Scarlet Ark is an ongoing campaign starting in 2016 and running roughly in alternate real time.
The story concerns a five-man squad of pilots tied to the mobile floating city the Scarlet Ark, a gigantic, 1.5 mile ship built from and around the remains of the 3rd Angel. As one of many active Evangelion squads in the world, the Ark Squad is embroiled in a very public, very expensive war against an Angelic Host that targets major cities and consumes every human inhabiting them. These pilots have to cope with being the public faces of the war against the Angels, the people to whom the populace goes to for help and the people the citizens see as heroes, as menaces or as something altogether different. Naturally, just because humanity as a whole is under siege by an alien assailant, does not mean that inter-personal problems between the pilots and their handlers. Indeed, the investigation and elimination of the Angelic threat itself has more often taken a back seat to rivalries, grudges and personal issues than vice versa.
- 1 Houserules And Homebrews
- 2 Characters
- 2.1 Protagonists
- 2.2 Antagonists
- 2.2.1 Humans
- 2.2.2 Angels
- 3 Setting
- 4 The Story Thus Far
Houserules And Homebrews
The campaign offers several additional upgrades for weapons based on those found in Borderline and 2.5. Not least among these is the Scope, ensuring that most of the pilots using ranged weaponry have a much greater chance of hitting their opponents with devastating strikes.
The pilots, and hence the players, are the main focus of the campaign, their personalities, issues and vices fueling most of the conflict in the game.
Third Child, Aaron Bright
Designation: Evangelion Pilot/Third Child
Leader/Commander: Commander Mucino
Pilots Unit S03 Proteus, a Prototype Evangelion shaped like a sea monster. Used to be a ship rat and was adopted by one of the Ark’s builders. Generally a chill dude until you bring up the guy who stabbed him during his time in the NeoSpartan program.
He is your standard harem show protagonist, flirts a lot, and is generally as useless as one, having been rendered ineffectual in both of the starting fights by shots to the umbilical. Nonetheless, he proved his worth by killing Perseus
through sheer dumb luck by backstabbing it as it teleported away.
In terms of fighting style, Aaron uses Proteus like a brick wall. Armed with a shield and alternately a spear and a sword, he makes sure no Angel makes it to the squishy allies behind him. Boasting the second highest armor rating, he can afford to take hits.
Unit S03: Proteus
Stationed Facility: Nerv-Shinn/Scarlet Ark
Pilot: Third Child, Aaron Bright
Unit S03, nicknamed ‘Proteus’ is a bit of a strange Evangelion, though that isn’t to say that there are really any ‘typical’ Evas. Many of its more… aquatic features, are said to be a result of adaptations from its home facility, NERV Aegir, an underwater base off the coast of Greenland. S03 was never meant to be a working prototype like it turned out to be, but more of a proof of concept at the time, tinkering with the exact specifics of what into making an Evangelion and helping to perfect the ‘formula’ that would come about later on.
Fourth Child, Maria Minami
Designation: Evangelion Pilot/Fourth Child
Leader/Commander: Commander Mucino
Pilots Unit S04 Aether, a speedy Production-type Evangelion optimised for speed and aggressive fighting.
The child of an important,absent father at the helm of numerous clandestine Nerv operations, she strives to please him as well as trying to be a hero when she can. Is very shy, unassuming, and a pacifist. Generally stays oit of the awkward business with everyone else's social problems and feuds, chipping in here and there.
Generally sitting just behind the front line, Maria picks away at the Angels with mid-power positron weaponry. Not the most damaging strategy, Aether nonetheless breaks down and disables the opposition seriously enough for one of the big hitters to score a crucial hit.
Unit S04: Aether
Stationed Facility: Nerv-Shinn/Scarlet Ark
Pilot: Fourth Child, Maria Minami
A lean, sleek purple Eva. Designed with an emphasis in maneuverability and performance, its frame is built with lightweight but resilient components, bolstered by a unique AT Field reinforcement system.
Fifth Child, Emily Borg
Designation: Evangelion Pilot/Fifth Child
Leader/Commander: Commander Mucino
Pilots S00 Hermes, the original Evangelion and another speedster. An Artificial with a strange social sense. Apparent age 15, real age 8. Very childish. Genetically engineered to latch on to people emotionally.
