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Santo's Workshop
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I try not to work on a week to week basis. I normally try (and sometimes fail) to keep a buffer and give myself some wriggle room for posting the next chapter.

For this? Not anymore. You have access to everything that's ready to be posted. At least four chapters ahead of anything that's publicly available.

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Kaiju Slaying For Death and Profit (WC Evangelion SI) Ch 7

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Kaiju Slaying For Death and Profit (WC Evangelion SI) Ch 5

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Kaiju Slaying For Death and Profit (WC Evangelion SI) Ch 3

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Kaiju Slaying For Death and Profit (WC Evangelion SI) Ch 2

Chapter 2, where we see Not! Shinji meet his nemesis.
And kill it with a giant robot.
You know what they say. Be yourself. Unless you can be a giant robot. If that's the case, be a giant robot.
Please leave a comment.
=][=
The personality matrix merged into my conscious and subconscious mind with a feeling that can best be described as ‘fucking finally.’ Which, okay, that’s one way not to have to worry about the implication of absorbing a possibly sapient mind.

I went over the recent memories I’d just absorbed as I looked around. I was sixteen years old and alone in a city, a bit rundown, it was something of a ghost town. Nothing in sight but parked cars.

The note from Gendo Ikari (and boy was that a big surge of anger there, looking over the memories of my personality matrix, it was even entirely justified) had included two things and two things only, a map with precise coordinates, and the words ‘come here.’

Oh hey, the instructions were written in Japanese, I could understand Japanese, score, I was gonna read all the manga and stuff.

There was another thing in the info package, a picture of a sluttily dressed attractive woman in her late twenties or early thirties, giving the camera a wink and leaning forward to show off her cleavage. She would come pick me up.

I scowled as something nagged at my brain. Wasn’t I supposed to be like, twelve? I wish I would have gotten a chance to refresh myself on this universe before being dumped here. There had to be a reason why I was in a ghost town. Not to mention that the papers in my hand and the situation I was in causing me some severe dejavu.

The feeling of overpressure on my skin had me on the floor, curled up into the smallest ball I could manage, my hands over my ears, my mouth open and my eyes closed before my brain had registered the boom!

Peeking around, I saw several dozen huge bulky VTOLs shooting at something obscured by a hill, something that looked like a glowing beam shot out and exploded one of the aircraft and out from behind the hill strode one derpy looking Kaiju.

And seeing as to I didn't have a handy Baneblade or an Imperial Knight Suit laying around, I did the smart thing. I shot to my feet and started running perpendicular to the monster. The sound of something huge crashing, more explosions and what sounded like the world’s deepest bass singing behind me made me think I’d done the right thing.

Okay, I have a giant fucking monster behind me, my assets: armor that heals itself and me by being bathed in the blood of my enemies, a significant arsenal of weapons that is conceptually effective against demons, three infantry-scale lasweapons with assorted batteries, a belt of heavy bolter ammo, the BFG 9000, a chainsword and last but not least; Gumption mixed with ‘fuck it, why not?’

Things against me, the BFG may or may not bypass the AT field. I only had two shots, and even cyberdemons required more than two shots to take down. Lasweapons may or may not bypass the AT field, but I needed anti-vehicle or superheavy grade weapons and I was stuck at the PFI level. And the chainsword, horrific as it was, would likely only cause it papercuts.

In short, I was fucked.

Note to self, steal a Warlord Titan.

I heard the whistle of incoming ordinance and threw myself to the floor, the explosions sent me skidding as two levels of hell were dropped on the creature behind me, probably to very little effect.

When the rolling explosions stopped, I was once again up on my feet and running. Until I was flung right back to the ground by an almighty crash, looking up, I witnessed the immense black and white form of the monster, its face was a mask reminiscent of a stylized depiction of a crow’s skull, its skin was leathery and it had bone carapace in the shape of ribs over its torso.

And it was looking right at me.

