WHEN THE HANDS OF TIME FREEZE LIKE ICE
Misato looked up at 02 as its work grew moved around it all of the other pilots were behind her all were now dressed in casual clothes including Rei watching the large live feed. So far none of the codes had unlocked unit 02 and none of the central feeds had come back up and it wouldn't even turn back on.
They'd pulled Rei out first from 00 she had just been suffering from exhaustion and just needed food and drink but other than that she was fine and her teeth and her eyes had remained normal. 02 had been shifted to the closest bay where its shoulders had been locked with a massive brace along with its legs.
It was now well away from the others who were back in there lines behind it and whose teams were also working to clean them up and check for faults. While the specialist team was moving around 00 with holographic scanners measuring it up for a new refit since it had now taken its primal form. 02's team were also working on the unit with there special ladders so they could scale up and down it.
She watched as one of them fired a fire hose of red water straight into its open mouth trying to get rid of the huge debases all over the teeth, which in turn caused all of the dried blood to come off the neck and chest. Part of the team were working near the entry plug as they had inserting an internal camera inside but it had taken them at least ten minutes just to get down to the entry plug which had shifted going much lower than it was meant to.
Hayden's uncertain voice hit the air. "Extending external camera it's close to the entry point, please stand by." She looked up as the external camera worked its way down the entry plug it was like a thin little snake and it could twist and turn and get inside the closed entry plug through the secondary route which didn't evolve the door. The camera panned around slowly working it's way into the lid and through the tiny little area which was normally used for administering pain medication.
It turned finally makings its way inside the LCL as Hayden spoke with uncertainty. "LCL is fully filled." The camera moved slowly over to the seat coming to rest on the seats back rest which was completely empty. "I'm not seeing any pilot." The camera shifted. "No wait I'm seeing something."
The camera drifted down catching sight of an empty plug suite which was not deflated and lying partly over the bottom of the seat, along with the interface hair clips which were both scattered. "She's not here, plug suits here so are her interface clips." He paused before speaking. "Wait that's weird her pendant's not here you know the one she wears around her neck." The camera moved to one of the black screens, which was flashing with red error code. "That's fucking weird, what is that error code?"
Maya's voice came over the speaker she was in the room above them with Ritsuko. "It means the pilot's personal buffer is overloaded." Hayden spoke again his voice filled with utter confusion. "What do you mean pilots buffer?" Maya's voice came again. "It's a personal storage buffer it's for the games and the drawing program it stores game saves and drawings."
Hayden's voice came again. "That makes no fucking sense, I know Langley can draw but I've never even seen her use this units drawing program. I mean me and others were going to put in one of those digital painting pens into her unit and have it in special holder because we thought that she wasn't comfortable with drawing with her fingers like Shinji does hence why she wasn't using the program."
Maya's voice came again. "Can you extend the cameras USB and lock it into that point which is inbetween the controls it will allow me to download everything from the buffer? We might also be able to turn 02 back on as we've had no luck from outside it's just shut us out completely." Hayden's voice came again. "Yeah sure I can."
Misato watched as the USB was extended locking in to the central USB port Maya's voice hit the air filled with utter confusion. "That's strange, there are loads of drawings in here it's no wonder the buffer is overloaded it couldn't store them all, in all I'm counting fifty A3 sketches all were painted in the seconds when 02 started ascending, I'm downloading them all now."
She paused for a long moment before speaking. "We can't get into 02's systems we are being locked out still, it makes no sense the partial AI personality is working normally it should be responding to our commands but its just ignoring us." Ritsuko's voice hit the air. "The buffer aside it's the same as Yui, Kiko the pilot has been sucked into the central core just like we suspected she breached safe depths on purpose to stop her own ascension."
Rei leaned forward in her chair running her hands through her hair in frustration. "No please this isn't happening!" Shinji moved to hug her. "It's going to be okay Rei." Rei pulled herself up moving away from him. "This is not okay Shinji! You know what happened to Yui and Aunt Kiko they died!"
