, Misato quickly pulls aside the brown cloth, exposing the dials and levers. Turning dials as she was shown during the first time they fired this thing, generators inside of it hum to life, the streets of Tokyo-3 turning dark and gray as the entire power output of the city is added to the capacitor of this great and massive weapon.
"Misato," Ritsuko says via the transmitor in her ear, "Thirty seconds to full charge. If we let the capacitor go over, there's a chance it could blow!"
"That's all I need, Ritz."
Flipping switches, display LCDs light up with graph readings. Power lines crackle and specialized sub stations spin to life to deliver the necessary charge to the biggest gun they have. Turning, watching the battle, she flips one of the three final switches.
And ADAM looks straight at her. She freezes, eyes locking with the black orbs of the creature that has haunted her nightmares for seventeen years. Events flash before her eyes. The giant of light. Her father's face the moment before he vaporized. The years of mute silence and the horror of a world half destroyed.
I REMEMBER YOU.
The voice echoes between her ears. Her teeth grind and she glares back at the First Angel.
"Good," she says, "Because I sure remember you, to."
Second switch. Arcs of electricity dance over the burlap, setting spots on fire.
WHAT ARE YOU?
The ultimate life form. The ultimate destination of all life asks that question of her. Grinning, hand hovering on the third switch, she stares down her greatest nightmare as the cloth begins to burn away.
"My name is Misato Katsuragi," she says, "Lieutenant Colonel of NERV. Daughter of Shiro Katsuragi, the stupid son of a bitch who woke you up. I am the daughter of a murdered man and the only human being to look on you with their own eyes and live to tell about it.
"I am the right hand of retribution and the last human being you will ever see, you glow in the dark mother f___er. Now smile asshole. Because this,"
Final switch slips. The burlap burns away to reveal the bulk and metal of the Positron Cannon.
"Is my seventeen years of f___ing payback!"
Her fist slams against the big red button. Transformers come to life, arching lightning over the course of the barrel as the exit point glows, light gathering in it as a single round is accelerated to plasma with a pocket of antimatter suspended in it. The night sky turns to day where Misato stands, and as the rigging begins to melt under the heat, she is happy to know that she will die fulfilled.
Kaji tackles her, throwing down a sphere which explodes into a transparent dome around them both. Pinned to the ground by him, she looks up at his stubble covered face as he smirks.
"JSSDF shield grenade," he says, "I have the best toys."
The beam of blue light lances out, covering the distance from the barrel to ADAM in the space of a fraction of a second. The entire energy output of NERV, the Evas, and Tokyo-3 slams into the chest of the First Angel, the chewy center of positrons blasting through His chest and out the other side.
The low, mournful moan escapes the creature as it glows. Glass shatters around it, its black eyes filling with white light. The sun rises in Tokyo-3 from within, the sky turning from black to blue as ADAM glows, crackling white light wrapping around Him in bands bright enough to make His form unbearable to the naked eye.
Which is when an orange field wraps around Him, pulling Him down to the street as Unit 01 holds Him fast.
Holding it by the wrists, Unit 01's armor smokes and boils. The light reflects off of its sheen, the light almost blinding in the Entry Plug as Shinji concentrates, his eyes a solid blue glow as the AT Field wraps around the First Angel.
"Yield!" he shouts, "Yield you omnipotent f___ing bastard! YIELD!"
"Angel is building up energy! It's starting to go critical!"
"Mom!" Shinji shouts, "Whatever you're going to do, now would be a good time!"
The glow diminishes slightly. Hands forward, Unit 02's eyes glow, its own AT Field wrapping around the First Angel and pushing down the reaction. A third field wraps around it, cocooning ADAM as Unit 00 takes its position as the final point of the triangle. Rei is humming a tune, now, the Angel's song. For some reason, it sounds sad, lonely.
"I thought the Eva's couldn't attack ADAM," Shinji says, "Uri?"
"What can I say? Unit-02 may have a rebellious streak."
"Unit-00 doesn't care either way," Rei adds, "An' I think if someone as soft as Shinji can kick him around, I get to join in. 'Kay?"
Shinji releases, stepping back, a grin from ear to ear as Unit-01 extends its hands and presses with its field, as a platform rises above the Positron Cannon and exposes a red and white missile with a glowing red warhead.
"S2 missile is activated. Warhead is generating distortion field. Firing in three…two…one!"
Rockets ignite and the missile fires off, streaking across Tokyo-3. It leaves trails of red and black light behind it, a smoke trail dragging through the air as it hits the space around ADAM. The hull begins to frost, the tail fins becoming heavy with ice as it loses speed before spinning off course.
"Missile has impacted off target," Makato yells.
"The Angel's generating a distortion field," Yui says, "Damn it! The warhead has to be hand delivered, then!"
Shinji's face clicks on the screen, his eyes glowing an unearthly blue as he switches his gaze back and forth from the Angel to them.
"Wait, so why can't we just blow the Angel up?"
"Shinji, when ADAM dies he releases all his excess mass," Yui says, "The last time he did that, he vaporized Antarctica. The S2 warhead will create an entry way into a Dirac Sea for ADAM's total mass and prevent this sort of thing from happening again, but only if it is placed inside ADAM."
