The sawing sound on the armor of the blast doors sent a shock down the technician's spines. They were piled into the command center and using all their strength to stay calm and work the computers. For the team leads, their dreams of glory and discovery were long forgotten, and their only hope now was to live another 30 seconds. Somewhere in the back of their minds, they hoped their wives and children would be able to get along without them.
Civilians and the military were told not to look directly at an Angel's core. The red, blazing orb shifted with alien energies, and looking at that shit could have strange effects on people. Kemmuel's creations were fractured and dying, but some had filled the rocky tunnel. Now the core was exposed, and turning to fight.
The glassy cage was charging up. It wasn't going to move.
This was it.
Kill or be killed.
As Pollux and his beast clutched their wounds on the ground, a shadow darted above them. The midnight behemoth crashed from rooftop to rooftop, foundations crumbled as the Eva rampaged through the city back toward the angels. It leaped from the rooftop, a dagger in each hand, and crashed into the crystal. This time, the field gave way, and the crystals shattered underneath the pressure of Rev and his monster's blows. More crystals shot from the ground beneath the Eva's right foot; it simply hopped back several dozen meters and kicked it, the crystal shattering from the immense force.
Even more formations attempted to rise from the ground, but the Eva was faster, nimble even, without the umbilical cord restricting its movements. Rev felt a rush of joy almost akin to his first jump as he danced between the gleaming rocks, smashing them underneath his immense blows. Below the crystals he could see the red throbbing. The core was there, taunting them with its proximity. But with every blow, another fragile crystal appeared just in time to deflect his blows.
"Get the core!" Rev shouted to his teammates. Another pillar shot up, but a haymaker from the midnight beast fractured it into thousands of glimmering fragments, more than a few embedded in its hand, drawing blood.
"I can keep the crystals under control, take out the core!"
Pollux lay there, thinking back, thinking of the fight. He could feel the angel moving away, it was practically already at the command center. They'd had their chance, and though they'd managed to get rid of the sprites, the angel was still pretty powerful. Guess it gave up on trying to devour them and wasting it's energy controlling the sprites. People were gonna die if they didn't stop this thing, hell they probably already were. Maybe if he'd ignored Rev and gone for the angle with his core knife...doesn't matter now. They'd failed it was over. Alexander had failed. He closed his eyes
"Oh would you give it a rest, Pollux?"
Alexander opened his eyes, he was underwater. Not in his entry plug, under the sea, looking up. Above him was a dead person, his brother, Samuel.
"Sa-Samuel? Castor? Is that really you? Holy crap, I've missed you so much! How are you here? Are you a ghost? what does-"
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, your twin brother shows up from beyond the watery grave and the first thing you do is question his existence...man, is it good to talk to you again, you curious bastard!"
The two floated there, laughing. Pollux could feel himself slowly floating upwards and saw that Castor was falling towards him. Eventual the laughter stopped and Alexander held his head down.
"Listen Castor, I blew it. I, the last of the Gemini's, wasted my one chance to stop that monster. To finally really save others. I caused your death, couldn't stop our grandparents death, and overall just-I just-"
"Shut up. Listen, and listen quickly because you're in a hurry. You can never save us. You don't need to keep our name alive, you don't need to do anything beside get up and keep fighting. You're the last star on Earth and I won't let you burn yourself out without putting up an actual fight. Grandma wanted me to tell you that. Grandpa didn't brake down when his son died in the flooding, or even when I died. He got back up, and continued to raise you. I didn't give my life to listen to you bitch. Now, take my hand."
Samuel had always been more straight to the point than he had been. He was more statistical than Alexander, he didn't question it, he just did it if it seemed like the logical option. So why had he'd saved Alexander's life? When Samuel reached out with his left hand. His hand became the left hand of Unit-31. It was half of the Gemini constellation, Castor's half. When Alexander reached up it became Unit-31's right hand, Pollux's half.
"Later man, don't drown on me now."
When Pollux breached the surface, he was in his entry plug, greeted to Rev's voice.
"Get the core!"
The core! They had to move quickly, and enemies were popping up everywhere. The pillars were fracturing around Rev, and Addi was returning to the battlefield with Piggy. Crystals were rising around him, fracturing.
"I can keep the crystals under control, take out the core!"
Pollux got Unit-31 back onto it's feet.
"Rev, I know you've only got a few minutes left. We're take out the core before then, before these fuckers even try to finish you off. I won't let you drown on us, and I won't drown on you."
Rev was a bit confuse but simply told them to get out of here.
"Piggy, Addi, we've got to finish this thing off now! No questions, lets go!"
They all broke into a sprint.
Addison didn't need to be told twice about the urgency of the matter. She careened through buildings, jumped over roads, and broke into a full sprint to the fissure that she made. She jumped right in with pistol and knife in hand. She fired off a few shots at the regenerating crystals and went to work on the core.
With no hesitation she plunged her knife down into the A.T. field and firing the rest of her ammunition into the wound where she saw the knife enter. She ignored the crystals as Rev used all his might to take them out. She stabbed and shot repeatedly in an effort to silence this thing. The red core pulsated and painted her Eva with a red hue.
