Not long after the disastrous end to Spencer and Marina’s Excellent Adventure, the 3 non-injured pilots visit their steadfast companion in the hospital, relieved to hear that he won’t need to be put down ahead of his time because of any broken legs. He’s finally formally introduced to Nadyezhda Zeemovna Ivanova, and given the all clear to leave by Dr. Ibuki. Unfortunately, not moments later the 4 pilots are paged to the command center. Marina realizes that it’s Condition 2 due to the busywork, and Morgan confirms there’s unknown sonar contacts off of the convoy transporting Nadya’s Evangelion to Seattle. Something of non-man make.
Not long after that, the contact is confirmed to be a Pattern Blue, proving Morgan’s hunch and choice to evacuate the civilian danger zones and alert the military a correct one. Using the heavy lift aircraft still in the area from the dig-out that took place after the combat with Makatiel, Morgan has Eva-R03 airlifted into Seattle ahead of schedule, the Angel pursuing it instead of the convoy. The first Angel to show a deliberate targeting of an Evangelion unit.
The combat plan is to deploy using the three C-type equipments available to NERV-07 at the moment, with Daas’ unit lacking one due to inherent all-terrain combat abilities given to it. Marina voices her displeasure with the setup, primarily with the potential lethality of the Pallet Rifle and the dangers of engaging a water-based Angel in its element. Morgan shuts her down and Daas reveals that it may not even be a water-oriented Angel, merely one moving beneath the surface. The group deploys ahead of time to intercept it, having a nice conversation about the viability of using microwave weapons underwater and the reasons to bother with fishing.
The angel finally arrives.
Parker: “Sir! The MAGI have collected enough data to designate the Angel!”
Marina: “Bet it’s another fucking useless reference from some dusty book.”
Parker: “They’re designating it… Taharial. The angel of purification.”
Spencer: “I would have gone with joe”
Nadya: “I prefer Ivan”
Parker: “It’s surfacing!”
The waters of the Sound rush away in a torrent, waves of salt water churning into a froth as the AT Field, and the Angel encapsulated inside it pushes towards the surface. The first sign of it to show above the waterline is a spike, grey, and shiningly metallic. Then another.
And another and another and another and another and another and another…
Spencer: “I hate spikes”
A whirling halo of metal spikes presses itself above the sound’s surface. Hundreds, if not thousands of gleaming, metallic pins swirling around a core, planes of horrific spears rotating opposite one another in a maddening dance of geometric insanity.
Nadya: “I can’t help but notice we are underwater. it is not”
Daas: “Trust the Major, Nadya. He has a plan.” Daas closes his mic. “I hope.”
It is hovering serenely over the surface of the sound.
Spencer: "Man, Marina’s never going to let Morgan live it down
Parker: “AT FIELD SPIKE!”
Marina: “Everyone in this GODDAMN BASE IS FUCKING INCOMPETENT.”
A second later a volley of blue, energetic blasts tear out from the Angel, screaming across the water.
Morgan: “Magi Code R!”
For a moment the ocean seems to recede from the coast as spires of solid armor plate flash into place along the coast an instant ahead of the swarm of unnatural energy beams, intercepting the blasts and ablating before the attack and leaving the city behind intact. Behind the coast additional plates deploy from pylons near major buildings, hiding the vulnerable cityscape behind the aegis of NERV’s most cutting edge defenses. As the plates spring out of the ground, the energy beams play across their surfaces, burning away paint and armor.
Lieutenant Takamichi at the defenses station calls out, “Armor plates holding with minor damage! It doesn’t look like the individual beams have enough force to punch through in one go!”
Morgan: “We’re not here to die without a fight! Spencer, Nadya, the underwater equipment allows you to auto-surface, you can leap at it. Marina, use the same method to fire from the surface. Daas, you know what to do to get them and you out of there. I need it’s AT field neutralized asap!”
Marina: “Roger, sir! Daas, we’re counting on you!”
Morgan: Morgan looks over at Parker. “Send the go-code for Fortress Mode. We’re going to have to join in this time.”
Parker responds to the order in her usual clipped, professional tone. “Aye, sir. Signalling all defenses to make ready for close-in operations.”
Daas: Daas, who didn’t get fitted with a floatation pack, nods grimly. “Understood, Major.” He’s already got the enemy waveform on his screen. “I’m going to need everyone’s power, this time.”
AT Field analysis results stream across Morgan and Daas’ screens — long story short, it’s going to take at least two, possibly three Evangelions to bring down Taharial’s AT Field.
Daas: “Ensign, to neutralize this field, it will likely take all three of you. This waveform is much more potent than the last.” Daas’s screen flashes up with new options. “And don’t count me out of the fight just yet, either.”
