Saturday, August 8, 2015
Hakone City (Tokyo-2)
Sachiel's exovision displayed a three-dimensional map of the city with a red route highlighted between the matte gray, featureless buildings. It was too difficult to see through the mess so he shifted the display to a two-dimensional overhead view. A pulsing dot indicated his location along the predetermined route. After another moment, he changed the layout again, preferring to simply overlay the route line over the actual city. It was the most advanced display he possessed; the other two were throwbacks to GPS devices from the previous decade.
He was extremely thankful for technology. If it weren't for the noise dampeners that drowned out the roar of pedestrians and vehicles, he might have gone insane. He wondered how they survived like this, but decided he didn't actually care.
At precisely 4:20 p.m. two images flashed up on his exovision, that of a male and female about sixteen years old physically. They were programmed to do that every five minutes. To remind him.
Gazardiel, he thought while looking at the male. Shalgiel, at the female.
"I will avenge you," he muttered low enough that no one could hear him. Not like anyone in the crowd could anyway. His fists curled into tight fists and he clenched his teeth to stifle the feral snarl. "I swear it on my life."
Cybernetic Warrior Evangelion
Chapter 1: Welcome to Tokyo-2, Bitch!
Shinji Ikari fished his cell phone out of his pocket as he stepped off the train. With his other hand, he produced the scrap of paper on which a phone number was written. He dialed it with one hand and put the device to his ear. It rang and rang. And rang. And rang. And went to voicemail.
He sighed. What else had he expected?
"Hey, uh, dad. You said to call you once I got off the train and I'm off the train…" He paused for a long moment, unsure of what else to say. "So, I guess I'll just wait at the train station like you said. Um. Bye."
He held the phone in his land for a long moment, as if expecting it to suddenly ring – maybe his dad had left it while he was in the bathroom, or maybe he hadn't been able to take the call because he was in an important meeting, or maybe…maybe he had forgotten all about him. No. That couldn't be, that…that…that was very likely. Defeated, Shinji slumped onto a bench that faced the city and slipped in the earbuds of his MP3 player. Not exactly caring what he listened to, he simply picked the randomize option.
But as the music started to play, he happened to look up and received an eyeful of the city. His entire life he had grown up in the country – well, most of it. He had vague memories of living with his parents somewhere else (was it here?) before the accident, but they were not clear enough, not like eleven years of living with his aunt and uncle. Compared to that, the city was an unbelievable contrast.
The sky was partially obscured by buildings, whereas at home, it stretched on for miles. Or at least until the mountains. At home, everyone knew everybody; here, no one seemed to know anyone. Or at least, they didn't care as they shuffled along – alone in a crowd. But then, he wasn't looking at the people – his gaze was firmly fixed on the heaven-scraping towers. Nagano City, or as it was colloquially called, Tokyo-2, was the new center of Japanese economics, dominated by the Nerv Corporation. The imposing Nerv Tower was proof of this. It had taken barely over a decade for Nagano to grow from a town on Lake Ashinoko to the metropolis it was now.
Nerv: the reason why he never got to see his father anymore. Shinji frowned at the building that projected over all the others and brought his gaze back down to street level.
Someone looking at him. A boy about his age. Staring. Watching.
The boy seemed out of place to Sachiel. Most people, even tourists, didn't ogle the skyline with such a wide-eyed expression. You'd think he had never even been to a city before. Which was probably true since he didn't have a City ID. Hell, the kid didn't even have data-accessing neural implants; poor kid couldn't get the Internet in his brain. He must be from somewhere incredibly backward.
Out of curiosity, Sachiel ran a search on the kid. As he suspected, he didn't turn up in city records, so he expanded the search to include the Kanto and Tokai regions. The kid didn't have many records on him. Actually, there was a surprising dearth of information about him, especially when compared to other kids his age. No social-networking at all. What the hell was this kid? A hermit?
But then something came up: a school photo with a name. Ikari, Shinji.
This kid was the son of Gendo Ikari, President of the Nerv Corporation. Maybe his revenge would take a different form than he had planned. He quickly deactivated the photo-display program; now was not the time to be distracted. Fixing a genial smile to his face, Sachiel took a step towards the boy.
