The briefing room is dark, lit only by the glowing monitors that surround it. Even the central conference table is built around a flat top monitor scrolling through reams of data. Each monitor is cycling through images of the enemy, the Angels. Each one is utterly unlike the others in appearance, though all are united in ultimate purpose: the annihilation of mankind.You are Aaliyah Sayid, Agent of Nerv and a spy for the United Nations. You'd been carefully inserted into the ranks of Nerv - the ranks of the enemy if intel is to be believed. Nerv are ostensibly the guardians of humanity granted near unlimited power and legal immunity. You are here as the answer to the ancient question "who watches the watchers?"Gathered here are the top members of all of Nerv's branches though you represent the organization's military arm. Tactical Division. Along with you and the others from Tactical are members of Science Division, including its head, Dr. Roger Caswell. Most importantly, at the head of the table sits Colonel Versetti, head of Nerv. It is his mind that carries the answers to your questions. You've been told that Nerv's intention's for the human race are not wholly benevolent. Finding out what Versetti has planned is your primary assignment.The monitors in the room all cycle to darkness before simultaneously displaying images of a giant jet-black, headless humanoid slouching through water."The Fifth Angel," a woman says, narrating. "Designated Ansiel. Destroyed in battle outside of Anchorage."The image changes to show a pure, white sphere with glowing pin tendrils. "The Sixth Angel. Designated Sarathiel. Destroyed in battle on the outskirts of New Tampa."Again the picture changes to a grey, shark-skinned behemoth with paddle-like arms. "The Seventh Angel. Designated Degiel. Destroyed in battle in the former town of Valdosta."***>Neon Terminus Evangelion>Episode 03 - "Who Can Stand Against A God"***Old threads - http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?searchall=Neon+Terminus+EvangelionTwitter - https://twitter.com/TimeKillerQMMy Discord - https://discord.gg/BnJeeu4What's the deal with NTE? - https://pastebin.com/AXWHpqGp
Colonel Versetti raises his head from the dossier he was reading. "Three Angels in two weeks. Three Angels all destroyed by this organization. This is an unprecedented victory for mankind." He delivers a tight smile to those in the room. "You should all be proud.""It's a promising track record," Captain Holiday says. Captain Rose Holiday is the daughter of Versetti's second in command, and the first Evangelion pilot to have ever seen combat. That battle - her first and only - also cost her an eye. "But the pattern is troubling.""The frequency is increasing," Dr. Roger Caswell says as he drums his fingers on the desk. You've only ever known him to be confident if a little neurotic, but here he looks distinctly uncomfortable. "It's a problem- like Rose - ah-" he stops himself, "Like Captain Holiday says. I understand that it's my department's responsibility to come up with answers to questions, but while I can answer a lot of the 'hows' the 'whys' are still eluding me."Versetti nods. "There is a lot about the Angels and their behavior that remains unknown to us. It seems likely we will never understand them.""That's problematic when we hope to defeat them," Caswell replies gently.Versetti looks untroubled. "Truthfully there isn't much that needs to be understood. This is a battle of survival. There can be no c-habitation, no mutual understanding, no negotiation. Only destruction."Caswell says nothing."So long as we have the Evangelions," Versetti says, "Then everything is under control. We will triumph over the Angels.""What if they never stop?" The man who speaks does so with a thick Russian accent but he's an outlier for reasons beside that. You have reasons to suspect Agent Yezhov works more for a Russian oligarch than he does for Nerv. His general attitude and questions like this also leave him unpopular among the other staff. "What if the Angels never stop?" Yezhov says again.Versetti seems unshaken by the question. "Very little is infinite beyond the capacity for human stupidity." He smiles at the weak joke. "I have all confidence that there is a finite number of Angels on this planet. We're simply waiting for them to wake.""How can you be so sure?" Yezhov says."Simple logic," Versetti returns. "If Angels were arriving here rather than awakening, we would have evidence of it. If they were numerous enough to seem endless, then they would be found more often in their dormant state. As it is, they're here, simple waiting to awake and attack.""Then why do we not dedicate more resources to finding them while they are vulnerable? Kill them in the crib."This time, Colonel Versetti's second in command, Major Holiday - Rose's father - speaks. "What makes you think we aren't already looking for them? The UN contributes a not-insignificant number of forces to reconnaissance. Beyond that, you know what happened when we first encountered a dormant Angel right? I think Second Impact was punishment enough."
"The mechanism that triggered the Impact isn't well understood," Dr. Caswell interjects."All the more reason to kill them quickly while they sleep," Yezhov adds.Versetti taps a fingernail on the counter top. It might as well have been the bang of a gavel for the silence it commands. "Future considerations aside, we have immediate concerns. Captain Holiday, what's the operational readiness of the Evas?""Hydra has taken serious damage. It's well above the Hayflick Limit, but it's going to take time to conduct the repairs. Corvus is likewise damaged, but it's at least 70% operational. Orion's repairs are being finalized, and Lupus is fully operational.""We're going to have to prioritize repairs on one if we want to get it back on the line in a short time," Dr. Caswell says.All eyes go to Rose. As head of Operations she's responsible for such decisions.>Prioritize Katya's Eva, Corvus>Prioritize Ethan's Eva, Hydra
>>4790724>Prioritize Katya's Eva, CorvusWelcome Back, Commander
>>4790724>Prioritize Katya's Eva, CorvusGet the less damaged one online first
>>4790724>>Prioritize Katya's Eva, Corvus
>>4790724>Prioritize Katya's Eva, CorvusSounds like the most logical, even when weighing in Katya's poor decisions
>>4790723>"If Angels were arriving here rather than awakening, we would have evidence of it.There's an easy counter to that: teleportation, portals, and other "shortcut" types of travel. As the angels have made abundantly clear, there is much we don't know; who's to say teleportation or similar isn't possible?>>4790724>Prioritize Katya's Eva, CorvusShe disobeyed orders, but she's less damaged overall and Rose seems to have a problem with Ethan.Welcome back.
>Prioritize Katya's Eva, Corvuswriting
Rose doesn't hesitate. "Katya is my top pilot. She's made mistakes, but I'd rather get her back and operational as soon as possible.""It's dangerous to rely on just one of them, Captain," Major Holiday says.Rose nods without looking at her father. "I agree. I intend to get Korine and Renton some combat experience, but I'd rather they do it under the wing of a skilled pilot.""Doesn't Ethan deserve the credit for the last Angel?" Versetti asks.Rose answers without missing a beat. "It was quick thinking on his part that salvaged a bad situation certainly.""But?" Versetti says."But he's not ready for leadership responsibility. He's still recovering from his first fight.""At Anchorage," Versetti says. "Yes. A hard thing to lose someone so close to you. I am not sure that I agree with your assessment, Captain. I think Ethan conducted himself skillfully.""Sir," Rose says, her posture stiff. "Are you ordering me to prioritize Hydra?"Versetti smiles. "No. Not at all. Merely suggesting that you re-evaluate him. I trust your judgement on tactical matters, Captain."Rose relaxes fractionally."What will your priority be as the Evas are being repaired?" Versetti asks."Training exercises. Tactical study. Simulations. We'll review the data from this latest battle in detail, determine what worked and what didn't.""And you, Dr. Caswell?""We're studying the Angel data of course. I'd also like to review our ballistic weapons. They've been underperforming based on our expectations.""Maybe your expectations were too high, doctor," Major Holiday suggests."Possibly," Caswell agrees. "But if we can give the pilots more firepower, we're going to do it."The meeting concludes minutes later. The lights come back up and the monitors resolve to a simple display of the Nerv logo and motto. The staff present gather their notes and leave with a scraping of chair and murmur of voices.You're craving a smoke, not to mention being cooped up in this stuffy room has you tense. Or maybe it's the knowledge that you're going to be digging deeper into things soon enough. Dr. Kaufman - before he was apprehended by NervSec - told you that you'd find answers deep in Nerv 03. Soon enough you'll have to put that to the test.
"Hey, Aaliyah, got a sec?""Max," you greet, "Sue what- are you alright?" you say.Max looks terrible. His complexion is even paler than normal. His eyes look sunken, exhausted. He grins. "Yeah- well no. I'll be alright. Just not been feeling good lately.""You should really take some time off," you suggest.He chuckles dryly. "Thanks for the concern. I'm seeing the doctor after this. Listen, I wanted to ask you a favor.""What do you need?""The MilSim exercise you suggested? I pitched it to Rose and she signed off on it, but I need someone to run it. I'm not feeling up to it.""I'm really not much of a soldier," you say."The UN has experts on hand, I just want a friendly face in the crowd for the pilots. Without you and me it's just going to be Mbaru and Yezhov."Babysitting a training exercise is really going to cut into your free time and your ability to plan for this operation to delve into Nerv. But you know Korine would probably prefer you to be nearby.>Sure, I'll help>I'm sorry, I have other things I need to do>Write in
>>4792637>>Sure, I'll help
>>4792636I'd also like to review our ballistic weapons. They've been underperforming based on our expectations."Excellent. The SMG in particular seemed to give up a fair bit of range for no benefit over the assault rifle.>>4792637>>Sure, I'll help
>>4792637>I'm sorry, I have other things I need to doRemember the mission. I'm sure it's understandable if someone might not have the time for something suddenly dropped on them all the time. Just can't think of a good excuse to use atm
>>4792637>Sure, I'll helpConsidering we suggested it originally and he kicked it up the chain for us, it's only reasonable that we follow through with it. Plus, I want to see how this goes.
>>4792637>>I'm sorry, I have other things I need to do
>Sure, I'll helpWriting
You don't want to take time away from your primary assignment for things like this but, you also did suggest this plan. Not to mention you'd feel guilty for not being there if Korine might need you."Sure," you say. "I can be there."Max looks relieved. "Good. I really hate to flake up but I'm just not up for it right now.""Don't worry," you say confidently, "I can handle it. Soldier or not.""Yeah, I bet," Max says. "They're just kids, right? How hard can it be?" You give him an unamused look."Right, yeah, okay. Just try not to let anyone shoot anyone else- unless they're supposed to do that. You know what to do.""I hope you're feeling better soon," you say.Max looks tired. Very tired. He returns a weak smile. "Me too. Let's see if Caswell has good news for me.""Good luck," you say."
You are Doctor Roger Caswell and this is the part of your job that you hate more than anything else. Sitting in the cold, sterile whiteness of the exam room you pretend to study the medical chart in your hands. You know what it says. You've seen it many times before and hope to see it for much longer.You're an MIT graduate and something of a jack of all trades. You have degrees in fields many people don't even know exist. You've always been ahead of the curve that way. Somehow, despite all that, despite the rest of your workload, it falls to you to play medical doctor for the higher tier staff here. You understand that there is a matter of security involved, a matter of privacy, but still you can't help but reflect what a monumental waste of your talents it is.Or maybe the truth is that you'd rather not deal with this particular problem.Agent Max Goldberg sits on the exam table, shirtless. He's pale, thin, his arms dotted with bruises. He's definitely lost weight."What's the story, doc?" he asks. He's clearly in some degree of pain, but it's hard to gauge just how much.You frown. "You really shouldn't be here, Max," you say."I didn't want to come," he replies with the ghost of a smile."I mean at work," you say. "You're getting worse, not better. And until we start really aggressive treatment, it's just going to go downhill.""My lease on life is limited," Max says. "Borrowed time.""It would be longer if you'd stop this nonsense about being an active agent," you say. "You're not fooling anyone.""I think I fool enough people, doc," he says.You sigh and look at the chart again. "Without more tests it's hard to say how far the cancer has progressed. Are you in any pain?""Sometimes," Max says. "My arms are aching a lot. Mornings are the worst."The bomb that vaporized New York City hadn't spared Max's life. Not exactly. Certainly the exposure to that level of radiation - however brief - would have shortened his life span in some way. Leukemia at such a relatively young age was like scoring the death jackpot. Statistically unlikely, but not impossible. A thirteen year old kid visiting his grandparents when the bomb went off. In the instant the city was flattened, lethal doses of radiation washed across the surrounding area, including through his body. Someone older might have eventually recovered. For a kid, the long-term effects were catastrophic. The bomb that hadn't killed Max, eventually would.You nod. "I can get you more pills to deal with the pain. Nothing that will put you out." You add the last part before Max can object. "You're not any good to anyone if you're in too much pain to focus." You scribble a prescription, calling dosage and medication name from memory. "Something new also to slow progression, or maybe even reverse it. They're putting out new medicines all the time."
"Sure," Max says in a way that makes it clear he does not believe that.You hand him his shirt and he starts dressing. Wincing as he lifts his arms up, putting them through the sleeves. "How long?" he asks.You don't need to ask what he means. "However long it takes it to get somewhere that kills you. Hard to say. Months? If the drugs work, maybe years.""How long till we kill all the Angels?" Max asks. A joke."Not soon enough," you say, handing the prescription slips to him. "Max, get some rest. You're going to fall apart sooner rather than later if you don't take this seriously."Max shakes his head. "I'll fall apart before I rust out. Don't sugarcoat it for me. I've seen my prognosis. It's not fucking good. Rather do something with the time I have left than rot in some hospital bed somewhere.""At least take a day," you press. "You really look like hell. Give these new meds a little time to push back your worst symptoms, okay?"Max doesn't answer right away. He buttons up his shirt slowly, deliberately. "I got Aaliyah to take some work for me later. I'll take things as easy as I can. At least until these meds kick in.""A couple days," you repeat. "Right.""How is Agent Sayid anyway?" you ask.Max shrugs. "She's a tough one to figure out. Friendly as can be on the surface but . . .""But?"He shakes his head. "But it's like she's not all there.""Ah," you say. "You've taken a special interest in Agent Sayid?"Max snickers. "Don't be like that. She's a pretty lady. No doubt about that. I just can't quite figure her out.""That bothers you?""Does it bother you, Doc?"The question takes you a little by surprise. "Not particularly.""That's funny," Max says. "See, aside from me I got you figured as the guy who has his eye on everyone. You're looking for the weak link.""Am I?""Sure. Stress, emotional exhaustion, mental fatigue, whatever you want to call it. It's your job to ring the bell for us, right?""I trust everyone here to know their limits," you say. "I don't think I'll have to do anything like that.""Yeah but that doesn't mean you don't like figuring us out.""Are you the office gossip, Mr. Goldberg?" you ask.Max puts a hand over his heart. "You got me, Doc." He stands up from the exam table. "One more question for you.""Shoot," you say."Do you think I've got a chance with Aaliyah?"The question surprises you. No matter how you slice it, Max is a dead man walking. His future simply isn't there. It was stolen by a warhead seventeen years ago. You're not really sure what he could be hoping for in the long term. >If you're interested in Aaliyah, why not be straight forward?>You shouldn't pursue relationships with co-workers. It's not a good idea>I don't think I'm qualified to give you any advice, Max>Write in
>>4793385>If you're interested in Aaliyah, why not be straight forward?
>>4793385>>You shouldn't pursue relationships with co-workers. It's not a good ideaIt's not a good idea considering his condition as much as anything. If all he wants is a fling I can't be that hard to find one, not that that's a great either either while having cancer.Also, the last thing we need is office drama.
>>4793385>>You shouldn't pursue relationships with co-workers. It's not a good idea
>If you're interested in Aaliyah, why not be straight forward?
>>4793385>You shouldn't pursue relationships with co-workers. It's not a good idea
>>4793385>You shouldn't pursue relationships with co-workers. It's not a good ideaFor a multitude of reasons, not just office drama.
>>4793385>I don't think I'm qualified to give you any advice, Max
>You shouldn't pursue relationships with co-workers. It's not a good ideaWriting
You avoid the obvious problems of Max's lack of a long term future. "I don't think I can sanction relationships with co-worker's, Max.""Is that the HR handbook answer or your answer?" Max asks."It's both." You say a twinge of guilt saying it. You don't like lying to Max, or to anyone else but . . Some of the light in Max's eyes fades. "Yeah," he says. "Yeah I guess it's not great timing.""New Tampa is a big city, Max," you say. "Finding someone won't be an issue.""No," Max says, "It's staying alive long enough for it to matter." He looks even more tired than when he came in somehow. His clothes seem to hang off him. One day one of these appointments with Max will be your last."Let me know if you ever need someone to talk with, Max.""Sure." He seems to dismiss this idea. "Thanks anyway."After Max leaves, it feels like a weight was lifted from your chest. You didn't sign up to this job to tell people they were going to probably die alone. You're not sure anyone relishes that sort of work. Your motto had always been "no price too great". You'd run yourself ragged in college, pushing the limits of scheduling and human endurance to absorb and grapple with as much information as you could. You'd absorbed every scrap of information, worked every project and lab to your best ability, and you'd done it all with a smile.A small sacrifice for a greater future.When you'd been taken on at Nerv under Dr. Kaufman, those sacrifices had come to include spending human lives. Men, women, children. No price too great in the path of progress.The flat white halls of the medical wing give way to the cooler neutral grays of the administrative side of the science branch. Another few passages and you reach your office. The door hisses open with a touch and you step inside.Everything is vibrant, alive, and moving. Your desk is cluttered with kinetic toys, spinners, clackers, tops and knickknacks. Science in motion. Gadgets for adults to fidget with and watch. It's a guilty pleasure, one you haven't bothered trying to shake.