Notable for being defeated by the easiest Angel, Orthrus. She has been elected/assigned the official team leader but doesn't really do much in that respect.
She is a gigantic special snowflake.
She also sits just behind the melee fighters providing covering fire. Hermes is the support Evangelion in the squad, using a positron smart-gun to set up the team sniper for accurate and brutal hits. The unit is fragile but almost impossible to hit.
Unit S00: Hermes
Stationed Facility: Nerv-Shinn/Scarlet Ark
Pilot: Fifth Child, Emily Borg
The OG Evangelion, S00 was originally piloted by Ed Lehrer, the retired Eva operator who was the first man to ever enter combat in an Evangelion. Unreasonably fast and the only pre-tested war machine in the squad, Hermes has unrivaled pedigree and fame. In its original full white, wingless form, it was easily the most famous individual unit on the planet.
Sixth Child, Sophie Schwangau
Designation: Evangelion Pilot/Sixth Child
Leader/Commander: Commander Mucino
Pilots Unit S05 Hestia, the first Evangelion to use a high-beta compact fusion reactor. Team sniper. Daughter of Lauren Schwangau, a prominent doctor helping refugees on board the Scarlet Ark. Very graceful and secretly a coward.
Claimed the life of Sagittarius with a clear Positron Sniper Rifle shot to the core after an extended skirmish with the practically untouchable Angel. Notable drunkard, having turned to alcohol after much of Berlin was vaporized, and the eldest active pilot in the team.
With the longest range and highest armor, Hestia is the dedicated sniper, hefting a gigantic positron cannon that rips through angelic defences like butter. She generally becomes a priority target pretty early on though only one of the Angels so far has actually breached her armor.
Unit S05: Hestia
Stationed Facility: Nerv-Shinn/Scarlet Ark
Pilot: Sixth Child, Sophie Schwangau
Thanks to the weight of her reactor stack, Hestia is slower and less agile than most Evangelions. To compensate, she has second-generation armor plating, and a lot of it. Additionally, Hestia’s internal structure is reinforced to bear the extra weight, giving her the ability to shrug off moderate hits with only minor damage. Offensively, Hestia has the same standard software targeting suite as production-series Evangelions, though her extra weight hinders her melee capabilities slightly; she also benefits from being theoretically capable of powering energy weapons directly from the reactor stack, though the linkage for this is still under development and not ready for fielding. Additionally, attempts to install small umbilical cables in her wing pylons to power allied Eva units have yet to complete, but the experimental mounts have yet to be removed and replaced with standard ones, robbing Hestia of any standard storage pylons.
Seventh Child, Talia Bismarck
Designation: Evangelion Pilot/Seventh Child
Leader/Commander: Commander Mucino
Pilots Unit S02 Athena, an experimental Assault Type built to test some theories on AT fields. Another Artifical, apparent age 13, real age 6. The most mature and level-headed person on the team. On a person-to-person basis, she is also surprisingly adept at close combat.
Very autistic, nearly incapable of deceit, almost clueless socially, programmed to serve NERV. Currently the most combat-ready pilot and apparently the best in the field. Scored the first confirmed kill, against Orthrus.
The best out-and-out melee fighter on the team, Talia and Athena step on the faces of every Angel they meet. Often experimenting with combat loadout, but generally focusing on hammer or spear, always incorporating a shield, along with a backup weapon, she provides raw damage to rival Sophie. Tactically, she prioritizes attacking any target of opportunity she can over chasing an angel that is out of range of her charge.
Unit S02: Athena
Stationed Facility: Nerv-Shinn/Scarlet Ark
Pilot: Seventh Child, Talia Bismarck
A hulking brute of an Evangelion, Athena is a mighty powerhouse built with one objective in mind: score hits. The unit is optimised toward close combat, with an unusual field and solid weapon set that usually makes short work of any Angels.
Designation: Terrorist Organisation
Leader/Commander: Baron Fiest
Your typical mysterious, vaguely-villainous shadow organisation at the heart of many plots to better the world. Said to regard the Angels with more than scientific curiosity and admiration, this group has all but declared open war on Nerv. What is the worse is that they're rallying support...
