Evangelion: The World Set Free

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Alexander drove down the road, weaving between cars, getting a feel for the road and his new moped. Piggy had given him a call, reminding him that their plan was soon gonna be set in motion. Alexander simply said, "Yes, yes, I'll be ready" and drove down to the shop to meet Addison. He wanted to get back at NERV, but honestly didn't care that much for their plan, if there was one at all. He ignored his own musings on getting to the computer and simply worried about driving. Then Samuel floated p alongside him and filled Alexander's head with more thoughts.

"So, what do you plan to do once you meet up with her?"

"I honestly don't know. I was sorta hoping it would come to me."

"Oh great, you're practically about to proclaim your undying affection to a girl but have absolutely no idea about how to do it. Gosh, if this is how the men in our family address the opposite sex, it makes me wonder how dad ended up with mom."

Alexander ignored Samuel's minor mocking and continued to drive. Though he tried not to think it, he felt that his brother had a good point. What was he gonna do. He felt the box and strange bag slap against his thigh while he drove over a few bumps.

"And then there's that. Alexander, I know you're trying to be nice and all, but with those things you made, she might think you're trying to 'buy' her."

"Castor, I simply noticed that her parkour could cause a few issues, so I made a few things to help her out."

"I don't think she'll see it that way and I don't believe she'll take it. Maybe she'll see the thought behind it, maybe accept the gift simply to be polite, but I honestly doubt that. One, because shes humble. Two, shes independent. And three, because shes kinda apathetic to pretty much everything."

Alexander knew Samuel was pretty right. But the apathy part was kinda bugging him. She would smile as any normal person would, she would follow along with the Rev's and his joking, nicely listening to boys being the obnoxious creatures they are, but she typically kept her reaction to everything at a base line level. Plenty would call it self control, but something was off about it. Nothing really phased her except for that one time a few weeks back when he slightly criticized her plan which helped defeat the first angel. She hadn't shown it, but after remembering her slight body movements after he'd said it, Alexander realized he may have really hurt her. Was she trying to keep herself from letting things get the better of her? Alexander didn't know. He wondered what she actually thought of him, and if she did want to go anywhere with him, whether or not she'd be with him because she honestly liked him or because she didn't see any harm in it.

"And then there's the scattered-ness, that thing you're trying to ignore about her. You feel it, you know something isn't right with her, and that it's more than just something on the surface. It probably doesn't matter, but it still bothers you. The fact you don't know much about your team bothers you. Chris, or 'Grim' died and you didn't know one damn thing about him aside from fact that he was a bit grumpy. You're worried that after all this, you guys will simply disperse and never see each other again. Or worse, that most of you will die without truly knowing each other. Pollux, I know you don't want Addison to simply walk by you the same way she walked right by Chris's body without even a glance, right?"

Samuel had said this with the greatest amount of care he could muster, to prevent himself from sounding like a jerk. He let the words sink into his brother, and slowly faded away.

Samuel said some pretty true things, things Alexander had been trying to ignore. He actually liked the team, flaws and all. If this all ended with them never speaking again and Alexander slowly slipping into schizophrenic insanity without anyone there to actually give a crap about him, he'd go insane just from the prospect alone. Truth was, Alexander didn't really have many friends. Most people at his dorm honestly thought he was just another smart kid being exploited with all the bills paid thanks to NERV. They were actually pretty right.

He rolled up to shop and parked his moped. Addison was reading a book, unable to see Alexander. He picked up the small box and strange bag and sat down at the table where Addison was sitting, and put his things on the ground next to his chair. She sensed the movement and looked up.

"Hey, Addison."

Aiber had slid his right hand out of the restraint they put on him, because they weren't sure if he was mentally himself, then undid the others. He took his clothes next to the bed and changed then gently laid his hat on top of his head. After checking through the window that no doctors were outside, he casually slid out and began walking.

He had had more than enough medical and mental tests back on the home front, the last thing he needed was more. As he walked toward the door at the end of the hallway, he saw saw his sqaud leader Lisa in one of the rooms. The look on her face was pained, as if she needed something that they wouldn't give her.

For just a second he wasn't sure if he should just leave or try to help her.

No goddamnit! Stop thinking like your father!

Aiber picked the lock on Lisa's room and stepped inside. He looked at her, just lying there on the bed, and realized that he had just decided to help her, not out of the goodness of his heart, but to defy his father. His fists tightened and he began to hate himself all over again.

"Hey, Lisa, come on, let's get you out of here before anyone realizes I'm gone."

"Can you move. Mikhael? Here, try to stand on one leg now. Use the table to lean on if you need it."

A new concession. An odd one at that. Mikhael was beginning to worry. He had only woken up several hours before. He had been told he'd been told he had many visitors while he was asleep. None of his friends had been among them though. He laughed and said he understood. They had more important things to do than stare at an unconscious person. Rev was good at lying to himself.

The doctors had been much kinder than usual today. They had let him take three breaks already, and the exercise wasn't even strenuous. He began to ponder their motivation. He wondered, maybe they were thankful. The doctors had never let his job as a pilot influence their opinion of him. It seemed impossible that they cared now. Maybe he was worse off than he thought. Maybe he had developed some terrible disease and only had months to live. Too ridiculous. Or
maybe... they were coercing him. Maybe they had.
some inkling of what his friends were up to. They
wanted him on NERV's side when all was said and
done. That seemed the likeliest to him.

He had considered asking about Fifteen, whether she had come when no one else would. But he didn't. He was afraid to know.

At the end of several hours of testing they finally let him go. But he didn't know where to go now. It seemed like his options were to go home and rot or go find friends too caught up in their own lives to give him a moment's notice.

He went to the ice cream shop. There was nothing else worth doing.

Fifteen was becoming socially conditioned. Gradually, she was given a degree of autonomy, and introduced to situations where she could interact with people on the outside. And so it was that the girl with red eyes was led around New Masau, chaperoned by plainclothes security. After the GSED incident, her handlers took extra precaution- they carried submachine guns in their briefcases, with officers monitoring from afar. But otherwise left her to her own devices to explore integrate into society. Synch testing and combat simulations mixed with commercial districts, aquariums, and restaurants.

Addison-15 was shown the the ocean. People were all around, talking, eating. Kids. Adults. People Fifteen didn't know. There were ball games and people and people climbing dunes, or swimming and cooking barbecue ribs. The sun was out, the air was warm, and there were even African penguins walking down the shore. But her thoughts were on the team, and on the pilot from the hospital, who had both embraced her and stood her down.

Rev was one of those people who always seems to have a spotlight on them wherever they go. Who know what the pilots would have become in their lives if this war with the Angels hadn't happened? But once it did happen, it was like Mikhael had found his place in the universe, like the Evangelion was his real body and the teenager part was just clothes that he wore when he didn't need to be as tall as a building and swinging a chainaxe into a demigod's face. It was all some inevitable part of him that finally found a way to come out.

And somehow Fifteen, the one who others were meant to envy, felt unworthy herself. It didn't matter that she could lay him out in 5 seconds or how far away she could hit targets with a pallet gun or if her Synch Ratio could match his. Because he could be smiling all the time, getting shit done on adrenaline and attitude alone.

He was free in all the ways that she was not.

She knew that the fat kid was trying to decieve her, planning something. She knew the others were as well, and Mikhael. So she said nothing to her officers and otherwise avoided the others. But her eyes were opened in the fight that followed, when Unit-27 ploughed through astonishing damage, impaled with so many spears that it looked like a porcupine and did not fall. Having an arm ripped off couldn't stop the Evangelion, it only drove itself to a berserk rage- unbelievably, incomprehensibly, all-consumingly enraged and hit the Angel so hard it was painted with the Eva's own blood.

We have to live to our fullest - now, because tomorrow may never come. So Fifteen resolved to tell him- that she longed to experience the world, to pierce the heavens like him. She told herself that tomorrow will be the most beautiful day of Mikhael Rev's life. His breakfast will taste better than any meal you and I have ever tasted. I will do whatever I can to help him find fulfillment here, as long as we still draw breath.


Piggy had wracked his brains but saw no easy way in. But the layout was familiar and the personnel all recognized them, so biometrics and checkpoints shouldn't be an issue. The plan was pretty much:
1). Get the Director's personal computer before he moves to the subterranean facility.
2). Scan the data off it.
3). Do it fast as shit.

Thirteen stands watch. If they time it, they could have a window of 1-2 minutes in between patrols (Nerv did not release employee rotas, so Nikolai had to deduce it from the base transportation schedule). Nikolai and Pollux work the device itself- Piggy running decryption and hiding their tracks, Alexander trying to make sense of the information itself. Rev watches from another hallway and deals with the freak if she comes back. Aiber and Lisa would be put to use if they could be convinced.

Addison looked at Pollux and gave him a polite smile as she put her book away.

"You wanted to meet me?" Addison inquired wondering what the boy had in mind. She looked at him, trying to get a read for him but she found something else. He looked troubled, anxious even. Deep in her mind she wondered what the matter was, why had he looked so worried when a few moments before he appeared calm and happy as he always did.

Was it her?

Addison wasn't one to fool especially if it was herself. She was given a sense of self-awareness far later in her adolescent life than most kids but did she take to it. Most of the scientists considered her meticulous nitpicking into her appearance as normal for any girl of her age but not for her. It was overwhelming at first. When she was allowed to go outside by herself or even watch television she was bombarded at what girls her age was supposed to be or act or look like. It was both a appeal for identity and a yearning for conformity. While she was told that looking "herself" was best in life she wanted to be like those girls. Those girls that had blonde hair, well-manicured nails, giddy laughs, or multiple boyfriends.

As much as she wanted to be them, Addison knew that she couldn't for one fact and it was her role in life. It far exceeded anything that those brats could ever offer and Addison took pride in that. She was piloting a technological achievement into battle against otherworldly beings that had the power to destroy humanity. It was far better than becoming a secretary. But once in a while she still envied those girls with French Tips on their nails.