"'Scuse me," he called out and waved a hand to get the boy's attention; with the music player in, he couldn't be sure he heard him. "Excuse me, kid, but are you Shinji Ikari?"
The boy nodded dumbly.
"Son of Gendo Ikari?"
"Uh, yes. Why?"
The smile turned wicked. "I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to die."
"That's right. I need you to die. Right here. Right now. Nothing personal." Sachiel held out his hand as if offering it to Shinji. A pinkish glow emanated from his palm. It grew bright and brighter until it seemed to be a loose orb. "Well, actually, it is personal." The light coalesced and extended, becoming a short spear. A lance of light. Gripping it firmly, he reeled back, and hurled it.
"Oh what the hell," Ritsuko Akagi snarled at the television screen. Her program had just gotten interrupted by an emergency broadcast. And just when Masayoshi was about to find out he had an evil twin brother!
"Please excuse the interruption," she read from the ticker scrolling across the bottom of the screen, "But at approximately 4:27…blah blah blah…explosion…blah blah blah…train station blah blah blah…" Paraphrasing, of course. "So give us some useful information, already!"
She sighed and closed her eyes, switched on her neural implants, and dove into the Internet. Being the Nerv Corporation's top R&D scientist, Ritsuko had access to the very latest version of anything they produced; sometimes models that never made it into stores. Her particular implants were military-grade, built for advanced espionage.
Very quickly, she accessed the city-wide security system and hacked into the live camera feed at the train station. Only one happened to be pointed at the source of the explosion. She remembered the days when security footage was black-and-white and grainy. Thanks to Nerv Corp, Hakone didn't have cameras like that.
Currently, the camera wasn't displaying anything noteworthy, only smoke and screaming pedestrians. With a scowl, she accessed the archived recording, since the cameras themselves could only show a live feed; the archive was stored within the train company's database, but only for a few months. After that it was erased – from their archives. Nerv kept an additional archive of everything their cameras recorded. Somewhere within their own database was a continuous record of camera footage from all around the city dating back to the early 2000's.
Ritsuko only had to rewind the tape a few minutes to get what she wanted. It showed a boy, about sixteen, slump down onto a bench. Shortly thereafter, he was approached by another boy his age. They talked, but even with the quality of the video, she was unable to make out what they said. The cameras didn't record audio and only one boy's mouth was displayed. It didn't matter because seconds later the one boy produced an energy weapon form his hand and threw it. The sitting boy dove out of the way and took off running; the armed boy pursued.
Her eyes snapped open with a curse. Another one of the Angels!
Her data implants registered a call from the president of the company. "Yes, sir?"
"Dr. Akagi, have you reviewed the security footage from the train station?"
"Yes, sir, I just finished."
"Then you already know that another member of the Angels has come."
"That's right, sir. Should I prep Rei for interception?"
"She has already been sent out."
"What? Why? Her PLUG Suit is still here!"
"That was my son, Dr. Akagi. The boy on the bench was Shinji."
"Monitor the situation, would you Ritsuko? I have to take several calls from the Hakone Police Department, JSDF, and the Japanese ministry."
"I don't know how much use I can be right now that Rei isn't wearing a Suit, but…I understand sir. I'll watch the cameras and let you know if anything develops."
"Thank you, Ritsuko."
She let out a long sigh and settled back in her chair. She could always watch the soap later online.
Shinji didn't remember diving out of the way of the attack. He didn't remember the explosion. He didn't remember picking himself up off the concrete. All he remembered was that he was running away from someone who tried to kill him. He only came to his senses while maneuvering though a throng of pedestrians who either hadn't heard the explosion or simply didn't care. The shouts of "Watch it, buddy!" fell on deaf ears.
Even as he ran, he wasn't altogether there. He couldn't feel the burning in his legs, in his chest; couldn't hear the pounding of his heart, or the harsh air escaping from his lungs. The only thought present in his mind was: Escape.
Except he had no idea where he would escape to.
