Standing on the gantry in the EVA cage Shinji had, of course, heard everything that Asuka and Patrick said earlier.
So Patrick came back…He must think that Ayanami’s dead, otherwise he wouldn’t have said that. But yet he’s still fighting…
Asuka knows the truth about the EVA now
, and yet she’s still going on…
And all of those others at NERV…
And there’s even some other pilot out there I don’t know, and she was fighting too.
And here I am just hiding like the coward that I am.
I should go out there. I should fight like everyone else, but I just can’t do this again.
He stared at Unit 01’s hands, hands that just a day ago held a human life inside them, and crushed it. Shinji looked at his own hands in disgust.
I killed Kaworu.
They said he was an Angel, but it didn’t matter. He was just a boy, just like me, and yet he even let me do it to him, didn’t even put up a fight. Why would he do that?
Why is everyone so focused on me? What are they expecting from me? There’s no way I can be what people expect, I’m just junk inside.
Sounds of the battle filled the cage as the speakers broadcast the death match between the EVAs. He could hear the desperate cries of the pilots as they struggled against the Mass Production series.
I can’t take this anymore…I’m not even worth saving!
I’m so tired of it all. I hate my father for doing this. I hate my father for bringing me here. I hate my father for everything!
Tears went down his eyes as he thought about Rei. Ayanami…I miss you so much! I just wish I could talk to you again. At least there’s something of you left. If anyone should survive at all, it should be you.
I’ll go…but for your sake, if not for mine.
Shinji took the cross necklace that Misato had given him and placed it around his neck. He then stepped closer to the EVA and then shouted as loud as he could. “MOTHER!!!”
As commanded, the purple Evangelion’s left arm broke through the Bakelite that had encased it and stretch out to where Shinji was standing. Feeling numb, Shinji stepped onto the outstretched hand and started to climb his way to the entry plug.
“Vice Commander!” The old professor turned around and saw Maya looking at him. “Unit 01 is active!”
“Launch it now!” he ordered.
Maya rapidly keyed several commands to no avail. “Unable to launch. Bakelite has damaged the launch tubes and I can't activate the alternate launch system from here.”
“Try manual launch from the controller station!”
Hyuga tried to crawl back upwards to his controller station but found himself forced back down by a hail of gunfire. He looked at the others in a desperate gaze. “I can't get up there!”
Futsuyuki contemplated for a moment. He then picked up Hyuga's sub-machine gun from the floor and looked at it carefully. “Wait for our signal,” he told the lieutenant. “We'll give you cover.”
“Sir, you shouldn't!” Aoba protested.
“It's about the most useful I can be right about now,” he replied. Hyuga and Maya looked at the others, as Aoba finally nodded and then picked up a larger automatic rifle from the floor, sliding its action back to be sure it was properly loaded.
“Stand by,” Futsuyuki said calmly. Hyuga slid over to the edge of the controller station, ready to spring upwards.
The Vice Commander looked at his weapon again, carefully feeling the handles and grip. “You know, I've never actually fired one of these things until now,” he said to Aoba.
The young officer looked at him sadly, “Sir...”
Futsuyuki smiled back at him. “Hell of a time to learn, huh?” He took a deep breath. “On my count. One...two...three!” On three the vice commander and Aoba stood up and fired their weapons at the group of black-clad soldiers below them. “Go!” the old man shouted and Hyuga jumped up and pressed a series of buttons on his controller station. Once finished he immediately slid back down, as did Aoba. Futsuyuki dropped his gun and fell backwards, as red stains colored the front of his gray tunic.
“Vice Commander!” On seeing the Vice Commander Aoba dropped his weapon and reached over to him. He had been hit several times in the chest, as blood and fluid oozed out of the wounds. Maya nervously grabbed a first aid kit and tried to pull open a bandage but the dying Futsuyuki gently laid a hand on hers before she could place the bandage on him. “It's okay,” he told her softly. “It's time for me to get off this train.”
Futsuyuki looked up as if someone was standing above him. “The First? What are you doing here? Oh,” he said with a smile, “It’s you, Yui-kun.” He then closed his eyes and breathed his last.
As the sounds of gunfire and explosions escalated, Maya and Aoba tried to shake the old professor awake. “Doctor, Doctor!!” Aoba shouted. After a moment it was clear he had passed on. Enraged, Aoba quickly grabbed his automatic rifle and leaped to the edge of the deck, crying out as he proceeded to fire on the JSSDF below in wild abandon.
Maya, already panicked beyond her emotional limits, pulled a silver-coated first aid blanket over the vice-commander’s face as her hands shook. As she finished, she started to cry uncontrollably and screamed into the distance “WHERE IS AKAGI-SEMPAI???”