Allegiance: Angelic Acolytes
Designation: Terrorist Leader/Ex-Nerv Employee
A mysterious man with a refined fashion sense and a smoker's voice, he is the leader of the Acolytes and a member of Nerv during its time developing Project E. Dangerously motivated, willing to rile up a crowd and with the supposed ability to leash Evangelion substitutes of his own, Fiest may prove a greater immediate threat than the Angels themselves.
Status: About that...
Allegiance: Angelic Acolytes
Designation: Terrorist/False S2 Agent
Leader/Commander: Baron Fiest
An unknown man masquerading as a Section 2 Agent, Robyn Rossi is actually the codename for a number of fake agents all surgically altered to look and sound like the same effeminate, husky-voiced man. The name is taken from an agent who died during Fiest's time at Nerv and they are believed to be in correspondence with a spy within Nerv itself. Responsible for the sabotage of the Scarlet Ark, Rossi is a dangerous group of skilled, trained agents armed with equipment that equals Nerv firearms and weaponry.
Designation: Evangelion Pilot
Leader/Commander: Commander Mucino/Himself
The leader of a rival group of Evangelion pilots, Kyle is a brutish, aggressive boy who is only nominally allies with the Ark Squad. A product of a very dangerous, very unethical NeoSpartan Project, Kyle has proven himself to be as much of a sadist in combat as in normal life. Having stabbed Aaron for an extremely petty reason while they were both in the NS Project, Kyle has gained most of the squad's ire and Aaron's unending hatred. Vexing , dangerous and having expressed a willingness to take on the Ark Squad in a brawl, Kyle is a beast best watched.
First Angel, Typhon
Location Fought: Rome, Italy Porto, Portugal, Madrid, Spain
Slain By: French Military
A titanic beast of flesh and blood, Typhon was the first Angel to make planetfall. Spawning hundreds of minions to consume biomass, Typhon wiped out the cities of Rome, Porto and Madrid before being annihilated by a nuclear warhead on the border of France. A worldwide day of mourning was announced for those lost in the beast’s rampage.
Second Angel, Cerberus
Location Fought: Hong Kong, China
Slain By: Chinese Government
Utilising some force similar to magnetism, this vaguely-humanoid Angel apparently caused objects to move on their own and levelled Hong Kong. Chinese failsafes halted the Angel in its tracks before it could reach any other population centres.
Third Angel, Shinn
Location Fought: Pacific Ocean, Tokyo, Japan
Slain By: Edgar Lehrer/00 Hermes
Rising in the Pacific Ocean, Shinn is the largest Angel to date, being estimated at two kilometers in length. Heavy bombardment from numerous nuclear vessels only served to slow the creature down, as it was protected by a refractive carapace. The 00 Prototype Evangelion was unveiled to combat this creature in Japan. With a combination strike from the Eva, land-based forces and a naval assault, the Angel was defeated. Using biomechanical principles as yet untested in the field, Nerv converted the body of their enemy into a vessel. The success of the 00 meant that more Evangelions could be produced and that the bodies of Angels could be used by Nerv for their secret purposes...
Fourth Angel, Orthrus
Location Fought: Kiev, Ukraine
Slain By: Talia Bismarck/S02 Athena
A many-legged, many-eyed pink monstrosity with bladed teeth too big to fit in its mouth. The creature came down in a meteor-like capsule and applied its own flesh and skin onto its bones upon exiting the slimy, fleshy pod. It provides the Ark Squad with their first opponent and on the Angel pecking order, it was very low. With its ability to follow up every one of its attacks, it proved too much for one of the Evas and is thus far the only Angel to have downed an Evangelion.
Fifth Angel, Sagittarius
Location Fought: Manila, the Phillipines
Slain By: Sophie Schwangau/S05 Hestia
A giant glass ball on legs with a dozen purple tentacles surrounding a demonic, energetic spiral at its front. With the ability to manipulate shadows, Sagi used its vaguely magical powers to materialise blots of darkness to tie the pilots together. Surprisingly hardy, Sagittarius and its three Angelspawn proved to be an aggressive team but no match for five teenagers and a bunch of irresponsible directors.