The choice was taken from him an instant later when the street before him exploded, throwing him off his feet and onto the sidewalk. Again, the people around him screamed and ran, leaving him to fend for himself.
"Damn, I missed." The other boy walked through the smoke shaking his head. "Never was very good at jumping and throwing. Oh good, it looks like I stopped you anyway." He grinned that evil grin again and created two more lances of light in his hands. "Aw, look at you. Scared. Confused. Pathetic. You don't even know why I have to kill you, do you?"
He was silent for a long moment before Shinji realized he was actually asking him a question.
"No, I didn't think so. Look at you: too scared to even move. Well, I'll tell you why. Your father – " He cut off his speech and dropped the lances of light, brought his hands around to this right, palms flat. A hexagonal orange barrier appeared just as another figure dropped from the rooftops with a flying kick.
"Didn't they teach you not to monologue?" It was a girl, dressed in a standard school uniform. Was it his imagination or was her hair sky blue?
The girl adjusted herself in midair and pushed off of the barrier with both feet and landed in a crouch in front of Shinji.
"You Shinji?" she asked briskly.
He nodded terrified that she might try to kill him as well.
She wrinkled her nose at him. "Figures." She stood and dusted herself off. "Stay behind me if you want to stay alive. You're dealing with me now, Angel!"
The other boy's eyes widened in revelation. "You! You…it's you! Rei Ayanami!"
"That's right. Who the hell are you?"
"Sachiel." He was shaking now, not with fear, but with anger, Shinji realized; he knew the difference.
"Well, Sachiel, you're pretty ballsy to show up here after what happened to the other two."
"Shut up! Shut up! Don't talk about them that way; don't you dare talk about them!" For a moment, he was unable to talk. "I know all about you, Rei Ayanami. You killed Shalgiel and Gazardiel. Monster!" Inexplicably, he started laughing. "But look at you! You don't even have your PLUG Suit on! You can't hope to fight me in that condition. Oh this is perfect – I get to kill both – ugh!" Rei had rushed forward and kicked at him again; Sachiel only barely manage to throw up his barrier in time.
"Again with talking too much," Rei taunted. "The other two didn't talk so much and they lasted for a long time."
"Shut up!" Sachiel's barrier brightened and Rei went flying backwards. She skidded to a halt and turned on Shinji and took him by the arm.
"Let's go, kid."
She pulled him out of the way just as Sachiel let fly tow lances of light.
"Rei has him," Ritsuko sent to President Ikari.
"Good. She's going to bring him here as per my orders. I want you get the Test-Type PLUG Suit ready for use."
"But it's never been used before!"
"Then this is the perfect time to test it. Excuse me, I have another call with the police department."
"Yes, sir." Ritsuko put her camera feed on passive and opened her eyes, winced at the bright lights of her lab. "Maya!" she called to her assistant.
A young twenty-something with short brown hair appeared around the corner. "Yes, sempai?"
"Prep the Test-Type Suit for deployment. Rei needs to be able to put it on the second she arrives back here."
"I know." Ritsuko rubbed her face with her hands. "But the President thinks this is the perfect time to test it out."
Maya frowned but nodded her compliance. Gendo Ikari wasn't someone you could easily say no to.
"Where are you taking me?" Shinji asked after what felt like an eternity of running. His reserve energy was depleting and the adrenaline was wearing off. It felt like his arm was going to come out of his socket.
"Dumbass. You're father's there. You didn't think he'd just leave you, did he? That's why I'm here."
"Yeah, I understand. He's kind of a flake. But, you know, he's president of the largest weapons manufacturing company in the world."
Rei must have detected the tone of his voice. "But, then, he's not my dad, so I guess I don't really know. Must suck."
Two explosions rocked the street behind them. "Come back here, Rei!"
"Oh give it a rest!" She shouted back. In answer, he hurled another lance of light. In the explosion that resulted, Rei jerked Shinji down an alley and pressed them up against the façade. "Pain in the ass," she muttered. "Dr. Akagi, you there?"
"Who are you - ?"