"A Dirac Sea? About how bad is one of those things?"
"The sea itself is harmless," Yui explains, "It's a theoretical vacuum model. Its entryway, however, behaves something like a limited lifespan wormhole."
"So…that's not something to leave lying around the city, then."
A pause on his end as a grimace crosses his face.
"I'm closest to it. Roger."
Unit-01 retracts its arms and takes off in a run, towards the glowing missile embedded halfway inside a shopping center. The missile is small, about the size of Unit 01's forearm and easy to wrap the purple mecha's hand around. The warhead, however, has already begun glowing. It is warping the air around it, lines of rippling white surrounding the nosecone as the frosted metal peels off, sucking the air and the pieces of the clothing department it landing in against the missile itself.
"I've retrieved the missile! Preparing to deliver!"
Unit-01 runs. Every step carries new weight, the supermassive entryway of the warhead now glowing, growing, the metal plates surrounding the warhead caving in before the tip of the nosecone collapses inward and disappears. The seams of the red metal part and bend inward as Unit-01 sprints, the tail fins curling inward.
"Shinji, hurry," his mother yells, "If the S2 engine goes critical it caaaaaaaaaa"
The light distorts around the warhead. As it approaches ADAM, the light begins bleeding off of Him, sucked down into the distorting sphere of the payload. Each step breaks pavement under Unit 01's foot, each motion causing the city to bend around him.
ADAM glows. Two blasts fly out, breaking the AT Field prison and throwing Unit 00 and 02 off their feet, tossed back into the city, and the First Angel advances.
He reaches out and wraps a glowing hand around Unit 01's neck, Shinji choking as he feels the burning fingers. Red marks appear on his flesh as he gags against the pressure. Unit-01 screams in his ear at the pain, at the burning, at the terror, and HE's inside my mind and hears the voice.
YOU ARE A SHADOW.
The black pools stare at him, boring deep.
YOU ARE A PALE IMITATION.
Light crackles along His fingers, black marks appearing on Shinji's neck.
I AM NO LONGER TAKING YOUR MEASURE.
White begins to pool in the black circles of ADAM's eyes, a pillar of white light forming around Him.
AND I AM DONE PLAYING.
Shinji grins, tensing his right arm.
"So am I."
And Unit-01 shoves the missile into the hole the Positron Cannon blasted through ADAM's chest. The pillar of light bends and folds in on itself. The ever present glow of the First Angel recedes and pours down the cosmic sink hole forming in the center of His chest. Both of Unit-01's hands grip the glowing hand around its throat and pulls as the Angel begins to fold inward, the air and light around it swirling as the entrance to the Dirac Sea localizes around it.
They are screaming in his ear to run. Each one of ADAM's fingers break as Unit-01 digs its claws into them, each one releasing its hold on pain. The pull can be felt in the LCL rippling forward. The entire cockpit lists as, with a final roar Unit-01 pulls the hand away, backing away as the light around it flows towards ADAM's chest-
From high above, the area near the center of Tokyo-3 flashes. Like a cosmic sinkhole light, sound, and air flows downwards into a spot not half a block in diameter, consuming the cosmic horror which walked like a man. A bolt of light spits out, lancing the moon as every person who knows what they are looking at shields their eyes.
There is a sound, a silent sound released from the outraged roars of the First Angel. Around the world, every animal without ears hears it, and ten percent of them keel over. On the Moon, the sands dance and the footprints of nearly fifty years ago vanish as the sphere shakes in ADAM's rage.
In the depths of Terminal Dogma, Lilith, the progenitor of Mankind, sheds yellow tears of LCL upon hearing the cry of its opposite. One of the many legs growing from its torso appears to almost be luminous, as if it is creating one life in honor of its eternal rival.
And in Central Dogma, they watch as the light clears and the First Angel is cast out of the physical universe into the void and vacuum between. Sensors come back on from the momentary static and flash as the wormhole slams shut, and all they see where the Angel once was is the empty street and bent buildings.
"Where is Unit-01?" Yui asks.
Silence. The indicator visuals next to the screen for the Third Child and his Eva are blank.
"Shinji," Yui calls out, "Shinji, respond please."
"Shinji," Yui shouts, "Respond! Now!"
The silence hangs over Dogma as a palpable thing. Dr. Ikari's fists curl as her face twists, eyes going wide as the gravity of the situation begins to sink in.
"No…signal," Maya says, "Dr. Ikari, Unit-01 is not responding."
Hand clenching and unclenching, Yui runs her hand through her hair, her breath coming in short, shaky spurts as the comm. channel dedicated towards the purple mecha transmits only static.
Yui turns to Asuka, and finds something she had not expected. Not panic, not disbelief, not a girl who she would expect to break down right now. Instead, she finds a face with a small, nervous smile and eyes holding something she can't place.
"Asuka?" Yui asks, "What is it?"
"I," Asuka says, pauses, and considers her words carefully, trying to find the single phrase she knows that can sum up exactly what the situation entails. They come to mind, the same words she said to Katsuragi some days ago.
"I can fix this."