"Come on!" Addison yelled. She could feel the A.T. fields connect and battle one another. It was almost there, they were so close.
Pollux pulled out his core knife and landed beside Addi. He opened fire with his bolt gun, rapidly firing point blank into the crystal angel. Pollux began using his core knife to stab at where he was concentrating most of his shots.
"I'm gonna break through that shield! I'm gonna cut right through you! And I'm gonna save all these innocent people! Theres not a damn thing you can do about it!"
Unit-31 pulled back and began charging A.T. energy into the knife. Pollux could feel it swelling into one force, like how he'd launched Addi but with a lot more force. Pollux stabbed down with all the force, a mass of A.T. energy being transferred through the knife. His knife simple bounced of the A.T field of the angle...
But not without fracturing it in the progress.
"You're done for!"
The angelic core's charge built, growing stronger and stronger - preparing to deliver it's wrath unto the puny humans in the command center. The door that held it at bay was buckling beneath the force of the remaining glass-like constructs. Only moments remained before the command post was breached. the technicians and soldiers made their final preparations: some prayed, others sent one last message to a dear family member, others tried desperately to find a solution.
Few noticed the air circulation system going into overdrive. Fewer still cared.
Finally, the door gave way, and for a moment, time seemed to stand still. The unlucky people who glanced at the now open doorway, still half covered in twisted melting metal, and saw the core ready to kill all they had achieved in the last 15 years as well as the power of the core radiating, distorting the world around it with it's mere presence. and in that moment, they all resigned them selves to their fate: one way or another.
but in the next moment, the angels core was pushed back, pulled from it's prize by some invisible force: the depressurization of the room, now pumped full of air by the aforementioned circulation system. the technicians were pulled from their chairs, the better trained soldiers hunkered down, more out of muscle memory than out of any idea that it was the correct action, and resisted the sudden burst of wind. Several people with extraordinarily bad timing, a soldier and two technicians, were pulled into the make-shift vacuum, there fate assumed to be a gruesome one.
Moments later, a freight elevator opened to the room. it's sole occupant, Dr. Laurence, sitting on the floor, laptop open, MS DOS screens open and running.
Opening his mouth and inhaling deeply, Owen called out Commander Sandor. "I Suggest we move to an alternate location. That little trick of mine won't last long and it won't fool it again." Owen shouted, his voice cracking slightly from the effort. "Good news is, the elevator has already arrived".
Looking at the commander, Owen answered the questions he assumed were in his mind. "It's headed to the launch bay, best I could do"
As the technicians and soldiers turned, awaiting Commander Sandor's order to retreat, hold, or somewhere in between, the irony of the situation dawned on Owen. "Yes, I will definitely look into A.T. Field weather applications."
It's glassy web spilled the flying dust everywhere. The core off Its own source of illumination, like some massive red lightning-bug. But the light was flickering; it was talking.
The angel spoke in it's strange tongue.
"Sreen yit seewee srinyee sree"
Piggy moved forward with his bolt launcher, Unit-02's one eye fixed on the core. He felt the power growing inside him, investing him, knotting his arms into cords, filling each clenched fist with its own force. Rev and Addison were beside him.
They were close, very close now. Piggy could feel the Angel probing him, could smell its scent. 'Us two,' he muttered to Addison, and Rev didn't even take his eyes off the angel's weird body, which now shrank burying itself deeper, it's swarming creations brought to bay at last.
With a scream building in him, building up and up and up, Piggy charged. Addison ran with him stride for stride. He swung his powered hammer and brought it down on the beast. Kemmuel's shriek filled Piggy's head, seeming to splinter his brains. He felt his wrist plunge deep into hot wetness. His arm followed it in up to the shoulder. He pulled it back, dripping with the Angel's essence. Blood poured from the hole he had made.
He saw Pollux standing almost directly on top of it, covered with it's blood that mixed with the Eva's. A bolt of energy ripped down his side, parting armor, parting flesh. It rocked to the side, trying to throw him off and instead of retreating the Eva drove forward, using not just her weapon now but her whole body, making itself into a torpedo. They ran into it's core like a sprinting fullback who lowers his shoulders and simply drives straight ahead.
For a moment he felt the orb simply give, as if it would rebound and send them flying. With an inarticulate scream he drove harder, pushing forward and upward with his arms, digging at it with mangled fingers. And they broke through; were inundated with it's blood. Ripping, tearing, parting, destroying it. A core knife was destroying it from the inside out.
Yes! Piggy cried in a rage. "Yes! Try this, you bitch! TRY THIS ONE OUT! DO YOU LIKE IT? DO YOU LOVE IT? DO YOU?"
The core exploded before their eyes. Then it was gone. The Angel's presence vanished, and the power went with it. Piggy felt weak, revulsed, half-insane. Everything loosened. He became aware that glassy form was tilting, slipping slowly off to one side. It collapsed , a huge bundle of steaming alien matter, the particles jerking around uselessly on the floor. Piggy staggered away, breathing in whooping gasps, spitting in an effort to clear his mouth of it's horrible taste. He tripped over his own feet and fell to his knees.
