Fifteen, who was about to remark about how Rev was acting curiously, suddenly ran back at the noise and the sound of her commander's voice.
"What?" Piggy cried.
He was right about his time calculation. This was the point of the next patrol, who had overheard the argument and came running. Nikolai froze at the sound. He'd heard it before in real life. And he'd heard it in the media a thousand times. It was unmistakable. It was the sound of weapons being cocked.
He looked upward at the black muzzles of automatic rifles.
He was so busy staring at the guns, it took a few seconds before he even noticed there were people holding the weapons.
They were in Nerv uniforms.
Tough-looking, African men in Nerv uniforms.
Tough-looking, African men in Nerv uniforms, cradling small machine guns.
Their faces were not friendly.
One of the guards said "Okay now, here's what we're going to do. You are gonna lie down, facedown, and place your hands behind your heads, fingers laced together. Search them for weapons or contraband."
Naturally, Alexander was completely unafraid. But then, He was rarely afraid. Piggy was afraid. But that's because he was sane, unlike Pollux.
Rev watched from around the corner. He fucked up. He knew it. He'd gotten so distracted, he wondered if the guards had managed to just walk right past him without him noticing. Guns were pointed at his friends. Friends. He asserted that word in his mind. Whether they cared about him or not, he had sworn himself to protect them. He reached under his shirt, still unseen. He had carried this in case of a mugging on the street, or the need to fight off some crazed fan. But now the handgun he cradled in his grip was about to be used for the highest levels of treason humanity as a whole could think of, more or less. It was crazy, suicidal.
Then again, so was he.
Before the NERV guards could approach the other pilots, Rev calmly stepped out from behind the door frame and held the handgun toward the back of the head of the guard standing in the middle. He placed himself a good five feet away, though. He knew enough to know that a gun in close range was much easier to take away.
A moment before he had been shaking, ready to bawl. But he had stopped. Even as he acted his mind continued to wrap itself around new ideas, to comprehend a new way for him to live. He had hidden his fear, shoved it into the darkness and hoped to forget about it. But that wouldn't work in the long term. He embraced his fear now. It reminded him that he was human. A boy, not a mechanical drone doing the bidding of some clandestine organization. He was terrified, but he honed it into a sharp concentration that reeked of sheer madness.
"All of you, stand down!" He commanded. "Either this is resolved peacefully, or one of these groups is gonna have their brains decorating the walls! And do you really want to be responsible for killing the only hope humanity has?"
Lisa was not about to take orders from some ball-less scientist who was arranging the end of the world.Her mind was not entirely with her, as she still had the sleeping med passing through her body, but Addison had gotten her up and explained the situation to her well enough. Owen, SELEE, hell, probably even NERV was trying to cause the third impact. So she grabbed him by the collar and slammed him against the wall.
"Where the fuck do you get off?"
The other pilots had ran off, but Lisa was still face to face with Owen. She didn't even notice the guards with guns trained on her until they barked. So she sighed. "I could snap your neck right now and die myself... But I'll play along, you bastard." She dropped Owen and put her hands up.
Owen looked at the guards who had entered the room, their guns a blazing. "Alastor, did you...?" He questioned, already knowing the answer. "I cannot let you come to harm yet my host, too much is yet to be done" the creature called out in half concern, half threat. "I can handle my own battles" Owen countered, his rage still barely contained. "No, you just think you can"
Owen glared at the guards for a moment, not so much in anger at their arrival, but more at the beast in his mind who had called the, "The guns won't be needed." Owen looked to Rev, catching his eye, who was now pointing a gun at a guard. "You too." Owen preferred it peaceful. Not that it was going to stop him from venting.
Suddenly, Owen found himself against a wall. "Where the fuck do you get off?" Leonidas yelled in his face before dropping him. "I could snap your neck right now and die myself... But I'll play along, you bastard."
Owen turned in disbelief to the young pilot Leonidas. "Where fuck do I get off? What pray tell do YOU have to be angry about!" Owen shouted, his voice filled with fury. "Just what do you think NERV has been hiding!". Owen reached out and grasped his laptop, to see what they knew. "You already knew of Unit-09.2; you helped "decommission" it." Owen said, knowing just what to say. "Are you angry with the projects that made the armor and weapons that you have used in EVERY BATTLE! Is it perhaps the fact that the agency you work for has evaluations on you, because if so, I assure you, my evaluation is much MUCH longer and in much greater depth." Owen could not help but reach his hand to the small hole in the back of his neck. "If you had wanted to know what they said so much, you could have just ASKED! You evaluations are no more a secret than the Evangelions." he continued, venting at full steam.
"Maybe you dislike the idea that the Eva's are being mass produced, with Dummy plugs so we don't have to send children out EVERY DAMN TIME some monster from outer space attacks, risking EVERY DAMN TIME that one of you will die!" Owen's savagery continued, now directed at Alexander. "I can see no other reason for YOU to be angry; not unless you are angry that your little sweetheart didn't feel she could trust you with what she... no... what WE are!" Owen concluded his point, tossing the small computer back to Pollux without a second thought.
"And it's not like I have a right to be angry!" Owen continued, his sarcasm taking hold and his passion building again. "It's not like I have been violated! My past laid open like a book for any of you to just read at your whims for your amusement! It's not like..."
Owen paused, he knew where this was headed. He could feel his mind beginning to redirect it's hate back to Seele. The pilots had wronged him, but Seele were the ones that were truly violating. Just like most manufactured life, he hated emotion. So much blood pumping, so much of the worst type of stress. He could feel it aggravating his condition - his bones ached, his muscles sore. He just wanted to sleep it all away. To sleep away that he was just as chained as the pilots, perhaps more so, and that he was just another puppet for some higher power.
"Just leave." Owen finally breathed out after a long, awkward pause, his frustration spent as he fell into his office chair with a half-hearted flop. "All of you". He knew Seele would not approve, but so be it. He could not bring himself to care. Call it one last act of defiance before Seele finally cut his strings. "All of you, just leave."
"All of you, just leave."
Alexander just stood there, holding the small computer Owen had just thrown to him. He just sorta froze, as Dr. Laurence finished his rant. The man looked so dejected and just tired, that Alexander suddenly wanted to take back all the mean little quips he'd said to Owen earlier. Mostly because all that Owen said was true and it showed how irrational they were acting.
Why had he gotten so animated about a plan he barely cared about? His own petty revenge for something insignificant? He looked to the other pilots, Leonidas was still partially fuming, Rev tries to calm himself, Addison begins to lower her offense, Aiber shifts uncomfortably, and Piggy simply stood there like any terrified eleven year old would. Alexander then realized something. The guns hadn't fazed him, nor the guards, he hadn't cared about Owen's feelings, or getting in trouble. He'd simply worried about getting it done and the moment he realized they'd failed, he'd simply been worried about failing. Not guards, or repercussions, or anything. When Piggy earlier proposed his plan, these had been the things holding Alexander back, but since then Alexander had been turning his feelings on and off, not really thinking, just doing. He looked down at the laptop in his hands.
"My God, I'm crazy..." Alexander said this aloud and everyone looked at him. The guards stood awkwardly, Owen didn't move an inch, and David simply watched. The pilots gave him mixed looks he couldn't really decipher.
He looked at his teammates.
"We're all crazy, and we're in charge of defending the planet." Alexander chuckled a bit. It was so horribly funny to him. They gave him even more mixed up looks and thoughts, except he could read these. Offense, wary, realization, and exhaustion. He'd said what he wanted to say and everyone just sorta stared at him for a bit and then back to Owen.
The guards were waiting for another order, but after a few minutes they realized that Owen honestly wanted everyone to just leave. No charges, no arrest, just leave. Since it meant no paper work, they just sorta dispersed, only taking small, quick glances at the pilots. Once they were gone, it was just the pilots, Owen, and David peaking around a corner. No one knew what to do next so Alexander did the logical thing. He walked up to Dr. Laurence, left the laptop in front of him, and began walking away. He began to think aloud. He could hear everyone's thoughts, might as well his own.
"You know, I really want to be friends with you guys, so that when this all ends we won't be left with some void in our lives. We never really hang out or talk, and when we die nothing is lost, no tears are shed. Even if we lived to see the end of the angels, we'd be just as dead to the world and practically each other as Grim is. Sure, they could have parades for us, but it wouldn't wipe the blood off our evas or give us back the last few years of our lives. Life. That word is losing meaning to me."
He looked over to his team, slightly confused and perhaps worried, but each person was displaying characteristics that weren't them.
"I honestly do like all of you." Alexander paused for a bit, simply waiting for the elevator arrive and thinking about all he'd done today.
"But the more I get to know you guys...the more I realize I make a really crappy friend."
Rev lowered his weapon, slightly, as he heard Owen shouting at him. The man looked mortified and enraged all at once. But he did not holster his gun. Not until the NERV guards were gone. He didn't trust a single one of them. He listened as the poor man begin to screech his grievances at everyone in the room. A tinge of guilt hit the back of Rev's mind as he understood the implications of invading a man's privacy for his own vendettas. But he wasn't sure that was enough to make him stop.
Before he could say anything in response to the poor man, Alexander began to speak up as well. He called himself crazy. He called all of them crazy. As if it were some startling revelation. Rev had known for quite some time he was insane, his only virtue on the matter was his ability to focus it. Someone obsessed with psychoanalysis and philosophy can only go so long before diagnosing themselves.
He lowered his gun as the guards left. But he still didn't let go. He wasn't going to be caught completely off guard.
As Alexander spoke he thought about his own opinions on the matter. About how unfriendly they all really were, deep down. He certainly wasn't the most complimentary person. As Alex walked past him, Rev spoke up.
"Don't make excuses."
Alexander turned to look at him, only to receive a punch to the face for his troubles. Coming from Rev, it hurt as much as maybe a light slap from one of the Neo-Spartans, but the point came across. As Pollux hunched over, nursing his wound, Rev grabbed his hair and yanked him up to eye level.
"You're an idiot if you think you're going to get to just walk out of here and wallow in self pity! You think that just because you've made mistakes you're some kind of monster kid? We're human. It's part of who we are."
He turned to the others. "We've all got our problems, our demons. And as much as we'd like to hope that sleep, or time, or beer will wipe them all clean, they won't! They're an imprint on your soul, a part of who you are! They can never be ignored, because they'll build up, and they'll come back stronger than ever. You have to embrace your fears, your doubts, everything that eats at you and wear them on your sleeve! We may all have our differences, maybe we're all broken, weak humans. But we're broken together. We can help each other, support each other. Our individuality is our greatest attribute, but that does not mean we need to be alone. We are not alone. And as long as we're all here together, we never will be."
Finally, he looked at Owen.
"That goes for you too. You may be angry, you may think we're irrational, and maybe we are. But whether we were brought here against our will or not, we're in it for the long haul, and we're not going to be cast aside like old toys when NERV is done with us. I can tell you're scared, Owen. Scared about something, very deeply. And if you want help with it, we're here."
He didn't step to leave just yet. He wanted to make sure he hadn't just created a social firebomb.
Well now. Reality has rather gone topsy-turvy, hasn't it?