"Shh! Doctor? Yeah, I got him…Oh, well I glad he's so worried about me…The Test-Type? Kick-ass!...Yeah, I think I lost Sachiel – oh, that's this one's name – so I'm going to start heading towards the Tower. This one likes to monologue…what? Shit!"
Rei pulled Shinji away from the wall and they started running again. "That was Dr. Akagi of the R&D department. She's watching us using the network of cameras around the city. Apparently, Sachiel decided to go rooftop hopping once he lost us."
Shinji emitted a series of stunted syllables before sputtering out words. "How did you talk to him? I didn't see a phone."
"It's a her. And a phone? No one in the city uses phones anymore. We all have neural implants."
After hearing his confused silence, she continued with her exposition. "We can communicate with machines in our brains. And access the Internet." She glanced skyward. "He's up there somewhere."
On cue, a lance of light shot down. It missed them completely, but the point was clear: Sachiel could see them.
"Dammit. I really wish I had taken the time to put on the PLUG Suit. Can't even make a freaking A.T. Field without it. I hate running like this, but I can't fight him like this." Two more lances fell from above. "Good thing we're close," she remarked.
"Do you use your eyes?" she snapped. "It's right there." She pointed up ahead. The street they were following ran right up to the front of a large tower that had Nerv in big illuminated letters. "We just have to…run!" But she nearly threw him ahead of her. Shinji stumbled and almost fell over, but he looked back in time to see Sachiel land between him and Rei, leaving a decent sized crater in the street.
"Run!" she shouted again. "He wants me more than you."
"How right you are, Rei," Sachiel quipped, forming two lances in his hands. "Go on, little mouse. Run to your hole in the wall. You'll be safe for now. Let the big cats play."
Shinji didn't need any more impetus than that. Cursing his uselessness, the boy turned and ran for the safety of the Nerv Tower.
Ritsuko nearly jumped to her feet. "What do you mean she stayed out there? Answer me, Hyuga!"
"I'm telling you: Rei stayed out there alone. All we have is the kid."
"Damn it! She's no match for an Angel without her Suit!"
"What are you shouting at me for?"
"Sorry, Hyuga. Bring Shinji down here; his father wants to speak to him."
Ritsuko rubbed her temples and flopped back down.
"What is it, sempai?"
"Maya…Rei didn't come back with the kid. She stayed out to fight the Angel."
"What? So what are we going to do?"
Ritsuko looked around at the lab – a basement area given over completely to the PLUG Suits – and chewed on her bottom lip. At the far end of the lab was the Test-Type Suit, hanging on a hanger in a sterile environment. Since its creation, it had never been handled.
"I have an idea of what the President might be thinking. An idea I don't like."
Shinji avoided eye contact with the glasses wearing man (Makoto Hyuga, by his nametag) as they rode the elevator down from the first floor. The ping of the ticker as they descended to B1…B2…B3 was the only sound between them. Makoto had his eyes shut so Shinji guessed he was watching Rei's battle with Sachiel. From the faces he made, it seemed like the fight wasn't going very well.
She's protecting me, he thought miserably. She risked her life to protect me and here I am safe, hiding. Useless.
The elevator came to a stop on B7 with a gentle lurch. Makoto opened his eyes with a worried expression. A stark white environment revealed itself beyond the retracting doors of the elevator. Two women stood waiting for them: a older blond woman wearing a white lab coat, and a younger-looking woman with short brown hair and a lab coat with the sleeves rolled up.
"Rei's holding her own," Makoto offered with a sad smile.
"Cut the crap, Hyuga," the blond woman snapped. "Sachiel's messing with her. He wants to drag it out as long as possible."
"I guess I can understand. After what we did to Gazardiel…oh well. Shinji, this is Dr. Ritsuko Akagi, head of Research and Development here at Nerv. And that is Maya Ibuki. She and I are Dr. Akagi's assistants. So is…hey, where's Shigeru?"
"He's got the day off," Maya explained.
"What a day to take off. So what's the plan, Doctor?"
