So instead of Mt. Asama, Sandolphan appears in Mt. Mihara. What could possibly go wrong?
The Monsters of Man
As with all great discoveries, it didn't start with a "Eureka!" but rather a "Hey, that's funny..."
Kozo Fuyutsuki frowned at the email. He glanced at the header file, looking at the fifteen or so others that received it, and his frown deepened. He recognized most of the names, but hadn't paid much mind to their activities for the last few decades. It wasn't often he received the newsletter, but when he did get it, he read it as a matter of pride and honor. And it made him feel normal, to do something that didn't involve the destruction of mankind. A few of the names on the list were deceased, but the man in charge of the newsletter didn't care enough to remove them. Kozo knew most of the names. Six vulcanologists, seven bio-physicists, and three generals.
Sub-commander Fuyutsuki withdrew his cell phone from his pocket, poked through his contact list for the Commander's number, and hit send. He looked back at the header. He knew one of the generals and one of the bio-physicists worked for the old men. He wondered if this could be considered lucky, that they had found it so early, or unlucky, for where it was.
Several minutes later, Gendo Ikari tapped his desk with his free hand, a holographic display coming to life. An email client received a forwarded message, and he looked over it.
"It is... possible. It is to early in the scenario."
"Just because we have found it early," replied Fuyutsuki, "does not mean we have to kill it early. The scenario is still intact."
"True," replied Gendo. "I will speak with Dr. Akagi about double checking those findings. Power distribution may be a major problem, check with the minister of the interior about whether any power lines still exist."
"They don't," replied Fuyutsuki. "I recall reading about the installation of solar panels and later geothermal arrays to power most of the island."
"Enough to power an Evangelion?"
"Enough to power an observation station, I imagine. There isn't much left on the island. The airport and most of the residences were wiped out during 2nd impact. At least, what hadn't already left after 1984."
"You are worried about that?"
"I would be a fool not to."
"We have the power of god on our side."
"Certainly, but will the power of god be enough to triumph over the follies of man?"
"We face the power of god," Gendo replied. "We would have no right to exist if we could not go against our own mistakes. You know this subject well. Gather Akagi and Katsuragi to determine a likely course of events."
"We have... come across an unusual finding," said Sub-commander Fuyutsuki. Misato found it strange that this briefing wasn't being done by Commander Ikari, but wasn't rude enough to ask why. "As you may know, there is an observation station on the summit of Mt. Mihara. The personnel there keep a constant watch on the activity of the volcano, and of its... contents."
"Mihara... Mihara..." muttered Misato under her breath, searching for the name. "You mean... that Mt. Mihara?"
"There's only one," said Akagi.
"The survey team positioned there found an unusual object in the primary magma chamber of the volcano after a standard sonar sounding."
"You mean, a second object?" asked Akagi.
"Yes. After a second sounding the following week, they found the object was maintaining its position. The other inhabitant... drifts. The present theory is that the volcano is only mostly dormant. Due to its incomplete eruption, there are currents within the magma chamber as the volcano prepares itself for another eruption."
"So this second object... you think its an Angel?"
"Perhaps. That is what I need you to determine, Doctor. Captain, the D-type equipment is already in production, but we will only have one set ready in any reasonable time frame. I will see about accelerating that time frame, but last I checked, it would not be completed until after the arrival of the Second Child. Both myself and the Commander believe it would be best to put together a deployment plan if this is an Angel... and also a backup plan in case we have to face more than the Angel."
"This early in the development cycle... should we try to capture the Angel?" asked Ritsuko.
"This seems too much of a trap," replied Misato. "Making us come to it, rather than it coming to us. An enticing target, a bad enviornment, it all seems like an ambush."
"We can't have them all just walk into the city," replied Ritsuko. "At least its a close by volcano."
"True... I'll start with the basics. How we'll field the Evangelions, what equipment our backups will have. When is the second expected to arrive? Another week?"
Fuyutsuki nodded. Misato tapped a few controls on the table in front of her, bringing a monitor on the side of the room to life, and focusing on Oshima island.
"We're delivering a power cable for the fleet. We can power both Evas from the Carrier if necessary, but I want a second power supply just in case."
"As to fighting our... secondary target?"
"Secondary... we promised the Japanese government that if it ever came back, we'd fight it, didn't we?" asked Akagi.
"Yes," replied Fuyutsuki. "There's a specific clause in the NERV charter about it. The Japanese Prime Minister at the time required it."
Akagi thought a moment. "That gave him what... an extra four months in office?"
"If that," replied Misato. Even after Second Impact, the Japanese Government still treated prime ministers like most people treated socks. "Somehow, this doesn't surprise me. Without an AT Field, it shouldn't be to hard, right? Just pound it at range until it dies, right?"
"No," replied Ristuko. "Evangelion armor, alone, could withstand around two minutes submerged in the magma chamber before the crystalline structure breaks down and it basically turns to slag, and that's not even accounting for the physical damage that would be incurred to the Evangelion. The D-type equipment will have to do it with active liquid nitrogen cooling. That... that thing has been down there for thirty years. I'm not even factoring in the amount of pressure it'd be under to survive at those depths, but I doubt the D-type equipment is rated for it."
"If heat and pressure don't work, then the standard LVHE rounds won't work. Any chance on getting HVAP rounds? I remember coming across designs for them when we signed off on the ammunition. Nevermind, I'll look into it. Are we even sure this thing is even still alive?"
"Yes," replied Fuyutsuki. "The observatory has a rather expensive sonar array. Your mother, Naoko, wrote the code to filter out the heartbeat on the passive array, as I recall." Ritsuko frowned at that. "Back in the day, I wrote a number of papers on possible anatomies and physiologies as a bio-physicist. Part of the reason I was picked for GEHERIN. I will begin gathering any and all information that we will need, including Dr. Hayashida's lab work."
"Is he still alive?" asked Ritsuko.
"No, he died during second impact, but your mother worked with Dr. Hayashida, and she kept copies of most of his work. It was all uploaded into the Magi."
"Hmm... It's scales, right?" said Misato. "Good for stopping cutting and slashing, but what about bludgeoning? Can we run some tests on building hammers of some sort?"
Ristuko paused at the intrusion into the conversation. "I... suppose we could."