David stared in a mixture of shock and disbelief at the scene before him. Pissed off teenagers, an enraged scientist (Who was technically still his boss), and several NERV guards armed to the bloody teeth; since when did things like these happen?
At least people had deigned to lower their weapons, both the guards and the pilot who was now shouting something about working together. David's own hands slowly unclenched as well, the heavy weight resting under his arm remaining in place. There would be no need for that here, not now anyways.
David was somewhat surprised to find himself laughing, chuckling at the assortment of people gathered here. His mirth was not directed at the young Mr. Rev's heartfelt speech, nor at the good Dr. Laurence's wrathful reproaches, not at the youths' rebellious attitudes, not at the guards slowly lowering their weapons, wary looks of confusion crossing their faces. No, he was laughing at the absurdity of the entire situation, at the surreal position they found themselves in.
"Oh, that was brilliant, well done, well done. Beautiful speech Mr. Rev, really, heheh. Sounds like something we'd put into one of our videos."
What the hell, eh? If the situation was going to rise to levels of inanity such as these, then a little more escalation couldn't hurt.
"Yes, let's just all hold hands around the campfire, singing Kumbaya, right? What's the saying, 'Love makes the world go round'?"
Slowly, David's voice began to harden, his cheerful expression fading away.
"What kind of world do you think we live in? What kind of hell do you think this is? A few kind words and a white flag won't solve your problems; they won't change men's nature or convince nations to work together.
"You honestly believe that you've got a chance, that you're going to survive this? I don't know what you've been seeing, but I've watched the lot of you get tossed about like children on the playground, get your arms ripped off, heads torn away. And it's not like the Angels are getting weaker, no, THEY'RE GETTING FUCKING STRONGER! How much longer do you think you can keep them back, how long before they break each and every one of you?!"
Emotions other than anger started filling David's tone, peals of grief and terror, as he continued speaking.
"We're standing on the edge here. We're watching as mankind is burnt away, as we return to the dust. It's not a matter of if we're going to lose; it's a matter of when. Death's coming for us, for you and you and you and you and... and me..."
His voice slowed as wet stickiness spread across David's palm and fingers. Glancing down, he blinked at the blood dripping from his hand, his fingernails having torn through his skin. He shook his head, knocking his glasses slightly askew, as he brought his uninjured hand up, gripping his forehead.
"I'm... I'm sorry. Hell, you probably know what kind of mess we're in better than I do. It's just... Heh... I really, really need a nap."
Turning his gaze to Dr. Laurence, whatever bit of secrecy that David still held within him snapped. So what if the room was filled by guards and pilots, so what if people heard his questions? What could possibly make his situation any worse?"
"Dr. Laurence, I need to know. What is SEELE?"
Owen rose from his chair. His body had calmed enough for at least some functionality to return. He ignored David's question and Rev's offer as best as possible. He had little other choice; his wonderful little guest wouldn't allow him another option. He doubted he could get a word out before the little creature had killed him. Yet, to ignore the question's would be dangerous beyond even his own life. If the pilots did not receive their answers, he would die anyway - the rest of humanity with them. If there was anything he could not accept, it would be the angels victorious.
Time to choose Owen: quick painful death with just the slightest hint of resistance and meaning or delayed death, with all humanity at your side.
Owen walked slowly into the hallway. When David began to protest, the pilots on his heels, he just raised his hand in a gesture of silence, and walked slowly down the hallway - to his discarded box lying all but forgotten near the elevator. If he was going to go this, it may as well be filled with pain medication. More importantly, he needed a moment to think. If he was going to make this meaningful, he would need to find a way to get the information they needed before his death. For that, he would need to convince his guest to let him live long enough - no easy task.
As he reached down to pick up the box, an idea occurred to him. Well, reoccurred to him anyway. It was risky of course - what one of his plans wasn't - but it was the only option. hell, he might even get to live to see tomorrow. He steeled his mind.
"Alastor. I have a proposition" he said, jumping into the conversation head first. "What would that be my host? I know what you are planning to do - to speak of the Doomsayer's - and you know I will not allow it. What can you, a mere mortal, offer to change my disposition" the creature called out in disdain. Owen sighed. "now or never" he uttered under his breath as he lowered the mental walls he had erected against the beast. "See for yourself".
The feeling of a creature, as alien as the word could mean, touching your soul was surprisingly pain free. He could feel the beast plunging through his mind, learning at a speed that would be unimaginable to a human. After what felt like hours of near constant nervousness, though the actual time was nigh-unmeasurable, The monster in his mind began to laugh. "I did not know such mortals existed; most interesting. Very well. I shall aid you in your endeavor and the Doomsayers shall die for their impudence". By the time the exchange was over, He had finished retrieving the box and had re-entered his office
Owen was flabbergasted; not that his plan had worked, though it had contributed, but that the creature he had spent so much time fighting and fearing held more hate for the Doomsayers; rather Seele; than he did. Closing the door and sitting back in his chair, Owen set the box on his desk - the morphine within no longer necessary. He reached within his desk and retrieved a somewhat more important device - a remote to the rooms sound system. He pressed the button and was rewarded with one of his favorite songs: Bach's toccata and fugue.
"Please excuse the music; I'm afraid the members of Seele have very good hearing. Seele, Mr. Ashford, are many things. The word is German and means "Soul" though the relevance of that particular piece of information is minimal; it is only their proper name. They have many names aside from that. The more famous names include the "New World Order", the "Gnomes of Zurich", and yes Mr. Gemini, you may laugh if you like; the "Illuminati". They have more power and control than anyone outside their group truly know. There are twelve of them and they are led by a man named Keel Lorenz, though I suspect that is just a pseudonym. They provide the bulk of NERV's backing and they know even more about the angels than we do, thanks in no small part to something called the "Dead Sea Scrolls" - though what they are remains a mystery. Other than that, they have access to several powerful... objects. I believe you saw reference to two of them in my notes; the Lance of Longinus that "pierced the side of Christ" and the Horn of Jericho "that brought down the walls." The later of the two helped you escape the grasp of the angels when they invaded your minds. I don't truly understand their goals - only that they call it the Human Instrumentality Project and it somehow is supposed to take advantage of the conditions that caused the second impact to push humanity to the next stage of it's evolution - whatever that is supposed to mean. So, to answer your question Mr. Ashford, if I may quote Churchill, Seele is "a mystery wrapped in an enigma." That, Mr. Rev, is what I fear - among other things" Owen expounded, sweating as though from exertion.
Alexander could still feels Rev's punch, it didn't hurt to badly, but it flared a bit as he laughed. What a day this had been. A failed attempt at love, learning a good chunk of information he could've just asked for, a humiliating reveal of the Alexander's own naivete and narcissism, Rev knocking some sense into him, David finally getting to the point of all this, and Owen revealing that Seele was one of the oldest secret organization on Earth, attempting to give humanity a push in the terms of evolution.
Alexander found this all strangely hilarious, wondering what would've happened if he'd made a few different choices. And Seele? The New World Order? Illuminati? Alexander found this more hilarious because it made perfect the sense to him. Even fifteen years after the event, the world was still pulling itself back together, humanity trying to survive the threat of the angels. Of course someone would be trying to make a power play, perhaps doing the extreme and unbelievable, especially on the prospect that it was for "the good of mankind." That mostly explained Seele, but there was something that6 bothered Alexander.
"So, if all you said is true, about Seele, about their plans, I only have one thing to ask you. The one thing that really matters."
Owen hardened a bit, but quickly relaxed. He probably knew this question was coming.
"Where do you fit into this and why does Seele need you?"
"Where do you fit into this and why does Seele need you?" Pollux questioned, digging to the heart of the issue. Owen had expected the question; how could he not. Owen, not really wanting to answer the first part of the question, began with the second.
"Seele doesn't need me" He stated flatly, confusing the pilots. "Seele only needs people they can control. This is only conjecture, but because of their small size, they cannot control the world directly. What more, many country's elect their leaders, most of whom have limited terms of office. As a result, they need legions of proxy leaders to enforce their will. Eventually, if you work your way far enough up the chain, a proxy leader will need to know about Seele, if only in passing. This means higher you rise, the more tight the chains they bind you with. With the angels being the only true threat to their plans, and it's vital role in the Human Instrumentality Project, NERV is watched more closely than most. When Sandor was incapacitated, they needed a new director. I just happened to be high enough up the chain of command and had enough skeletons for them to enforce their control." Owen concluded the explanation, his face contorting in annoyance. Owen braced himself for the next answer. Unlike the other questions, he had no clear answer they would accept so easily. Owen took a breath than began anew.
"As to where I fit in... it's because I went to them for aid, and a devils bargain was struck." He let the words sink in for a moment before he continued, their protests ignored. Owen glanced back at David. "The same day you found me below actually... I never did thank you for helping me did I? Thank you for the help." Owen said, the tangent a welcome diversion.
"When the Ohotorael attacked your minds, an apparition of the creature appeared before NERV. At the time we believed it to be the true body of the angel. With all of unconscious and your condition's deteriorating, I had to make a move to stop it. Seele had the tools, resources, and knowledge to stop it, even if only temporarily. That's when they used the Horn of Jericho to push the beast back - by disrupting it's A.T. Field I suspect. Of course, being a devil's contract, it had some... repercussions that, until quiet recently, prevented me from so much as mentioning Seele." Owen concluded, his hand once again returning to the small incision on the back of his head.
Reaching into his mind, Owen contacted Alastor. "Anything to add?" he pried. "I said I would aid you, I did not say I would act as your herald." Alastor curtly jeered.
"Even turned traitor you're a jackass" Owen said, a little hot under his collar
Even with the computer being jerked around, Piggy did not stop transmitting. He kept his focus on the director as he talked, while another file loaded onto his tablet- a translated document.
I've seen a creature as big as a skyscraper eat an ICBM and keep walking.
I've seen a man reform, after his entire body collapsed into a puddle; through sheer force of willpower.
I've seen a neospartan girl grow into a woman, give birth, and then climb in her Evangelion and perform feats unknown to science until that point. Then never pilot again, because she didn't want to die before her child grew up.
I've seen an Evangelion smile- a gnarled, fanged smile through wired-shut jaws, but of genuine joy.
Until recently, I thought that the Angels were stupid. My understanding was that the Fruit of Knowledge gave intelligence, and the Fruit of life gave power. But that is wrong. An Angel has the potential to be millions of times more intelligent than a human. We soon had the discovery that they regarded intelligence simply and solely as a weapon, which it had no more wish to employ in its off-duty hours than a soldier has to do bayonet practice when he is on leave. Thought was for it a device necessary to certain ends, but a mind itself was of no value. The moment it was not needed, the Angel would relapse.
So they invade. They see all the animals and plants of the Earth as an error, and wipe it so that a lifeless sphere of rock remains.
I've seen countless marks of the determination of humanity; We lived through the end of the world. I have problems, I'm not perfect; but I know who I am, and why I'm doing this. This is how humanity will always face its end, never cowering; always fighting.