"I'm not sure," Ritsuko shrugged. "The President said he'd tell us once Shinji was down here. I have an idea, but…well, let's wait." She shut her eyes. "He's here, sir."
After a short moment of still silence, the large flatscreen monitor, which Shinji had failed to notice, flickered to life, displaying a high-definition image of his father's face.
"Hello, Shinji. It's been a while."
Ritsuko wasted no time. "President Ikari, I would very much like to know what exactly it is you plan to do about Rei and the Angel."
"You know, I got that same line from the Police Chief, Prime Minister, and generals from every branch of the JSDF," he said with a wry smile. "But unlike those times, I have an answer for you." Hs shifted his eyes from Ritsuko to Shinji, a gesture that would have been lost on a lesser-quality monitor. "Send Shinji out with the Test-Type Suit."
"Sit, I would highly advise against such a course of action. Not only is the Suit itself untested, but the subject has absolutely no experience in operating the equipment, not to mention any physical training. He hasn't been wetwired to be compatible with the Suit! He doesn't even have neural implants!"
But Gendo Ikari ignored her. "I am well aware of that, Dr. Akagi. Shinji, will you go out with the Suit?"
"Me? But I…I don't know how to…Why me?"
Gendo's expression hardened. "Because we don't have Rei."
"Is this why you called me here?"
"Don't let it get to your head, Shinji. The Suit is a multi-billion dollar piece of technology that has no equal anywhere in the world. Each Suit has to be custom made with pieces produced in countries from around the world. Rei alone had to train for years in order to properly use the Proto-Type Suit. If things were not as they were, I would not send an untrained child out in something that could potentially bankrupt this corporation."
Makoto winced at Gendo's words. "Sir, isn't that a little – "
"Harsh? Perhaps, Mr. Hyuga, but it is the truth."
Shinji turned away from the image of his father. What does he think I can do? I'm just a useless kid, never good at anything.
"No one else here can wear the suit – it was designed for a sixteen year-old's body, Rei's in fact. But since she is out there, Shinji is the next best thing. So will you help us, Shinji? Will you help her? Rei risked her life to bring you here. She went out without her Suit on, knowing full well that she might die."
She's going to die because of me. Because I couldn't do anything. Because I'm useless. But…I don't have to useless anymore. No, it's impossible. I can't use that thing; I've never seen anything like it before. How can he expect me to take it?
"Are you going to let her die? Or are you going to return the favor?"
No. "I'm not going to let her die, dad, not if I can help it. But I don't know anything about how the Suit works. I've never seen anything like it before. I'll just screw up and make it worse."
Gendo considered this. "The Suit has a built-in communication device, so we will send you advice from here. I really don't like asking you to do this. Please save her, Shinji."
All he's asking is for me to try. Dad doesn't trust people, but he's trusting me with an expensive piece of equipment. Shinji inhaled deeply. "Alright. Give me the Suit. I'll try and help Rei."
"Thank you. Dr. Akagi, take over from here; I have various important individuals to reassure."
The monitor blinked off.
Ritsuko slowly unclenched her hands. "Well, you heard the man. Shinji come with me. Oh, and prepare to get naked. You can't wear the PLUG Suit over clothes.".
Sachiel spread his A.T. Field once more to ward off a fierce kick from Rei. The girl just wouldn't quit! Now he saw why both Gazardiel and Shalgiel were taken down by this one girl. He tried to imagine fighting her in a PLUG Suit – and shuddered. He threw a lance of light once the barrier vanished, but she back flipped out of the way.
A communication channel opened through his implants. The caller identification was blocked, but the minute he heard the voice, he knew who it was.
"Having trouble are we?"
"Can it, Shamshel. I'm doing just fine."
"I don't know, Sachiel. One girl without a PLUG Suit...and you haven't killed her yet. What was that you said before you left? 'I'll have her head if it's the last thing I do'?"
"I said shut up." Rei managed to get around him and delivered a sharp kick to his right hip. He crumpled and threw up a barrier. She hopped back and reset her stance.
"Ouch. How did she get that close? Disgraceful. The A.T. Field is impenetrable, but only if you keep it up. Being distracted as you are is not good for combat."