“You know,” I told it with a grin, “I'd say God shits in my dinner once again. But I know for a fact the fucker doesn’t care enough one way or the other.”

A monster with rigid angular lines where the angel was smooth and organic, came through the building next to the creature, slammed into it, and pushed it away.

I'd be tempted to call out divine intervention, but as I said. Fucker don't care.

A blue car sped past me, skidding to a stop and throwing the door open, the pretty woman from the picture grinned out at me with forced cheer and calm. “Hey! Sorry I-”

I almost punched her as I dove into the car and slammed the passenger door closed. “Drive! Drive! Fucking drive!”

Not needing any further encouragement, the lady from the photo, dressed far more professionally than in said photo, took off. I kept an eye on the Kaiju fight. It was beating the snot out of the robot sent to fight it. It threw the robot through a building where it didn’t get back up from.

In return, the bombardment it was being subjected to intensified. I saw rockets, HE and Anti-Tank rounds, and enormous airburst dropped munitions being tossed at it with the only effect being the occasional stumble as it walked through a destroyed building.

“Hey, so-” the woman began as I looked out the window of the car.

“Something’s happening.” I warned, a cold shiver traveling up my spine. “The aircraft are being pulled back.”

“What!?” The woman shouted, slammed the car to a stop and barreled past me, pressing her firm tits against my cheek as she hung partly out the window, fancy binoculars in hand.

I may prefer softer, squishier boobs, but I was okay with this nonetheless.

“No no no! They can’t be planning to use an N2 mine!” she shouted.

I didn’t know what an N2 mine was, but anything spoken of with that much awe and requiring the redeployment of aircraft was bound to be bad news. I bent down at the waist and cursed my shortsightedness at making myself as tall as in my last life. I was far too large to fit in the car’s footwell.

Her shout of “Get down!” was rather unnecessary, as I was already trying to squeeze into as small a volume as I could manage.

Then there was a light so bright that its reflection hurt my eyes through my closed eyelids and something punched me in my entire left side. A titanic roar assaulted my ears for a few instants before my hearing cut out.

Hopefully I wasn’t deafened again, I didn’t have healing magic handy to fix that.

“FUCK!” I screamed, oh hey, I could hear. My brain became accustomed enough to the overstimulation of all my senses for my sense of balance return, I rather wished it would have taken a little while longer to do that, that way I wouldn’t have to feel the car literally flipping over and over like a toy tossed by a child. The woman had wrapped herself around me, which was a nice gesture. Something of a moot one, as I was significantly larger than her, but it’s the thought that mattered.

The car eventually stopped; the woman had somehow not been thrown clear even though she hadn’t been using the seatbelt. That's a bad idea, one should always wear their seatbelt. I blinked a few times, pain starting to register and informing me that I was, in fact, alive.

“Whooo,” I said weakly, “not dead. Oi, lady, you still breathing?”

Thankfully the car had landed on its side instead of upside-down, I was able to push myself up as the woman groaned and stirred. “Y-Yeah. Ugh.”

We crawled out of the car and looked at the devastation. The explosion had thrown a large amount of the topsoil into the air. I looked at the far-away mushroom cloud and wondered if I could scrounge together enough points to get Body Defense so I could survive the radiation poisoning. “Was that a goddamn nuke?”

“N2 mine.” The woman said rubbing her lower back. “Stands for Non-Nuclear. Strength of a low-yield nuke, none of the long-term fallout.”

I grunted and gave the car a good shove with my shoulder, overbalancing it and dropping it onto its wheels, it was dented, scratched, beaten to all hell and judging by the sound it made as it landed, the transmission was not long for this world. But that was to be expected after that tumble. “Well, until I see some blueprints I’m not gonna trust it. We should go.”

The woman blinked and looked from my biceps to the car. “You’re…uhh…pretty strong, huh?”

“I work out.” I said tonelessly and got into the car. She spent a bit walking around and applying duct tape so the bumpers would stay on the car, however, when she tried to start it, the car would not turn on. She swore and turned the key again.