"We're supposed to get some progressive axes around the time the second child arrives, right? Requisition some of the shafts, maybe. I want some war hammers made. Also, we should think about fighting at that depth. What weapons can we bring down with us?"
"I'll get Maya on getting depth ratings, at least. Your hammer idea, though... I'm not sure the axe shaft could support that kind of weight from what I read of the technical paper. I'll send out emails to find out when I get back to my office."
"Good. And Misato, I want you to review the after action reports from the JDF in 1984. I believe I may have a copy of the gun camera footage of the Super-X as well, but if not we can get copies from the JDF."
"It'll be good to see what's been done before," she replied. "We still have the sound frequency that lured it there, right?"
"It should be uploaded with the rest of Hayashida's notes."
"What about the... the... Oxygen Destroyer? Was that what it was called?"
"Yes," replied Fuyutsuki. "Doctor Serizawa destroyed all of his research before killing himself. Much research has been placed in trying to understand just how he managed to do that, but nothing substantial has ever been discovered. Parts of Tokyo Bay are still oxygen depleted. Naoko called it mad science at its purist, with no useful applications, if I recall correctly. Enough of that, however. We all have our work cut out for us. Dismissed."
"So good news and bad news," said Misato to her charges over 'dinner.' It was her turn to cook, and Shinji and Asuka failed in convincing her to just order out. Something about it being important to sit down to a home-cooked meal. Both Shinji and Asuka mistrusted this statement. The last time she had delivered 'news', they had been trapped in the same room for a week.
"What's the good news?" asked Asuka.
"By a stroke of luck, we've found the next angel before it's ready."
"What's the bad news?" asked Shinji.
Misato slurped at some concoction of ramen and tabasco sauce that had the children wondering what leftovers were in the fridge.
"Well, what's the bad news?" asked Asuka. "If you're telling us there's an angel, it's obviously somewhere that we're concerned about attacking."
"That is the bad news," replied Misato. "It's in Mt. Mihara."
"Mt. Mihara? Isn't that a volcano?" asked Asuka, looking to Shinji, only to find him quaking in his chair. "What? What's so bad about Mt. Mihara? That's on Oshima Island, out in old Tokyo bay, right? It's not cursed or anything, is it?"
"Godzilla," said Shinji.
"What's so bad about Godzilla?" asked Asuka.
"I know we both sleep during History, but he mentions Godzilla every third class," said Shinji.
"You sleep through class?" asked Misato as Asuka muttered under her breath.
"Well.. he just grades based on attendance, and then he repeats himself every three days..." trailed off Shinji.
"Oh, one of those teachers. Yeah, I remember a whole bunch of them in college," said Misato. "Well... sort of. I think. I was pretty drunk at the time. Why're you so scared of some lizard, Shinji?"
"My uncle lived in old Tokyo. He talked about it, once, after I asked what Father did for a living. When I think abut it, I don't think he'd ever really talked about it before. He just talked about walking the city streets afterwards, how it'd all been reduced to just so much rubble. He said he saw the moon through the burned-out skeleton of a skyscraper, like the Eye of God, looking down upon the Earth and saying 'this is what you have wrought, this is your punishment.'" Shinji looked down at his plate, and poked the inedible slope of instant noodles with his chopsticks.
Asuka swore to Hikari the next day that was the most she had ever heard Shinji speak.
Asuka felt her skin warm as she sank into the magma. Attached to her right arm was a vent for the coolant running down the pipes preventing her from melting and turning into a giant lump of slag. Attached to the front of the Eva was an electromagnetic cage, one that would, hopefully, contain the angel and prevent it from waking up and trying to kill her. Above her, Unit-01 stood with a progressive axe, Misato's sledgehammer idea having been denied by a literal army of mechanical engineers. She watched the lava rise up along the Eva's body, before it sank over her eye level, and her vision was filled with the dull orange glow.
"Activating sonar," she said over her comm-link, turning on the low-power, high-frequency sonar unit within the shell of the D-type equipment. The walls of the vent appeared beyond the haze of orange.
"Internal temperature holding steady," said Dr. Akagi. "All cooling systems are working to spec."
It was a long drop to the primary magma chamber, and it had already been a long drop to the surface of the magma.
The view of the walls fuzzed every minute or so, due to the volcanic sounding system. They'd have a better picture with a proper sonar system, but Akagi was worried about a high-powered sonar system waking everything up.
Besides, the passive sonar system still worked. Asuka listened as the sounds of the above world faded away, the gentle noises of flowing rock overtaking her. Fifty years, at least, of sonar signal processing was allowing her to listen to a world perhaps no one had ever heard before.
She would be calm. She would prove herself. She would capture the angel, ignore the stupid lizard, or, if it came to it, kill it.
She would do this. She could do this. She will do this.
A new sound entered into the mix. She timed it, both the clock on the wall, and tapping her fingers against the control sticks, listening. Every fifteen seconds, a thunderous beat. The sonar software was perdicting it, amplifying it, drawing up the background noise as well, a wealth of math she didn't know undistorting the sound as it passed through the skin of the dive-suit. She could hear the second beat, the lub-dub of a heart that couldn't even fit in her Evangelion's chest, of a beast that was over twice the height and at least thirty times the mass of her Evangelion. Listening to it, she became used to it, feeling its regularity in the final ten minutes of the drop towards the magma chamber.
The walls were falling away, and she was now moving both towards and away from that heartbeat. She could feel it now in her chest, over-riding her own heart, like nearby thunder. It was rolling through her, echoing in the chamber.
She looked back, the sonar representation of the lizard was behind her. But... wasn't the beat faster now?
"Misato?" she asked.
Silence for a moment.
"The lizard, is it's heartbeat faster?"
Silence for a moment.
"Yes. Akagi thinks Godzilla might just be dreaming. The mission's the same, just grab the angel and get out. No need to wake the sleeping giant, right?"
"Alright." Asuka remembered one of her foster homes had a dog, and watching the dog twitch in its sleep. The lizard was just an animal, after all. And didn't animals have dreams, as well? "Alright," she told herself, maneuvering closer to the angel. She timed the wait between heartbeats.
Was it louder now? She was moving away, but maybe because she was moving closer to the wall? Could the echos make it louder? She timed it again.
