Boyfriend of Steel

A Neon Genesis Evangelion Fan Fiction site

Chapter Thirty-Four: Snake In The Grass

 

Tokyo-3

Inside the domed area of the GeoFront a caravan of several green and khaki painted NERV vehicles sped over the open ground areas. Included in the group were larger trucks filled with equipment as well as smaller SUVs that carried engineers and technicians.  Driving in the lead vehicle was Captain Aoba, and seating next to him was Scientific Director Dr. Viraat.

“Stop over there, next!” Viraat motioned to Aoba, pointing out a small patch of concrete set on the ground a few meters away from the access road.  Aoba stopped the SUV and turned on flashing lights as the other vehicles stopped in turn. The diminutive Dr. Viraat got out of the vehicle and waddled over to the concrete pit that was set inside the ground.

“Get the repair kit over here,” he shouted to the others. “This port looks intact, we just need the cables repaired and the door sensor fixed.” As he gave more detailed instructions to the NERV staff that had come with him, Aoba waited and then spoke to Viraat after he had dispatched the others.

“How many more stations do we have left, Captain?” the scientist asked the officer.

Aoba looked on his LCD tablet. “We’ve started repairs on nine so far and including this one there’s another seven to go,” he reported. “Once we have the underground hydraulics checked out the weapons conveyor system should be functional once again.”

“Good,” Viraat said. “Finally got to this part of the GeoFront defense network. I wouldn’t want to go too long without being able to defend ourselves adequately should we get attacked again.”

 

Having an open period that morning where he had no assigned training or patrol duties, Patrick decided to have another try at making contact with Erin. After breakfast and changing into some casual clothes, he boarded an elevator and took it to A Deck, noticing on the way up that he had two black-suited bodyguards in the elevator with him instead of the usual single escort.

Once on A Deck he wondered around the observation deck for a while to get his courage up before having another try with his volatile twin. He walked past large glass windows that were above ground over the GeoFront, working up in his mind various ways to try and start up some sort of conversation with her that didn’t involve her slapping or screaming at him at the end of it. 

As Patrick turned a corner from the observation deck into a stairwell he heard muffled sounds of a girl’s voice that sounded familiar to him. Not sure who it was at first he moved up the staircase slowly, seeing a black-suited woman with dark sunglasses standing along one side of the railing. The agent looked at Patrick as he continued up the staircase but otherwise didn’t obstruct him from continuing to climb the stairs, and as he kept moving upwards the sobs of a girl’s voice became more distinct.

At the top of the flight he stopped and saw a single figure sitting along the steps. Dressed in the new NERV uniform she had her head in her hands as she softly cried to herself. It took Patrick just a moment to recognize who the girl was.

“Mari?”

On hearing Patrick’s voice, Mari lifted her head up. Her glasses were off, and her eyes were red with tears. She gave him a forced smile as he came closer to her. In Patrick’s memory, it was the first time he had ever seen Mari expressing anything like sadness, such was her usual positive attitude.

“Hello, partner,” she said to him, her voice choking up. Patrick sat next to her on the stairwell, matching her broken smile with one of his own.

“Oh, man,” he said to her, gently putting his arm around her. “It’s about Puppy-kun, isn’t it?”

Mari nodded in affirmation, sighing deeply as she sniffled and shook her head to regain composure. “I’ve mucked it up for everyone, haven’t I?”

“At least you followed your heart,” said Patrick.

“Well, for what good it did me. He won’t talk to me now and I’ve messed up the whole squadron with our little antics.”

Patrick tried to be comforting. “It’ll be alright I suppose. I had a hand in this too, you know.”

“The help that other night was appreciated, though I’m sorry it caused such a spat between you and your angel.” The boy nodded in agreement. “You learn a lot about someone when you’re in conflict with them. There was a silver lining in that.”

“I know it, I suppose I’ll be alright,” Mari said. She tried to say something more but broke down in tears again before she could get it out. Patrick tightened his grip on her. “Wow, you must have really liked him for you to be broken up this way.”

She rubbed her eyes and tried again to shake out of it. “I know, right? I’m sorry, it’s just…not like me to be out of sorts like this, especially over something stupid like a boy.”

“Well, you have to admit Shinji’s pretty special.”

“I suppose I’ll just get in line then,” she said in mock humor. “Poor Asuka doesn’t realize how lucky she actually is.”