She fazed back into reality looking to Pollux, to this boy that looked like he was about to recite a love sonnet to her. Whatever the answer was she decided that she would go with it because at least for once she would have her slice of a "normal" life.

"Uh, yeah."

Addison smiled at him and Alexander felt fluttering in the pit of his stomach. Alexander had never really taken the time to think about it, but it occurred to him how beautiful she really was. Oh God, how was he gonna do this.? Samuel, though trying ignore the gushy thoughts that passed by, couldn't help but peek at his brother's stammering, secretly urging him on.

Alexander honestly didn't know much about Addison, but he felt he knew enough. She was strong, independent, smart, attractive and pretty great all around. And though she could be a bit cold, he knew she wasn't. There was something holding her back, something that nagged at her day in and day out, but through it all there was a fantastic person there. Alexander didn't want to mess this up and cause any minor grief for her, so he started out small.

"Um, I've been thinking about things. A lot of things. Mainly our last fight with the angel. We cut it close there, with most of our evas shutting down, hanging by threads. I think it was a bit too close."

As he said all this, he realized that things were reaching a crescendo, the angel's progressively getting stronger, smarter, more vile. Was it possible this all could actually end someday. What would they do then?

"I-I don't want to be Grim. I don't want any of us to be him. None of us will be Chris. But, if this all ends someday, the angels stop coming and we can have some form of our lives back, if they ever existed-"

Alexander paused for a bit, letting Addison take in what he was saying and seeing how she was reacting to it. He hoped he wasn't coming off as a sad little boy, experiencing the death of a loved one for the first time. She was keeping it low as usual, but it didn't look like apathy as much as it looked like acceptance. He remembered Piggy's message about the plan. Maybe they'd learn some interesting things about NERV, damning things, but what if they got caught? Could NERV simply kick them to the curve, or worse, make them simply fade from existence? He was sure that NERV could just call up any number of pilots waiting in the wings and the public wouldn't give a damn. Their faceless heroes replaced by other faceless heroes.

"-I-I don't want to lose the team. I don't want us to just disappear and never see each other again. I mean, yeah Rev's humor can be annoying and we barely know our per-pubescent, pointman Piggy, but they are perhaps the only other people on Earth who truly understand our situation. Even the newer pilots on our team, Aiber and Leonidas, are pretty great people. Aiber, eager to fight and Leonidas, eager to lead. Honestly, when this is all I over, I want us to truly get to know each other. Joke around, talk, learn, without having to worry about the threat of being called away to defend the Earth and return minus one."

Alexander realized he had to get to point, but the words weren't forming. They were stuck in the back of his throat. Maybe he should just stop now and live with the awkwardness of this day. Samuel wasn't gonna allow that.

"Oh no you don't! I had to listen to all of this, so I want it to end the right way."

Alexander felt his brain lurch, and realized he was being pushed into the back of his mind. Samuel was taking control. Alexander demanded to know what was happening, but his words were simply thoughts. Suddenly the words emerged, the ones he'd been looking for. It was his voice, but it wasn't him doing the talking. It was Samuel.

"Addison, I love you. I really honestly do. I don't want to just fight along side you and then walk away like none of it actually matters. You're a great pilot, and a great person. You honestly deserve better than what the word does to you. What NERV does to us. I don't know if I'll be that person, the 'better', but I'll sure as hell try."

Samuel took Addison's hand that lay on the table, looked her straight in the eyes, and leaned in a bit. He quickly gave control back to Alexander, nearly finishing the words Alexander had desperately tried to push out. Samuel waited a bit before impatiently saying, "Well? I'm not gonna be your voice the entire time."

Alexander found the words and let them fly. "Maybe we can both help each other have a chance at being...normal."

Alexander stopped, pretty much satisfied with himself. He looked at Addison, simply watching her take it all in and waiting for some form of a response.

Rev's mouth dropped open a bit, staring at Addison and Alexander, a bit dumbfounded neither had noticed him there for the past minute. He considered saying something, but shrugged and went to order himself a triple fudge swirl from the shop. He needed something sweet to work through a feeling not unlike when an older brother catches his sibling writing love letters to their crush. A mixture of pride, shame, confusion, and a bit of nausea.

Lisa left the hospital with Aiber, both of them weak from the previous battle. She, and by extension, her Eva, was very lucky as to have received very little actual damage against such a dangerous foe. Some of the other Evas had been torn up, and that was without mentioning Unit-03...

Lisa lamented the loss of a pilot, even though she didn't know him. She had heard mention of "Grim" from a few of the NERV staff members. A sniper. A Neo-Spartan. A kid. When it came down to it, they were all kids, even her. Sure she may have been a legal adult, but she wasn't even a quarter of the way into her natural life yet. And then there were pilots like Nikolai... But he was different. People like Lisa and Grim were trained to fight, trained to be the guardians of the Earth, not the others. The fighting should be left to the soldiers. How can she protect civilians if civilians fight with her?

Her gaze went over to Aiber. He was muscular, toned, carrying himself with a certain pride. He must have been a Neo-Spartan as well, she could see it in his posture and stride. She was leading him back to the ice cream shop where she had been before the battle. She wanted to see if the other pilots were there. She wanted to meet them and get a chance to know them, build a sense of comradeship so that when shit hit the fan in a battle...

She was thinking too much again. She needed to stop herself, now. She wasn't going to freak out. She just did what came naturally, and reached into her pocket were she pulled out her stash of marijuana. Not even thinking of Aiber, she rolled a joint and lit up.

Aiber, distracted by his thoughts, didn't realize what she was doing until he smelled the smoke. He looked over at Lisa and did a quick double take before he grasped that she was actually smoking weed in public.

"What do you think your doing?" he hissed at her, pulling her into an alley behind a dumpster.

She took another drag on the joint before answering "Catching a buzz. You look like you could use some, you need to relax. The world could end any day now."

Aiber was about to respond but then he realized how close he was standing to her. Their faces almost touching. He thought about it for a moment and realized she was right, what could it possibly hurt? Besides, when was the last time he had ingested anything that wasn't approved by scientists.

With a sudden confidence brought on by adrenaline, Aiber said "You're right. But uh, I've never done this before. How dose it work?"

"Like this." Lisa said with an odd grin, then she brought her face closer to his and exhaled the smoke into his face. Aiber breathed it in deeply, letting it fill his lugs and blanket his senses.

He had never felt so free, so at peace. He took a half-step back and looked at Lisa up and down. Her smooth healthy skin, her soft curves, her gleaming eyes.

When was the last time I actually wanted something for myself? Aiber thought.

He moved in closer to Lisa.

When was the last time I actually touched a person?

He moved in closer again as the built up sorrow and frustration ballooned inside him, doing battle with the haze of the drugs.

Why do I even need to ask myself these things?

His hands began to shake as he reached toward Lisa.

Just this once, I won't be my father's toy.

Aiber laid his right hand just below her waist and his left hand in the small of her back. A smile began to spread on her face.

Just this once, I want to know what it's like...

He leaned in until his nose touched her's.

...to be human.

Aiber pushed himself forward, mouth open, kissing her with everything he had. He kissed her the way a man who almost drowned comes up for air.

He pulled her body up against his, and kissed her more deeply. Then Aiber began to pull up her shirt...

[double post]

It took some time before Addison answered back, a lack of words at the moment fell over like a fog.

Pollux could feel Addison's hand grow cold.

Overwhelmed couldn't describe what Addison could feel. It was a rush of emotions that ranged from love to undeserving, not worthy of having Pollux, this person lay out his feelings for her. He was too good and Addison knew it. She didn't deserve him, she didn't want to break his heart but at the same time this is what she was looking for. This is what she sough in him, a feeling of longing almost indescribable yet articulated. She saw that in Alexander and did she crave it.

Half of her wanted to jump the table. Kiss him. Undress him and-

"I...I don't know what to say..." Addison whispered. She drew her hand back from the grasp of his and cupped them underneath the table, wringing her wrists, wondering what to say. She didn't expect to hear this amount of yearning for her from Pollux. She thought she was ready but how wrong she was. "I don't deserve you.."

Addison got up. Leaving her bag. She went to the exit and on the way she heard the screech of Pollux's chair against the floor. An internal battle ensued. She moved but her body didn't budge. Instead she turned around and went back to Pollux.

"I'm sorry." She grasped his head. Their lips locked. She kissed hard. She let go and threw him back.

She couldn't remember running so hard before. Addison didn't cry. She didn't speak. She only breathed hard.

Some where along that road she found a familiar figure. A lonely silhouette walking the streets. Was it Rev? Either way she needed to dispose of baggage and guilt she gained when she left the ice cream parlor.

First she ran up to him, not even taking a deep breath from all that running. She looked frightened, frazzled at appearance. Then she turned him around by force almost making him fall off balance.

"I'msosorryIdon'tknowwhatIdidHe'sgoingtoreallymadatmeIdon'tknowwhattodoIdon'tknowwhattodo." It was a rush of words that seemed like her breathing out a lengthy gasp of air rather than a stream of words. "IkissedhimandIleftandhe'sgoingtohatemeforeeverwhatamIdoingIdon'tknowwhatI'mdoing." Her eyes darted from place to place, from him to her, to ground and to the sky. "Do I look pretty?"

Nerv HQ

The updates and reports came streaming into the command room. The brass were not in a pleasant mood.

"See that, gentlemen? That's all your time and money running away. We've had our disappointments in the past, hanging on for years, hoping they'll pull through, and then they ice out or drop themselves off a bridge and we're left with nothing."

"Give her time. To see what she does with it."

"We don't have time."

"We don't have time to not rush her ahead in an emotional disarray and get killed?"

"Use Fifteen."

"Out of the question. She needs to build an ego and define herself. Synching with an Eva now will just turn her to orange juice."

"Use a Dummy Plug."

"From who? Germany? The United States? You know how worried everyone is about espionage- are you going to put them in our Entry Plugs too?"

"If we have to. The Dummy System's reflexes, target identification, and calculations are leagues ahead of a human pilot."