The walls are adorned with digital displays cycling through astronomical imagery, another passion of yours. Mankind would one day outgrow this cradle earth and move to the stars. You imagine that when the order of the day is no longer "Survive" it can become "thrive". With a little luck and hard work, you'll be there on the forefront of a new era. The science and technology you bring to bear against the Angels can be used to propel mankind to the future.It's a heady dream, one you would never give up. It's the dream that makes all of this ultimately worth it.Drawing out your chair, you sit behind your desk and set about reviewing the other part of your job you detest. Bureaucracy. Paperwork, requisitions, reports, policy updates, all have to be reviewed and updated by you. It's mind numbing work, but you pass the time by mulling the challenges of the future. Problems for tomorrow. As they exist in your mind they're mere thought experiments. The human cost simply isn't a factor.There's a knock at your door."It's open!"It's not who you were expecting, but you stand up and smile all the same. "Agent Sayid, this is a surprise.""Doctor- Roger," she says. "I hope this isn't a bad time.""Not at all, come on and sit down. Feel free to move anything that's in the way."The two of you sit, Aaliyah moving aside a stack of data cards from the seat. You can see what max meant about hard to read. Aaliyah is approachable enough - a friendly face, always willing to help - but there's something missing."I don't know what I was expecting," she says, eyeing your office toys."Please. It really shouldn't be a surprise. Ask me about any of them. Unless you're here on business.""Yes and no," she says."Oh boy," you reply with mock trepidation. "Alright, hit me. What do you have?""I'm feeling a bit out of the loop," she says. "I was hoping you could fill me in.""On?""Dr. Kaufman."You let out a long breath. "When all this is over, people are going to write books about that man," you say. "But I'm not sure what they're going to say yet.""Genius?""Certainly.""He has a long shadow. To me, both you and Dr. Womack are geniuses, but you make him sound a league above.""Agent Sayid, things that my mind can barely shift, Dr. Kaufman could carry on his shoulders like Atlas. Sequencing Adam's DNA and bridging the gaps with terrestrial strains-" you shake your head. "No other word but inspired.""But everyone seems reluctant to talk about him," Aaliyah presses. "I'd think more people would speak up in his defense."Another pang of guilt. Today isn't the day for feeling good about yourself. "Dr. Kaufman was like a father to me in some ways," you say. "He certainly took a risk in taking me on as his protégé. There was a time when I would do anything for that man. He seemed like he carried the future of humanity with him."
"What changed?"You pick up a yellow spinner from your desk, idly flicking it and feeling the silent vibration of motion between your fingers. "Secrets laid bare. When NervSec said he'd murdered someone it shook us all pretty hard. Rose grew up with the man here. It was a bad time.""Murder just seems like such a stretch, don't you think? What would make a man like that kill someone he hardly knows?"The line of questioning strikes you as odd. Very odd. "I couldn't say," you reply, giving Sayid a reassuring smile. "Does it worry you?""Not particularly." She smiles back. "It just feels like a secret I'm excluded from.""I'm sure that being new in an established facility like this can really amplify such feelings. Well don't worry, I don't mean to keep you excluded from anything. You're as much a part of this family as anyone.""That's reassuring, doctor," she says. "How's Max doing?"Your smile remains fixed, "I'm sorry but I really can't comment on that sort of thing. Patient confidentiality, you understand.""Of course." Aaliyah says, her eyes wandering across your desk. "What does that one do? That metal spiral thing?"You feel a sudden rush of excitement as you get to talk about one of your passions. "Archimedes screw. Clever guy that Archimedes. Hand me some of those marbles, check this out."You give Sayid the tour of your office, starting with the toys and working off to the images of space exploration that cycle by. She seems interested in the topic, asking follow up questions and generally being an active listener. "Thanks for the science lessons, Roger," she says, "But I've got to run. Captain Holiday wants me to check in on the R&D team and see what the status is on ballistics.""No trouble at all, Agent Sayid, Aalyiah. Definitely stop by if you want to play with overpriced desk toys," you gesture to your colorful collection."I'll do that." She opens the office door and stops. "I mean to ask- I'd heard that Dr. Kaufman was being held here in Nerv. Have you had a chance to visit with him? I'm not even sure if NervSec would allow that."You haven't. Truthfully you've wanted to avoid thinking about it. It's painful to confront madness that exists within even close friends. For all his accomplishments and laurels, even someone like Dr. Kaufman could fall prey to the most primal human weaknesses.>I don't think I want to talk with him>I haven't yet, but maybe I'll talk with NervSec>Write in
>>4795314>I don't think I want to talk with himWhile Caswell isn't cold, I do think he'd rather put that entire mess behind him vs reopening old wounds. What would he even talk to the guy about?I rather doubt they'd let anyone talk to him anyway; I'm sure plenty of people that used to work for him doubt the charges, and they would be security risks.
>>4795314>I haven't yet, but maybe I'll talk with NervSecMight not be safest for Caswell, but it’s the right thing to do. Plus, we might learn something
>>4795314>Write in"you know, I hadn't thought about it."
"You know," you say, "I hadn't thought of it.""Really? That's surprising," Sayid says."Is it? I've had a lot on my plate lately. More so with all the added responsibilities of my promotion.""I thought you would make time for an old mentor.""The sad truth is that it wasn't me who turned away from the other. Dr. Kaufman - whatever we once had - is the only one responsible for his current condition."Something flickers behind Aaliyah's eyes, some kind of recognition or understanding that eludes you. "I suppose it's your decision to make." She hesitates. "Let's catch up again sometime soon, Dr. Caswell. I think we've got a lot to talk about." She leaves.You don't really know what to say to that. You close the door behind her and stand there thinking. Kaufman had been a friend - almost family. Why had he thrown everything away for something so irrational? What exactly had even transpired? He didn't seem the type, but the evidence against him was strong enough to lock him up.Had you been putting this off? Pretending it didn't matter.There is another knock at your door. You open it.Rose is startled by your swift answer."Dr. Caswell," she says."Captain. Come in."She does so, glancing at your posters before taking a seat on the edge of your desk. You close the door behind her.“I didn’t expect you to come out this way, I was going to send you a report once I finished up," you say. "It's dull, more of the same.""Even the damage to Hydra?""It's substantial," you say, "but not insurmountable. We've immersed the unit in a biotic emulsion. Natural healing will take us most of the way there but nerve circuits will have to be re-integrated. Armor plates installed."She crosses her legs and lightly scratches the desk with a fingernail. "The pilot?""Physically? Ethan is totally fine," you say. "No residual nerve damage. He's in better shape than after his first fight.""Mentally?" Rose asks, raising an eyebrow.You hesitate before answering, though you don't mean to. "All his tests are clear.""But you think something is missing," Rose says. "Something's wrong."
You take a moment to collect your thoughts. You know that Rose is prone to bursts of impulse. It's part of the nonsensical "Warrior mentality" her Rambo-wannabe father instilled in her. "A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week." Wisdom from a warmongering lunatic. Say the wrong thing and she might make sweeping changes that she thinks are right in the moment. You sit down in the chair across from your desk."I think," you say at last, "that these pilots have an unbearable strain put on them. I think what we put them through is . . ." You stop short of terms like "damaging" or "barbaric". "-Is causing them to feel isolated. Emotionally.""Hm," Rose says. "Is that so?" She's testing you. Teasing you. "It's my opinion," you say. "I think he's doing as well as we can expect given the circumstances. I think-" you pause. "I think you might be letting your own experiences color your judgement."Rather than anger, she only smiles. You've seen enough fake, public relations smiles to know that this one is genuine. "You've got a lot of guts to accuse me of that, Doctor.""I speak the truth," you say. "The truth as I see it."Rose uncrosses her legs to stand up before circling your desk to face you. Lifting a leg, she straddles you and lowers herself into your lap, her hands on your shoulders. Her face is inches from yours. "That's what I like about you, Doctor. Roger."Your hands go to her body automatically, holding her waist as she kisses you. It only takes a glance to ensure the automatic lock on your door is engaged. A second of distraction later you turn your attention to Rose, returning her kiss and working the buttons on her uniform loose one at a time.It feels as good as it always does. This time maybe it's soured a little by the knowledge of your hypocritical response to Max's question about office romance. Maybe he would understand. Maybe not. As Rose's blouse falls away, exposing bare skin, you forget all about it.
The only time either you or Rose smoke is after sex. It's become a ritual for you, one you never questioned. She takes a deep drag on her cigarette and then passes you the pack. You watch her dress as you light up. It's careless, you know, to engage in this sort of affair in the office. Surely someone knows, surely many more suspect, but it's also thrilling. It's thrilling in a way that a simple romance wouldn't be. Meeting Rose outside of work isn't the same as sweeping your cluttered desk clean and making desperate, passionate love right there on the spot.She keeps her back to you as she puts her clothes back on. It's silly for her to hide herself after the act, but somehow it seems important. Scars cross her back, much like her head and face. Permanent reminders about her failed career. Rose hates when you touch them or comment on them. She'd rather pretend they didn't exist. She's beautiful with or without them, so it never made a difference to you. "Hungry?" She asks, brushing her hair down with a free hand. Before turning around, nearly presentable now.You pick up your own shirt and start dressing. The skin on your back where she dragged her fingernails is sensitive as fabric slides across it. You relish the pain. The question takes you by surprise. These infrequent sessions of lovemaking were common enough to be normal, but it was unusual for her to want to spend much time with you afterward. Ships passing in the night."Sure," you say, curious where this is going.You're both careful to not look disheveled when you leave the office. You travel via elevator, going up to the nearest cafeteria before taking food and grabbing seats together beneath the leafy shade of a tree growing in an indoor arboretum. The whole cafeteria is made to look like a park with HD displays showing scenes of nature and plants ringing the perimeter.
Rose speaks first. "It's hard working for your dad."Another surprise. If there's one thing Rose never discusses with you it's her family, such as it is. You tread with care. "I can imagine. Your father was head of operations then, is that right?"She nods, her eye never meeting yours. "Mhm. He was in my role actually. Tactical command."This news surprises you. You'd never considered it, but that means Major Holiday was in command when Rose fought her battle. When she'd nearly given her life to save the city. "Trouble with dad?" you suggest."Just a thought," she says, continuing to eat. “He was in charge of refugee relocation before all this you know, when he was in the army.”“Right.”“That really you know . . . got to him I think. Seeing all those people without homes, all the people who died. Back then people really expected the flood waters would recede, like it was just some hurricane or something. Before the boat people started showing up.”You don't need the reminder. You'd live through the same thing she had, maybe not as closely though."How did he get involved with Nerv?"“Versetti and he had always been friends. I think the Colonel invited him or something.”"Was it your father's idea that you should become a pilot?" You wouldn't put it past a hardass like the Major to push his daughter into a combat role.Rose stops and looks at you. "Are you psychoanalyzing me, Caswell?""No," you lie.>So what's your problem with Ethan? I think he's doing fine.>What would you do once we defeat the Angels?>Sayid was asking me about Kaufman, do you know anything about that?>Write in
>>4797219>>So what's your problem with Ethan? I think he's doing fine.i guess Ethan reminds her of herself thats why>>What would you do once we defeat the Angels?
>>4797219>>So what's your problem with Ethan? I think he's doing fine.>What would you do once we defeat the Angels?>Write in"Oh, next time clip your fingernails."
>>4797219>So what's your problem with Ethan? I think he's doing fine.That sounds harsh though, maybe something more delicately put.
>>4797214>"A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week." Wisdom from a warmongering lunatic.I mean, that's good advice in general."Perfect is the enemy of good.""A missile in the magazine is worth twenty in the storehouse.">>4797214>Lifting a leg, she straddles you and lowers herself into your lap, her hands on your shoulders.wat>your hypocritical response to Max's question about office romance.oh, that's what that was about.For what it's worth, I'd say we're in a good position to warn others away from that path.>>4797219>Before the boat people started showing up.”Bronze age collapse intensifies>>4797219>So what's your problem with Ethan? I think he's doing fine.Less blunt, but Ethan himself can't be the only one that sees her giving him grief for no clear reason.>Sayid was asking me about Kaufman, do you know anything about that?Multiple people have noted her acting just a little bit odd. Might as well see if anyone else has had the same sense.
https://pastebin.com/HMJkvbiMJust a little linda and ethan interaction I cooked up. It's not great but I'm alright with it.
This is the first NGE Quest in over 5 years. Please continue, a fresh take on this franchise with a genuinely interesting OC cast is something I never knew I needed until now.
>>4797542http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?searchall=NERVYou just gotta expand your keyword searches. Moloch ran Second Daughter, and Nerv Bridge Simulator was still doing stuff as of early '18. There's stuff out there.
>>4797542As the other anon said, I know it's not the first in that time, but it is nearest to my heart for obvious reasons. I'll see this one through to the end.
>>4797591Those weren't showing up for me when I merely searched for Evangelion. Thanks, anon, new reading material.
>>4797484Nice one anon
>>4797219>So what's your problem with Ethan? I think he's doing fine.>What would you do once we defeat the Angels?For a while, I kept thinking that Rose's surname was Mallory instead of Holiday -- I was thinking of F*** Quest. And then we have this fade to black scene. Oh dear.
>>4797924Get your mind out of the gutter, anon!!!>So what's your problem with Ethan? I think he's doing fine.>What would you do once we defeat the Angels?Writing
Rose raises an eyebrow at you. You reach for the salt shaker and make a show of wincing exaggeratedly. "Next time I think you might want to trim your fingernails a bit."Rose doesn't skip a beat, "Doesn't that kill the fun though? You seemed to like it at the time." She sips smugly from her coffee. She really is in a rare mood today.You grin back. "I guess you got me there. I do want to ask though," you say, sipping your own coffee. "It seems like you've been awfully hard on Ethan in particular. I think he's done a fine job.""Do you?" She asks. "And is that your professional opinion?" You sense you struck a nerve. "I guess maybe I don't see what he's done wrong.""Ethan has been in two combat sorties," she says. "The first saw the death of his teammate and the destruction of two Evas. The second saw the near death of his teammate, and the near destruction of his Eva.""You can't sincerely be holding that against him," you say, shocked. "I think he did the best possible in both situations.""Nerv doesn't issue 'participation' trophies for battles against Evas. We reward results. Ethan is undeniably a talented pilot, but as a team player he leaves a lot to be desired."You weigh your options before responding. "I just can't help but think that maybe you see some of yourself in him."
Rose nearly chokes on her drink before looking up at you. "What?"You press on. "You can't deny the similarities between your first fights. If records are correct, I think you're one for one on trading Evas for Angels as well.""That's a low blow, Roger," she says.You hate deploying tactics like this on her, you know she takes these sorts of things to heart, but you won't back down from the truth. "Maybe," you say, "But it's not wrong. I wouldn't think to sit back and tell you that you could have done a better job.""I could have," she replies bitterly."Somehow I doubt it," you say gently. "You did the best you were able to. Just as Ethan did and is doing.""I don't like you telling me how to do my job.""I'm not," you insist. "I'm just pointing out that you might be being a little overly critical of a pilot because of parallels you see to your own life."Rose frowns at her plate. "Maybe."You don't press the issue further, giving her some time to process."Colonel Versetti seems confident that we're on the cusp of final victory over the Angels," you say eventually."Aren't you?"You smile to yourself. "Not entirely. I agree that the Angels are likely already present here on earth, but the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.""What?""I mean that just because we don't see evidence that the Angels are traveling here from locations unknown - be that outer space or some other dimensional plane - doesn't mean that they aren't.""Space invaders, dimensional hoppers, whatever they are, we'll defeat them," Rose says without a shred of doubt. "If there's one thing humanity is good at it's harnessing technology for violence.""No argument there," you say. "So then, what are your plans once it's over?""Plans?" She asks."When Nerv is obsolete."Rose sits a moment in silence, "I guess I've never really thought about it before. I . . . I don't know. I guess for you the sky's the limit, huh?" there's an edge of bitterness to her voice."You could maybe settle down," you suggest. "Civilian life isn't so bad.""Pass," Rose says. "I know how to do this. It's all I've ever done. I like to think I'm good at it."Her outright rejection hurts a little bit. It's irrational to think that Rose would have ever accepted less than she has now, but still you'd hoped.""Well I think space is next," you say, forging past your disappointment. "Colonization. Exploration. They're going to need people with command experience.""Maybe space then," she says with a slight smirk.You return the smile and let the issue lie. For now you'll savor just being with Rose while you can.