I sighed, looked through the bag my Personality Matrix had packed, and rummaged around until I found a multitool. “Give me a minute.”

I stepped out and went to the front of the car. She popped the hood after I stared at her long enough. Looking through it, it wasn’t unlike the engines I’d worked on during my years as a Company mechanic and engineer. A lot less rugged certainly, this engine was not made to shrug off gunfire or being punched by a cyberdemon.

It took me a few minutes to decipher its layout, but quickly enough saw that, during the tumble, the timing belt had slipped off. How that was the only thing wrong, I do not know. But I wasn’t going to look a gift horse in the mouth.

It was a good thing I had the strength of the Doom Slayer, as I certainly didn’t have a ratchet or all the tools I’d need to fix that. But I was able to turn all the nuts and bolts manually to push the alternator down, remove the covers, slip the belt back on, put everything back into place and tighten everything back up.

Soon after that we were back on the road and thankfully moving away from the Kaiju.

“Whoo! Thanks for making sure my car still runs,” the woman (I really should ask her name sometime) said with forced cheer, “I still have twelve months on my loan, would have sucked pretty hard if it’d been totaled.”

“Honestly, you’d probably be better off if it had been totaled.” I said glibly, looking out at the deceptively serene hills. “You could have expensed it as lost in the pursuit of duty.”

“Really? I’ll have to see if that works. Maybe they’ll pay for taking this little guy to the mechanic!”

I grunted in response. We drove in silence for several minutes before she spoke again. “You can feel free to ask me questions.”

I grunted dismissively.

“I mean, between being invited here, the giant monster back there, you must have a lot of questions, huh?”

I grunted in affirmation.

“I’m the one doing all the talking here. Come on, ask me any questions you want!”

I took a deep breath. “Are you at liberty to answer any question I put forward honestly without my needing to sign NDAs or other such documents?”

There was a long moment of silence before she asked. “What do you mean?”

“Ma’am, with all respect. I have severe doubt that anything you say to me will be the honest truth. I’ve been able to deduce enough of Ikari Gendo’s work to know that any question I ask will be given the rote surface-level non-answer that government types and corporations are in love with.” I turned a pair of very jaded eyes at her, she controlled her reaction well, but she couldn’t stop her eyes widening and her hands tightening on the steering wheel. “I have no love or trust in you or whatever organization you represent. Frankly, at the moment I wouldn’t trust your answer on what color the sky is. If you told me that things fall to the ground when you let go of them, I’d privately check to see what part of your statement was falsehood. As far as I am concerned. My legal guardian has asked to see me, I will see what it is he wants. End of story.”

The woman made a sound low in her throat and turned back to the road. The silence this time was significantly more awkward.

She drove to a well concealed reinforced tunnel, parked at a lift, and moments later we were descending, moving down and…sideways?

“Did uhh,” I opened an eye and looked at the woman that worked for Gendo, what was her name? “Did your father send you an ID card?”

I rummaged around my bag and pulled it out. “Ikari Gendo summoned me here, I can only assume his assistant remembered to send an ID card.”

“R-Right. Umm…good, well, read this please.” She held out a thin book, it said ‘Top Secret, for your eyes only,’ and a bit below that. ‘Welcome to NERV.’

I grunted, took the booklet, and started reading through it. “Blah blah secret organization, blah blah Angels, that must be that weird Kaiju back there. Blah blah blah for the safety of mankind, blah blah. Can I get the cliff notes on why the hell that man had me brought here?”

“‘That man’ huh?” She said, her brown eyes drinking in my best attempt at keeping my face apathetic. “You have issues with your father?”

There was the reflexive surge of anger, I had a feeling this would become very familiar. “No,” I said in a sickly-sweet tone, “to have issues with a father, would necessitate having a father to have issues with. I don’t get along with my sperm donor who happens to be my legal guardian. Though he admittedly has done no legal guardianing in living memory.”