"The System is also not famous for making clever decisions, or using an A.T. Field effectively, or not being forcibly rejected by the Evangelion. And besides, who's going to tell the UN that after twelve tries we can't get it right? You?"

"..."

"We haven't lost her. She's still capable."

"In the meantime, make sure she stays unlost."

"I told you. The recorders on, it's always on, your ass is covered, and let me take care of things."

"The world is looking for supersoldiers. There's nothing to take care of until you get me that."


Piggy stared in confoundment.

"ADDI- D.. shit!"
He got up, taking his plan with him. There was no time for this. They had to get to Owen's drive before he moved from his office. But he couldn't do it without them.

"I-I think we broke her...

Alexander ignored Samuel's voice and laid there as other confused bystanders wearily helped him to his feet. His mouth was slightly agape. An assortment of fallen chairs and ice cream toppings sprinkled off him, as he shakily stood up and saw the fleeting image of Addison running off. He simply stood there, people looking at him with confusion, weariness, and slight sympathy. He blandly apologized for the mess he'd made, not hinting any actual emotions. He gathered his things, the small box and weird bag as he slowly walked over to his moped. He put on his goggles, strapped on his helmet, looking off in the direction Addison had taken off. He quickly turned away, ignoring it, and drove off towards the dorm. As Alexander looked straight ahead, his brother materialized a few feet beside him.

" Pollux, I'm sorry, this is all my fault. I shouldn't have just taken over, I shouldn't have said anything at all actual-"

"No, no, Castor you didn't do anything. Those were my words, in my voice, from my head. And they scared her off. I really fucked up today, I-I sounded crazy, didn't I? God, I'm such an idiot."

Samuel just let his brother drive a bit, not really sure what to say.

"Listen, I'm pretty sure she does have feeling for you but, she's too proud and thinks you're too great. You heard her yourself. Just before she kissed you, might I add.

"It felt so great to finally get it off my chest. All this time, our battles and whatever time we actually get to see each other, my feelings had been growing. Yeah, sometimes she could aggravate me, but that's just how people are. What made her different was that there wasn't really much she could ever do to piss me off. Not with someone like her, that beautiful and that smart. If anything, I've caused her more grief than anyone around here could wish upon a person."

Pollux, I can't stand to listen to you talk like this and think these thoughts. You did all you could. You were honest and said what you needed to say It's her who-"

Alexander wasn't gonna let Samuel go there.

"Don't even fucking go there! Don't pin this on her, just don't-"

Alexander felt a tear roll down his face and he began to shake slightly, his moped weaving along with him. The road looked strange and began to blend into a strange hue. He was losing control. Suddenly, Samuel took control and the moped moved retained balance.

"Okay, okay, I won't. Just let me get us home in one piece. I should've stopped you, her eva warned Dioscuri about this but he still gave us the go ahead. Still, the risk of such at thing nagged at me, but I didn't want to stop you from going through with it. I'm sorry."

Alexander had heard Samuel say some strange things. He'd mention Unit-09, Addison's eva warning his eva about Alexander going through with this. And he didn't care. He didn't care to know about whatever crap his brother was going on about. He simply wanted to talk to someone. Someone real. He didn't have Aiber's number or know where to find him, Miss Leonidas was supposedly under lock-and-at the hospital for having illegal substances found in her system, and Piggy was probably too young to truly understand, smart kid or not. He was gonna have to do the unthinkable.

"Samuel, when we get home give me immediate control. I need to call Rev."

Samuel was confused and hinted slight worry with the suggestion, but simply kept driving down the road. Samuel didn't want alexander to turn into a sad sack, things were falling into place. He needed to keep things in order.

"And the moment you're asleep, I'm calling Piggy. You wanted even the slightest revenge on NERV remember? I know you want it, and I'm gonna make sure you get it." He said this to himself, making sure Alexander didn't sense the thought.

I'm tired of being on the sidelines.

The flight back to HQ was much like the flight there: filled with endless requests for money and scientists interested in some vague aspect of the last battle. Owen, being a man of science, was noticeably more interested in the later, though that meant little in comparison. Already NERV's finest were constructing theories that might emulate the effects of the singularity, though none saw fit to ask why they would want to do that. For his part, Alastor again seemed content to hide deep within his mind, and Owen began to suspect that the creature was Acrophobic.

Still, the trip had been at least a partial success. Unit-13 was being boxed up and shipped back to NERV, destined for Abaddon: NERV's wonderful little basement storage facility. He had learned a great deal regarding the nature of the Evangelions, a subject that was enigmatic at best. They had even recovered Grim's entry plug - in remarkably good shape no less, save the shrapnel that had pierced it and it's unfortunate occupant.

Thinking of the grim discovery, and berating himself for the uncouth pun, soured Owen's mood. He had hoped against hope that the pilot would be found alive and well by some miracle. What was the old saying? "He who dines on hope goes to bed hungry"?

His prayers being unanswered, a problem he was finding considerably more often than he would have liked considering his "house guest", forced Owen to adjust his figures. They still had several pilots, all skilled beyond their greatest hopes, and their Eva's were in relatively good shape considering their proximity to the miniature black hole. But the loss of a pilot and an Evangelion would hinder their defenses more than they could even begin to grasp; forcing Owen to consider alternatives. If this battle had shown him anything, it was that even the god-like Evangelions could die.

Not that any of these "alternatives" would ever get Seele approval. Most were still in the theoretical stage and ran counter to Seele's own "Human Instrumentality Project" - not that he could understand any of that particular plan aside from the long term goal; a goal that was insanity at best. Owen ran through all the possibilities in his mind while he went through the motions of signing yet more requisitions. All his alternatives would never work as long as Alastor could merely flip through his mind like a book and rout any plan with a word.

As Owen reached for the next requisition, a document about pushing a new Evangelion armor design into full production, a plan started to emerge. Well... not so much a plan as a possibility. A risky one, but one that may turn the tables on Seele and give NERV the edge it desperately needed; and take some of the pressure off the pilots to boot.

Owen was jarred from his thoughts once more as the transport began it's final approach back to NERV HQ. Owen quickly buried his thoughts, hiding them as deeply as possible to prevent his constant companion from gaining any foreknowledge. His mind, now free from such deep thoughts, turned to his fellow passengers. Out of paperwork for him to sign, they had turned to giving status updates of everything around NERV.

"...should increase the efficiency of the A.T. Fields by approximately 2.5%, which would be a great help to the Narcissus Project." A man in his late forties and dressed in a semi-formal business suit concluded, quite content with his presentation. The other scientists seemed to be impressed, so Owen just smiled and nodded. Before Owen could begin to excuse himself, a women in a lab coat, Her name tag reading 'Dr. Amanda Shelley', began to speak.

"There have been some unexpected developments with the pilots. It appears that pilots Thirteen and Gemini are showing signs of courtship behavior, though surprisingly, Thirteen, despite the rapid increase in hormonal levels, is resisting. We have noticed a similar reaction in Fifteen compared to Rev though the results are inconclusive. They show a marked contrast with Ms. Leonidas and Mr. Blake who, security tells me, are in each-others company at this moment." she spoke matter-of-factually, much to the horror, embarrassment, confusion, and intrigue of the remaining passengers. "We recommend watching the developments closely as they could reduce their Sync rates drastically; with estimates being up to a full 18 percentage-points" she concluded.

The plane was silent for a moment before Owen let out with his first genuine laugh in a week, "Teenagers". The other passenger, save Dr. Shelley who looked dumbfounded, laughed with great enthusiasm.

"Farewell, Reaper. I understand that those final messages were extremely difficult for you, but you managed to muscle on. Thank you, from me and the others. Shall Grim pass into the next world safely and shall you enjoy your slumber."

Samuel broke off the connection with the practically dead eva. Though he was acting as an ambassador, he seemed more like a message relay for the evas. Then again, Unit-31's A.T field had strengthened his projection, along with the angel's intrusion, so it only felt fair to help them out here and there. Though, the damage it had caused to his brother's mind may be irreversible. There are many forms of medication that can combat schizophrenia, but in Alexander's case, his mind could fall apart at some point. Having the thoughts of sentient, alien, mechanical beasts and angelic doom bringers pass unknowingly through your head could be dangerous.

"Uh, hello. Rev? I don't know when you'll get this message but can we, um, talk about something. I'll explain later. Thanks." Alexander quickly hung up.

"Don't worry about explaining, he was there for most of the conversation. Before you ask how I know, let me just say peripheral vision is a wonderful thing."

Alexander lay in his bed, simply looking up at the ceiling. Slim rays of light entered through his window, blinds obscuring them. He was in deep thought, not even flinching at the idea that someone else on the team had witnessed that failure.

"You know what, Pollux? Just take a quick nap, maybe you'll feel better."

Alexander looked over at Samuel and followed. In a few minutes he was asleep.

"Wow, he does not care. Geez, I really hope this doesn't mess with his sych rates." The words he'd heard Chris's fallen eva transmit from the passengers aboard the flight rang through his mind. "He was making such progress, I hope this whole thing doesn't leave him cold."

Samuel figured that now was a good time to do his thing. After a bit of tinkering, Samuel rose and opened Alexander's eyes. He tested his hands, his feet, his toes, and quickly scratched his butt.

"I've been waiting to do that for so long. It feels good to have a body again." He quickly thought about taking full and constant control of his brother, but shook the thoughts out of his head. "That would just be wrong. I just need it for this one quick thing."

Samuel walked over to the computer and found out what he needed. He found what he was looking for, Owen's flight. They'd be gone for awhile, so they had to act soon. He picked up Alexander's phone.

"Hello, it's me Cas-Pollux. Hey Piggy, we need to put our plan in action soon. Owen isn't really around right now, they're transporting or at least about finished transporting Grim's eva to it's final resting place. We need to act now."

"Trust me, I know that more than anyone. I need you all ready, but I've got a few things to handle. Once I've worked on that, try and get everyone together. You know where to meet up."