Aided by Musashi, Burke's team took several side passageways, trying to avoid areas that were either closed off by armored doors or filled with bakelite. On two occasions they had run into small teams of JSSDF special forces and dispatched them with fury. In between they saw the bodies of NERV personnel lying dead or dying on the floors. The Alliance men made special note that nearly all of the dead NERV men and women they saw were unarmed.
Following the digital tracker and Musashi's instructions they came to another secluded corridor. The tracker showed that the elevator they were looking for was fifty meters ahead of them, but there were a dozen Japanese special forces also ahead. Burke's team took cover in doorways and again ran a raging firefight against the enemy. Unlike the smaller teams they encountered earlier this group was more stubborn and harder to dislodge, and both sides took casualties as rifles and grenades were fired up and down the hallway.
Finally near the end of the hallway one of the Japanese soldiers looked to his right and noticed two hand grenades that had been lobbed right next to him. The grenades had come not from in front, but behind them. The trooper tried to grab the grenades to throw them back but they blew up as he was reaching for them, shattering his body and several others in his team.
Seeing no gunfire from the end of the hallway, Burke moved his team forward cautiously, checking doorways to ensure there were no remaining opponents. Down at the end they noticed a solitary figure and several men raised their weapons to shoot but Musashi shouted “DON’T!” and then ran quickly to the end of the hall.
There at the elevator was a tall Japanese man in a dark suit, soiled from blood and smoke. One of his sunglasses' lenses was cracked open. The agent saw the other and said, “It's been a long time.” The tall man just nodded and said to the agent “I see you finally cut off that pigtail!” They both smiled for a quick moment as they moved to the elevator. Musashi motioned to Burke to move his men forward,
“You took your time getting here,” Musashi told him.
“I needed to run an errand for your girlfriend,” Kikuchi replied to the agent's surprise as he started to work on the elevator’s security lock. “Then on the way back here I ran into all sorts of these assholes!”
The agent was about to ask Kikuchi another question when Burke rushed up, “Alpha, I presume?” he asked the tall man. He nodded and without being asked gave his report. “The Second Child is in her EVA and active against the enemy. The First came down here hours ago. I was on the way back here to bring her out.”
“And the Third?” Musashi asked.
“Presumably with the Major,” he replied as he got the elevator doors to open.
“We ran into her already,” Burke replied.
“Then all is well?” Kikuchi asked. Musashi and Burke both gave him solemn looks. “Oh,” Kikuchi said in return. Burke left two men with their wounded in the hallway and grabbed the remaining six he had, along with the two Japanese men and crammed inside the small elevator to Terminal Dogma.
After several minutes of prolonged combat, Asuka was beginning to wear down from the incessant attacks of the Mass Production EVAs. Upon slashing one in the head again with her halberd she had noted that this was the fourth time she or someone else had struck down that particular beast. It seemed as if each time they defeated one of the Harpies they just regenerated and went right back to attacking them.
“This is starting to, ugh, really get old!” she grunted as she struggled with another unit.
“No kidding,” Patrick shouted back. “It’s like Night of the Living EVA!” Patrick had slightly better luck, as his hand flamer was an effective weapon against the Harpies. But by now there was only enough fuel left in its fuel tank for a few more shots. He had burned three up and then the others had taken to avoiding the flame gun by flying around him and attacking with their spears. Meanwhile the three EVAs he had burned were starting to regenerate again, their blackened skin turning white as they rapidly healed the damage.
“Well,” Patrick asked, “any other ideas?”
“Even Angels were better than this,” Asuka shot back. “Where the hell is…”
The Harpy that Unit 02 was fighting suddenly turned its head towards the other side of the GeoFront. Asuka noticed that the EVA had stopped fighting and she suddenly swung up the halberd until she saw what the white creature was looking at.
In the distance they could see the purple-colored Unit 01, moving out of a covered entrance along the domed side of the GeoFront. The Evangelion walked slowly towards the inside.
Asuka spoke into the communicator. “About freaking time you got here. Shinji!” she ordered, “We need you to get the flame rockets on the other side!” but yet the boy didn't say anything in return. She tried to open up a visual channel with him but he blocked the signal. All Asuka could hear was the sound of his breathing on the audio channel.
Upon seeing the entry of Unit 01 onto the field, the monoliths of SEELE realized that their long-awaited moment had finally come.
“At last our hopes are to be realized,” the Chairman said. Then all of the members began to chant:
“Return the Eva series to its rightful form.
Evangelize humankind and restore us to our true form.
With indiscriminate death and prayers, we return to our original state. “
SEELE 01 gave the final command. “Now, let the sacrament begin!”
When the Harpies saw EVA-01 walk into the interior of the GeoFront, the ones fighting EVA-02 and 04 immediately broke off their attacks, sprouted their wings again, and started flying towards Unit 01.
