Neon Genesis Evangelion Fan Fiction ❯ Launch Eighteen ( Chapter 20 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Neon Genesis Evangelion: Altered Destinies
Launch Eighteen.

Mayumi Yamagishi paused in the launch bay, studying the awkward looking machine that was known as Jet Alone. It looked almost like a bit player in a bad monster movie, with a bulky carrot shapped main body and segmented arms that could bend and move with eerie agility. The blank ‘head’ stared out at the world impassively, the robot lifeless without it’s pilot. Today it was battered and burned, but it was also victorious.

‘I still can’t believe we did it,’ Mayumi admitted to herself as she leaned on the railing.

When the latest Angel appeared in Earth’s orbit, it began dropping pieces of it’s regenerating body on the Earth, bombing Tokyo-3. It was quickly confirmed that it was aiming at NERV itself, but as it was perfecting it’s aim Jet Alone was already on the move. The Evangelion robots could not be launched into orbit after the entity, but Jet Alone was based off of what was originally planned to be a multi-enviroment robot. It could survive both a space launch and orbit, so a decision was made to launch it into space after the Angel.

Keita Asari stood nearby, his black hair falling into his eyes. The pilot trainee had been back up on the mission, following Mana into orbit on the space shuttle, and his expression was oddly haunted. « Miss Yamagishi, » he nodded respectfully as she neared.

« How was it? » Mayumi asked curiously.

« Odd, » Keita admitted honestly. « This was the first time we deployed a AT Field in combat, and I understand it responded… strangely. » He shrugged, « I would almost wonder if it was alive. »

« Hmm, » Mayumi nodded slightly. The interface of human and electronic systems was what produced the AT Field, and in reality they had more questions about it than answers.

Keita looked at her thoughtfully, « How’s Mana? »

« All right, » Mayumi said, « there was some feedback through the systems but she appears to be recovering nicely. However, we’re keeping you on standby, just in case. »

« Understood, ma’am, » Keita saluted.

Mayumi smiled at him wryly, « Don’t get formal, okay? We’re not military remember. »

Keita smiled, « Yes, ma’am. »

Mayumi rolled her eyes.

Meanwhile, Mana Kirishima winced as she walked through her apartment, a single bedroom suite not far from the Jet Alone facilities and the school. It was a pretty spartan place with just a bedroom, kitchenette and living room, but it was home. Dressed in a set of men’s pajamas she was decent, if not stylish looking, so she decided to skip changing clothes.

Mana shuffled over to the door, wincing a little at her sore muscles then pressed the answering buzzer as she asked, « Yes? »

« It’s Shinji, » the familiar young woman’s voice answered her.

Mana raised her eyebrows, mildly surprised. She hadn’t heard from the NERV pilots after Jet Alone had stopped the angel, and to be honest she wasn’t sure how they were going to react. With a sigh she unlocked the door, opening it as she smiled weakly, « Hello. »

Asuka Soryu Langley was revealed standing there in the doorway, a frown on her face as she looked Mana over and demanded, « What are you doing out of bed? You’re a mess. »

« Answering the door, » Mana shot back irritably.

« Sorry, » Shinji smiled slightly from where she stood a little behind Asuka as she added, « I told Asuka to wait to hold the victory party, but…. »

« Come on, » Asuka shocked Mana by bodily picking the shaky young woman up, hefting her in her arms with ease. « Where’s the bedroom? » the orange haired girl grunted, her school uniform skirt swirling around her long legs.

« Put me down! » Mana sqwalked, kicking her legs but not struggling too hard.

« Through there, I think, » Shinji pointed as she lead the way, opening a door to reveal a neat and tidy bedroom, her boy’s uniform giving her a more serious look.

« Back into bed, » Asuka said briskly, « you’re in no shape to be up. »

« Is she always this take charge? » Mana complained as Asuka set her down on the bed, gently helping her get comfortable once more.

Shinji grinned back, « Pretty much, yeah. »

Asuka gave her a look, « You’ll pay for that remark, Ikari. »

Shinji laughed, « I’m quaking in my boots. »

« We wanted to congradulate you on beating that thing, » Asuka said somewhat more quietly. She smiled wryly, « The best plan our bosses could come up with was for us to try to catch it! »

« You’re kidding, » Maya looked up at her in surprise.

« Nope, » Asuna said, « that was it. Stupid, huh? »

In another part of the city Ritsuko sneezed for no apparent reason. « You all right? » MIsato asked, looking over at her lover in concern.

« I’m fine, » Ritsuko blinked, « I don’t know why I sneezed, tho. »

Misato shrugged, « Well, there is that old story that you sneeze when someone talks about you…. »

Mana sat up in her bed, smiling greatfully as Shinji heated her up some chicken soup. « Thank you for cooking, » she said a bit sheepishly, « my supervisor at Jet Alone came over to take care of me yesterday, but I think she’s actually worse at cooking than I am. »

Shinji chuckled, thinking of the amount of takeout that she, Ritsuko and Misato went through every few days. « I think it might be a side effect of being that busy, » she admitted.

« You too? » Mana asked.

Asuka snickered, having been invited to the home for dinner one. « I looked at their phone, » she said with a smirk, « they have every take out place in the city on speed dial. »

Shinji took the pan off the small stove and carefully set it on a section of the counter scarred from similar usage. « Soup’s done, » she announced, getting a bowl and spoon out after looking through drawers for a moment.

Asuka set up a improvised tray for Mana as they got her some plain crackers down to go with the soup. « We’ll leave you to eat, » Asuka said with a smile, « rest up, okay? I think we still need to have a party for you too. »

Mana smiled at them warmly, « Thank you both. »

« No problem, » Shinji smiled back as the two young women left.

Asuka was frowning as they walked down the outside walkway, « I don’t like how alone she is, »

Shinji gave Asuka a wary look. It wasn’t typical of the outgoing young woman to be so concerned with another person, at least as far as she could tell. « Worried about her? » she asked.

« Of course not, » Asuka huffed, looking annoyed. She shrugged as they took the stairs down, « I was thinking of asking if she wanted to be roomies. »

« Huh? » Shinji stopped, looking at her in surprise.

Asuka gave her a irritated look, « Don’t just freeze like that, you’ll attract attention. »

« Sorry, » Shinji started walking forward again as she asked her, « why would you want to be roomies? »

« We’re both in government housing, me through NERV and her through Jet Alone, » Asuka shrugged, « if we were to move in together we could get a larger place and more added conveniences. »

« I kinda imagine Gendo’d have issues with that, » Shinji noted dryly, shaking her head.

« We’re all on the same side, aren’t we?’ Asuka waved that off casually.

Shinji made a face, « Maybe. But knowing my dear dad, » she added sarcastically, « he has a agenda all his own. »

To be continued….

Launch Seventeen
Launch Nineteen!