Samuel thought he could hear a voice in the background, but ignored it.

"Pollux, did uh-did anything happen with you today? Because Addison's here and she's rambling on about something, pretty incoherently. Do you have any idea whats going on with with her?"

"No idea whatsoever. Make sure shes ready. Oh, and can you find Aiber? Samuel tuned into Unit-7.5 "I hear he can pick locks. I'm gonna see Rev in a bit. See you later."

Samuel took a quick shower, had a snack, and laid down giving control back to Alexander.

"Yep, I feel good about my life."

If one was asked to describe NERV's PR division in a single word, they might find themselves presenting several convincing choices, depending, of course, on their relation to the department. Resourceful. Wily. Manipulative. Honest. False. The most popular choice, however, would typically be some variant of timely, punctual, or expedient. In less than 48 hours after the latest angelic assault, the internet, news stations, and papers had experienced a veritable flood of new ads, press releases, and promises of further action. New video clips, featuring particularly impressive stills of Ohotorael's defeat, had sprung up everywhere the public could see them. Informational videos explaining the mechanics of the Angel's actions, dramatic shoots boasting mankind's prowess and strength, even a few cleverly faked "home-footage" to subtly remind the public that NERV did care for the people's well-being. And it had paid off.

Simply walking outside, a NERV ID badge pinned to your lapel, was enough to ensure a small mob of admiring civilians would soon surround you. Venturing into the streets wearing a full-blown uniform would net you an impromptu parade in your honor, lasting the approximate length of your walk home. For some employees, this was a godsend, a long deserved reward after all their hard work, a chance to bask in the praise of those they protected.

To David Ashford, it was a barely noted distraction.

A distraction, because being swarmed simply for waving his ID at a security guard ensured that he would arrive late at his destination. Barely noted, because he had hardly stepped outside his office since Ohotorael fell.

Preaching philosophical and religious beliefs to a clandestine organization was all well and good when protected by walls of solid steel; having your life threatened by men you didn't know exist was quite another. The future of mankind aside, the fact remained that SEELE had attempted to have him killed, and had likely almost succeeded. Despite his stubborn words, a chilly aura of fear and paranoia had slowly enshrouded David over the past few days, worming its way into his thoughts and heart. Security cameras seemed to trace his every movement, men reaching inside their coats were undoubtedly wrapping their fingers about the stock of a loaded gun, windowless vans parked outside his apartment and next to his car.

However, as the old saying went, "Neither sleet nor snow nor rain nor hail, shall keep a postman from completing his appointed rounds." Regardless of threats on his livelihood, Mr. Ashford had a task to complete, and by God he was going to make sure it got done, assassins and death threats be damned! Granted, he may have spent the next few days sequestered in his office, refusing almost all visitors and barely eating or drinking. But, his task was completed, his work done. Soon, he had no reason to linger at NERV, no excuse to prolong his stay. Eventually, he would have to leave, to reenter the outside world, exposing himself to who knows what.

At least, that was until his cell buzzed lightly, the vibrating nearly knocking the device off its precarious perch on his desk.

UNKNOWN

"Dr. Laurence, retrieving wreckage of Unit-13. Physical contact resulted in Unit "attacking" the doctor. Unknown cause."

A quick scan of NERV's security cameras revealed the temporary commander's convoy reentering the complex. A few moments later, and the good Dr. Laurence exited his vehicle, chuckling over some joke. As he entered the main building, the scientist took his familiar route, no doubt heading for his office.

Distractions, though tedious and unwelcome when there was work to be done, could be sources of great knowledge and aid when used correctly. And David was under the impression that Dr. Laurence would make a wonderful distraction at the moment...

Aiber sat up in the bed of his hastily rented hotel room and looked at Lisa's form laying beside him. They gave each other satisfied smiles for a moment, then Aiber began to look around for something.

"What is it?" Lisa asked.

"Whered my hat get tossed to?" he replied amused.

Lisa gave a curt laugh before tossing of the sheets and heading for the bathroom. Aiber stopped for a moment to watcher her walk until the bathroom door closed.

The sound of the shower starting could be heard in the room as Aiber stood up and stretched. He looked around the room for his hat, finding it upside down on the floor by a lamp. He scooped it up and placed it on the dresser by the bed, where the clock was. The red numbers said it had been a little less than an hour since this encounter started in the alley.

Aiber laid back down on the bed and sighed happily. For the first time in a very long time, he felt content.

Well, who would have thought a little weed could give a guy so much perspective?

Another 20 or so minutes passed and Aiber was pulling his black sports coat on over his dark grey t-shirt, followed by his black trim-cut fedora. He looked at Lisa putting her phone in her pocket after adding his number to her contact's list, and he smiled at her again.

"If you ever want to blow off a little steam, just call." He said.

"Ditto. Now lets get out of here." she replied.

The two of them exited the room and walked down the stairs to the lobby. The sunlight from the windows was a stark contrast to thier room, but it wasn't the only source of light. There were cameras snapping pictures of the front of the building and dozens of journalists, surrounded by an even greater number of the fans of all things Nerv. They were waiting for the pair outside.

Rev found himself stumbling through a dark alley. He cursed himself for his weak legs and low running speed. It seemed like Addison had taken off with the speed of an Olympic sprinter, there was no way a scrawny kid like him could keep up with her. She had looked frightened. Confused. He should have been quicker to help her. He cursed his own inaction, but his self-loathing took a backseat to worry. He wondered if Addison would be OK by herself.

He tripped over a yowling black cat, nearly giving himself a heart attack as the little beast scurried behind a corner, hissing at him. Rev peeked down at it. It looked starved, almost as feeble as he was. He smiled, feeling a bit of pity for the poor thing, and retrieved a sandwich from his jacket's pocket. He broke off a piece and offered it to the wretched little thing. The cat cautiously sniffed the peace offering before taking a small bite. The thing mewled in contentment. Apparently it liked chicken. Rev chuckled
a bit to himself, and took another bit of sandwich to
give Tue cat. Over the span of the next minute the little
cat chomped down the whole sandwich, leaving only a
few stray crumbs. Rev nodded at the little thing and
turned to leave. Before he could take a step, the little
cat had climbed its way onto Rev's shoulder, where it promptly fell asleep in a ball. He chuckled again. Apparently he was the proud owner of a cat.

Despite the little diversion he still needed to check on Addison. He picked up his phone and dialed her number. "Come on, pick up..."

Coffee: Never underestimate it's power. Owen had never much cared for the stuff, it tasted acrid and did horrible things to his stomach but after a solid week of endless meetings, paperwork, and repairs, the caffeine it contained appeared a blessing. Not to say that the coffee was in any way good: normal coffee tasted terrible but vending machine coffee... Owen assumed it had similar properties to paint thinner. "Now if only I can figure out why people like Decaf..." he started to wonder, before being drawn out of his daze.

Owen had been marching in auto pilot toward his office, with a slight detour to the vending machines for some much needed caffination. He had passed a few people; a pair of soldiers who had saluted at his presence, and a handful of scientists who all merely nodded. He returned each in kind while in he strode to his office. It was not until he arrived that his stupor was pierced, by a man who looked to need the coffee more than Owen did; an impressive and sorry state indeed. The man in question, Mr. David Ashford, was waiting by his door, his eyes darkened and blood-shot as though he had spent the last week in his office; a fair assessment considering how busy PR was at the moment.

Owen paused for a moment before speaking, in genuine confusion. "And what can I do for you, Mr. Ashford?"

Piggy was not sure why he was so eager to get inside, to have his eyes opened to whatever knowledge was kept within, but he wasted no time getting there. It was a powerful presence that seemed to be pushing him on, like there was some force within him, working through him. He planned the breach and felt the sensation of rising action- the feeling of a beginning, a point on which an entire time line may turn. It was like getting on a roller coaster and realizing you couldn't get off until it was over, come what might.

The world will tell you a story. You will tell it the ending.

Piggy was experimenting with hidden partitions on his tablet, figuring out how to send messages disguised as another person without creating any new entries or alerting the system. Piggy had the idea of Owen-blank, L-A-U-R-E-N-C-E space, so the computer didn't kick it out as a repeat of another entry. He toyed with it, writing code while he talked. The task was made even harder knowing that adults watched every keystroke, and he constantly had to write long sections of pointless diversion. The habit became instinct - the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and everything you did scrutinized.

"Hello, it's me Cas-Pollux. Hey Piggy, we need to put our plan in action soon. Owen isn't really around right now, they're transporting or at least about finished transporting Grim's eva to it's final resting place. We need to act now."

"Trust me, I know that more than anyone. I need you all ready, but I've got a few things to handle. Once I've worked on that, try and get everyone together. You know where to meet up."

"Pollux, did uh-did anything happen with you today? Because Addison's here and she's rambling on about something, pretty incoherently. Do you have any idea whats going on with with her?"

"No idea whatsoever. Make sure shes ready. Oh, and can you find Aiber? I hear he can pick locks. I'm gonna see Rev in a bit. See you later."

In any case, Nikolai had decided that we should act quickly, and they were asssembling for the mission. Piggy prepared to enter Nerv. No turning around, he thought. No one goes home until we get to the end. I'm scared to go into the uncharted, but would rather die than let the truth be lost.

The ice, the cold, everywhere. His cylindrical throne and handle like hand rest nearly resembled that of an entry plug. His guards were by his side, holding there poles firmly. At first he thought of himself as king, but soon realized he was but a mere prince. With an unknown enemy charging at him straight at his throne. The prince stood slowly, almost bored, and rose his hand. The enemy began to slow down, slowly being frozen, and then came to a complete halt before crumpling under it's own weight.

"Needs work."

"And you need to wake up!"

Alexander awoke with a jolt as his brother was floating a couple of inches away from his bed. A few seconds later, he faded away and Alexander felt himself being strapped into the passenger seat as Samuel took control of Alexander's body.

"Castor, what the hell are you doing?"