"Then stop talking to me." He closed the channel but it reopened immediately.
"You're not getting rid of me that easily. The distraction I speak of is your burning for revenge."
"Are you saying I shouldn't care that this bitch killed Gazardiel and Shalgiel?" Two lances flew out.
"Exactly. They're clouding your thoughts, impairing your judgment."
"Gee, thanks for the drunk-driving lesson. Now screw off, Sham. I don't need your help, so you might as well go back to the others."
"Fine. I shall not interfere. But I'm not going anywhere. This channel stays open so I can be a witness."
"Whatever. Just stop talking to me."
"As you wish."
Glad to be free to think again, Sachiel observed Rei with a critical eye. She was panting, sweating. Each time she moved she was slightly slower. It didn't matter at first, but since they began to fight, she had slowed considerably. Eventually, she would tire completely and he would kill her. He would have his revenge.
"What's…what's the matter?" Rei taunted, tiredly. "You're not talking anymore, Sach. Earlier I couldn't get you to shut up. Does that mean I'm winning?"
Sachiel lunged forward, forming two lances as he ran. He tossed one; Rei easily leaped over it. But he had anticipated this and threw the second one at her in the air. She evaded this one as well by bending backward and turning her jump into a flip. But it was close. In a short time, she wouldn't be able to run away anymore.
"What's the matter, Rei? Tired already?"
"Go to hell!"
"I'm an Angel, Rei. We don't go to hell. We fight to keep the denizens of hell from claiming the souls of mortals." He cocked a smile. "So what does that make you?"
"I don't know. I killed two of your friends, so you tell me."
Sachiel formed a lanced and threw it lazily. Rei jumped back to avoid it, stumbled, and fell to one knee. She was finished. Confident, he made two more. "I think it makes you dead." The Angel put all of his power, all of his rage, into throwing the two lances. They crossed the distance in a fraction of a second, cracking as they shattered the sound barrier – and hit another barrier, one that was orange and formed of concentric hexagonal.
An A.T. Field! But Rei couldn't…that's when he saw the second figure in the distance.
"How did you let that one slip past you?"
"Shamshel…you saw him didn't you? Why didn't you warn me?"
"You asked me not to help you."
Shinji lowered his hands and the barrier disappeared.
"That's good, Shinji," Ritsuko. "Forming a barrier will be easier once you've been wetwired properly, but for now that will do."
The Suit was skin-tight except for the cup at his crotch and the rubbery soles beneath his feet. It was blue with black patches on the arms and upper thighs. The chest was reinforced and held the major components for the Suit's operation. So did the pack on his back, he assumed; they didn't have time to tell him every single detail. The only thing he actually picked up was that the clips in his hair were called A10 Nerve Clips and were used to monitor his brain activity – thought he wasn't sure why.
"You asshole!" For a second, he wasn't sure who shouted that him. It was Rei. She had spun around to face him. "You're wearing the Test-Type! That Suit was for me!"
He blinked. "Uh, sorry." Shinji wasn't quite sure how to respond.
"Ignore her, Shinji. The President is speaking with her now. Focus on Sachiel. The PLUG Suit will enhance your physical abilities – hence the acronym: Physical Limiter UpGrade – but it won't move on its own."
"So what should I do?"
"Stall until Rei can get back here and into her own Suit."
"The hell I am!" That was Rei again. "If I leave him here, he's just going to get killed. Sorry, sir, but I'm not leaving this idiot alone with Sachiel."
Rei picked herself up and staggered back to where Shinji was. "Alright, jerk. You listen to me, ok?"
She tilted her head to one side, and then the other – Shinji heard the vertebrae crack.
In that whole time, Sachiel had not moved or made a sound. But now he started laughing. "Seriously? This is like a bad pilot episode! You think you'll be able to beat me now that you've got a Suit?" He tossed another lance; it hit a barrier. "That's all you can do!"
Rei tapped Shinji on the shoulder. "Let's rush him."
"No it's not. I'll attack him directly. He'll put up a barrier, but if you extend yours, it will cancel his out. Understand?"
