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Incarna ch2 - done - alpha
Incarna ch2 - done - alpha
Yes. It's done. Finally.
It had been a magnificent fortress, one that those inhabiting it believed had no equal. It harbored within the secrets to mankind's redemption, and the instruments of its damnation.
But as any fortress, it was not impenetrable. Even the strongest of walls could be brought down with enough effort, and there'd certainly been enough effort invested in brining these down.
Still, it had served its intended purpose admirably.
And now that the war's penultimate act was playing out within those very walls, it would serve one more time.
But serve whom?
Demonbane Ltd.
two - (a)moral dilemma.
a follow up ficlet to the SI story Machine Spirit
by Griever
The noise was horrendous, as the two giants clashed. Armor against armor. It was a truly vicious looking struggle, even despite the fact that one was fighting with an almost mechanical, utterly detached manner. Like a puppet.
While the puppeteer stood, or rather floated, a ways away, partially distracted by the huge figure of the Second Angel, Lilith, pinned to her cross.

I ignored the klaxons, the blaring alarms ... they weren't really important at the moment, save for what I intended them to be. A distraction.
There was a nagging feeling running through my body, prickling along the surface of the skin like a million needles, and a spike of pain burning in my mind.
The noise of rapid footfalls came from below, and passed my location without slowing down. Good. At least I wouldn't be dealing with security. Normally, it wouldn't have been much of a problem, but right now I doubted I could muster up enough concentration to produce a minor slap effect with the Field without taking a risk at losing my mind.
Then again, sometimes risks were something you had to take into account to get anywhere.
I'd been keeping myself as still, mentally speaking, as possible for the past week. With good reason. Everything else aside, this body had been created from the Nagisa template, and despite everything it still was kin to the SEELE agent/final Angel. Hence my lack of activity save for extremely brief and discreet probes ever since the arrival of Kaworu Nagisa, Fifth Child, seventeenth Messenger ...
After counting to twenty, listening all the while, and wincing every two seconds or so as the effort of keeping my Field as tightly wrapped around my body and as 'still' as possible against the distant harmonics of Nagisa's own became noticeably harder, I moved.
Keeping from synchronizing my own Field with that of the Angel hadn't been this hard previously, but then, this was the first time that he used it at full strength since he'd arrived. The natural resonance my own would have taken on if I hadn't consciously stopped it would have been a surefire way of giving away my presence and position. To Nagisa at least.
The grating fell away after a swift kick.
Immediately thereafter, I retrieved, armed, and dropped a can that I hoped was tactical smoke, into the corridor beyond and below. Luckily, it didn't explode, in flashbang manner or one of the far messier conventional grenades. Meant I really did have a hardwired knowledge of Japanese other than the spoken kind floating around in my brain. Handy. Come to think of it, my German had gotten slightly sharper as well. Might be some of the basic preparation of the body coming through ...
I let myself drop, falling into the passageway with all the grace of a sack of potatoes, coming to a relatively quiet three point landing in the midst of an expanding cloud of thick smoke.
Now came the hard part, I realized, and bit my lip hard enough to draw blood. The physical pain let me keep my focus, helping to keep me from submerging my Self in the Angel's A.T. Field as I used my own for the first time in days.
I was blind. A moment later, I was still blind ... but I was also touching everything within a radius of ten meters or so, which, let me tell you, feels utterly and totally unlike anything I'd experienced before. It was also entirely unlike the imitation Daredevil sense I'd experienced as part of the D.D.'s radar/lidar package.
The moment those thoughts went through my mind, perception shifted, and as suddenly as the scale of touch had increased exponentially I was presented with shades of physical shapes overlaid on top of the smoke-obscured hallway. Very odd, since there was no color, and every plane seemed more or less light gray, but I could work with that. I was still 'feeling' them, too, but less intensely ...
Pulling myself back together, I continued on, walking in the direction the security goons had come from. If what I'd gathered about the place's layout was accurate, I should be coming up to ...
... I pressed myself against the wall, inching towards the corner, moving with the expanding cloud. Normally, I could have put the two guards sitting in the room beyond to sleep with some effort, but with the amount of concentration the simplest uses of the Field currently demanded of me that was very unlikely to be a possibility. Luckily, there were other options.
Two further smoke grenades were lobbed into the room, and I unlimbered the length of steel I'd kept slung across my back.