"Hey, be lucky I didn't just take it without your permission. Unless you enjoy the idea of waking up on a speeding moped. First off, Piggy needs our help. That little mission to get to Owen's computer remember. He already has Addison, probably keeping her somewhere where she won't spazz out and hurt herself."

Samuel strapped on the goggles and helmet, revving the moped a bit. He liked the feel of it.

"What? Listen, I want in on this to, but I don't think I can go anywhere near Addison. and I doubt she wants to see me. She panicked when I told her how I felt. She didn't leave awkwardly, she didn't friendzone me. She. panicked. I can't deal with that right now-"

"Irrelevant. Sorry if I'm sounding robotic but you've got to act fast. Owen and co are returning from disposing of Chris's eva. This is the only clear opening for awhile. I already called him while you were asleep, and by the sound in part of his voice, plus what his sis has told me about him, he's probably gotten impatient and is going for it. We need to round up the rest of the gang fast. Rev is in, and Charlie hints that Aiber may join as well. Not too sure about Leonidas."

Samuel sped down the road, traffic slowing him down to nearly a crawl. Bored with this, he decided to take a few backstreets and alleys.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa. When-HOW could you call Piggy, while I was asleep? Did you take control agai-you spoke with his sister? He has an actual sister? How long was I asleep and how did you even find-wait, who the hell is Charlie?"

"I'll explain later. Point is that we're on our way to NERV, but we need to find-"

"Rev!"

"Well yes, and Aiber-"

"No, Rev right down this street!"

Samuel pulled over and gave control back to Alexander, who promptly got off his moped and ran over to Rev. Rev looked up from his phone, slightly confused.

"I was trying to call Addison when I got your message. What's going on? I saw you're little Romeo moment down at the shop, got my own treat, left after trying not to gag or cheer you on, and a few minutes later she ran up to me-"

"Um, yeah don't worry about that right now. Piggy found her and I think he's about to try and get to Laurence's computer. If he's gonna do it, I wanna be there too."

Samuel quickly took over Alexander's voice.

"And see what we can get off the computers."

He lifted the usb around Alexander's neck, and showed it to Rev. He gave control back to Alexander.

"So,um, yeah, that's the plan."

Alexander eyed the sleeping cat for a moment as Samuel took over once more.

"And yes, you can bring your new friend."

Rev stood in a daze, watching as Alexander rambled. He couldn't help but let Mikhael poke through and get a view of what in the hell was going on. Everything happened so fast he couldn't even begin to understand what he was saying. It was almost like there were two people talking at once, trying to share a voice. He found his eyes darting to the left and right, almost like two different little angels or demons were on Pollux's shoulders, arguing over just what he should say and do.

What really worried him, however, was the things that were said in response to him. Of course his acquaintance--as much as he'd like it to change they weren't really friends--had given him a satisfactory answer.

The problem was, he never asked the question out loud.

His mind processed a hundred different possibilities for what had happened. The most probable was that he did say it, but his mind didn't register him saying it. The least probable? Pollux could read minds. Then again, by the standards of most of what he'd seen that wasn't very improbable at all. He suddenly remembered the cat as Pollux noted it. He looked up to the sleeping little critter on his shoulder and tickled its chin with a finger.

"I guess I need to name this thing, don't I? Hm... it can wait."

He took a confident step forward, dragging Pollux back to the moped and hopping on the back. "Hurry up. If this is getting done then we don't want to miss the party."

He knew that Fifteen would show up. He needed to be the one to meet her. For everyone's sake.

Is this what drove the other Addison's crazy? Was this the big push that drove them over edge?

Addison sat on the edge of the bridge facing down into the shimmering waters below. It was a dark-blue, nearly picture worthy. Her legs dangled in the wind, like slim wind chimes moving to and fro whenever the breeze picked up.

She was going to jump. She would drown and another Addison would replace her if Fifteen hadn't already. Either that or break her neck on impact and they would have to kill her.

Addison inched closer, and closer. She was at peace with it because she was expendable after all. That's what they all were, expendable.

Another would take their place, and like a well-oiled machine the gears would roll on again. They wouldn't question who came before them or what would become of them after but only focus on now. The others were probably looking for her, wondering where she is or what is going to happen. The scientists would be too, and NERV as well.

Wind howled and Addison almost leaned over the edge. She gripped the railing, nearly bending it to her will. Something still grabbed onto her, begging herself not to do it. It was an odd feeling. Her body worked against her again, telling her to wait before taking the big plunge. She needed do something but Addison didn't know what.

Was it to say goodbye to Pollux?
Addison was sure that she didn't want to see her after what she did but something deep inside made her feel obligated to do just that. At least to show him a good time before she committed suicide. A twisted "thanks for everything" sort of idea that made Addison push herself from ledge and get back on the walkway wrapping itself along the road.

Addison checked her phone to find several messages from the members on her team. Rev was one of the missed calls and to mention Piggy.

Soon Addison was in front of the NERV building after taking her own route from the bridge. She leaned against the building, tapping her finger in a rhythmic fashion waiting for the others to say and think what to say to them.

Lisa frowned as she looked out to the flashing cameras pointed at her and Aiber. Her head instinctively dropped, not wanting to look into the numerous sets of eyes gazing at her, nor the mouths yelling at her. It had slipped her mind that with her status as 'One of the Six Teenage Saviours of the World' brought fame with it. Neo-Spartan training had prepared her for everything, evolving Angels, insubordinate pilots, how to avoid devolving into a mass of LCL fluid... But it didn't make her ready for the scrutiny of the public. She hated the thought of having her every move watched by the world, if not just Africa and England. Worst of all, she was walking out of a hotel room with Aiber! Of course they weren't holding hands or anything of the sort, but the implications were obvious. She wasn't ashamed, per se, he had been a great stress relief to her, but just uncomfortable that the whole planet knew who she was bedding. She liked it better at the Neo-Spartan facility, where no one really talked about their sexual experiences, making it a surprise with every guy, and girl, that she had ever slept with.

The reporters snapped photos of her and called out their names. How did they know she was Ms. Leonidas anyway? Wasn't her identity a secret? She was beleaguered by questions as she pushed through the crowd, head still down. She heard the conservative reporters, "What's the status of your relationship?" "How does it feel to know that the children of the world are watching you do this?" "Do you plan to fight if you become pregnant?" and the liberal ones, "Care to explain the millions incurred in property damage by your fights?" "How many innocents do you let die beforeyou stop those monstrosities?" "Where does all the money spent on your programs go?" She reviled them all. They were alive, tha is to her. They ought to be thankful.

It was some time later when she had returned to her room at headquarters. She had gone to exercise, eaten a light meal, and thoroughly exhausted herself. The mental toll of the reporters along with the physical toll of her experience with Aiber left her begging for rest. She plopped down on her bed, taking off only her jacket before she layed herself down. She took a sleeping pill from her pocket, which brought her tired body to rest immediately. Her eyes hastily closed as she thought back to Aiber with a smirk. Just before she fell completely asleep, the last thought in her consciousmind was, 'I wonder if that Alex kid would be any good...'

As little drones buzzed in and out of NERV HQ, going about their precious tasks, no one noticed a small moped putter along to the front of the building. Alexander and Mikhael stepped off of the poor man's motorbike, feline friend in tow. The philosopher did not wait for his comrade before he began walking up to the building. He was lost in thought, about many things. The first, of course, was his teammates.

He had spent a lot of time learning of them. He kept a mental notebook of their various personalities, who to treat carefully and who to joke at. He didn't particularly care for subtlety on most days, and made the same approach toward almost all of them. But he felt it was a good idea for when a situation became serious enough to forgo humor. Still, that was a situation he never wanted to imagine. Pollux and Addison were open-and-shut cases for him, for the most part. He had spent a lot of time with them during the weeks between Eva attacks. Neither seemed to particularly care for him, but he was OK with that. As morbid as it was, he had accepted he was probably going to go through life mostly unloved.

He stopped for a moment to contemplate his own train of thought. He thought it odd, remembering the words he had said to the Angel. He had spoke with such certainty, a positive assertion of humanity's victory, and even still he could not bring himself to look at his own situation with any optimism. If he could lie to himself about the war, why couldn't he do it about his own life? He considered telling himself that everything would work out, but he couldn't bring himself to do it. It was too grim, even for him to try it. The best he could do was hope that maybe he'd get a happy ending. This time.

...

Rev sat on the edge of a cliff. Down below was his hometown. A small place, isolated from the rest of the world. For miles around there was nothing but wilderness. A perfect place for adventure. New sights, sounds, and smells every day. And of course, he always had someone to share it with. To his left sat the most beautiful girl he'd ever laid eyes on. Her light brown hair framed a pair of crystal blue eyes, staring off at the brilliant red and orange sunset gracing the valley they lived in. Her hand rested on his, like silk against his, and warm.

But this was not a happy sunset. He watched her, a shamed expression on his face. She was trying, and failing, to keep herself from crying. Tears dropped off of her ruby-red cheeks down to the trees below them.

"Why didn't you tell me sooner?" she asked him.

"I didn't know how to say it. I guess I was hoping there was some way I could get out of it, escape it... but I can't. I have to go with them. Save the world, I guess."

"And leave us all behind?"

He paused, unsure of what to say. "...Yeah."

"Is this why you brought me out here?"

"No! I mean, yes, but... it's not that simple!" he insisted. "I wanted our last day together to be special. To mean something. You always said you wanted to see our town from the sky. And... well, I can't fly a plane, so I thought this was the closest we could get."

She looked over at him, dead in the eye. Her face was the embodiment of confusion. Rage, sorrow, and a bit of amusement mixed up her expression as she tried to think of what to do. She leaned forward, and her eyes closed. Rev braced, and expected her to kiss him. But she didn't. She threw her face into his breast and cried. Her eyes poured out fountains of tears as she cried. He held as close as he could.

They were there all night, until the early morning, when the agents came for him.

Mikhael took a deep breath, and stepped into the HQ to find Piggy. Time for Round 2, Life.