"Not really," Shinji admitted.
"That's fine. Just do it."
Shinji looked the girl over. She was weary, bruised, bleeding. "Are you sure you can still fight?"
"Look, kid, I'm not the weak female here. If anyone, that's you. I've killed two of this bastard's friends. So trust me, alright?"
"…Ok. We rush him."
They ran forward. Sachiel seemed caught off guard, but got his barrier up when Rei ran ahead. Shinji stopped and put his hands forward, creating his own barrier. The two orange energy fields collided – and Sachiel's eyes went wide. Rei punched at him again and this time went right through the barrier. Her fist connected with his jaw. She was obviously much strong than she looked because Sachiel actually staggered backward. The two kids regrouped and waited.
"You…you…you bitch!" Sachiel spit blood on the ruined street. "I am an Angel! You can't hit me! You can't…you can't win! I won't allow that. Gazardiel and Shalgiel must be avenged!"
"Give it a rest, already," Rei snapped. "You sound like a glitchy AVI file."
"Shut. Your. Fucking. Mouth." Sachiel extended his barrier again, but it was more powerful than Shinji's could degrade. It actually forced the air away from him and dented the street beneath him. Whatever energy weapon he used gathered the same pinkish light he used to make the lances, but over his head, creating a halo.
"What the hell are you doing?" Rei demanded. She saw that his eyes had glazed over.
The halo rose up into the air and expanded. More energy collected inside the halo. "Making it rain, bitch!"
Lances of light rained down on them from inside the halo. They all were stopped by the barrier, but Shinji could feel it weaken with each blow they withstood. He contracted the barrier to a smaller radius, not quite sure exactly how he did that.
"I have an idea," Rei whispered to Shinji.
"Whatever it is…do it fast!"
She hesitated. "You have to let one of the lances through the barrier."
"I can't do that without letting them all through!"
"Yes, you can. Do it the same way you contracted the barrier: will it to happen."
Shinji staggered under the force of Sachiel's barrage. It sounded stupid and ridiculous, but if they didn't do something, they were going to die anyway, so what was the harm in trying? "I'll try." He concentrated on whatever it was that was making the barrier. He felt foolish doing it, but this was how he manipulated the barrier in the first place. Let one lance through.
It worked. For a split second, the barrier became porous and a single lance of light slipped through. Rei reached out and grabbed the lance with her bare hands. Shinji could smell the burning flesh immediately. In the same motion, Rei spun around and tossed the lance, leaving Shinji with barely enough time to let it out of the barrier. It sailed uninterrupted into Sachiel's chest.
The barrage stopped immediately. Shinji let his barrier fall, exhausted.
Sachiel staggered back in shock. This was his own lance protruding from his chest, only intact because he willed it so. It dissipated, leaving a gaping hole that blood poured from. He touched it gingerly. It missed his heart, but he was going to die from the blood loss.
He was going to die.
"No. No. No. No no no no no no! I won't die here! Not without my revenge!" He made another lance (painfully) and threw it. This time, Shinji caught it, the superheated plasma mostly dampened by the Suit. Like Rei before him, but less gracefully, he threw it back at its master. His toss was less accurate, but caught Sachiel in the lower abdomen, right through the intestines. It, too dissipated, leaving a bloody, gaping hole.
"Shamshel…Shamshel help me."
"No, Sachiel, I cannot. You defied out rules and went out on your own. We move in teams, and you know this. Gazardiel and Shalgiel were killed together by one girl. Why should you think that you would emerge victorious?"
Sachiel sank to his knees and coughed up blood.
"You must suffer the consequences. But don't worry. Take comfort in the fact that Ramiel and I will use your death as motivation."
"Bastard." Sachiel fell forward onto the street as the last of his life ran out of the wounds on his chest.
"Send out a recovery team for Rei and Shinji, and a cleanup crew for Sachiel." Gendo shut off the live feed and opened his eyes. "There, you see," he said to the five color-coded men who sat around the table. "We now have two active Evangelions."
A/N: Chapter has been edited to reflect the adjusted ages of the characters.