Minutes had passed since the massive blast of energy shot across the opening in the Geofront. The shockwaves had brought of the Evas to their hands and knees for a moment, but as soon as it subsided the MPs pulled themselves up and swarmed on Ichi and Zwei like buzzards. At the moment Shinji and Ichi were fighting Alpha, Theta, Sigma, Lambda and Delta, and Asuka and Zwei was against Beta, Epsilon, Pi and Omega.
"Hehheheheheheheh!" Theta giggled to himself, his slight Scottish brogue that resulted from an unexpected data mutation breaking through to his speech as he broke one of the Eva's arms behind her back, "Oh thei'll haff ta gloo yoo bak ta'getha lassie. In hell!"
"Focus Theta." Alpha scolded, as stoic as ever, "This needs to be done quickly."
Lambda smiled as he wrenched one of Ichi's legs out from under her. The same type of data mutation that resulted in Theta sounding like a one-eyed demoman rendered him mute, so he compensated by hacking into radio waves to play song snippets of what was relevant to the conversation, he had recently figured out how to manipulate the signals in real time in order to change certain words to make them a better fit.
"And when you're gone we want you all to know/We'll carry on! We'll carry on! *zztzzt* -from decimated dreams/Mom's misery and hate will kill you all!"
"Shut up Lambda!" Sigma yelled, annoyance clear in her voice as she pulled Ichi to the ground. The five Mass Produced Evas swarmed onto Ichi, and as she was torn apart, the screams of her and Shinji could be clearly heard in Central Dogma.
Zwei jaws unlocked as he and Asuka managed to break from their own fight. Tragically, they could not make more than two steps before the two long prongs of a Lance burst from Zwei's chest in a vertical configuration. The upper one came out in what one knowledgeable in Eva anatomy would recognize as the general area of the plug. The lower prong obviously shot through the core, as shown by the sphere-shaped bulge that appeared around it.
As Zwei fell, Omega's psychotic grin was shown, his hands around the Lance sticking out of the red Eva's back.
"Heh. Boom, back shot." And with that, Omega jumps onto Zwei, ripping him open and began to feast, as Beta, Pi and Epsilon all looked on in mutual horror. Mother would need to know of this after the fight.
And with the MAGI unresponsive, Yui could not do anything to protect her children. She was helpless in the inability to commence any action other than to watch. Simply, Kei has taken her revenge. And in metaphor, Yui Ikari has no mouth, and she is screaming.
Above the carnage, the battle among the last of the sisters still raged. Rei and Kei flitted among the ruins of Tokyo-3, the only living things around for miles due to the explosions, the identical Ree lobbing spheres of ionized matter at each other.
Kei mentally smiled to herself. Rei was angry and mourning not only the loss of her sisters, but also the father of her children. And that anger was controlling her into using only long-ranged attacks. With each dodge, Kei maneuvered herself closer to her sister. Finally, she was within arm's reach.
With a short cry, Kei flashed Rei in the face with a high concentration of energy. Taking advantage of her opponent's temporary blindness, Kei assaulted Rei with a flurry of punches to the face before getting her in a stranglehold, then power diving to the pavement below. As the dust from the impact cleared, it revealed Rei lying on her front in the crater, with Kei, panting, straddling her waist, holding her sister's arm up and behind her back.
"Oh how the mighty fall." Kei said bitterly, "Mother's favored daughter, who hogged all the glories of this world of matter and elements, and left her sisters in that cell, cut off from the real world, save for the limited view of sights and sounds through the world net. It was as ash to me. All of the things we all missed out on, while you got it all! Science Fairs! Family outings! Spelling Bes! The world premier of the Twilight movie!"
Rei grunted, "And so you killed our family? And they call me crazy."
Kei gasped through clenched teeth, her eyes widened to their most extreme. With a savage growl, Kei grabbed Rei by the roots of her hair with her free hand, and slammed her face repeatedly into the pavement, leaving cracks, then a dent, and then a crater.