Perhaps I was coming across as too acerbic, too angry. But while my recollection was muddled, I definitely recalled that being meek and agreeable had not worked out well for Shinji.

A drop of anxious sweat rolled down her cheek as she digested what I’d said, studying my expression. It helped that a lot of the anger, the hurt, the betrayal¸ was genuine. One could not absorb nigh on sixteen years of memory, inhabit a new brain with an existing network of synaptic pathways, without inheriting the learned responses of the body. And anger at Ikari Gendo was a thing long learned and strongly studied in this body, Ikari Gendo got to live rent-free in this brain for going on twelve years, and I saw my chance to collect.

And boy oh boy was I planning to get my pound of flesh.

We exited the tunnel, the rail we traveled along suspended over an enormous underground biome. It looked to be a manmade forest with a large lake at the center, probably where the city got its drinking water. Looking around, I spotted the water treatment plant that kept the lake clean.

Impressive for a Type 0 Civilization. I’d have to see what material the dome was made out of, it was far too large and shallow to be made of regular old steel.

Maybe I could nab a sample.

Our silence held until the ride ended, we exited the car, got on a tram and were off in another direction. The place was built like a maze, the woman getting turned around almost immediately.

“So, wait…at the station take the western exit…turn right at North Gate 3, right…this leads to route eight, take route eight for three exits then take the west exit to…hrm…why is this so complicated?”

I lent half an ear to what she was saying, her words reminding me of one of the classes at Basic…what was it…’Quantum Mazes And You’?

Yes, that was it. How to survive labyrinths that tapped into conceptual crap. She was working through the route most statistically likely to lead one to the center of Daedalus’ labyrinth across the multiverse. Daedalus was a brilliant man, but most of him across the omniverse tended to think along the same lines.

So, there was some magic to this world…made sense, what with the Eldritch Kaiju with a vaguely Christian theme and all.

We entered elevator S36 for the third time. The awkward silence continued. I will admit, I rather enjoyed it, I am indeed that petty.

The elevator droned on, until it stopped, the doors opened and a short (to me) svelte woman with a beauty mark beneath her left eye and dyed blonde hair stepped in, giving the woman the mother of all stink eyes.

“O-Oh, hey Ritsuko,” the woman said with an awkward laugh, “what’s up?”

“You are twelve minutes late. For something this important only promptness suffices, Lieutenant Colonel Katsuragi.”

Oh, so that was her name. Now that I heard it, I vaguely recalled her first name. Motoko? Mikoto? Something along those lines.

The fake blonde, Ritsuko, turned to me. “Is this the young man you went to pick up?” 

“Eh? Ah, y-yeah. Ikari Shinji.”

“Just call me Shinji.” I groused, looking at the elevator wall between them.

Their eyebrows climbed up, perhaps sensing what was coming, Katsuragi winced while Ritsuko gave me an indulgent grin. “Why, that’s rather forward of you, don’t you think?”

I gave her my best gimlet stare, judging by the small instinctive step back she took, it was a good one. “Don’t flatter yourself,” I said tonelessly, returning my eye to the wall, “I merely hold no love for my last name.”

The two women exchanged glances. I had to be careful, I didn't want to come across merely as a moody teenager. I had to come across as angry, hurt, and socially maladjusted. I wanted them to wonder why I wasn’t a meek little lamb, why I responded with such cold and somewhat calculated hostility.

I could only hope I’d planted the necessary seeds.

We moved in blessed silence, or close to it, announcements over the intercom had the two women arguing and the brunette sending me worried glances. Leaving the elevator, we went on a boat ride on a lake of what looked like blood. Which honestly? Metal as fuck, I approve.

We climbed up a set of metal stairs that ran along a metal wall, a section of the wall colored purple and neon green instead of dull gray. That was probably the armor of the Evangelion, the entire wall was there to lock the thing in place.