“What?” Patrick said in alarm. “They're going after Shinji!”
Asuka noticed it too, as even the wounded ones were now stumbling up off the ground and spouting their wings, picking up their own lances as they began to fly towards the purple unit.
Shinji just closed his eyes and let EVA-01 stand there while the Harpies rapidly approached him. He wouldn’t fight, he had decided, but instead just accepted what would now happen to him.
Both Units 02 and 04 ran towards him as fast as possible. “You idiot! What are you doing?” Asuka shouted.
“It’s OK,” Shinji said at a whisper. “Let them come.”
Baka! Asuka tried to move EVA-02 as fast as she could to the other side. As usual he has no idea what the hell’s going on. I just hope that he wakes up before…
The boy just closed his eyes and waited for the beasts to attack. It would be over soon, he knew, and then everything would be fine. As one of the Mass Production series came closer it launched its Lance of Longinus at EVA-01 and struck it in the side. Another two lances followed and quickly hit Unit 01 on either forearm.
Sorry, Asuka. Sorry for everything bad I ever did to you. I really did like you, you know…
Shinji could feel the impact of the lances and the burning sensation on his palms, but he did nothing. He would just accept it. He had lived at everyone's expense already and only by doing this could he hope to pay them back.
He expected to feel the beasts start to tear him apart but after a moment he only felt more punctures on his hands and legs. Shinji opened his eyes and saw that several of the white beasts had now surrounded him, their oversize mouths showing toothy smiles salivating as they strung him up. Each of the lances that had hit Unit 01 had transformed into some sort of strand, and now several of the Harpies were pulling on them while others now mounted on their backs and spread their wings out.
Unit 04 reached the mob first and Patrick started to try and pull away one of the Harpies that was grasping onto EVA-01. Unit 02 quickly arrived and did the same, but both of them found that the white EVAs were holding on too tight.
Shinji’s heart pounded harder as he saw now all nine of the Mass Production EVAs cling onto the strands in his punctured EVA’s body or onto each other, and they were now flapping their wings with higher and higher velocity. “Why…why won’t they kill me?” he fearfully asked.
“Oh, shit,” Patrick said as he struggled to pull one of the white things off of Unit 01. “We screwed up! He’s what they wanted all along!”
“Shinji! Do something!!!” Asuka screamed. “It’s Third Impact!” She pushed her EVA to pull away the Harpies with all of her remaining strength. “GET YOUR FILTHY HANDS OFF OF HIM!” she shouted, but she was unable to pull any of them from their tight grip on Unit 01 or each other.
Belatedly Shinji tried to move his actuators to struggle out of the Harpies’ grip but he was unable to move the EVA. The Lances were somehow able to paralyze the EVAs movements and he was stuck, bound by the strands they had created. “I can’t move!” Shinji screamed. At that moment the white beasts all spread out their wings to their full extension and a circular force field began to emerge from them with a strange humming noise.
In the last couple of minutes the Alliance had managed to put another recon drone above the GeoFront, having launched it from one of their ships off the coast. Sheffield was now standing at the recon officer's station looking at the view from the drone's camera of what was happening inside. A second monitor showed the view from the gun camera mounted on Admiral Vinson's Thunderbolt.
“The drone's picking up something else, sir,” the recon officer told Sheffield. “Some sort of electromagnetic resonance but it's not specific to one frequency, it's all over the place!”
“Is it related to the EVA's AT field?” Sir John asked.
“No, sir. It's something entirely different,” the officer replied. “Whatever it is the field is expanding in size. I've never seen this before.” The young officer looked up at the general. “What is that, sir?”
Sheffield took a deep breath. “Something we haven't seen in fifteen years. Put me in contact with ZEUS, immediately!” he said urgently.
On the platform where the Second Angel was crucified, Gendo Ikari waited and watched Rei as events progressed above them. Rei simply stood there, knowing that she was here to fulfill her ultimate purpose but yet not knowing how she was expected to do so.
As the Anti-AT field exhibited by the Mass Production Evangelions began to be felt, Gendo noticed that Rei's skin was changing color and beginning to glow. He could also see a glistening all across her body as the bonds of her cells were being disrupted. Being made of parts both human and Angel, a clone of an Evangelion itself, Rei was affected most of all by the field that the EVAs above them had begun to generate.
The trap is sprung, Gendo thought to himself.
He took off his right glove, showing the living embryo implanted in his hand that was the physical form of the First Angel. “Adam and I are now as one,” he told her. “For this is the only way that I can be with Yui again, through the forbidden joining of Adam and Lillith.”