Aiber pushed his way past the crowd losing sight of Lisa in the process. When he got to the other side of the throng he said in the tone of voice his father would have used

"You know I would love to answer all of your questions but there are just 3 problems. One: it's none of your business how I spend my spare time or who I spend it with, Two: Even the youngest pilot could tell you are asking someone who would have no reason to know the answers to your questions, in this case me, so that it looks like we are holding out which somehow supports your self-righteous agenda, and Three: The other pilots and I are just kids. We are kids who get sent out to fight hellish giant monsters, putting our lives on the line for the common good, and as you saw a few days ago, we don't always come back."

"So you're saying you're better than us?" a pudgy man in a brown suit piped in to a microphone.

"I'm saying that if you want to skewer a public figure to up your ratings. Pick one who didn't just literally prevent human extinction."

With that Aiber walked away. He had enough excitement for one day and decided to head back to Nerv. He hailed a cab and had it drop him off at the entrance, where he was about to go inside, but he saw Addison hanging around.

"Hey, I haven't seen you since the battle. What's up?" he called out to her.

Addison eyed the Neo-Spartan. He had an air of rebellion in his breath, more prevalent in the way he walked as well. He walked tall but there was something about the way he did so that made her question why he sought to approach her like this. She didn't like Neo-Spartans but she could tolerate them.

From her point of view, all of them were brash and psychopathic meat heads that would better serve as meat shields than human beings. It is what they were trained to do anyway but they still were damn good pilots.

"Nothing..." Addison got up from her leaning stance, rustled by the Neo-Spartan. She went in the building, and she didn't care if the boy followed at her heels. Addison could hear him anyways, his steps were so loud.

"Did you get Piggy's message too?" Addison asked, keeping an eye out for that kid among the throng of NERV employees and guards that always seemed to be moving about the place.

Alexander stood outside of NERV as Rev broke off and entered NERV HQ. He would've been right behind him, if it wasn't for the things he'd said right as he walked away. Alexander had heard Rev talking about the other team, even something along the lines of Addison and him not really caring for Mikhael, which though partially true, wasn't something someone usually aloud. He'd also faintly heard something about a happy ending. Alexander was about to respond when he noticed something else was off.

NERV was a bit louder than usual. He could hear the voices of the constantly working NERV workers, officers, engineers, scientist and that like, but there were strange words in between. While someone was thanking an officer for helping them with a task, an officer would be cursing them out. One female scientist admitting that that one guy in lab B3 was pretty handsome while he mentioned something along the lines of undressing her. Each conversation seemed oblivious to the words being passed around. Plus, Alexander didn't see the words being formed by the lips of the speaker. He figured it was all the voices around him drowning and overlapping each other, causing him to misunderstand a few things. He thought nothing of it.

"Now, wheres Piggy? Might as well see if I can catch up to Rev and try to find him together. But then again, Addison's probably around here somewhere and that could cause...issues."

Alexander tried not to let it show as he walked through officers and rushing scientist, but he was still pretty shaken by the experience earlier that day. He didn't know what he'd say if he ran into her, and wasn't sure how she'd react. Alexander tried to ignore the feeling.

"Samuel, any idea what I should do."

"Hold on a sec." The room got a bit quieter but then rose in volume again. "Goddamn interference! You'll just have to deal with it. Okay, there's no angel detected, you weren't called here, and there's a good chance you and your friends are being watched. So, immediately grouping up with the whole team would seem weird. Not enough to get you locked up or anything, just enough to have an officer say, 'What are all the hotshots doing here?.' for a bit, they'll just think you're walking around or that someone called you here for synch testing or something, but after awhile you'll be questioned. Especially with it getting late."

Deal with what? Alexander had noticed Samuel's weird speech pattern and was finally putting things together. He'd have to talk to him about it later, for now Samuel did have a good point. Then again, why would NERV distrust the people slightly in charge of keeping them employed and keeping them alive?

"Castor, I doubt NERV is that paranoid, but whatever. I'll go with it. But, I'll have to coordinate with someone? Where is everyone anyway?"

Alexander felt a few strange pulses in his head, and a moment later Samuel responded.

"Well, it appears that Aiber ran into Addison, Rev is bound to meet up with Piggy, and Miss Leonidas appears to be in her quarters, here at HQ."

Samuel paused for a bit.

"Alright, Coffin, thanks for the update. What? Fine, fine, fine, "The Coffin." Alright I know where to find her. You should be careful though, Pollux. She is currently asleep."

"Alrighty then. Lets go."

Samuel took control of Alexander's legs and began walking off in a certain direction. Alexander was amazed and intrigued by this, Samuel was able to match Alexander's stride perfectly, if perhaps a bit jerky due to Alexander still having up control. "The Coffin." Another strange name. Sis, Charlie, and now The Coffin. Samuel had a lot to explain, but for now, Alexander was focused on either getting Leonidas to follow along with their plan or use her as a distraction.

And praying he wouldn't run into Addison.

Alastor could feel him. It was subtle, hidden by instinct more than skill, and weak. Weak compared to he rest of his brothers and sisters anyway. It touched his mind, reaching out for new information. At first, Alastor thought it just another of his siblings, gaining information before it began it's siege on the Lilim, until he heard it's voice; it was not hunting for information, it was asking for it. The being spoke with the Lilim and the angelic reflections they had chained to their will.

Alastor felt a strange sensation. His host had called it "curiosity" - a desire for knowledge at nearly any cost. The mind was too far away to speak to it properly and Alastor had little desire to do so. It was still too young and inexperienced to grasp it's errors, and with only the barest sense of an identity he feared his divine presence might snuff the untrained mind from creation. So instead, he listened.

It called out to the one of the Lilim's pets, those "Evangelion" as the Lilim liked to call them. To Alastor's surprise, the beast responded, not out of fear or compulsion as he had known the pet's to do, but by it's own will. Alastor could not help but gawk. How had one of his siblings managed to convince the Evangelions to speak? What trick had he used?

Alastor pushed further, trying to find the mind, but stopped himself when he felt the creature take notice of his presence, such as one might an odd sound. Alastor hid his mind deep, such that he would not be detected easily. He ignored the world around him and focused on the voices, on the fragile minds, for "fragile" was the only word appropriate for the young sibling.

His instincts proved good: the consciousness seemed to dismiss Alastor's sudden intrusion, taking it to be just another of the "thoughts" those Lilim so often had. Alastor again pushed forward, careful to stay "downwind" of the psyche, moving further and further into it's range. Closer and closer he drew, each of his steps increasing the sense of tension in his core, until finally he could hear it properly.

"...around or that someone called you here for synch testing or something, but after awhile you'll be questioned. Especially with it getting late."

The mind was speaking to someone directly. Was it perhaps another of the offspring of Adam the Doomsayer's had made - speaking to it's host to advance their arcane goals?

"Well, it appears that Aiber ran into Addison, Rev is bound to meet up with Piggy, and Miss Leonidas appears to be in her quarters, here at HQ."

The words were familiar. Alastor reached into his hosts mind and withdrew the required information - they were the names of the beast masters of Seele. The revelation confused him. The Doomsayer's had no need to implant one of the "pilots" - they were better off living in ignorance of the Doomsayer's machinations. What would cause them to change their desires so suddenly and so drastically?

"Alright, Coffin, thanks for the update. What? Fine, fine, fine, "The Coffin." Alright I know where to find her. You should be careful though, Pollux. She is currently asleep."

It did not serve them! The mind was like his, but free! It aided it's host, but it did so of it's own will! How had a "Tattletale" gained it's freedom - especially one so weak it knew not how to defend itself? This mind had a some secret, some wisdom that freed it. But what wisdom could make even the Doomsayer's recoil?

He felt it again, the feeling that his mind was becoming detectable - he was becoming TOO curious. He receded and surrendered ground so as to remain hidden. Then, when the danger passed, he moved in once more, his mind once again invisible. He would listen, he would learn, and soon he would be free; soon the Doomsayer's and their ilk would learn to fear him.

It took about ten minutes of walking before they were within Owen's Office building. Passing scores of personnel through checkpoints, into the vast above-ground lobbies with recreation halls and dining facilities, down corridors where technicians drove carts en route to their assignments and men sat in meeting rooms and listened to someone give a briefing with a huge display screen behind them. Scientists immersed themselves in their labs and analysts worked their computers, while thousands of administrators went about their day. The pilots moved casually through the facility, past another securtiy patrol and into the elevator towards Director Laurence's temporary office.


Piggy didn't see any guards around the corridor, and counted the seconds off in his head. Owen was gone, and we had about two minutes left before security cycled their shift. Maybe. And that meant gaining administrative access to the computer, running it through his decryption algorithm and then erasing their presence. Not even a minute to actually read anything.

These were bad odds, and yet...

Life isn't easy, but believing that the system will always grind you to a pulp is the exact way to make sure it comes true. We could just as likely remember how minuscule the chances are of us even being born, and surviving this long, and yet here you are. There's always a way left for you. That's the world. But if they don't find it...

Hurry. The time was counting down. Rev and Addison took lookout positions to keep anyone away, while Alexander and Piggy wirelessly connected and began their work.

Mikhael was posted at the corner of the hallway, so that a person engaging him could not also see inside. But then he saw someone.
Her. Fifteen.


Emails: Lots of sent/received emails, mostly mundane or technical. The first one he saw that said
PRIORITY / / TOP SECRET
he opened. It was a memo about the thing that the terrorists brought in on the boat, Sametos.

UZN.2 Project - Unit-09.2, accidental creation after New Masau Angel-1 exposure - decommissioned

They kept searching, coming across detailed project descriptions and schematics.

Weapon Designs:

A.T.R.G. (Absolute Territory Resonance Gun) - Weapon uses pieces of dead angels and broken/discarded Eva's to channel the users A.T. Field into a long ranged attack that synchronize's with the enemies A.T. Field. Working prototype was used successfully during combat.

Lance of Longinus - mass production model - still in beta form.

Arm Mounted Progressive Drill - it pierces the heavens.