At the commander’s words, she keys in the commands to ascend, the C-Type armor quickly venting ballast water and rising up, AT Field flickering faintly as it starts to corrode Taharial’s. The HELIOS is shouldered as she starts to aim, trying to figure out the rotation patterns of the spikes so she can shoot the core directly.
As Marina surfaces, the Angel comes into full view, the sight of an impossible clockwork living thing looming large in her vision. It shouldn’t exist. It can’t exist.
And yet there it is.
Spencer: “So nothing but our native wits to keep us out of trouble eh Daas? Looks like you are out of luck Marina. Of Course, me and Mohican aren’t one to talk.”
The in plug viewscreens show a dangerous gleam in his eyes Are they glowing?
Must be a trick of the light.
What is not a trick is the way his muscles strain against the controls and the snarl that contorts his face. He may be making a noise, but it is not carried through the microphone.
Daas’ field takes on a new shape, one unfamiliar to Morgan or Yarrow; it seems to extend a tiny tendril of AT power to the enemy, and strike it, like a child testing the solidity of a glass wall. The result is startling; a rebound of power so easily measurable that even Morgan’s pretty sure he learned something.
Daas: “Ha! It worked!” Daas’ surprised cry is not confidence-inspiring. “AT Field Strength confirmed at 12-point magnitude! Field is in a standard deflection mode!” But this has led Daas to a new problem; it would likely take all four of them to be certain of neutralization, and Spencer seemed to have… well, hulked out. Daas therefore turns his field to neutralization as well. “Moving to keep the enemy target in range!”
Morgan: Morgan inputs a quick command to the magi to unlock several arms lockers in military vehicles near the coast. “Stryker teams, Stryker teams, you are authorized to use COLOUR ammunition! Fire at will! Marina, your combat information uplink should be receiving laser designating data from the Kiowa flights now.”
Marina: “Understood, sir. I’ll put it to good use.”
The Stryker MGS stationed along the coast all scream out at once, launching a barrage into the air that explodes into a cloud of iridescent gas around Taharial. It seems to seep into the thing and slowly turn it grey. Taharial pauses as the Evangelion surfaces and a barrage of fire comes from shore. And that’s when the spines circling its core endlessly start to glow…
A wide spray of energetic beams lance out from the Angel! Water flashes into steam around Marina’s Evangelion as streams of plasma impact the water! Explosions wreathe the tank battalion on shore! But…
“Sir! Second barrage, no damage!” Lieutenant Takamichi calls out. “Forces reporting all green!”
Morgan: “Remind me to thank the science team, it looks like the COLOUR rounds worked better than expected.”
“Aims like Spencer…” She doesn’t even need to move, the computers correcting for the ocean’s momentary agitation as the water roils and flash boils around her.
It is then that the team’s newest member jumps into action. She rises to the surface in a wave of bubbles, deploying a gigantic hammer with some rather strange looking fiddly bits on it, and charges the angel, swinging the hammer with Russian gusto!
Morgan: “Parker, expel all the ballast as a thruster, she’s going to miss!”
Parker: “Aye, sir!”
The hammer slams into the angel’s spines with a solid blow as the sudden burst of ballast throws the Russian evangelion forward! The hammer blow shatters the delicate metal spines with a solid blow, and all of a sudden, Nadya is up close and personal with an Angel.
And then. There is a sound. Like that of a horn blowing on Judgement Day. Morgan’s grip on the console in front of him tightens until his knuckles shine white.
Marina: “What the hell?!” The sound alone almost makes her recoil.
All of a sudden, Nadya is flying. Then. Falling.
Whatever hit her wasn’t visible in and of itself, but a circular wave, a dozen meters high, ripples out from the water around Taharial. And Nadya’s Evangelion is thrown what must be 150 meters straight back, slamming into the defensive wall ringing NERV-07. There’s an alarm in the CIC and in Nadya’s entry plug as the internal battery onlines as the umbilical cable reaches the end of it’s length and ejects in midair.
The alarm pops up in Marina’s cockpit informing her that a teammate’s switched to battery, but she ignores it. Nadya’s Eva was the toughest among them, and she’d get to an umbilical in time. More importantly, the pulse and reaction had given her a clear shot at the one target on an angel that matters worth a damn. There’s little more than a silent click in the cockpit as she depresses the trigger, a beam of light lancing towards the core!
The confusing motion of the Angel’s spines isn’t stopped by Nadya’s blow, making it harder than it seems to target the core directly, and Marina’s shot passes between two of them!
Marina: “God-damn spikes! GREY, GET UP HERE.”
Daas: “Spencer! If you can still hear me in there, neutralize the damn Angel!” Daas is making ready his own maneuvers.
Mohican surfaces much as IOT had, a disturbing sound like shattering glass as the Angel’s AT Field is reduced further. On Marina’s video feed, she gives a grin. They’d take this one too.