Then, as the two guards - regular security, not Section 2 - startled at the hissing cylinders, I stepped from concealment and fired. Pumped the reload mechanism. Fired again.
Two heavy thumps went unheard over the ringing in my ears that the two shots had resulted in, in this confined space. I could tell the bodies fell, however. Turning around to face the way I'd come I aimed and fired two more times, then stepped into the guard room of the brig, and fired once more. Electricity crackled for a few moments, as three cameras were smashed by the high impact rounds.
Riot ammo or not, shotgun shells are heavy buggers.
Silence, with the faint whine of the alarm from past the door. She didn't really care. There were few things she still cared about.
There was no more real purpose, no reason she saw to stay alive. Considering her delusions had been stripped from her for a long while now, but that she'd only recently actually took a good hard look at what she'd become, this wasn't necessarily surprising.
Few things hit somebody as hard as the realization of hopelessness.
She didn't look up at the loud thumps from outside, or the sound of something hitting the door of her cell.
However her attention was drawn when the cell opened, thick smoke billowing to fill the confined space.
In moment, it was enough to block her vision, and she recoiled when a hand clamped onto her arm.
"In case you hadn't noticed, this is a jailbreak," she heard over the din. "Coming?"
The figure was, judging by size, barely as tall as she ... and that was all she could tell with the smoke in the way and the baggy tactical gear it wore in the way.
It took her a moment to consider the offer, or was that threat? With the shotgun the figure held, it wasn't obvious which.
Still, considering the likely alternative, this one offered more options. Or so it seemed.
She made her decision.
Gendo Ikari was not what one would call an excitable person. This hadn't always been the case. It was something that had been brought about by circumstance and necessity. Put plainly, he could not afford to be.
There were very few people who could claim to be able to read his moods. One of them was his right hand, and even he, despite the fact that they'd worked together for over a decade, and had known each other longer than that, couldn't always be certain as to the NERV Commander's state of mind.
Now, though, agitation could be plainly identified in his manner.
It had nothing to do with the way the scenario - Gendo's scenario, not SEELE's - was turning out. SEELE's hybrid had played its part according to his expectations, so he couldn't complain.
No. What had him so upset was something that had transpired while that particular scene was playing out.
During the event, someone had paid a visit to the Brig, and said place was short one prisoner now.
A somewhat unstable, but still vital and possibly useful prisoner.
Surveillance devices that would have recorded the entire thing had been either destroyed, or momentarily obfuscated by smoke, and the only clues as to the perpetrators had been delivered after an analysis of the injuries suffered by the guards. They corresponded with those caused by standard issue NERV Security riot shells for the 12gauge shotgun. No other clues had been found. Not even brass.
No remains that could be checked for serial numbers, or anything of the sort.
Oh, there was no doubt that the perpetrator _would_ be found. Eventually.
But it was that 'eventually' which, Fuyutsuki, NERV Vice-commander, knew was the problem.
Time was something they could scarcely afford to waste, especially now.
Ritsuko Akagi had to be found and retrieved as soon as possible ... that, or be eliminated.
Considering the irritation, though that might be putting it mildly, which her escape had caused the Commander, Fuyutsuki was willing to place his bets on the latter option.
"It is done," the monolith 'spoke', a crimson 01 on its face marking it as the representation of the Chairman of SEELE.
The chamber, or rather, the holographic representation of a mostly black, seemingly unlimited space, was filled with a tense anticipation that, despite the place's virtual nature, appeared almost palpable.
They'd all been waiting for this moment. For a long, long time. Years. Over a decade.
In some cases, even longer.
"What of Ikari?" came a query from one of the others, and Lorenz Keel, SEELE Chairman and chief motivator, allowed himself a smile.
"He has, of course, a scenario of his own in mind. One that does not necessarily coincide with the one we have worked for," there was no doubt about the sort of expression that adorned his face as he said these words, monolith aside.
"It isn't something we haven't taken into account," answered one of the others, voicing Keel's thoughts to the letter.
"Yes," the Chairman confirmed. "everything is falling together, as we'd predicted, as was foretold."
"So, even with this most recent delay ..." number 05 trailed off.
"Inconsequential," was the reply. "Tabris has fulfilled his purpose."
"Still, what of the missing hybrid?" number 11 queried.