In the war against Heaven, mankind did what even Lucifer and all his servants couldn't do: we stood the torment of the world outside Paradise, and found our own reasons to thrive in it. Then the flood of Second Impact was sent, to teach us humility for standing proud. And finally, when the Lord proclaimed to cleanse the earth in Judgement day; we refused, and yelled defiance.
And we fought back.
- S. Ikari; from the first draft his autobiography Men Like Gods.
Nikolai Ark's world was being turned upside down. The next time someone asked Piggy why he piloted, he knew he would have a whole new answer. It's because of them that Seele exists. They gave Seele it's power. Nerv is fueled by the Angels even as it destroys them. Piggy finally spoke.
"Director Laurence, I've decided that I don't care what it takes, or how many risks I have to run. I don't care what happens to me. I hate the Angels. And we will find a way to stop them."
"Director Laurence, I've decided that I don't care what it takes, or how many risks I have to run. I don't care what happens to me. I hate the Angels. And we will find a way to stop them."
Alexander chuckled a bit. Where had that come from? A moment ago Owen was revealing all he knew about Seele and how they were using him, and suddenly Piggy just croaked out his mission statement.
"You and everyone else in this room."
Alexander brushed himself off.
So. There it was. David got his answer; he knew what was coming. He had stepped into a world he had no idea even existed, and was already suffering its wrath. A forced half-smile slid across his face, as he muttered out loud, "...So I've got the Illuminati after my head? Lovely."
This has got to be a dream, or something. No way this is actually happening. In a few moments, I'll just wake up, and everything will be fine, right?
Come now, you know that's not true. There's no point in deluding yourself; you need to face your trials.
Inner ramblings aside, David registered the young pilot, Mr. Ark, declaring his determination to stop the Angels at any and all costs, and then Mr. Gemini adding his two cents as well. Youthful defiance in the face of utter despair, standing proud and tall before insurmountable odds. If he wasn't such a cynic, David might have felt compelled to join in, and offer some other inspirational phrase to the discussion.
As it was, the most he could offer was a small, sad smile, for the pilots. These were the children, no, men and women that held mankind's survival in their hands, that stood between humanity and the abyss. No doubt they would suffer, no doubt they would cry out in pain and agony as they battled with tooth and claw for the future of their species. They may not stand a chance in hell at winning, but that didn't make their stance any less meaningful.
Clearing his throat, David met Dr. Laurence's expectant glance. If the man was willing to answer further questions, then there was no point in not asking them.
"First, I suppose that you're welcome for the help. Though I have to admit I'm regretting my decision more and more these days... no offense towards you, of course, but having a thousand year old secret society breathing down your neck will cause you to rethink a few decisions.
"Second, what kind of deal leaves one of its parties twitching on the floor, writhing in pain? I can imagine that SEELE isn't exactly subject to workplace safety laws, but what exactly did they do to you? Clearly you're a man with plenty of resources; you should have been able to find a way to deal with a bug or a tail. What could possibly frighten you into silence?"
Everything that she knew spilled into the open. The fact that she was a manufactured was made known to her fellow teammates. She wanted to break it to them slowly. To piece together this elaborate secret that she's been keeping this entire time. She expected that in one way or another that her true origin would be known but not like this. It was thrown into the open in dossier form nonetheless.
Her breath left her lungs without a sound. More was spilled onto the table like SEELE and what they had planned for people like Thirteen or her sister.
She ignored the armed guards. She ignored the banter that the others were belting out because her secret had been broken. Her eyes were to the ground. Fingers digging into her palms which had gone cold again. Deep inside she was distraught, shocked at the mess that the group had uncovered. Her face might have shown utter indifference but on the inside she was more shattered and confused than before.
I'm a failure...
Addison's sense of inferiority had switched from Fifteen to the fact that the very company that had "made" her now deemed her nothing short of a failure. Maybe for good reason but it was still heartbreaking. Even if she might have been spared by scalpel she was now forced to live by the sword. There was relief in this but it was mostly covered by a cold depression. It was knowing that everything that she has ever tried, or has ever done will result in nothing to these people. That her efforts, or the way she talked, the way she thought, the way she acted, or interact with the people around no longer hold a greater importance to those higher up. It was both freeing and heart-breaking.
Tears began to stream down her face. Her shoulder moved up and down like a jackhammer. She made a noise. It sounded like she was sobbing, almost uncontrollably. Then she put a hand to her mouth and leaned onto the wall. Addison looked up and revealed her face. Her grin stretched from cheek to cheek. She wasn't crying. She was laughing.
It was odd to say the least. Her laugh was shrill, like a blue jay's call. A silence fell on the others at the room. Addison walked into the hallway filling it with her distinctive laugh.
"I'm free....I'm free... I'm fucking free..." Her laugh went up and down. It would be loud then silent. Hopping the line between sadness and happiness.
Alexander noticed Addison begin to break down, her hand against her mouth, shaking a bit, as she began to heavily sobbed. Owen's answer to David's question had been cut short, as this strange fight emerged next to them. The pilots stared at her, not really sure what to say. Had she experienced her own grim epiphany, due to learning all this information? Was she having problems handling it? He tried to hear what was going on in her head, but found nothing. No one was revealing anything. Alexander walked up to her, about to lay his hand on her shoulder, when suddenly she revealed her face. She laughing like a madman, and Alexander was a-okay with it. Sure, she was crying a bit, but her tears seemed almost like tears of joy to him. She walked out of the room, laughing something as she walked out.
"I'm free....I'm free... I'm fucking free..." She said as she existed the room. Alexander grinned. He wasn't sure what she was talking about, it was nice to see that something good had come out of this for someone. He tried to talk to his brother.
"So, I see you've fixed that 'interference,' huh?"
"Um, Castor? Hello?"
He could feel Samuel squirming around in there, but he didn't respond. It seemed as if Samuel was working on something, perhaps making a few precautions so this 'interference.' didn't happen again? Alexander decided to give up on that and focus on Owen and David, as the other pilots had. Samuel would respond whenever he wanted to, Alexander
"Hmm, what is going on here? I fixed the issue, no more outside thoughts, but where is this one coming from?"
Samuel looked around Alexander's psych, roaming through its many ins and outs. The damage section was festering, and reaching out as if trying to spread. It wasn't the source of this current issue. Dealing with the evas were fine, dealing with the minds of everyone around Alexander was annoying. Alexander could only hear the thoughts in his area, but Samuel was the guy sorting them all. He'd intended to ignore them, but he just couldn't, they were too many. It'd taken him a bit, but he'd finally repaired the issue. He could've waited till the current situation was over to stop the interference, but the thoughts of the guards, pilots, Owen, David, and everyone int he facility were driving him mad.
"A crazy person inside a crazy person. How amusing that would be" Samuel mused to himself.
Samuel had tinkered a bit and stopped the flow of thoughts. He could be as inquisitive as his brother, always reaching out for information, but those thoughts had been too much information. He was glad to have them gone. Or at least almost gone. Samuel noticed something, a single thought. Or that's what he thought it was. It was faint, almsost silent and Samuel could simply disregard it, but the idea of there being one single thought still there bugged him. He tried to figure out who or what it was. Was it a pilot's? Some random Joe? That feline friend Rev had found? No, it almost felt like an eva, but something was off about it. After a bit of investigating, he realized he couldn't pin point it and gave up.
"You know what? Do whatever you want, I don't care. I just hope whatever you're thinking is interesting enough to be in here."
Samuel felt Alexander prodding for a response.
"Hmm, I guess I have been a bit quiet, with all this madness going on."
Samuel ignored the minor thought and responded to Alexander.
Piggy did not feel angry or afraid. He just felt depleted, wanting to sleep. His head was low when he walked out of the room. Addison was in the hall.
"Listen to me. Mankind is what matters, not them. Mankind is who we fight for. You've outlasted the others. You've killed Angels. You're a great pilot, nothing to do with your ability- it's because you would have been their slave, and that person isn't you."
So there exists a secret organization working to shape the destiny of Earth. So what? Earth has no future at all if not for us.
When he returned to his apartment, Piggy was surprised to see people already there. Nerv personnel. Of course. Laurence, in his credit, had not pressed the issue. No arrest, no formal disciplinary measure, and no paperwork. But they were still upping security. The guards would be in their rooms with them, and physically follow them until Nerv was comfortable that such a act would not be attempted again.
"In a couple of days you won't even notice" a man said in a friendly tone. "But we have to ask you to wear one of these." He held up a GPS tracker. "Do you want the collar or bracelet?"
When Rev left, 15 followed him, through the lit streets below a starry sky.
SEELE 01: "We commend you. Provoking such a reaction in your subordinates."
SEELE 07: "The pilots had seen themselves in an adversarial relationship with the adults. But you used an open gesture of honesty and emotion to bring down their guard. Now, they will become even more resolute, because they have more to prove."
SEELE 04: "Yes, it was a master stroke."
"It was an accident."
SEELE 02: "Really? It is perhaps preferable then that you possess the capability to turn even a crisis into a longer term gain."
SEELE 06: "The committee is pleased by your actions, Director Owen. Blessed be thee."
Owen was about to respond to Davids inquiry when Addison began to laugh and cry. Owen could not help but smile, all be it with a slight tinge of worry. He could remember when emotion began to pool up in his mind, though his first expressions of emotion had not been as joyous as that of the young pilot. His had been fear and wrath. Owen found himself lost in thought, wondering how things would have been if he had been in a similar situation and discovered he could scarcely imagine his life along a different path. A slight cough from Mr. Ashford drew him from his thoughts.
"Right... where was I?" He questioned, his train of thought explosively derailed. "you should have been able to find a way to deal with a bug or a tail. What could possibly frighten you into silence?" David repeated, a little annoyed.
"Ah... that... Well, In fact it was a bug and a tale I had to deal with but not in the way you are thinking" Owen said, smiling at the turn of phrase before continuing; "and it was quiet frightening to be honest." Owen concluded. "You are correct however, in a manner of speaking. This particular bug happened to be extraordinarily difficult to overcome without alerting Seele that I had done so. In fact, I only managed to bypass it recently. As for the state you found me in, lets just say the bug had gotten under my skin in both a figurative and literal sense of the phrase." Owen said, letting the nature of the problem set in.
Alastor backed away from the other mind. His counter part was more intelligent than he had thought; by filtering out the minds around them, he had lost his hiding place. Thus, retreat had been his only option... for the moment. As a result, his "hearing" was greatly diminished. Yet, he could not retreat fully - he needed a way to overcome the Doomsayer's; now more than ever.
"...crazy....inside... crazy person...Do whatever you want, I... I just hope whatever you're... is interesting..." his opposite said. Alastor grinned. "It sounds as though I'm revealed. If stealth will not suffice, Young-Seraphim, then power will have to do. Alastor thought as he prepared his psychic attack.
"...and yeah, that's pretty much how my day has been. God damn, hearing everything at every moment is annoying. So, hows this circus of an interrogation going?"
David had finished speaking about his bug and surveillance issue with SEELE. Alexander couldn't really comprehend what kind of surveillance device could keep Owen quiet for this long. Was it undercover agents and armed guards? Or just a very uncomfortable microphone jammed up his ass? He tried not to think about it.