"Misato, what's the time between beats?"
"Eight seconds," said Misato. "And louder. If it goes below five, we're pulling you out."
The picture fuzzed for a second. At first, Asuka thought it was massive sonar units in the volcano itself, but then it fuzzed again, in time with them. And then it fuzzed again, a few seconds later.
"My sonar picture's going fuzzy," said Asuka.
"Heartbeat is at five seconds, Asuka, we're pulling you out."
"No, I can still reach-"
An alarm went off. The sonar's ranging unit informed her that something behind her was getting closer.
Suddenly, her vision went dead.
"Godzilla's woken up, we're pulling you out."
"I can take a lizard!" Asuka shouted.
"Not in this enviornment," replied Misato. There was a static-y noise, now, and she could hear... what? Something moving? She opened a holo display, and told her eva to turn off her eyes and give her just the passive sonar picture. Two massive green blobs, both beneath her, were closing on each other. One pulsed in time with the heartbeat, the other... the other was confusing, changing shape and size.
"The Angel's active!" said Asuka. "Leave me here, and I'll take out whichever wins."
"No! We're pulling you out!" said Misato. Asuka watched the battle begin beneath her, the pulsing blob of the lizard slamming into the angel, the occasional flow noise, the thunderous boom of them impacting on the magma chamber's semi-solid walls.
The passive sonar had dropped the sound level of the lizard's heartbeat down to just a background noise. The lizard was moving away, lazily drifting into the center of the magma chamber. A shuffle of movement, and the angel was moving once more, trying to climb out of the muck. Asuka watched as the lizard built up speed, ramming the angel back into the muck. There was an other noise in there, like a hiccup, or a cough. She was well into the primary tube when the lizard hit a third time. There was a noise, like the time she was standing beneath the steam catepults on the Over the Rainbow, listening to the roar of jet engines through the superstructure.
"Blue signal lost." A voice of awe, Asuka couldn't identify who. As she was pulled up the duct, there was another boom, Godzilla ramming the side of the magma chamber again, hitting what was left of the angel as its pieces sank into the semi-molten rock of its edges.
Asuka could hear her own heart, it's racing beat stopping every time she heard the titanic boom of one so much larger than her.
She glanced at the the rangefinder. The number was getting larger. She breathed a sigh of relief she'd never admit to anyone.
"Pull me up, I want to face this thing on dry land!" No, she wasn't being afraid. She was being smart. That's what she told herself as they drew her out. She had a good head start, it wouldn't catch up. She'd have time to rip off the D-type equipment, and then save the day. Oh, yes.
This wasn't working out to plan. The D-type equipment wasn't meant for the depth they'd pushed it to, and had jammed when they were pulling it off. They had the right arm off, but she was having trouble with the left as they dragged her backwards up the path in the caldera wall. The path had been blasted into it over the previous three weeks, without much in the way of concern for the surrounding environment. Shinji's axe was hooked around the piping.
Right now, she was trying to pry the damn arm off with her progressive knife, and when it snapped, she began to swear in earnest.
"The lock's probably jammed," said Ristuko. "The heat and then cooling likely fused it."
"Then why did the other arm come off?" shouted Asuka, trying to get her fingers into the joint to rip it off with her "bare" hand.
"The unused cooling gun," supplied Ristuko. "More coolant in the right than the left."
"Shinji, help me with this. How much time do we have?"
"Two minutes," said Misato. "Get the other arm off, at least. If nothing else, you can shoot while we pull you out."
"Like hell I'm going to sit in this tin can during a fight!" shouted back Asuka. "Shinji, put down the rifle and pull this thing off."
There was a screeching sound as something gave, but little else.
"Get on top of me and put your back into it!" she shouted. There was a snort from Misato. "OH SHUT UP, YOU PERVERT! Shinji, DO IT!"
Shinji stood on Asuka, and rather than put his back into it, put his knees into it. With another screech, Shinji toppled off of Asuka and fell to the path.
With only a little grumbling, he cast the arm aside and picked up the rifle, quickly catching up with Asuka.
"One minute. Shinji, get ready."
Asuka began franticly peeling herself out of what felt like the tightest jeans she had ever worn.
Shinji was now backing his way up the path, and Asuka had tossed the lower armor to the side. She slid the Eva out of the torso, and stood, picking up the axe. She didn't have all of the B-type equipment, but the shoulder pauldrons just annoyed her most of the time. Without her mass in it, the remaining pieces of armor slid up the slope much faster. She slammed the axe into the rock next to her, and grabbed Shinji's rifle.
"Shinji, get another one, and support Asuka from the ridge. Asuka, if you can't kill it with the opening salvo, fall back to the top of the ridge. There's only one way up, and we're going to hammer it all the way."
"Yes, Misato," said Shinji.
"Good," said Asuka. "Where is it?"
"It should be surfacing soon."
Asuka stood, rifle at the ready as she heard Shinji half-run, half-stumble up the slope.
"Where is it?" she asked herself, waiting for the lizard to make itself known.
It obliged, rising out of the surface of the magma, sucking in a breath, and giving a triumphant roar. Asuka winced at the sound, but it wasn't moving, so the Eva's targeting computer gave her a nice, easy lock. The bright yellow of the tracers told her she was spot on, even before the bullets hit. The rounds exploded, smoke billowing out, obscuring the target.
"Geiger counter is spiking!" shouted one of the bridge techs, and Asuka scrambled up the slope as a beam of blue fire gauged out the slope below her.
"Geiger is quiet," added the tech as the smoke cleared, revealing the lizard was gone.
"Back under the surface?"
"Likely," supplied Misato. "Grab your axe, keep climbing. Shinji, status?"
"Blue or red?"
"LVHE didn't work, so take the red," said Misato. Asuka saw Shinji pick up the rifle, a large red X painted on either side, and aim it.
"Remember, recoil on the HVAP is going to be much higher, so be ready for it!" added Misato.
"Geiger is spiking!"
"Shinji, remember, the HVAP doesn't have any tracer, so watch where you aim it!"
Asuka looked back, seeing it rise out of the magma right at the base of the path. She turned, spitting a few more rounds at it, clouds of smoke billowing as Godzilla stepped out of them. Sparks flew off of it's scales, flecks of yellow and blue exploding off of it as it advanced.