"We shall keep alert," the smirk in Keel's voice was, understated as it tended to be, still clearly recognizable. "If nothing else, this will make sure we are not complacent. At this stage, though, Instrumentality is assured."
Welcome to the insanity that is my life, please mind the gap, that first step's a killer.
At least, I thought it had been, once upon a time and a few dementia to the side.
Still, sometimes I'm at my best when driven by a lack of logic and an overabundance of inspiration. Never let it be said that I let myself be deterred by reason and common sense.
Those few bits of the usual chaos that is my mind in full ramble go, I would like to think, a long way towards explaining the twisted path of consideration that resulted in myself, wearing scrounged up NERV security riot gear - or at least pieces of the complete kit - and still occupying quarters within the Nagisa suit, sitting opposite a frazzled looking blonde.
It had taken a bit to convince her that, no, I was not, in fact, one Kaworu Nagisa. Then I'd gotten talking ...
Ritsuko Akagi was, for all her faults, in possession of a brilliant scientific mind. The fact that there was a bit of precedent involved, what with an Angel having played pandimensional hopscotch with the EVAs before, helped. Still, even if she did consider me crazy afterwards, playing the revenge card would have gotten to her anyway. As things stood, it had been merely another thing that sweetened the deal.
I honestly couldn't say whether or not the good doctor still cared for her life. One moment it seemed to be the first thing on her mind, the next it was as far from it as it could get.
In all, not the most stable person I'd ever met.
That was alright by me. In a way, for the person I found staring out at me from every mirror I looked into, insanity was sort of in the job description.
Still, work - if it could be called that - was progressing steadily. Say what you will, the woman could focus.
The old adage of 'Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned' seemed to be holding true.
It was also nice to be able to venture out into the rest of Dogma. As long as I kept out of sight, the fixes the good Doctor had provided to the MAGI's security overlay wouldn't alert anyone of my presence.
Slowly, painfully so in fact, things were taking shape.
"The graveyard is still under surveillance," Akagi said, brining up the schematics onscreen. The good Doctor had managed some impressive things with just the substandard and mostly obsolete equipment left behind in these older corridors. Whether they'd been left by accident, or nobody cared enough to have them removed, either way they were a blessing of sorts.
"What do you get out of it," she'd asked me, frowning, during that first conversation a fortnight ago. "Are you doing this out of the goodness of your so called heart?"
Bluntness had been the order of the day. Still was. I'd long since four subtlety took too much time when you negotiated from a superior position and with nothing to lose. Or pretended you had nothing to lose.
"This is easier," I'd flatly stated. Prompting the raise of an eyebrow, and a slight inhale. I didn't really mind the cigarette smoke. No, I tell a lie. I didn't particularly care for it, but it was a negligible bother all the same. Not like this body could get lung cancer. Not like it really needed lungs, either.
But I digress.
"Yes, easier," she'd given me a look that said just how much she believed me as she repeated my words. Not much at all. Couldn't really blame her. "Breaking someone out of NERV's brig and then crawling through several hundred meters of maintenance ducts ..."
"More elaborate, yes. Harder?" had been my retort. "That's debatable. If all goes well, things are going to blow up in faces, houses of cards will fall together, and the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man will stay puff and locked in the basement. If not, the world goes to hell, and I still have a chance at getting out of here."
"Is that supposed to make me feel better about this?"
"It's half a chance more than you had before."
We'd left it at that.
My mind snapped back to present considerations and problems, leaving the memories be where they slept, waiting for another moment of recall.
The EVA graveyard. I'd wanted to catch a glimpse of it for a while now, and equally dreaded and anticipated the moment. No matter. I needed to get past it, and with Akagi running interference with the MAGI it became actually doable.
I wasn't made for this cloak and dagger crap. Honestly, give me a truckload of C4 and be done with it.
Still, necessity and all.
"You'll need to get to the maintenance route on the other side from the entry point," the schematics rotated. "Then it's a climb up, until the cross section comes up. The cages aren't that far off, after you get there. According to the MAGI, you're looking for Number Eight Cage."
"What state's she in?" I asked, committing the route to memory. As best I could. I'd have a map, yes, but it was better to be safe than sorry in this case.
"Supplements from the purged biomass of 03 are being adapted, apparently," she informed me. "Not in working order yet, since a fair portion of the muscle fibers needs to be regrown or mended, but that shouldn't matter too much at this point. If you can follow through with what you claim you can do."