She moved pointing towards unit 02. "It's a seven day window that's all she's got she's basically stuck in a black void without food or water starving to death!" Mari stood up her eyes darting. "Wait that's what happens to you the British division never told me that, they told me you just fade away after seven days not that you starve to death?" Toji looked up. "Yeah that's what they said over in China as well." Rei turned eyeing them both. "Yeah they clearly gave the watered down version so you'd feel better. We were both there when our aunt and mother got sucked into the cores and a week later our father dropped us both off to live with our grandparents then we got the full version of the story which hadn't been watered down."
She felt her teeth grind together. "Straight from Ritsuko's mouth, since she was also present during the experiment." She turned looking at 02. "It's a slow painful death and no one ever comes back."
Kaji looked up slightly knowing he was crossing a line with his next words as the pilots weren't meant to know the truth about the cores. "Just because Ritsuko told you that it does not mean its true, she is not known for her honesty." Misato took in a deep breath hating that she couldn't tell Rei the truth as she hated to see her suffer this way. "Kaji's right Ritsuko never tells the truth."
Rei eyed her holding none of her anger back. "You saying this does not help me or make me feel any better! Asuka is dying in there and there's no way to extract her, I heard that they had some device but if failed with both my mother and aunt." Misato looked up as Shigeru entered the room as he spoke calmly. "I'm sorry I don't mean to interrupt you all but the press are going crazy they are desperate for any form of statement. I mean the world media saw everything that happened in Antarctica they are running it world wide and they have no idea what's going on and they also want to know if Asuka's alive."
He paused turning to Rei. "They want an official statement from you as well." Rei eyed him feeling a sneer form on her lips. "Tell them to piss off I have no interest in giving a statement right now!" Misato breathed in deeply ignoring Shigeru's shock over Rei's words. "Now is not a good time Shigeru, tell the world press we will update them tomorrow morning."
Shigeru turned slightly. "The clean up team have also brought in Bardiel's remains but they couldn't find his tongue it all got tossed around when Asuka's AT field extended, but they've gotten hold of everything else including all of 00's plating which came off when it transformed." Misato looked up. "Tell them to keep looking they need to find it we can not have that falling into Ouroboros's hand or Ankh's."
Rei turned sharply. "I'm going home." Shinji looked up wiping away the tears which were falling as he moved towards her. "Please come to my house tonight you can bring Asuka's cat up and Kaworu and I can cook for you." Rei looked at him. "No I'm going to Asuka's house and I want to be alone."
Kaworu moved forward. "Please Rei you should not be alone right now." Mari moved towards her looking down sadly. "Look you can come to my apartment and you can bring Asuka's cat there, Asuka would not want you to be alone she would really want you to be well taken care off." Rei looked at her. "No Mari I want to be alone."
Mari looked up trying to ignore her own pain and the tears which were starting to run down her eyes. "I know what your feeling right now Rei, I know it hurts and it tearing out your insides out but I feel just the same I know she's your lover but she's also my little sister and I hate that she's stuck in there." Rei looked up sharply as she stepped back. "Get away from me!"
Mari took in a deep breath letting it out slowly. "I'm going to ignore that comment because you're hurting right now." Misato moved closer to her it was shocking to see this as Rei was normally really calm but right now she was really angry and lashing out at everyone. "Rei I know Ritsuko she probably still has that device in storage we can put it on unit 02 we can try again."
Rei walked towards her not thinking as she picked up Asuka's leather jacket which was on the table along with her phone. "It doesn't matter it always failed before what difference will it make all these years on!"
Kaji breathed in deeply this was hard and he wasn't used to seeing Rei this angry none of them were it was like she having the after effects which normally came out after beast mode. "Because we have so much more research on our side this time back then the Evangelion's were very new and 00 and 01 were the first true Evangelion's they weren't prototypes like Beta and Omega. So we might succeed in getting Asuka out."
Rei looked at him for a long moment. "I'm not putting my faith in some stupid device which didn't work for my mother or my aunt!" Mari wiped away her tears. "So you're giving up on Asuka is that it even though she loves you more than life itself?" Rei turned looking at her. "No I'm not giving up on her! I just believe she'll come back on her own, not through some crappy machine which Ritsuko made, its not like anything she ever builds works, Obrax never worked this won't be any different."