"It's not working!" said Shinji, his comm filtering out another roar.
"See if you can aim for the head, maybe we can damage the eyes or something. If not, grab the blue rifle, and lay down smoke so the damn thing can't see!"
"Asuka, ditch the rifle and get out of there."
"Working on it!" yelled Asuka, clamoring up the slope, while trying to stay low enough to avoid being shot by Shinji. "Shinji, move to the side so I can stand up and run!"
"Radiation spike!" shouted a tech.
Asuka saw the blue glow from its back, and a belch of long flame tore apart the rim of the caldera where Shinji stood. There wasn't time, he could only duck and throw up an AT field. The octagonal orange wall caused the super-heated plasma to splash out, melting and exploding nearby rocks and debris.
"Tie the geiger counters directly into the Pilot's audio," said Misato.
Asuka heard the quick tick-tick-tick of the geiger counter surrounding her, and kept climbing. Then she heard the foot steps.
Far more ponderous than her own, far deeper, and loud enough that she felt an echo of them in her hands as she scrambled up the path. She paid no mind to Misato as she ordered Shinji to shoot Godzilla with the sixteen-inch rocket launchers. She ignored the rockets that streaked past her, ignored the explosions, and just barely ignored the roar of response. Her own triumph was when she reached the rim of the caldera, slammed the axe back into rock, grabbed two rifles, and poured fire into the oncoming beast.
She jumped to the side when the geiger counter screamed, and a blue beam of superheated radioactive plasma cut through the air.
"This isn't working!" said Asuka.
"Hold off, and try hand-to-hand."
Asuka grabbed her axe, and went below line of sight. She opened a window to her right, one of the aerial drones with a long-range camera keeping track of the monsters approach. She could feel the footsteps as an echo in her hands. A small clock appeared, on its present path, between Godzilla and the rim of the Volcano, the MAGI extrapolating the amount of time until contact.
Asuka watched as Godzilla rose up over the rim of the caldera, and then kept going up.. and up.. and up..
Misato stared at the big plot in front of her, right now a massive extension of the same map Asuka was looking at. A smaller screen had a drone's camera footage, showing Godzilla clearing the ridge
The axe in Asuka's hand, as tall as her Eva and a blade to match, looked like a kid's toy compared to Godzilla. The monster was huge and ponderous, clearing the rim with its massive, inexorable stride. Smoke billowed off of its upper chest and head, distracting the beast as Asuka brought her axe right into its side, right above the hip.
Really, it was as high up as she could reach with the axe.
Godzilla glared down, palmed the axe's head, and ripped it from Unit-02's grasp. His back glowed, the tick-tick-tick of the Geiger counter becoming a screech, and a superheated blast of plasma rolled around Asuka's AT field.
"Fall back!" shouted Misato, as Shinji sent another spray of fire at Godzilla to try and cover Asuka's escape. It worked, for the most part. Both Eva and umbilical made it away unscathed.
Misato watched as Godzilla destroyed the winch and cooling equipment for the D-type equipment. Asuka's own partially stripped B-type armor was an inconvenience, and Ritsuko had grumbled a few things about it, but nothing that worried Misato overly much.
The big plot had Asuka and Shinji running opposite Godzilla, dragging their umbilicals over the desolate landscape that, even now, had yet to recover from so much devastation.
The lone icon, standing near the power substation that made this whole operation possible, readied itself. A neon pink line represented the terrifying power of the positron rifle Rei was armed with, something that amused Misato to no end when she picked out the color. Another drone brought up a picture of Rei aiming the weapon, the blue and white paint scheme of the rifle blending well with the white on blue paint scheme of the Eva.
The lock was an easy one. Godzilla was a larger than average target, and a slow-moving one as well. The fact that it was well within the near-line of sight limitations of the weapon just made it even easier. The bright lance of plasma jacketing a core of anti-matter caused the screen to darken, turning the Eva into a silhouette for a moment, completely whiting out Godzilla itself as it covered the two kilometer gap in a bare fraction of a second. It hit and exploded dead-on.
The sound of Godzilla's screech filled the command center. Misato hoped it was pain, as Rei fired again. The screech was a little louder, and Rei tried to cut it off with a third shot, then let the smoke clear.
A close-up revealed three black marks left on Godzilla's scales.
As Misato watched Rei empty the magazine into Godzilla, she realized the screech wasn't of pain, but annoyance. And Godzilla was closing the distance a tad faster than before, as well. She muttered a few choice words under her breath, then made for the next trick up her sleeve.
"Activate the beacon," she ordered. A lone QV-22 Osprey was already in the air, and had been since Godzilla had woken in the depths of the volcano. It's location kept a single point between it and Godzilla, and along with its usual suite of sensors, it had been equipped with something that could be called an "ultra-sonic laser" if the appropriate physicist wasn't in the room. It began to broadcast in a specific frequency determined by the late Dr. Hayashida to attract the monster, and had been used to drop the monster into the volcano in the first place.
Godzilla stopped, a drone showing the beast staring into empty space, some primitive part of its brain recognizing the signal.
"Come on, come on, come on," urged Hyuga. Misato ignored him, including his swears when Godzilla turned back towards Rei, and continued closing the distance between them.
Misato was silent with this turn of events. Oh, there were words she could have said about this. But she wasn't going to so much as mutter them on record. They didn't have any use right now. By this point, Misato had determined the only weapon that might (Ritsuko had stressed the *might* in this conversation) work was the 200 kiloton N2 mine that they had hoped to lure the beast onto using the beacon.
Misato had made the mistake, several days before, of talking with Ritsuko about the biology of the beast. This Angel was only surviving within the magma chamber of Mt. Mihara through extensive use of its AT field, much like the 6th angel's ability to swim.
Godzilla, she warned, did not do it through fancy tricks in physics. He did it with sheer biological impossibility. Armor that could survive both that heat and punishment - and Ritsuko stressed it was armor - was not something to be trifled with. The fact that the beast survived in that temperature, as well, she continued...
