Evolution Shinji 23

Disclaimer; I do not own Neon Genesis Evangelion or X-Men Evolution. Wish I did, though.

(Bayville Mall; outside; twenty minutes later)

As Shinji looks around the exterior of the mall, he feels Fury's hand clamp gently onto his shoulder.

"First time at a mall?"

"Kind of, sir. The closest thing to a mall in Tokyo-3 is a one level market, with twenty separate buildings close to each other."

"Any big buildings there?"

"Yes, sir, but they're mainly umbilical cable and armory buildings. Housing electrical umbilical plugs and weapons for the Evangelions to be powered through and use. Some buildings are even automated weapon emplacements, housing auto-cannons and missile turrets. All controlled through the MAGI."

"What kind of weapons for the Evangelions' use come out of the armory buildings?"

"I'm not sure of the specifics, but so far I've seen pallet and sniper rifles come out from them. Along with a handgun that an EVA's hand can hold." Fury nods at that before he frowns in curiosity.

"I've been wondering about that. Where are the Evangelions stored at when they're not in use? I mean, it'd look pretty odd for them to be on the surface when not in use."

"In the EVA pens, within the underground headquarters of the Geofront. They're in the general proximity of Central Dogma. Electro-magnetic catapults launch the Evangelions up to the surface. Some of the buildings are retracted to below ground for protection of civilian personnel while others remain in place."

"With the others being the armory and emplacement buildings." At Shinji's nod, Fury adds, "I take it there are exit points for the Evangelions on the streets, then."

"Yes sir. The Evangelions even sometimes come out of the buildings." Fury mulls it over before a scowl creases his face. Shinji noticing it. "Sir?"

"Aside from the 8th Angel, why are the Angels going right to Tokyo-3 so intently? I mean, if their intent is to wipe out humanity, then why not go after other locations? Unless, of course…" Getting Fury's gist, Shinji nods his understanding.

"There are other areas of the planet people live in still, sir. As to your query, I haven't any idea. It's almost as if… they're being called to Tokyo-3." Shinji has a thoughtful frown on his face at the last word.

"We'll talk more about that on the flight back. But, for now, let's see if we can give that card a workout." Shinji can only nod as he follows Fury into the mall. "Pierce and JO Torque are somewhere ahead of us. I take it you paused because of the size of the place."

"Yes, sir." Meanwhile…

"You ladies are so in for a treat!" Val's exuberance can't help but get a grin from Laura, Amanda and Kate before Val turns to them. "The main thing is for us to keep a low profile. So, JO Howlett, if you could keep your claws under wraps…" Laura can only snicker softly at that as they go into a clothing store. Val then grins upon seeing the manager. "Lucille!"

Lucille, a Chinese-descended woman, smiles widely upon seeing Val before going to her and embracing her warmly.

"Valentina, how've you been?" Ending the embrace, she then asks, "You here to see the newest fashions?"

"That I am. Mainly for my friends here. Kate, Amanda and Laura." Lucille looks them over before smiling softly.

"I've just gotten in some new short-style cheongsam dresses." Looking Kate, Laura and Amanda over, she nods. "Yes, I've three that'll fit you and accentuate your charms. Men won't be able to keep their eyes off of you." A blushing Kate gives a giggle before speaking up.

"Um, I think I should let you know ahead of time about Laura and Amanda. Amanda has a boyfriend and Laura just met a wonderful young man last week." Lucille nods her understanding before arching an eyebrow toward Kate.

"You're leaving yourself out, Kate." Getting Lucille's meaning, Kate can only blush softly before Lucille grins. "He must be something if you're distancing yourself."

"He is." Looking toward Val, she asks, "How about you, Val? Aren't you getting yourself something?"

"Actually, I do have an order that's due in here. Lucille?" Said woman smiles softly at Val before replying.

"It arrived yesterday, Valentina." Val smiles softly at Lucille at that before looking toward the shoe racks. With Lucille following suit. "You thinking what I'm thinking?"

"Oh yes." Turning toward the other three, Val asks, "How are you when it comes to high heels, ladies?" Kate and Amanda both hem and haw while Laura blinks in a puzzled manner. "Oh, Howlett, we've got to see how you are when it comes to high heels."