Kaji folded her arms. "She did build the Evangelion's Rei." Rei turned to him speaking evenly. "No she built the partial AI personality along with Gendo its something which my mother was against, from the start, because she said it could be very problematic." She raised her hand pointing to 02. "Which is what we are seeing right now since it's locking us out and it's probably keeping Asuka there against her will just like it did for our mother and aunt!"
Misato looked at her wishing even harder that she could tell her the truth that Asuka was there right now because her mother Kyoko was keeping her there for some reason and that the only reason she could think of that would make Asuka breach safe depth was so she could see her again. "If Asuka can fight Bardiel she could easily override the partial AI personality."
Rei moved towards the door speaking coldly. "You know I hope you're right about that I really do because if your not it will be yet another machine of Ritsuko's that taken someone I love and care about away from me." Mari moved towards her along with Shinji. "Rei…" Misato took hold of Mari's arm and Shinji's stopping them from following as Rei left the room slamming the door behind her hard she turned to the both of them seeing the sadness in there faces. "Let her go, she just needs time."
Mari nodded sadly. "I know, I just feel bad for her and I wish she'd let me help her, I know Asuka would want me to help her." Shinji looked down sadly. "I feel the same." Misato looked at them both for a long moment. "You are both helping her." She paused before speaking. "Just let her go to Asuka's house and let her calm down and collect her thoughts then you and Shinji can visit."
She turned to Shinji. "She's just angry she will calm down but it will take time because she's not used to anger and I think her unit transforming may be causing this behaviour. Its like she's experiencing the after math of beast mode but not to the extreme that Asuka did after Shamshel or you did when 01 went berserk."
Shinji nodded sadly. "That is possible and it does take a long time for the adrenaline and anger to fade the first time and it can be a really rough ride emotionally." Kaworu looked down sadly. "Her anger is clouding her mind but it will fade away and all will be clear again soon enough and she will be easier to speak to." Misato looked up as Maya opened the door. "Yes." Maya turned eyeing Shigeru. "Ritsuko wants you, Kaji and Shigeru upstairs she's going to debrief all of us about what happened in the bay."
"You're telling me there are people alive in the cores and they're not dead!"
Ritsuko folded her arms eyeing Maya who looked utterly furious. "Yes..." Maya eyed her in utter disgust. "You lied to me you told me Yui and Kiko were dead but this means they've been alive all this time how dare you keep this from me! I had a right to know this."
She folded her arms in annoyance. "It doesn't explain 02 though I mean Kyoko was driven crazy she wasn't sucked in like Yui and Kiko." Ritsuko ignored Shigeru's utter shock though she didn't see any surprise from Kaji as he already knew all of this it what did surprise her though was that Misato was being surprisingly calm.
Her gut told her that she somehow already knew this clearly because Kaji had opened his trap and told her when he wasn't meant to and rumour had it that they were together now and were stealing kisses in lift shafts among other places which made it even more likely. She breathed in deeply before speaking. "No it took her soul from her the thing that was left was an empty shell grabbing feebly at Kyoko's last remaining memories and emotions."
Maya slammed her fist down hard. "So when unit 02 got up and walked up on its own when you put it in quarantine it wasn't a partial AI personality failure, that was Kyoko coming to Asuka's rescue and it was the same in the bay today!"
She raised her hand. "What about Mari, Kaworu's and Toji's new unit I mean all of their mothers were dead?" Ritsuko folded her arms. "Seele has a way to take souls from dead bodies, don't ask me how they do it because even my husband and I don't know all we know is it involves digging up a body and a special device is used and that's what they did in all three cases. With Toji and Kaworu it was easy their parents were buried in shallow graves with Mari though they had to trick the British government into giving us her body which they had been kept on ice because they were trying to find her killer we had to promise that we'd find the killer ourselves though we've not found them yet."
Maya took in a deep painfully breath. "You do realize that Shinji, Rei and even Mari have all talked to me about visions of seeing their mothers and I thought it was their imaginations when in truth they were probably seeing them for real because their units are awakened!" She pointed to unit 02 in the bay below. "Why is Kyoko keeping Asuka why is she not giving her back?" Ritsuko felt a sneer form. "I don't know I never knew how that bitch's mind worked, even when she was alive!"