Going by my experience working on Titans, that probably meant the wall was there to restrain the robot in case it decided it didn't want to let the little creatures crawl all over it today.

Granted, most Titans were drama queens and enjoyed the attention, the feelings of awe they inspired in others. But on the other side of the coin, talk to it in baby tones and give it a pat or three while you fix stuff and work your maintenance and you'll be safe for the most part, barring a little tinnitus whenever they honk their Warhorn at you in greeting.

Still no reason not to use those restraints, but the Titans I’d worked on had at least understood our relationship was symbiotic. I needed them to have a job and earn my bonus for my final, they needed me to get back to fighting shape.

One time I fell off the gantry and would have hung from my safety harness for a few hours, only for the unmanned Titan to activate and very gingerly nudge me back up into the gantry with its Plasma Annihilator. That had been…an experience.

Waifu’s Pride had gotten many pats to her Cogitator Core and organic oil for her sensitive bits. She was a good monster of near indiscriminate annihilation.

I'd have to put in a request to see how the old girl was doing, she was due back to one of the many fronts when I left for Boot.

I shook my head and got back to paying attention as the Evangelion was dramatically revealed in front of me. What had fake-blondie been saying? Something something greatest weapon, something something last hope?

Well, cool as this looked, this thing probably didn't have anything on Waifu’s Pride, she was my humongous adamantine princess and ain’t nothing would change that.

Oh right I should pay attention.

I turned to (shit, what was her name again?) Blondie. “Why are you showing me this? I can't believe a random civilian would have the security clearance for this.”

[Because I had you brought here.] Gendo's voice reverberated through the room over the speakers, the light on his office came on, overlooking the Eva and me like a disappointed demigod. [I brought you here so you may pilot the Evangelion, so you may save the city, and the world. Shinji, get in the Eva, there is no time to waste.]

I looked from him, to the robot, and back to him. Then, in an obnoxiously saccharine tone, I started talking. “Why hello Shinji, I've missed you so much over these last three years, I know I haven’t spoken to you in twelve, my how much you've grown, do you work out?” The two women next to me blinked and began to look more and more awkward by the word. “My I’m so proud of you! A healthy body and a healthy mind go hand in hand!”

[We do not have time f-]

“Fuck you with a rusty rake you son of a bitch!” The thunder of my roar making both of the women next to me jump back. “You literally abandoned me when I was four fucking years old! Nine fucking years later we run into each other and you looked at me as if I was shit stuck to your boot. The first words out of your whore mouth directed to me in years and they are ‘Shinji, jump in the giant robot and go fight a monster to the death because I said so’ what gives you the right!?”

I was breathing too quickly, the world spinning slightly, and my face felt cold. I forcefully lengthened and slowed my breathing.

[Are you done with this childish outburst?]

“Bitch I haven't even started!”

[Well too bad, I need you to get in the Eva, you have to stop the Angel.]

I blinked and turned to Blondie. She grimaced. “Please Shinji, it's the city’s only hope.”

I turned to the other woman, she at least looked a little guilty. Nonetheless she fell in line with the other two. “Get in the Eva Shinji.”

I turned back to the robot and started to laugh. There was a manic edge to it that wasn't entirely manufactured. “Oh, oh this is precious!” I doubled over, laughing harder.

[We do not have time for this!] Gendo said, for the first time sounding strained.

“Oh, oh you can't make shit like this up!” I shouted, the technicians in the area running the gauntlet from fascinated to horrified, this would be the heart of office gossip for months to come. “You want me to cuck you out of your robosexual life partner, then go kill a monster in your name, for your glory! After you, and I fucking quote! ‘Found it best to leave a useless thing like you behind, as I have more pressing matters to attend to.’” I let my lips stretch back into a manic grin. “Well let me tell you something fucko! ‘A child that is shunned by the village will burn it to the ground to feel its warmth!’”