Daas: Daas nods as he watches Grey’s field add to theirs. “That will be more than enough, Spencer.” His EVA is sprinting across the ocean floor, reaching back to unlatch the least effective weapon ever held by a massive Evangelion. But with the Deflection Field reduced in power, he might have a chance. As he rushes forward, one of the most infamous weapons in NERV’s arsenal is brought to his Eva’s shoulder, and fires.
Somewhere in the deeps of Nerv-07, a woman in a blue jumpsuit sighs as she watches the video feed.
The Pallet rifle round dings harmlessly off the Angel’s armor.
Morgan: “The AT Field is down! All Fortress assets, fire! Apache Battalion, supress the target with missiles!” From seemingly every plate of armor, intersection, hill and cliff throughout the city panels open up to show tube artillery and rocket batteries in abundance not seen since the Great Patriotic War, all of which open fire with deadly MAGI-guided precision!
“MAGI report coordinated turret fire at marginal effectivness!” the defense Lieutenant reports, “We’re doing some damage.”
Morgan frowns as several of the National Guard helicopters are forced to peel away out of munitions and one screws up it’s attack run and slams into the armored side of a skyscraper.
Marina: She curses as the shots do almost no damage. “Fucking conventional forces.”
“Sir! The Angel’s AT field is shifting! It’s… it’s resonance frequency is matching the Evangelions!”
Daas can do nothing but watch on his display as Taharial’s field shifts… expands… and reaches out towards him and Marina! Even as images unbidden stream through their heads, the pilots keep themselves together and in the fight! And in the distance, a thick and bulky Evangelion shoves the rubble off itself and stands…
One of the CIC technicians turns around. “Ivanova’s Synch Rate just jumped to 65%!”
Marina: She forces the thoughts as far away from her as she can, the digital reticule coming into view once more as IOT pivots and shoulders the mas rifle again. There’d be time later to think about things. Not right now. Once more the trigger is squeezed, the focused energy lancing out. Hairline fractures appear on the Angel’s core, but it doesn’t seem in danger of cracking yet! She grins triumphantly as the shot strikes home, the zoom easily making the fractures visible. “Spencer, follow it up!”
Morgan: “Great shot, Marina!”
D01 leaps up from the water with his progressive knife fully extended and leaps at it with a fiercsome blow. The prog knife skitters across the spines surrounding the angel’s core, leaving a deep gouge, but not a fatal wound!
The memory is an old one, but this Angel must be desperate to be using such an old sanskara against him. It’s unpleasant, but Daas shakes his head and sets the memory aside, as he was trained. As he does so, he reaches out for a new control, sets it. His status displays all flash AT WAVEFORM MALFORM ERROR, but it doesn’t matter, he’s off-book at this stage. Time to give Yarrow another headache. Daas’ Eva has done a very odd thing. Near as anyone could tell, it had shot the Angel with its’ finger. The blast slams into the Angel, widening the damage that Spencer just caused!
Daas’ comms crackle open. “Stay… out… of my head!” Daas being angry was also a new one.
Dr. Yarrow spins from his station as the AT blast erupts from the water under the angel, cutting through the spines surrounding the core. “Did you know he could do that, Morgan?”
Morgan: “No I damn well did not, but I suspected.”
Marina: “What the… hell?”
Morgan: “You won’t have much more cover, the apaches are almost out of missiles!”
Marina: “Understood, sir. We’ll make do!” Daas was upset, the first time she’s seen him that way.
Indicators go black across the master display as the national guard pilots run increasingly out of munitions and two crash into the side of the angel on faulty attack runs. There were too few missiles left to keep up a distracting barrage.
The trumpet’s blare sounds again, but this time Spencer is ready for it, bracing against the wave of force! Unfortunately, that doesn’t necessarily help, as Taharial’s spikes begin to glow…
Morgan: “Eject spencer’s right pauldron!”
The sudden movement throws Mohican in a completely unpredictable direction, as a barrage of high-energy emmissions lash out from Taharial, and engulf it entirely.
Marina: Her attention refocuses on the battle, just in time to see the Evangelion become immersed in the beams. She watches the smoking unit as the beam retreates. “Spencer, report! Now!”
“Marina…. you… you….you’re not the boss of me…”
She sighs in relief.
Nadya: “I am going to charge the thing. And hit it again.”
Marina’s grin re-appears as Spencer tells her off and the newcomer slams hard into the Angel, hammer once more shredding through the spines of it. Once more she shoulders the MAS Rifle, taking aim at the now much more exposed core. The lance of light again impacts, the rapidly spreading web of cracks now obvious.
Marina: “We’ve almost gotten it! Spencer, go!”
And he does, Mohican leaping once more at the floating monstrosity, Progressive Knife a whirl of white hot heat as it cuts swathes through the rapidly diminishing needles, the Angel showing the severity of their loss, movements becoming sluggish and simple. Marina stares, something between admiration and mild disgust on her face.