"What exactly are high heels? They weren't exactly part of the subject material in HYDRA." Laura soon starts wishing she'd never even asked.

(Fifteen minutes later)

As Shinji and Fury walk along the center of the mall's ground floor, both hear Fury's earpiece chime. With Fury sighing before keying it.

"Fury here."

"Nick, how soon can you and the other guys get here to 'Lucille's Fashions'?"

"Pretty quick. Why, Val? Something come up?"

"You could say that." Val's voice then cuts out, getting Fury to roll his eye before rekeying his earpiece.

"Pierce, how far are you and Torque from 'Lucille's Fashions'?"

"We're actually at the store above and across from them, sir."

"Alright. We'll see you guys there."

"Yes, sir." With that, Fury ends contact before looking down toward Shinji.

"Ready to go see what's going on?"

"As I'll ever be, sir." With that, Fury nods his approval. Within five minutes, they arrive at the store and see both Arcade and Pierce go inside. Stepping inside themselves, they see Kate and Amanda wearing red and blue knee-length dresses respectively. Shinji looks around and, upon not seeing Laura, blinks.

"Where's Laura?"

"I'll be right out, Shinji."

Next thing he knows, a curtain slides to the side and out steps Laura in a black knee-length dress. With a slit on one side that goes to below her hip, a golden dragon on the front. Shinji then sees black stiletto heels on her feet. As she steps toward the stunned youth, however, her face takes on a startled expression as she starts falling forward.

Bolting forward, Shinji arrests her fall, only to find himself falling to the floor, Laura on top of him lengthwise. Her long brown hair slightly covering one side of her face, making her appearance vixen-like. Gently cupping the covered side of her face, leaving her hair in place, Shinji sees her blushing furiously, yet with a soft smile.

"You alright, Laura?"

"I am. Though I should be asking you that." In the background, they hear a woman sound irritated.

"Utterly disgraceful, acting like that in public. They should be ashamed of themselves. The girl especially, throwing herself at him like that." Both blink before letting off snorts of mirth.

"I'm fine. We seem to be making a scene of sorts, though." Laura gives him a nod before Shinji adds, "We better get up before she thinks we're mating on the floor."

At that, Laura's blush goes even redder, yet her smile goes wide with the thought before she speaks again.

"You're going to have to help me up, Shinji." At the sight of him kinking his head to the side, she leans down and whispers into his left ear. "I'm not wearing any underwear." Shinji's face goes beet red at that before he nods.

"Okay. If you can slide to the side, I can get set up and give you a hand up." Laura gives him a nod at that and does so. Once he's on his knees, she wraps her arms around his neck, with Shinji hefting her up by straightening his legs. Once she's on her feet again, she grimaces, getting Shinji to wince.

"That bad, huh?"

"I don't see how we women can walk in these things. They're more like torture devices than footwear." Wincing again, she turns to Lucille and asks, "Do you have any flat heeled shoes?" Lucille gives a nod, a grin on her face.

"In fact, I've a pair in that same color that'll suit you quite well."

"Deal." Turning back to Shinji, she asks, "Can you walk me back to the changing booth, please, Shinji? I don't think I can make it back without falling."

"No problem, Laura." Taking her arm gently into his, Shinji feels her lay her head against his right shoulder. Not seeing a soft smirk on her face, he walks them both to the changing room she was in. When they get to the doorway, he gently lets her loose and gets a soft cheek-palm from her.

"Thank you, Shinji." With that, she pecks his lips and walks into the changing room, closing the curtain in the process. Once she's out of sight, a still-blushing Shinji can only shake his head while walking away from the changing room. A chuckling Fury gets his attention before the man speaks up.

"If you're not careful, Shinji, you're gonna be wrapped around her finger in no time." Shinji can only shrug and smile sheepishly at that. Looking around, he then notices Val's not in the store.

"Wonder where Agent Fontaine went to." Fury looks around before shrugging as Shinji's face takes on a thoughtful appearance. "I'll be right back, sir. I'm going to see if I can find a book on something right quick."

"What kind of book?"

"Something that can prove to be very important sooner or later."At that, Shinji exits the store, a smirking Fury rolling his good eye.

'Yep. Definitely going to be wrapped around her finger.'