Misato looked up sharply. "Do not call her that, if it wasn't for her inferring we'd all be dead now because Asuka would have caused the final impact." She eyed unit 02. "I know you have a device which you can be put on an Evangelion to bring people back, I want it put on 02." Ritsuko leaned forward. "Let me guess Kaji told you about that right? It doesn't work, we tried it!"
Shigeru blinked. "Well if we've got something like that we should try it regardless." Ritsuko looked up. "You don't seem to get it do you Shigeru, inside all awakened Evangelion's the partial AI personality is broken because the souls inside have shut them down that's what my device reads the partial AI personality and tries to override it to bring the person back. Yui was the one we first tested it on but she just wouldn't come back no matter what we did and Seele put their foot down hard that they don't want these souls leaving its why I'm in second in command and Kozo's dead because bringing Yui back was his idea and it was against Seele wishes."
Misato walked slowly towards her getting right inside her personal space. "We are not bringing back Kyoko we are bringing back Asuka, who by the way fought Bardiel and killed him by herself and saved Nerv by flying her unit to Antarctica so she could keep us all safe, she deserves a chance to return!"
Kaji's folded her arms. "I think I speak everyone in this room when I say she deserves a shot a coming back since she saved us all." Ritsuko raised her hand eyeing him. "She acted like a fucking animal, is it just me or did you all miss the part where she ate Bardiel alive and then somehow turned his digested parts into two Lances of Longinus!"
Misato eyed her in disgust. "So she deserves to remain in limbo and Rei should never get her back is that it, are you so petty and cruel that to spite Asuka you'd hurt Rei as well?" She stepped back folding her arms. "I get it you don't get her, I didn't get her for a very long time because I got hung up on who she used to be but she is a good person and you clearly don't understand anything. Because the whole time she was in control of her rage from start to finish yes it was extremely violent but can you really blame her? That bastard tormented her for weeks on end and she had reached her limit and tipping point if you had been in her position, you'd have torn that bastard to ribbons too." Ritsuko looked up. "She had no reason to eat him!"
Kaji looked up sharply. "You do realize that piece of shit admitted openly that he had been there during one of the times she slept with Rei? If you haven't noticed or it hasn't occurred to you that kind of thing tends to bring out really intense rage in Asuka because she's so protective of Rei." He stroked his beard. "Bardiel pushed all the wrong buttons and he got what was coming to him."
Ritsuko breathed in hating that Gendo's words regarding Asuka were right she did think like an apex predator. "So you want me to try and bring her back, even though she could do this all over again and be a dangerous liability?" Maya raised her hand. "If you haven't noticed we are now fighting a war on two fronts first we have the angels and we now have Ouroboros’s archangel abominations as well, we need her!"
She paused noticing a look in Ritsuko's eyes which she recognised. "Oh but wait Gendo has already ordered this hasn't he? You're just trying to find a way to ignore him because you don't want to bring Asuka back." She spoke coldly. "Because let me guess he needs to bring her back because he wants to know really badly how she created those lances."
She raised her hand. "I'm guessing you've tried to make your own in the past but they've been failures but I bet you did find one out in Antarctica didn't you but there was something wrong with it which meant you couldn't use it?"
Ritsuko breathed in deeply she hated Maya so much right now for working this out and she had no idea how she'd figured this out and all of the other now looked genuinely surprised by her words. "Yes we found a lance but it was dead, it was like it had been used once before it was also ancient even older than Lilith, it predated that creatures landing here by over four thousand years. It was pure stone and we threw it back in the dead zones red sea, because it was worthless to us and it's not like our rivals could ever use it. We don't know who used it or even why it was left behind only that it had been purposely shoved into a glacier but it wasn't by Adam all that was clear was that it was another Evangelion though and they clearly intended to take it back but forgot about its existence." She folded her arms. "We never wanted them to find it again so we got rid off it for the good of everyone!"
She looked up slightly. "We thought when Bardiel reformed and became an Evangelion that it might have been his but he never took it back or searched for it and he had but to raise his hand and call upon it, because it says in the dead sea scrolls that a lance even a used one will always return to it's former owner who can breath life back into it." She took in a deep breath. "We never wanted that to happen and we don't want that fucking Evangelion ever returning who ever they were!"