"Di-did we get the bastard?"
Piggy was covered in blood, Addi had beat the shit out of it, and Pollux had broken the A.T barrier making it possible. The angel had left it's body but something, something felt off. This angel was a coward. It hid behind minions, tricks, sneak attacks. It was very reclusive. To just be in this hole waiting to die didn't feel right...
"Piggy, we should contact command."
"YAHOOOOO!" came a shout from beside the group. Those unprepared could only cringe as Rev celebrated their victory, the monstrous Eva doing a little dance that even a child could not pull off with any dignity.
"Did you see that?! Did anybody freaking see that?! We decimated that thing! WE! ARE NUMBER--"
A dying, droning sound groaned out of the Eva as its power ran out, slumping down to the ground.
Addison had felt the angel's presence during the thing's last "swan song" of a death. When the Angel exploded, throwing its matter in their direction, Addison's EVA stepped back a bit as if it was a light punch and not some unearthly being's combustion.
She heard Pollux's words then Rev's exclamation of joy. Addison wasn't sure if she should worry about him or Piggy as he took the brunt of it.
"HQ? Are you still there?" Addison spoke into the comms. Wondering if they had survived.
"Thank God, his Eva ran out of power!"
Pollux tried to make jokes, but something still felt off.
"Guys, seriously, when was the last time we spoke with command? I swear, something isn't right. The angel had tricks, and well, I don't think I actually felt it die. There was the blood, the semantics, but...something isn't right."
Pollux heard a minor crackle on his comm and it seemed to correspond with Addi's Eva. Addi must be trying to contact command.
"Oh good, what are they saying?"
Pollux didn't hear her say anything. In fact, he hadn't head Piggy's yelling, or Rev's singing.
"Aw crap, something happened when that damn thing hit me from below."
There was a fizzing sound, and Kemmuel's body started to boil away. The A.T. Field no longer sustaining it, it was at the mercy of physics. The glassy matter steamed and crackled, while the webs withered and shrunk.
If it had taken them only another minute to find the core...
"Good, but that was way too close." Piggy panted over the comms. "Where's my gun?"
Pollux tinkered with his comm a bit and heard Piggy ask for his gun.
"I don't know Piggy, does it really matter?"
Pollux was pacing a bit and could feel the strain of battle affecting Unit-31. Dioscuri still had some energy left, but probably couldn't take another serious battle.
"Huh. Maybe I'm just being paranoid. Guys, can we call it a day? Lets get back to command. I'm more than sure they'll get you another gun, Piggy."
Damien was worried, not by a great deal, but enough.
"Status report people, lets get things back up and running. Anyone working in our line can expect close calls from here!"
His tone was maintained in command and as someone who had seen the worst and best at times.
"Recovery teams disperse and get those Eva's Back and under repair. We've got a lot of work to get done under way."
Issuing a plethora of commands associated with damage control and repairs and leaving things to work there ways through the chains of commands and further.
Keying directly to all pilots (If able or otherwise to be reached by technicians) "Good job everyone, you did great." His voice was cheery as he set to get things under control.
"Finally! Someone says something! Jesus, Mr. Director sir, you had me splitting my pants. I was so worried about you guys!"
Unit-31 had finally had enough and was simply sitting down wait for the recovery teams.
"I did not like this angel...too crafty and cowardly."
He was simply saying that so he didn't sound like a weirdo. Pollux had thoroughly enjoyed the fight. He found the angel cowardly, but clever. It didn't just attack them, it planned, it preserved itself, it knew what it was doing. Why did it just sit in that hole, though? Unit-31 had enjoyed the fight too, but feeling Pollux's thoughts, tilted its head, pondering the same thing.
"Oh well, angels. Weird things..."
Piggy wanted to sleep. He felt weary and bruised, although his child body was unscarred by the battle. It was his mind that was worn out.
But the night was chaotic. Everyone wanted something from the pilots- debriefings and post-op reports, medical examination, military figures and scientists wanting first-hand descriptions, and mountains of paperwork for the supervisors. Political teams and reporters swarmed the Nerv building and had to be held back by security. Everywhere they were talking or writing about it. No group of people has ever been as important as the pilots of the Evangelions, or had a more direct impact on the fate of humankind.
Piggy was being interviewed by the news media, with Nerv monitors overseeing the conversation. His name was withheld for security reasons, identified only as the Unit-02 pilot.
The announcer was asking him, How do you feel, pilot of Unit-02? Actually quite well, except hungry. Hungry? Oh yes, they don't let you eat for twenty hours before you put on the plugsuit. How interesting, I never knew that. All of us are quite hungry, actually. How are the suits? Confining. It is harder to make precise movements, since the suits bent just a bit slower, resisted a bit more than any clothing I had ever worn before.
And on and on. Sometimes the monitors would tell him not to answer a question, and he might apologize, or just not say anything. When the question of what it was like to control an Evangelion came up, Piggy felt a sadness at what he wanted to say, but lacked the words. The most important things are the hardest things to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them - words shrink things that seemed limitless.
The next day, he took his HIV medicine, then left the apartment and went out by himself.