Sixth Angel, Perseus
Location Fought: Berlin, Germany
Slain By: Aaron Bright/S03 Proteus
A pale, one-eyed humanoid roughly the same size as the Evangelions. Perseus turned out to have the highest raw destructive power amongst the Angels fought thus far. With long-range teleportation, a disintegrating eye-beam and a pair of Angelspawn with vicious bites, Perseus enraged the pilots to no end and did what no other Angel did to the Pilots before: hit them without preparation and without a chance to evacuate.
Seventh Angel, Medusa
Location Fought: Paris, France
Slain By: Kyle Shaw/E03 Zeus
A hulking grey abomination of similar description to Sagittarius, Medusa struck Paris at the exact same time as Perseus to combat the Europa Squad. Downed with no small degree of collateral damage, the Angel was deemed intact enough to be taken to Marseilles
After Second Impact claimed the lives of countless millions, humanity was on the verge of total collapse. Where proud cities once stood only rubble was left, leaving empty, kilometre-wide scars deep into the countryside and sludgy detritus in the stead of humans. It would take years for any sort of reclamation to occur and many years more for concrete progress. Treaties, agreements and an empowered United Nations began to turn this sorry state around. While many cities were left lifeless and lawless, the combined efforts of determined personnel proved humanity's grit. The Earth was beginning to heal.
Then they came. Huge flesh-eating monstrosities fell upon population centres and hungrily devoured every person in their path. These beasts, dubbed the Angelic Host as a collective by the press, were relentless in their destruction. Entire cities fell to their might and even the mightiest military weapons took precious days to fell them. Soon, however, UN funded organisation Nerv defeated and collected the body of a titanic Angel called Shinn using their state-of-the-art superweapon the Type-0 Evangelion. A humanoid robot engine with unparalleled power, a decisive victory against the previously invincible Shinn proved the worth of Nerv.
In a bold move, Nerv converted the fallen body of their foe into a unique vessel capable of tracking and predicting angelic activity with 98% accuracy. A ship large enough to carry a city, the Scarlet Ark became a symbol of power for humanity and, more than that, a symbol of hope.
The city ship Scarlet Ark houses what amounts a small community on it as it travels through the high seas waiting to strike. Millions of tons of steel, carbon alloys and composites encase a bridge large enough to support communication and administrative technology capable of running an entire fleet, dozens of levels of housing ranging in standard of living as they retreat from the sun, dedicated bays, hangars and development centres for the deployment of conventional weapons as well as the all-important Evangelion Deck. The pilots will use the Scarlet Ark as a place of residence, family and close friends relocated to parts of the vessel if need be. They won’t be privy to vital information,not at first anyway, but they will be expected to become part of the city and its running.
In terms of geography and countries, a few of the major cities have been lost due to Angelic infestation. Hamburg, Rome, Porto, Hong Kong and numerous others fell in the war that ensued after Second Impact. A prolonged war with smaller Angels and numerous mutated offshoots grants humanity some degree of knowledge about the threat. While this does not by any means give insight to their motivations or abilities, it does mean that the war with them is much more open, traditional and public than one might expect. There are still secrets being held from every party, however, and the nature of the beast is not easily deduced.
Due to the nature of the conflict, several countries have active and inactive Evangelion pilots, all nominally loyal to the UN and under the jurisdiction of the Scarlet Ark should the need arise. Regardless, Eva Units are still unbelievably expensive and each zone aside from the mobile base that is the Ark has at most a squad of 3 Evangelions.
Western European Units, designated as Units E01 and E03 ‘Pan’ and ‘Zeus’, patrol Spain to Germany.
Mainland Asia Units, A00 and A02 ’Persephone’ and ’Artemis’ , defend Russia, China and India as well as official jurisdiction over Oceania.
Northern African Units, L02 and L03 ‘Helios’ and ‘Apollo’, are deployed above the Sahara.
U00 ‘Poseidon’, the North and South American joint unit, has control of the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
The Ark, with units S00-S05, with S01 inactive, are needed to handle and support the global theatre, a gruelling task for sure. Eastern Europe, South America, much of the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa and most of Oceania have no consistent Eva Units and are often points of weakness for Angel attacks.