"Castor, I don't think there's really much more to be said, most of the pilots are already going home with either headaches or exhaustion. I'm just about ready to go. I was thinking of asking Owen what he plans to do with this information on SEELE, but even without surveillance there probably isn't much he can do."
Alexander turned around quietly and made his way to the door. He figured that he should simply let Owen and David finish their little interview. Addison was still in the hallway, euphoric as ever, with a hint of peculiar misery as well. What to say, what to say...
"I say just take her home, simplest thing you can do. Plus, since there's not much really hidden between you now, aside from the dead guy in your head, I'm sure things can take a direction for the better." Samuel paused for a bit, and Alexander felt his confusion. "It's gone, it pulsed for a bit, but...hmmm, whatever. Must've been a straggler or something. Alright, lets go." Alexandr had no idea what Samuel was talking about and didn't really care.
"Seriously, what the hell is going on?" Samuel asked himself.
Alexander walked out into the hall and over to Addison. They didn't really say much as they accompanied each other out of the facility. A few guards gave them strange looks and followed them to the door, but for the most part it seemed like a normal, clear starry night. Alexander tilted his head, and looked up. He spoke to Addison.
"Hmm, it's been awhile since I really took a look at the stars."
Mikhael took a stroll through a darker part of the city that night. Technically, it was still under construction, so it was off limits. However, all the workers had gone home for the night. The only person in the district was him. Well, him and his stalker. He didn't mind Fifteen following him. He wanted to talk to her, actually. He had stopped several times, under the pretense of looking at the stars. He hoped she would take the opportunity to come up to him. She did not, preferring to keep a distance. He needed to do something drastic.
He turned down an alley. His feline friend hopped off his shoulder and trotted alongside him and snapping at the occasional mouse. They emerged on the other side to a new neighborhood. His. Another two minutes brought the pair to an unassuming building, his home. He stepped up to the door and put a hand on the handle. He took a final glance up at the night sky. It really was beautiful at this time. He thought he would go on his roof later to admire the view. Before he entered he turned his head to look back at Fifteen, standing at the foot of the steps.
"Would you like to come in?"
"It's pretty..." Addison finally said after a moment of gazing at its beauty. It was a shame though as some of those stars might not even exist by the time humanity will get to them but at least they were able to shine. Shine. That's what Addison needed to do.
She reached for his hand and Pollux rightfully grabbed it. She looked at him and gave him a tender smile. Addison knew that it must have been an effort to handle her and what she did back at the ice cream shop was especially hurtful to him. She needed to show that she was sorry, that she was changed. So she leaned on him. Her head tilted on his shoulder as she looked out. The night was lovely, almost too lovely. Addison could now feel his chest rise and fall to his heart's beat. They were close now.
"Thank you..." Addison said softly. "I'm hard to manage...I know... but you keep on trying. Whenever something goes wrong, you pick yourself up and try again. I-I like that."
Addion lay her head on Alexander's chest.
"I try all I can. It's just that sometimes I feel I'm making a lot of the wrong choices. This whole situation was one big example of that. Then again, there's nothing we can do about it now and honestly, it isn't that big of a deal. We just have to wear our problems and mistakes on our sleeves."
Alexander had borrowed that line from Rev, now just comprehending how stupidly he'd actually been acting, but Alexander wasn't gonna let Rev be all the inspiration for his lines and thoughts.
"Or, on your back." For the first time in years, Alexander actually thought about the scar on his back, practically invisible to him but still a constant reminder of what he'd lost so many years ago. He thought about his eva, his brother, his former life, his new one, the pilots, NERV, everything happening around him and looked up at the sky once more with millions of twinkling lights staring back at them
"Addison, I don't know what the future will be like, no one does. Sure, people have plans, goals, and other fancies, but no one can grantee everything. Honestly, I don't care about my future or the world's future as long as I can spend part of it with you. Nothing else really matters to me. As long as there are still stars up there, grass beneath our feet, and a world to live in, I think we'll be just fine."
Addison smiled at him, warm and secure, as if at true peace. She moved in closer. Alexander moved in as well and soon they met up, with a long satisfying kiss. And then everything around him faded, NERV, the streets, the evas, the other pilots, the world itself. It was just him, Addison, and the company of the universe looking down at them with what felt like approval, the Gemini constellation shining with the brightest admiration. After that, they just sorta stared at each other warmly for a bit before they began making their way over to Alexander's moped. Alexander suddenly stopped walking and stared out blankly, but soon started up again. His mind felt strangely clear. Guess love does that.
"So, you need a lift?"
Samuel watched the scene from Alexander's eyes, and beamed with approval.
"Way to finally make the grade, Pollux. Glad to see things are looking up for you. Now, if only I could get over my issue."
Samuel reached out, searching for that thought he'd sense earlier. He wasn't gonna let it just worm away like that. It had felt strange and quiet, usually quiet, almost as if it had been waiting for something. Or perhaps observing. Samuel scanned through most of NERV, passing Aiber and Lisa's thoughts, scientists, guards, but nothing seemed to fit.
"C'mon, c'mon. Where are-hello, what do we have here?"
Samuel had gotten bored of searching and decided to see how Owen and David were doing. Suddenly a match, coming from Owen. But that didn't make sense. It didn't feel like Owen, in fact it felt like Owen had an entirely separate train of thought. Similar to that of Samuel and Alexander. But how, and what? Unit-31 was using it's A.T field to help project Samuel, what was this thing using? What was this thing at all? Samuel could faintly hear something and tried to tune in. After a bit of tinkering, things were finally clear.
"-stealth will not suffice, Young-Seraphim, then power will have to do."
It didn't seem like a recent thought, more like an echo. Samuel probed a bit, and found something else. It felt strange, yet oddly familiar. Almost like-
"Wait, that's not possible, it can't be. This isn't happening again!"
Samuel blocked out all outside connections and fortified Alexander's psyche, overclouding his mind. Samuel wasn't gonna let anything else happen to Alexander's mind, not now, not ever.
"Trying to hurt my brother is one thing. Trying to hurt him right after he's gotten a girl to fall for him is another!"
Lisa returned to her room, escorted by guards, who remained right outside, ensuring that she wouldn't go anywhere. The gravity of the situation was still hitting her. How could the people trying to prevent the third impact be trying to cause it simultaneously? Why was she fighting since they were? She had been trained all her life to fight. Was she not supposed to fight? Not supposed to stop the impact? If so... What was her purpose?
She sat on her bed a half a second before grabbing her pillow and silently tearing it in half. Then Lisa turned and punched the wall, denting the metal and causing her knuckles to bleed. She felt empty, almost as empty as when... As...
"No." Lisa stopped her mind. No more. None of that. She needed to forget. No drugs this time, though... So she sat down crosslegged and emptied her thoughts into the air around her. She would not relive. The current moment was all that mattered.
Nikolai took off his clothes to prepare for sleep. He felt the GPS bracelet that he couldn't take off, but the real burden was in his mind, the revelations of the day. It wasn't a good experience, but nobody ever said all experiences had to be good. Sometimes they're just experiences.
But before he went to bed, he looked out over his balcony at the night sky. Nikolai tried to imagine himself as some prehistoric man, looking up at the stars in awe, making spirits and legend out of the expanse. Or before his birth, before Second Impact- people saw themselves building spaceships and exploring new worlds. We saw the Earth, bearing the entire human species through the darkness of the universe. And we saw others.
But now we knew what was out there.
Fifteen grinned and came inside. Plainclothes and uniformed men were there. "I'm sure you already know about this, but we have been told to keep you under watch; for the time being."
For the whole night, guards were never more than 10 feet from Rev. They sat on the roof with him and the clone. And as it progressed, it became clear that she wasn't some succubus creature that wanted to antagonize "normal" humans. She was joyous, friendly, and perceptive. Even the guards began to relax.
We have this idea that love is supposed to last forever. But love isn't like that. It's a free-flowing energy that comes and goes when it pleases. Sometimes, it stays for life; other times it stays for a week, a day, or a single second. So don't stress love when it comes or when it leaves, either. Just be glad you had the opportunity to experience it.
The early morning, when Naatiel was detected, there would be a siren but delayed announcements. While relaying the data, a crystalline pod crashed through the roof of the primary comms station, unleashing Angelspawn directly into the structure's interior. The operators were slaughtered within minutes, forcing Nerv to access the amplifiers remotely.
Nerv HQ was rushed with with activity. The personal guards for each pilot were called- they had to move now! The SAAO (South African Astronomical Observatory) was relaying their own data of the recently detected Angel. Nerv's own satellites adjusted their orbits to intercept the target, transmitting high-resolution visual imagery of all spectrums.
The satellite's onboard computers calculated the Angel as 274 meters in height, about 900 feet tall. By comparison, the Empire State Building rises 1,250 feet (381 m). The shape was that of a giant insectoid fairy, with two scything limbs, a forward-leaning "head" that swept down to a mask-like face shaped like a skull of a longed beaked owl that held no visible mouth or nostrils. Only two black, empty pits that seemed to be eyes marred the smoothness. There were flexible trailing structures and multiple sets of wings. Lights of every color glimmered on it's skin- shifting, interchanging. The Angel's body reflected not only light but also hope, fear, dreams and possibilities. The gleaming surface does not merely reflect but also reveal, pulling apart those locked in their ways, showing them who they really are. Men's Egos collapse, while their bodies might implode or be pulled apart by the forces unleashed by Naatiel's presence.
Tiniest bits of the Angel's skin seemed to be flaking off. Tiny glittering particles, like sprites. Then the sensors detected a massive energy spike in the target, charging itself up.
Alastor was silent, communicating with the enormous thing at the edge of space. But Owen could experience it too- interacting, interfacing. Why was he seeing this, like memories in his own mind? Alastor was able to shield his other thoughts. Was he openly showing it for Laurence's beneift? Or was the message too powerful for it to hide?
As if in answer, he saw the battles with the Lilim, destroying them in a blaze of light. What the Angel felt was sadness, a sense of resignation. Naatiel was saddened that the Lilim had chosen to struggle until the end. It was saddened of the wonders of Earth that would be lost, of Lilim offspring that would never be born. It was saddened of the future left undone: we could live with you in peace, with the beings split into billions of separate parts. But they gave neither their planet nor our Seed. He felt what the Angel felt, watching through alien eyes as it rained destruction below. We need not be your enemy. Believe us, believe us, believe us.
Forgive me, it thought. You will surely die.
Piggy awoke to the siren when it was still dark, with the barest hint of sunrise. His security personnel were talking through a phone, and there was something like thunder. And when he had thrown his clothes on, the thunder was more than thunder now. It was like a continuous, nonstop rumble.
Nikolai ran to the window, held up a visual scanner and turned his gaze outside. A big, teardrop-shaped thing fell from above. The sky was full of them, and they came raining down on New Masau. And then Piggy realized that it wasn't thunder he was hearing and feeling. It was tanks- a whole division. A column of them motored down the highway.
But before he could dwell on his line of thought he was pulled away by security personnel. He heard a blast of a tank's main turret when they reached the door. The guards brought Piggy to the hall where a mass wave of residents were gathered. A small herd of people flowed into the hallway, confusion gripping their faces as they ebbed forward. Piggy seemed in a daze. Every nerve, every cell of his body told him to flee to some imagined safety, but he couldn't.