The woman, Katsuragi, gasped, looks like she’s pretty quick on the uptake.

I gave Gendo the finger. “I goddamn refuse!” I spread my arms wide. “You covered everything in gasoline, the spark is coming, and now I'm the one holding the hose, and I refuse to turn it on! Let it come!”

“Shinji!” Katsuragi said through gritted teeth. “If you don’t do this, thousands of people will die!”

I turned my hatred on her, this time she only flinched, but held firm. I shrugged. “Let them. I literally don't have a win condition here. I just want him to lose. And I’m willing to make that happen. Hell, all I have to do is refuse to wreck humanity’s incredibly expensive looking last hope with my untrained bumbling. If it's so goddamn important, do it yourself.”

“I can’t!” she shouted, her composure finally breaking. “Only those born after the Second Impact can pilot the Evas! I would if I could, but you're the only one who can do this!”

I sarcastically raised an eyebrow. “Wow, tough. Too bad that dumbass Ikari was such a shit dad. Otherwise, you might have had a pilot.” I made to walk past her. “Well, the base looks cool I guess, I’mma look around before the monster comes and wrecks everything. Maybe I'll live long enough to watch it squish Gendo like a-”

I cut off as I caught her wrist inches away from making contact with my cheek. I looked at her, wholly unimpressed. “You only get one, on the next one I’m punching you into whatever soup this red shit is.”

We were distracted from our conversation as a medical bed was wheeled by, a blue haired girl with dull, ruby red eyes laying on it. She was, to put it simply, beaten to all hell, the skin of her face not swollen but what skin was visible had the ugly yellow splotches of healing bruises. Three of her limbs were in casts. She was beautiful, but there was an ethereal quality to it. Something not quite right, she did not cause me to feel the Uncanny Valley, but she was on the slopes of it.

The ground shook hard enough to send everyone to the ground, several of the technicians fell to the blood soup, and the medical bed tipped over and spilled the girl onto the floor.

I was up and running for her before my conscious mind caught up to me. “Oi, oi! Why the hell did you bring someone hurt here!?” I demanded and stabilized the girl, holding her still as best I could while she writhed and moaned in pain. “Ah shit, she popped her stitches, fuuuuck!”

I kept pressure on the wound as best I could and shouted in the direction of the drama queen. “Hey! What the fuck do you think you’re doing asshole!?”

[The backup did not work out. She will have to pilot the Eva in your place.] Damn him for being all cool and collected as the building literally shook itself apart around him. That actually was manly as fuck, even if I hated his guts. [It is lamentable, she strained herself to her limit to buy Lieutenant Colonel Katsuragi the time to rescue you, I do not know how long she will last fighting the Angel. But we are left with no other choice.]

And there is the excuse I needed. Still, it would not do to sound too eager. “She can’t even breathe without worsening her condition, dumbass!” I shouted back. “She needs a hospital, not to jump in your idiot fucking robot!”

[It is necessary.] Gendo stated. [Unless you take her place, Rei will go in the Eva, and she will have to fight the Angel.]

I showed my teeth in something that was certainly not a grin. “You dirty whore! Fine, fucking fine! I’ll get in your automaton of fun! Just get this girl to the infirmary! You piece of utter filth!”

[We will have words about your language later.]

Oh, I'm sure we will.

Getting into the Eva was quick, its entire head tilted forward to expose the spine, where the control pod was located. The technician’s technobabble washed over me while I tried to acclimatize myself to the controls.

The controls made no goddamn sense. The arm control assemblies were stiff and had very little rotational movement, my legs went into recesses without pedals or anything to control the speed of the machine’s locomotive systems. And the whole thing was made for someone a whole foot smaller than me and a hell of a lot more svelte.

In short, it was pretty shit.

And then the pod started filling with flat, orange, lukewarm soda.

“What the fuck!?” I had time to say before I took a deep breath and held it as my head was submerged in the warm liquid.