- Second Impact, Antarctica is destroyed by a meteorite travelling at relativistic speeds.
- First Angelspawn attack in Northern Africa. Algiers is consumed in a matter of days and mass panic spreads across the globe. By year’s end, the Angelspawn have consumed most of Algeria’s population and that of neighbouring countries before being put down by UN forces.
- First Angel, dubbed Typhon, makes planetfall and destroys vast swathes of Western Europe. Spawning hundreds of minions to consume biomass, Typhon wiped out the cities of Rome, Porto and Madrid before being annihilated by a nuclear warhead on the border of France. A worldwide day of mourning was announced for those lost in the beast’s rampage.
- Second Angel, Cerberus, arrives in South-East Asia and causes mass hysteria. Utilising some force similar to magnetism, the Angel apparently caused objects to move on their own and levelled Hong Kong. Chinese failsafes halted the Angel in its tracks before it could reach any other population centres.
- Project E is launched and work on the initial prototype Evangelion goes underway. French scientist Carter Blanc proposed the original plans for the superweapon and agreed to a joint project with dozens of arms companies and manufacturers to create it. The ensuing project would be financed by every UN member state and would turn a few bankrupt
- In conjunction with Project E, Austrian genetics expert Mia Solberg devised a method to create artificial humans, disposable and renewable pilots for the Evangelion war machine. The project proved wasteful, mismanaged and yet ultimately successful as at least four viable pilots were created from Solberg’s stock.
- Nerv creates a division of scientists assembled for the express purpose of studying and manipulating alien biology. The results of this section of researchers would drastically improve the ability for humanity to combat Angels.
- Angelspawn attacks occur across the globe, with conventional weaponry earning mostly pyrrhic victories against them… if victories were at all possible. Nations were gutted as more and more spawn consumed the human population.
- Third Angel, Shinn, rises in the Pacific Ocean and wreaks havoc on coastal nations. Heavy bombardment from numerous nuclear vessels only served to slow the creature down, protected by a refractive carapace.
- The Type-0 Evangelion is unveiled and combats Shinn in Japan. With a combination strike from the Eva, land-based forces and a naval assault, the Angel was defeated. Using biomechanical principles as yet untested in the field, Nerv converted the body of their enemy into a vessel. The success of the Type-0 meant that more Evangelions could be produced.
- Humanity provides a powerful and staunch counter to the Angels, crushing their forces and minimising damage to the cities. While restrictively expensive, the Evas proved to be humanity’s saviours. As more spawn rain from the sky, it is all but confirmed that the Angels are coming from space.
- Fourth Angel, Orthrus, makes landfall in January and is defeated decisively by the first sortie of the new Ark Evangelion squad. A portion of central Kiev is destroyed but the city is ultimately saved.
- A mysterious infection spreads in Belgium.
- Fifth Angel, Sagittarius, assaults Manila during late March, causing a large number of casualties and great swathes of destruction. A victory by the Ark squad proved fairly costly and the Philippines enter a state of mourning.
- The European Units combat a spawn attack happening simultaneously with the Angel's landing. Both sets of spawn seem to be identical.
- Further advances in military technology further open the repertoire of the Evangelion Squad’s equipment choices.
- Baron Fiest, leader of the Acolytes, announces plans to combat NERV with ‘an Angel chained’. The Ark and Europa Squads launch a combined operation to disrupt Fiest’s projects.
- A double Angel strike leaves Europe in a state of chaos! Perseus and Medusa strike in Berlin and Paris, wrecking various parts of these cities before being stopped by the Ark and Europa Squads respectively. A journalist managed to capture the last moments of the first battle, releasing footage that has gained worldwide traction and admiration.
- The Ark Squad ‘enjoys’ a quiet day in Marseille until they have an altercation with an overzealous cosplayer.