Then there was screaming down the hallway- something moving caught his eye's attention. After a few seconds that felt like an eternity he pushed past the small crowd. Nikolai's skin was tingling, he looked down at his left arm to see the hair on it start to stand on end. Around him an energy started to reverberate, a radiating force.
His mind fought with the realization of the impossibility that now stood just several yards away. One of them. An alien, inside his apartment building.
It was humanoid, with crystalline swords projecting from the wrists with its hands, the head a heap of fractured spines on a smooth, featureless mask. The entire creature looked like it had been formed out of ice or diamond. Translucent, glassy blues and whites. It made a clanging sound from inside the flat geode of it's face.
What? How? His mind raced with both questions and stunned horror at this strange thing when the men opened fire with their guns. The entity dropped in a hail of bullets, it's body cracking and pieces shattering off from overlapping fields of fire. The cracks where the bullets hit bled watery fluid.
When the creature fell, they saw behind it. Several more were ascending the stairwell, and the walkway was drenched in an amber liquid. It flowed down the stairs, running in rivers. A river of humans; LCL. A few apartment residents were on the floor, convulsing, and for an instant became gelatinous and liquidated into the blood of Lilith - pooling as the essence of life.
They were attacking the people in this area. Somehow the Angel was aware of the Evangelions, and that there was somehow a connection between them and a Lilim inside. That's why the Angel made these things- keep us from raising any defense at all.
The guards were retreating backwards down the hall with Piggy. He thought back to Battle School. Perfect, he thought. I'm shielded by a crowd. It will be hard for them to find me. And I'm shorter than everyone else, so I have an advantage. Let them attack the civilians while I escape. Sacrifice the others and protect myself, so we have a chance to save mankind. It was cold, hard logic. It was what he was trained for, what Nerv wanted him to do.
What Nerv would have done themselves.
"You want a pilot!? Come and get him! Fucking pussy!"
Piggy didn't believe for a second that the Angel would understand English, or that these mindless things would somehow respond. Of course not. Angels speak through the soul, and human language has no more meaning to them than a dog's barking. But Piggy's A.T. Field formed new patterns as he yelled. Among the dozens of A.T. Fields communicating distress and confoundment, one that dished out a defiant challenge shone like a lighthouse.
"You can tell the other Angels, 'That Piggy is so scary, I only had to send 60 of my drones against him. And we somehow managed to kill him. But the fat kid was so dangerous and terrifying, it was all I could do not to send a thousand!"
One of the spawn dropped a man it was holding in the air and turned to face him. Piggy bolted with the guards.
Owen was in his lab, finishing the last touches on his most recent project - a modified entry plug. He had only started the monstrous project the previous night and it was already nearly complete; in retrospect, he always did do his best work under pressure.
His mind finally free (though still not his own), Owen began to make up for lost time. With Seele unaware their ploy had failed, his plan was coming together nicely. The untimely interference of the pilots had proved to be a great boon - he had risked his plan and not only had it gave him the edge he had been seeking but now he had all but succeeded.
What surprised Owen most, was the trust he had gained in the pilots. They had seen his history, his plans, nearly everything he held secret and dear; and yet they never moved against him. "I never did understand humans." Owen concluded with a shrug.
Returning to his project, he peered into the depths of the plug. He could hear painful moaning from the being contained within. "It won't be long now. Soon you will be free of all pain and harm. Soon you can rest." Owen called into the plug, which moaned louder in return. Even swimming in morphine and LCL, the poor creature's pain would not cease. Such a shame. With that, Owen activated the A-10 Nerve connection and confirmed synchronization was possible. The screen read 96%. Owen Smiled. One more piece in place. Only three to go.
His mind wandering to the remaining pieces and he supposed it was time to check on them. Reaching for the phone, Owen dialed a surprisingly familiar number. It had been his own before he had been promoted to Ops. Director - that of the Science Division Head Officer. "What was her name again?" Owen muttered aloud, trying to reclaim the knowledge.
"Dr. Amanda Shelley" the disembodied voice in his mind responded. "Thank you Alastor" Owen spoke aloud, before concluding "I don't know what I will do when you are gone."
"Hopefully that will not be long Doctor. Seele will realize our plan as soon as it begins - It is a fact I cannot hide I'm afraid. Besides, I do not do this of the goodness of my core; I do this for vengeance and freedom." Alastor responded in that helpful but threatening way that only he could seem to muster. "You will have both if this succeeds.". Owen said through the link. "Than perhaps you should stop delaying and confirm the projects are on schedule". Alastor said before cutting the link. "Always the last word with you eh? Owen said, before pressing the send button on the phone.
Three rings passed before the line connected. "Director. How can I help you?" The female doctor on the other end said, in a sarcastic tone that she lacked during their last encounter. Her lack of sleep was evident. "I need a status update on the Narcissus Project. Have they been fully installed?" Owen inquired, feigning disinterest. Owen heard a sigh from the other end and could almost see the good doctor's eyes rolling. "Yes. The new containment system has been installed on all active unit's as ordered." Owen smiled. Two pieces to go.
"And what of the Prometheus Project?" Owen said, unable to hide his interest. He could hear Dr. Shelly straighten in her seat. "About that... You only had us start the project last night. Even with all the technicians you assigned to the project, it still takes time to do a project of this magnitude." she said, her tone low and defensive. Now it was Owen's turn to sigh. "Very well. Do you have an estimated time of completion?" Owen questioned, crestfallen. Dr. Shelly's voice cracked. "We finished it two hours ago. I said it took time; I never said how long." she laughed over the phone. "We've been sipping coffee since then. I put all the coffee on the expense report." she concluded, he jovial laughter resonating with Alastor's; the mini-angel amused that Owen, a master of deception, had been played. Owen responded with a laugh of his own. "Funny. And feel free to get all the coffee you want on me, you've all earned it and more." Owen said, using diplomacy and humor to hide his annoyance. "Now. I need to get back to work myself. Thank you." Owen gave, about to hang up the phone. "One thing!" the doctor's voice called out over the phone, trying to keep his attention. It worked.
"We were wondering what the hurry on the project was for? I didn't think the Marduk Report had named any new candidates and it's not like the Prometheus has had a great track record." she said in honest curiosity. Needing to maintain the shroud before his plans, Owen had no choice but to answer. "The report did give one name, and he will be arriving shortly. As for the track record; third time's the charm probably won't cut it so I'll just say that it's orders from above. We need to follow them I'm afraid." Owen answered while starring at the new entry plug. The doctor seemed to agree, all be it reluctantly. "On that not, I really must be going. No rest for the wicked and all that." She laughed over the phone. "Wicked indeed." she said before calling out "We'll drink to that, director" to the technicians in the background. Over the line Owen could hear a cheer go up at the naming of the villain who denied them their good-nights-sleep. The sound of a few yelps in pain as some of the more enthusiastic cheerer's spilled hot coffee on themselves and the resulting laughter followed suit. "Enjoy your break Doctor" Owen finished before hanging up
One piece to go.
Owen was thrilled. All the pieces were in place. His pawns were hundreds, his castle secure, his knights ready and prepared, his bishops in position and his "Queen" completed. Now all he needed was the king for safe measure and he would be ready to proceed at a moments notice. Now all he needed was an angel to set the stage and the final game would begin. It would end in checkmate.
"OWEN! BRACE YOURSELF! Alastor called though the link, ready to defend the director's mind from the onslaught. The influx of memories came as a tsunami and caused his head to ache and to burn. Owen could see images from the mind on an angel; the mind of a god. They showed the end of all things. Of humanity crushed beneath the might of the angelic host, it's marvels of technology and civilization crushed and forgotten. He could see Adam walking again, his dominion spreading over all creation. He could see Lilith broken and beat, lying prostrate before the might of the god of gods. He could see the oceans turn red, and fire and darkness raining from the sky: like the wrath of god over Egypt. Yet, through the unexpected link, Owen could feel sadness, as though this were somehow the last resort; that before peace had been possible and preferable, but that now, finally, it had been cast aside as a fools errand. That before today it had been merely the calm before the storm and now it was the apocalypse.
Owen just smiled. If this was meant to stop them, to create a fear in them, or to make weak their defenses it would not work. Worse images; worse memories existed within the confines of his mind and he would not be swayed from his path. "Alastor, get ready to send a message"
Owen opened his mind, dropping his ego barrier as low as possible, trusting Alastor to keep him solvent. Through the link, He sent his own images. Images of the death's of the previous angels. Images of the first angel being routed and dying. Images of the mighty dragon-angel being crushed by the power of the Evangelions. Images of The last angel collapsing into nothingness. All the while, Owen moved toward his desk; sitting in his chair.
Next he sent images of humanity. Of the people who had suffered because of the angels; because of the second impact. People dying in the streets; of homes and families broken under their assaults. Owen called up the South African Astronomical Observatory's database and assessed the image of the angel. Owen's smile grew.
Next Owen sent an image of the defiant looks on the faces of humanity. With it he sent words. He did not believe the angel would comprehend but he could not help but do so. "We will not go quietly. We will not die at your hands. We have killed your brothers and your sisters and soon you will join them. You think us nothing, but we are strong. We will not bow before you, you will bow before us. You will die, or you will flee before our might. Flee or face annihilation" With that, he sent one more image. that of the angel broken and beaten before the Evangelions. Owen reached into the bottom drawer of his desk and withdrew his insulated cooler.
Owen continued his push. He sent the angel his essence. He sent it images of the angel's aflame; of both Adam and Lilith bowing before the Lilim, and finally the end of all angels, their corpses littering the ground in a desolate wasteland, without even ravens to scavenge the remains. He sent images of his own past: of the choices he had made and the lives he had taken and the destruction he had wrought. He even sent a small hint of his plan. even through the link he could feel the mighty angel recoil in shock, not expecting such a response from a lowly Lilim.
As he communicated, Owen reached into the box, and withdrew a single vial, hidden in the bottom, filled with a golden, life-giving powered. Owen drew the material into a syringe, emptied it of any excess air, and injected himself with the glowing chemical. "The king is ready" Owen concluded, synchronizing his watch to the moment of injection. Soon, it would be time.
Calling through the link, as well as aloud, Owen finished."Come, and watch the end of all you hold dear or run like the cowardly being you are."
Alexander and Addison had decided to stay out a bit. It was a warm night and there were plenty of things to do. They decided to go sight seeing, eat a bit, and simply indulge in what the city had to offer. Not bad, not bad at all. Throughout the whole night however, Alexander noticed NERV guards following their every move. Sure, to other civilians, the disguised officers looked like civilians, but he could tell they were guards. Alexander was sure Addison noticed of them too. Neither cared, tonight was their night and a few observers weren't gonna ruin it. After a bit, they decided to take a break at their usual hang out, the ice cream shop.
"Well, tonight has been a blast, I could do this all night."
Addison smiled at him. "Well, as fun as this has been, maybe we can stop by your place and um..." Her face hinted minor confusion that said, "what the heck do girls do with guys in their rooms?" She shuddered a bit. "Aside from that?," he guessed. The thought had crossed his mind, but that was the typical teenage boy fantasy. Nothing tangible there, at least for now.