Wandering through the sparse jungle outside the city, Piggy looked almost ridiculously out of place. He waddled through the brush on the African Coast, feeling the worms in the earth beneath his feet and soon reached a shore. He had come here looking for the battlefield, playing it out in his mind as he went from point to point. He walked though grass and forest, where rhinos and leopards dwelled before they went extinct. It was important to him to maintain his perspective as a human being. The trees that had seemed miniscule in the Eva now rose above him, and the sheer difference in scale between encountering an Angel from the view of an Entry Plug and seeing it from the ground became apparent. He looked for the craters of footprints, the shell casings like trucks.
He shuddered at the power that had ripped through this place and tried to think of something else. Adults could have fantasies about ruling the world, but Piggy didn't have them. Still, thinking back on his life in Battle School, it occurred to him that although he had never sought power, he had always had it. But he decided that it was a power born of excellence, not manipulation. There was no reason to be ashamed of power. Or of what happened here. They were heroes.
That is Earth, he thought. Not a globe thousands of kilometers around, but a forest with crawling beetles, high-rise buildings in the distance, on the edge of the ocean, a slope leading upward from the water, fish leaping and birds strafing to eat them. Earth was the noise of wind and waves. It was a girl's voice, who spoke to him out of his far-off childhood, the same girl that was probably grown tall now. Earth was a man dialing his cell phone to find where he had misplaced it, and a girl on a motorcycle. It was life itself- Playful. Joyous. Outrageous. Passionate. Sacred. Romantic. Humorous. Spontaneous. Touching. Creative. Unabashed. Sensual. And, of course, real.
This is what the Evangelion protects. This is why Piggy bonds his soul and physically becomes that creature. This is why it has a battleship howitzer as a sidearm, and a fully automatic armor-piercing grenade launcher. So that everyone on Earth can have one more day.
He left, and there was an urge to look back, to look back on the shore. But it is perhaps not such a good idea to look back. Best to believe it will still be there- who is to say it will not have a positive end; if life teaches anything at all, it teaches that there are so many blessings that sometimes one can't even take it. He closed his eyes for a moment, feeling the fabric of his Tshirt, feeling his own heart inside him.
He thought of someone he met at the Battle School. You can't be careful on a skateboard, the kid had said.
Truer words were never spoken, kid. You can't be careful in an Eva, either.
God help us all.
The nightmare did not end when Mikhael left the Eva behind, deep in a hangar as men in masks tended to it. Mechanics? Surgeons? He did not know what words might be used to describe them. He was given no answers from Nerv, his superiors, his guardians for all purposes. Three months he had labored deep in the guts of Nerv, and still he knew almost nothing.
A row of chairs at a table provided the pilots seats that night. Already he was exhausted, ready for sleep. Medical examinations and debriefings, men in blue coats demanding to know what had happened in the Eva, what it felt like when he lost control. What it felt like to be a monster. He cooperated, but not much. He wasn't here to protect them. To his left and his right sat his fellow pilots, he was in the middle, next to the little boy. Piggy, they called him. They hadn't spoken much. He thought hard, and realized he hadn't spoken to any of them much. Outside of battle, they were barely acquaintances, and Nerv expected them to be a team. One that could save the world through teamwork.
Mikhael knew the need to work together, and he treated them like his brothers in combat. But out of it, he knew almost nothing about them; except for Pollux. He had spoken several times with him when he first arrived, was first dragged into Nerv. Even so, they were not long discussions, nor did they hold much depth. He intended to get to know all of them better, someday. For that claim, though, there was only one who interested him at the moment.
A man holding a notepad asked a question aimed at a young woman to the right of Pollux. Mikhael eyed her as she attempted to respond adequately. She seemed normal enough; not particularly developed, but pleasant-looking. And yet there was something wrong. He remembered the first time he had seen her, two weeks before the Angel attacked. She had seemed "off" then, too. But he had no inkling of what could have been so different about her.
He answered questions directed to him, a couple asking about how piloting felt. He deflected a few questions asking about the Eva's inner workings, and used the classic "oil leak" explanation to answer just why his Eva was coughing up blood.
At the end of it all he dragged himself straight to bed. He had no more patience left to keep him awake.
The flowing darkness churns and churns. Feel the heavens' cool light and burn.
He awoke in a cold sweat. Piloting an Eva had been no easy task on his psyche. He recalled the first time he had been in the entry plug, and the horrors that came in his dreams that night. He considered therapy, at the request of one of the blue-suited men, but he decided he would rather not find out what the dreams meant.
He threw on whatever clothes he could find, a maroon sweater with a grey hoodie and blue jeans before heading out into the city. People seemed oblivious to the apocalypse that had passed over them the day before; Mikhael wondered what it was like to be so oblivious to everything.
He finally picked a spot to stay for the day; an ice cream shop near the outskirts. He picked a seat under an umbrella outside, lounging as he watched the people go by. A young father came running by, a grin on his face so wide it threatened to split his head in two as he chased after his daughter, not a day over 6 as she ran down the street, dragging along a little wooden duck. She giggled as the little bird clacked along the ground, hopping up and down as it attempted to keep up with her pace.
