Misato carefully moved down a hallway inside the fortress, ducking around corners and into rooms in order to avoid being seen by SEELE guards and others that were moving through the corridors as the battle raged on. She had already acquired an outer jacket from a SEELE female officer who had unfortunately died in an exchange of gunfire, and wore it to better blend in to her surroundings. In one hand she held a submachine gun and in the other she carried a stolen radio from the dead officer, from which she listened carefully for information about any other intruders into the fortress.
Seeing three soldiers quickly moving in her direction, Misato again ducked into a room and shut the door. The soldiers hurried along outside, too busy reacting to the encroachment of Alliance invaders elsewhere to investigate where she was hiding. Leaning hard against the wall, she again scanned the communicator to see if she could determine how the battle was flowing. Voices that were mostly in German or Russian went back and forth on the radio about SEELE's efforts to reinforce their crumbling battle lines on the north side of the fortress. While Misato couldn't make out much of the Russian she heard, her German was quite fluent and she caught information being given over the radio not only about Alliance troops moving against the command center but also about another intruder that was holed up near the scientific labs, a single target who had managed up until now to take out three squads of security troops on his own.
Well that sounds familiar Misato thought to herself, and she tried to determine how far away she was from the second action. Sliding the door open and taking a peek outside she saw two more guards rushing south, away from the main Alliance thrusts. At a distance she followed them, still careful to try to keep from being discovered as the two men rushed forward and turned a corner.
For about two minutes she trailed the guards and found where they were running to. In another hallway there were two teams of more guards standing on either side of a doorway who were taking turns spraying gunfire inside as the opposing group hid behind the bulkhead. Surrounding the doorway were many other soldiers, all lying dead on the floor. Misato moved back behind a corner and quietly worked out her next move.
Six soldiers, armed with SMGs, she counted in her head. They look like they've used up their grenades already. All of them focused on the room in front of them. Need to make this fast for it to work. She checked her own SMG to be sure it was loaded and ready.
I'm coming for you, you asshole, she smiled to herself. 3..2..1..now! Misato rolled around the hallway corner and brought her weapon to bear on the soldiers. One of them turned around to see her, his eyes wide in surprise. "Oh, shaisa!" he screamed out loud in German.
"Ess Scheisse!" Misato growled in equally good German and she sprayed bullets into the two groups of soldiers. Five of the men went down immediately in splatters of blood, while one turned around and managed to get off a spurt in Misato's direction. She could feel a bullet slice against her right arm but pumped up on adrenaline she didn't feel the pain, instead aiming her SMG against the lone remaining shooter and emptying her clip into the man. The solider was chopped to pieces and collapsed against the bulkhead wall.
She moved to the doorway, scanning carefully to see if any of the soldiers she had gunned down were still moving while unloading her clip and tossing it away. In a fluid motion she slammed another one, her last one, into the MP-3 while noting that no one was moving underneath her feat, and then she darted into the room itself.
What appeared as some sort of living quarters was completely shot up, the walls were riddled with blast marks and hundreds of bullet-holes. What little furniture there was appeared cut up and wrecked. There were several bodies in the room, including some wearing white jackets that were mangled nearly beyond recognition. At the far end one table was lying on its side, its surface covered with more bullet holes. She could see the top of the head of a man hidden behind it.
"Ryoji!" she screamed as she rushed around the side of the table. Leaning against the wall and sitting on the floor was Kaji, dressed in a guard's uniform. His face was bleeding profusely from the right side. He looked weary and as she knelt down to see him saw two bright red dots on the left side of his abdomen and another two on his left leg.
Kaji looked up at her wearily, his hand dropping a pistol onto the steel floor. The pistol's action was slid open, out of bullets. "Katsu...Katsuragi..." he said to her haltingly. "You...you should not have come!"
"Come on," she said with a smile as she pulled out a small medical kit and grabbed a pressure bandage, "we both know how you are about keeping promises!"
"But...but the child!"
"I promise this will be the last irresponsible thing I'll ever do, but I'm getting you out of this." To reassure him she patted her stomach, revealing a kevlar armored breastplate underneath her uniform tunic. "What the hell were you doing in this room anyway? This is a lousy defensive position."
"Omega...," Kaji said in a faint voice. "Omega...using the twins to get...at Kiel." He coughed up blood as he tried to continue speaking.
Strapping the bandage over Kaji's right eye, Misato heard footsteps down the corridor. "Just hold on, okay? We're not out of this yet." She moved from behind the table over to the doorway and pressed against the wall next to it, holding the SMG in her right hand and keeping as silent as possible, ready to fire.
Asuka's Unit 02 slammed the Harpy into the walls of the shaft as both of them rapidly slid down towards the chamber at the bottom. The sixth of the enemies they had faced since attacking the fortress, the Mass Production unit lunged at her with its wide mouth wide open. Using one arm behind her to steady her descent against the shaft wall, EVA-02's other arm quickly impaired the lunging Harpy on its sword. As it writhed in agony and struggled to get free, Unit 07 came from behind and shot three rounds from her Pallet Gun into the beast.
