Neon Genesis Evangelion Fan Fiction ❯ Evangelion: Third Genesis ❯ Chapter 17

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Evangelion Third Genesis: Part Sixteen

"I'm impressed," Ritsuko murmured from her place at the control panel, watching the test thoughtfully. "Nako, how are the readings?" she asked.

The dark haired girl with glasses checked the readings once, then she ran through them again to be sure. "Synch rate is nearly 99 percent," Nako reported, her voice soft with surprise.

"We're done for today, Asuka," Maya sent the message to the young woman sitting in the entry plug, "you can come out, now."

"Thanks," Asuka relaxed her hands and pulled them off of the grips, then shaking her head slightly. It felt odd being in the entry plug once again, even with the new plugsuit on, but somehow it was right, too. A few moments later the plug was retracted and she climbed out, one of the helpful techs waiting there with a towel.

"That was great, Ms. Langley," the brown haired young man gushed happily, his rugged face showing a bit of stubble.

Asuka didn't answer him, instead looking back with her one good eye up at the Unit 02. It had been dismembered, very nearly destroyed by the mass production EVAs with her still inside of it, and now it was whole again. But she wasn't whole anymore, and for just a moment she felt a flash of resentment at the EVA for that.

"Miss?" the tech repeated.

Asuka reached up to touch the patch over her left eye, then lowered her hand to clench it at her side. "Sorry," she gave the man a tense smile before striding off as fast as possible down the walkway and away from her EVA.

"What did I say?" he blinked, brown hair falling into his eyes.

A few hours later Maya and Ritsuko were reporting the results of the synchronization tests to Misato. Ritsuko smiled as she handed over the printouts, "Rei's rate is a little lower, but still more than within acceptable levels."

Misato looked at the sheet in question and smiled, "Huh, her rate is actually better than the original Rei's, isn't it?"

"True," Maya smiled.

Misato was still looking at the paper when she said, "Both of you wouldn't be in here unless there was a problem, though." She looked up, "What is it?"

"Asuka.. may not be as ready to go out into the field as we had hoped," Ritsuko confessed before relaying what had the tech had seen when Asuka had left her EVA.

"Too be honest, I wasn't really expecting her to get inside the entry plug," Misato quietly admitted. She got up out of her chair, moving over to look out the window at Tokyo-3. "From what I understand about the feedback systems," Misato said grimly, "she felt her EVA being dismembered as if it had been happening to her."

"Should we schedule sessions with a trauma specialist?" Maya suggested.

"No," Misato firmly shook her head, "I think that would just cause her to push the pain further down." With a soft sigh she admitted, "I think we need to give her some time, and trust that she'll talk to us when she's ready."

"I just wish there was something we could do," Ritsuko shrugged, "I dislike waiting."

Maya really hated having to ask this question, "Should we look into the possibility of recruiting other pilots?"

"I really don't like the idea," Misato made a face. She ran a hand through her dark hair, "I guess we can look into the whereabouts of their classmates, the ones who survived, anyway."

"It wasn't your fault, Misato," Ritsuko reminded her, "you did the best you could at the time." She perked up, "Any word on the next generation Evangelion?"

"And have they decided what to call it?" Maya offered.

Misato chuckled softly as she walked over to where they stood. She leaned on the side of the desk and said, "There's no name just yet, but we've been given the authorization to build a test type, designated Unit Alpha."

"To be followed by Units Beta, Gamma and Delta, I would assume?" Ritsuko raised a dark eyebrow in question.

"Let's not get ahead of ourselves," Misato quietly reminded them, "first we have to build Unit Alpha." She picked up the paperwork from the table, "What resources do you need?"

Maya didn't even need a cue from her former superior to respond, "With the repairs to Unit 02 complete, I can transfer some of the crews off that. We'll still need to keep some of the crews ready as we fine tune Unit 00 and 02, but not so many."

"Materials?" Misato asked.

"We can start with what we have on hand," Ritsuko spoke up, "then run a survey of the supplies in storage. After that, we start putting requests in."

"I'll give a priority to any requests you put in," Misato said gravely, then added with a grin, "Just try not to get too extravagant, all right? I'm the one who has to justify all of the requests to the United Nations."

"We'll try," Maya smiled even as Ritsuko laughed softly in the background.

"Yeah, right," Misato made a face. "Get out of my office," she waved her hand with a grin, "I've got work to do."

In another part of the complex of Tokyo-3 Rei smiled as she joined Asuka, both of them dressed in casual clothes ones again. Asuka wore slacks and white shirt once again, self conscious about the faint scars on her arms and legs, while Rei wore a simple summer skirt.

Asuka looked over at Rei curiously, "What did you think of that?"

"It was.. odd," Rei admitted softly. She looked thoughtful, "It reminded me of the chamber they found me in, and something.. else."

'The girl didn't sound too disturbed,' Asuka noted. It was a quality that she shared with the earlier incarnations of Rei, this calm sort of serenity. At times like this she really envied that, her own body tense with a mix of anger and a bit of fear.

"Are you all right?" Rei asked softly, the concern evident in her voice as she reached out to put a gentle hand on Asuka's arm.

Asuka was tempted to just lie, but looking into those gentle scarlet eyes she couldn't seem to manage it. "No," she admitted quietly, "but I'll be all right." She smiled down at Rei reassuringly, "I'm tough, I'll manage."

"I know you're tough," Rei agreed, "but.. I want to help, if you'll let me." She slid her hand down her arm, slipping her fingers in Asuka's as they began to walk again.

Asuka felt a smile on her face as Rei did that so very innocently. "Thanks," she tightened her fingers on Rei's as they walked on.

"So," Rei changed the subject, "what do you think we'll be having for dinner?"

Asuka chuckled softly, "You mean, what takeout are we going to have tonight? Well, at least Misato has most of the good restaurants on the speed dial."

"I wonder what Maya and Ritsuko will be having for dinner?" Rei mused.

Asuka suddenly had a perverted thought that she instantly decided not to say aloud. She did blush a bit, however. "I can't really see either of them cooking," Asuka admitted.

Rei gave her a look, but decided not to ask about the blush. "Do you think they're going to move in together?" she asked.

"Probably," Asuka agreed as they wet into their building together, riding the elevator upstairs. She blinked in surprise to see piles of boxes beside a larger unit up the hall. 'Someone's moving in?" Asuka blinked.

Misato stuck her head out of the other unit and offered a grin, "Come up and say hello to our new neighbors."

"Eh?" Rei blinked as they walked up the hallway a bit. Looking inside, both young women's eyes widened as they saw Misato assisting Maya and Ritsuko in arranging furniture.

"You're moving here?" Asuka blurted.

"The unit was available," Ritsuko shrugged slightly before giving Misato a look, "and our dear Commander insisted."

"Do you think you could help me this this?" a puffing Maya asked, trying to shove a large dresser down the hall.

"Yeah, okay," Asuka took pity on her, going over to grab the other end.

"As a reward, I'll feed everybody tonight," Ritsuko offered with a smile. She paused, "Does anyone know the number of a good takeout place?"

Misato, Asuka and Rei exchanged a look, then broke into laughter.

To be continued...