Horn of Jericho - From Seele / Hebrews 11:30-31

Armor Designs:

New Evangelion containment systems - same theory as A.T.R.G. but directed inward to stop rampaging Eva - Still in alpha development

Dummy Plug System - Automated system consisting of both electronic and biological elements. The computer is connected to a network of silicon chips to which neuron cells are embedded, allowing it to generate an A.T. Field, mimic a real pilot's thought patterns and synch with an Evangelion. It is perhaps helpful to think of the Dummy as "semi-living," a term used by it's inventors.

Resonance Armor - Armor resonates with A.T. Field to enhance the A.T. Field. - Decreases battery life, actual physical armor decreases).

Plugsuit- Plug Suits with enhanced armor, additional flexibility, and artificial synchronization enhancement - mass production started, 1st delivery in 2 days

Notes on Pilots: performance specs, behaviors, medical tests, evaluations, etc. Recommendations include cycling vacation time (2 pilots off per week)- sending approval memos to the West African Protectorate.

There was a long manufactured pilot roster, with names Piggy didn't recognize. But the Addi's were on there.

Addison- 13
Good physical condition; positive combat data. The council is pleased by the recordings of the angel Malakiel, who was bisected at the waist by Addison-13's shot. However, we are rejecting the subject based on the line's history of hormonal instability.

...
Addison- 15
Physically healthy; good results in preparatory synch testing. Raw hostile engagement data includes confirmed wounds within minutes of awakening, including breaking a man's arm and other such trauma. This pleases the council. However, we have received information that the abductors were under orders not to harm the subject in any way, and were actively trying to restrain her without injury, rendering the results inconclusive. In addition, the action is not as important as the motivation behind it, or at least what the subject believes it meant. Our concerns are with the emotional fluctuation that seems prevalent in the Addison series, and we are pursuing a more stable genetic line. According to your reports, the individual had been alone with GSED operatives for several hours, raising the possibility of imprinting or receiving indoctrination. This is unacceptable.

----------------------------------------------------------

Genetic potential between numbers 13 and 15 are without statistical significance. 13 retains lead based on experience.

It goes on through a list of manufactured pilots from other countries. In the end, the German Astraea (female) and Endymion (male) lines were selected as having the highest potential.

The success of the manufactured pilots have shown us that progress toward the Mass Produced Evangelions is moving along nicely. However, we must strive to continue the research and development of these tools.

The selected pilots had their brains and spinal columns extracted, the CNS scanned and reproduced as computerized neuron gel, forming the basis for the prototype MPE Dummy Plug. We are in the final stages of testing and feel confident in the likelihood of product realization. The MPEs display formidable savagery in their raw state, and the new generation Dummy Systems boast combat prowess and survivability that far surpasses that of even the best-trained neospartan pilots. However, it is still only theoretically capable of successfully utilizing the Evangelion's A.T. Field. When facing pilots in tune with the deeper being of their soul, its kill ratio begins to falter.

By arming the MPE with a false lance, it will become fit for the variety of situations it is likely to face in the field. The potential for this enhancement is fast becoming a reality. When complete, it could make the Mass Produced Evangelion the ultimate combatant, as well as giving it the tool of divinity with which to initiate Third Impact and the Human Instrumentality Project.

"This isn't real." Piggy said as he stared. His arms were shaking.

And at last, there was some strange rune or symbol. As he looked at it, the symbol seemed to be flowing with some powerful siren call that brought terror out of Nikolai and focused it all to a point. This was it, the moment where nothing can return to it's previous state. Piggy wanted to take one last second to look at Alexander and at the room, for it was his last moment of this world, the point of no return.

He clicked it.

image

Director Owen J. Laurence (PhD)
Nerv Designation: 31415
Age: 14
1.93 meters (6'4")
93.44 kg (206 lbs)
O Positive blood type
Specialist rank/ United Nations Corp of Engineers

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Known History
Subject has named himself "Owen J. Laurence". The name was invented some time ago by combining several names from various books he read as a "child". The individual was created as a prototype for the future manufactured pilots. His creation predates the Evangelion project and as such, never had the ability to synchronize with an Eva. In fact, the Evangelions unsettle him and he suspects the Eva's feel much the same (though he has no proof of this, merely a gut instinct).

Subject has spent his childhood in a European science facility. His early life was spent escaping into whatever books he could acquire in the lab (mostly technical manuals and historical/science fiction novels). Unsurprisingly, the reading and rereading of countless science textbooks from a young age, combined with the increased intellect and memory that his creators had chosen to include in his genetic code, soon allowed him to speak on level with any of the scientists in the facility. The progress that he was able to make at the facility was significant and it pleased the scientists to see how successful the cloning process had been. Unbeknownst to the researchers however, Owen was filling with unrest. He had read from a young age exactly what he was: an experiment - one that had a definitive end point that would include the "liquidation of all prototype assets". As such, he knew for most of his life that it would come to an end at the hands of his so called parents. As the experiment went on, his despair grew until, a plan began to form. When the time of his liquidation grew close at hand, his 10th birthday, he used what tools he had gathered to escape the facility and burn it to the ground. Within his chamber, he placed one of the failed clone samples from elsewhere in the lab complex to cover his tracks.

The plan worked and he managed to escape into the world, assimilating into society. It was at this time that Owen took his name (until then he had simply been a number). As he traveled the world he used his knowledge to build a reputation as a leader in the scientific community and it was not long before he was invited to join the UN science commission.

Physiological Evaluation
Outwardly normal. Subject suffers from a strange side effect of his cloning. Due to the prototype nature of his clone body, he ages at an accelerated rate (appearing to age 2 years for every year). Owen takes medication he created himself to mitigate the negative effects and keep his body solvent, but he cannot stop the rapid aging, which grows worse by the year.

Psychological Evaluation
Owen has sympathy for other created beings (such as manufactured pilots and the Evangelions) but at the same time fears them. He can empathize with the struggles of being created, but he fears that if he gets too close to another manufactured, he will be discovered.

As such he keeps his distance from manufactured as best as possible but, in the event that one is going to be harmed, he will step in and defend them, feeling a sense of camaraderie. Owen has lived his whole life hiding behind a facade. Deceit is second nature to him and he uses several layers of it at any given time. He has found that people do not generally consider him a threat if he wears the mask of the "eccentric professor" so he plays the fool for all it's worth.

And then a map of Nerv Masau, showing the areas that weren't on other maps. A dozen secret zones and entrances- facilities of all types. And at the very end was Terminal Dogma- the deepest, most secret level of Nerv headquarters under New Masau, an innermost sanctum accessible only to the highest leaders of Nerv. The computer did not say what it was, and the entry had only a single word.

Abaddon

From the Revelation of Saint John. It is a place of darkness and destruction to which those outside of faith in a coming Messiah go, a place of fire and shadow cast out from God.

Alexander stared at the screen, almost as shaken as Piggy. He'd figured NERV had a few skeletons in their closet, but he never could've imagined things such as these. At first, everything had seemed mundane and old news. Reports on the hybrid, a few new weapons in development, and the dummy system, which slightly worried Alexander. But nothing much.

There were notes on the pilots, the medical information caught his eye as piggy checked each window. Alexander noted something about his developing condition, a small section about Piggy apparently having H.I.V. If Piggy saw this, he didn't let his face show it. In Rev's, Aiber's, and Lisa's files, there was information about recruitment, training, and the word Neo-Spartan showed up a lot. So these were his teammates, super soilders and H.I.V patients, could things get any stranger? He then realized something. Addison wasn't listed.

And then there were a list of pilots, under the word manufactured. and there she was, Addison. Not just the name Addison, but Addison-13. She was the thirteenth in the series, all the others doomed by fate and hormones. Addison-13 was classified as failure. It almost angered Alexander right then and there, but he kept himself calm. She was positioned at the end of the hall and Alexander was still uneasy, especially after reading his. Not because of she was manufactured, but because of the next few entries.

There was an entry on Addison-15, most likely Addison's "sister," as Alexander had believed.
They'd created another version of her while she was still alive. She was just a tool to them, something they could just throw away and pick up a new one, fresh out of its test tube. And then he read the entry on what they'd did to selected the manufactured pilots. Alexander nearly became glad they classified her as a failure, if it meant she wouldn't be useful to them.

"This isn't real." Alexander noticed Piggy was shaking and Alexander soon realized he was as well. He stopped himself and put his hand on Piggy's shoulder, which he barely noticed. Piggy was staring too intently at the strange symbol on the screen. Piggy then turned, looked around the room, and quickly glanced at Alexander. He looked at his face for a moment and Alexander then realized piggy was absolutely terrified. No one his age should know things like this existed. Nothing like this should. Piggy turned back to the screen and clicked on the symbol.

It was about...Owen. His life story, his personality, and it turned out he was also manufactured. Aging a lot faster than one normally should. So this is what Owen had to hide. What was Seele, and what the hell were they doing with him? And then a map of Nerv Masau, showing the areas that weren't on other maps. A dozen secret zones and entrances- facilities of all types. And at the very end was Terminal Dogma- the deepest, most secret level of Nerv headquarters under New Masau, an innermost sanctum accessible only to the highest leaders of Nerv. There was no information on its purpose, only a word.

Abaddon.

"From the Revelation of Saint John. It is a place of darkness and destruction to which those outside of faith in a coming Messiah go, a place of fire and shadow cast out from God."

Alexander noticed Piggy say this to himself, but barely moved when he had. This disturbed Alexander for a moment, but not as much as the information on this computer did. He was frozen in place. Samuel wasn't and took over. He grabbed the usb around Alexander's neck.

"That's it, we're taking all of it"

Suddenly Aiber came running into the room. He had helped them unlock the door, after Alexander shorted out the keypad. He was supposed to be with Miss Leonidas, who Alexander had shared an awkward moment with earlier, distracting Owen who had finally returned to NERV

"We have an issue!"