"My mother once told me," said Ritsuko, staring out into the Eva cages, "that Dr. Hayashida had no intent on killing Godzilla. He knew it couldn't be done. He didn't drop Godzilla into a volcano to kill him, like some indestructible ring. He didn't do it to trap him, either. He did it, she said, to send him home. To return him to whence he came, in a hope of fixing the mistake we made in making him."
Misato was starting to come around to this point of view, but wasn't about to give up.
"Cut the beacon, but keep it in the air. Rei, Godzilla's after you, lead him into the N2 mine's killzone. Shinji, slacken off fire. Keep shooting, but conserve ammo. Asuka, fall back to the power station, and get the positron rifle under cover. All three of you, be ready to hunker down and throw up an AT field when necessary."
A chorus of "Yes, ma'am," and she was back to waiting. The decoy went back to the light green of the various drones in the air. She watched Godzilla's projected course slowly swing around to come across the massive red X and yellow blast zone of the N2 mine. The drones were falling back, but still showed the occasional tracer and splashes of smoke as Shinji continued to lay down occasional fire on Godzilla. She glanced at his rifle's ammo indicator. He was almost out.
"Rei, you've got Godzilla on the right course, keep it on it."
The MAGI provided ETA.
"Arm the mine," she ordered. Somewhere, on the Over the Rainbow if she recalled correctly, two people turned two keys simultaneously. The red X now glowed with malevolence.
Asuka pulled the rifle back to the power station, and disconnected its power cord for use on an Eva.
"Asuka, hold at the bunker, when that mine goes off, shield it. The less possibility of damage, the easier this is going to be."
There was a muttering of disappointment, but Misato ignored it. A number was ticking down. Then it started ticking up.
"God dammit, how smart is it?" Misato asked herself. "Shinji, cease fire. Come on you damn lizard, follow Rei. That is an N2 mine, right? There's no radioactive components anywhere near it, right?"
"Then why's it slowing down?" She thought a moment. "It's still coming. Rei, slow down a little bit, make like you're tired. Make it think its wearing you down."
There was silence as the range crawled downwards, and the time ticked away.
"Rei, fall to the ground, like you can't go any farther. All of you, brace for the blast."
Misato watched Rei fall, while listening to all three acknowledge her orders. She knew it was fake, and could see it was fake, but would Godzilla? She didn't know.
Godzilla advanced anyways.
And then there was light.
Misato watched two clocks appear on the big plot, each at five minutes.
"Shinji, Rei, get to the power station, now!"
Both ejected their umbilicals, and began to run for it.
"Any sign from ground zero?"
"Nothing yet, too much debris."
"We could be spreading radioactive monster bits into the lower atmosphere," said Aoba. "The only thing we could pick up in that mess is a blue pattern. We won't know for another few minutes."
Misato frowned, but waited, watching Shinji and Rei's progress. Both would be well within time.
"Geiger counter spike!"
"Rei, watch out!" The warning was barely in time, the spear of flame splashing across Rei's AT field, flames rolling around it. "Asuka, grab the spare, and bring it to Rei, she's not going to make it!"
"Yes, ma'am!" said Asuka, sprinting from her position with the spare.
Stepping out of the cloud was a limping Godzilla. Blood dribbled from from its mouth, eyes and ears, the scales on its right side partially molten.
"Shinji, get a bead on its right side, and fire!"
Unit-01 skidded to a stop, and a stream of yellow tracer arced into Godzilla. With a true screech of pain, it weathered the onslaught, focusing on its target.
"Geiger is spiking even higher!" cried Maya.
Misato watched as energy arced between the back spines, some of them cracked and partially molten, the glow brighter than she'd yet seen it, even in the file footage from the JSDF. The camera fuzzed a bit as Godzilla breathed again, once more on Rei, knowing who lead her into the trap.
This time, her AT field didn't hold.
Misato winced as the blast tore into Unit-00's side, armor bubbling and blistering from the slightest of exposures, the Eva itself stumbling to the ground as its right leg gave out. Blackened armor was flaking and melting off, and Misato could see Rei was breathing through her teeth, forcing her Eva up to continue running even as Asuka met up with her, throwing up her own AT field and handing Rei the spare as once more Godzilla breathed on them.
"Shinji, no!" cried Misato as Unit-01 sprinted to close the distance. Godzilla caught sight of him out of the corner of its eye, but not soon enough to stop the flying kick that landed into its head. It did have time to grab the leg, and prevent Unit-01's escape. With a roar, Godzilla held Unit-01 upside down, eyeing the Eva for a moment, before throwing it into the ground and stomping on it.
Unit-01 threw up its hands, the AT field preventing most of the damage, but the Eva still sank into the dirt and rock, its back armor buckling as fifty thousand tons of monster pressed all of its weight onto the Eva, and then stepped off, going forward. Shinji breathed a sigh of relief, dropping the Eva's AT field, and missing the massive tail that smashed him further into the ground with a dismissive swat.
"Several of Unit-01's ribs are broken," said Ibuki, paying attention to the supply of sensors that were imbedded in the flesh of the Evas.
"Come on, Wonder Girl, time to go," said Asuka, lifting Unit-00 into a fireman's carry, ejecting her own umbilical for Shinji, and legging it.
"Shinji, don't move," ordered Misato, hoping he would dismiss the Eva even with Rei's attempt at trickery.
A drone circled Godzilla, watching as he stood, leaning on his good side, watching the two Evas get away. Godzilla leaned back, and declared victory, coagulated blood shaking loose from its face. It then limped off in the direction of the ocean.
"Shinji, dig yourself out of your pit and get back to the substation."
"Yes, ma'am," he croaked out. His breathing was raspy, and he was still clutching his chest over the commlink. Rei was hissing through her teeth still, keeping in the pain as Asuka tried to keep up a brave face.
"Hyuga, ask the UN if they want a crack at Godzilla before he gets back to the water. If not, recommend they pull Over the Rainbow out of there at best possible speed, along with whatever other nuclear ships they've got. After that, I'm gonna drink and stare at paperwork until it multiplies enough to make a suitable grave."
"The UN says they'll take their shot at him."
Misato sat down, and watched. They'd lost both their Iowas to the sixth angel, and the Over the Rainbow had lost most of its light aircraft launch capability, but there was a supply of airfields in the area thanks to Tokyo-3, and the sheer amount of airpower the US had moved into the area was staggering.