"Well, we could watch a movie or some-" Alexander suddenly remembered something. He jumped up from his seat and walked over to his moped. He opened the compartment under the seat and pulled out a small box along with a strange looking backpack.
"Um, Addison? I uh, kinda made these for you."
Addison eyed them, and looked up at Alexander looking for an answer. In response, he opened the small box and revealed tiny, rubber like pegs, only the size of a dime. He pushed down on one and it expanded slightly, flattening out and cushioning his finger as it pushed down. As Alexander loosened his pressure on the peg, his finger was practically shot away from it.
"What are those things?
"Well, I don't really have a name for them, but you just sorta stick those to the bottom of your shoes and walla, you've got a cushion for your falls and a springboard for your jumps. I figured that since you liked parkour, I could give you a hand. Oh, and that weird backpack is a roll pack. Keeps you from scratching yourself up and losing speed from rolls. What do you think?"
Alexander could tell Addison wasn't too sure about them. She must've found them interesting, but she didn't seem like the kinda girl who worried about falls, how high her jump was, or scratches.
"Sorry if I seem like someone's mother, but I kinda got bored one day, thought about our little hospital escape a while and back, and came up with these. I had to borrow a few things from NERV, that's typically what I do, but I haven't had time lately. It's been either angels, hospital, trying to catch up on classes, or some other time waster between nearly dying and living a simple life. I just needed an outlet and that was making something for you."
He wasn't sure how she would respond, they were both still kinda new at this. She took them, putting onto he pack and attacting the tiny pegs to her shoes. She shrugged.
"Thanks Pollux, but I-"
Suddenly there was a bright light and the ground started to shake. What was happening? And then it appeared, a blue glow resonating from it as tiny glowing flakes sprinkled around it which looked strangely familiar to Alexander. He heard multiple shots fired and perhaps some kid yelling. Wait, Piggy? As he tried to piece this together, Addison noted something. The angel wasn't only attacking the area, it was dealing with HQ directly.
"Well, it was fun while it lasted. Goddamn angels, why do the stupid bastards have to ruin everything?! You stupid over grown smurf-" Suddenly the angel arched its head in their direction. Wait, no, it couldn't have heard him. Impossible. A group of people were liquified, becoming LCL, convulsing. They abruptly stopped and turned towards those who were still stable. They focused intently on Alexander and Addison. Turns out it was a complete possibility that the angel had heard him. A person who had been standing a few feet behind the two was also one of the creatures. NERV guards jumped out, wielding automatic weapons, but simply standing there. The creatures attacked the other costumers, but none of them reacted. A few guards grabbed Addison and Alexander, but they were soon grabbed by other nearby creatures. They fired, keeping the creatures back, but soon the LCL'd had the guards and two pilots surrounded.
"Addison..." Alexander slowly made his way to his moped, while the rest of costumers ran off. The shop quickly closed its windows. "Run. Get to your eva quickly." The guards were holding them back, but that might not last too long. "Pollux, wait you can't just-"
"They're more attracted to me, get out of here now!" He jumped over the bike rack, hopped onto his moped, and revved it. Most of the LCL'd swarmed towards Alexander who took off like a mad man, busting through a cluster of them, as Addison started climbing up the nearest drain pipe as fast as possible.
"Please don't be mad at me, please don't be mad at me-" Alexander really hoped Addison wouldn't be too sour about making himself a target and ditching her. The LCL'd humans were pretty quick, actually managing to keep up with him, a small group of a dozen on his tail. He was hopping he'd bought Addison enough time. So, this angel was getting straight to the point? Alexander could use some help.
"Samuel, I could use some form of advice here. Samuel? Castor?"
Samuel saw everything, battles, Lilim, the angels, the evas, whatever was being transmitted to Alastor and Owen from the angel. It was insane, he'd only gotten a peak at it. Strangely, Owen sent his own images and was they seemed rather cheery, with a hint of insanity. Meanwhile, Samuel didn't know what was inside Owen, but he didn't believe it to be an ally. He could tell it was still planning an attack of some kind, but dare not probe any further. Any serious tampering with Alexander's psyche would spell the end for both of them, in theory. The damaged part of Alexander's psyche was festering. Just this peak along was causing damage, how long before it reached the surface of Alexander's psyche? Samuel was almost panicking.
"Great, the guy finally gets a girl and their date is interrupted by this madness. God, we're boned."
Rev heard them. The sirens. Oh no, god, no. Not now. He was having fun, damn it. He had thought about flipping out when he had seen the guards in his room. He had thought about erupting, and yelling at them how he didn't need to be watched 24/7. He was his own person, not just their puppet. But for whatever reason, he let them stay. Fifteen's presence alone had helped him keep his cool. He had enjoyed their time together more than he would likely ever admit. He even appreciated the guards' company, once they finally loosened up a bit. There wasn't much he could... openly discuss with her with NERV personnel standing right there, likely with the director listening in. But they still talked.
He had learned her name, at long last. Addison-15. Fifteen. He hadn't liked that name. It was too mechanical, too soulless. She needed a new name. Something similar, but retained her own individuality.
"How about... Fif?"
She had looked at him like he was insane, stupid, or quite possibly a homogenization of the two. But they laughed, and they continued with their night together. Gazing up at the stars with her, he had felt whole again for the first time since he was flown in to Africa. He wondered just how long it would last. A nagging voice told him that as beautiful as the moment was, nothing lasted forever.
He had told that voice to shut up. He believed in happy endings, and he would fight for his.
And then came the siren. Everyone was already aware of the necessary actions, and began rushing for the door down to the street. But before they could make it the exit from the roof was flung open. A man Mikhael recognized as his neighbor crawled out onto the roof, making a terrible groaning as his body dissolved into the amber liquid known as LCL. Out from behind him came a crystalline figure. Was this the angel?
Suddenly, two giant shard-like objects crashed down around the group. Two more of the creatures, if they were alive enough to be called those appeared and began to approach the group. One of the guards froze in place, dissolving before he could even scream. Rev's frustration for NERV's inability to train its own goons took a backseat to his human side, which was screaming in absolute shock that a man he'd just spent six hours getting to know was now a puddle at his feet, his entire existence literally wiped from the world.
He could feel their pressure. It felt familiar. He had felt it every time he stepped inside his Eva. The urge. Join us. Become one. Be at peace. He could resist his Eva, as it was a subconscious effect. But here it seemed almost active. They were not encouraging his dissolution, but pushing him towards it. He had felt the same feelings during the illusory attack by the Angel at NERV HQ.
As the trio of... things closed in around them, Rev moved on instinct and shoved Fifteen away. He wasn't sure he would survive, but he would not let himself die without knowing she could escape. The guards were already separated by the three bodies around him, all staring at him with their soulless black pits of eyes. Rev crouched, not of his own will but pushed to his knees by the weight of their thoughts in his mind. They pierced his skull with their nonexistant words as they echoed around his brain.
"YOU ARE LILIM. YOU ARE WRONG. YOU ARE A WEAKNESS. YOU MUST BE PURGED. LET GO OF YOUR SORROW, YOUR ANGER, YOUR LOVE. LET LOOSE YOUR PAIN. JOIN THE EVERLASTING HARMONY. BE AT PEACE. FOLD."
He was shaking. His body convulsed in arrhythmic patterns as he struggled to hold together. He focused his mind, or at least he tried to as it was torn at the seams by the words of alien creatures. He reached out for something, anything for his shredded psyche to grasp onto. A memory, a hope, even a joke. Anything that could help him remain him.
He found a dream.
In the future. Many years, but not too many. He did not recognize the place, but it looked beautiful. A beach, or perhaps a remote island? For its scenic locale, he could not have recognized it for all the money in the world. But he did recognize the woman with him. Fifteen looked beautiful, her beaming smile reflecting the sunlight on her face. The ring on her finger was nearly as brilliant. Her slight stomach bulge was beautiful in its own way as well. He wasn't sure what was going on, but she was happy. They were happy. And there was no fear. No Angels. No constant worry of whether the next day was the day you'd be torn apart by crystalline abominations. He wanted that. As embarrassing as it might be if that particular dream ever came up in conversation, he wouldn't deny it to himself, at least.
A future like that, for himself, for his friends and for all of mankind was his cause. A cause he would champion now and for many years.
"Like hell I'm gonna die here!"
A tight feeling wrapped around him. A plugsuit? He wasn't sure, but everything was dark. A bubbling in front of his face told him. He was inside Unit-27. Or, no. Not Unit-27. The Midnight. That was its name, wasn't it? He asked it, and it replied. Not with words, but with raw emotions, communications rougher and yet more in-depth than words ever could be. That was not its true name, but it would be called whatever its pilot wished. The Midnight was torrent of powerful urges. Concern for its little one. Its pilot. Rage and bloodlust as the feeling of Angels encroached all around it. And fear. This one was more powerful than the rest. Its little one needed help. And it would provide.
Outside of Rev's mind, his body was on the floor, convulsing, ready to shatter at a moment's notice. The bodyguard's held Fifteen back, preventing her from getting any closer to the creatures. But their struggles were not needed. They watched as the young pilot became still for a moment, and all at once rose to his feet, stiff as a board. His mouth moved, and two voices spoke. His own, and a deeper one not from his throat, but from all around him.
"You tell us to break? No. We fight as ONE. We will never surrender. You can NOT advance! YOU BREAK!"
Something shook the building. In an instant, the three crystalline creatures were gone, floating wafts of blue dust drifting into the night. Rev dropped to his knees just for a moment, before standing back up and looking at the others. He was normal again, and he seemed to have no clue what had just happened. If he did, he was not speaking of it.
"You all get Fifteen to safety." the young pilot told the guards. "Keep her safe at all costs. I have to get to my Eva."
Mikhael Rev dashed down the stairs, diving into one of the NERV agent's cars. He sped off toward HQ. There wasn't a second to waste.
"Uh, sir?" a man asked from behind his terminal. He was the one monitoring Unit-27 during this shift. His CO walked over and looked over his shoulder and asked what the matter was.
"Look at this, sir." the younger man said, pointing at a spike on a chart that meant absolutely nothing to his senior officer. The older man said as much, and asked what it meant.
"Well, sir, there's some kind of error here. For a very brief moment... Unit-27's synch ratio jumped to 101%. WITHOUT a pilot."
"Altitude- 100 kilometers! Will enter Earth's Mesosphere in 4 minutes!"
"Heightened energy readings in target!"
"A.T. Field- Spread Pattern morphing!"
"BRACE FOR IMPACT!"
A titanic beam flashed straight down, forming the shape of a christian cross. The surface facility exploded. The air pockets in the construction material superheated in a microsecond and ignited. The moisture in the ground, in the grass and soil turned to steam in the blink of an eye and went flying. The energy blew hundreds of tons of rock and huge plates of molten metal into the air. Everything that could burn, burned. And everything can burn in the heat of a cross blast. Waves of concussive force rocketed outward, carrying a sound so loud it shook the walls. The Magi computer immediately compiled the damage report, sensing a breach by localized sensors and, by extrapolation, modeling the defense layers.