I was concerned about this as well, I admitted to myself. Healing my own body was comparatively trivial, a remaining 'instinct' from having a nanomachine maintenance system during my time as a big, clunky piece of metal. Angel physiology was such that, thanks to the S^2 organ/engine, regeneration was merely a matter of appropriate material supplements being present.
Extending said effect to something of admittedly similar genetic makeup, but so much larger scope ... or rather, stimulating the appropriate bits of its physiology, which would then further the progression of a regenerative process seemed daunting at best. Impossible at worst.
That aside, making Unit 00, what was left of it, usable again was not our prime concern at the moment. A related matter took up most of our minds' attention.
She knew the boy could not be working for SEELE. Oh, there was a great gulf between 'working for' and 'being played by' - she knew, she'd experienced both - but it seemed unlikely that they'd simply loose someone so contrary to the rigidness with which she knew the old men had followed their precious scenario.
Boy. That was a contradiction in and of itself. She had not met Nagisa in person, but she'd read his psych profile. What there was of it. This person was not the Angel of Free Will.
And not a fragment of a greater soul, the likes of Rei, either. He knew his emotions, accepted them, and generally did not balk at the puzzle that humanity was to an innocent soul.
He had an agenda, though. He'd flat out told her as much. Even if his insane tale was no more than an illusion, it was one he seemed to believe.
And when someone who could manifest power enough to crush a person where they stood told tall tales, it was wiser to consider them a visionary rather than a lunatic.
And then there was the carrot. Revenge felt ... sweet and bitter at the same time. A sickening kind of sweet, and a good kind of bitter.
Third Impact. It had been Gendo's goal all along. She'd seen the signs, seen the proof, actually contributed to some of the theory ... but she'd never actually looked and seen.
In the twilight days of the world, Ritsuko Akagi had looked. Ritsuko Akagi had seen. And Ritsuko Akagi had come to a startling conclusion.
She very much wanted to live.
And this insanity was the only option still remaining open.
She only hoped she'd placed her bet on the right madman this time around.
The wonders of maintenance crawlways. Especially when you have someone to distract what sensors are keeping tabs on the ones you need to traverse through. I'll openly admit it was Akagi that made this possible.
The place I was heading into was well isolated, and in the deepest reaches of Central Dogma. Well, maybe not as deep in there as Lilith had been, but close. The only way in led past sensor suites that could only be circumvented at risk, even with my newly acquired assistance, and past a door that couldn't be hacked because it wasn't part of the NERV information network. Sensors that had been linked to said network reported whether or not it had been tampered with, and whether or not the door remained closed ... but the reader was an autonomous and closed unit.
I couldn't get in that way, and the vents that led to the place were far too small to squeeze through.
There was another path, though. One you couldn't navigate without sonar and a diving apparatus, and the latter, of a size that would allow you to hold enough air in supply, would have been too bulky to allow you passage through some of the areas.
But I didn't really need to breathe anymore - Nagisa's prospective body came with an S^2 organ and while it still had a metabolism, said metabolism wasn't really necessary for survival. Oh, I had a brain, and when the metabolism worked the brain received its share of oxygen ... the biological processes that happened there, though, weren't what created my consciousness and defined my soul. If anything, it was the other way around.
But existential and metaphysical gibberish aside ...
I hauled myself from the outlet, pushing out into the lake of unoxygenated LCL that seemed to extend out into infinity ... the goop wasn't really all that transparent in this state, so that wasn't all too hard a thing to see accomplished.
Finally, I rose, kicking off with unclad feet, heading for the surface.
The reflexive gasp for air, even though I'd been without it for a fair bit of time now, was more reflex than anything else.
Still, with the place deserted as it was, it hadn't hurt anyone.
For a moment, I just floated there, hands spread out and treading LCL, as I took in the sight ...
... grotesque, was one of the words that came to mind. The giant stood, leaning, armor cracked where it was still present, huge bandages wrapped around the areas that were uncovered. Iron collars and 'pins' the size of railroad spikes had been used to fasten bits of organic matter harvested from Bardiel's ... Unit 03's ... remains onto the wounds.
Unit 00 looked for all the world like a demented fanboy's idea of the Frankenstein monster.
