UPDATE: due to the actual plot being Evangelion's cranked up to eleven, I'm pondering over moving the fic from crossovers to the main Evangelion section. For those who haven't read the previous part: this is an Evangelion/Half-Life crossover partially written in the style of Nobody Dies (at least, that's the closest approximate of what's going to happen). It's also AU so be prepared for OOCness, mainly from Kaworu and Rei. Reading verse 1 is heavily recommended or you'll have no idea what's going on.
Aaaaand here we are again! A new verse opens in the story with new characters, new events and new heights of snarking from Rei and insanity from Kaworu. The previous verse received almost 900 hits in the past month alone, thanks for that. I say this right out, this verse is MUCH longer.
But there IS one thing I don't like: I still don't have any reviews for the last verse. What's the deal? Review, people, review. I don't care if it's an anon review, I want it regardless. I KNOW most of what I wrote is crap but I can't improve if I don't know WHAT to improve on!
Recently, I had a small "crisis of faith" in this fic. Apparently, some people think it's too loaded with stuff and needs to be trimmed (mainly because after I explained what I want in detail, they thought it's a mega-crossover which it isn't). I thought about just dropping it here and now but then decided: fuck 'em, I'll write what I want. I want to avoid a "medley with too many ingredients" just as much as they want; I'm not stupid enough to try and write something I'll screw up anyway.
I added some BGM to the last verse, mostly instrumental pieces. I'll do the same here as I write the chapters.
Word of warning: the previous verse had language and implied adult stuff. This one will dial the latter up a notch but still no explicit stuff (read: there won't be any lemons here anytime soon; maybe later but not now) and adds some really nasty violence. Don't say I didn't warn you.
August 6, 3672 AD
The void itself rippled and twisted as a bright circular "hole" expanded across a diameter of over ten kilometers. Then an incredibly massive metallic bulk emerged ever-so-slowly, weapons immediately scanning for threats. Much smaller craft detached themselves from special rails they clung onto in order to tag along for the ride, scattering into a defensive formation.
After almost a minute of emerging, the megalith finally finished exiting the "hole" which almost instantly collapsed and shot an even larger ring of energy out into space. Hundreds of airlocks opened and spewed forth a gigantic cloud of fighter craft which lazily circled around the hull. Carriers added their own numbers into the tally and soon a flock of over a hundred thousand craft swarmed between the various ships of the fleet, to say nothing of the thousands of capital ships in formation.
Then a vast circular iris-like gate opened up on top the sphere that took up most of the megalith's aft section and black humanoids flew out into space in groups of three, leaving faint trails of particles behind them. Compared to the megalith itself, they were but grains of sand in size but to the fighters, they were almost five times as large.
Deep inside the megalith is a massive chamber. All but one of the walls is filled by seats, each one having an occupant surrounded by holograms. Even on the ceiling, seats suspended upside down are occupied, their users not reacting to being suspended over a lethal drop; they have no need to, as they are inside an artificial zero-G area. Vacant, unblinking eyes stare forward at the shifting figures with expressionless faces while swift hands work on unsubstantial keyboards, assisted by a thick cable plugged into a socket on the back of their heads.
In the middle of the chamber, an altar-like structure stands with several levels of seats surrounding it, their holograms painting the structure into a medley of colors. On the top level, ten figures are lying on their backs, hands on vertically positioned keyboards; their resting places are surrounded by glowing glyphs carved into the floor and similarly glowing lines connecting the ten into the elaborate hexagonal shape known as the Sephiroth. In the middle of the formation where eight lines converge, the Tif'ereth position has no one lying there. Instead, a lone figure is standing tall with a hooded robe hiding its features.
"My lord." – the navigator in the Yesod position calls out. – "Xenspace transition complete. We are on target."
"Fleet reports no malfunctions." – came the Chesed position's report.
"All Evangelions have been launched." – reports the Gevurah position.
The hood slightly nods. – "Excellent." – came the person's response, revealing it to be male. – "Execute battle plan."
"By your command." – The Gevurah Unbound tapped a few keys and spoke into the air. – "All units, Terra Control. You are herewith called upon to strike down the heathens in His name. Weapons free."
"I'm heading out. Iruel."
The ambient lighting of the chamber increased a bit as the blue figure of a woman materialized in the Malkuth position, streams of glyphs running down her translucent body. – "Hmm?" – the hologram asked.
"Take over for me and once I'm out, switch to M-configuration and kick their asses."
The hologram smiled. – "Naturally. Just try not to get killed again."
