"What the hell happened here?" Misato asked as she surveyed the battered and broken landscape, an overturned car bent in half against a storefront at one end of the street, a crater on the other. She couldn't believe the scale of destruction she was looking at, let alone that nobody had died.

Ritsuko took a deep drag from her cigarette and flicked the butt to the ground. "Two of our resident 'vigilantes' went toe to toe, Iron Maiden and the one that showed up after the fifth, the few witnesses said this is where former made her last stand" she said, gesturing to the multitude of armor fragments littering a five meter stretch going from the impact crater towards the destroyed car.

"So…" Misato started, mildly disturbed by the question she knew she must ask, "Where's the body?" She turned around a few times, visually scanning the immediate area, finding neither hide nor hair of either combatant.

"That's where it gets weird" she replied, lighting another cigarette. Today was going to be three pack day, she just knew it. "The new vigilante, who we've established is most likely female, had a clear victory in her grasp, but we don't have any more information on why the fight ended, only that the two left together."

Misato bent down and picked up the discarded helmet of Iron Maiden and stared into the faceplate, "what were you two doing…" she asked the assembly of metal and circuits, possibilities rolling around in her brain.

Ritsuko leaned close to Misato and spoke in a hushed tone, "Privately and off the record, I think Iron Maiden was trying to protect the civilian population, she could have run away but didn't."

"That's the impression I've always got from her, it's not like she's ever done anything explicitly wrong…" Misato trailed off.

"But she's a threat to NERV's status as sole defense against the Angels," Ritsuko finished, taking another deep drag from her cigarette, "and Ikari can't tolerate that."

"What about this new girl?" Misato asked, still looking at the damaged helmet in her hands.

Ritsuko chuckled darkly and discarded her spent cigarette and lit a fresh one, "Well… that's why I've been chain-smoking today; she terrifies me, Misato. Whoever she is, she had the power to take out Iron Maiden in a fair fight, and if she decides she doesn't like us we don't have a hope in hell."

Misato's eyes widened as the implications struck her. Her thoughts turned to what she held in her hand. "Rits… maybe we're not so helpless."

X

"Hold it right there" the man yelled, the rifle in his hands emphasizing the force behind his words as the robotic girl came through the door into his home, "I know you're made of some pretty sturdy stuff but I'm willing to bet that you won't enjoy getting shot in the eye at this range, so why don't you start explaining why you're carrying my daughter and just who and what you are."

The metallic girl hesitated, her mouth working up and down for a moment before anything came to mind. "You can shoot at me later if you want but right now she's hurt and it's my fault, help her!" she pleaded while pushing closer, her joints hitched at random points, the damaged state of her body become more evident to the man as she moved.

And it was then that he noticed how banged up Mana looked, he put down the rifle and rushed over to help the robot carry his daughter to the kitchen table. "Don't think you're off the hook yet, you still owe me an explanation when this is done" he stated as he started prying the remaining armor pieces off of Mana.

"No, you're definitely not off the hook" a disembodied voice issued forth from a speaker grille in the wall, "you're the cause of this, I just can't figure why you went that far and flinched."

Metallic eyes scanned the wall while the robot's arms moved of their own accord assisting the removal of the armor plating. She locked eyes on the speaker grille. "You're an AI, you were in that suit weren't you?" she asked, "I didn't realize… that I was fighting a human being, I hesitated at the last second and left myself wide open to her hail mary… but she stopped, I need to know why she stopped."

"Well, you did a good job of not killing anybody anyway," the man spoke up finally, "Mana's banged up, exhausted, she'll be sore as hell in the morning, but she'll live."

He hesitated for a moment and looked over the robotic girl; she looked, for lack of a better word, exhausted. "For what it's worth, I can tell you why she stopped" he started.

She fidgeted, the man couldn't tell if it was a malfunction, damage, or if she was advanced enough that it was a nervous tick, though all evidence seemed more and more to point to the latter. "Why is that?" she asked, finally.

"Because she's a good person, I can't speak for her state of mind but she's not the type to shoot first nor the type to go farther than is necessary, the latter is a trait that it seems you two share… and on that note, just what are you, exactly?" he asked while lifting his now much lighter daughter into his arms.

"I think… that you probably figured that out already." The metal girl said, cautiously as she followed the man towards the living room.

"I think that if I cracked open that metal shell I wouldn't find a person inside; you shouldn't exist, you can't exist. Even Sid was an accident, a ghost in the machine. It was pure random chance that she ever developed sentience at all, but you… you were planned; you're more than Sid is… I would almost say you were human, so tell me, how can that be?" the man asked as he set his daughter down on the sofa and covered her with a blanket.

"I… I guess that's close, I'm a robot, or… what you'd call one anyway I suppose, I'm Glo…" she started, then trailed off, she'd never liked her official designation and this was the perfect excuse to stop using it, "You can call me Jenny, Jenny Wakeman."

The man blinked, surprised, "So, you have an actual name, interesting. I'm Doctor Hiro Kirishima, You've… met my daughter, Mana. The disembodied voice you've been hearing is the AI, Sid. I wish I could say it's a pleasure to meet you Jenny, but… all things considered, we've all probably had better days."

Jenny stared at her feet nervously, "Yeah, you could say that." Her mind was racing, an accomplishment considering her immense processing power. She kept replaying the fight in her head, wondering how it could have gone differently, if she'd actually killed the girl…

"Well, let's try to get started on the right foot then, I'm trusting that you had no malicious intent, and you look damaged, so let's see if there's anything I can do to help you out." The doctor offered.

Jenny smiled for the first time that day, "Thank you."