I hauled myself onto a catwalk, used a low intensity Field to scrape the LCL from my skin and clothes - I'd have preferred a wetsuit, or even a plugsuit, but I'd had to make do with boxers and a tee for this swim - as soon as I was in the clear. The stuff stunk to high heaven when dry.
I then removed the small watertight container I'd been lugging underneath the shirt, cracked it open, and retrieved the receiver/transmitter unit within. Placing the earpiece where it was meant to go, I clicked it on.
A sense of unease settled upon her, even as her eyes cracked open to stare, blankly, at the ceiling of the small apartment.
Contrary to common belief, Ayanami Rei did, in fact, possess emotions. She just didn't know how to deal with them, and ended up working around them instead. More often than not, anyway.
Sometimes, the emotions were simple enough to mostly ignore, other times less so ... this time, though, the disturbance was somehow more profound, and she suspected it was only in part due to the lack of obvious source thereof.
As the night went on, midnight rolling by, she remained awake, and slowly the sense of unease underwent a metamorphosis.
She was not aware how she knew this, but everything that she was told her some profound change had just taken place.
The chirping notifying her of an open comlink channel sounded loud in the otherwise quiet chamber. Other than the rapid click-clack of keys being pressed in rapid succession there hadn't been as much as a single sound.
In a way, this was good, since it meant she could give her full attention to the task at hand. Still, after even such a short while as she'd spent in solitary confinement, she felt herself missing someone she could talk to.
Not necessarily a person, even. A cat would have done just as well. A cat had done just as well on more than one occasion, actually. It was one of the reasons she was so fond of the little buggers.
Still, stuck as she was in the depths of Dogma, there really wasn't much opportunity to make conversation. Even one sided conversation.
Finally, the blonde scientist said, voice sharper than she'd intended it to be.
It wasn't exactly a walk in the park, came the retort. I'm there, though.
Instead of immediately responding, Ritsuko called up the command sequences she'd prepared for the occasion, verifying their validity one more time to be absolutely certain they were all that would be needed.
Then she spoke.
Everything is ready on this end. Whenever you're feeling comfortable enough ...?
Give me a mark, and I'll get to work, was the reply. She nodded to herself.
Five, four, three, two, one, Doctor Akagi counted down, finger hovering over the key that would confirm execution of the commands. Mark.
The fixes weren't as professional as they could have been, had she had access to more than merely the simple handheld terminal that was a part of technician kits throughout NERV, but they did their job well enough. The first few convinced the sensors connected to the MAGI and pointed at that particular Cage that nothing interesting was going on, slowly healing EVA aside. The others prevented a recording of the proceedings from being made.
And finally, the last one intercepted impulses sent out from hardwired nodes, to report the use of the Cage.
Now let's see if you're insane, or merely highly irrational, she said to herself, staring at the active threads of her programs running through their instructions.
I couldn't help but feel awed as I stood directly before the mauled behemoth, but the feeling quickly passed in favor of nervousness. Then, that was squashed, leaving me with a quiet in my mind that I knew would be necessary if I didn't want to mess up.
The theory I was running on was a longshot at best, irrational at worst, and would quite possibly lead to a result more severe than the unaltered sequence of events.
Which never really stopped me before.
The basis was that Impact's nature would be determined by its instigator. The ascension of humanity, or whatever you would name the ultimate result of the Third Impact presented in anime, was not the only possible outcome. For example, it was theorized that, were an Angel come into contact with Lilith, another Second Impact type phenomenon would result. Idle speculation, if you looked at it in one way, but something else entirely if you changed your point of view ...
At least, I was left with an impression of this sort.
But, to instigate and control Impact, EVA was needed. Or, at least, EVA was of great benefit.
Ikari had tried without it, and failed. While not necessarily due to the lack of an EVA at his beck and call, the one successfully documented Impact that showed more than a simple giant of light had required several Evangelion units.
Pushing my concerns momentarily aside, I focused.
I was far better at that since the D.D. Debacle. Possibly, it was the result of the same thing that had my physical shell regenerating rather than healing like a normal human body should. A carry-over from the nanites that I'd been using to repair myself back when I'd still been tall, dark and metallic.
Sight was pushed aside, as was hearing and touch, and I found myself floating, seemingly in suspended animation, in a vast sea of indistinct shadowy shapes.