You are Ethan Chandler, Eva pilot. You're by yourself in your apartment, but you're not alone. Not really anyway. "I meant to say thank you for the other day."Linda looks up at your voice, tearing her eyes from the sea outside the city. "Of course! You were in trouble. What was I supposed to do?"She's just like Linda as you remember her when you were alive. Charming, bright, beautiful. But she's not exact. The broad, white wings that sprout from her back mark her as something clearly different. The strange ways she seems to violate the laws of reality, the things she doesn't seem to understand . . . Linda hums to herself as she turns her attention back to the ocean waves outside. It's a waltz, the song you danced to. Her very existence defies explanation. You'd watched her die. You'd heard her die. Her panicked last words as she was consumed by an Angel. But now she stands before you as complete as ever. Maybe even more complete than before.You're shore on explanations for her existence. Insanity is at the top of your list. Maybe you've lost your mind. But you feel completely lucid about everything else. Only Linda is out of place. You've begun to wonder if perhaps somehow her soul became entwined with yours in the moment of her death. It sounds like nonsense but it's hard to argue with her very real presence here."I wasn't going to let you die," Linda says, startling you. "Not when I could do something about it. You're the person who matters to me more than anything else. I won't let anything happen to you."You can only gawk at her. "Thank you," you say at last. "I owe you.""So let's do something fun then!" Linda says with a burst of excitement. "I want to have fun together.">Let's dance again>Let's watch a movie>Let's explore the city>Write in
>>4798892>Let's explore the cityA park maybe
>>4798892>Write inYou can stay here, I'm going to check in on Korine This Linda shit really isn't healthy, anons
>>4798892>>Let's watch a movieMovie theater time
>>4798905we promised to stay together forever anon. we cant just back out.
>>4798892>>Let's watch a movie>>Let's explore the city
>>4798892>Let's explore the cityDoubting own sanity for a period of time is going to be exhausting.
>>4798892>>Let's explore the cityWhile we're out there, we can keep an eye out for a repair shop for the Nomad.But primarily it will be good for her to be out of the apartment for a change. She almost never shows up outside of it.
>>4798892>Let's explore the city>>4798905Nooo, don't make the tulpa cry.
>Let's explore the citywriting
"Let's explore the city," you say. "We can go for a walk, check out some parks. Maybe grab some food?"Linda's face lights up with joy. "Yes! Let's get outside!" She takes your hand to help you stand and pulls you into a tight hug. "Yay!"No one reacts to Linda's presence. From the apartment's lobby to the park down the street, not a single head turns. Linda has the courtesy to move aside from people walking through, but otherwise she might as well not even be there. Invisible.As much as others ignore her, you're fixated. You can't stop staring at her, at the way the light catches her hair, her wings. She seems to glow in the afternoon light. How much of that is your perception and how much of that is your emotions isn't clear to you.Across a busy urban street is a quiet, heavily shaded park. Dense vegetation forms natural paths and alcoves. It has the effect of creating an illusion of privacy, the sense of wilderness, isolation. It helps you to forget that you're in a cement bowl in the middle of a new sea. Linda walks with an extra spring in her step, hurrying over to crouch on the edge of the path to study small insects crawling in the leaf litter on the ground. She touches the broad, waxy leaves of a low-hanging tree branch. She squints up at the sky and grins at the clouds."Beautiful," she says."The park?"Linda nods. "I've dreamed places like this, but seeing it is something else.""Have you been dreaming about the future again?" you ask.She shakes her head. "I haven't really needed to. It doesn't really matter anyway. They're just dreams."Having walked and danced in one of Linda's "dreams'' you're not sure you agree. "What's your favorite?""Dream?""Yeah.""The ones with you," she says.She steps off the path before you can answer, ducking under some foliage to examine a palmetto frond. She touches the sharp edged leaves with a gentle finger, watching them sway. "When the Angel had me," she says, "I felt so alone. I was afraid that . . . that it would be forever. I would be alone forever."You come over and kneel beside her, watching her study the plant."So any time we're together," she smiles, "I'm happy. I'm happy that I have another chance to be with you."You lay a hand on her back and rub small circles. "I'm sorry you had to go through that, Linda.""It's okay," she says, wiping an eye. "It's fine now. It's past. Come on." She stands up. "Lets go to the sea wall."
The massive cement dyke is an engineering marvel. Here in a public viewing area you are more keenly aware of that than ever. The water level outside is higher than the ground just behind the wall, reminding you of the inherent fragility of this city and all its inhabitants. The perimeter of the wall is surrounded with heavy tidal generators. The massive boom arms thump with the impact of waves. The pressure of the tide raises and drops the arms, generating current. The noise is tremendous, overcome only by the rush of wind from the sea.The sun is beginning to set, setting the waves aflame. You and Linda are the only ones here. The breeze is sharp and chilly enough to drive out any less determined visitors.The weather doesn't seem to bother Linda. Wind whips her hair and her dress. She closes her eyes, raises her arms and stretches her wings, seeming to savor the sensation. "Feel that?" She asks."The wind?""Yeah." She opens her eyes, staring fixedly at the horizon. "This planet is alive. Energy courses through it. Potential. Can you feel it?"You raise a hand, the wind rushes through your fingers, pressing your hand back and making you squint. "I think so."Linda takes your hand in hers and stands close to you. "Ethan," she says, "I want to show you something.""What?"You look into Katya's eyes.She stands beside you where Linda was, holding your hand tightly in her own and smiles at you. Her wings tuck in to avoid catching the wind. "L-Linda?""Do you like it?" Linda asks in Katya's voice. "It's something I learned.""How are you-?""I just dream it," she says like you should know that. "I know you think she's pretty so I thought I'd try it out.">No, this is weird, don't do that.>I like you the way you look>Which do you like more?>Write in
>>4801420>>Write in"Wait. Does this mean you can turn into dogs and cats too?"
>>4801420>I like you the way you looknow she's just fucking with us, trying to see how far the illusion can be pushed
>>4801420>I like you the way you lookI'm really trying to ignore all the instrumentality flags she's tripping
>>4801420>I like you the way you lookI can't tell if this "I like how you look now" or "I like how you normally look". I'm going for the second option here.>No, this is weird, don't do that.But put as gently as possible. I like Linda, but if she starts mimicking actual people we know, we're going to start second guessing what's real and what isn't outside of our interactions with her.
>>4801493>"I like how you normally look"This is the intent, yes.Also TIL that Dyke=/=Dike.Nice.
>>4801420>I like you the way you look
>>4801420>No, this is weird, don't do that.
>>4801420>Write-in>You’re.....not Linda, are you.I’d imagine it’s got to be at the back of Ethan’s mind.
>>4802059Can you explain this more?
>>4802059>>4802169its the angel projecting something we want to see, hopefully something we wont reject. or maybe its instrumentality. whatever it is, its fucked up.
>>4801420>Which do you like more?
>>4801420Supporting >>4802059 in addition to my original vote >>4801565I have a dynamic ip, sorry
>>4801420>Write-in>You’re.....not Linda, are you.
No update tonight guys. Busy day for me, sorry. I'll have more free time the rest of this week so I'll try to get more frequent updates out.
>>4802059anons, we already went through this, and accepted her for what she is. Do you want to find her crying and bloody again later?
>>4803830>>4804073>>4804200Actually, can we see some follow up posts under these IDs? I find it rather suspicious there was a flurry of support from single post IDs.
>>4801420Changing>>4802477to>I like you the way you lookTrying not to waste my vote here.
>>4804231Sure, here i am,I think she is not even angel!Linda, and we probably are actually dreamen/allucinating.Might change trough
>>I like you the way you look>>4801473>>4801484>>4801493>>4801510>>4804733>>4805299>>4804635>You’re.....not Linda, are you.>>4802059>>4803385>>4803830>>4804073>>4804075>>4804200Writing
You take Linda's hand in yours. "You shouldn't do that," you say. "I like the way you look. I don't want you to change."In a blink Linda is back to her old new self. "Sorry about that," she says. "I thought maybe you would think it was neat. I just want you to like me, Ethan."You frown. "Linda I do like you. I don't want you to be someone different. I want you to stay you.""Okay," Linda says, seemingly satisfied.Despite her cheer, you feel a sick dread in your guts. Something doesn't sit right about any of this. You'd made a promise to stay with Linda forever but . . . was this really Linda?She turns back out to sea, watching the waves. Was this her? Was this the girl you lost or was this something else? A cruel trick of the mind or . . . something worse.Linda looks back at you. "Something wrong?""No," you say quickly."You sure? You're quiet."You nod. "I just . . . why wouldn't you want to look like yourself?""Well," Linda says, thinking. "You said you liked my new wings. So I was wondering if I could make other changes that you like. Katya is pretty and you like her, so I thought I would try something new. I don't have to do it again.""I don't like it," you say. "I want you to just . . . look like you.""Okay!" Linda says. The two of you watch the sun dip lower in the sky as light fades, neither one speaking. Before late afternoon becomes evening, you go back to your apartment together. You're going to need to get answers from Linda soon. You can't live in this twilight of understanding. No matter how hard you try, you can't force yourself to accept events without questioning them. Your doubt is poisoning your mood. You have to know.You step off the elevator and nearly run into Korine."Ethan," she says. "There you are."A glance around you confirms that Linda has gone. You're alone. As alone as you can be anyway.Korine tilts her head, "You okay?""Fine," you say."I was just looking for you. You know where Katya is?""Katya? Probably her room."Korine shakes her head. "At least she's not answering anyway. I didn't want to make a stink in case Russian Frankenstein hears me and comes out of his room.""Yezhov? Is he in?"Korine shrugs again. "I was going to see if she wanted to like hang out or something. I'm driving myself crazy."You take out your phone and check for any missed calls or messages. Nothing. Was Katya avoiding everyone? Last time you'd really spoken with her she had apologized for nearly blowing the sortie. You'd told her off in your own way before hugging her. Oh no, did you make it weird? Had all your progress with Katya been undone?>Sure, let's hang out. Katya probably just needs some time.>Let's go ask Yezhov about her>Send Katya a text to check on her>Write in
>>4805681>Send Katya a text to check on herPing her. Hopefully she's doing alright.
>>4805681>Send Katya a text to check on her
>>4805681>Send Katya a text to check on herDisappointing that anons put their dick before reality
>>4805681>>Sure, let's hang out. Katya probably just needs some time.>Send Katya a text to check on herThere's no reason we can't do both.>You're going to need to get answers from Linda soon. You can't live in this twilight of understanding. No matter how hard you try, you can't force yourself to accept events without questioning them. Your doubt is poisoning your mood. You have to know.We already went through this, back when she first showed up. Linda wouldn't have been my first choice, but we committed to her. And she's been nothing but helpful. I'd really rather not send her into a psychosis spiral again.
>Send Katya a text to check on herWriting
"We can definitely hang out," you say, already drafting a quick message to Katya.Hey, where are you? Everything okay?Send"So what were you up to?" Korine asks, taking you back to her place."I went for a walk," you say.Her apartment is messier than ever. Crumpled fast food packaging dots her table and dirty clothes are strewn about. You've learned to ignore it. It doesn't seem to bother Korine anyway."So are you going to say anything?" She asks, sounding annoyed. She stares at you expectantly, tilting her face to the side.You stare back blankly, bewildered. "Wh-" finally you notice the flint of metal. "Did you pierce your nose?"Korine beams. "Yup. You like it?""I think a better question is, do you like it?""Ooo, good answer," she teases. "Hell yeah I like it. Makes me look older, don't you think?"You start to feel weird about staring at her face. "I guess.""I tried to get Katya to do her belly button but she wasn't going for it.""Yeah, I have a hard time imagining Katya signing off on something like that. You two went together?""Yup. She held my hand," Korine laughs. "I was too scared to go alone. Next time I'll take you. We can get your ears done.""I'm good," you say."Your loss," Korine smirks. "Hungry? I can order us a pizza or something.""Pizza sounds good," you say. "I assume we've got more monster movies on the docket?""Sure. I've been trying to look for tamer stuff for Katya but with just you and me we can really get dirty."You're not sure you like the sound of that. You sit on the couch and survey the mess around you while Korine orders food. When you'd lived in Anchorage, Linda had just about died of embarrassment if you ever saw her dirty clothes. You think she was primarily afraid of you seeing her underwear. Consequently, she always kept her room spotlessly clean and wouldn't let you in if there was even the slightest bit of mess. Korine doesn't seem to have any of those hang ups at all.You check your phone again. No answer from Katya.Korine hangs up. "Za is on the way.""Have you seen Katya since the Angel attack?"She sits beside you and powers on the TV. "No. How was that anyway? I heard you'd almost got killed." Korine sounds genuinely worried.>It was pretty bad, I guess I almost buy it.>It was tough, but nothing I couldn't handle>Nothing like that. It went fine.>Write in
>>4808193>>It was tough, but nothing I couldn't handleMy EVA is a wreck though, so who knows when I'll be back in the field again.
>>4808193>It was pretty bad, I guess I almost buy it.>Hydra is going to be out of commission for a while.Don't really want to downplay our experiences
>>4808193>It was pretty bad, I guess I almost bought it.>Hydra is going to be out of commission for a while.
>>4808193>It was tough, but nothing I couldn't handle
>>4808193>It was pretty bad, I guess I almost bought it.
>>4808193>It was pretty bad, I guess I almost buy it.No one got hurt too badly, and the Units are being repaired. Much better than his last sortie.
>>4808982Oops, I meant>It was tough, but nothing I couldn't handle
>It was pretty bad, I guess I almost bought it.>>4808229>>4808273>>4808798>>4808849>It was tough, but nothing I couldn't handle>>4808984>>4808652>>4808211>It was pretty bad, I guess I almost bought it.Writing
You don't want to downplay the amount of danger you were in. "It was pretty bad," you say. "I guess I almost bought it."Korine doesn't say anything."Hydra is going to be out of commission for a while so who knows when I'll be back in the field again. I guess it'll be like a little vacation for me.""Yeah," Korine says, voice sour. "What's wrong?" you ask."Nothing," she says, pressing "play" on the remote. The movie starts.It's definitely more gruesome than the last horror flick you guys watched. No more trashy slasher films, this one is pure horror. It involves child murder and the occult. Korine isn't as exuberant about the blood and guts in this one, but she still seems to be invested. The longer the movie goes, the more her mood seems to improve.You both take a break when the pizza arrives.As Korine gathers some napkins and drinks from the kitchen, you check your messages again. Still nothing from Katya. Should you send her another one? Would that be too pushy? You can't shake the feeling that you have something to do with her vanishing act.Korine hands you a soda."Thanks." "Sure," she says."So what's with you and horror movies?" you ask."What do you mean?" Korine takes a bite of pizza."I mean this is beyond idle interest. Seems more like a hobby.""I guess they've always kind of resonated with me. There's something cathartic about watching other people go through hell.""You mean it's inspiring?""Mmm, maybe." She takes another bite, chewing while she thinks. "But it's more like . . . I'm not sure. People get put through serious shit and it just happens. Like they can't control it. It's like . . . an inoculation or something."You're not sure you follow."When I was a kid I would sneak out and watch these movies with the older kids. It was really affirming to like . . . do something for myself. To make a decision on my own about what I was and was not ready for. To be in control.""You feel in control by watching other people lose control?"Korine laughs. "I guess. Why, is that weird?""Nope," you say. "Not any weirder than anyone else anyway.""Aw," Korine says, feigning disappointment. "And here I was thinking I had finally flapped the unflappable Ethan."Korine hits play and you finish the movie. The climax is no less gut-wrenching than the rest of it. Everyone involved dies, often in painful and drawn out ways. You think about what Korine said, about inoculation. Maybe immersing yourself in this sort of hellscape was a way to learn to cope with tragedy better. Maybe that's what she meant.