[Take the LCL into your lungs,] Blondie said over the radio. [It'll take care of oxygenating your blood.]

Well, it was a good thing that I’d gone over something like this in the various seminars, because otherwise this would be a whole lot more terrifying.

Granted, that had been about the benefits of Company Granted Defenses and the wonders of being able to breathe any liquid, allowing for insane versatility when planning to infiltrate a location, but still.

I closed my eyes and, firmly reminding myself that the liquid around me was not water and would consequently not kill me, I firmly pushed the air out of my lungs and inhaled deeply and forcefully. The liquid getting in was uncomfortable but I didn't choke and it didn't hurt, so the panic about being submerged didn’t have time to set in.

I did, however, have the right to criticize, half expecting to be unable to talk what with the liquid in my lungs I said. “A little warning about not having to worry about drowning would have been nice before I was submerged.”

I was, of course, ignored. But it's the principle of the thing.

There was more technobabble, nobody thought to include me or ask me my opinion. The ladies on the radio mentioned that the synchronization was starting, and I saw stars.

A swirling vortex of all colors and none, the artificial blood bathing my limbs getting between my skin and the armor plates, irritating my flesh. Trapped as I was in a half-waking dream where people were ants, where I did not have the ability to move my own limbs. A desire to run wild, to strike at all irritants. To find the Children of Adam, to rip and tear and crush and rend and deflagrate.

I felt something, both familiar and not…no, not familiar, something familial. I could feel warmth, safety, contentment and sleepiness. A vague, deeply buried memory of a time before I had ever experienced cold or light.

I blinked awake, my eyes burning in a way that had nothing to do with the liquid I’d been immersed in. I heard someone excitedly talking about a rate of seventy-nine percent.

I moved my hands, and removed by a fraction of a second, I felt the hands of the Eva attempt to move. The dull grey walls of the pod had become as windows. I could see beetle sized technicians scurrying about, the lake of blood having been drained while I'd been out of it.

[Launching!]

“Wait wha-?”

G-forces crushed me into the seat, the Eva was sent rocketing straight up. I felt the wind rushing past my face in the most bizarre reverse skydive.

Then it was over, the sudden halt rattling my brain inside my skull.

[Releasing final restraint!]

Whatsoever in shit the fuck!?

I felt something vibrate up my back and I felt myself both remain seated and stand and lean forward.

[Okay Shinji, I need you to concentrate on walking.]

How the hell am I gonna walk!? This thing doesn't even have pedals!

However, the moment I thought about walking forward, the Eva took a single shuddering step that cracked the pavement and caused a shockwave of displaced air.

I blinked. But. How had that happened? The center of gravity was all off, while the Eva was humanoid its proportions were all wrong, it was too lanky, its arms too long for its torso, its legs too skinny, and the armor plates chafed an-

I stumbled on the second step, my conscious mind unable to replicate the dozens of automatic adjustments done by my subconscious mind. I threw my arm to the side, letting go of the arm control, and a fraction of a second later, the arm of the Eva shot out and tore through the office building next to me as if it were made of paper mache. As it crumpled like cardboard it provided just enough support to allow me to fall to a knee instead of pratfall on my face.

Okay, less thinky more feely, the controls were a placebo. What mattered was feeling.

I could see the Angel walking toward me, seemingly reduced from its massive scale. As bad of an idea as it seemed, I closed my eyes and felt.

[Shinji? Shinji you need to get the Eva to stand up!]

Recalling my many, many maintenance sessions on Waifu’s Pride, I looked for the MIU, grasped for it. The Titans piggybacked a lot of their balance subroutines on their pilots, it was how the ungainly machines achieved such organic-seeming movement.

I felt for the machine’s psychic imprint, for the place in my mind where I and it became ‘us.’

[Synchronization rate rising! Eighty-six percent!]

It wasn't in the usual spot. But I found it easily enough. I reached through it, felt the familiar rage, the desire to rip and tear. I then metaphorically swatted it in the nose and told it to follow my lead.