Looking down, I found my self-image's hands to be more distinct than they'd been the previous few times I'd done this. Rather than outlines of humanoid limbs, contours lined with flashing paths of electric blue and aqua circuitry, it seemed they'd taken on the shape and form of my current shell. Meaning that I couldn't escape looking like Nagisa even here, which was mildly disconcerting.
The lines differed also. Rather than the previously present shades of blue, they were now a deep pulsating red ...
My self image apparently reflected the change in shell wholeheartedly.
Whether this meant I was adaptive, or merely weak-willed in that regard, I declined to pursue the answer to at the moment.
So not the time.
I 'pinged'. At least that was what I'd come to call it. The name had actually been accurate before, since the process had consisted of painting the surrounding area with a short low intensity burst of radiation and interpreting the reflections and refractions ... now, it was more like I was suddenly, for a brief instant, touching every single material surface in my line of sight.
The result was more than I'd expected, proving that while I'd thought somewhat ahead, I really should have put more consideration into this move and its possible slew of consequences. I just hoped the good Doctor could compensate from where she was, and keep the MAGI off me for a while longer.
Until we needed them to find what I was doing, at least.
If I lived that long.
Kuso! What did he do, set off an N^2 charge in there?
Agitated. That word seemed a bit weak to describe the current mental state of one Ritsuko Akagi. While she'd accounted for a multitude of possible reactions, and factored them into the camouflage she'd set up in the MAGI.
Cage Eight was secure. It was secluded, relatively speaking. There were very few possible paths you could take if you wanted to gain access. And right then, NERV trusted the MAGI with its security.
Still, the fact that the force that had been released within had almost managed to warp the support structure of the chamber was not something that could be casually dismissed.
Sensor readings from adjutant facilities raced along appropriate relays, prompting investigation ... this would have triggered an alarm as soon as it was registered by the MAGI, normally.
With the camouflage processes running, there was a slight delay.
A delay Akagi was using to divert those messages, diverting as many as she could from the MAGI and into various output ports which had been labeled dev/null as destination.
Unfortunately, she was still human. Brilliant, yes. Capable of outpacing impulses running along sensor relays with her impromptu coding? Not really.
A cold shiver went down her spine when the first batch of reports was accepted by the MAGI ...
... processed ...
... and ignored.
She blinked.
For my troubles, I was nailed in the face by a tank. At least, that's what it felt like. I should know, it's happened to me before.
Physical sensation immediately said goodbye, and I knew it wasn't only because something was pulling at the 'me' that was the representation of self.
Intellectually, I knew I could recover from ludicrous amounts of damage, if my Core remained intact. In practice ...
It was my own damn fault, really. I'd known Unit 00 was being stimulated to maintain a low intensity Field so that it could assimilate the biomass leftover from 03's remains.
I should have been more careful and taken possible Field resonance into account.
Where did this leave me?
With a brief flash of a glowing, cyclopean face as I rushed, headlong, towards it.
There was the oddest sensation, a moment of total nothingness, then ...
And suddenly, the alarms were blaring.
Which made little sense, since, logically, they should have activated long before. Well, fifteen minutes, give or take a few. Which, to a computer of the MAGI's class, could just as well be considered a small eternity.
But then, judging from all the data streams she was watching, their flow being relayed to her handheld by various piggyback programs she'd sent into the network for just that purpose, this alert had not originated from within the MAGI.
Hardwired failsafes of some sort. That was the only explanation she could come up with, and also a very likely one.
And not one Ritsuko could do much about, with her current resources.
She herself was fairly secure, something she'd spent a bit of time making sure of prior. It wasn't all that difficult to increase the degree of lockout the area she and her so called employer had picked as their base of operations was under.
So Ritsuko kept an eye on NERV network activity, sent a few extra feelers into the security section's monitoring equipment, and waited.
I breathed.
After my face was something more recognizable than a pulp of mangled flesh pierced by shards of bone.
Moments like this made me feel very glad that I could block out pain almost entirely. I hadn't been so wrong in my prior assessment, since I regained possession of my body as it peeled itself from the indentation it had made when the EVA's AT Field threw it against the cage's wall.
If it hadn't been for the instinctive reaction of raising my own Field once I felt the 'ping's' effect upon Unit 00's, I would have been stuck with pulling together pulps of compressed biomass.
I'd have said 'not fun' at this point, but that would have been a monstrous understatement.