"Another one?" Korine says."Sure," you say. "I'm a little worried about Katya. She hasn't gotten back to me.""She's a flighty one," Korine says, leaning over the TV to change discs. "Why, did you say something to her?""Uh," you say.Korine stops and looks back at you, exasperated. "Oh my god. What did you do?" "Nothing!" you blurt."Don't lie to me," Korine says, folding her arms. "You poked the bear. What did you do?""She . . . was a little reckless in the last battle.""And you thought it was a good idea to point that out to her in probably the most uncouth way possible, right?" Korine asks."It was nothing like that," you say, "I told her she was being reckless, I told her she was trying to get herself killed.""And did she tell you why?" Korine asks, like the answer is obvious."She said she wanted to impress everyone. To prove that she belongs here because her dad is trying to make her go back home.""So maybe she was already under enough stress that she didn't need you pointing out just how stupid she was being."You are now on the defensive. Korine seems to already know about Katya's situation, and is clearly on her side. "We have bigger concerns than that sort of thing," you say. "Look, I hate to say it but as much as I want Katya to stay, I'd rather that we win battles."Korine rolls her eyes. "Classic Ethan.""What does that mean?""Nothing. No wonder she doesn't want to tell you anything.""What are you talking about?""Forget it." Korine starts the movie. "Let's just watch the movie before I think of more reasons to be annoyed with you."You desperately want to argue back, to make Korine see that anyone's feelings- even Katya's- are insignificant when put in perspective of this war, but you can sense this is a battle you won't win. You already have one of your friends not talking to you, the last thing you need is two.This next film is more in line with her campier horror movies. Intrepid heroes fight off waves of blood-thirsty undead assailing their ramshackle fortress. Of course, the whole endeavor is undone by infighting as the humans turn on one another. It culminates in bloodshed.>Enjoy the night watching movies with Korine>Write in
>>4809078>>Write inPass out.
>>4809078>Enjoy the night watching movies with KorineA break from stress.
>>4809078>>Enjoy the night watching movies with KorineEthan put it well himself. She's wrong about what we said and how we said it, but she's already made up her mind, and arguing with her will suck the enjoyment out of the evening.
>>4809078>Enjoy the night watching movies with Korine>Write in>"...What do you do when someone says or does something that even they don't understand?"
>>4809078>Enjoy the night watching movies with Korine
>Enjoy the night watching movies with KorineWriting
You finish the second movie with Korine. You both cheer when the main villain gets decapitated with a machete in a blood-soaked helipad brawl. He deserved it. The pizza is consumed and things wind down. You're happy to have some stress-free relaxation, though you would feel better if you knew what was going on with Katya. You don't worry about it too much, no matter what you know that NervSec is keeping an eye on her to ensure she's safe and you know that you'll see her at work."That's all I've got energy for," Korine says. "These new meds are wiping me out. Dr. Caswell says my sleep schedule is gonna be fucked for a while so I'd better get some shut eye."You rise from the couch. "No problem. Thanks for having me over.""Yeah yeah." She rubs at her eyes.You start for the door, "Korine, can I ask you something?""Always.""What do you do when someone says or does something that even they don't understand?"She looks at you blankly for a moment. "You're asking the wrong girl. I don't understand half of the shit I do and I misunderstand just about everything everyone else does.""Really?""Are you seriously shocked?" She looks nonplussed."I mean . . . you seem like you have a good handle on people mostly." You don't bother to tell her that you think her assessment of your interaction with Katya was way off."That'd be a first. Just because I'm nosy doesn't mean I'm clever. People are a fucking mystery to me and a pain in the ass when they're not being confusing as hell. No, I'm definitely the wrong girl for that question.""Come on," you say, "What's your take?"She sighs. "Okay, if that's not a good enough answer for you, try this: People are a mess inside. No one says what they mean and everyone acts against their best interests. It's some kind of sick cosmic joke that evolution gave us brains and then fucked them up. We can build rockets to the moon but can't tell someone we love them. We get schizophrenia and bipolar and dementia. We believe lies because we want to and hurt the people we care about because we can't stop ourselves. People are fucked up."The coldness of the answer comes as a surprise to you."Sometimes I think we'd be better off if the Angels took us all out. Only thing is, I don't really want to die." She smiles humorlessly. "How's that answer?""Very, very dark," you say."I guess it suits me then. Night, Ethan.""Night."
You leave and she shuts the door behind you. You're halfway back to your room when your phone buzzes, a call. You answer quickly. "Hello?""Ethan, you're awake then." It's not Katya, it's Renton.Surprise overcomes your disappointment. "It's not really that late," you say."Good, then are you up for some drinks?"You only hesitate a moment. An opportunity to get to know Renton better is one you don't want to pass up. "Sure. Name the place.""I'll text you. Wear something nice so we can get into the classier bars. Ciao."Changing into a nice button up only takes a minute and then you follow Renton's directions to the bar. It's a trendy place, full of young professionals blowing off steam. Neon lights and mirrored bar tops add to the timeless effect. Legally speaking, you're not old enough to drink, but the bar staff don't say 'no' to a Nerv ID.Renton is seated at the bar and you join him. He has half a beer in front of him beside another empty glass. Seems he's been at this for a bit already. "Ethan, come. Sit. A drink?""Just a beer," you say.Renton signals the barkeep who pours and serves you."First time?" he asks."Not exactly. Linda and I used to sneak out for beers in the woods. Not classy like this. Just kid stuff.""Ah," Renton says, sipping. "Linda. Your friend, yes? The one who passed away.""Yeah.""What a sorry thing. Losing a close friend is a hard thing to live with. You are lucky that you had a chance to exact your revenge on it though."You don't feel lucky. "I guess. I'm just glad it's dead."Renton nods, staring ahead of himself, as if thinking. "Yes.""So, what's the occasion?""The occasion is tonight!" Renton says, lifting his glass in a jubilant salute. "A celebration of life, a refusal of death.""So no occasion?" you tease.Renton smirks, "You are a humorless man, Ethan. Have you no sense of poetry?""Guess not. I'm more of a realist."Renton shrugs, unimpressed. "Truthfully, tonight is just a night I would rather not be alone on.""Bad memories?" You ask sympathetically."Something like that.""Did you lose someone too?"He smiles sadly into his glass. "I'm sorry, but I'm not drunk enough to talk about that. Let's talk about you instead.""Sure.""Family?""Orphan," you say."Like Korine then.""You?" you ask."I have family," he says. "My grandmother, my siblings. We stay on a barge that's docked in the wharf. I stay with them most days.""You live with your family?" It's surprising to hear."My grandmother and siblings," he repeats. "My parents did not survive.""I'm sorry about that.""Thank you," Renton says casually."And you live on a barge?""Boat people," he says. "We come from the south originally. Uruguay. The barge carried all types of course. A long trip north." There's sadness in his eyes. "But you're cheating now. We're meant to be talking about you."
"There's really not much to tell. I think I'm a pretty open guy. To be honest I really don't know that much about you.""I prefer people learn what I want them to about me. Tell me honestly, if you knew my past, that my family are refugees from a country that does not exist any longer. If you knew that I live with my grandmother in a cramped, stinking rusty boat, would that change your opinion of me?"Were it not for the seriousness of his tone, you would have a hard time accepting what Renton is telling you as true. The idea that he lives as some miserable refugee does not jive with the well-dressed, smooth-talking and confident man sitting beside you."No," you say, not sure if that's entirely true. "Your background has no bearing on my opinion.""A lie, I think," Renton says, "But a polite one so I will forgive you. If you're telling the truth then maybe you're a better man than I." He finishes his beer and sets the glass down."We've all got pasts, but they don't have to define us."Renton laughs. "I'm sorry, but I disagree with you there. Our pasts are exactly what define us. Do you think Princess Katya isn't shaped by her upbringing? Do you think she is not a product of her upbringing?""It isn't meaningless," you say, "But it's not all we are. She doesn't seem to get on with her family so well. I believe we ply our own course. The decisions we make shape us.""Maybe," Renton says. "Maybe." A pause. "I want to thank you for coming here on short notice. I know this was a strange request. Truthfully I was not sure if you would come, but I am glad that you did.""Sure," you say, "Booze is booze right?"Renton laughs again. "You are not as uptight as I was afraid you were, Ethan."You put a hand over your heart and feign offense. "I'm a boy scout, sir. I only ever follow the rules and follow orders."Renton orders another drink. "Let me ask you something if I may.""Sure."Renton watches bubbles form and surface in his beer. "That Angel, the one that killed your friend Linda. If you faced it again, in the future, would you kill it?""Yes," you say without hesitation."What if it was made harmless? Would you kill it even if it no longer posed any threat to anyone? Would you kill it just because of what it had done?">Yes, without hesitation>No Angel is harmless>Killing something in cold blood is murder. Angel or not.>write in
>>4811238>I believe we ply our own course. The decisions we make shape us."“We all make choices, but in the end our choices make us.”Our past sets our trajectory, but we can still steer the ship.>Truthfully I was not sure if you would come, but I am glad that you did."So am I.>>4811238>Yes, without hesitationpartially because it deserves it, and partially because>No Angel is harmlessI'd certainly never trust that any angel was true harmless, no matter its state.
>>4811238>Yes, without hesitation>No Angel is harmlessNo mercy, no regrets
>>4811238>I'm not an executioner
>>4811238>>Yes, without hesitation>>No Angel is harmlessMixy
>>4811238>>Yes, without hesitation>>No Angel is harmless>>Your hypothetical just isn't a possibility from what we've seen so far
Behold, a young Linda:https://youtu.be/6LRySv2GK5o
>>4811238>Yes, without hesitation
>>4811238Supporting this>>4811297>I kill because i have to, not because i want to, same as... Linda, would.
>>4811864Come on, where's your anger, your feelings!These beings come, they destroy, leaving half the world a wreck.They don't communicate, don't speak, just destroy.They killed Linda, or do you blame no one for her death? 'Fortunes of war' or some BS like that?
>>4811238>I kill because i have to, not because i want to, same as... Linda, would.
>>4811238>Yes, without hesitation>No Angel is harmlessAngels are no better than rabid dogs. The only communicating they have ever done with us is trying to kill us. No quarter asked, none given.Plus with how weird angels are, would you ever be able to trust that they were permanently not a threat?
>>4811940Hating the angels for what they've done to us and not forgiving them is one thing. Slaughtering something unintelligent which will not hurt you anymore for vengeance is another.
>>4811940Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. I don't wanna suffer anon, do you?
>>4812384"unintelligent" is an open question. They don't act with what we'd recognize as intelligence, but that doesn't mean they don't possess alien thought processes.
>Yes, without hesitation>>4811258>>4811270>>4811361>>4811426>>4811811>>4812028>I'm not an executioner>>4811297>>4811470>>4811864>>4811919>>4811966>YesWriting.
"Yes, without hesitation," you say. "Why is that?" Renton asks."An Angel is . . . I don't think your hypothetical is really a possibility from what we've seen.""Indulge me," Renton says, sipping."Alright, there is no such thing as a harmless Angel. No matter what state it's in, no matter its condition, it cannot be left to live.""So you see it as purely practical? No emotion involved?"You hesitate. "That's part of it. I do think the Angel deserved to die for-" You don't let yourself imagine her final screams. "For what it did to her. If I could kill it again I would. Without mercy, without hesitation.""You have no pity for them?""Pity? No. Why should I?""Some think that all living things have a right to survive. Angels are strange in many ways, but they are obviously alive.""Nothing has a right to live if it's a killer itself. Live by the sword."Renton nods, his expression serious. "I agree wholeheartedly with you. It is not just a quest for vengeance, it is a mission of pre-emptive safety. To ensure that such a thing can never happen again." Renton signals the bartender before you get a chance to ask him to elaborate. More drinks arrive just a moment later."Another question for you, Ethan," Renton says. "This one is quite personal.""So, about Linda," you say.Renton smirks a little. "Am I so transparent? Yes. I am quite curious about her. You don't mind?""If I minded would you still ask?""Probably," Renton says, breaking into an apologetic smile. "Restraint is not one of my strengths."You drink two gulps of beer. The hoppy taste buzzing your mind. "Alright. Shoot.""Were you lovers?"Of all the questions you thought he'd ask, this was not one of them. Fortunately it's easy to answer."No.""No?""No," you repeat."Sorry, I just find that a little strange. The way you talk about her-""We were very close," you say. "Very close. But … our jobs got in the way. It just wouldn't have worked. If she lived- if we didn't have to pilot anymore-" you don't want to go down that road. You shake your head and sip more beer. "No. We weren't lovers.""It is a terrible tragedy what happened to her," Renton says, leaving a moment of respectful silence before proceeding. "Then there is room in your heart still. I know that the Princess seems close with you. Or perhaps Korine. She is warmer to you than anyone."The topic makes you uncomfortable immediately, but you don't want to look like a geek in front of Renton so you shrug. "I haven't given it much thought.""Really?" Renton raises an eyebrow. "You are full of surprises. So if I tell you then that I am going to ask Katya to come drinking with me tomorrow."Your shoulders tense slightly.Renton smiles victoriously. "Ah. Yes. I see.""I- no. It's not that-" you stammer.
Renton holds up a hand, bidding you to be quiet. "Spare me your lies," he teases. "Love is complicated. There are degrees. I understand.""Really," you say. "Katya and I- I mean she's attractive, but we're friends.""So you are," Renton agrees. "Have no fear, I'm not putting the moves on her or Korine. I agree with you. The life of an Eva pilot is ill-suited to romance. I have enough worries of my own.""Right," you say, relaxing slightly. "Ethan," Renton says after a moment, "The life of a pilot is short, intense. If history is any judge, we are likely to meet violent fates well before we have a chance to grow old.""That's real uplifting," you say."What I mean to say is, I consider you like a brother.""What, already? We barely just met.""And yet tomorrow we might die together, no? In my life, family is forged quickly since it can be destroyed even quicker. I wouldn't betray a brother.""That's . . ." You really don't know what to say. You've never had family, nothing like what Renton is describing. Maybe Linda came closest, but you certainly never thought of her as a sister. You can't make yourself believe that Renton is serious about this but . . .Renton smiles, apparently oblivious to your discomfort. "About the Angel. Do you think humans are the same?""What do you mean?"Renton traces shapes in the drops of condensation on the bar top with a fingertip. "I mean does a person deserve to die on the grounds that they may be a threat in the future?""Angels aren't people," you counter."Of course not," Renton says. "But if it was a person who killed Linda. A human. Would you kill them if you had the chance? Even if they were no longer a threat to anyone?">Yes, if I could, I would.>That's for the justice system to decide.>No, human life is precious.>Write in
>>4812690>That's for the justice system to decide.
>>4812690>Yes, if I could, I would.
>>4812690>Yes, if I could, I would. But then i will be ready to be killed myself. After all, I would be no better than who I killed.
>>4812690>>Yes, if I could, I would.
>>4812690>Write insay nothing.
>>4811232>People are a mess inside.I didn't really expect an answer for this one-off, but thanks TK.In some twisted fashion, it's a little comforting.>>4811258It matters not how strait the gate / how charged with punishments the scroll /I am the master of my fate / I am the captain of my soul.>>4812690>Write in>"What would it change?">"Fate tends to punish us for what we think we know."
>>4812690>Write inI don't know
>Yes, if I could, I would.WritingSorry for the late update guys.>>4813595>I didn't really expect an answer for this one-off, but thanks TK.No worries! I try to work in as many write ins as I can, and I thought Korine might have something interesting to say about it.