The two of them just sat there for a few minutes, neither one of them talking to the other but both of them staying close as they sat together on the steel stairs. Mari finally shook her head firmly and rubbed her eyes one more time, then placed her glasses back on. “Time to go blow up Harpies again.”

“Remember,” Patrick encouraged her, “you’re British. Stiff upper lip and all that.”

“I’m also Japanese, which means I’m allowed to be inconsolably sad for long lengths of time.” He actually laughed at Mari’s bad joke and that helped lift the mood between them. “You’ll be okay. At worse case I’ll convince Dr. Foch down below to clone Shinji and then you can have one of your own to play with.” She laughed out loud. “Right, that’ll do!”

Patrick smiled at her. “Feeling better now?”

“I am,” she said, her eyes now much brighter than before. “Thank you.”

“Just paying you back,” he told her. It hadn’t been that long ago when Mari consoled him in the Australian outback some months earlier.

“So, what brings you up here, anyway?” Mari asked him. “It wasn’t on my account, was it?”

“No, I’m going to try again with Erin.”

“Good luck with that. I can’t imagine how that must hurt with her so hostile to you.”

Now it was Patrick’s turn to feel down. “Yeah, well, I can only think that Dad kept her pretty much in the dark all that time before. It seems like he was the world to her and now he’s gone, and it’s sort of my fault that he is. I can understand the anger but that doesn’t mean I don’t’ want to stop trying to make contact.” He sighed deeply and then said, “Rei thinks she might be trouble.”

Mari raised her eyebrows in alarm. “If your Angel says that then you best be careful.”

“I know, but…”

Before Patrick could continue Mari looked in front of them and saw another girl standing on the steps below them. “Speak of the devil,” she whispered. Patrick turned to see who it was. It was Erin, standing two steps below them. She was dressed in a printed green and white t-shirt and green running shorts, walking on runners. The look on her face was serious, her emerald green eyes stared right at Patrick.

“Hi, Erin,” he said to her.

Another girlfriend of yours?” she said snidely.

Patrick couldn’t help but feel more that a little annoyed. “Right now Mari is more a sister to me that you are,” he said. He gently released her arm around Mari and stood up, as Mari got up a half-second later. “Looking for me?”

“I was,” said Erin, who slowly took the next two steps so she could be on the same level as the others. “Can I have a word with you?” she asked, looking at Mari. “Privately?

Patrick was about to say something when Mari told him “I’ll leave you two be. I’ve got training I’m supposed to be at anyway.”

“Will you be okay?” Patrick asked Mari.

“I’ll be alright,” she replied. “I just got my two steps back, now it’s time for the three steps forward,” she said with a broader smile. “Take care.” She gently took Patrick’s hand and squeezed it as she started down the stairs, and Patrick smiled back as she made it down, releasing her hand as she went downward. Mari looked quickly back at him. “Pats?”

“Yeah?”

“Do remember what your Angel said to you before.” Patrick didn’t say anything but just nodded, and Mari left the staircase, her security guard following her out.

After Mari left, Patrick turned his attention back to Erin. “Okay, you’ve got me alone.”

“Not quite,” she said as she motioned her head towards both of their bodyguards, who were standing below them on the stairway close to the door.

“Unfortunately as long as we’re here in the building they won’t be going away,” he replied.  “Don’t worry, they don’t really care what we do or say. Heck, Rei and I…”

“If you want to know why I’m here,” Erin interrupted in a more quiet but still harsh tone, “I’m only going to tell you and you only, and with no one else around including them.”

Patrick smirked. “Unless we go to the bathroom together unfortunately we’re not going to be that private,” he said in return, also lowering his voice.

“Do they follow you into the EVA?”

“Thank God, no!”

“Then that’s where I want to go.”

He winced at her. “Sorry. That’s not going to happen until they get your security card stamped for entry past A Deck.”

Erin walked closer to him and for the first time since she arrived she showed an emotion to him that was something other than hostility or indifference.  She looked at him with a pouting face, and he saw a look of sadness in her eyes, almost desperation. “I really need to go down there and see it,” she said. “I’m sorry if I was a bit difficult before. It’s just so many things going on and being out of it for so long and…”

“I get that, you know,” Patrick said, warming up with some emotion of his own as he felt like the wall between the two of them was finally coming down. “I know this can’t be easy for you.”

“Can you help me then?” she asked.

The boy thought about it for a minute as he considered what it would take to get Erin to the EVA cages. An idea came to him and after careful internal consideration he proposed it to her. “Go to your room and stay there. I’ll be there in one hour.”