Meanwhile, a grinning Val is walking into a nearby store marked 'Guido's Chocolate Shoppe'. As she enters, the man behind the counter smiles warmly before greeting her in Italian.

"Valentina, how have you been?" Val can only chuckle softly before returning serve.

"I've been well, Guido. You?" Guido can only shrug while smirking softly, prompting Val to roll her eyes. "I hope you never change Guido." The two share a chuckle before Val gets down to business. "How are your chocolate cigars?" Guido gives her a shark-style grin, getting her to chuckle, before he gives his reply.

"I can barely keep 'em in stock. In fact, I'm down to my last box. 50 count."

"They're selling like hotcakes, huh?" At his nod, she asks, "How much?" Tapping his chin, Guido shrugs.

"Normally, a box of 50 costs $65. But, for you, $25. Seeing as you and your colleagues got me out of what I was doing before it could become too late for me."

"Deal. I gotta admit, Guido, you seem a lot happier as a chocolate seller."

"This way, I can get actual repeat business. What more can a man ask for?" The two share another chuckle as Guido brings out a box marked 'chocolate cigars'. "You want me to wrap the package up?"

"Nah, I'll just have a plain brown bag over it. The guy I'm getting them for doesn't really go for fancy wrapping. But he does love chocolate."

"Ah, yes, the good Colonel Fury. How's he been doing?"

"He's been doing fine. He's currently working on a new project, in fact."

"Ah. Does it involve the teen girls I saw yourself and Agent Neville with earlier?"

"It does. They, along with two young men, are part of Nick's new program." Seeing Guido's interest is peaked, she goes on. "It's an 'Explorer Program' of sorts for teens interested in becoming SHIELD Agents."

"Ah. I wish them, and the program, good fortune." Val can only sigh at that before smiling softly.

"Thank you, Guido. We're going to need every bit we can get."

(SHIELD classified site; same time)

The first thing the tall Caucasian man sees upon arrival is rows upon rows of machinery, along with components. Before the man can even speak, a female voice cuts in.

"Bolivar Trask, former Agent of SHIELD?" As the man turns and nods, he hears her say, "You're here for one purpose and one purpose alone. The crisis involving Apocalypse is the highest global priority. Which is why your robots are being used. Nothing more. Is that understood?"

"It is. But what of the mutie menace?" Next thing he knows, a sharp impact from behind to his head causes him to snarl out, "What are you?! A 'mutie' lover?!" Next thing he knows, she steps into his view.

Revealing herself to be an attractive slender Caucasian woman with short-cut brown hair, clad in blue SHIELD coveralls. Holstered sidearm on her right side. She then steps closer to him until her face is one inch from his, a snarl of irritation on her face.

"I'll tell you exactly what I am. I'm a bitch with an itch to draw my weapon, pull the trigger and put your bigoted ass out of the world's misery." Shrugging as she steps back, she then adds, "As for mutants, I actually have no time or reason for bigotry against them as I'm much too busy with more important matters."

"It's not bigotry! The human race is in danger of annihilation by muties! What could be more important than that?!"

"The safety of the world and its inhabitants." Seeing him open her mouth, she adds, "All of them. Far as I'm concerned, mutants are not the real menace. It's closed minded, mouse-balled jerks like you that are the menace by making problems."

"Now see here! I'm only…" The woman's glare gets him to shut up before she speaks again.

"I heard your Nazi-style speech already from before your dismissal from SHIELD and it still churns my stomach. So forget any thoughts of using the Sentinels to advance your bigoted agenda once the crisis is defused. Got it?"

"Got it." The woman nods before narrowing her eyes at him before smirking.

"I'll make you deal though, tough guy. Keep your bigoted opinions to yourself and I won't break every joint in your body. Starting with a ball-peen hammer to your toes, of course. With one broken for every bigotry offense." Trask gives the woman a snort of derision. With her catching it. "Do you think I'm joking, Trask?"

"As a matter of fact, I do." Looking her up and down, he adds, "You talk tough, but you don't have the stomach or nerve."