"If I had the chance?" You ask. "Without a doubt.""Justice?" Renton suggests.You stare at your half-empty beer. "Something like that. But ultimately I'm not sure it would change anything. She would still be dead and now I would be a murderer too."Renton frowns slightly, furrowing his brow. "I think you're taking my little thought exercise too far, my friend.""Why do you ask?"Renton shakes his head and drinks. "Just something that I have been thinking about.""Can I ask you something now?" "Of course. Ask away," Renton says."What's boat life like?""Hm." He taps his glass with a finger. "It is quite different than city life I think. There are no secrets on a boat. There is no room for 'others'. We are one family. Uruguayan, Argentinian, Brazilian, Cuban, Venezuela. It is hard to hate people on your boat because they are your family.""Everyone always gets along?" you ask, confused."Forgive me, but it's clear you're not used to having a family. Families can fight, but it is hard to hate. You learn to save your hate for the people outside your circle.""How did you get here? To New Tampa?""A very long journey through hell. Years on the water." He thinks for a bit. "Growing up hungry. Growing up afraid. No boat can last on its own forever, so you trade. Sometimes with other boats, sometimes with the shore. You learn to be mistrusted and feared. You learn this because you feel it for everyone off your boat. Every trade stop could be your last. That ship becomes your home, the people its lifeblood.""You always travelled alone?""Mostly in packs," Renton says. "Groups of ships that learn to trust one another. Sometimes we would lash the boats together and everyone would share what they have. You learn about other people that way. Other cultures, languages."He smiles. "But playing futbol on the deck of an empty oil tanker in the Caribbean sun. Ah. Or seeing a UN helicopter with a pallet of food and water. Or when you find a boat from your pack that you thought was lost-" his grin spreads wider. "These are feelings for which there is no comparison. Nothing I have felt since will ever compare to those."
"Wow." It's all you can think to say. "It's hard to imagine.""Yes. As much as I love those people, I want it to end. When the UN came to my boat, they tested the children. I passed. My condition for serving was that my family be housed here. Once the new housing blocks are done, we will finally have a home again.""And that's why you fight?""That's why I fight," Renton agrees. "For a home for my family. I fight for them because no one else will." His expression hardens. "Were it not for my special gift we would all still be out there. The UN and Nerv don't give a damn about people. They only care about mankind.""I'm not sure they can afford to care about people.""Maybe," Renton says. "But to that I say that I've seen ships tear themselves apart in the name of survival and I've seen ships survive hell in the name of love. I think mankind without humanity is a special punishment for a special kind of hubris." Renton finishes his beer."I know there are refugee camps inland," you say. "Relocation efforts.""Philosophical suicide." Renton replies quickly. "We survived the apocalypse because we relied on no one but one another. Rusty hulks with overworked crews dragged as many souls as they could out of hell. For every one they saved, ten thousand more froze, starved, and drowned. You would have us turn over this modicum of self control to be packed into a tent city in the desert? Give our lives to the mercy of the men who could not care less for us?""It's got to beat dying at sea," you counter.Renton chuckles. "Maybe. Maybe you have a point there, Ethan. But I think I would rather take my chances on my own than gamble on the kindness of a faceless entity.""You really don't trust the UN do you?" you say."Do you?" Renton counters."Yes. Obviously.""Hm. I think that is a difference between us. You were raised by them and I adopted them by necessity. These people I do not see as my protectors.""They're fighting the Angels. No one else can do that.""No," Renton agrees. "And I fight alongside them. They have my service. But they have not yet earned my trust."Before you can answer, the bartender raises their voice. "Last call ladies and gentlemen! Last call!""Shit," you check your phone for the time. It's late. Very late."I know another place," Renton says, sliding the empty glass away from himself. He looks a little flushed, tipsy. "Rougher than here, but open later as well. Are you up for more?""More?" you ask, incredulous. You're already feeling pleasantly buzzed. Renton's already pushing into "drunk" but doesn't show signs of wanting to stop.He nods. "If you're willing.">Sorry, I really need to get to bed. We have training tomorrow.>Yeah, let's go to the next place.>Write in
>>4815315>Yeah, let's go to the next place.
>>4815315>Sorry, I really need to get to bed. We have training tomorrow."Perhaps another time. I don't want to push my luck."
>>4815315>Yeah, let's go to the next place.But point out he can be called out for a sortie tomorrow, so just one more drink.
>>4815312>Sometimes we would lash the boats together and everyone would share what they have. You learn about other people that way. Other cultures, languages."Not quite the same, but that reminds me of the Yellow Fleet.>>4815315>"I'm not sure they can afford to care about people."A deeply unfortunate truth, if the alt POVs are anything to go by. "how many thousands starve so we can afford a single EVA armor plate", indeed.>>4815315>But I think I would rather take my chances on my own than gamble on the kindness of a faceless entity."A very reasonable stance to take. But Ethan is well founded in his thoughts as well. Is it weird that I'm enjoying pleasantly disagreeing with him? It's a nice change of pace to have people disagree without being at each other's throats. >Write inIIRC, his rig is either the only undamaged EVA, or is the most lightly damaged. If we have to scramble overnight or tomorrow, he really doesn't need a hangover impairing his ability to fight.Ours is in bad shape, so we'll only be called on if things go sideways, but we don't want to be training with a hangover either.
>>4815315>>Sorry, I really need to get to bed. We have training tomorrow.
>>4815315>Sorry, I really need to get to bed. We have training tomorrow.
>Yeah, let's go to the next place.>>4815336>>4815494>>4816489>>4816907>Sorry, I really need to get to bed. We have training tomorrow.>>4815349>>4815561 (Write in)>>4816634>>4816638holding a bit more for a tie breaker
>>4816956>Sorry, I really need to get to bed. We have training tomorrow.It's the responsible thing to do.
>Sorry, I really need to get to bed. We have training tomorrow.Writing
"Sorry," you say. "I'd really love to but I need to get some sleep. We've got training tomorrow.""That sounds like a problem for our future selves," Renton says."I happen to like my future self.""This explains a lot about you." Renton looks disappointed, but more so he looks sad. That morose expression vanishes quickly behind a charming smile. "Never matter. It won't be the last time." He's a little unsteady on his feet as the two of you leave the bar and he looks around the quieting city. "Definitely not," you agree. "You going back?""Back?""Home," you say."Home never existed for me, my friend. I think I will keep at it. I am not quite done yet."It's clear to you that Renton has already had enough. It's also clear to you that something is compelling him, driving him to this, and he won't stop for you."Be safe, man," you say."A good night to you, Ethan," Renton says, "No driving." He wags a scolding finger at you. "Ciao.""Later."Renton tucks his hands into his pockets and starts walking, passing in and out of New Tampa's streetlights as he makes his way toward the docks. You watch him for a while before turning away and continuing on your own way back to the apartment. "What's eating him?" you mutter to yourself.You take out your phone and check your messages again. Nothing from Katya still. It's extremely late so if she is around she's probably asleep. You feel weirdly confident, like you could probably stop by her place and totally wow and amaze her with your conversational ability. But maybe you're just buzzed.You sigh and start for home. The metro is deserted at this time of night and you get back without incident. Your bed is invitingly cozy and you flop onto it face first. You don't even undress.
You are Fox Renton and your night has become a blur. The hours fade together and all your drinking didn't help with that. You'd enjoyed your time with Ethan. You really can't stand to be alone on nights like this. Nights where Isabella is on your mind. With each passing day and each passing year it gets harder and harder to recall her face. She's as permanent as a ghost now, the idea of a person who haunts your mind. Her voice is all but lost to you.Your feet hurt from walking through the night, but they carry you on. Through the warehouses of the wharf district, past the heavy industrial machinery for loading and unloading cargo ships, into the seediest parts of the city. You shove your hands into your pockets, fingers wrapping around the cool handle of a knife.You don't want to use it. But you will if you have to.You come to stop in front of a windowless building on a street corner. Hazy red light spills from neon lights around the doorway. The scent of cheap perfume and sweat radiates out into the stale night air. This is one you haven't checked yet. You swallow back nausea and push open the door.The gaudy entry hall of the brothel is lit in neons of pink and red, like a gateway to hell. Lewd art lines the walls but you don't look at it. "Hello, sir." A woman seems to materialize beside you, startling you. "Lonely tonight?" she purrs.You swallow dryly. "I am looking for Isabella."The plastic smile on her face doesn't falter. "Isabella? I can be Isabella if you want."The knife finds its way to your hand and you snap it open with a flick of the wrist. Her eyes go to the blade, wide with shock and fear. "I don-""Where is Isabella!?" You demand, trying to maintain your balance as you threaten her. Your head is spinning so it's hard to keep things straight.The woman yelps in surprise and backpedals away from you. “Th-there’s no Isabella here, mister!” her eyes are wide with terror, dewy with tears. You hate to see it, that horrible fear on her face only makes you think of Isabella and it only makes you angrier. You take a step forward when a strong hand snatches your wrist and twists. The pressure causes you to drop the knife with surprising ease. You're still marveling at that when you're spun around and thrown to the floor, hard. A knee digs into your back and your arm is locked behind you. All the air in your lungs is pressed out at once and you're left gasping."So sorry about that, ma'am. Are you alright?" The man pinning you says.The woman stammers something and withdraws into one of the back rooms.You manage to suck in a shaky breath. "I-Isabe-" The man pinning you presses his knee harder into you and your breath wooshes out in a coughing fit."There's no goddam Isabella here, man."You recognize the man's voice now. It's the last person you want to see right now.
"M-max?" you gasp."Yeah," he says, his tone a hair away from rage. "Come on, get up."You're pulled to your feet so quickly that everything seems to spin and your stomach lurches. You can't quite find your footing but Max moves you anyway, half-dragging you out of the brothel. The second you're out, he lets go and you stumble, falling to the cold pavement outside.Max tosses your knife into a nearby garbage can with hardly a glance.You try to sit up, but you're so dizzy you can only manage to half-prop yourself on a wall.Max returns to kneel down beside you. "Beating up working girls make you feel like a real man?" he asks."I . . ." He doesn't understand at all. "I was looking-""For Isabella,." Max finishes. "Right. I got that. Well all you managed to do was fuck up some poor girl’s night even worse than it probably already was.” Max bites off the words, his eyes are alive with fury. What you see frightens you and shames you. You look away.Max watches the traffic on the road a moment, taking steadying breaths. "You're fucking drunk, man," he says at last. "You're wandering around the bad part of town pulling knives on people."You say nothing."Do you want me to send you to fucking psych eval? Do you want this to have to go on your record or something!?"You tap into your own reservoir of anger, the one that started collecting the day Isabella was taken away. "I don't give a fuck what you do," you say, the words more slurred than you want them to be. Your wrist and knees hurt from where Max threw you. You grab onto a nearby sign pole and start pulling yourself to your feet."Cool, well you can kiss the Eva goodbye then," Max says. "They don't let loose cannons pilot fancy toys."The world is spinning too much for you to get to your feet and so you give up, sprawling on the sidewalk.“I can tell Holiday that you’ve had it, you’re spent. She’ll pack your ass up and throw you out on the street. You can climb back on that rust bucket navy with your family. Is that what you fuckin want?” Max asks.“You need me,” you say, the words less certain than you want them to be.“Need? Ha! We’ve got Skobeleva and Chandler. They’re one for one each. You’re the cherry on the team now. No. We don’t need you. You don’t think the boss can’t just pull a new name out of a hat and have a different kid here on a plane tomorrow?”Bitter reality hits you like a slap in the face."So," Max says, licking dry lips. "Are we going to get past this then?”Get past it. He means to give up on Isabella. To let her vanish into whatever horrible hellhole she was taken. To pretend like she was never alive. To pretend she isn't desperately looking for someone to help her right now. >Yes. As if I have a choice.>You don't understand. Isabella could be here.>You're not my fucking friend, so don't act like it. You're Nerv. You're my handler.>Write in
>>4817122Oh geez, he's really messed up, huh?I know he's drunk, but Max has a point: what was he hoping to accomplish by pulling a knife on a random whore like that?What he really needs to do is get NERV to work for him. Try and leverage his position to try and get NERV to keep an eye out for her. I know being a pilot doesn't afford much in the way of clout, but it does afford him access to people that could make it happen.Of course, That's a rather complex conclusion to come to while sprawled out drunk on the sidewalk.>You don't understand. Isabella could be here.It would be healthier for him to let her go. But I can't see him doing that, especially in his condition.
>>4817122>You're not my fucking friend, so don't act like it. You're Nerv. You're my handler.
>>4817122>Write inPuke and pass out. Put the response off until tomorrow. Oh, NERV will sure need Renton when the next Angel attacks at dawn.
>>4817122>>You're not my fucking friend, so don't act like it. You're Nerv. You're my handler.anything else from this dude, with emotions running high just feels wrong. he doesnt do restraint as far as we can see
>>4817122>You're not my fucking friend, so don't act like it. You're Nerv. You're my handler.>Write in"Fuck you. If you've ever looked at your pilot roster, you'd figure out they're all fucked up. Some more than me. Otherwise you'd have tens of yessir cadets licking your dying ass already. You want to feed us this hero slash martyr bullshit. Makes me sick."It's meta in the sense that we haven't established explicitly that Renton knows about Max's condition, but maybe he would've noticed him being pale and in pain more recently.
No post today guys, I have to do some IRL work that's in the way. I'll pick it up tomorrow.
>You're not my fucking friend, so don't act like it. You're Nerv. You're my handler.Writing
You spit in the street. "Fuck you."Max sighs, which only makes you angrier. "You're not my fucking friend, so don't act like it. You're Nerv." You snarl the word. "You're my fucking handler. "Hey, maybe I'm the asshole here, but I always thought I could be both," Max retorts.You feel strong enough to pull yourself back to your feet. You lean on the signpole a moment before your dizziness passes and you can stand on your own."Fuck you," you say again. "Open your eyes. If you've ever looked at our pilot roster then you should know we're all fucked up." You smile humorlessly, "Some even more than me I think. If Nerv gave a shit then they would have ten 'yessir' cadets licking your sick ass. You want to feed us this hero slash martyr bullshit. Makes me sick."Max's frown turns to fury, his eyes flashing with anger. "You're a real piece of work, Renton," he says, pausing to cough. "A real piece of fucking work. Yeah, we all have fucking problems. I'm not an exception to that, but we've got a fucking job to do. If you can't hack it, then we'll get someone else who can."You've never seen Max like this. Of course, he's never seen you like this either. "Get back on the goddam wagon and quit testing my patience," he says. "Hate me all you want. I'm taking your drunk ass home and I don't ever want to catch you doing this shit again or it'll be your last time."You only stare back. There is nothing more to say. "Fox, whatever you're pissed about, whoever you're looking for, she ain't here," Max says.You spit again. "Renton," you say. "Don't ever call me Fox again.""Fine," Max says, exasperated. "Renton. Let's go home."Home. What home?After a tense second, you allow Max to lead you back to the waiting car. You don't resist anymore. You're too tired. Half-remembered visions of a smiling girl on the deck of an older freighter fade from your mind.
You are Ethan Chandler and you're hot and tired. The all-black BDUs and tactical gear you wear weighs heavily on you and as the Floridian sun beats down on you it reminds you just why humanity had to invent climate control before fully taming this region.You're standing in the morning sun outside of an ad hoc urban warfare course that has been erected on the outskirts of Snelson AFB. It's nothing but old tires, balsa wood, and cement blocks arranged into the facsimile of buildings. You're not here alone either.Also present and looking uncomfortable are your instructors, Mbaru, Yezhov, and Sayid. Each one of them is dressed in BDUs and wearing tactical gear, just like you. The pilots are here as well, Korine, Katya, and Renton.If you're suffering, Renton must be on the verge of death. He's sweating like a whore in church, and he winces every time the sun hits his face. You can't imagine how much later he must have stayed up. Korine also looks like she'd rather be dead. The military gear is oversized and doesn't fit her thin frame well. Her vest practically overlaps her shoulders. She keeps adjusting her grip on her rifle.Katya is unreadable. She said "Hello" to you when you'd both arrived, but has otherwise been avoiding you. She stands without complaint, her long hair tied back into a bun visible under the back of her helmet."Looks like everyone is suited up," Sayid says at last. She clears her throat. "I think you all know me, no introductions necessary. We're going to be running tactical drills and combat simulation here. This is going to be a lot more physical than some of you are used to I think, but that's part of the point. If we can get you to think tactically and develop some muscle memory, we think it will help with your in-Eva action as well."No one says anything."Right," Sayid rubs her nose. "First up we're going to do some buddy exercises. We'll teach some basic two-person maneuvers. So . . . let's all pretend to get along and pair off.">Buddy with Korine>Buddy with Renton>Buddy with Katya>Write in
>>4819690>Buddy with RentonSomeone's gotta carry his hungover arse
>>4819690>Buddy with RentonHe's fucked up after last night and he's the one we're the least comfortable with. Also I have a autistic theory on why our Evas are named what they are
>>4819744>SpoilerDo tell. I'm curious.