“What are you going to do?”

He gave her a sly smile. “You’ll see.”

 

After Patrick left A Deck and the staircases he took the elevator down to the sub-level with the pilot ready room, both bodyguards were still in tow as he walked to his destination. He entered the locker rooms and then into the bathroom from there. Coming out a minute later he saw that neither bodyguard had followed him that far. Both were probably outside in the ready room, he thought, as the overall security in the sub-levels was usually better than up top and the guards were more respectful of the pilots’ privacy in the lockers.

Without the guards present he quickly opened up his pilot locker and saw his plug suit hanging inside. Patrick removed his clothes and put on the plug suit. Then he checked the bottom of the locker and saw the deployment bag fully packed. Inside the camouflage bag were extra clothes and personal items for when he deployed outside of Tokyo-3, but there was also a spare plug suit inside as well.  He unzipped the bag to be sure the extra suit was inside and then removed a baseball cap and a pair of sunglasses from the bag.  Putting on the baseball cap and sunglasses he them promptly left the locker room.

Patrick quickly hurried to the Boys’ suite and entered. With the other three boys out in various duties or training there was no one inside the room. He quickly darted to Kensuke’s room and looked around. Kensuke’s room was a mess of computers and video gear, cameras and lots of photos and posters of military gear and girls (sometimes together) strewn in no particular order. A NERV dress uniform hung neatly against the door. After a minute of searching Patrick found what he needed: a black baseball cap and sunglasses identical to his own. He grabbed them and stuffed them into the deployment bag and then nearly ran out of the boys suite towards the elevators.

 

Erin sat in her cabin, her arms crossed as she waited impatiently for Patrick to arrive.  When there was a knock on the door she hurriedly stood up and keyed the open switch.  Dressed in his plug suit plus hat and sunglasses, Patrick marched in and then closed the door before the guards outside could get a good look at both of them.

“You’re late,” she said. He was in fact five minutes behind his own schedule.

“A had to make a couple of stops to make this work,” he replied. Patrick went to the bed and quickly pulled out the plug suit, laying it on the bed. He then pulled out the hat and sunglasses that matched the ones he was wearing. “Here’s how we do it,” he said. “We’re going to be twins.”

At first Erin thought to make an angry comment but then she realized the plan Patrick had come up with. She thought it through herself and wondered if it would really work. “Wait a minute. You’re think that if we both get dressed up the same that’s going to fool them. I still need an ID card to get downstairs.”

“Not really,” he explained. “We never have our cards out when we’re piloting, those are usually in the locker or in the deployment bag. So, an EVA pilot wearing a plug suit without a card is not unusual.  If you go as me, my guards are going to go with you and hopefully think that you’re me.  All you need to do is tell them you need to go to the EVA cages ASAP and they’ll take you there.”

“Won’t work,” she said to him. “They put a chip inside of me when I got here. They’ll still know it’s me.”

“Ah,” Patrick replied in anticipation. “Except for the fact that the Plug Suit has a layer of nanolead used to block out radiation. That actually blocks out the signals from the subdermal chips.”

“But the suit itself has tracking.”

“As Patrick Forrestal,” he concluded. “What I’ll do is then wait here after you leave, then I go on my own with my ID card. If my bodyguards go with you I’m by myself and hopefully no one immediately notices we’re duplicates. Then I’ll rush to the cages and meet you there. Once we’re both in the entry plug all signals are blocked and there’s not much else they can do.”

“Won’t the ground crew notice two pilots?”

“I’m in good with the crew chief,” he declared smugly. “I think he can look the other way when we go in. Then I shut the door and you can say whatever you like.”

“One last detail,” Erin said. “They still put a guard on me. When I go as you, my guard will still be outside the door.”

“Then distract her,” he replied. “You need something personal for her to go get for you. Because there’s two other guards here, she’ll probably just go and get it. So when she goes, you go right out as me in the plug suit and rush to the cages. They’ll either A: both go with you and then notify security central that they’re leaving the room and your guard will rush back, or B: one will go and one will stay. If it’s A and she’s still not here then I’ll rush out before she gets back.”

“And if it’s B?”

“I’ll…I’ll wing it somehow,” he sputtered, finally running out of answers to Erin’s challenges. “Look,” he said, “it’s not a perfect plan but if we move fast enough they won’t catch up to us until we make it to the plug. They might catch you in the EVA and bring you back but at least you get to see her again. Isn’t that worth the risk?”