"Like you're one to talk. And besides, I was only mostly dead." – The man turned on his heels and marched out towards the rear of the chamber, every step being accompanied by the metallic rattling of chains and the clamps of hard metal boots. He paused briefly at the feet of the silver-armored figure sitting on a throne-like structure before his feet left the ground and he flew up like a specter onto the giant's shoulder. A mechanical arm came out of the wall and he disrobed, revealing an unruly mop of grey hair. He hung the robe onto the arm which retracted, then he took off again and flew to the nearby entry plug where he dropped into the seat. The plug immediately sealed and loaded itself into position as the man's thoughts went elsewhere.
'I remember how much of a wide-eyed idealist I was back then.' He smirked absently as he felt the Eva rise into an upright position. 'God, what a naive idiot I was... thinking the world could actually change on its own. Well, it was probably age – living for more than a thousand years while being surrounded by cultist nutjobs who worship the very ground you walk on sure can give someone enough hindsight to ponder on for my entire life. Sometimes I ask myself: was it really worth the price? Does humanity even deserve to be protected by my kind? The four of us gave up every possibility of a normal life, everything we had, and what did we get for it? Accusations of indoctrination for ourselves, fear and loathing for our children. It's not fair, but nothing in life is. We chose this fate ourselves.' He shook his head as downward G-forces pressed him into the seat. 'Wonder what the guys would think if they would see me now...I only wanted to do what I thought was right but now the entire universe quakes with fear whenever they hear our name.'
The synchronization between him and the Eva was fully established and he looked up at the iris-gate kilometers above him as the elevator carrying them both arrived at its destination. He distantly heard through the Eva's auditory sensory organs a distant announcement sounding across Tokyo-3. – "Attention, all personnel: M-configuration has been initiated. Repeat: M-configuration has been initiated. Transformation in one minute."
"Touji, Kensuke... I did it, guys. I pierced the heavens... but I never could've done it without you. Rest in peace, buddies – you both earned it." – With that, Evangelion Unit-01 spread its wings and soared upwards.
Nagisa/Shephard Residence, Tokyo-2
January 14, 2042
He woke up to Shephard knocking on his room's door. – "Hey kid, you'd better wake up or you'll be late. Asuka already left so hurry up."
"Yeah, yeah." – the boy yawned. – "I'm up." – He climbed out of bed and went to wash the sleepiness out of his eyes.
About half an hour later, Kaworu Nagisa stepped out of the apartment building into the freezing cold outside and leisurely walked up to the black-clad form waiting at the road's edge. – "Yo, sis."
Rei nodded in response. – "Niisan. Are you prepared?"
"Yup." – He answered and sat behind her on the bike. Once he was securely grasping her waist, he called forward. – "I'm good. Punch it."
She didn't answer but instead revved up the engine and launched into an aggressive acceleration as if the vehicle would've been shot out of a cannon before taking the first corner with an elegant drift. If it weren't for her driving skills, he would've been late for school every day and he knew it. Still, she was the one who offered to give him a ride the first day he started going to school again after getting boiled like a crab two months ago by the last Angel.
Not only he didn't turn it down out of convenience (her dangerous maneuvers spiced up an otherwise boring journey), he didn't do it either out of familiarity. After that fateful reveal, the girl became surprisingly clingy and spent nearly every waking moment with him. Not that he didn't like the attention but it drew lots of stares in the school when she unexpectedly started cuddling him from behind. Naturally, everyone took it the wrong way and thought they were dating. No amount of screamed denials from him and quiet denials from her could convince them otherwise, although it did have one positive consequence: it got his numerous fangirls off his back. True, he did casually turn down everyone who asked him out but that was for two reasons: namely, that not only he couldn't care less for their attraction but considered a romantic relationship a distraction, now that he knew the stakes. Asuka in particular was practically fuming and called them both freaks, something she definitely would've regretted had Kaworu not grabbed Rei's wrist as she was already reaching for her revolver.
Three months ago, he wouldn't have even dreamed of doing such a thing (she was far faster than him) but Rei stayed true to her promise of protecting him and educated him in various things. Apparently, she didn't know either where their powers came from but demonstrated considerable mastery over every aspect of it. Kaworu gave her quite a stare when she mentioned they have innate psychic abilities as well but no matter how hard he tried, he was no match for her in telekinesis (something about "personal reality"; he didn't understand a word of it) and a completely lost cause in telepathy: he couldn't even communicate without words whereas Rei demonstrated her ability by asking a random street thug to jump up and down in the middle of a downtown crossroad singing the Confederate anthem and the guy immediately complied without a word. That one freaked Kaworu out quite a bit, even though she explained it wasn't actual mind control but rather a form of auditory hypnosis caused by her vocal chords emitting a sound inaudible and undetectable to humans and machines alike, making her able to implant subconscious suggestions via speech but not something that would force the victim to act against his/her morals.