"Really?" At his nod, she smirks and says, "Take off one of your shoes and the sock. Doesn't matter which foot." He just blinks, as if waiting for the punch-line to a joke, only for her to say, "I don't have all day, Mr Trask. Shoe and sock, off, now." Seeing that she's serious, he shrugs and takes off his right brown loafer and thin black sock. Only to gulp at seeing a hammer appear in her hand from behind her back before giving a chuckle.

"I gotta admit, you do intimidation comedy very well." Next thing he knows, she chuckles sinisterly.

"I may take my act to Vegas. I don't know yet." Looking down, she then grimaces. "Ughk. When's the last time you had a pedicure? Oh well. No matter." Crouching down, she brings the hammer up before looking up at him again. "Don't move your foot. Not even a twitch." With that, she swings the hammer down, hard, and Trask feels a sharp pain in his smallest toe.

"YYYYEEEEOOOOWWWW!" With that, Trask starts hopping in agony while the woman snickers.

"I told you what I'd do and you didn't believe me. Your own damn fault." Trask breathes in repeatedly before gritting out hatefully.

"Psycho bitch!" She gives him a yawn before he goes on. "You just violated my 8th Amendment rights!"

"You forget, Trask, that your rights go right out the window when it comes to SHIELD. Need I go on?"

"No, ma'am." Going right to work, Trask suddenly turns back toward her. "Since you know my name, might I have the decency to know yours?"

"Jennifer Matrix. Far as you're concerned however, I'm your worst nightmare, jackass bigot. Get to work."

(Xavier Institute; common room; same time)

As the students engage in their usual activities, whether they be games, watching television or reading, Tabitha can be seen sitting looking out the window. Rogue facing her, holding herself around her midsection. Rogue notices her friend's unusually quiet demeanor before softly speaking.

"A penny for yer thoughts, Tabby." The blond looks toward the Southern girl and softly smirks.

"Doubt they're worth that much." Rogue smirks right back before Tabitha goes on. "It's just… hearing that there're no dessert materials in Shinji's world… I can't help but wonder how that happened." Rogue nods her understanding before Jamie's voice pipes up.

"Remember when he told us what'd happened to his world?" Rogue and Tabitha both look at each other and shudder. Jamie nodding his agreement.

"If there're no dessert materials there, then perhaps it's because 2nd Impact wiped out the dessert companies and/or their personnel." Rogue and Tabitha both look to each other before Tabitha takes it.

"No… no wonder he said it wasn't a big deal. He'd been deprived of sweet morsels without even realizing it, or even tasting them beforehand. Even more…"

"His downplaying it as because it wasn't a big deal was his way of telling us to not take things for granted because… they could be gone in an instant." Rogue's words get Tabitha to nod before the blond bomber snarls.

"If I had one of those Angels here right now, they'd be wishing they didn't cause 2nd Impact to happen or invading the world by the time I'm done with them." Rogue nods in agreement, grinning evilly.

"Unless I suck out their life-force first."

"But then you'd become one of them, Rogue. That is, if your ability will work that way." Jamie's reply gets Rogue to blink before he goes on. "Remember what Shinji said about his first battle? About how Unit-01 got so badly damaged, he lost consciousness? Do you really want Shinji to fight you as an Angel and possibly die because he won't fight you?"

"I do remember, Jamie, and no, I don't want him to because I'd rather die than hurt him." Rogue's reply gets Tabitha and Jamie both to blink twice before she goes on. "In a way, Shinji's like me. Cares about people around them, but distances himself from them so he doesn't hurt them. It's called the 'Hedgehog's Dilemma'. I read about that after I first got here. It happened with the boys back at the 'Hood house. They may be crazy, but they were my first real friends and family until I found out about Kurt."

"Yeah, but Shinji made great strides since he came here when it comes to interpersonal relationships. From what we saw between he and Laura, of course." Jamie's reply gets Rogue and Tabitha both to nod, grinning mischievously. Meanwhile…

(Professor Xavier's office; same time)

"I can't believe you don't want to tell the students, Charles." Ororo is aghast at Charles, as is Scott.

"I do want to, Ororo. But Shinji asked me to not tell them so they can concentrate on their studies. Along with what's to come." Blinking behind his shades, Scott clears his throat before speaking up.

"You're talking about Apocalypse, aren't you?"