He smiled, warmly and unseen, before taking a bite out of his cone.
After a long day of protecting the world from the apocalypse, Pollux said goodbye to Dioscuri and called it a night. When all was said and done, Alexander was back to being Alexander and Unit-31 was a simply a beauty of true engineering. Not some superhero with is utility belt, not some cowboy and his trusty steed, simply a pilot and a vehicle. A few hours ago they were being examined, tested, and simply probed by medics, scientist, and the curious. Alexander was okay with it, though he could see it slightly bothered the others. At some point, "our adoring fans" began asking us a few more personal questions. Alexander understood that this team of robot piloting heroes new barely anything about each other. The only times they ever interacted was on the battlefield. They could respond to the each other's plan, attacks, and whatever crap they pulled. But aside from that they knew nothing. Well, Alexander had a few ideas.
Piggy seemed...twitchy. Twitchy but loyal. And apparently eleven. Alexander had heard that Eva's needed young pilots but he never thought THAT young. He worried about Piggy at times, brotherly instincts and all. Adding to his worry, Alexander has occasionally heard him call his Eva Big Sis, and has also noticed that he sometimes has bottles of prescription medicine, poking out of a bag or back pocket, mainly stuff for helping fight aids. Piggy must have a sick sister or something. Rev was one of the first people Alexander ever met and was about his age. They occasionally shared conversations, but they never really went anywhere. Alexander could tell that Rev was a pretty fun guy and enjoyed being happy. Maybe a bit too happy at times, even forced. But hey, every team needs an optimist. Rev also seemed like a pretty caring guy, and his Eva reflected that. Even after it went berserk it still knew what it should be doing. Was that Rev's doing? Maybe, maybe not, but it probably isn't that weird. His Eva's a berserker, it's what they do.
However, the most Rev probably knew Alexander was that he was from the Tops, had a thing for A.T fields, and that his nickname was Pollux. In fact, a lot of them knew his nickname was Pollux, but he was sure none of them actually knew why. Then again, we all use cute nicknames or abbreviations, but compared to theirs, his didn't really make sense. It was sorta random without context. It then occurred to him that they probably didn't know his first name, and that he didn't know theirs.
Well, except for Addi's. It was pretty obvious it stood for Addison. But something wasn't quite right about her. He trusted her, she trusted him (that catapult move had shown that) but she seemed a bit scattered. She was very cautious about a lot things but still pretty sociable. Yet, when he looked at her she didn't really seem like one person. She didn't feel like one person either. Alexander's A.T. sense thing he didn't really understand could tell something was going on with her. Was it her eva? Could it affect them all? And then there was Grim who seemed quite...grim. He can be a bit distant, easily irritated, uncaring, slightly jerk-ish, and a plethora of other things. But Alexander could tell he cared, he just wasn't good at showing it. What had happened to him? They were later let go and went their separate ways.
After about an hour of driving his moped, Alexander finally arrived at his tiny apartment, completely exhausted. That fight with the angel was still nagging him. Why? Was it because it wasn't another rampaging idiot? That it had been able to think critically? And what the hell had Unit-31 done? Sure, Alexander was supposed to manipulate A.T fields but he wasn't the one giving the okay to do those things, it was Dioscuri. Was the fact that he was in partial control of a sentient life form and fighting real monsters finally dawning on him? Alexander learned from a guy named Owen that the angel had attempted a form of a attack on command, but was sent running back. The angel could've gone anywhere, why'd it stay in the hole. Was it hiding? And then Castor...
These were the things that racked Alexander's mind, as he lay in bed, trying to take a nap. But soon he realized that wasn't going to happen anytime. He decided to drive around the city, and simply enjoy the rest of his day. Maybe he'd get some ice cream, look around, the whole thing. It was a nice day, even with the fear of angels swooping in. Didn't seem to worry anyone else. He then wondered what everyone else he passed was thinking about.
The hum of the MRIs and the beep of numerous medical equipment sang a familiar song in Addison's head. Day and day out, the labs were more a home for her than her actual room that was given to her. She already found all of the cameras embedded within.
When the scientists caught wind of what had occurred to her in that free-fall they put her under brain scans and mental therapy. By now, Addison didn't question their intent or their actions as it was brought on her to not question what was going on. "Genetic Memory Relapse", were the words that she could hear in their hushed voices. Something that resulted in the use of the reworked gene strains that Addison was using. From what Addison heard, the relapse was worse than what she is going through now. They probed her mind as soon as they could get their latex hands on her. Checking every basic functions, then body systems, finally arriving at the neurological aspects. It was nothing new.
Her tutor was rescheduled to a different time and Addison didn't mind. She looked at herself in mirror, eyeing her slender shape draped in a bright hospital gown that they give her. Then her eyes landed on her hair. It was one parts that was different from the other Addisons besides her mental health. After much begging, the scientists allowed her to have her "unique" hairstyle. It was mostly held together by generic hairspray or gel but she took great pride in it. As submissive as she was, Addison cherished each piece of whatever she truly had and her hair was one of them. The other Addisons kept a strict style but each and every one of them had something unique about them that some of the scientists had mentioned off hand.