It came as small consolation that there WAS one thing he could do just as well: inducing emotions via eye contact. Remembering back, he already did it once to Mari, albeit unwillingly; shortly before that, he witnessed Rei purposely doing that to scare Hikari into submission (the pigtailed girl never brought up Rei's weaponry ever again and just turned the other way when one was shown). These convinced him that he was able to do it, even if he couldn't control it yet; something similar was going on with his apparent ability of self-teleportation he demonstrated during her aborted suicide attempt but which he couldn't replicate so far.
He favored the physical aspects of their condition more: apparently, all that muscle mass he gained when he "awakened" (to use Rei's expression) wasn't just for show. In terms of raw strength, he was considerably more powerful than an ordinary human but not an exact match for Rei: while the girl didn't have as much muscle, she had telekinesis to make up for it. Thus, his attempt at bragging resulted in her chucking a wrecked car (they were training at a scrapyard to avoid making a spectacle) at him as a rebuttal. Their shapeshifting weapons differed as well: while hers had more range, for him there's no such thing as "too close" (although as he found out the hard way, she wasn't the squeamish type to beat the crap out of him bare-handed if he tried to abuse her minimum range).
She also found some unusual applications for telekinesis, like climbing smooth vertical surfaces or hanging from the ceiling upside down. When he voiced his envy at it, her response was clinging to the ceiling barehanded and barefooted, claiming that they don't need psychic assistance to navigate obstacles; she merely does it out of convenience. Combined with her driving, shooting and acrobatic abilities, Kaworu found a person who vastly surpassed him in skill. It ate at his personal pride to no end, though he found solace in one thing: the person in question was his sister.
Twin sister, to be exact.
After her reveal of the fact, the two did some research into their pasts. It didn't take them long to realize their birth date is the same, though Rei voluntarily ceded seniority to him. Not exactly the kind of little sister he wished for but whatever, he had the luck of having the most badass little sister in the world a guy could ever want, bar none. After all, what kind of little sister happens to be a crack shot with tank rifles and packs enough weapons in her trenchcoat to kill the entire class five times over? Naturally, they decided to keep it a secret from everyone, though Rei suspected Yui knew it already. This decision, coupled with Rei's clinginess, gave Kaworu quite a few headaches as everyone mistook her open displays of affection as romantic attraction. He had no intention of ever doing that; she was family and he wasn't attracted to her anyway. Neither was Tabris, either: the Angel admitted to having lied when he praised her looks in her apartment, saying that he "can't find terran females physically attractive", whatever that means.
"Shit, I'm frozen over." – complained Kaworu ten minutes later as he stiffly got off of the bike. Interesting ride or not, it was still the middle of winter. If he hadn't bought a coat last year (he couldn't afford even that while he was living in Europe), he was sure he wouldn't have gotten off without being frozen to death.
"I apologize." – Rei said quietly as she pushed the bike to the school's empty bicycle storage area. – "I shall not drive with such speed tomorrow."
"Never mind that. It wasn't your fault anyway." – said Kaworu casually as he walked into the building, eager to be in a heated place again.
"Yo, WAZZZZUUUUUP?" – hollered Kaworu his usual greeting to his buddies. They responded in kind.
Tōji looked behind him but couldn't see Rei anywhere. – "Where's yer girlfriend?"
Kaworu groaned. – "How many frickin' times do I have to tell you? She's NOT my girlfriend!"
"Sure, man. Sure... " – murmured Touji dismissively. – "Anyway, where is she?"
"No idea. She was here a moment ago but got a call from the boss." – explained Kaworu as he took his usual place, one seat behind Rei's. – "And something else..." – he motioned to his friends to come closer and lowered his voice. – "We'll begin Phase 2 soon." – he whispered.
"Already?" – asked Kensuke, surprised. – "I reviewed your proposal and it's just crazy. You do know that if the hacks catch us, every one of us will be kicked out of school and go to juvie, right?"
"Yeah. As usual, whoever wants to leave is free to."
"I read it too." – added Tōji. – "Where are ya gonna get guns from?"
Kaworu smiled. – "Rei."
After a momentary stunned silence, both boys erupted. – "WHAAAAT?"
"Dude, she's not a member!" – protested Kensuke.
"I know she's yer girl and all but are ya sure she can be trusted?"
"Absolutely." – announced Kaworu calmly. – "You guys forget that I work with her; she already saved my life once. I fully trust her to do it again. Back to topic: I asked her about it and she said she has connections with a few gunrunners who can supply us with stuff, mostly pre-Impact weapons. That's your resort, Kensuke, isn't it?"
"Oh yeah. But still, I'm sayin' again: are you sure? If we do what you outlined, we'll essentially be doing organized crime! And guns cost a lot of money; where are you going to get all that?"