The Harpy lost its grip on Unit 02 and fell backwards down the shaft, landing with a hard thud as it hit the chamber floor below. EVA-02, still using one arm to steady itself as it slid down the side of the shaft wall, pivoted its katana and then dived the last hundred meters onto the Harpy at the bottom, plunging the sword right into the center of its abdomen as the EVA landed on top of it. Two seconds later Unit 07 hit the ground on its feet and then aimed and fired its rifle at the white beast's head, exploding it. Asuka performed the coup de graceand slid her katana into its body, puncturing its entry plug and rupturing it, and was again rewarded with LCL grotesquely gushing out of its body.
"Six for Eight," Asuka called out with a satisfied tone in her voice. "All of the pawns are out of the way, now it's time for the King and Queen." Rei said nothing in reply but instead looked around them to see where they had landed.
Using her EVA's exterior lights Rei searched the vast chamber for signs of anything that moved while she reloaded her Pallet Gun's magazine with a new clip. Within less than a minute as she looked to where the chamber ended and where the river of red, glowing magma began at the far end, she saw the silhouettes of two EVAs projected against the haze of the smoke coming from the lava. One was lying on the ground motionless while the other held a large spear, whose tip was pointed at the one on the ground.
Rei gasped in shock at what she was now seeing: Unit 04 was gripping the Lance of Longinus in her hands, and Shinji's Unit 01 was sprawled on the ground directly below it. Forri-kun?! Did you really turn against us?
Before she could say anything Asuka also spotted the pair of EVAs at the end of the chamber, and immediately drew her wakasashi out of its holder. "HEY, YOU ASSHOLE!" she shouted at the other EVA. "GET AWAY FROM HIM!"
Inside of Unit 04, both Patrick and Erin turned their heads at the approach of the two EVAs from the other end of the chamber. They had just finished pulling out the Spear from the side of Unit 01.
"I guess this really doesn't look very good, does it?" Erin commented.
Patrick didn't speak further but waited for the video inputs from the other pilots to appear, which they did a moment afterward. On a holographic projection from the EVA's video display was the face of an infuriated Asuka.
"You son of a bitch!" the redhead growled. "You fucking betrayed us!"
Patrick tried to keep himself as calm as possible. "Asuka, this is not what you think it is!" he tried to argue. "We just set him free, that's all!"
"Bullshit!" she shot back. "You think you can sweet talk me like you do with the First? Kensuke's dead because of you two!"
A second video screen came up on the display. Rei's image appeared, her facial expression hardened, her glance narrowing in determination at the two of them.
"Rei!" Patrick exclaimed, actually happy to see her despite the circumstances. From the larger video display, he could see that Unit 07 was now in a shooting stance, her pallet gun being aimed right at him. "Forri-kun," Rei said in a monotone, emotionless voice, "surrender your unit now and we will not harm you."
Patrick carefully keyed off the audio input as the twins considered their situation. "What do we do?" Erin asked him. "If we give up now we'll miss our chance."
"I know it," replied Patrick as he racked his brain for an answer. Seeing the expression of both of their opposing pilots, he knew any kind of explanation was not going to be immediately successful. On the video, he looked into Rei's eyes and saw them quivering. He knew the emotions that she was restraining, and he knew how hard this next part was going to be. If they let her go on this mission, they're confident Rei won't hold back when it comes to Unit 04 and us, he realized. Got no other choice. Patrick bit down hard on his lip and clenched the hand actuators. "Erin?"
"What?" she asked.
"Can you trust me?"
"Oh, shit. What are you going to do?"
"There's only one real way out of this," Patrick said to her as he ordered the EVA to grip the Spear tightly while he slowly backed up towards the cliff. "Whatever you do, don't put up the AT Field."
"What?! Patrick!" Her brother cut Erin off as she tried to protest and he called out to the video feed."Rei?" Rei didn't reply but continued to silently stare at him.
"Rei? Do you remember when we talked about Romeo and Juliet? About how stupid they were for not reading each others' minds?" Rei still didn't say anything but cocked her head slightly in curiosity.
"Well," Patrick said to her as he tightly gripped the actuators. "READ THIS!"
In one motion Evangelion Unit 04 took the Spear of Longinus in her right hand and cocked it back behind her shoulder, and then before either Asuka or Rei could react took two steps forward and threw the spear towards Unit 07, Patrick screaming with all of his strength as she did so. The spear shot by Rei's EVA, just missing the head by two meters to the left, and then screamed down the chamber towards the far end.
Asuka gasped in shock. Some small part of her inside had hoped Patrick wouldn't actually turn on them in the end. "I don't believe it!" she said under her breath.
Inside of Unit 07 Rei quickly dodged her EVA to the right to get out from the path of the spear. Inside of her heart she fought to keep the typhoon of emotions at bay but now her path was made clear: there was nothing else to it. Without saying anything further EVA-07 pulled the trigger of the Pallet Gun three times, placing three rounds directly into Unit 04's chest. With outstretched arms the silver and white figure fell backwards over the cliff side and into the smoke and lava below.
Go on to Chapter 58