Samuel handed Piggy the usb, who quickly plugged it in, and gave control back to Alexander. He ran out of the room and looked down. Addison was at the end of the hall with Miss Leonidas, trying slow Owen down. He simply kept walking, ignoring there false explanations and plots to keep him away from his office. Alexander looked to the other end of the hall. He was standing in front of Addison-15. What the hell is she doing here and what is she doing with Rev?

"Well, this is just fantastic."

Mikhael stood in the hall, staring at her. A lump caught in his throat as he tried to speak. He didn't understand. Why was this so hard? He had never feared anything. He was a hero, he was fighting unholy abominations on a weekly basis. Why couldn't he talk to one girl? A voice in his mind scolded him. He really was hopeless.

hopeless

He grabbed onto that word and held it. His mind began to race as his philosopher's nature took hold of him. Maybe that was it all along. He remembered the day he burst forth from his room, the first time he was Rev Mikhael, and not Mikhael Rev. He had almost forgotten the decision that had led him to that dramatic exit.

He was hopeless. For all he had thought, he had sought an answer his whole life. And he hadn't found it. He had come to the conclusion that there was no hope. There was no truth. There was no love, or vengeance, or anything of worth. It was all meaningless...

And he had decided that wasn't good enough. So what if the world was hopeless? Humans are amazing creatures, capable of accomplishing anything. If there wasn't any hope yet, all he had to do was create some. He would force his ideals on the world, and he would bend reality to make the Earth a place worth living in. He had spent over a year like that. It was a marvelous feeling, that brash optimism being all he had to hold onto. So why had that changed? He knew now. In Fifteen, he saw a chance. Something that he might one day be able to truly fight for, to champion the cause of. He saw a future for himself, when the war was over. He had finally found hope. He was afraid of losing it.

He stepped forward. He didn't care what she wanted. If she was there to kill him, might as well make it easy on her. he threw his arms around her, hiding his face behind hers so she wouldn't see the tears pouring down his cheeks as he let his fear out for the first time in months. Maybe even years.

"Y-you've really got to stop popping in and out like this..." he said. "I've got important work to do, I can't spend all my time wondering where you've gone."

The hallways weren't safe; too many people, too many cameras, too many corners. Not safe, too dangerous, get out, get out, get out.. The words pulsed through David's mind, resonating through his thoughts and ideas, shredding any ability to plan or think. There was no time for worrying about the future, not while there were so many others around him. A parade of people marched past, carrying papers, files, briefcases, purses. So many places to hide a gun, a needle, a knife.

No, no, no. They wouldn't kill him in front of this many witnesses, right? They couldn't, they wouldn't dare. Too many people, that was his shield. People would ask questions, his equipment would be examined, his communications scanned, his steps retraced. Yes, he was safe, he would live.

But, this was the organization with enough power to erect a secret chamber within the heart of NERV itself. Who knew how many of the company's employees filled SEELE's ranks, how many rested in their pockets? No, not safe, never safe. Keep moving, keep running, don't stop, get out, get out, get out, get

"And what can I do for you, Mr. Ashford?"

David suddenly snapped his eyes forward, staring in shock and fear at the man before him, the man who knew his name. Wait, no, Dr. Laurence. That's right, this was the good doctor's office, that's why he was here. That's why he wasn't safe, because he needed to talk to this man.

"Heh, Dr. Laurence, just the man I needed to see. I, uh, well..."

Lovely. Panicking is never good for the composure. You really need to calm down.

Shut up.

Really now, just count backwards from 10 or something. It'll help.

Shutup shutup shutup shutup shutup!

David's inner turmoil was interrupted, however, by a metallic taste flooding through his mouth. It seemed he had bitten into his cheek hard enough to draw blood. The pain, a bit delayed, flashed through his nerves. Luckily, the ache helped calm his turbulent thoughts; it seemed he was finally back in control of his senses.

"Yes, Dr. Laurence. I had a few questions for you; trying to make sure that some of our adverts aren't revealing anything they shouldn't. Would you mind if we stepped inside your office?"

"Yes, Dr. Laurence. I had a few questions for you; trying to make sure that some of our adverts aren't revealing anything they shouldn't. Would you mind if we stepped inside your office?" Mr. Ashford said, his bloodshot eyes darting around the hallway as though expecting the walls to attack him. Owen could not help but be suspicious of the clearly out-of-it man, but shrugged the idea off as a combination of Davids lack of sleep and his own suspicious nature.

"Not particularly, though this" Owen said while pointing at the door, "is just my temporary office. I'm just here to grab the last of my supplies and move them to my new office up top" Owen concluded, now pointing at the ceiling. "Give me a moment to grab my... well, some of my stuff, and I'll be happy to meet with you." David, not truly registering the statement in his dazzled state just nodded slightly as Owen opened the door to his former office.

The room was now back to being mostly empty. The papers and technical equipment that had cluttered the small room in the days prior had been moved by NERV and even his desk had been cleared with haste Owen could barely fathom. The only item that remained was, well, his burden and his alone. Owen moved to his desk and, reaching into his pocket, extracted a small key. He placed the device into the lock on the lower left hand side of his desk and turned it. In response, the drawer in questioned opened to reveal a small, insulated box. Owen suspected that were he not in such a sad state of being, David, who was busy eying the hallways in what appear to be fear, would have questioned him about the box almost immediately.

The box was, for Owen at least, vital. it contained a most important piece of technology - a syringe and several vials of life maintaining fluid - everything Owen needed to prevent his aging into the dust. Not that he would tell anyone that. If anyone were to ask, it would be just "Some experiment". Owen lifted the cold metal box from the confines of his old desk and moved back into the hallway, David, still jumpy beyond reason, in toe.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

When the elevator door, opened. the first thing that struck Owen was how the usually quiet hallway was occupied by two of NERV's finest pilots - Thirteen and Leonidas. Both were looking around the room with a feigned aura of nonchalance. As Owen stepped into the hallway, from the darkened elevator, the two glanced at him, a look of surprise on their faces. Well, look of cold tension on Thirteen's and a look of battle-readiness on Leonidas's - the closest to "surprised" that two Evangelion pilots ever got.

Now Owen was confused. "What the heck is going on?" was all Owen could think as he raised his eyebrow in inquiry. risking a glance at David, He could see the same look of confusion, all be it more subdued given the state of his mind.

As the two moved into the hallway proper, Addison and Leonidas approached them in turn, clearly ready to say something. They had almost reach each other when Owen became aware of another presence - that of the younger Mr. Blake - ducking through a door on the far end of the hallway; the same door he and David were working their way towards. Owen paled; the box he carried, once as precious as life to him, fell to the floor with a clatter and a crash. The female pilots said something, but Owen ignored them, pushing past them, his pace rising with every step.

[i/]"I'm just being paranoid... It's not like they would have any reason to... I'm sure its just a moving party or something"[i/] Owen though to himself, trying to convince himself that it was just his own well documented paranoia. All thoughts of David and his strangeness, of Alastor and Seele, of the Angels, and even of his own plans, seemed to fade away as he moved toward the cracked doorway. As he moved, He could see another pilot, Alexander, peek around the corner from his office. His pace increased ten fold.

As he passed another fork in the hallways, he could see Rev and Fifteen staring at each other down the perpendicularly attached walkway. That just left Piggy unaccounted for - the only pilot among them who was skilled with computers. Owen's breathing increased as the sensation of fear passed down his spine and through his heart.

Owen turned the corner to his office. Alexander and Aiber made an attempt to delay him, but he paid it no heed - the adrenalin in his system assured him of that. As he did, his face went blank. There was Piggy - sitting at his desk, laptop open, with an all too familiar image of the burned out science lab of his youth flickering on the LCD screen.

Owen's face contorted; his eyes widening, his mouth parting slightly in barely maintained composure. "Out" he said, his voice colder than it had been since his escape so many years ago. A dumbfounded look passed onto the faces of the pilots, somewhat shell-shocked at the simple statement "All of you: OUT!" he howled, his rage unbinding.

"All of you: OUT!"

Owen was infuriated. Alexander had never even imagined seeing a man like him this angered. It baffled him for a few seconds, but then something happened. He became infuriated himself. Alexander wasn't just gonna let their plan end here, and walk away with his tail between his legs. As Alexander stared at the seething Dr. Laurence, he could hear his voice. Anger, confusion, betrayal.

"Leave now! What have they seen? What do they know? What do they plan to do?" Was this the interference Samuel had been talking about? Thoughts? If so, Alexander was gonna milk it for everything it was worth. He walked right up to Dr.Laurence.

"I'm sorry-wait, no I'm not sorry. You expect us to go and fight for you bastards everyday, defend the world from an alien threat while piloting sentient alien mechs and yet you still have the nerve to hide even the most basic things from us? When did NERV plan to tell me about my mental status, huh? Owen, let me tell you right now that we've seen it all. We know everything there is too know about NERV. We've cleaned out your closet, and let me say, you guys have a whole lot of skeletons. We're gonna show the world, we're gonna put these skeletons on display, we plan to tell-"

Alexander noticed the man peaking into the room. His bloodshot eyes looked very confused, and was quite nervous about something. He was slightly panicking, thoughts like, "Sneak away, sneak away. Just count back from ten. Calm down!" ricocheted back and forth across him mind. His name was David, if memory served Alexander right, and he was something along the lines of a reporter, intelligence officer, and mostly just a cataloger of events.

"We plan to tell people like David over hear what we've found, and I don't think people will like it. Sure, NERV may be helping people, but who gets pilots those big, alien war machines and protects the city? Us. I'm sure they'll side with the poor, heroic children who fight for the human race and not the big bad organization that take children from families and grow people. I'm sure plenty of paraplegics and amputees will be thrilled to know that NERV can grow people, but not new limbs and nerve cells."

Alexander smirked at Owen.

Piggy unplugged the usb and ran out of the room, with the others behind him. David hugs the wall awkwardly, simply observing the scene. Alexander stood there for a few seconds and realized that this plan was doomed and bolted out of the room, but kept up the appearance that all was well.

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