Whoever was running the UN had decided not to bother with light aircraft, and stick with heavy bombers as the remainder of the Over the Rainbow's escorts opened up with their guns. Nothing on par with the Iowa's monstrous sixteen inch, but enough missiles and twelve inch to lay down a steady screen of fire.
Godzilla just kept coming.
The big plot already had Over the Rainbow and all five nuclear submarines leaving. A pair of Israeli diesel-electrics remained, but didn't join in on the fight, instead sitting off to either side, waiting.
Misato honestly doubted anything except (maybe) an Iowa's sixteen inch were going to actually penetrate, but it didn't hurt to watch. The thing had weathered an N2 mine. Maybe his armor was compromised? The screeches recorded by the drones said maybe, but Godzilla wasn't slowing down.
She checked on her pilots. Rei had ejected, her unit already laid down on a ground transporter. Shinji was limping back to the Substation, clutching his chest both in and out of the plug. Misato directed Asuka to the port the UN had built on the island. Already, the superfreighter was being pushed into position by the one lone tug crazy enough to work while Godzilla was in the area. They'd used the superfreighter to get the Evas onto the island, one at a time. Asuka had the most functional Eva, she would be pulled out first.
They'd thought about putting an airfield down instead, but the only proposed length of the island that could have an airfield on it, Godzilla was walking across while under fire from the UN navy.
Honestly, Misato wanted that drink now.
Then the bombers started in. The US had stationed about half its remaining B-52 force, twenty heavy bombers, in Japan just for such an occasion. Misato watched deteonation after detonation, bomb after bomb splash across the ground and Godzilla. The ships slackened off, and she could guess what was about to happen as the drone pulled away.
The screen went white again.
Another N2 mine. A tad smaller. The MAGI cut away to a further drone, the one still orbiting the caldera.
Another mushroom cloud. Half the B-52s, a full ten of them, had dropped their loads and were already peeling away, as slow as they ever did. The one that dropped the N2 was circling, ready to drop another, at a guess. She glared at the billowing clouds at the base. They seemed wrong somehow.
The MAGI piped in the geiger counter. It was screaming, whether because they'd finally vaporized Godzilla (she doubted it) or because it was pissed. Then the first lightening bolt leapt out of the cloud, the ground around it exploding.
Misato didn't feel surprised when Godzilla stepped out of the cloud, dragging one leg. She was surprised the lightening leapt from its back, grounding itself into the earth around it. She wasn't surprised when good pilots died, the blast of radioactive plasma somehow covering the thirty-five thousand feet and vaporizing a bomber that, quite literally, could not be replaced.
She was... resigned.
The atmospheric detonation of an armed N2 Mine, though, that was both a surprise and an impressive sight. She wondered what general had ordered that, and how long his career was going to last as the big plot showed two of the bombers were outright gone, and three more of them spiraling out of control. The remaining four were under control, but all of them had some sort of damage or another. Another blast caught one, its conventional munitions going up in a rather pretty series of explosions.
Misato knew that Godzilla had shot down aircraft before, but that was largely ground-attack fighters on attack runs, not high-atmosphere bombers.
"Gimme a closeup on Godzilla's spines."
An easy request. The drone changed course, closing the distance while zooming in. An unhealthy constant blue glow had taken to the spines, huge cracks bleeding boiling blood out into the air.
"Rits, you think maybe Godzilla's dying?" asked Misato.
"Whose to know?" replied Ritsuko, staring at the screen. "Godzilla's an anomaly, a biological impossibility, even considering the Angels. Angels live and die by their AT fields. If they didn't have AT fields, we'd let the UN drop bombs to their hearts content. Hell, maybe we'd even break the old rule and start using real thermo-nuclear weapons on them. The US supposedly still has a few thirty megaton warheads sitting around. Granted, we don't know what happens when Angels are exposed to hard radiation..." she trailed off, the naval bombardment starting up again. "Hell, our best study on it will come from the damage to Unit-00. We don't even know if it'll be useable after this."
A blast of blue splattered across a destroyer, munitions cooked off, and it sank with all hands.
"What's Asuka's status?"
"Strapped in, and moving out," supplied Asuka. "How's the fleet doing?"
"You don't want to know," replied Misato. Another frigate exploded in atomic hellfire. The UN fleet began to cut its losses and run for it, a few staying to escort the freighter. "What's Godzilla's likely course?"
"If he doesn't follow the fleet," said Hyuga, "likely directly into old Tokyo. From there... present assumption says towards nuclear sites, which would likely be... the old Tokai plants." A small screen pulls up the projected course, through the enlarged Tokyo Bay, with a few separate possible paths to the Tokai reactors.
"Think we can get Jet Alone up and running and have him chase it to all the old reactor sites that're now environmental hazards?" asked Misato, half-joking. "You think the government is going to have my head for this mess?"
"Maybe. Granted, nobody's really done better than you have," replied Ritsuko.
"I guess. If we're really lucky, the damn thing will bleed to death en route, and we'll just have to clean up a gigantic radioactive corpse. What's the freighter's course?" A red line taking it around the back side of the island, away from Godzilla met Misato's approval.
"And… Godzilla's in the water and submerged," said Hyuga.
"Tell the UN to keep us updated on Godzilla's location, and hopefully we'll have Unit-02 ready to meet it if it surfaces again."
It was a boring and uneventful time. Godzilla, in the water, was being followed by the Israeli diesel-electrics, the nuclear fleet already cruising south well out to sea. Instead of heading northeast, into Tokyo Bay, Godzilla was headed east, towards the tip of (what was left of) the Chiba prefecture. Not very inhabited, but Misato, and most of the UN general's were already guessing what was going to happen.
Once on the eastern coast of Japan, Godzilla would turn north. There were a number of reactors on Japan's eastern and southern coasts, with an emphasis on "were." The flooding had destroyed all of them, and while some of them had held up to the flood waters, the Japanese government had yet to stay cohesive long enough to figure out just what to do about them.
