Neon Genesis Evangelion Fan Fiction ❯ Evangelion: Third Genesis ❯ Chapter 19

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

Evangelion Third Genesis: Part Eighteen

"Release final locks," Maya ordered, her voice clear in the control room.

"All restraints free," Nako reported, "the EVA is free to move."

"All right," Asuka said tersely, her hands tight on the controls, "let's do this."

Misato held her breath for a moment as the red EVA-02 shifted slightly, then the massive robot took a hesitant step forward. "How are the readings?" the black haired woman asked crisply, leaning forward a bit in her seat. The red jacket she wore bore her general's star at last, but other than that she still dressed casually..

"No irregularities detected," Nako said from her seat at the console, her long black hair falling around her like a cape. Like most of the others she was dressed in the semi-military uniform of NERV, the glow of her console lighting her face.

Misato felt very odd, sitting above the command center in the position Gendo Ikari had once been. Maya stood behind Nako, the young Captain in charge of the situation, Ritsuko by her side to offer any assistance that might be needed.

"So Asuka, how is it in there?" Maya asked softly, running a hand nervously through her short black hair.

Asuka's face was on the lower corner of the large monitor screen, the EVA itself filling up the rest of it. The orange haired pilot had a dangerous intensity about her, one that was accented by the black eyepatch she now wore. Combined with the skintight red plugsuit she was wearing and she made quite a striking figure.

"A bit odd," Asuka confessed quietly, still concentrating on moving the EVA around the underground chamber in Tokyo-3.

"Let us know if they're any problems," Misato said firmly.

Asuka flashed a smile, "Thanks."

Rei Ayanami watched what was going on intently, blue hair falling into those vivid red eyes. "I wonder," the casually dressed girl looked up towards Misato, "when I will get a turn?"

Ritsuko spoke up, "As soon as we've finished the activation tests for the Unit 02, we'll have you try the 00." A smile, "Just be patient."

Rei looked out at Asuka, "I just want to be out there with her."

Obviously Asuka heard that, Misato noted, because her cheeks went pink with her blush. She watched her team interacting, for a moment wishing the others were here. 'I'll have to take another try at getting Makoto and the others back,' she resolved.

"Do we have enough data?" Maya looked over at Ritsuko curiously. At the blonde scientist's nod she shifted her gaze back to Asuka, "We're done for today, I think. Bring the EVA back, we'll debrief you and you can take off."

"Right," there was a bit of relief in Asuka's voice as she answered.

'She's still a bit uncomfortable,' Misato noted as the EVA moved smoothly back to it's starting point, 'but she's getting better all the time.' Aloud she asked, "Ritsuko, are we going to do the tests for Unit-00 today?"

"I'd like to go over this data first," Ritsuko said thoughtfully, "do a full analysis of the EVA's performance and Asuka's synch rate."

"Do you mind waiting, Rei?" Misato asked curiously.

Rei looked up, startled to be asked her opinion, but she recovered quickly. "No," she smiled, "I don't mind waiting, Misato."

"Fair enough," Maya said. She smiled as she quietly added, "Why not go down and meet Asuka? She'd like that."

"Thank you," and with that Rei was out the door and gone.

Misato watched as the EVA slipped into place, the massive restraints locking into place around it's body. Only once it was fully secured did she sigh softly in relief, one that she hoped would pass unnoticed in the room.

"It's not Unit-01, you know," Ritsuko actually sounded just a bit amused, "it won't be busting loose any time soon."

Misato rose to her feet, pushing her long black hair back from her face. "No, it doesn't have a soul," she said softly, "at least I hope it doesn't."

"I don't know if I'd use the word soul," Ritsuko noted as Misato came down from the platform to stand beside them, "consciousness might be better."

"Either way," Misato said dryly. She put her hands in her jacket pockets, her, Maya and Ritsuko leaving the command center as she asked, "So how are we doing?"

"I'll go over the test data," Ritsuko said calmly as they walked down the hallway, "but from what I was reading off the displays EVA-02 seems to be functioning within acceptable limits."

"Translated from tech-speak," Maya looked over at her lover fondly, "it's working well."

"Right," Ritsuko chuckled, waving Maya and Misato into the elevator first..

"Asuka's still a little tense," Misato noted with a sigh, hitting the button to take them up to the surface and NERV headquarters.

"Understandably so," Maya said, "but she's getting better. Her synch rates are moving up and her simulation runs are positively deadly."

"Good," Misato said. She hesitated a moment, "And progress on that buffer system we were talking about?"

"Not well," Ritsuko admitted, "what you want is difficult to program. Cutting off any pain feedback from the EVAs to the pilots reduces their responsiveness and a 'extreme damage' shut-down system has it's own problems."

Misato nodded grimly, "Keep working on the problem, please." She paused, "I don't want what happened to Asuka to happen again."

"We'll do our best," Maya said with a firm nod.

The elevator dinged softly as they stopped and the three emerged onto the administration level of the office building. "Can you have the data analysis on my desk tomorrow?" Misato asked.

"No problem," Ritsuko said with a smile.

"Then I'll see you two this evening," Misato said with a wave, "I've got to go break the bad news to Asuka and Rei."

"Good luck," Maya laughed as she and Ritsuko walked away.

Misato headed to her office, pushing open the outer door to smile at her secretary. Himiko looked up to smile back, her ash gray hair falling down her back as she held up a set of papers, "Your messages, ma'am."

"Thanks Himiko," Misato said, stopping beside the desk to flip through the messages, "Asuka and Rei are coming by in a bit, send them right in."

"Right," Himiko said with a nod. "Do you want me to start making the arrangements?" she asked Misato curiously.

"I'd better talk to them first," Misato grinned, "but thanks."

"You're welcome," Himiko answered.

Misato pulled her jacket off, hanging it up before she sat behind her desk, only then noticing the cup of coffee waiting for her there. She took a drink, noting it was just the way she liked it and sighed, "Thanks Himiko."

A few moments later she heard conversation outside, then the inner door opened and Asuka and Rei strode in. Asuka looked oddly boyish in her slacks and buttoned shirt, Rei following in a blouse and skirt. "Hey Misato," Asuka smiled, "you wanted to see us?"

"I've got a bit of bad news," Misato admitted.

"Eh?" Rei looked curious.

"Despite my arguing with the Japanese government that you're both NERV officers," Misato explained, "they're insisting you both have to go back to school."

To be continued...