As things stood, I wouldn't have been able to do do that. Simply because I keeled over right after I had working legs I could stand on again.
My mind was a jumble of criss-crossing ideas, thoughts running rampant before I could rein them in. Sorting out that mess took a few moments. Minutes. Maybe a little under an hour. Or was it an instant?
I couldn't be sure, and right then I had more immediate worries.
I picked myself up, still light headed from extended contact with the EVA's Field, and tapped the miraculously still intact comlink.
How are we looking?
Static was my reply at first, then Ritsuko's voice came through, though jumbled and sounding as if she needed to work through interference. Not a good thing.
Better than FUBAR, the woman's tone was snide. But somewhat worse than 'Oh, hell'. You were louder than expected, and the MAGI have been going moderately crazy ever since.
Define moderately crazy, I queried, uneasily. That had not been part of the game-plan, hence the concern.
They're working on backup routines right now, but they're surprisingly clumsy, from where I'm looking, she retorted. Like they have to work a full restructurization of their decision making functions at the same time as doing everything else. It's ...
...erratic, sir. Maya Ibuki said, glancing up at the Commander and Vice-Commander of NERV. She wasn't exactly familiar with the moods of either man, but it was a testament to their agitation that she was able to tell they were even mildly unsettled.
Of course, she could tell most of this from the Vice-Commander. The Commander was not really a person whom you could read without either some form of ESP or an extensive knowledge of his personality, history, habits, and so on.
Maya was neither of those.
And she had a job to do, one which took a fair bit of concentration, so she couldn't exactly put her whole mind to the task.
Besides, there was something else. A little voice in the back of her mind, telling her to look closer at an unobtrusive seeming piece of code ...
Well, at least part of the goal had been accomplished.
And, gee, it only took setting the proverbial fire underneath NERV's collective asses to do it.
Not a good thing, by any stretch and definition, but not exactly unexpected.
Well, alright, I'd hoped to go in, do what I needed to quickly and quietly, and then get out. No mess, no fuss.
Funny how little things like, oh, reality seem hell-bent on ruining most plans people come up with, no?
Still, I could see, or perhaps feel would be a more apt description, the EVA beginning to heal at an accelerated rate.
Whether the other part of the attempt worked or not would have to be examined.
Collecting myself from off the walkway, sweeping what crimson stains there were around my point of impact with a brief flare of my Field, I proceeded towards the injured giant android. Biomech. Or whatever you wish to call it.
"Let's hope the retrieval mechanism is as idiot proof as Akagi said it'd be," I said to myself as I began to climb once I reached the farthest part of the walkway, the ladder brining me a few meters upwards and on level with where the Entry Plug of the Unit would be ejected for pilot extraction.
Not that I was planning on _pilot_ retrieval, to be honest.
I'd like to believe that it was some twisted bit of conscience that had motivated me to do this, but I knew better. That was merely a pleasant side effect. A bit of a bonus.
I was here to collect a necessary tool.
She woke to pain, running down her limbs and torso like wildfire, burning its way through them and throughout her body.
Eyes burned, teared, closed again to block the blinding light.
The chest contracted, expunging liquid of some sort from lungs and stomach.
Had she drowned?
It could have lasted a moment, it could have lasted hours, but finally the pain faded enough for coherent thoughts to be formed.
Not that this helped much.
Her memories were fractured, jumbled, split ...
A kaleidoscope of images and sounds running through her conscious mind ...
With distinct differences in perception occurring from a point, and continuing onwards.
A frown of concentration appeared on her face, as she focused on ...
... that ...
... single ...
... point ...
And died.
Or rather, relived her own death.
She fainted before she could scream.
"... two, one! Breach!"
The fastest way to get inside. Explosives went off. Precision shaped charges set to blow the door, allowing the Section Two security team entry.
Into a Cage holding a recovering EVA.
And no more than that.
'Alright, so they managed to get here quicker than I'd though they would,' I thought to myself as I was revisited by the rather unique, and somewhat cringe-inducing sensation of being suspended in LCL.
Not something I wanted to go back in.
Then there were the obvious bonuses of the situation. One of them being that the grunts wouldn't find us.
Yes, this was the Plug. No, this wasn't the pilot's space. How considerate of Gendo to give his Dummy Plugs their own little cubbyholes in there.
It was a bit of a tight fit, though ... and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't enjoying being pressed against the naked body of the former sole occupant of this space.