Daas cries out in anger as he raises his EVA’s arm again and shoots.
Morgan: “Emergency power to the neural connections, amp his AT control to maximum!”
The strange blast strikes true again on the Angel. They were wearing it down.
Morgan: “Nadya, get ready to receive a spare battery! Analyze the core cracks and forward the ideal target position for the prog knife to Spencer’s computer!”
It’s then that once more, the angel reaches forth, yet again trying to touch the pilots’ minds. Nadya shakes it off. Daas does not.
The technician’s eyes widen. “Daas’ synch rate just jumped to 94%!”
Nadya: “I vill hit with hammer.” And she indeed does, the Angel’s wounds stacking rapidly as it finds itself outclassed in a close quarters pounding with close fire support.
Daas’s hands are frozen on the controls, and his comms left open, allowing everyone to hear his manic, whispered recitation of something in Hindu, over and over again.
Marina: “Daas, snap out of it!” IOT pivots once more, the rifle zooming as a beam lances out towards the core once more and hits true yet again, the red globe fragmenting and shaking.
Mohican again leaps into the fray, the enraged pilot yet again striking true as his companion on the seafloor stops speaking. His mantras cut out abruptly and leave only silence. Suddenly, an inhuman scream breaks through the quiet as the typically calm young man unleashes his fury on the Angel. Yet another bolt of AT energy slams into the creature from beyond, spikes seizing in their rotations, otherworldly mechanisms and organs finally starting to fail from the massive accumulation of damage.
Nadya: All that can be heard over Nadya’s comms is monotone cursing in Russian. “Фуцк. Фуцк. Фуцк. Фуцк. Фуцк. Фуцк. Фуцк.”
Morgan: Morgan looks around the CIC, which has gone deadly quiet at Daas’ scream. “Let’s see if that weakened it! All forces, fire!”
Every cannon, rocket, machinegun and missile in the city opens up on the thing, blasting shards of vile stuff in every direction. Once more, the Angel grasps forward, striking out towards Nadya and Daas’ very being, horrific images and memories surging fourth. Nadya recoils from the alien creature as it pelts her mind.
The Technician speaks with quiet fear. “Daas’ Synch Rate has reached 112%.”
Morgan: Morgan blanches. “Cut Nerve Connections 2-4!”
“The connections are refusing our commands, sir!”
There’s nothing on Daas’ comm now; it’s open, but if not for the white noise of the mic and the slight whirring of the LCL pumps, one could easily think he was dead. But the in-plug camera can see him, and his eyes are aglow.
Morgan: “Damnit. Yarrow, do we not have any defenses against mental attacks at all?”
Yarrow: “Short of shouting at the pilots, no!”
The angel begins to rush for Seattle’s shoreline, EVA-IOT shouldering the HELIOS Rifle once more. A dangerous determination shows in the pilot’s eyes, if you look close enough. And then, the energy strikes out for the final time at the core of Taharial, striking a hole deep into it with the power and accuracy of the shot. The core shakes, the shards already turning a painful white as they start to fall.
Spencer: “Hey Marina….”
Marina: She’s silent for a moment. “What, Spencer.”
Spencer: “If after this is all over we’re alive, there’s something I want to tell you…”
Nadya: “We may not live through this, just tell her for fuck’s sake!”
Taharial’s core erupts, a massive cross of pure energy flying into the sky, the shockwave and energy of its last strike at humanity slamming into, and effortlessly through, the barriers that had kept Seattle safe from its initial attack. The structures on the shore are shredded instantly, the wave continuing downtown, the glitter of millions of shattering windows reflecting the light from the suicidal last attack. On the land surrounding the bay, Stryker vehicles and support systems overturn and roll wildly, ammunition caches exploding. What few Apaches are left airborne are ripped from the sky by the force of the winds and heat, spiraling downwards after the force of the explosion tears critical systems and armor to shreds.
The 3 pilots closest to the angel are not spared either, the white hot energy melting through armor and AT Fields alike. The already damaged Mohican takes the worst of it, the already deformed and weakened torso armor giving way entirely, the blast stopping just short of breaching the plug entirely. It instead settles merely for starting to boil the pilot within alive. The shockwaves and raw heat slam into Evangelion R-03 as well, the sturdy unit taking the hits well. Underwater, the blast is amplified and crushes down into IN1, the unit’s body taking the massive hits and failing to shield the pilot entirely. There’s another scream from inside Daas’ plug, but this is not a scream of rage, or power. This is the scream of a young man strapped into a plug full of LCL getting his ass handed to him on an ornate silver platter.
And in the distance, untouched by the event, floats EVA-IOT, the unit suddenly curling oddly and sluggishly, the rifle dropping into the bay.
Morgan: “Ensign Marina. You need to return to base.”
Operation UNBREAKABLE concludes.