"My salary, obviously. I knew we agreed to have everyone share the cost but I doubt we can afford a single one like that."
"Hey, won't yer boss or someone wonder where did that dough go?" – asked Tōji.
"Nah, she couldn't care less. And you forget that while I do have taxed income, I'm a minor so my expenses are not monitored. Just the kind of thing we need here, don't you think?" – He was interrupted by Rei taking her seat as the teacher arrived. – "Hey, what did the boss want?"
"We are to report on premises at 1600 hours sharp for synchronization training. Additionally, we are excused from school tomorrow." – she replied.
Kaworu groaned. – "Oh great, more tests..."
"That is not the case. We, along with two companions of our choosing, are to be airlifted to the Confederate Defense Fleet's airbase at Odawara to observe the newly completed Unit-02's first field test along with the experimental A-type equipment."
That was not something Kaworu expected to hear. – "Hold on a bit, we're getting a new pilot? I didn't hear anything about this!"
"It was not deemed vital for the pilots and as such, is being handed out on a need-to-know basis. I will provide further details later in order to not disturb the class." – With that, she turned her back to him and did her usual routine of staring out the window while tuning out the teacher's droning.
Kaworu had no such luxury however, as he actually needed to pay attention if he wanted a decent grade. Still, he couldn't help but have his mind wander. 'Shephard's been going out really often lately... She says she goes to the class rep's house but is that really the case?' He caught himself and snorted in derision. 'Why the hell do I even care what she's doing with her time? It's not like she does about mine, anyway.' Their relationship was, to be mild, rather cool. When Shephard mentioned her upcoming birthday, Kaworu wrote down the exact date and when the day came, he disappeared from home until evening. The blonde was quite pissed at him for a few days, even more so than usual; when asked, her father simply shrugged and said 'time of the month' (Kaworu didn't understand what he meant but decided not to ask). He put that time to use by doing some work in his not-gang's base as well as having an extended chat with Adam. The AI became quite the philosopher, spending most of his time with existential debates between himself and Lilith. As for Lilith, she was delighted to finally converse with an equal. She treated the newer Evangelion as a younger brother despite Yui's remark that since Unit-01's organic body is based on an improved version of Unit-00's, Unit-01 is closer to being an offspring than a sibling. Kaworu noticed Rei flinching when Yui expressed her opinion but said nothing, even though she was dejected for quite a while; he knew something was bothering the girl but decided to wait until she herself decides to share it.
That remark also motivated Kaworu to finally ask Yui the question over how to differentiate between male and female Evangelions aside from peeking under their armor; the woman made an amused face and responded that Evangelions are mono-gendered and lack any kinds of external sexual organs. In fact, the scientists still didn't figure out completely how the relevant biology works; the AIs only assign themselves gender identities because their creators do as well. She then launched into a lengthy monologue of theories about "external aquatic reproduction" and "mutual fertilization" and other various terms he didn't understand but thanked her anyway.
The Angels were surprisingly silent for a while: breaking their usual pattern of attacking in roughly one month intervals, December went by with no alerts at all. Shephard still insisted over maintaining maximum combat readiness and as such, there were tests and drills of all kinds in the facility. Kaworu himself was being kept busy by various training regimes in order to bring his combat abilities to at least an average level; after several weeks of no improvement in firearm handling, his superiors just gave up and assigned him as pointman with the big red spear as his permanent weapon (since it was the only one confirmed to be effective; Yui originally intended to experiment with more but when the first test where Rei broke through Unit-01's defensive screen gave him a splitting headache powerful enough to knock him out, she quickly changed her mind). Kaworu didn't really like the idea and wanted to just pummel any Angel asshole into the ground with bare hands but both of his bosses pulled rank on him. He did get his gratification however when he convinced Adam to not let Yui cut his "hair" on the basis that it would just get in the way; Kaworu personally thought the blonde appendage was really cool.
They wanted him to perform the only thing he's excellent at: keeping the enemy occupied with him instead of Unit-00 which isn't really suited for close combat. Much to everyone's surprise, Rei actually protested at that, voicing her opinion that they should concentrate exclusively on close combat due to the fact that they don't have a single ranged weapon actually capable of damaging an A-1 (the Tau cannon they used against the last one was returned to it's original owners). In truth however, she was afraid she won't be able to fulfill her promise to Kaworu. The boy reassured her that she doesn't have to actively put herself in harm's way; simply shooting anyone trying to sneak up on him is enough. In addition, Shephard's observation that A-1s can't defend themselves from multiple directions at once meant as long as Unit-01 can keep it busy, Unit-00 can probably get in a shot; that calmed down Kaworu somewhat as it meant his sister can contribute to the next battle, something he looked forward to if only to distract the girl away from trying suicide again.
He had no idea how wrong he was.