>>4819749Looking at the constellations their named after, Corvus is basically right on top of Hydra, which might be why Ethan and Katya hit it off so well after the initial awkwardness. Lupus is close to Hydra but much farther than Corvus, so Korine's relationship with Ethan is close and distant at the same time. Meanwhile Orion is separated by both distance and being the only constellation based on a person rather than an animal, so Renton's the odd man out, all the way down to living separate from the other three. Of course this all falls apart if this was all chosen because they sounded cool.
>>4819759I think you're a lot more on track than you think.
>>4819690>If we can get you to think tactically and develop some muscle memory, we think it will help with your in-Eva action as well."Strongly agreed. Here's hoping this works as intended.We're equally likely to work with any of the others. So then, who have we worked the least with?>Buddy with RentonIt would defeat the purpose of the exercise, but it'd be amusing to pair Ethan with Sayid for this.
>>4819690>Buddy with Renton
>>4819690>Buddy with RentonBoys vs Girls, what could go wrong?
>Buddy with Rentonwriting
You make your way to Renton. "Doing alright?" you ask.He looks sick and makes a face at you. "You are smarter than I gave you credit, Ethan. You know when to quit."You chuckle."We'll do partner exercises for thirty minutes," Sayid says. "Then all meet back up here. Mbuaru and I will coach the girls. Yezhov, you work with the boys."Your stomach drops a little at the prospect.To his credit, Yezhov doesn't seem to relish this task any more than you do. "Come." He leads you and Renton over to the shade of a faux- building. "What is wrong with you?" he asks Renton, raising an eyebrow."I feel a little sick," Renton says."You going to feel much sicker soon I think. We are going to learn CQC. Close quarters combat."He draws a knife from a sheath on his chest and smiles faintly at it, turning it over in his hands. "Maybe not quite so useful on a battlefield- much more important for Evas I think." He re-sheaths the knife. "You first," he nods at Renton.The two of them practice grapples and holds, ways to break and enemy's grip and ways to subdue."In a fight- person to person, the key is not to be stronger or bigger, key is to be more quick." He ducks down, scooping Renton with a low tackle, and throws him onto his back in a flash.
You hear the air knocked out of Renton's lungs. He rolls onto his side and heaves in a breath while Yezhov stares down at him. "In battle, you kill when the enemy is weak. There is no time for a fight. You do not give him a chance." He offers a hand to Renton and hauls him to his feet. Renton's legs look a little shaky and a moment later he turns and dry heaves in the corner.Yezhov makes a face. "Too much fun last night maybe?" he suggests sadistically."Renton?" you ask."F-fine," Renton stammers. "I need to sit down."You give him your canteen and he takes a swig before splashing water on his face."Fine." Yezhov takes off his heavy ballistic vest and tosses it away. His arms are bare you you see the edges of a series of tattoos poking from beneath his uniform. You make our a star and what looks like a wing, maybe an eagle. "Chandler," Yezhov turns to you. "You saw what I did?""Yeah."He grins. "Then you do it to me."You relish the chance to knock Yezhov on his ass. You're close to the same size and you've got the vigor of youth on your side. You imitate what Yezhov did, striking without warning. You rush Yezhov, bow your head and try to tackle him.Stars explode in your vision as Yezhov drives a knee into your face. Pain shoots through your back as he drops an elbow into your spine. You go down in a heap beside him."Too slow," Yezhov says. "You move like a cow. You have to be quick, yes? An enemy not be as forgiving as me."You get back to your feet hastily, shame and anger burning your face.Yezhov only grins back at you."You didn't say you were going to hit me," you snarl."No? I did not say I wasn't either. You want to hurt me? Then take your chance."You rub your nose a moment, but your hand comes away dry, no blood. You square up to Yezhov, placing your feet carefully and trying to watch all of him at once. He moves with an uneasy litheness, like a liquid. His feet dance as you and he circle one another in a fighter's stance.Renton sits on the floor nearby, watching. Yezhov moves like he's done this before and you're assuming he has. You're not sure he can do the maneuver he showed you faster than he can counter it, but you're pretty confident you could put him on his ass another way if you wanted to.>Try to tackle Yezhov again>Try to kick out his legs>Just punch him in the face>Write in
>>4820725He's a dick, he he knows his business in this field and I'm pretty sure he's trying to wind us up intentionally to make us take this more seriously.>Try to tackle Yezhov againI don't expect us to be able to hit him yet, but many Angels don't have legs to kick, so learning to tackle properly will be more useful.
>>4820725>>Try to kick out his legsI'm laughing for real right now.9999999999999999
>>4820744>He's a dick, *but he knows his businesshe deserves to be punched in the face repeatedly, but he's being useful at the moment, so might as well make the most of it.
>>4820725>Try to kick out his legs in the words of a wise man "sweep the leg"
>>4820725>Try to kick out his legsGo low!
>>4820725>Try to kick out his legs
>>4820725>Try to tackle Yezhov again
>>4820725>Just punch him in the faceSucker punch time. Against a trained fighter like Yezhov I'm betting none of these moves will be very successful... but if any of them work, a quick jab will be most effective. Probably.
>Try to tackle Yezhov again>>4820744>>4822160>Try to kick out his legs>>4820745>>4820790>>4820838>>4820983>Face pawnch>>4822269>Sweep the legWriting
You circle Yezhov, not letting him get into your head. His cocky smile and relaxed posture is a sham. The aching in your back is all the reminder you need that he's really coiled like a snake, ready to strike.Renton is transfixed, watching as you two circle one another around and around on the bare cement floor."Come on, Chandler. Come on," Yezhov encourages. "What are you waiting for?"You lunge in. Springing from a well-placed foot you duck your head like you intend to tackle him again. It's exactly what Yezhov is anticipating, he moves to counter, drawing his left leg back for a knee strike. He's off balance now.You drop to the floor and sweep kick with your legs. Your shin strikes his ankle and Yezhov loses balance, dropping to the ground. You act on instinct, not giving him a second to recover. You leap on top of him, straddling his chest and seize a fistful of his uniform in a firm grip. Your fist is drawn back, ready to punch him in the face.Yezhov looks surprised, then angry. Then, shocking you, he laughs. "Good," he says. "A fighter after all I think."You release him and get back to your feet, hesitating a moment before you offer him a hand.Yezhov takes it and pulls himself to his feet. His grip is firm and strong. "Not what I wanted to show you," he says, "But you have right spirit." He looks between you and Renton. "But enough fun. Let us try to learn something today."Yezhov puts you and Renton through the paces. Drilling moves into you. Ways to put and opponent off balance, ways to disarm him, ways to get in close and drive a knife into his vulnerable parts.You and Renton take turns mock stabbing one another to learn the moves. You're not sure exactly how valuable it will be in a fight against the Angels, but you kind of like knowing what sort of tricks Yezhov has up his sleeve.
After you put him on his ass, he seems much more easy going. Grinning, laughing- even his mockery of Renton's hangover somehow seems more jovial, less bitter."It is not enough," Yezhov says at last. "In my time in army, we would beat sad boys like you into shape. There is no time for this though. Nerv is too soft for such things now." He shakes his head sadly. "I think Sayid wants rifle range time. Go."You and Renton don't have to be told twice. You leave the shade of the small building and re-enter the blistering sunlight.Renton groans and shields his eyes, muttering what you assume are curses in Spanish."Feeling any better?" you ask."No," Renton says. "Getting thrown around by that thug is not a great hangover cure. Army. Why am I not surprised?""It makes sense," you say. "A lot of Nerv has military backgrounds."Renton seems unimpressed. "That explains a lot about Nerv, don't you think?"You just shake your head."Ethan." Renton stops. "Thank you for coming with me last night. Your company was appreciated.""Don't worry about it," you say. "I had a good time. Next time don't wait so long before we hang out, alright? You should come by and hang out with me and the girls. We watch movies and shit. It's a good time.""I might do that," Renton says, wincing. "When I am feeling better."
You reach the rifle range to find Katya and Korine are already here with their trainers. They are each sited in a firing lane, putting rounds down range like clockwork. They're too busy with their work to notice your arrival."Reporting as ordered," you tell Sayid with half-seriousness.She looks so different out of civilian clothes. They all do of course, but where Yezhov seems relaxed almost, she looks tense, uncomfortable. "Looks like Yezhov left you in one piece," she says."So far," Renton replies."Great. Well I know both of you already know how to shoot. A lot of this is just a refresher. We're doing to do a little room clearing exercise after lunch, but why don't you two take some time to brush up."The range exclusively has standard issue infantry rifles here. No heavy weapons and nothing exotic. Korine is plinking away at targets with an expression on her face that can only be called 'tortured'. You have no doubt that all this military stuff doesn't sit well with her. She's playing along for now though.Katya seems more involved. She's taking this seriously, acting like a marksman. You watch her snug her cheek to the side of her weapon, bracing the gun on a knee. She inhales slowly. She exhales and puts a round through the target, center mass.You know she has a background as a hunter, but you've not gotten to see her at work.Renton bypasses all the guns and goes to the far end of the line of shooter stations to sit in the shade, cradling his head. Yet again, you're really glad you didn't let him drag you on whatever fool's crusade he went on last night.>Check in with Korine, see how she's doing>Challenge Katya to some target practice>Sit with Renton in the shade >write in
>>4822534>Challenge Katya to some target practice
>>4822534>Check in with Korine, see how she's doing
>>4822534>Check in with Korine, see how she's doingGoing in order of our friendship levels I guess
>>4822534>>Challenge Katya to some target practiceMaybe one day we'll be the one deployed with the sniper rifle. And this seems like a decent way to break the ice with her, seeing as we haven't talked since the last fight.Is there a shotgun equivalent for EVA weapons? Ideally with slug rounds, or those tri-ball rounds? I feel like that would fine Ethan's style.
>>4822534>Check in with Korine, see how she's doingThen>Challenge Katya to some target practice
>Challenge Katya to some target practice>>4822827>>4823169>>4823392>>4823630>Check in with Korine, see how she's doing>>4822846>>4823064>>4823075>>4823630Writing>>4823169>shotgun equivalent for EVA weaponsNot really. Ballistic weapons are mostly centered on delivering high volumes of fire or incredibly powerful shells in an attempt to breach AT fields. But weapons development is continuing all the time
You approach Korine during a lull in her shooting as she pauses to reload her rifle. The empty magazine comes out with a metallic rasp and she locks in a fresh one."Having fun?" you ask.Korine gives you a look and rolls her eyes. "Barrels of it," she says. "Reminds me of all the BS Nerv put me through when I was younger.""What's the matter, you don't find this intellectually stimulating?"Korine snorts. "It's fucking hot out here and this outfit is uncomfy as shit. This stupid helmet doesn't even fit right." She struggles to adjust it. "But black's your color.""Ha ha ha," Korine says. "So funny. Ow my sides.""Sounds like we're going to break for lunch here in a bit. We're almost done.""I guess," she says. "Eva shit is better than this. At least I don't get all sweaty.""No argument there.""Don't bullshit me," she says with a cocky grin. "You like all this army shit. I can tell.""It's okay.""Nah," she says, "The structure, the order, the outdoors shit, the manly-man running, jumping, climbing, shooting. This is so you.""Am I that transparent?"Korine nods. "You and Katya both get off on this. God, it's disgusting." You laugh. "I like some parts of it.""More than you want to admit," she says accusingly."Maybe. Makes me think about . . . happier times I guess.""Ethan, Korine," Sayid calls. "Let's get some shooting done."Korine rolls her eyes. "She's such a dork when she's in Nerv mode." "Right."Korine returns to target practice and you continue further down the line until you find Katya. Taking a spot beside her, you check your weapon over quickly and start readying yourself. Katya fires and the metal target down range rings like a bell."Nice shot," you say, startling her."Thank you." She doesn't meet your eyes but fidgets with her weapon a moment before sighting it again."You ever wonder who the best shot among the pilots is?" you ask.Katya doesn't answer. Her weapon barks and the target rings again. "No," she says at last.You whistle. "Is that a boast, Skobeleva?" you ask.She looks up at you, lips turned into a faint smile. "Only truth," she says. "I know the best shot here."You rack the bolt on your rifle. "Care to prove it?""Yes. I do it."You assume a firing position beside her and take aim.***Roll 1d6. I need 3 rolls total.
Rolled 1 (1d6)>>4824934this gonna be good
>>4824941I forgot that dice randomly don’t work on mobile
Rolled 4 (1d6)>>4824934Please no jobbing
Rolled 1 (1d6)>>4824934
>>4825036Don’t worry, we did. At least we are decent at melee.
>>4824940>>4825042Hangover does Ethan no favors.
>>4824940>>4825036>>4825042Ethan, the sharpshooter.There's a reason why he prefers melee.
You don't take it as a good sign that your first shot at the target misses. A plume of dirt kicks up from the berm behind the target. You swear and adjust your aim. Your second shot rings true. A few more rounds and you maintain this hit or miss pattern. These targets are harder to hit than they look.For you.Katya puts ten rounds on the metal plate in a row. Ten shots, like clockwork. Fire. Breathe. Fire. Breathe. Each one rings the plate, not a single miss.Smoke wafts from the barrel of her rifle."Shit," you say.She looks at you. "I say I don't wonder who is best." You see that hint of a smile on her lips again."Maybe you'll have better luck if you run over and stab them, Ethan," Korine calls.You wave her off. "Hey, I know my limitations."The moment of levity between you and Katya passes as quickly as it came. She strips the empty magazine out, clears the breach of her rifle and lays it down on the table.You feel that strange tension return. "I'm glad you're on our side, Katya," you say.She spares you a quick look but doesn't say anything else."Alright, nice work everyone!" Sayid says, raising her voice to reach all the pilots. "We're going to take a lunch and unwind a bit before we run the course. Dry runs first, and then we'll do live opposition."On signal, you leave the shooting range behind and go together to a covered shelter nearby. There is a large picnic table here where a few base personnel are laying out some meals. Sandwiches, chips, fruit. Each one is wrapped in plastic labeled with the Nerv logo. You and the other pilots all sit together instinctively while the instructors do the same further away.You end up across from Katya though she doesn't look at you. You want to ask her what's wrong, but you also don't want to embarrass her in front of everyone."Ethan knocked Yezhov down," Renton says."What?" Korine blurts.Even Katya looks up, startled."I-" you stammer. "I mean, yeah I did.""Whoa! What did he do?" Korine asks."It was just training," you say. "He said I did a good job.""Lucky," Korine moans. "We just trained against one another.""No chance to exact your repressed anger on your guardian?" Renton asks."Not in the slightest," Korine says.Before you eat, you unbuckle your ballistic vest and helmet, like the others, and pile them on the table. The lifted weight feels nice, as does the added airflow. Your forehead is damp with sweat, your neck and shoulders sore from the unaccustomed load."Fuuuck," Korine sighs as she dumps the heavy gear off. "Fuck this shit. Fuck it. What is even the point? We don't wear this shit in the entry plug?"
"It's a form of hazing," Renton says. "I think they want to make us suffer.""It's just safety," you say. "Or SOP. They're having us run this stuff like any soldiers would.""Only we are not soldiers," Renton replies."I beg to differ. We fight for our government, we take orders. We're soldiers. Or warriors," you recall what Mbaru told you when you first met him."Warrior?" Korine raises an eyebrow as if you just declared yourself King of Florida."Something Mbaru told me. He said I was a warrior, not a soldier. A soldier takes orders and a warrior fights on his own.""Warrior suits me fine," Renton says, making a face at his food and sliding it away from himself."It's all just a bunch of dick beating bravado," Korine says. "I don't give a fuck what they call it. What about you Katya?" Korine asks.The question startles Katya. "Me? About?""About playing soldier. You like getting your hands dirty or what?"Katya thinks. "Is . . . very hot. But not so bad I think."Korine snorts. "Yeah, you would.""How are you feeling, Renton?" you ask."Nauseous. But at least my fucking headache is gone. I think I got all my puking done last night." He glances at the female pilots."Gross," Korine says. "Up to no good?""Not even a little good," Renton agrees. "Consider it pure evil.""Nice," Korine replies. "Yeah, that sounds like you I guess. Looks like you're paying the price.""Ethan had tried to warn me," Renton says. "He had tried to save my immortal soul from damnation. A valiant effort to keep a sinner like me from ruination."You roll your eyes."Alas," Renton says. "The wicked cannot be saved.""Next time you guys go out drinking," Korine says, "Take me with you, huh?""You go to bed too early," you reply. "I'll make an exception if it means going out. What about you Katya? You ever get out of your castle back in Russia?""I go out sometimes," Katya says. "Go clubbing with friends.""Clubbing?" Korine asks, bewildered."Yes. Ah, you know. Dancing, drinking.""I know what clubbing means," Korine says, "But I can't imagine you doing it.""Is easier with friends," she says."Yeah, I'm with Korine," you say. "I have a very hard time imagining that.""So you all see when we go," Katya says, looking uncomfortable."Oh no, did we all just make plans?" Renton says. "Look at us. You might even think we're a team."You have some time before your lunch break ends and you run the course with the others. Is there anything else you want to say or do?>Yes (write in)>No, proceed to running the course
>>4826328>"Fuck this shit. Fuck it. What is even the point? We don't wear this shit in the entry plug?"1: it's an easy way to make this exercise more effective; if we can do whatever in this gear, we can do it easier without it. 2: safety. a damaged pilot can't pilot outside of emergencies. 3: a shared annoyance will give us something bond over.>Is there anything else you want to say or do?wish Linda could have been here with the rest of the pilots hanging out, in the flesh.Nothing in particular, no. But it's nice to have all 4 of us together and relaxed.>No, proceed to running the course
>>4826328Suggesting as a pure hypothetical, but how about confessing to at least one of the friends that Ethan sees Linda. Renton's mistrust for NERV could be useful here.