Along the lines of: "7 used to have this easel set...I wonder if its still here..." or "I remember when 4 brought her old Kodiak to the labs once..."
She was told not to ask about the clones before her but instances like those, she picked up bits of her past lives. Finally the scientists arrived. They always traveled groups or pairs like wolves. The older one walked forward and looked at her through the reflection in the mirror.
"Alright, Thirteen that's about it. Are you feeling better?"
"A little bit. Kinda woozy though. Can I go home?" Addison looked back to see that the scientist had taken a few notes the second she complained.
"Do you feel like you can travel home? Do you need transportation?" One of them. She couldn't tell them apart anyways.
"I'm good..." Addison said and a small grin cracked on her face.
Addison could hear her breathing coincide with running step on the white concrete. Her heartbeat pulsating throughout her body. The static solar panels and pipes passing by her. She hopped the chain-linked fence and rolled forward. She regained her momentum and ran to reclaim her speed. It was coming, she could see the shadow of the gap draw closer. The space between the two buildings was at least a few yards apart with ample room for failure.
She came closer to the gap and she did not break pace. Hesitation was not present this time around as she brought herself forward. Like a marionette, she was suspended in air once again but with no string to pull her back. Slowly, she could see the opposite edge of the gap fall upwards as she feel downwards. Gravity was taking her back but Addison cared little. With one hand outstretched she grabbed the rung of the ladder. A loud bang was heard as she let her body follow through, hitting the ladder. She breathed out as she looked around if anyone had heard the ruckus. She grabbed onto the other step and went down instead of up. Her submissive side had taken over once again and forced her off the ladder and onto the solid ground.
Addison could go for entire journeys from the labs to the apartments that they designate but once in a while, Addison's different facets of her personalities showed face. They varied from reckless to the polar opposite. A little winded from her commute she stopped and checked her hands as it felt like she had grabbed blades instead of steps. Addison pulled off her gloves and set them inside her soft-shell jacket that would ruffle loudly when she ran through the wind.
No marks were seen but she was sure that there would be more marks on her hand if it wasn't for the genetic tinkering. Addison walked the last leg back to her apartment. She wondered about the other pilots like Pollux or Rev and what they were doing. On the inside, she hoped that the pressure and mental strain of taking down one of Angels hadn't affected them that much. They were supposed to rely on each other after all. Addison stopped in her tracks went towards the pleasant outskirts of the city where she made her crash landing a day or two ago. She wanted to see if the place was in better shape.
How right she was. The place looked relatively untouched by her EVA and signs of progress was about it all. Construction crews busy at work repairing the houses and people going about their days. She wondered at how they could resume their lives when the apocalypse was so close to them. Before she thought harder, the jingle of an ice cream shop drew her towards it.
Alexander had heard of this nice little ice cream shop. It was near the outskirts of town, but it was a relatively friendly place and he'd heard good things about. It would be nice to just chill back in a calm place, collect his thoughts, and dine on sweet cold frozen milk product. He then had a strange thought. Why not come here after beating angels? After all the scientists, and medics, and observers were done with their prodding, they'd all come down there and simply relax. A pretty decent reward for defeating a godly being in his opinion. Alexander stopped at a crosswalk, as a little girl and her father were strolling along happily, her wooden duck friend trailing behind trying to keep up. They politely waved at him and he waved back. He grinned to himself.
"Yeah, you're welcome."
Yup, being a hero had it's perks. Now where exactly was that shop again? Alexander looked a bit to his left and there it was, on the other side of the street. There were a couple of tables with umbrellas over them. Families were handing children cones, couples were sharing, and people were just enjoying time to themselves. He turned towards the shop when he noticed someone on the sidewalk up ahead. Relatively thin, short black hair...
"Wait a sec, Addi? Hey Addi!"
He sped up a bit and drove alongside her.
Addison snapped her head to the source of someone calling her name. To her prediction, someone from the team did come and noticed her in the crowd as well. Pollux looked rather humorous on his moped as he drove along side her. She smiled at him but her eyes darted to something else.
"Pothole." Addison said abruptly.
His front wheel embedded it self in the pothole, abruptly stopping his moped, causing the rear end to shoot up and Alexander falling face first on the asphalt. All was silent as Alexander just sorta laid there, too embarrassed to actually say anything. Plus, he'd had the breath knocked out of him.
"...thank God for helmets and goggles."
Well, he certainly botched that attempt at being suave. Can pilot a giant sentient robot, can't avoid holes in the road. Smooth. Alexander shakily rose to his feet with assistance from Addi. He eventually got his moped, pretty much intact, out of the pothole.
"You'd think with all the construction they could fill a few potholes."
A face trying to conceal a laugh looked up from his half-eaten cone.
There was laughter in the sound transmission, the bugged vehicle sending the conversation to a room full of Military generals and Nerv personnel.
"So, they're making friends."