Misato breathed in deeply. "You mean the Evangelion who's sitting in your bay now 02?" She breathed in deeply. "Bardiel said Asuka in her former life destroyed this world and made a deal with that other Rei, I assume you need a lance to bring about an impact event right?" Ritsuko felt a cold sneer form. "That's shear fucking speculation! Even Seele are having a lot of problems wrapping their minds around what that damn girl said to Bardiel and I don't believe Asuka did it as that would mean she reset this whole world." Maya breathed in bringing up a holographic screen opposite. "Speculation you know I think we should be blessed that Asuka can draw."
She watched as the drawings uploaded from 02 lined themselves up the first showing 01 in its original form being torn apart by some form of flying white and black Evangelion's with wings. It was followed by another image of it having spears thrown at it impaling it to the ground. The second to last image showed unit 02's original form turning to stone as it shoved a dying lance back into the ice the last image was of its fours eyes going dark as it died remaining standing on the ice of what looked like Antarctica as snow fell around it.
"I didn't even understand what I was looking at first but after you just mentioned the lance it all fitted together. Plus Asuka told me that when she was child that she had this repeating dream of crawling out the red sea as if she was waiting for someone so she could reset the world. She said it was all a delusion of grandeur because why would anyone ever give her that power?" She shifted the images pulling up the huge form of naked fifteen year old Rei with red eyes and very light blue hair up in the clouds with her fingers cupping around a floating 02 who had grown six blood red wings much like Adams but more demonic looking. "She gave herself that power and our Rei helped her somehow, how is just not clear the drawings just don't show it and there's a huge gap because in some images her unit has two lances but where the other lance is now, is never shown."
She paused turning to Ritsuko who looked truly annoyed now. "That is the real reason you don't want her back, it's because she might find her old lances and breathe life back into them and it scares the hell out of you that she created two new ones." Ritsuko breathed in deeply. "Would you bring a destroyer of worlds back?"
Kaji eyed the imagery. "You're forgetting that the destroyer of worlds had nothing to live for last time, she does this time." Ritsuko eyed him for a long moment. "I will try the device I will try to bring her home but be it on all of your heads!" She paused before speaking evenly. "You also better pray that she never finds her old lances or remembers any of this, because there is no telling what she could do!" She turned pointing at the drawings. "It goes with out saying that everything I've talked to you about can never leave this room but Asuka must never know the forma lances were hers."
Misato shook her head. "No I have a condition, we will tell Asuka nothing of that lance or the other missing one but the pilots have the right to the truth, they deserve to know that there mothers are in the units. She breathed in deeply. "You cannot keep that secret from them any longer and if Asuka comes back she will have far too much of a story to tell to the others." Ritsuko looked up sharply. "So be it I'll have Gendo tell Seele but everything else can never get out."
She paused as a sneer formed on her lips. "Also our Rei can never see the recording with that goddess child version of herself! Seele wants it that she never knows about her former life either and what she did. We know if Asuka comes back she won't talk about what was said during that conversation at all because Bardiel had taken over her and hopefully she couldn't see or hear anything and we want to keep it that way." Kaji looked at her. "So be it."
Ritsuko turned looking at them. "I think you're all fools for wanting to bring Asuka back but I guess time will tell." She pressed the com button so she could speak to 02's team. "I want the Judas restraint brought up from the void!" Hayden's voice came back filled with confusion. "Judas you mean that weird fucking massive machine with all those huge pipes and parts that go in an Evangelion's mouth?" Ritsuko took in a deep breath. "Yes Hayden!"
Hayden's voice came again filled with concern. "We have no idea how to set that bastard up, I mean only my predecessor did but she retired many years ago." Ritsuko looked up. "I'll help you but it will take all night to set up and it properly won't get turned on until tomorrow morning." She breathed in deeply. "Also once its turned on it will bring the entry plug back up into its half pulled up state where the super vibrating magnetic coils will keep it suspended."
Shigeru looked up. "Judas, that's an interesting name." Ritsuko turned off the com eyeing him as she spoke coldly. "It called that because it always betrays me and this time will be no different mark my words." She felt her self tense. "Of all the things I've ever made for the sake of this program, it's the one I hate the most."
End of part 62