"Indeed I am, Scott. Troubling as it is, Shinji feels that it'll be wise for the students to not know until after it happens. For if they know…"

"Then they'll be so badly distracted to focus on the battle to come." Logan's cut in gets Ororo and Scott to blink. "If I was in his shoes, I'd be the same way. It's the soundest tactic."

"But, we could help him." Ororo's reply gets Logan and McCoy to grimace before Ororo goes on. "We could, couldn't we?" Charles gives a thoughtful sound before his reply.

"Perhaps. However, Shinji did say he'll resist as much as possible, if only to wear Apocalypse down to where he can be stopped." Scott ponders it before piping in again.

"But the questions remains. Will he be successful?"

(SHIELD NY Base; one hour later)

"Well, not a bad day for you two. Got to see your friends and potential family and met two more teammates. But, alas, we gotta go back." Upon seeing Coulson walk up to them, Fury grins and asks, "Ready to head out, Phil?"

"Yes, sir. Got my bag in the helicopter already." Blinking, the man then asks, "Is it me or did two more teens join the program?"

"It's not you, Phil. Phil, meet JOs Amanda Sefton and 'Arcade' Torque. JOs Sefton and Torque, SHIELD Agent Coulson." Arcade and Amanda both give Coulson greeting nods, with Coulson returning the nod before he turns to Shinji and grins.

"Looks like I'll be able to hear more about Tokyo-3 and what you did there, JO Ikari." Shinji can only grin softly back before nodding.

"Looks that way, sir." Coulson then looks back toward Fury, an amused/exasperated expression on his face.

"Incidentally, sir, Subject F-P-C has done another one of his shenanigans." Fury can only smirk at that.

"Who was it this time?" Silently, Coulson passes Fury a closed manila folder, with the man taking it and opening it. Reading it over, Fury can only sigh. "That's… what, the sixteenth one this month?"

"Just about, sir. Should I have communications send a message for him to ease off a bit?"

"It may cut down on the number of raining goons from high places." Coulson can only nod.

"But, frankly, sir, I don't think he'd listen very well. He's got so much anger, he just might ignore the message."

"Yeah, I can see that. Besides, it's the Talgorno Family. No one's going to weep over them." Coulson nods his understanding before Fury adds, "I just wish he'd find a better way of doing it. Throwing one goon off a building once is one thing. But to do it over and over again? It's like he's practicing for an Olympic event or something."

"With Subject F-P-C, sir, I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case. But why change the method last night?" At Fury's blink, Coulson goes on. "You won't believe what he did with this one, sir." Fury looks and his good eye goes wide before wincing.

"That had to leave a mark." Coulson can only nod in agreement, wincing himself.

(NYC; construction site; previous night)

The man dressed in black with a white skull on his chest hummed a dirge while hefting a trussed up, yet well-dressed, thin man over his shoulders. The thin man struggled against his bindings while screaming, muffled, at the man.

"None of that, Johnny boy. You should've thought about that before raping that 7 year old girl and the other girls her age. Your family's influence may have kept the Court from doing its job, but it won't stop me from doing mine. Now, I'm sure you've noticed your bindings by now." Johnny nods before the man smirks.

"Good. Essentially, you've become the world's first flesh and bone wrecking ball." Feeling the air around him, the man adds, "There's a slight crosswind, but that shouldn't alter your course by very much." Johnny starts squirming, intent on getting away from the man. Only for the man to chuckle darkly.

"You should've thought about that before raping little girls." With that, he flings Johnny Talgorno off of his shoulders and watches the child rapist go SPLAT against the nearest building's wall.

"Hmm, adequate." Peering through a pair of binoculars from his satchel, he then grimaces. "If not for the amount of labor involved, along with how loud the equipment is when it's running, I'd be saving that one for my book. It was a pain in the ass to get the spools loose as it was." Behind him, the metal wrecking ball sits on the roof.

(SHIELD Base; present)

"Well, at least he has style." Fury's comment gets the four teens to blink before a male-sounding chuckle gets their attention.

"If you're referring to Frank Castle, sir, then I agree with you 100%. Though I'd gotten used to him shooting or blowing up vicious criminals." Fury turns at the voice before smirking.

"It's been a while, Agent Garrett." A Caucasian man with graying-brown hair, Garrett nods in turn before Fury asks, "What brings you this way?"