Rei watched her body as the bonds keeping her together slowly began to fail. Her left forearm literally detached from the rest of her arm and dropped to the floor. She felt no pain as it did so.
“Now is the time,” Gendo said to her. “Your AT Field can no longer hold your shape. Let's begin, Rei. Release your AT Field. Leave this useless body, merge all souls into one, and then take me to Yui's side!” As Gendo commanded her, he then inserted his right hand through Rei's left breast and into her body.
Gendo slowly moved his hand, gliding through Rei as if she were made of gelatin. She felt an intense wave of sensations flow through her mind and body as Adam began to resonate within her own being.
Ikari continued to move his hand slowly downwards through her body. Rei closed her eyes and grimaced as she could feel the pulsating from Adam throbbing in all directions. She tried to relax herself and allow her body to go, but she felt a twinge somewhere deep inside pushing her to fight on to keep her existence. She grimaced in discomfort as the commander’s hand moved further down inside her. His hand then reached her vagina, and he jabbed it deep inside her most intimate parts. As she was violated her eyes went wide open and she gasped loudly. No! Not there! Please not there!
Rei looked at the commander and saw his grinning teeth and his eyes mad with emotion. She could not say anything to him but she had never been more afraid and broken than she was now.
Was I not your child?
Did you ever see me at all?
Inside the entry plug, Shinji could feel himself getting warmer. He was strangely queasy, almost like his body was slowly dissolving. What’s going on?
Realizing his mistake in a panic he now sought to struggle as hard as he could, shaking the actuators violently as he tried to get Unit 01 to move even an inch.
The Harpies began to move EVA-01 from the ground to the top of the opening of the GeoFront. Patrick struggled to grab onto one of the Harpies’ legs to keep them from flying off with Shinji, but he felt something hot on his hand and pulled away. He looked at EVA-04’s left hand and notice that it had slightly melted.
Asuka had clung onto another one of the Harpies’ legs and Patrick could see that the shape of EVA-02’s arms was distorted. He called out to her “Asuka! That field they’re generating is melting you. You’ve got to let go!”
“NO!!!” she screamed back. “I WON’T LET THEM TAKE HIM!” The group of the EVAs pulled towards the top opening, dragging Unit 02 with it. Asuka fought hard to keep a hold but found that her arms were suddenly getting hot. Surprised, she she lost her grip and EVA-02 plunged downwards towards the ground.
Patrick panicked and tried to think about what to do. The Harpies were now high and out of his reach, his flame gun was out of fuel and he had no other shooting weapons left. Having no other good options, he called for help. “ZEUS, this is GABRIEL, we have a big problem, over!”
“We see it, “ ZEUS hurriedly replied. “Both of you stand by. We’re going to put in a FAE right now!”
“What’s that?” Patrick asked.
“A big firebomb. Now just get ready!”
Before Patrick could say anything further, Vinson switched the audio to the satellite link with OLYMPUS. “Johnnie, we’re going to hit those things with FAE. If that doesn’t work I want you to get ARES and NEPTUNE to unload every N2 they have on this place ASAP. Tell them not to hold anything back.”
“If there’s anyone left after this,” Vinson said with a resigned tone to his voice, “tell them that we tried.”
“Right. Godspeed, Bill.” ZEUS keyed the audio off.
“Pilot,” he shouted in his helmet microphone. “Get us on top of that mess! We need to make sure those missiles arrive on target.” The Thunderbolt promptly adjusted its engines and the aircraft shot upwards and out of the GeoFront.
Flying five hundred feet directly above the rising formation of Evangelions, Vinson quickly looked around and saw massive clouds of black smoke and flames as his own men and the Japanese continued to fight to the death on the ground. The battlefield was filled with the burning wreckage of tanks and aircraft and there was a foul stench that he could smell even from his position above. While his Thunderbolt hovered vertically above the GeoFront, Vinson and his assistant quickly worked to confirm and transmit the new target location to the cruise missiles that were coming their way. Inside the cockpit, electronic displays began to fizzle from interference.
“Hurry up, that field is getting stronger!” ZEUS shouted to the junior officer.
The younger man didn’t reply but worked frantically at his station for a few seconds. “Locked in!” he shouted back.
The assistant sent the signal out the satellite radio. A green light flashed briefly on Vinson’s display, and then the entire video monitor sparked and died violently.
“Did we get it?” he asked the officer, but there was no reply. The Thunderbolt suddenly began to waver, rolling back and forth in the air.
“Signal interference has blown out the fly-by-wire! I’m trying to get control. Hold on, we may have to..”
The Thunderbolt suddenly lurched forward and and then sharply downward as the engines malfunctioned. Vinson's head was thrown against the side glass of the cockpit as the aircraft spun around and out of control.
Go to Chapter Twenty-One