Asuka and Hikari were standing in NERV's main hangar in their respective plugsuits. The impatient redhead was standing with her clenched fists against her hips and tapping one foot against the ground, and her pigtailed comrade stood beside her with her hands folded over her waist. The two young women looked up and watched as various personnel went about preparing Evangelion Units 02 and 03 for launch. They were about to engage an enemy that had recently appeared on the ground above.

Asuka eventually turned her head to Hikari and spoke in a bored manner.

"So, this is going to be your first real Angel fight, right?"

Hikari turned her attention to her peer and nodded timidly before replying.

"Yeah. I'm a little nervous."

The long-haired tomboy looked forward again before growling slightly.

"Great. That doesn't make my job any easier."

She peered upward to make sure none of the workers were the scratching the vibrant red paint on EVA-02 before muttering her next words.

"Just stay out of my way. The last thing I need is some newbie messing up my aim."

Hikari moved her gloved hands to her sides. Her face turned to a slightly stubborn expression before she spoke in a tone that matched her partner's

"You don't have to be so bossy, Asuka."

Asuka turned her attention back to Hikari before narrowing her eyes and grumbling in disagreement.

"And why not?"

Hikari now gave a more diplomatic smile before replying.

"Because I know you're better than me. I'm not going to fool myself into thinking I'm as skilled as you and try to take command. That would probably just make things worse for the both of us. I'll follow any advice you have and let you do things your way."

Asuka found herself giving Hikari a rare look of joy in response to her words. The veteran pilot couldn't decide if she liked her brown-haired comrade for her genuinely friendly attitude, or just because the girl knew her place. Either way, an apology was in order.

"Sorry. I'm so used to working with Wimpy Boy and Robot Girl that I get carried away sometimes."

Hikari offered a grin that said "No harm done" to dispel Asuka's concern. The assertive girl's happier mood returned when she spoke again.

"Alright. When we get up there, just follow my lead and stay alert. You'll be fine."

Asuka's blue eyes then studied her new partner's nervous form, making note of the somewhat provocative quality in her black and gray pilot jumpsuit.

"By the way, what's with that plugsuit they're making you wear?"

Asuka's glossy red index finger gently poked the transparent gray material near Hikari's visible navel, causing a tiny burst of ticklish giggling to escape the brunette's mouth. Asuka then prodded the solid red latex around her own waist, apparently comparing the textures of the two outfits. A familiar blush appeared on Hikari's face, as she had become so accustomed to her unique outfit that she had nearly forgotten about its questionable design.

"Oh, this. Misato told me it was made this way so I could get a good synchronization rate with EVA-03. She said they were trying to convert the system so it would match the other Evas and I could use a standard plugsuit, but I think they ran into compatibility problems."

Asuka placed her hands back on her hips as she turned her head upward. She gazed toward the black machine slumbering in front of Hikari before speaking aloud.

"Huh. Good thing I don't have to be that Eva's pilot."

Her eyes then returned to Hikari. After scanning over the pigtailed girl's figure again, Asuka rolled her eyes and muttered under her breath.

"Pervs. You can practically see her butt in that thing."

Hikari was attentive enough to hear her mentor's bitter remarks. She smiled as she calmly debated the subject with Asuka.

"Umm... I don't think it's that bad once you get used to it, Asuka. I wouldn't be able to control Unit 03 without it, and it's actually pretty comfortable when you're in the entry plug."

Asuka blew a few strands of ocre hair away from her face being responding in feigned interest.

"Right. I'll keep that in mind next time I'm thinking about using EVA-02 as a jacuzzi."

Just as the two girls had finished their conversation, they heard Misato's voice calling them from the side of the hangar's catwalk.

"Asuka, Hikari. We're ready to launch."

The two teammates nodded in unison before parting ways and approaching their respective Evangelion units.