>>4826328>No, proceed to running the course
>>4826328>>No, proceed to running the courselets not ruin the moment
>>4826328>No, proceed to running the courseJust appreciate the rare calm
Sorry for the delay guys!>No, proceed to running the courseWriting
As you eat, and talk, and laugh with the other pilots - your friends - you're hit with the sudden realization that if things had been different, Linda might be here. It's a sobering realization, one that dampens your mood. You would give anything - anything to get her back."Ethan?""Hm?" you look up from your thoughts."You alright?" Korine asks."Just tired."The end of lunch doesn't come soon enough for you. The dark thoughts that surface in your mind are borne from inactivity. Laxity. You welcome the vigor and rush of combat exercises, it purges your mind of unwanted thoughts, or any thoughts at all really.The drill is complex, but not impossible. It's simply the application of the lessons you've been taught so far. The four pilots - including you - are formed into a tactical team which breaches and clears a fake building. Each of you has a role to play. Renton spearheads the assault with a heavy ballistic shield, Katya and you follow behind, each covering a flank. Korine brings up the rear and breaches doors.Well, she's supposed to breach doors. In practice you rapidly discover that she's simply too light to get enough force on the doors to get them open quickly. It might be funny if she wasn't so visibly annoyed by this. Of course, that might just make it funnier.The mission itself is simple: hostage rescue. There are targets inside, some hostile, some friendly. Snap decisions and quick identification are essential for this. You don't use live ammunition for safety sake, rather you're all equipped with simulation weapons. Gas blowback systems simulate recoil and infrared laser systems track hits.You're a little surprised to discover that the team works well together. Renton leads with sure steps, carrying the heavy shield ahead of everyone and ensuring he covers the right angles. Katya snaps off targets with blistering speed and precision. Korine may not be good at breaching, but she takes her role as the rear guard seriously, double checking any angles or rooms that may have been missed.
You run the course as a team three times, getting faster and better each time.After your third attempt, you take five minutes to rest and re-hydrate before you're re-assembled.Sayid looks over the group. "I've got to say, I'm impressed with your performance. The four of you really picked up on this quickly.""We've been blessed with good teachers," Renton says with his best shit-eating grin."I won't argue with you there," Sayid says. "There is one more exercise I want to run, a modification on this. While you've been doing this course, me and the other instructors have set up another building to clear. This time, there will be live targets. Us. We'll be playing the role of the hostage takers. Your gear has built in infrared receptors, so we can track hits. It will be up to you all to work together and take us down." She pauses a moment. "Use what you've learned and show us what you can do."You're taken to the training building and Sayid disappears inside. It's large, two stories, and foreboding. Three armed and trained killers are waiting inside, and you're expected to defeat them somehow as a group."I just want to say," Renton says, "that it was an honor to serve alongside such fine men and women."Korine rolls her eyes."Three on four," Katya says. "And we have shield.""But they have surprise," you say."Any ideas?" Korine asks. Everyone seems to be looking to you.There is a single door to breach in through, and the lower windows are all blocked. However, there is an upper floor window. You can't reach it yourself, but you should be able to boost Korine up and inside. She's small enough that she could get in even with all her gear. Having a rogue shooter on the upper floor would give you an element of surprise.You could also breach in through the front door and split up. With Renton and Korine as one unit, they could draw the attention of the instructors while you and Katya move fast and light as a sort of flanking element. It would be risky if you're caught without the safety of the shield, but it might give you an edge to be more flexible.There's always the option of sticking together as a team like you've been practicing. It's what the instructors will expect, but it's also what you're familiar with. You won't be maneuverable or flexible, but with enough firepower you should be able to overcome that.>Boost Korine up to the upper window and then breach with the rest of the team>Breach with the team and split up to clear the building>Breach together and stay together>Write in
>>4830651>Well, she's supposed to breach doors. In practice you rapidly discover that she's simply too light to get enough force on the doors to get them open quickly. It might be funny if she wasn't so visibly annoyed by this. Of course, that might just make it funnier.pfft.>>4830654Running solo is a great way to get defeated in detail. But clearing faster gives us the change to get them before they dome the hostages.>Write in>Breach with team, split into pairs to clear the buildingWe can debate pair compositions, but I'm thinking Renton (shield) and Katya (sniper); Ethan (general/close-in) and Korine (general).Renton gives Katya time to line up her shots, and Korine can watch Ethan's back as he get in close.
>>4830654I'll +1 to the split into pairs after breaching together.>>4830845And I've got the mental image of a small girl failing to kick down the door, thank you
>>4830858>And I've got the mental image of a small girl failing to kick down the door, thank youIt's great, isn't it?After the second time or so, Ethan probably should have taken over that role though.Next time we go around town with her, we need to suggest she pick some leg weights or weighted boots or something heavy and stompy, for her own good, of course.
>>4830654>>4830845this is good, supporting
>>4830845Supporting>>4830876Either that or we begin the Eva team exercise program to get everyone in top shape
You organize the team into pairs. Katya and Renton will lead in, you and Korine will act as a flanking force. It's a simple plan, but one that takes advantage of the team's strengths as you've seen them.Armed with this decision, you all stack up outside the front door. Korine eyes it warily."Want me to do this one?" you offer.She gives you a hard look. "Fuck you." Korine takes a running start at the door, jumps, and drives both feet against it.The lock splinters and the door swings open. There's no time to congratulate Korine, the four of you hurry inside, Renton leading. You keep your weapon at the ready, following shoulder to shoulder with Katya. Your heart races and you feel your senses on a hair trigger. The entry way is empty. It would be too easy for the instructors to be waiting for you here. Time to execute the plan. You pat Katya between her shoulder blades. She likewise pats Renton and the two of them continue on, while you and Korine take a separate path, moving through a side room."Nice work with the door," you whisper."Teach you to doubt me," she says indignantly. You smile to yourself but put your mind on the mission. Simulated gunfire makes you jump. There is a flurry of rapid fire silenced with a metronomic bang of a rifle. That has to be Katya's precise fire."Out!" The voice is Yezhov's. Sounds like they got him.That small gun battle will likely draw the attention of Sayid and Mbaru. The perfect chance to move in.Korine pats your back, signaling her readiness to clear the next room. You steel your nerves and press in, sweeping with your weapon.You barely register the presence of someone else in the room before you start firing.Sayid jumps in surprise as you take her out from behind. Three shots to the back She looks back at you, startled at first, but then with a sheepish grin. "Out."Korine pats you again and you move. One left. Mbaru.Your helmet muffles sound and makes it difficult to triangulate noises. Each footfall seems impossibly loud in your ears. Your hands are sweating, making you grateful for your gloves. Clearing the doorway, you move into another room. Bare plywood walls surround you. Empty. The next room is also empty, but this one has the stairs leading to the upper part of the house.No sign of Katya or Renton yet, sounds like they might be clearing other rooms. This place is larger than it looked on the outside. You don't want to wait, you want to end this. You start up the steps and Korine follows.You're halfway up when Mbaru emerges, rounding the corner and leveling a weapon at you. You hesitate for a single moment, frozen in surprise before you both open fire. It lasts for only a second before you hear your infrared rig buzz. You're dead.But so is Mbaru.He lowers his weapon and you do the same. Mbaru smiles at you. "Good work."
You are Agent Aaliyah Sayid and you're glad to be finally out of that uniform. As if the stiff roughness of the fabric wasn't enough, you also had to contend with the merciless Floridian sun beating down on you. That wasn't the real reason you'd hated it of course. It was a silly thing, but that uniform . . . it reminded you too much of the men who'd killed your brother."I guess it wasn't a total waste of time," Korine says from the passenger seat of the car you're driving. "Shooting Mbaru was pretty cool.""I didn't know that was a secret desire of yours," you say."I'll lash out at any authority figure when given the chance. Watch your back, Aaliyah."You chuckle."You should have seen the look on Ethan's face when he realized I was the one who got Mbaru. God, he was like totally shocked.""Yes, nice work.""You guys got totally steamrolled."You want to relish this moment of levity with Korine. You know the last Angel attack has put her on edge, and you're happy to see her happy, but you're completely fixated on your upcoming mission. The drive to Dolphin Plaza goes by quickly. Korine does most of the talking and let's you be alone with your thoughts."Can I show you something?" Korine asks once you're inside."What?" You're caught off guard by her question."You asked me . . . no it's weird. Never mind." Korine turns away and unlocks her door."No, what is it?" You press.Korine's lighthearted bravado is gone. She looks nervous, uncertain. "You asked me what it was like to pilot the Eva. A while ago. Maybe you don't remember.""No, I remember. What about it?""I . . . can I show you?"You have no idea what she could possibly show you but- "Sure."Korine takes you inside her apartment. You note a few empty drink cans stacked up around her keyboard. It seems like she's gotten some good use out of it lately. The sun is setting, casting rich, orange light through her living space. "Sit here." Korine points to the plush chair across from the couch in her living room. You sit.Korine stands there a moment awkwardly. "You can't laugh or anything.""I don't even know what-""Just promise not to laugh, okay? Or be weird.""I promise," you say."Okay, close your eyes."Natural suspicion prevents you from doing so. "Why?"Korine looks exasperated. "You want to know what piloting the Eva is like?""Sure.""Then close your eyes!"
You close your eyes and now you're alone with your thoughts. It would be relaxing if you weren't tense. It wasn't as if Korine was completely on the level all the time. But, maybe that was just more reason to indulge her. Seconds tick by. The only sound is the soft woosh of the air conditioning."It's safe here. You aren't alone here." The words are calm, but their proximity is startling. Korine whispers these things into your ear, her breath tickling you. You resist the urge to jump up in surprise or flinch away, you're undeniably curious about what she has to say."You are a mountain," Korine says. "You are a god. You are one hundred miles high." She takes a breath and now speaks in your other ear. "All your enemies, all your fears, all your inadequacies are nothing here. You can never be stopped." She pauses again, taking a soft breath. "You are invincible. Your enemies will all turn silent and bow down. They are nothing to you."She stops.Your eyes remain diligently closed.Korine speaks again. "Who can stand against a god?"You feel her move away from you and hear her sit on the couch. You open your eyes. Korine is looking out the window. "That's what it's like," she says.You're at a loss. You've never before been subjected to . . . performance art as a means of explanation. Whether or not you "get it" you feel a powerful connection between Korine and those words - that sensation of strength and vulnerability. "That must be very empowering," you say. "It sounds like you like it.""I do.""But I thought you hated it."She looks at you. Despite all her airs of apathy and her sometimes prickly demeanor, she's still just a child. Afraid, alone. A girl carrying the burden of the world on her shoulders like Atlas. "I do. I mean . . . there's nothing else like it but . . . it's just a lot."
You're still really not sure what to say or do, but you try your best. "Thank you. I think I understand a bit better."Korine shrugs."I'd really love to stay and hear you play something," you say, indicating the piano, "But I've got to run. Meetings.""Don't sweat it. See you tomorrow Aaliyah."You say goodbye and see yourself out. Closing the door behind you, you take a personal moment. A moment for guilt. The truth is that Korine is counting on you. She's someone desperately in need of genuine and strong human connections. Unfortunately for her, she's not your primary purpose here. Your heart goes out to her but ultimately you're beholden to something more important. You don't generally let your personal feelings get in the way of your mission, but . . .You bury these thoughts and start for your room. As you walk the hall you lay out the challenges ahead of you. In order to access Nerv's lowest levels, you're going to have to bypass whatever security systems they might have in place. This was going to be a very short assignment if you encounter a security door you can't bypass or get captured on video. The best way to ensure that doesn't happen is to take out Nerv's power. It's not a great solution, hardly elegant, but it's the best way to ensure you don't hit any insurmountable complications. Simply tripping a breaker isn't going to be enough either. With Nerv's backup systems and redundancies it is going to take a coordinated act of sabotage to shut down Nerv 03 for the few minutes it will take you to plumb the depths.You've spent nights studying what blueprints and circuit maps you have on file for New Tampa and you have come up with two plans.The first involves the cooperation of the UN outside the city. A computer virus planted into the Magi would theoretically be able to overwhelm the computer network and take out all internal security. Nerv 03 has system backups and other safeguards in place that it would not permanently cripple the facility, but it would buy you time. It would be simple enough to deploy, but it would also be a clear indicator of outside interference. There would be no disguising that.The second plan won't be quite so obvious from the outside, but will require more legwork on your part. You've determined that there are a number of substations around the city that can be sabotaged to deliver a surge of feedback into the power grid at the right moment. It would be enough to knock all but Nerv's emergency functions offline. You would have to physically travel to and sabotage a few power relays, but if you do it right, it will appear to be a fluke accident rather than a clear attack.>Collect a virus from the UN>Plan to sabotage the power grid>Write in
>>4833732>Plan to sabotage the power gridI'd rather not fuck with the magi
>>4833732>Your heart goes out to her but ultimately you're beholden to something more important.That's debatable. If you damage a pilot psychologically, you risk losing a city due to degraded or missing EVA actions. Do you really want that blood on your hands?>The best way to ensure that doesn't happen is to take out Nerv's power.So you're willing to take down the city's detection and defenses for multiple minutes, while you play your spy games? The defenses of the region are coordinated here.>Collect a virus from the UNIf we're causing widespread chaos, might as well go all the way.
>>4833732>Collect a virus from the UNEven if we shut down the power grid, they WILL know and act as if it was an attack. Best to go for max chaos.
>>4833732>Plan to sabotage the power grid
>>4833732>Collect a virus from the UNWe know their power systems are super high redundancy. But what about the computer networks?
>>4834637>But what about the computer networks?The Magi are themselves redundant, three super computers, but otherwise they are collectively a point of failure. By necessity they control so much of Nerv 03 that if they are taken offline it will cripple the base until their backups can be restored.
>>4833732>Collect a virus from the UNWhat could possibly go wrong
>Collect a virus from the UNWriting
A virus is your best shot. Likely the brass at Nerv will figure any power supply sabotage is intentional anyway, you might as well take the most direct route.You unlock the door of your apartment with the swipe of a keycard and enter.That nagging guilt lingers with you. That feeling that you could be doing more for Korine. You grit your teeth, forcing the guilt out and replacing it with anger. You never asked to be put in the situation of taking care of a child. You've spent your whole life fighting for yourself, how can you be expected to bend to the whims of a kid?Unbuttoning your blouse, you enter the bathroom and turn on the shower. You'd taken one at the base after the exercise, but it had been purely utilitarian, hurried, functional. It was time to forget your worries and enjoy being.The call to the UN would be easy enough. The paranoid creeps in the information warfare department have probably creamed their pants thinking about the day they get to go against Nerv's Magi system. It'll be like Christmas for them. Fully nude, you step into the shower and let hot water wash over you. Steam fills your nostrils and you try to blank out your mind.Isn't that typical of humanity though? For all the belief you have in the United Nations and the promise of tomorrow, you know that people like Caswell are hopeless dreamers. Mankind at its most basic level are little different than chimpanzees murdering each other with their fists over territory. Maybe someday that instinct will get killed out of us. Maybe.For now it's up to people like you to ensure that the dream of a united humanity lives on through the UN. It's up to you to make sure that dream doesn't become a nightmare.***Half a world away, something stirs in the cool darkness. Sands shift overhead as a giant awakens. An alien intelligence awakens, its mind is bright and hungry.***"This stop: Crystal Palms. Crystal Palms," the synthetic voice of the metro car purrs the words through hidden speakers in the ceiling of the car. "Next stop: Clearview. Waterfront dining."You are Katya Skobeleva and you feel terrible.The metro car accelerates slowly out of the station but you hardly notice. Your eyes are glued to your phone and the text of a message you'd been sent the other day.Ethan: Hey, where are you? Everything okay?The keyboard on your screen is up and waiting. The message box is empty, ready to be filled. But your fingers don't move.Poor little Katya. More like her hotheaded sister than even she will admit. Your father's unwelcome voice penetrates through the silence of the train car. It's late, late enough that you really shouldn't be riding the city metro in circles, but it's all you can think to do. Sitting in your room alone will drive you crazy, and you can't imagine facing Ethan. It was hard enough during the exercise today.