They had, already, drained the water around the reactors, and dumped massive amounts of concrete onto them, effectively burying them and preventing the further spread of radioactivity, but it was already in the environment. And, really, there wasn't a good way of cleaning up that much radioactivity, and the longer the spill was there, the further it spread. There wasn't a new source of radioactivity, at least, but it had already gotten into the food supply on Japan's entire eastern seaboard. Each prime minister walked into office with a promise of cleaning up the mess, only to find out that the mess was a lot worse than everybody was letting on.
"So, if he surfaces, I shoot him. If he doesn't die, I run for it, and let the UN bomb him?"
"Pretty much," replied Misato.
"Alright, let's do this," said Asuka. She had managed to get some sleep while waiting. There weren't any bombers in the air, but she knew they'd buried a few N2 mines, and Misato had mumbled something about ballistic missiles. Asuka, idly, wondered where those missiles would be coming from, knowing better than to actually ask.
Asuka was settled on a low hill about a mile away, power cable trailing off though the (not overly) radioactive marshland towards a power distribution station big enough to power an Eva about four miles away. She held the same positron rifle that Rei had shot Godzilla with. Rei and Shinji were both back in Tokyo-3, on standby, while their Evas were being repaired. Both Ritsuko and Maya were already drooling over the scientific studies to be performed on radioactive angel/eva flesh.
A number of sonar buoys had been dumped into the water, adding to the supply of radioactivity sensors already in the water to study just how far the radioactivity had spread.
The MAGI had, quite helpfully, provided a color graph of just how much radioactivity was being detected by each sensor. Someone with a bad sense of humor, however, had programmed what the colors meant, and in English no less. Red was "instant suntan", yellow was "vacation sparingly", blue was "stay a while", while black was "OK!"
All of the sensors were a mix of shades of yellow. A few on the periphery were a greenish-purple color, but those were more than a few miles away. The sensors to the south were all taking on a blue color.
"We could just let him clean up the radioactivity," said Misato over the commlink.
"Yes, but then he could come back."
"I know, but then we wouldn't have to deal with Godzilla."
"You want to kill all the angels, but you don't care about Godzilla?" asked Asuka, glared at the map that showed Godzilla's own casual approach. The Israelis were updating the coordinates intermittently the entire damn time, their grumpy attitude annoying the sensibilities of the JSDF, but no other countries had diesel-electric subs in the area.
"Godzilla's an animal, doing what it does to survive. The Angels are monsters set on destroying humanity."
"I guess," said Asuka. "Just how long is this going to take?"
"No idea," replied Misato.
Godzilla was moving amongst the geiger counters, now, all of them dropping down to the semi-safe blue rating, but hadn't made for the reactor yet. A counter attached to the reactor itself was a shade of yellowish-orange. The land around the reactor was flooded, although nature was trying to reclaim it as marshland. A few enterprising Tokyo University students had made field trips into the wasteland around Tokai. New, radiation resistant species were found on a regular basis, some lasting a few months, others having found their semi-permanent niche. The reactors themselves had been rebuilt after Godzilla's first visit back in 1984. Most of the underlying infrastructure and control facilities were still in place, and only one of the reactors were destroyed.
Godzilla stopped, still a ways offshore. The MAGI extrapolated, and provided undersea terrain data. Already, a pair of drones were checking the area for him.
"This is it," said Misato. "Don't fire until you can see the white of his eyes!"
"Seriously?" asked Asuka.
"No, but I've always wanted to say that," replied Misato. "Fire when ready."
Asuka sat and waited, scanning the water for any sign of Godzilla.
"Did it die?" she asked.
Misato glanced at the readouts from the sonar buoys.
"Not yet," replied Misato.
"Damn," replied Asuka. The small plot showed Godzilla moving closer. "Alright, he's got to be sticking out of the water, now. Where the hell is he?" She shifted her Eva, resettling back into a squat. "Wait, oh SCHISSE!" said Asuka. Godzilla had just surfaced, exploding to full height out of the water. The geiger counter clicked like mad, and a blast of flame splattered across the cement burial mound of Tokai Reactor #2. "SCHISSE!" screamed Asuka again as she brought the rifle to bare, took aim, and fired.
The screech rolled across her like thunder, and the Eva's image processing showed a trickle of blood rolling down its scales.
"DIE YOU FUCKING MONSTER, DIE!" screamed Asuka in english as she pulled the trigger again. Another hit, another screech. She saw the blue glow, and throw up her arm and AT field, feeling the heat wash over her, bleeding through the field. And it was still advancing. Some small part of Asuka's brain took stock of the geiger counters, the ones mounted on the Eva were a sickly green, and around her were yellow. The ones at the reactor were a malevolent red.
"Asuka, fall back out of the radiation!"
"Right!" replied Asuka, taking off at a run, jumping to another hill as another burst of flame ripped apart the top of the hill. The geiger counters on her were going down, slowly, and her cable was still attached. She took aim again, only to be bathed in heat and radioactivity again. "What the hell is this things range?" she asked, moving to another hill, further away.
"Hell if we know," replied Misato. "He took out two B-52s with lucky hits."
"Schisse," muttered Asuka, launching to another hill. Godzilla seemed to be taking turns, one short blast at Asuka to keep her moving out of the radioactivity, one short blast at Tokai itself.
"He's at Tokai," said Misato. "Hold your fire, we don't need that thing spewing radiation everywhere. Well, more radiation."
"Right," replied Asuka, hunching down at a new hill, watching Godzilla sift through the molten rubble.
"Well, there goes all the radioactivity," said Maya. Godzilla's back glowed, arcs of electricity jumping between the spines.
"Get a zoom on the spines," said Misato, a small screen coming up, showing the spines. "They look different." Instead of the semi-natural curves, these were spikes, razor sharp, the cracks already healing in them. "Do you think it's mutating somehow?"
"It might be," said Ritsuko. "It did get bigger between its '54 and '84 attacks. Could be greater energy storage. Or it just could be that we damaged them, and that's how they healed."
"I guess," replied Misato. "How long till he's done?"
"Maybe another minute," replied Fuyutsuki. "Giving Godzilla a reactor to eat wasn't ever something that was studied. Have the MAGI extrapolated from the geiger counters?"
"Yes," replied Maya. "MAGI estimate forty-five seconds until Godzilla has reduced radiation to stable levels."
"Use Asuka's video feed to give me a close-up on his chest," asked Ritsuko, another screen popping up the close-up. "His wounds are closing at an incredible rate. The physiology of this thing is nigh impossible."