"I am NOTHING like them! I am a paragon of rationality and intellect!"
Rei's battered but healing face coughed a small laugh. "Ain't just a river…"
Kei stopped herself, forcing herself to be calm. Rei was trying to make her so cross with her taunts, that Kei would make a mistake.
Two could play that game.
The Rogue Rei leaned down, to whisper into her sister's ear.
"You know what I'm thinking of? I'm thinking about your little children, wondering in the outback. I wonder what will happen to them when you're gone?" She chuckled softly in Rei's ear, "Well, I already know, and I'll tell you. I'll take them in, educate them on the realities of this world beyond wanton destruction. They're young, it'll be easy."
Kei's smile grew to truly terrifying lengths as she applied more pressure, both literally and figuratively.
"You know what I'm gonna do? Right now I suspect that they have a high opinion of "Mommy and Daddy," but not for long. Oh it'll be subtle at first-otherwise it would blow up in my face-but as time passes, I'll change that image of two loving parents, and warp it into two glorified parental units who may have given them life, but did not love them. Two amoral monsters that their dear and loving Auntie Kei saved them from."
Her whisper was now barely more than a breath, seemingly heedless of Rei's tensing body, "And whenever they come to think of you, whenever your name comes up, whenever they see your grave, they, your precious babies, will spit on you."
With a burst of energy, Rei's AT Field blasted Kei off of her, destroying the ruins surrounding them, the yellow color of the light briefly tinting her hair a golden color. Taking advantage of the momentum, Kei took to the skies, and Rei once more followed her high above the now exposed Geofront, the mutilated bodies of Ichi and Zwei strewn about the place.
"You leave my BABIES alone!" cried out Rei.
Rei began to spin her right arm in a tight circle in front of her, her AT Field deploying in a spiral, conical shape.
'Just as planned' Kei thought to herself, silently mirroring her sister one more time.
The two AT-Drills met at the tips, crackling away at each other, neither moving, neither breaking. For minutes this battle of wills between the two mothers played out. If one would die, her children would be stolen, if the other died, her children would also die. Across the bright and crackling space the twins stared at each other, one the incarnate image of hateful rage, the other of placid apathy.
Down below, the Mass Produced Evas looked upon the battle between their mother and their aunt, they had all circled around Omega, to ensure that he didn't do anything else unsavory.
"Who do you suppose will win?" asked Beta
"What kinda stupid question is that?" remarked Epsilon, "It'll be mother obviously!"
Alpha looked up at the battle with a critical eye. "I don't know… Doesn't mother's AT Field seem suddenly… Weaker to anyone else?"
Pi looked up at the battle herself, rubbing her long chin in thought.
"I think you might be right Alpha. This is just a quick hypothesis formed by initial observation, but I believe that it is quite possible that Mother's core is reaching Critical Mass."
Her siblings looked to her in shock.
"But I thought SEELE stabilized mother's core! Did they somehow go back on their word?"
"Not at all Sigma. While it's true that mother's core has been stabilized, given its original state it still runs a higher risk of reaching Critical Mass than a naturally stable core. While a naturally stable core would only reach CM with significant structural damage, if mother were to put too much strain on her core this soon after being stabilized, the core might not be able to take it."
High above them, Kei suddenly felt a piercing, burning pain in her chest. Clenching the area with her free hand, Kei realized what was going on: She had been pushing herself too far and to soon. This battle had to end. Now.
But how to do that? Rei was not going to just let Kei go. Not that Kei was intending to retreat, she had spent too many hours in the simulators plotting this battle to let it end like this. Kei looked to her right arm, still producing the giant energy drill, and Kei got an idea. She didn't like the idea, but there weren't any other options. When one makes plans, one must consider all the possible outcomes. Compare Costs and Benefits, Risk versus Reward: The greater the Risk, the greater the Reward. And this plan was very high in Risk.
She stopped producing the drill.