It sure is. “Okay,” agreed Erin, and in the first time since she returned he saw her his sister’s eyes brighten up.

 

Erin gently opened the door to her room and looked for her current escort. A black-suited Japanese woman with dark sunglasses was standing by the doorway, accompanied by two other men who were Patrick’s protection detail for today. “Um, excuse me?” she said to the agent.

“Yes?”

“I’ve got a personal problem and I need you to get something for me.” When the guard asked what it was, Erin motioned for her to come closer and she whispered in her ear what it was that she needed.

“You don’t have any?”
“No, and, um, I’m kind of a mess right now. Any way you can get it for me?”

The female agent looked at the two others in a somewhat exasperated expression. “It’s probably better If I go get this. They have them in the infirmary on this level.”

“We’ll cover them while you’re gone,” one of the other agents responded. With that the female agent ran off and down the hallway as the other two remained.

Erin closed the door as Patrick picked up his mobile phone and called someone else. “What are you doing?” she asked.

“Shhh,” he said, and then he spoke on the phone. “Yes, this is Pilot Forrestal. I need to get into my EVA.” Another voice spoke for a minute and Patrick then responded as Erin hurriedly grabbed the plug suit from the bed and ran into the bathroom. “Great, thanks. I’ll be down in ten minutes.”

A minute later Erin came out wearing Patrick’s plug suit. Built for a boy, it was tight in the chest which didn’t make her comfortable at all. “This really pinches,” she told him.

“Sorry, but if you’re me you can’t have boobies, can you?”

“Just tell me where to go,” she scowled as she put on the hat and sunglasses.

 

The front door of the cabin opened and Erin came running out.  Her hat was down low and as she already had blonde hair as short as Patrick’s from a distance she looked about the same as him. She brushed past the two men and made a straight line for the elevators, moving at a fast pace.   The two escorts saw her go out and started to follow, as one of them said to the other. “Maybe one of us should stay with the other?”

“Kikuchi will have our heads if we leave him under-protected,” the other said.  “Just lock the girl’s door until her escort gets back.” The first escort then called it into security central as they ran to keep up with the pilot.

Patrick stood in Erin’s room waiting for the right time to exit, as he didn’t want to leave too soon and be spotted.  As he watched the door he saw the LOCKED light go from green to red, indicating that the room was being locked from outside.

Oh, great, thought Patrick, who then realized he had a way out after all. He pulled out his ID card and slid it in the lock. Because EVA pilots had “all access” cards to the GeoFront he thought it might work in the room’s lock and in fact it did as the door slid right open. Realizing there would be no better time to move Patrick ran out the door and quickly hustled to the elevators, trying to run away before Erin’s escort returned.

 

In the elevator Erin silently faced the wall as her escorts kept their distance behind her.  She felt highly anxious as the elevator car rapidly made its way down to the sublevels. This had better work, she worried and tried to focus her mind on the rest of what she needed to do.

 

Erin’s escort returned to the cabin with a white box of feminine pads in her hand. She saw from the outside lock panel that the door was locked and knew from the radio call a few minutes before that the girl was kept inside as a security precaution until she could return.  She rang the doorbell of the cabin and said in a serious tone “Miss Forrestal I have what you asked for.”  After a moment there was nothing said in return and she tried again. On the second try she immediately drew her pistol and with her left hand slid her ID card to open the door.

As the door slid open the agent stepped inside and called “Miss Forrestal? Erin?” as she searched through the room. She pushed open the bathroom door and found no one inside, then went to the closets and also found no one. Realizing she had been tricked she called it in to Security Central. “This is Tanaka. I need a location on Erin Forrestal.”

The operator searched and then gave the reply. “Not currently found.”

“Shit!” the agent said, realizing she had been tricked by the twins. Another voice came on her radio. “Location on Pilot Forrestal, now!”

There was another moment of silence as the operator searched, and then, “Last key card slide was in the security gate before the elevators, he’s currently going downward on 005 but…wait, oh that’s not right!”

“What is it?!” said the agent as she ran towards the elevator shaft.

“Forrestal is also tracked on Elevator 001. He has his plug suit on.”

“Wait a minute,” Takana called out. “He can’t be in two places at once!” Another voice came over the radio. “This is Kikuchi.”

“Sir!”

“Tanaka, what the hell happened?”

