Episode 6: The Alien Terror
Part VII: now the time is here

NERV Headquarters - Central Dogma
T-5 Minutes

"Time, ma'am," Lieutenant Hyuga said.

"Right." Misato turned to the main display. "Ladies, start your engines."

Unit Two. Tokyo-3.
T-4 Minutes, 50 Seconds

Christ, finally, Asuka thought. She felt the ground tremble as both AT fields manifested. Units Two and Zero stood in the middle of the deserted city, looking up.

"We've positioned you at the exact center of the explosion as it appeared in the video," Misato said over the comm. "Between the two of you, you should be able to handle anything. Just remember, you're the only thing standing between us and whatever's coming."

"No problem." Asuka put a smile on her face. Perfect, she thought. No stupid Shinji to get in her way. (Well, okay, she did have Ms. Freakazoid to deal with - but there was no way that dull little girl could keep up with her, right?) And the fate of the entire world in her hands. Just like it was always meant to be. Just like she'd been born to do.

So why was it still so hard to keep that image of herself in a hospital bed, drooling and dead-eyed, out of her mind...?

She cracked her Eva's knuckles. Come on already, she thought. Just give me something to hit.

Unit One
T-4 Minutes, 40 Seconds

"Right. Once again from the top. Just imagine yourself as a net - no, wait, that's rubbish. Forget I said that. You're not a net. You're not even nettish." The Doctor scratched the back of his head. "Ooh! I know! Imagine you're a pair of chopsticks! - Bit stereotypical, I know, sorry, but it's better than being a spork."

"Um. Okay."

"So you're chopsticks. And up above you in the sky, there's this great big slippery goldfish swimming all over the place. All you need to do is reach out and grab it."

Shinji opened his eyes. "The hell kind of festival game is that?"

"A really difficult one." The Doctor pointed the screwdriver up towards the ceiling. "Don't worry. Mechanical goldfish only. And they've all signed waivers. Now concentrate. The rift's right above us."

Shinji closed his eyes. Be the chopsticks, he thought. Be the chopsticks.

NERV Headquarters - Central Dogma
T-3 Minutes, 2 Seconds

Lieutenant Hyuga pushed his glasses back. "Ma'am, if this doesn't work out, just wanted to say -"

"Don't even bother, Makoto." Misato smiled. "We're all going to be fine."

Oh, God, she thought. Please, please let that have sounded convincing.

Unit One
T-2 Minutes, 30 Seconds

"That's good! You're doing it! I can see the field interactions!" The Doctor grinned. "Now just aim a bit more to the left..."

Screw it, Shinji thought. He imagined a great big pair of invisible hands - or maybe wings - growing out from the Eva's head and out into the sky. Accio transdimensional rift.

Okay, he couldn't be doing this right. No way it was that simple -

He felt something click, in an indefinable way that was simultaneously between his ears and up in the sky above. It wasn't painful, but it wasn't exactly a pleasant feeling either. It... itched, somehow. It weighed on him.

"Aww, brilliant!" The Doctor clapped him on the shoulder. "Well done! Just hold it there - lemme reel 'er in..."

Unit Two
T-60 Seconds

One minute, Asuka thought. She clutched the controls tightly in her hands. Come on, you bastards. Bring it.

Unit One
T-45 Seconds

"Okay, okay," the Doctor muttered. He held the screwdriver against the bottom of the relay, the satellite dish whirling around and around. "Wave variance good... neutron flow, check... bit more power, and..."

In his mind's eye, Shinji could feel the object in his mental grasp grow wider and float closer. As far as he could tell, the rift seemed to be a wobbly mess of a sphere, constantly flexing and distorting its shape at random. He could barely keep ahold of the thing.

"Hohyes, there you are." The Doctor glanced at the clear part of the screwdriver. "Think we've got it... just a bit more, then we'll slam the door..."

Shinji felt the rift grow larger. He redoubled his grip.

Actually, a goldfish was a pretty good metaphor for the thing... he'd have to mention that to the Doctor later...

"Yep, here it comes... c'mon, close up, close up..." The Doctor slapped the side of the pipe. "Stupid feedback... don't give me that..."

The rift started to shake within Shinji's imaginary palms. It jittered back and forth. It trembled. "Um, Doctor?..."

"Almost got it... almost..."

A sudden audible crack rang out within the capsule, accompanied by a brief flash of light.

Shinji turned around. "Doctor? What was that?"

"What." The Doctor stared at the screwdriver in shock. He pressed the button. The blue light flickered once, then died. He struck it against the palm of his hand several times to no effect. "What."

He looked up. His eyes met Shinji's.

The Doctor swallowed. "Um."

Oh, God, Shinji thought.

Oh, God! He flung himself back around. Back to a shield, he thought in a blind panic. Back to a shield back to a shield full power back to a shield -

Everything went white. Again.