"I don't care," said Major Gould. "My job isn't to be friends. My job is to produce the best soldiers in the world. In the whole history of the world. We need Napoleons. Alexanders. Except that Napoleon lost in the end, and Alexander flamed out young and crashed. We need Julius Caesars, except that he made himself dictator, and died for it. My job is to produce such creatures, and all the men and women they'll need to help them. Nowhere in that does it say I have to make friends with teenagers."
"Cheer up. The Angels may kill us all before that. Besides, there's only one person in an Entry Plug that matters. I told you they were the best, now they damn well better be."
"Don't you understand? It isn't the world at stake. Just us. Just humankind. As far as the rest of the earth is concerned, we could be wiped out and it would adjust, it would get on with the next step in evolution. But humanity doesn't want to die. As a species, we have evolved to survive. And the way we do it is by straining and straining and, at last, every few generations, giving birth to genius. The one who invents the wheel. And light. And flight. The one who builds a city, a nation, an empire. Do you understand any of this?"
Mcguire thought he did, but wasn't sure, and so said nothing.
"No. Of course not. So I'll put it bluntly. Human beings are free except when humanity needs them. Maybe humanity needs you. To do something. Maybe humanity needs me. We might both do things we don't like. But if humankind survives, then we were good tools."
"Is that all? Just tools?"
"Individual human beings are all tools, that the others use to help us all survive."
"That's a lie."
"No. It's a half truth. We can worry about the other half after we win this war."
"So you won't mind if I release the reports?"
"Of course I mind, you meddlesome ass. This is something to be decided by people who know what they're doing, not these frightened politicians who got their office because they happen to be politically potent in the country they came from."
"The UN would be more prepared."
"But that's not your reason. It's because you're such a short-sighted little bureaucratic bastard that you think you need to cover yourself in case things go wrong. Well, if things go wrong we'll all be fucking LCL. So trust me now, Anderson, and don't bring the whole damn world down on review. What I'm doing is hard enough without them."
A message on Dr. Smith's pager.
LOUNGE A-15, 1300 HOURS, UNARMED
"I made a killer landing didn't I?" Addison said, almost as a question instead of it being sarcastic or rhetorical.
She brought herself to think of the outcome with forming friendships with the other members of her group and even forming relationships beyond that. It certainly wasn't discouraged by the scientists although they'd prefer if it could wait. They saw love as a double-edged sword as it could tremendously motivate her or even mentally stabilize Addison but if it went wrong then that would be another story.
Alexander finally balanced himself.
"Haha, really funny."
Though when she said it, it seemed like a joke, but it sounded more like a question. He could still feel this off-ness about her, but decided he was just being paranoid and curious again. They've fought the equivalent of demons together, he'd get over it. Hell, it probably wasn't anything, he might not be use to talking to girls.
"So, what brings you here?"
"You guys..." Addison said.
She pointed over to the ice cream shop and led Pollux there. Inside she bought a Mocha-flavored ice cream scoop held in a sugary waffle cone. It didn't occur to Addison that Pollux might have been getting to "know" her as she was told by the scientists. She had talked with boys before and some did show their feelings towards her but all she did was smile.
"You have a girlfriend?" She asked as she bit into the side of her cone. A little bit of the scoop caught onto the tip of her nose and she just wiped it off with her sleeve.
Alexander had been taking a bite out of his pistachio ice cream with almonds when she asked if he had a girlfriend. She caught him off guard for a sec, causing him to choke on a couple of almonds, but he quickly recovered in the best way possible.
He went back to eating. Why had he freaked out for a second? It then dawned on him that he hadn't actually spoken to a girl or bothered getting in a relationship with a girl since...ever. He'd never thought about girls like that. Huh...
"Well, I kinda want some form of relationship in the future."
He shifted in his seat awkwardly, but told himself to calm down. Whats the problem, she simply asked a question? Shes on your team. You fight together, it's all good. If so, why was he so terrified?
"What about you?"
"A couple. Nothing really serious though." Addison she heard her speak.
Addison looked away, avoiding contact with his eyes. With any luck he would catch her lie but it was covered with half-truths. Addison-13 had no such relationships but her past selves did. She went to work on her ice cream cone.
"It was all short though..." Addison said in an attempt to salvage what she had accidentally said.
Damien was back in the Nerv HQ still, still reviewing reports of the latest fight and pilots, checking over every piece and file with speed and dedication of a veteran. His office was relatively large, with a book shelf or two lined with tomes of military, arts, and other things.
Rubbing his eyes as he placed down the report of a rather light damages cost to the Eva's themselves he muttered under his breath....
"Death be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not soe,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow..."
Another file tapped to order and put away.
"Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill mee. From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee, Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow..."
The screen flares and an order is made of munitions and research funds.
"And soonest our best men with thee doe goe, Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie. Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men, And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell, And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well, And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then?..."
Things are shuffled away ad the desk and paper work is cleared and only the dim glow of lamp and screen reflect upon Damien as his reviews the reports on pilots and well being.
"One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally, And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die."
Resting his head against his hand, "I need a drink." As his gaze lingers at a dull picture reminding him of what was lost.