"I heard you'd be here in NY to recruit Trask for the Apocalypse situation, sir, and thought I'd give a report in person regarding Asset Wolverine. Or at least someone familiar with him." Looking toward the teens, Garrett asks, "Is it safe to report in front of young ears, sir?"

"It is. JO Howlett is Asset Wolverine's daughter and JO Ikari is his future son-in-law." Garrett and Fury both grin at Shinji and Laura's shared blush before Fury goes on. "JOs Torque and Sefton have been fully briefed on the situation in full. So it's safe to proceed."

"Ah, so the program's a go then." At Fury's nod, Garrett nods right back. "It's concerning Miss Jubilation Lee. Her parents were found shot to death outside their residence three nights ago, with said residence having been burned down that night." Arcade can't help but cut in.

"What about Jubilation? Is she okay, Agent Garrett?" At that, Garrett lets out a heavy sigh before shaking his head with a shrug.

"Unknown at this time, Sport." He then gives off a scoffing snort. "Of course, the PD's already classed it as mutant-to-blame and listed her dead in the flames. However, a witness said they'd heard a man screaming for her to run before gunfire silenced him. A woman then screamed before gunfire silenced her." Clenching her fist, Amanda gives a growl.

"If the witness told them about gunfire, why'd the PD classify Jubilation as being at fault?"

"The thing about the PD over there is that the Chief has an anti-mutant policy that he has his Officers adhere to. So even when a mutant is an innocent victim, no investigation is done. I've an old friend in the DA's office that told me about it and he's furious at the no-assing."

"I'm going to need to speak to your friend, Garrett. Who do I talk to?"

"Mark 'Skid' McCormick. You might have heard of him."

"I heard a thing or two about him. His having been a race driver with a checkered past and palling around with a retired Judge mainly." Garrett nods with a chuckle before Fury smirks. "I know I've got to hear that story."

"It's a doozy, sir, that's for sure." Looking Laura over, he smirks and adds, "I heard about the black eyes, broken nose and knocked out teeth you gave to HYDRA, JO Howlett. I'm surprised you didn't shatter their elbows and kneecaps while you were at it."

"It's actually on my 'to-do list', Agent Garrett. Along with decapitating 'Viper' and putting her head on my wall as a trophy." Garrett lets loose a guffaw before nodding his approval.

"I'd pay good money to see that happen!" Laura gives Garrett a smirk at that.

"I'll see if I can do something for you on that." Garrett's laughter booms out again.

"I can hardly wait to see you in action in the field, JO Howlett!" Turning toward Shinji, Arcade and Amanda, he adds, "I'll be looking forward to watching your careers when the time comes." Looking toward Coulson, he sighs, "I'll have to catch you another time, Phil."

"Likewise, John. Keep in touch?"

"You know it." Looking Pierce over, Garrett adds, "By the way, Pierce, congratulations are in order." Pierce can only blink at that.

"Congratulations on what?" Garrett gives a smirk before replying.

"You'll find out when you get back to the heli-carrier. See you three around." Pierce, Kate and Val all nod, with Val's nod being brief. Garrett, however, is nonplussed as he walks on. Fury then turns to the teens before clearing his throat.

"Ready to go?" At their nods, he nods right back before smirking. "I can hardly wait to see the look on Pincer's face." Arcade and Amanda can only blink while Shinji and Laura both smirk. Noticing the bag in Shinji's right hand, Fury sees it's from 'Books R Us'. "What kind of book did you get anyway, JO Ikari?" Shinji's face goes deep red at Fury's query before he steels himself.

"A book on woodworking, sir. And one other topic which I'll discuss with Laura tonight." Fury turns to Laura and sees a soft blush on her face before he shrugs.

"Okay. Just as long as it doesn't involve the 'Kama Sutra' just yet, it'll be quite alright." Shinji's blink of puzzlement gets him to sigh. 'Looks like we've a long way to go on his "other" education.'

(Heli-carrier; one hour later)

Upon touching down, with the transport chopper being lowered into the hangar, Nick sees Dugan waiting for him. Once the chopper's door is opened and Fury steps out, Dugan voices up.

"INTSUR requested you meet with them upon return, Nick. That was two hours ago."