Rei's drill overtook the final remnants of Kei's own, and vaporized her hand. And her arm, then her shoulder and the right side of her chest.
Kei cried out briefly in pain before gritting her teeth, and reached behind her head with her one remaining hand as Rei rocketed towards her. Out of the plug suit's pack on the back popped a knife hilt. When she grabbed it, the blade popped out in a stabbing configuration, the cutting edge glowing. It took some work, but before she left she managed to 'borrow' something from the RnD department in NERV-Berlin: a miniaturized Progressive knife.
And when Rei was in range, Kei stabbed her square in the right eye.
As Kei used her sister's momentum to put herself above Rei as they fell, she kept shifting the blade, so that the wound wouldn't get a chance to heal, and as they fell, Kei's maimed body quickly bubbled cancerously, and then seemed to grow out like a rapid mass of tumors, and when it all smoothed over her body was perfectly healthy and undamaged. The plugsuit… Not so much.
Kei forced on the speed to twelve times their terminal velocity, and slammed into the floor of the Geofront. As soon as the Ree made impact, Kei bashed on the butt of the Mini-Progressive knife as hard as she could, cracking it through the cranial bones, and effectively impaling Rei's head to the earth.
With an almost animalistic energy, Kei then began to pound her sister's face with her fists, each one slamming into her skull with the same pressure of pounds per square inch as a falling aircraft carrier. With each punch, Rei's AT Field was instinctively deployed, its unique shape glimmering in the air each time, and with each punch it was a little bit dimmer, until finally the Field didn't appear at all.
But Kei kept hitting the now pulped flesh, releasing year's worth of simmering anger that had never been vented until now. Finally, Kei stopped, gasping for breath and supporting herself on her bloodied arms, one clad in a plug suit's sleeve, the other bare. Nine large shadows encircled their slouching mother. As Kei looked up to them, she finally started taking normal breaths before she finally stood, covering her immodesty with her new right hand, and awkwardly reactivate her comm to Central Dogma. Kei looked directly into one of the cameras she knew would have survived all of the conflict as she spoke panting into her wrist a single phrase.
With that, she typed in a short sequence on the flickering holographic display as Alpha picked her up, and all ten of them left the Geofront. Thirty seconds later, charges all the way from Terminal Dogma to the top of the Geofront detonated, leaving no trace of NERV or Tokyo-3 behind, but a smoking hole to size of Washington DC.
It was a full moon tonight, though with the storm clouds one wouldn't know it. The forecast had been clear night skies, but with all the massive explosions, the rising hot air generated dragged a storm system further south and east faster than anticipated. The battle of Tokyo-3 had ended eleven hours ago. There was no reason for Kei and the MP-Evas to still be around in the cold rain. Sigma had gotten Kei a piece of tent fabric left by the SSDF to cover her indecency. Kei had words with Omega concerning his undue bloodlust against Unit-02, and he now sat looking like a child told to sit in the corner, hiding himself with his wings.
After all, Kei was the world leader now, and had to maintain appearances. While she had been exerting her independence and settling scores with her family, the Ransom virus that she introduced in the MAGI as well as her precious Keiworu's were scouring the internet, hacking into every system they could find, and resting control for her. She was currently in conference with the last of them.
'I have successfully gained control of 100% of the world's nuclear stockpile mother, and am now working on the remaining Point-zero-four-nine percent of the N2 stockpile still under UN and International control.'
"Well done 05-Em A9. You have made mother very pleased. Continue as you were."
"07-Em D4, 04-Ef D0 and 05-Em D5? How goes the takeover of the ISS?"
'We have successfully captured the Station mother.' Said 07-Em D4.
'What would you have us do with the Astronauts up here mother? ' asked 05-Em D5.
"Leave them be for now, they can be useful in the future, or as hostages in the present if need be. Have you gotten my e-mail with the schematics and list of satellites projected to come close to the station that have the parts required?"