Owen looked out the window of black tinted truck, the second of at least a dozen such trucks headed to "Battlefield Alpha". Outside seemed strange. What had once been a forest had become a wasteland, half devoured by the locust like angel of the recent past. Remnants of the crystalline swarm had settled across most of the area in a fine mist that left the area with a strange golden gleam, like the myth of Midas and the golden touch made real or some alien world from some B Sci-fi movie.
Most of the city had escaped the thin painting of gold, which was fortuitous. What effects the angelic remains would have on the environment were anyone's guess, but had large portions of the population been exposed... he shuddered to think of the paperwork... the medical effects as well he supposed.
Owen was thoroughly bored of the conversation, an homage to their continued survival between two scientists and a soldier. "I still can't believe were alive" said one technician, a woman in her mid-twenties, to the soldier, an older man with a few too many battle scars. "Those kids are something else. I can't believe they stopped that thing." She continued "I man, Can you imagine fighting that... thing. I mean, I could barely look at it, much less fight it, and heaven forbid BEAT it". The soldier, a bit more battle-hardened, seemed more restrained. "Yes, but I don't know how I feel about having kids do the dirty work. It isn't right" he responded, his accent some combination of Spanish and North African. "It's supposed to be the elder's job to protect the young ones. It can't be good for them" he finished, a sense of powerlessness in his voice. "It can't be helped, Only those kids can pilot the Eva's, so only they can fight." The final technician interjected, he a gentleman of similar age to the woman. To soldier looked at him, sighing "I know, but it still seems... unnatural I guess" The woman took her cue and made her final blow "Well, if anything can describe this war, it's the word unnatural".
The conversation continued as such for some time. Owen stayed out of it. He halfheartedly listened to the conversation and watched the change in scenery. Buildings after buildings, crowds after crowds, the small convoy even passed a pair of pilots; Addison and Alexander if his memory served; enjoying their well earned relaxation.
It was then that Owen saw something even stranger than the golden mist upon everything; the returned sense of normality. The city was back to how it was a few days before; full of life and energy; like there had never been an attack, no one had died, and as though all the recent events were a nightmare, gone with the rising sun.
As the caravan passed through another battlefield Owen could make out some of the other scientists collecting samples of the crystals, trying to squeeze every piece of data they could out of the microscopic constructs. Before long, the group had moved on. They had a far more important objective: the half eaten bits of Unit-02's hand and arm.
When the group arrived, several armed patrols stood guard around the cordoned off area, blocked by canvas and caution tape - far more security than necessary if you asked him. After all, the public had plenty of images of the Evangelions and they were even interviewing the pilots.
Owen flashed his security card at the guards and they pulled the canvas back from the arm. Owen could only watch, wide eyed in disbelief, mirroring the faces of the technicians that he accompanied. "No wonder there's so much extra security"
Hours passed before the... arm... was finally packed up and ready to ship. It was a long-ass day and Owen was more than ready to call it a night. Only a half hour ride back to his apartment and he would pass into sweet sweet unconsciousness.
The vehicles fellow occupants were no longer conversing about their survival; only an unstated, mutual agreed-upon silence, made bearable by the barely audible radio in the background; a result of the trying day and the unexpected... discovery.
The scenery of the original trip was now obscured by the darkness of night that had settled in, the only illumination being a handful of streetlamps and trucks high beams. Owen was almost ready to pass into unconsciousness in the car when he heard it, at the tip of his hearing.
"How are the suits?" a voice on the radio asked on a rerun of the now famous interview with the pilots. "Confining." He could hear one say, though who escaped him in his sleep-bewildered state. "It is harder to make precise movements, since the suits bent just a bit slower, resisted a bit more than any clothing I had ever worn before." The voice continued. In the back of his mind, Owen could feel the beginnings of an idea growing. It almost came to fruition, before he gave up and surrendered to sleep. "It will come to me tomorrow"
Alexander noticed the off-ness, her scattered nature. She'd said that she had had a couple of relationships, but it sounded like she was talking about someone else. He slightly felt like pursuing it, but decided to try and get off the subject of dating.
"So, you ever think the director sits around making drunken biblical quotes while doing his work?"
Okay, that was one way to change a conversation. Alexander heard another minor chuckle. Rev was here watching Alexander slip over his own tongue. He could simply point him out to Addi, but a part of Alexander just wanted to sit here and talk with her.
"Um...what I meant was, what do you do in your spare time, when we're not training or killing off angels?"
"Um...what I meant was, what do you do in your spare time, when we're not training or killing off angels?"
Before Addison could make a response, both she and Alexander noticed a blur in the corner of their eyes. They turned, to find Mikhael's face shoved in-between them, deadpan as he munched away at the last remnants of his cone.
"Well, that's a good question Pollux. My theory, after much calculation and scientific evaluation, is that she has colossally awkward conversations with teenage boys in front of ice cream parlors. And--"
He leaped over a bar behind their backs, and placed himself squarely between the two. It took all his effort not to laugh himself to death at his professional brand of mood-killing.
"--since I hate to see my buddy Pol here trip up with such a lovely young lady as yourself, I'm here on wingman duty."
Mikhael felt like a complete dick, and by God he was going to enjoy every moment of this conversation.