“Miss Forrestal asked me to get her a box of feminine pads, so I left her with Pilot Forrestal’s guards and went to the infirmary. When I returned she was gone.”

“For your future reference all guest cabins have those things in their sanitary kit in the bathroom. She was just trying to get rid of you.” The agent’s heart sank as she realized how stupid he was. “Damnit! Should we call an alert, sir?”

“No,” replied Kikuchi. “I think I know what’s going on. I’ll go down and intercept both of them.”

“Sorry, sir.”

“Save it,” said Kikichi and he shut off the line.

 

At the higher gantry of the EVA cages Erin continued to walk at a fast pace, the black-suited guards struggling to keep up with her when she reached the silver-white Unit 04. It felt good to see it again, she thought to herself, but she pushed aside any other feelings while she worked out what needed to happen next.

As the guards ran up to where she was Kikuchi’s voice came in one ear of both of them. “Nakamura, Saito!”

“Sir!” they replied in unison.

“That’s not Pilot Forrestal you’ve been shadowing,” Kikuchi warned. “It’s the sister. Stop her and hold her in position until I get down there. Under no circumstances do you let her near any EVA or inside the entry plug!”

The two of them looked at each other in surprise. “Yes, sir,” replied one of them while the other ran up to Erin and quickly jumped in front of her. Seeing the large size of the guard compared to her she didn’t try to get around him and realized the game was up.

“Allright,” he said to her sternly, “joke’s over!” Before she could turn around the agent grabbed her by the arm and lifted off her hat and sunglasses. With her identity revealed, she just looked at the man with a sheepish grin.  The second agent caught up to them and then called it in. “We’ve got her, on top of Unit 04’s gantry,” he said.

“Hold her there until I get there, and keep it quiet,” said Kikuchi on the radio.

Erin quickly pulled her arm away from the agent, scowling at him. The guard didn’t try to hold her back but kept close to one side of her while the second agent stood on the other side. “Stupid kids,” he muttered to the first agent, “waste all of our time with this playground crap.”  As the two security agents looked around them they were approached by three men in red ground crew coveralls. “Pilot Forrestal?” one of them, a tall Caucasian man with a Scottish accent called out.

“Sorry,” the agent replied, “just a prank.”

The three men looked at each other and nodded and then turned around to get access to inside of their toolboxes. Erin stood as quietly as a mouse in between the two agents, and waited.

 

Patrick hopped impatiently as his elevator sped downward towards the EVA cages. He had used his ID card to put the elevator on priority pass so it wouldn’t stop on any other floor, but even so the four minute ride was much too long for him and seemed slower than usual. He had noticed at least that the elevator hadn’t been stopped, so he wasn’t caught in his scheme quite yet.

On the way down he wondered if he was doing the right thing by ditching security and letting Erin downstairs. Patrick felt bad about fooling the guards but also knew that he needed to find out what Erin was getting at. If that meant breaking a few rules so be it.

Was Erin all that dangerous?  he wondered. Certainly Rei thought so, and even Mari was concerned about her. When he saw her today however, that pleading look in her eyes reminded him of the first time he saw Erin in his uncle’s cabin where she seemed so desperate.  Patrick couldn’t turn away from that, he had to find out what was really going on.

The elevator arrived at the level of the EVA cages and Patrick immediately went out the door. He made it about a foot before being collared by Kikuchi, who was waiting for him outside.

Forrestal!” he growled. “What the hell are you up to?”

Patrick tried to evade.  “I don’t know what you’re talking about!”

Kikuchi threw him up against the wall. “Don’t treat me like a fucking idiot. You sent your sister down her wearing your plugsuit. We just caught her a minute ago.”

The boy frowned in dejection. “Sorry,” he offered. “She wanted to see her EVA.” Kikuchi dragged him from the wall and across the gantry as they made their way to Unit 04. “There’s a reason why she’s got restricted access,” he told Patrick. “Now thanks to you she might never be allowed to pilot again.”

“She won’t open up unless I get her in the EVA,” Patrick protested.

“Leave that to the general,” replied Kikuchi, referring to Sir John. “And stop wasting our damn time. We had two dead technicians show up in the lake this morning. The last thing I need right now is a stupid stunt like this.” Patrick didn’t say anything in response but could feel his heart plunge as his plan had run aground. Now he was worried about just how much trouble Erin might get into because of him. 