"No," said Fuyutsuki. "Just nigh improbable. We theorized that the angels could have as high if not higher regeneration rates."
"Yes, but that's because they're backed by S2 engines, something that could survive the entropic decay of the universe. This is a semi-natural physiology fueled entirely by radioactive decay. The biological implications of such an animal are, quiet simply, impossible. The creature should be, if anything, a cancerous tumor, not a mobile weapon of mass destruction."
The bridge crew and scientists sat in silence, watching as the creature performed what science widely said was impossible, leeching the radioactivity from the long buried reactor. Akagi, sitting and staring at the massive projection, understanding, intimately, every ability and force that an Evangelion was capable of, every weapon and implement an Evangelion was capable of wielding, and realizing the pinnacle of human achievement could not surmount their own greatest mistake. For all the effort, for all the blood, sweat, and tears she, her mother, and all of the other scientists and engineers had put forward to create the Evangelions, they could not defeat a monster created as an accident.
"Asuka, hold your position," said Misato. "If it goes out to sea, let the UN waste a few more N2 mines on it. Otherwise, prepare to engage again."
"Yes, ma'am," said Asuka, gritting her teeth. Misato could see she was chomping at the bit, wanting to re-engage. She knew the UN would. The generals and admirals would do it without a second thought, toss away thousands, tens of thousands of lives without even blinking. They'd done it before, they'd do it again.
Godzilla stood tall and proud within the rubble of the reactor's tomb, and gave off a triumphant roar.
"Asuka, hold your fire. If he turns back to sea, don't engage. We don't have any weapons that'll work against him, and I'd rather not have all three Evas down."
"So we're running away?"
"No, we're allowing Godzilla to make a strategic retreat. There's a difference."
Asuka didn't laugh at the attempted joke, and instead watched as Godzilla viewed the scene before him. She watched, as the beast caught sight of her, the brilliant red of her Evangelion standing out against the irradiated marshland surrounding her. It recognized, on some level, the brilliant white of the portable positron rifle she was carrying, its secondary power cable trailing off behind her.
There was a deep, rumbling growl, something base and primal that tugged at the animal recesses of her brain. She wanted to fight. She wanted to charge in and blast and shoot and stab and kill the monster before her.
And where had that gotten her?
She grumbled to herself, her finger hovering over the trigger, but sitting and waiting, as she recalled her present track-record against the Angels. One defeated by Misato's plan (although she was an important part of it), one (or two?) flattening her and Shinji before they could get revenge, and one killed by this over-grown lizard.
She had listened, quietly, to Doctor Akagi and Sub-Commander Fuyutsuki's talk about Godzilla's biology. She had even managed to understand some of what they were talking about. She had graduated from University after all, but that merely underscored how little she knew compared to either of them. Six years of study alongside Evangelion training just didn't compare to Akagi's twelve years of intensive study and experience, let alone Fuyutsuki's… Thirty? Forty years of study, experience, research, and work? She'd written a thesis, certainly, but her thesis had been written using six of Fuyutsuki's own papers. Six!
Now, she was facing the subject of that research, and only now was she understanding some of the awe and respect for the terrible monster she'd found in Fuyutsuki and Hayashida's work as bio-physicists.
She watched, every part of her being wanting to launch forward and face the beast, but knowing, intellectually, it would be suicide.
So she sat, and watched as Godzilla turned, and went back out to sea.
She would never admit to breathing a sigh of relief. Not to Shinji, not to Kaji, not to anyone, ever.
Author's notes: I've wanted to write this fic for a very long time. Maybe even way back when I first saw Eva in High School, I have no idea. It just seemed an awesome idea, having giant agile robots built to destroy god face off against that accidental monster, that mistake of man turned force of nature. It percolated, but never really got anywhere. Then a managed to get a hold of a (legal!) Hong Kong version of Godzilla Returns, the unedited Japanese version of Godzilla 1985. After spending a few days getting a hold of a region-free DVD drive, I ripped and watched it. The majority of the fic itself was written sometime in 2009, but I've been adding on to it off and on since. It seems… strange… to have the final battle take place at a nuclear reactor. I started writing the scene well before the Tsunami that effected the Fukushima reactors in Japan, but it seemed appropriate to have Godzilla's final scene be the same place as his first true appearance in the film, the Tokai reactors.
There's also a rather blatant analogy about human achievement being tempered by human misery towards the end, but I'm not a subtle enough author to really make it shine.
Dr. Hayashida's lab assistant is named Naoko. The movie itself happened in 1984, so I'll just claim it's during the spring/summer for sanity's sake. Ritsuko Akagi was born in November of 85. We learn nothing of the character's love lives, beyond Maki and Naoko spending a few days in the wreckage of Tokyo together. Naoko didn't really trust Maki in the first place, because of his little photography incident (he only tells her where her brother is so his photographer can get pictures of them being reunited), so god only knows what sorts of trust issues she has with him. Given Naoko Akagi's reaction to Rei being her "replacement"... I can see them breaking up within a month. Maybe she got pregnant out of wedlock and got married out of duty? Ignored her husband and daughter for her work? She must have been pretty dedicated because Japanese society is pretty sexist, but she works alongside Dr Hayashida as his aide (at least in the Japanese edit), rather than his secretary (in the American edit). Either way, it's just too much of a coincidence to pass up on.
Does the USSR still exist in Evangelion's 2015? One of the big concerns in 1984 was the presence of Godzilla, but also the fact that there are orbiting nuclear missile platforms (even though they're banned by international treaty, but when does that stop people?). Both the US and the USSR have them (the US's is edited out for the American version, but it has four missiles versus the USSR's puny lone missile). I imagine the violation of a treaty on both sides is enough to cause some havoc and renewed nationalism, but enough to survive to the devastation of 2nd Impact?
The Super-X is, obviously, an early VTOL design. Designed for the JSDF, it would be a flying tank meant for defensive operations, rather than the newer faster "I'm a full aircraft replacement" UN designs. Maybe the Super-X's own armor proved to be a prototype for the Eva's, maybe not. Designed for heat resistance, (with Platinum Circutry!) but even that didn't save it after repeated hits.