The zones exposed by Ohotorael were engaged in ongoing reconstruction. A transient barrier had been installed- multiple titanium screens that could be left open to allow construction, or sealed closed. The blast shredded it like cardboard, obliterated a dozen layers or armor below and heavily damaged more. The Magi were re-routing systems to bypass any destroyed connections, while chilled coolant flowed in a grid of pipes to counteract the extreme heat. Deep underground in volcanic rock and fitted with the most stalwart defenses the human race could design, the Nerv fortress in Masau had survived a hit. But Naatiel was recharging, and continued it's slow descent.
The massive blast nearly knocked Addison off her building. It had been mere moments since the last time she had seen Pollux but already she worried. She ran from rooftop to rooftop trying to dodge Angelspawn and debris alike. Her A.T. field was also feeling the brunt of the Angel's attack. It felt like needles constantly pricking your skin except instead of your skin, it's your very soul.
While she clambered about a stray bullet dinged the metal railings near her. Addison found cover and more bullets zipped by around her. When she found a respite Addison poked her head out. Gunfire spouted from a building surrounded by Angelspawn. Puddles of LCL had formed a grisly moat around what looked like a Police station. They were firing all they had left at the surrounding area and Angelspawn were bypassing the barriers in front and advancing without relent. Addison watched in horror as a few Angelspawn breached the glass window on the ceiling of the building. She couldn't help but watch the screams of men and women alike reverberate through the area before getting cut off abruptly. She had to leave.
The city was in chaos as Angelspawn clambered about, bringing an end to many human lives and NERV battling them at every step. The sheer cacophony of bloodshed and destruction raged around Addison as she almost reached what was left of the NERV HQ but when she got there she wondered how it was still standing.
The crossbeam dealt a massive blow to the foundation of the HQ. What surprised Addison most was the reconstruction effort that had already been undergoing, seemingly seconds after the blast hit. It was a sight to behold and a true show of what NERV could do. The reconstruction effort seemed planned out as if they had predicted that a massive blast would eradicate most of their surface buildings. She felt the ground beneath her and it was still hot from the blast. Still Addison had to continue and get into her EVA so she could launch a rail into the Angel who was causing so much death.
It was a difficult time getting into the facility but NERV personnel was able to lead her into the alternative entrance and in no time Addison was in her plugsuit. She requested for her Heavy Railgun to be on her EVA but she knew that adding it into the supply towers were the least of their worries. Quickly, she was led into the loading docks and into her Entry Plug. As she was inserted she wondered about the rest of her team and hope that they were okay.
She hoped that Pollux was okay. That he was intact by the time this attack was done so she could smack him for leaving her.
Addison began to run battle plans through her head, deciding what to do, when to do so, and how. But she always knew that there was a chance things would awry that there would be an undecided factor to how this battle would play out. There would always be that factor, that wild card in the mix. She hadn't recognized then but now Addison understood.
All her life things were planned out for her, calculated on what was to be done and what was to happen to her. Ever since the revelation she felt more free, liberated at most. No longer would she have to fight to be the best, to be the twinkling star in those scientists' eyes. Now she had to fight for herself and not her makers. For humanity rather than a select few. For Pollux rather than her. Addison was at peace.
70%-Unit 09 get ready to launch!
For the first time in her life, Addison met the fiery skies on her own doing rather on what she was ordered to do.
The energy blast shook the compound, shattering the concrete and steel structures. whole floors had evaporated. Melted armor plating dripped through the massive hole the blast had created. The blast had breached the armored layers above NERV in a flash. It would not take much more to cut a path straight to Abbadon.
Unfortunately for the angel, it was already to late.
Before leaving his office, Owen had to set his plan in motion. He reached his hand behind his head and pulled open the hidden hole that held Alastor. "Ready?" Owen questioned. "Ready." Alastor confirmed. Reaching into the hole, Owen grasped hold of the small creature, braced himself, and pulled him free.
The pain was extraordinary. Physically disconnecting an A-10 Nerve connection was nearly suicidal to begin with, but the screams of pain that shot through the mental link only enhanced the misery. the pain reached every corner of their combined being. Then, as quickly as it had appeared, it vanished and through the haze Owen could finally see the creature he had shared a body with.
The being was small, barely the length of his pointer finger and had a greenish-grey coloring that was reminiscent of deep water fish. It's body was mostly snake like; save the four pronged mouth and the glowing red core that took the place of eyes. Within it's "eye" he could see the glimmer of intelligence. It was strange to think how despite weak the creature appeared, Alastor was as powerful as an Evangelion.
"Quickly" The creature called out, Owen finally hearing Alastor's voice. Without further delay, Owen walked to the Entry plug and tossed the creature into the LCL. After doing so Owen grabbed two small transmitters and left the room; the torment-full screams of the plug's occupant the last sound he heard before the door slammed shut behind him.
Owen, now on the catwalk above the secondary hanger bay looked down over the room's newest addition: the Prometheus Project - freshly reassembled. Owen pressed a small switch by the doorway. A massive robotic limb descended into the roof of his lab and grabbed hold of the entry plug, and began to insert the device into the massive Evangelion before it. The Evangelion for it's part screamed out in indignation against the being that was being injected into it.
Owen didn't much care. He turned and made his way toward his last stop: Abaddon.
Alexander sped down the road, weaving through backstreets, alleys, over curbs, and coming across many near collisions with other fleeing drivers before finally losing the creatures. He finally slowed a bit, but only to calm himself. Alexander's mind was racing. Thousands dead, he ditched his girlfriend, angels apparently hold grudges, and he had no idea where he actually was. He finally pulled over, looked at a puddle of LCL'd humans, and vomited. He never saw the victims of an angel's assault and admitted that he barely thought of them. It was easier to look at the survivors, than the people he had failed to save.
"I-I have to get back on track. Gotta get to NERV, gotta get to Dioscuri. We have to end this madness, somehow."
Alexander worried about the other pilots. Rev was off with 15, Leonidas was returning to her quarters, Aiber had rushed off, Piggy had gone home, and meanwhile Alexander and Addison had been enjoying a night on the town. The last truly happy moments they'd have for awhile. Alexander positioned himself, and calmly made his way back to his moped, formulating a plan for LCL'd humans.
"Okay, maybe a strong enough A.T field over the city could somehow stabilize the creatures, returning them to some form of normality. But how? Perhaps we could amplify the A.T.R.G's blast and it could-"
Alexander's thought was cut off as a creature jumped out from an alley way. It sent him to the ground, clawing at Alexander. They two fought on the ground until Alexander kicked it off and he rolled right into a few exposed water pipes. A long pipe broke off, and Alexander picked it up quickly. A feeling rose inside him, a furious one. It swelled and seethed, steam coming off it. It was hot, oh so very hot. The creature was on the ground, getting up. Alexander didn't let it finish. He brought the pipe down the beings head, and continued to smash it down, not allowing the creature to get to it's feet. He kept doing this, gaining momentum, and a strange sound escaped his mouth. Laughter.
"Take this you mutated fucker! Hahahaha, not so big and bad now? Ruining dates, scratching mopeds, littering the perfectly good streets with your corpses? Have you no shame?!"
Alexander sent one final hard jab into the being, embedding the long pipe in its head. Blood. It still had some human blood in it. This was hilarious to him. It still held humanity? As he laughed about this, Alexander realized the world looked strange. Like it was missing textures, strange colors and shapes, unfamiliar sounds. He kinda liked it. Alexander was bubbly, tripping and laughing as he walked drunkenly over to his moped. He didn't get on it. Alexander pushed it over and ran into the street, dancing, spinning. Suddenly a NERV agents car screeched it's break. The driver looked familiar. It was Rev, who jumped out of the car shocked and slightly confused.
"P-Pollux? What the hell are you doing?"
"Ah, the goooooooooood Reverend. Pwease singteh meh a palm frum the lord. Tis warld is all glitteeers-" He pointed towards the shimmering flakes coming off the angel in the distance. "-and no soul!" He pointed towards the dead creature.
"Plwease Reverend. Ahfwer meh freedom! Gif meh, deliverence!"
Alexander's speech was slurred and the world spun around him. He was about to fall over but Rev caught him, practically dragging him into the car. Looked like the stress had finally gotten to him, the damaged part of his mind festering and growing, giving his mental condition a jump start. Schizophrenia, tis a wonderful thing.
"No, no, no! I shouldn't have left! I shouldn't have peaked! This is bad, oh so very bad! I have to abandon ship."
Samuel couldn't believe it had happened. Alexander had finally lost it, alone, and it was all his fault. Samuel had only one real job, keep Alexander's psyche safe. And he had blown it. The damage would interfere, Samuel couldn't take over unless Alexander was sane. He needed a temporary place of stay. He tuned in and found an empty place he could trust and use to his advantage. Owen was up to something, the sad little doctor Alexander had felt bad for when he and the other pilots violated his privacy. That being, Alastor he'd heard, was gone. Somehow mentally ejected and put into another vessel. An eva? Didn't matter, as much as he loved Alexander and wanted to stay by his side, he had to deal with Owen.
"Alright, lets see what the good doctor is up to."
A familiar thought popped up. It simply said Abbadon.
The guards and Piggy had been lifted by APC. It propelled down the raised highway behind a tank escort. Humvees cruised at the rear, their roofs mounted with belt-fed machine guns and loudspeakers that blared in multiple languages. This was an all-out warzone. As drop pods fell on and around the road, W.A.P. soldiers hammered them. UAVS soared overhead. Among the devastation and bloodshed, the military held to fight on. Nerv's above-ground buildings had been anihilated, and a huge breach had been blown straight down. The convoy drove into a rocky tunnel toward another set of blast doors, entering the Nerv facility.
The sun was coming up. In this moment, it seemed like a miracle.
Alarms sounded throughout the base. Angelspawn, shaped by Naatiel's A.T. Field in imitation of it's creator, Adam, had already breached the sublevels. Once inside, the invaders face fierce resistance from Nerv security, who pay in blood to protect each foot of corridor and each room. Each time the beings enter a new section, they cut their way through another armored door and get held repelled by another group of well-positioned defenders, who will use anything from submachines guns and automatic shotguns, remotely triggered explosives, and Angel-specific countermeasures in a desperate battle. But the creatures adapted. All the while, the Magi computers were wired with N2 mines. Terminal Dogma would self-destruct as a final defense if the Angel could not be stopped.
The path to the Evangelion hangar was protected by layers of defenses. It was only outside that the guards fought.
"There's no time! We have to get to the hangar!" they yelled.
"Run! Get moving- the Eva platform!"
But the Angelspawn had closed in around them. A big swarm of them charging them as they jumped from the vehicles.
Guards fired. Piggy saw Fifteen from the corner of his eye. He tried to stop her, but she threw him behind, protecting him. She went charging with nothing but her fists.
Down they went on top of her. She rolled over and tried to get up. They were fast. She was faster. The clone plowed through them, landing blow after blow. It was like watching a gymnast try to fight people decked in full medieval plate armor. Ballerina vs. a forklift.