Kikichi’s anger continued to boil over. “The thing I hate about you Americans is how you constantly flaunt the rules like it’s some sort of challenge,” he griped. “This time you’re not going to get out of it so easily, pilot or no.”

The two of them reached the gantry above Unit 04's cage, where they could see that the entry plug was in position with the access hatch wide open.  Standing in front of the plug was Erin along with three other members of the maintenance crew.  Patrick shook off Kikuchi's arm and ran over to where Erin was standing. She had her cap off and her sunglasses were in her hand.

“Sorry you got caught,” Patrick apologized. Erin said nothing at all but instead looked at Patrick with quivering, angry eyes. Her small body was shivering as it were cold, and her other hand was clenched in a tight fist.   About to say something further Patrick turned to face one of the crew.

The crew chief for EVA-04 was a tall, bearded, red and grey-haired man of Scottish descent who had previously been part of NERV UK, and who had joined the Alliance when Unit 05 was “stolen” by General Sheffield.  Patrick had worked with the man for over two months now and while they weren't friends he knew his face well.  Seeing him now however, he seemed rather different: the man's face was thinner, the hair looked like it had more body as if he was wearing a wig, and he seemed a bit shorter somehow. 

Patrick tried to think of why the man looked different and then suddenly the reason why came to him. Unfortunately it came much too late. “Hey!” he said to the crewman. “You're not my my crew chief!”

Having just arrived where the others were standing Kikuchi heard what Patrick said to the man and as he scanned around made a sudden realization of his own: the two security agents he had sent to intercept Erin were nowhere to be found. It was just the Forrestal twins and three crew in NERV jumpsuits. He looked into the eyes of three men and as he saw each one of them watch him with narrow, icy glances the agent knew that something was not at all right.

As Patrick tried to move away from the imposter crew chief, the man reached up with a pistol and quickly brought it down on Patrick's head, knocking him immediately unconscious. At the same time the other two intruders reached for their own weapons hidden in their back pockets. Kikuchi's pistol was already drawn and as the two other men tried to swing their guns to fire Kikuchi proceeded to place two bullets in each man's chest in quick succession. 

Kikuchi swung around to face the third intruder. The man held Patrick's body with his left arm, using him as a human shield while he swung around his pistol with his right hand. Seeing Patrick in his line of fire the agent hesitated, but the other man did not and put two rounds into the agent before he could fire his weapon again. Kikuchi's large body crumbled to the ground, the pistol dropping out of his right hand and clanging against the metal of the gantry.

Erin closed her eyes during the quick firefight and held them shut tight until the shooting stopped. When she opened them there were four bodies on the ground and the intruder with the red wig was standing in front of her.

“Get inside!” he ordered, motioning to the EVA's entry plug. “I've already given the signal, the other one will be here any moment.” As Erin tried to collect herself she saw that the intruder was taking an unconscious, limp Patrick and shoving him inside the entry plug.

“Why is he going in there?” Erin demanded.

“Orders. You get in there now!” The girl did as she was told, putting on the black baseball cap and sunglasses before entering the plug through the side door.  As soon as she was inside the man shut the hatch closed and spun the round handle until it locked.

As the intruder finished locking the handle he moved to a switch and threw it and the entry plug began to move, sliding inside of the giant Evangelion below him.  With a satisfied look on his face he turned around in order to dispose of his companions lying dead on the metal scaffolding. As he moved towards the closest body out of his left eye he saw a towering figure dressed in black.

Bleeding profusely from his abdomen, Kikuchi still had the strength to pick himself off of the floor of the gantry and started to move towards the intruder.  The man again went for his pistol tucked in his pocket but in a rage Kikuchi rammed into him and pushed him against the steel railing, the pistol dropping over the edge and into the pool of red LCL below them.  The two of them struggled, Kikuchi trying to hold the man against the railing as he reached for his radio with his other hand.  The red-wigged intruder still had the strength to struggle free and pushed Kikuchi backwards. The agent continued to resist and both men locked arms and bodies as the wrestled on the gantry, throwing each other around the railing until the intruder broke free.

Seeing the pistol on the deck the intruder reached down for it as an enraged Kikuchi again charged at him. Aiming the pistol at Kikuchi the intruder fired it point-blank and hitting Kikuchi in the shoulder, but like a raging bull Kikuchi continued to drive towards him.  Roaring with all of his remaining strength he pushed both the man and himself off of the railing's edge and they plunged down into the LCL below.

 

Continue to Chapter Thirty-Five

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