Its rage surged, unfamiliar with chastisement. I gave it another good swat and let its wild rage break against the walls of my cold, controlled anger.

[Blow the bolts! Retrieve the pilot!]

We felt something trying to break our contest, we slapped it down.

[The system is unresponsive! Contamination rising!]

That action, along with the similarity in our emotion. These formed the Bridge.

It knew anger but had never been shown how to properly harness it. How to focus it. It knew only how to bash and flail; it had no concept of how to properly direct its rage for maximum effect.

‘Come, let me show you.’

It made a last halfhearted attempt to wrest control, but it was intrigued by the prospect of what I promised.

We opened our eyes to see that the Angel had picked us up. Holding our body up with one hand on our face, our left arm held in its other hand, a proboscis-like appendage on its palm starting to glow malevolently as it increased the pressure of its grip on our arm.

We slammed our right fist into its left elbow with such savagery that we nearly tore through the limb entire. With our head no longer constrained, we were free to turn and sink our teeth into its wrist, the salt of its blood was the sweetest nectar on our tongue, the shiver of its carpals crackling like twigs was as enchanting music. Its hand fell unconnected to the ground.

We lunged back, taking up the preferred fighting stance of half of our gestalt. Left foot forward, body angled away from the enemy, our chin tucked into our left shoulder, right hand up to cover our chin on the opposite side, most of our weight on our back foot.

The enemy righted itself, its screech of pain ending. Its eyes flashed but we were already moving, a terrible heat flashing past us, boiling our armor. Our larger self followed the memories of our inner self. In a fluid movement starting at our feet, we twisted our hips, turning our body into a straight punch with all of our mass behind it.

Our first slammed into a luminous hexagonal barrier, gossamer thin but inviolate as meters thick adamantium, the sound of the strike shattering windows for a hundred meters and more.

The small things prattled on. We felt our inner self absorbing information at an astounding pace. But it was unnecessary, the way past this was well known by our greater self. The inner self followed the instinct of the greater and made suggestions. Our own barrier covered our fingers and sunk into the barrier before us. With a flare of our Soul and a heave of our Body and Will, we tore the Enemy’s barrier asunder.

The fear sweat of the enemy was divinity itself on our tongue.

We roared, flinging ourselves forward and crashing into Adam’s get. The greater self wanted to push it away, the inner wanted to bring it closer and break it.

We compromised.

We lifted the enemy into the air and spiked it headfirst into the ground, it bounced twice before settling. We pressed our foot into its head, pushing it down, preventing it from rising.

We brought up our right hand, held straight and rigid like a dagger, and molded our Soul into a knife. Sensing that the inner self was coming too deeply into the greater, we separated some, causing the knife to flicker for an instant before it solidified. Now more of the Greater than of the inner.

Then, with another liquid twist that started at our feet, we slammed our stiffened hand down. Driving the point deeply into the red core that held the essence of Adam’s son.

It died with a whimper. Clawing at us with shattered limbs. Despondent that it was unable to free its mother from the clutches of the small ones, the children of Lilith.

We bared our teeth and twisted. It convulsed and fell still.

Our inner self did something our greater did not comprehend. The greater nonetheless basked in the sense of accomplishment from the inner. The Enemy’s body fell limp, a great cross rising into the air and marking its passing.

We threw our head back and roared. We screamed our victory to the heavens, daring the rest of Adam’s misbegotten spawn to test themselves against us. We would enjoy their blood too.

As our promise died down, we separated, the inner self releasing his grip on the greater with the gentleness of long practice and the echo of fondness for another.

This made the greater jealous. It would be the Adamantine Princess, in time.

I slammed back, my head pounding like a drum. I could feel that the only reason my entire front wasn’t covered in blood, was that it was being absorbed into the weird liquid.

“Well,” I said, trying to blink away the pain in our…my head. “That happened.”

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