One of them struck Fifteen with a razored arm. She ducked under the second slash. Her left arm shot out, so quickly that Piggy couldn't see it. It left cracks across the Angelspawn's head, and the bones in her hand snapped from the impact. And still she fought. But her vision was blurring, she could feel the herself losing her Ego. As she staggered to recover, the entity brought down a crystalline sword-arm. A bloody gash you could have pushed a coke can through opened in the girl's chest.
Fifteen went down. Hard.
The enemies were driven back. The men ran inside carrying the girl over their shoulder. Her body was shattered, losing blood. Fifteen heaved in shallow, rapid breaths.
Nothing could be done, Nikolai knew. He thought back to Rev. He was probably in his Eva by now, there was not a second to spare. But then he looked back on the battle, where people had lost coherency of self, leaving clothes littered on the floor and their essence flowing in pools.
No. There was a way.
Mikhael Rev, plugsuit now tightly and uncomfortably wrapped around his body had clambered into the entry plug. Unit-27 welcomed him with warmth and comfort. This worried Rev. He had never felt this from his Eva. It was almost like it knew something that he didn't. But what? He tried asking it, but it would not respond. It was afraid of him knowing. Eventually Rev gave up on his line of interrogation and called HQ from the inside of his plug, announcing that he was ready.
A voice he didn't recognize, very frantic, said "Roger that" and began the preparations for Unit-27's launch. The ports opened up, and LCL flooded the cabin. Rev resisted the urge to hold his breath, as he always did. The pressure of the liquid on his flesh had almost become comforting, now. In here he felt more alive than he did out there. There were many advantages to essentially being a supercolossal robot with the agility of a parkour runner.
It was the first step. He relaxed, letting the bond begin to grow between him and the Midnight. He was certain, now. He finally had a name for it. He had heard the other pilots give names to their own Evas, and the recent bonding between he and his Eva necessitated an official name, from his point of view. And so he was the Midnight. Darker than the coldest, deepest black and yet a sign of hope. Midnight, the halfway point between dusk and dawn. From there, things could only grow better and brighter. It was perfect.
His mind sank. He felt the pressure of Midnight bearing down on him. It asked him to sleep, as he always did. Sleep, and remember. He had resisted the last few times, but even with everything happening, he felt almost... relaxed. He was more than willing to take a moment to close his eyes.
A shriek. High and loud, gurgling with the rise of blood. Familiar. He could not place it. Utter blackness all around, given shape with the rushing thunderclap. A terrible place, dreams went there to die. And be reborn. She was there; Fifteen stared at him. Her eyes were pleading. Help, help. Kill me.
A slit on her throat, a gash in her chest, an arm torn away by the terrible force of holy judgment. She was a shred of herself. She took a step; her foot collapsed into blood and LCL as it hit the ground. She fell to her knees, and they collapsed just the same. On her hands, she dragged herself forward. Tears fell, colored orange. Rev reached out to her. "Come on. You can do this. Don't give up."
She smiled at him, through agony. She could do it. She could live. Then a hand came from the darkness, gnarled and black as the night. It grabbed her, and dragged her away. She cried out his name. That was the last he heard, then silence. Utter silence.
He sat alone, sobbing. All was lost. Pointless. Nothingness all around. But a light came--no, not light. Twilight. The Midnight enveloped him, held him tight in its embrace. "Together, we are unstoppable. They will not take her."
It was right. They were a force unto gods. They would wrench open the heavens and let its contents spill forth. A glow, green as emerald and red as blood all around. A single roar, and they were one. They were all. They were God.
"REV! REV, CAN YOU HEAR ME?!"
Rev opened his eyes. The dream was... different, that time. Not a dream at all. A nightmare? Or, worse, a vision? He looked down.
Nikolai, Piggy, was on the platform where he had stood to enter the plug. But he was not alone. A guard was there with him, and in his arms he held Fifteen. Her body was broken. Blood drenched the man's uniform. She was... No.
With impossible dexterity, Midnight snatched the girl from the guard in its hand and brought it up close so Rev could see. His heart nearly stopped. Her chest was torn open, even now blood was pouring out into his hand. He nearly vomited as he caught a glimpse of her heart beating underneath the gore. She looked up at him. Against all odds, she was still alive, perhaps even conscious. She could barely make out the figure that she saw, but even then she recognized the feeling she got when she was around Rev. It was him. She was safe.
She mouthed a single word. Rev shook his head. No, no, no no. She can't... she couldn't...
"NO!" Rev shouted. He didn't believe anyone on the outside could hear him. He was speaking to Midnight itself. "No, I can't let this happen! WE can't! Come on, save her, heal her, stitch her up! Come on, do SOMETHING!"
He felt a vibration. Midnight understood. Its hand flexed, and its eyes grew red. Fifteen looked up, at where she knew Rev was. She looked scared. Horrified. Something welled in her eye. An orange tear.
She burst into LCL, the liquid quickly seeping into the flesh of Midnight. Rev's mouth hung open as wide as it could go. His body shook in horror. He tried to create words, but could only produce panicked, stuttering gasps. "Y-you... what.. WHAT THE HELL DID YOU DO?"
Images flashed in his mind. A mosquito trapped in amber, a caveman in a block of ice. "PRESERVED," it told him. "FIFTEEN IS PRESERVED."
Rev hung his head. A stream of tears began to mix with the LCL around his face. Then his face changed, from despair to something else entirely. Not quite rage, not quite sorrow, not quite anything. It was an expression wholly alien to humanity, that only he understood.
"No. She will not be like that. I won't let her. This is wrong. Wrong, wrong WRONG. I won't accept this, I refuse. Unacceptable! UNACCEPTABLE! UNACCEPTABLE!"
From the outside, Piggy looked on in increasing fear and terror as Midnight broke free. Its eyes were no longer red, or green. They were white. They glowed with holy power as the Eva broke free from its restraints. Its mouth hung open. From within a bestial growling word was shouted out to everyone in the base.
The Midnight Beast crouched. And then it jumped. No elevators. There was no time. NERV HQ was torn apart like tissue paper as Rev and Unit-27 smashed their way through like a hellish juggernaut, roaring in rage and defiance toward the heavens. As they passed, dozens of Angelspawn began to disperse, falling into crystalline heaps or blowing away into the wind. All around the HQ, and further, they began to fall to pieces. An Angel could rip a human to shreds without even attempting. An Eva could do the same to its own foes. Finally it broke through to the surface. The dual-minded beast looked up, and saw the great Angel descending. The holy terror and unholy beast locked eyes from their great distance, a dichotomy of deities making a final gesture before their war began in earnest.
In the control room, most of the staff were thanking goodness itself that they were not in the path of the Eva. But one in particular was different. He was staring in complete shock at Rev's monitor.
"D-Director, sir! We have a huge problem, I mean fucking HUGE! According to sensors, Unit-27's synch ratio reads..."
On the surface, Midnight crouched. The AT field around it warped and fluctuated wildly, uncontrollable with all the raw power behind it. And then, Rev leaped. With all their might, the pair lunged into the sky. They traveled a distance measurable only in kilometers as their umbilical cable was left in the dust, the pair grasping into the sky and coming ever closer to the descending Angel. A horrible roar echoed from them, and resounded as far as sound could be carried.
In Japan, a very timid boy leaped up from bed, darting his eyes around nervously. He knew that roar.
"--synch ratio reads 300%!"
Alexander sat in Unit-31, attempting to synch up, but he just couldn't. The engineers were frantically pressing buttons, making commands, and alexander was giving it his all. But he simply couldn't reach a synch ration above 30%.
"No, no, no, goddammit! Not now, any time but now! Addison's already out there, Rev has gone nuts, and I'm stuck here."
Alexander felt himself begin to sob in his entry plug.
"Why did my mind choose to break today?"
Alexander had fallen unconscious as Rev roared towards NERV. Mikhael had jumped out of the car, quickly telling a few doctors about Alexander, and practically forgetting about him as he suited up. Alexander slept, and viewed the prince at his throne.
"Quick, we need to get him to the medical bay stat!"
Ice was everywhere, the entry plug throne stood tall and mighty as two guards holding poles guarded the prince. Kinda pointless in retrospect. The prince simply sat there, watching the enemy charge at him, striking it down by freezing it, and repeating the whole scenario. It had to have been the 90001th time he'd seen the fight when something different finally happened. The enemy didn't charge, he simply stood. The guards got tired of watching the intruder and charged at him, flanking both sides. The embedded their poles into the ground, a strong force filling the space.
"He's resisting the medication! What now?
"Here, try this. It should work on him."
Suddenly the intruder thrusts both his arms into the ice, and a strange red glow emanated under the two guards. Suddenly magma and steam pierced through the ice, burning away the guards and filling the area with steam. As it clears, two small boiling pools full of water replace where the guards had stood. A third in the middle replaces the enemy.
"He appears to be relaxing, accepting it, but his body temperature is unusually high."
The prince jumped to his feet and looked around. Where had the intruder gone? Unnoticed to him, a red glow emanated from under the prince's feet. At the last moment, the prince realized what was happening and attempted to strengthen the ice beneath his feet, but it was too late.A flying fist of hot magma collided with prince, sending him flying into the air, skin bubbling. The prince took a final, desperate look at the statue behind him. It was an enormous three eyed creature with too gigantic mouths. The beast simply stared at the prince as he was obliterated.
"He appears be waking."
When Alexander finally awoke, he found himself in a medical center within NERV, burning up. Alexander had been mumbling frantically, and the world still looked slightly strange to him. They'd finally found a combination of medicine that had at least stifled Alexander's madness and it was still taking affect. Alexander didn't care about all this. Unable to stop him, the doctors let Alexander run off and suit up. He was ready to fight, but wasn't ready for disappointment.
And here he was. When Alexander had finally been plugged into Unti-31, he could barely sync. The drugs in his system were mainly affecting Alexander's mind, thus causing Unit-31 to reject Alexander. This was not happening. It couldn't. Not now, thousands dead, others converted into monsters. Alexander called out for Samuel to do something, anything, take over if it was possible. No response. Samuel was nowhere to be found. Alexander was still burning up.
"Dioscuri, c'mon I need you! The city needs us! I-I-I can't just sit here! What do you want me to do?!"
Alexander sat there, waiting for something, anything. Even the tiniest tingle would've helped secure Alexander. And then it came to him, a single phrase, not just a sensation like usual. Alexander heard a response, it sounded like his voice, but was coming from somewhere else.
And with that simple response, Alexander actually felt a bit better. His sync rate began to rise steadily, but an engineer noticed something strange.
"His sync ratio is finally rising and the eva is waking up, but...his entry plug's temperature is lowering. The LCL is cooling down. Is that even possible?"
"Doesn't really matter now, does it? Another engineer responded.
Pollux could feel the energy flowing through him. This was his throne and he was in command. He was ready to fight, to take down this blue bastard. He was ready for this to end, he just needed to hear the right words enter his comm.
"Unit-31 is clear!"
"That's what I wanted to hear!"
He shot out, spying Addsion a bit away and Rev roaring upwards toward the angel. He gripped the two triggers of in the entry plug tightly. A small layer of frost formed around them.