Were you trying to get yourself killed or something? I'm not always going to be around to cover for mistakes.You wince at the words. You'd nearly thrown your life away, and Ethan's with it. For what? So you could prove that you could be a pilot? Is your life really so worthless to you?This life is not yours to waste.Your older sister's words make you flinch. The accusation stings you because of the truth in it. The painful truth that hangs over your head every day. Every breath you take was stolen, every heartbeat a theft.You turn off your phone. "Enough already," you say the words in Russian, and a moment later you're glad you did."I thought that was you, Princess."Renton crosses the half-empty train car, a cocky smile on his lips. He leans against the inertia of the car as it follows its twisting underground path."Renton?" "One and only. I told myself there probably weren't many other girls in this city with an extra set of ears." He indicates your headband.You draw in on yourself reflexively, unwilling to be the center of attention, however slight. "What you doing here?""Me? I'm on my way home. I had to do some calibration tests at Nerv and it ran late. What about you? You don't live out this way.""I . . . just travel. For fun.""Fun?"You nod."I cannot say that New Tampa public transit is exactly breathtaking, but to each their own.""I ride the metro back home when I want time to think or be alone," you say."Ah. Am I intruding then?""No!" you blurt, surprising yourself. "No, is fine. I like company too." Maybe you're more desperate for someone to talk to than you realized."If it's alright with you then." Renton sits beside you and stretches his legs. "Something bothering you?""Bothering?""You look introspective. More so than usual, and I think that's saying something." His tone doesn't hold any mockery, he seems genuinely interested.>Is nothing, I am fine>I nearly get Ethan killed and now I am afraid to face him>It has been a rough week for me. Are you feeling okay after training?>Write in
>>4835691>I nearly get Ethan killed and now I am afraid to face him
>>4835691>>It has been a rough week for me. Are you feeling okay after training?I want to come clean to him, but that doesn't seem like something she would do.
>>4835691>It has been a rough week for me. Are you feeling okay after training?
>I nearly get Ethan killed and now I am afraid to face himWriting
You hesitate for a moment. You don't generally like to open up about your life but-"It's alright if you'd rather not," Renton says."No," you say. "I just . . . in last battle I nearly get Ethan killed and now . . . how can I face him?""Killed?" Renton asks.You nod and look away."I'm sure he understands that it was combat. We're not ourselves in battle."You shrug, unconvinced."Ethan is a good man," Renton says. "Forgiving. He won't hold a grudge.""You are so sure?"Renton nods. "We did not get along so well at first. I think he is intense. Passionate. But not unforgiving. Have you spoken to him?""A little," you say."Not an easy thing to talk about.""No," You agree."He understands this. We all understand this. Katya, if we do not have one another, then who will look out for us?"You don't have an answer. You've never really had others to look to for help. Anna maybe, before she left for good."Growing up, family was your neighbors," Renton says. "Family was the people you took care of, the people who took care of you. A boat was your family.""Boat?"He nods. "Salvación. The boat I grew up on. So I make family where I go. You, Ethan, Korine, you are family to me. Ethan my brother, you my sister. We look out for one another. Probably not like your old life."You stare blankly."I'm sure you had people to take care of you." There's an edge of disdain to his voice, resentment. It's unmistakable though he tries to conceal it. As a seaborne refugee, Renton was about as far from you as was possible on the social ladder."Yes," you say. It's not the whole truth, but he wouldn't understand anyway. What would the problems of a spoiled princess be to someone like him?"But now we have one another." A pause. "I don't think I'm helping you to feel much better.""Is okay," you say. "I . . . don't know what to do.""You want my advice?""Yes.""Do what you want to do. It works for me." He shrugs. "I live life with no regrets.""That sounds nice," you say."It can be. It can be."The metro begins slowing, the brakes squeaking as it nears the next stop."This is for me." He stands, bracing himself on a handrail. "Take yourself home, Katya. Forgive yourself and move forward. It's the only way we can survive."You don't have a chance to think of a response. Renton exits the train without a goodbye, leaving you alone with your thoughts. You go over Renton's words in your head a moment before you turn your phone back on and type a message.Sorry for late reply. I am fine. -KatyaYou phone buzzes just a moment later, a reply from Ethan.That's good. Don't be afraid to stop by. Now that I know how to take down Yezhov he won't be a problem anymore :PA smile spreads across your face and now you're grinning like an idiot at the screen. You cover your mouth self consciously and put your phone away. No regrets maybe isn't so bad.
You are Aaliyah Sayid. Scarcely a day has passed since your request for the virus and now you hold it in your hands. The data disk is plain, unlabeled, but somehow heavy with latent possibility. You'd picked it up from a drop point in a nearby laundromat.If the instructions you were given are to be believed, then the data on this disk is potent enough to temporarily cripple the world's most sophisticated computer system within minutes. It's a self-replicating worm, one intended to gain access to the Magi's most crucial functions before activating and delivering a deadly payload. As exciting as it is to hold, you also hate it. This is the sort of infighting that crippled the old world, the world before unification. A necessary evil you know, but not a welcome one.The disk fits easily into the coat pocket of your jacket, just beside your holstered sidearm. Once the virus takes hold it will work quickly. You were estimated a one hour window of total system outage. An eternity as far as the functioning of Nerv goes, hardly a heartbeat as far as your mission. Outside the laundromat you get back in your car and check your mirrors with a glance. You don't see any evidence that you've been followed or are being watched. Still, the absence of evidence isn't the evidence of absence. You start the car and head for Nerv. You'll need to time your attack carefully in order to maximize chaos to prevent you from being found out. The best time will be during a live Eva deployment. You would never even think of using a weapon like this during a combat deployment - it's out of the question, which really leaves you with two obvious choices.A live test of the Evas is going to be conducted soon. When the Evas are running maneuvers you can strike. The virus won't effect the Evas themselves or their power supplies, but will likely sever their communication link with Nerv. You could also wait until immediately after the next combat deployment. You don't know exactly when that will be which gives you less room for preparation, but it will also minimize the potential risks of interfering with the training. Given the pace of Angel attacks, the next one likely isn't far out. Once the Angel threat is neutralized, you can upload the virus and cripple the base safe in the knowledge that lightning likely won't strike twice in a row.>After the next Angel attack>During the live Eva training exercise>Write in
>>4837879>After the next Angel attack
>>4837879>After the next Angel attackYou KNOW this is going to go so wrong, but I want to see this trainwreck in action.And besides, if two EVAs are damaged/destroyed going into one angel, there's still 2 on standby.
>>4837879>After the next Angel attackIt's the safer option in that it'll lead to less blood on our hands if an angel attacks during the exercise
>>4837879>This is the sort of infighting that crippled the old world, the world before unification.Yep. And you're the one causing it this time.Neither of these are good ideas, but as I want to see the live exercise in action I'll have to go with post Angel. This is still likely to cause major issues in post attack cleanup.
>>4837879>>After the next Angel attack
>>4837879Anyone old enough to remember Zip Disks probably first watched Eva in the 90s.Oh dear, don't tell me the disk is going to click and fail when Sayid tries to use it. Even the Wiki image is the same.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Click_of_death
>>4838886why are you giving the QM Ideas
>>4838886>the disk is going to click>>4839157Even I am not that evil. Though that would be funny.
>>4839181>Though that would be funny.>would be funny.>funny
>>4839181>Though that would be funny.It kinda would, yea. Especially as I wouldn't mind seeing her fail.>>4839202Sayid? What are you doing here?
>After the next Angel attackWriting
"Soon," you say. "Soon."Sooner than you realize.The alert reaches Nerv 03 later that afternoon. An emergency meeting is called and the tactical staff gather."Seismic monitors detected it earlier this morning. Local geology and mineral survey teams marked it up as a low grade earthquake," Max says, addressing the assembled team. "Until it started moving."The main display in the briefing room toggles to display a map charting the path of the tremors."It's moving west, straight across the Sahara. We're lucky we caught it at all. With the climate shift that whole area is considered a dead zone," Max adds."We're sure it's an Angel?" you ask.Max shrugs. "Not much else it can be. Magi are two to one in their assessment. An Angel.""Are combat assets deployed?" Mbaru asks.."UN air wing is closing in on the area, but they're requesting Eva deployment right away," Max says.Rose nods, studying the data. "We have to assume tits an Angel for now." Rose says, "At least until we can get the air wing on site to get visual confirmation. We'll begin deployment procedures right away. It's a long trip.""Who should we send? Ethan's Eva is still undergoing repairs, but Katya's is ready for action," Max says."I want Katya here on standby. We shouldn't leave the city undefended. Renton and Korine can handle this one."Your stomach tightens at the prospect. You knew this day was coming eventually, it was Korine's purpose as a pilot after all. Still, you can't help but feel protective of her, especially since you know just how vulnerable and afraid she really is. Maybe this will do her some good . . . maybe.""How long until we have eyes on target?" Rose asks.Max consults his computer screen. "Thirty minutes.""Right. Everyone grab a coffee," Rose says. "We meet back in thirty minutes."
The blistering heat of the Sahara was a non-factor for the VTOL attack craft screaming in from the north. Even if they didn't have onboard climate control they would be too focused on their mission to worry about such trivial creature comforts.Their target lay dead ahead, it was impossible to miss. "Visual confirmation," the flight leader says. "What in the hell is that?" He flicked on his gun cameras, streaming the visual data back to Nerv in the form of a grainy video.A massive furrow cut straight across the desert sands, driving to the northwest. At the head of this blemish was something unmistakably alive, but invisible. A moving mound of earth, like a low wave, cuts through the ground. Something must lie just beneath the surface, burrowing along steadily, faster than seemed possible.The attack craft fan out and encircle the object, scanning it with radar and infrared. The hot sands shield whatever lies beneath from all of their attempts to get visual feed.This strange stalemate only continues a moment before they receive orders. Attack.Safeties disengage, weapons lock and fire. Rockets and gunfire pepper the rolling mound, tracking it as it surges along. Gouts of sand and dirt are blown skyward, obscuring whatever lies beneath. The bombardment continues for a moment without effect, then they have it."We have a positive reading!" the flight leader says. "AT Field detected. It's an Angel alright."
"The Eighth Angel," Rose says, reading the report faxed back to Nerv 03. "Designated Jophiel. It's maintaining a steady course and has declined any response to a limited conventional attack, though an AT field was detected."Max lights a cigarette as Rose and the others study the reams of data sent back."No identified offensive capability," You say, turning pages, "No identified body form. We basically know nothing.""We know it moves underground," Yezhov corrects. "Beyond that, yes. Nothing.""Depending on how it handles water we don't know what will happen when it reaches the coast," you say."We shouldn't let it get that far," Rose says."Where is it going anyway? Have we traced its course?" You ask."North West," Rose says.You have a sinking suspicion that it's a direct line straight for Nerv 03 and New Tampa. If that's the case, what force is drawing Angels from halfway around the planet straight to this city? There's no time to dwell on it. Your thoughts are taken up with plans of dealing with this Angel and then your infiltration of the lower reaches of Nerv afterward."What sort of assets are available?""Extensive UN combat forces from Europe and West Africa," Mbaru says. "Air and ground units. The UN nuclear stockpile.""Maybe we just nuke it out of existence," Yezhov suggests. "It worked in Buenos Aires, and there are no people in the Sahara.""You're forgetting fallout patterns," Rose says. "I'm not discounting the idea, but with the thing being underground it will require ground bursts to touch. That's going to churn up a lot of irradiated dust and with weather being what it is that cloud could get swept back on Europe and the Middle East, or come across the Atlantic to the US."Yezhov shrugs."What about Eva weaponry?" Rose asks."I have the latest report from Dr. Caswell's team," you say, shuffling papers to find the document in question. "Standard progressive melee weapons seem to be the most effective in combating the Angels, but we've had mixed success with the Impact rifle.""Something that big is going to take a lot of gunfire to bring down, assuming we can even get through its AT field at range. And melee combat is going to be impossible as long as it's underground. How long until it reaches major civilization?" Rose asks.
Max's cigarette dangles from his lips as he rapidly types in a query. "At current speed and heading? It reaches Marrakesh in thirty hours."Rose is silent for a bit. "Alright. Have UN ground forces begin an evacuation of the city and any other population centers in the way.""That's at least half a million people," Max says."And we only have thirty hours to get them clear. There's no telling what it will do once it reaches the city. I want to hear some plans to deal with this thing safely and efficiently.">Write in
>>4839913>>Write inHave the two Evas intercept it outside Marrakesh. Force it to surface and eliminate it before it reaches the water. Ive been thinking about a Bunker Buster, but with a nuclear payload. Drop it in front of the angels path, have it burrow under the angels path then detonate it once it passes over. Limit to 1 if we use the N2s, 3 if we use lower yield nukes, or even more if we use MOAB or FOAB level standard explosives.
>>4839911>nuclear "depth charges" Either with bunker busters or pre dug holes along it's predicted trajectory. With the added bonus of greatly reduced radiation. We force the angel to surface as far from civilization as we can, and fight it there with evas, artillery, and air support
>>4839911>"Maybe we just nuke it out of existence," Yezhov suggests. "It worked in Buenos Aires, and there are no people in the Sahara."Gotta admit, I'd really like to nuke an Angel at some point in this quest, and the middle of a desert is about as good as it gets.>write-inHow long to get EVAs into the target area? If we can, it would be better to intercept it in the deep desert instead of in the outskirts of a city.
>>4840007>Bunker busterI'm ok with this.>One figure used in determining how deeply the device should be buried is the scaled depth of burial, or -burst (SDOB) This figure is calculated as the burial depth in metres divided by the cube root of the yield in kilotons. It is estimated that, in order to ensure containment, this figure should be greater than 100.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underground_nuclear_weapons_testing#EffectsIf we could set up one or more nuclear mines in the projected path of the Angel, we could blow it to pieces without irradiating anything.If dig speed is an issue, we do have tons of conventional explosives that do next to nothing against angels, which could be used to could speed things up.>>4839913Ok, three stage prospective plan. 1) Used a delayed-fuse/bunker-buster nuke on the angel ASAP. Alternatively, have conventional arms dig as deep of a hole as can be managed on short notice a short-ish ways in front of the angel, then deliver a conventional nuke on that spot once the angel is close to it.2) Emplace at least one N1(?) mine in the projected path of the angel; the further from the city, the better.3) Get the EVAs in motion; I suspect their deployment options will be limited by travel time and power infrastructure, so a deployment location will have to be chosen once we have that info.
Is there a staff meteorologist that can predict the fallout pattern?I like the nuke idea. Also, deploy the Evas behind a reverse slope to provide a blast shield.
>>4840177>How long to get EVAs into the target area?About 15 hours. Plenty of time to intercept outside of the city limits.>>4840800>Is there a staff meteorologist that can predict the fallout pattern?Yes, but it depends on a lot of factors. A nuclear landmine in the desert as you guys are describing will pose minimal threat to population centers.
I'm going to end the thread here since we're at Page 9 and this weekend is busy for me. We'll pick up as soon as I can with the results of this vote.Thanks guys!
>>4842218Thanks for running TimeKiller
>>4842259Thanks for playing!
>>4842218We ought to come to some sort of consensus then, anons.We've got two plans, and several ideas about nuke bunker busters and nuke mines. I prefer what I proposed for obvious reasons, but I'm willing to hash it out so we can get an actual plan voted for.Thanks for running. Don't leave us in elevator hell for too long.