If it weren't for the impending end of the world and the homicidal goons outside, this would have been downright cozy.
What made the situation a little less pleasant was the fact that the occupant of the body laying beside me was, if things had gone the way I think they had, more than slightly unstable.
It isn't every day that your soul gets split in two after you commit suicide after all.
I just hoped Akagi senior wouldn't be able to puree me quite yet. Truth be told, I was more than a little nervous about that.
Necessity and all, but I doubted she'd take kindly to having been put inside an Ayanami clone body.
Keep telling yourself that, G-kun. Keep telling yourself that.
end two
AN: snowball, snowball, rolling 'round and 'round ... *hangs head* done. Yay. One more.
If you think I'm not focusing on the pilots enough, you're right. If you're thinking I'm a lecher for putting my avvie into a confined, wet space with a Rei clone, you're doubly right.
In the next part: Resolutions! Reprehensions! A Maya scene(she's cute. I like her. deal.)! Psycho-sensei Akagi! EVA combat! Battle-programmer Akagi!
Join us as it all goes to hell in a handbasket!
Incarna part three: We were teenaged dummy plugs, too!
Teaser available in placeholder thread.
When tact is required, use brute force. When force is required, use greater force.
When the greatest force is required, use your head. Surprise is everything. - The Book of Cataclysm
Hmm, looks interesting. Not quite sure what you have in mind but interesting.
You might want to correct this line though:
"It's half a chance than you had before."
I'm guessing you want 'more' between 'chance' and 'than'.
D for Drakensis

You're only young once, but immaturity is forever.
re: c&c
Thanks for pointing that out. Edited to correct.
Hopefully, it'll live up to expectations.
When tact is required, use brute force. When force is required, use greater force.
When the greatest force is required, use your head. Surprise is everything. - The Book of Cataclysm
Re: re: c&c
Good stuff.
Two quibbles: You have "four" at one point where you mean "found", and it's "beck and call", not "beckon call".
Otherwise, very cool and getting cooler.

-- Bob
It's spelt "Frodo Baggins" but it's pronounced "Throat-wobbler Mangrove."
Re: re: c&c
Corrected, and thanks. It's getting there. Or so I'd like to think.
I've got the proper motivation to work on this going in the background right now - if any of you need to find something appropriately serious and occasionally gloomy to motivate yourselves with, Infinite Ryvius is damn good. Though, on occasion, quite dark.
When tact is required, use brute force. When force is required, use greater force.
When the greatest force is required, use your head. Surprise is everything. - The Book of Cataclysm
"The graveyard is still under surveillance," Akagi said, brining up the schematics onscreen.
My brain is parsing this as Akagi is placing the computer monitor in a solution of salt, water, and assorted herbs ans spices.
Please remember that your spell checker wont even blink at typoes that are spelled corectly.
Re: c&c
Thanks for catching that. Corrected.
>My brain is parsing this as Akagi is placing the computer monitor in a solution of salt, water, and assorted herbs ans spices.<
... um, no, that doesn't happen until the next ...
... err, we'll pretend I didn't say that.
>Please remember that your spell checker wont even blink at typoes that are spelled corectly.<
*sigh* Don't I know it?
It's what I have my crowds of loyal minions for ...
I _said_ crowds of loyal _minions_.
... minions?
Ah, crap, that was Nate's schtick ...
Back to the grind.
pitying male leads of harem anime since 2001
When tact is required, use brute force. When force is required, use greater force.
When the greatest force is required, use your head. Surprise is everything. - The Book of Cataclysm
Re: c&c
It's what I have my crowds of loyal minions for ...
I _said_ crowds of loyal _minions_.
... minions?
Better than crowds of loyal onions, which is what I get, sometimes.
Or cauliflower, as Shayne will testify.

-- Bob
It's spelt "Frodo Baggins" but it's pronounced "Throat-wobbler Mangrove."
anudder one
"With a brief flash of a glowing, cyclopean face as my 'self' I rushed, headlong, towards it."
If you mean that you had a flash of your "self" in hte form of a face, then this needs a comma. Otherwise, I think some words need to be shifted around.
anudder one
Thankyee. Fixed.
When tact is required, use brute force. When force is required, use greater force.
When the greatest force is required, use your head. Surprise is everything. - The Book of Cataclysm

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