"Good. Get to work on building that positron cannon as swiftly as you can with safety. In my first session as Empress I'll be informing Central America and the Middle East that if they don't get their act together within the year their whole regions will be glass. I want my Death Station completed by then children. Is that understood?"
"Good. Is there any other news from anyone else? No? Very well. You have done well my darlings, you have made mother very pleased with you all. Contact me if you have anything new to report."
The leader of what Kei was considering renaming "The Empress' Fist" kneeled down so that they would have a semblance of being eye-level. "Yes mother?"
"You say that two A9 series Keiworu were last seen on the net heading for Australia?"
"Yes mother, 02-Ef A9 and 00-Em A9."
"Hmmm… If they came across the Reego already, that would make finding them much easier. Lambda? Send a message to my children in charge of the communication satellites that I want a clear channel into the Australian Continental Remnant within the week if possible. I want to get those girls out of that Hell Hole as soon as practical."
"Eight-Six-Seven-Five-Three-Oh-Niiii-eee-aiiine!" Lambda said, giving a smile and thumbs up.
Kei gave a nod in acknowledgement. "Alpha, if you would remain here for a moment. The rest of you may now leave for the base. Await my orders."
As the other eight of the MP-Evas took off, Alpha remained where he was, observing Kei as she stared out towards where Tokyo-3 once stood.
"Son, if I were to ask your opinion, would you answer truthfully?"
"…I would certainly try mother. What is it you ask?"
Kei simply stared out into the night, rubbing the underside of her chin in thought.
"…Do you think I was right? In what I did today."
Alpha looked down to his mother in what could be described as surprise. He never would have guessed that she would ever invite him to second guess her. It was a precarious situation that Alpha didn't think he could readily get himself out off. But he swore that he'd tell the truth, and so tell the truth he would. He took a deep breath before answering. Honestly.
Kei looked up to him from the corner of her eye. But other than that there was no movement to judge her reaction. "Oh? Why is that?"
"…Mother, you raised us to hold solidarity to you in all things, because you are our mother. So to see you rise against your own mother, and slaughter your own family… I would be lying if I said that I didn't find it… distasteful. But, you are my mother, and I shall do what you ask of me."
Time passed as mother and son ruminated on the events of the day. Finally, Kei just gave a sad smile and patted Alpha's hand.
"Thank you, son. I see you got a little bit of your father's idealism." Moments passed again before Kei looked up to Alpha fully and spoke again, "Alpha, could you get something for me? And then you can leave."
Kei slowly walked to the rim of the gaping hole that was once Tokyo-3, the shape of Alpha in flight was already swallowed by the storming night. In Kei's hand was a large bouquet of white roses, she didn't know where Alpha could've gotten them, but she also didn't care.
Looking into the mile plus deep hole she made, Kei pondered on her next steps in relation to NERV. While her grudge was with Yui and Rei, and thus anyone who could've been used to get to them, Kei really saw no need to actively tarnish their good names. The business of turning a Saint into a Demon, or especially into making a person an Unperson, was difficult and wasteful of resources. Let the History Channel laud Dr. Ikari and NERV for killing the Angels if they wished, Kei didn't care.
And yet, here she was. As Kei tossed the bouquet into the pit, she found it ironic that she was even bothering with this pointless show. And yet…
And yet it felt comfortable to do so. When she realized this, Kei squatted down to her haunches, embracing her knees to her chest.
"…I have everything I've ever wanted." She said allowed, "I rule the world, my core is stable, I've proven myself better than Rei, I've gained my independence and revenge, and I'm finally free from my infuriating sisters.
"…So why do I feel like crap?"
The wind was the only voice to answer her.
Kei jolted awake from the simulation. As the LCL drained away, she shook her head to verify that, yes, she was indeed in the real world again.
'Real World again,' that sounded nice.
As she dried off her hands Kei walked over to a nearby table with a notebook in the false bottom of a drawer.
Corrections for Operation JUDAS it said at the top of the first page. These notes she could've made in a word processor, but she had no idea if SEELE had any backdoors to whatever computer she used (well, she did, but that was irrelevant). For the past few months, since she got her core stabilized in fact, she had been planning a way to avert Instrumentality and settle her grievances with Little Mommy. She set up the program to where she would be at the distinct disadvantage, even to the point of the computer cheating (one such attempt had Rei pulling the Triple Heavy MASER out of the Dirac for example).
Attempt 111,153: Go-Kun and JAP are buddies. Kill first.
Attempt 123,427: Take out MAGI-00 first it'll make everything easier.
Attempt 225,416: If Lilith awakens: Run.
Looking at her latest entry, she added her final attempt:
Attempt 230,001: Success. Still relying too much on theatrics, kill Rei as soon as extract. Once MAGI controlled, activ~…
Kei couldn't write anymore. She just couldn't bear to write another word describing the perfect way to destroy… to kill her family.
Kei needed a shower anyway, and for some reason she felt that the now drying LCL wasn't the only reason.
For the next hour she sat huddled in the falling water that had long run cold, only stepping out when her suddenly upset stomach all but dragged her to the toilet to empty it.
It was then that tears finally started falling, and the sobs racked her body. Why was she crying? She was justified in wanting Little Mo-Yui and Rei dead, right?
Minutes after she pulled herself together and got dressed, there was a knocking on her door. One the other side was someone that Kei was surprisingly happy to see.
"Nagisa," she said, "what brings you here?"
Kaworu was about to answer when he noticed that her eyes were red. …der.
"Miss Ayanami? What is the matter? You seem to have been crying."
Flattle Kei thought to herself. The full truth would be a shot to the foot, but grains of truth made for excellent lies.
"Oh it's nothing Nagisa I assure you. Just a little anger management regime I've been experimenting with." A partial truth, a sweet smile (plus a bit of a self embrace that "just happened" to accentuate her bust) and Kei was off the hook. "So, you didn't answer my question…"
A quick shake of the head, and the Ayanami Twins were put back to the back of Kaworu's mind where they belonged until bedtime. "Well, I'm afraid I've come to cancel our diner date tomorrow night. There seems to have been a mishap with Leliel that has left Units 01, 02 and 05 lost in the Dirac Sea, so I'll be transferred to NERV until further notice."
"Is everyone okay?" Wait a minute, did she really just ask that? With something resembling genuine emotion?
Nagisa didn't seem to notice it, or chose not to comment on it. "I wasn't privy to the details, but the feeling seems to be that a head of Project E was with them at the time as well.
Kei clamped down on the urge to swallow, and ignored the bile tickling at the base of her throat. "I see. When are you leaving?"
"Within the hour I'm afraid."
"I see," Kei said thoughtfully, then looked Kaworu square in the eye, "I want details as soon as you get them, understood?"
She smiled viciously, "And I'll find out if you're lying."
Nagisa simply returned the smile, leaning on a hand to the door frame, "I would never dream of lying to a lovely lady."
"Good. Call me as soon as you land." And with that the door shut, and Kaworu had the distinct feeling that the term "cockblock" was appropriate.
Kei sat at her bedside table, her notebook burned and in the trash bin next to her, reading a book of quotes. It was a bit of a pastime for her in-between mind games and dinner dates with Nagisa (who should've landed in Tokyo-3 by now. Hours ago in fact). Normally she read profound sayings of famous people in order to find logical holes in them, it was an entertaining mental exercise that she normally enjoyed. But tonight her heart just wasn't in it.
She was about to close the book for the night, when for no reason at all, one stuck out:
"Anger ventilated often hurries towards forgiveness; anger concealed often hardens into revenge."
For what seemed like hours Kei simply read and re-read the quote, for no reason that she could conceive. It was only when the holographic image of Nagisa materialized in the room that she put the book down.
"You are late."
What? Did you people really think I'd screw with someone elses toys without putting in an out? ^_^