The Story Thus Far
A train trundled along its seaside tracks, the rustle of crumbling rust cracking from under the wheels. Outside the chain of roaring carriages was a light sea mist, thick enough still to hide the ships in the nearby harbor. At that point in the morning, there was only a trace of wind. Inside one of the grey, cold carriages were a number of people, children mostly, being ferried off to a mystery destination. One of them, a short blonde girl with thick, dark sunglasses, sat on one of the stiff grey seats. In spite of this particular carriage being filled with young people about her age, the girl had only a handler, disinterested and holding notes, for company. Soon enough, said handler, having work to do and their care for this girl minimal, instructed her to socialize with the other children in the coach, practically shouting at them to talk to her. Evidently the girl was not the one with the worst social skills there...
Two of the people in the carriage, a girl and a boy, both English, took some pity on the girl, who, after some coaxing, introduced herself as Emily. Some chatting revealed that Emily was being shipped off somewhere to take over the piloting of one of the Eva units, specifically Unit S00, the very first unit ever created. The other girl, a redhead by the name of Terry, told Emily that she herself had also been a pilot and began to reminisce about the times she'd had in the cockpit. Soon enough, Emily was pulled out of her shell enough to express her intentions of surpassing the previous pilot of the S00, the hero Ed Lehrer and indeed those of any other pilot. This earned the derision of one of the other passengers, a girl called Alexis, who was Ed's niece. The open disgust was enough to provoke Emily back into silence for some time.
Some time later, two figures stalked down the quiet, almost abandoned silvery-grey lot ahead of the train station. One of them, a lanky Japanese man with a thick, brown trench coat, sunglasses and a tired gait, was a professional from Nerv, specifically the Public Relations Director, Kenji Hamada. The figure beside him, a dark-haired boy with a limp, sling-borne arm, was Aaron, the selected candidate and pilot for Unit S03. Though lethargic, Kenji attempted to break the ice with Aaron, asking the boy about he thought was going to happen to him, what he thought about everything happening and how his 'old man' figured into everything. Said father figure, Huey, had been one of the most important people in the construction of the Ark and had been instrumental in bringing about a restored communication network. Aaron expressed great gratitude and fondness for the man before drifting off to his time in the NeoSpartan Project. One thing led to another and Kenji and Aaron found common ground in their hatred of Kyle Shaw, who Kenji dubbed Shawshank on the spot, something that earned a smirk from Aaron. From his phone, Kenji showed Aaron images of his future war machine, the sea monster like Proteus, a prototype Evangelion designed for close combat.
Kenji let the boy hang onto the phone as they boarded the train, entering a carriage with three other people in it, the time of day precluding most people from coming along. One of those people, a boy called Remy, turned out to be a massive fan of the Evangelions and their pilots, taking a liking to Aaron almost immediately. He and his friend Carl conversed with Aaron for quite some time on the train as it neared the port, speaking about how pilots are treated like heroes pretty much everywhere. This topic of conversation piqued another occupant's interest. Alexis, the girl who had been on Emily's carriage earlier in the day and now there again by her mother's orders, took no time in chipping in to speak about the existing pilots, with a subtle snub at Emily thrown in. Soon enough, both sets of kids began to speak about their destination, the Scarlet Ark itself. That was to be Aaron's destination.
The moment Aaron left the train, the awe-inspiring sight of the titanic vessel met him, floating in the harbor with an ambient creak or groan every so often. The sheer scale of the ship had been difficult to appreciate at the time, but with Kenji needing to leave to deal with Ed, that same Ed that had been spoken about previously, Aaron had to dive right in. With some pre-planning, the Nerv officials sent out another piloting candidate, one that had arrived earlier, to help Aaron with navigation. That pilot, a quiet, slightly awkward girl named Maria, helped Aaron and Alexis go swiftly toward the Evangelion Hangar deep within the heart of the ship. Surprised to see Edgar there himself, the three went down into the steeply-staired bay. There, the two pilots in the group were met with consoles asking them for voice confirmations and custom passcodes. For the time being, only Aaron indulged in this, taking 'Shawshank' as his password of choice before watching the eccentric, and perhaps slightly insane, Edgar climb into his old unit and boot it up. Enticed by the possibilities, Aaron sauntered up to Proteus' own capsule, filled to the brim with quickly-draining bright orange liquid, and climbed into the oddly-shaped, spine-mounted plug, with Alexis just a step behind him.
Inside the dimly-lit, somewhat spacious plug, Aaron was met with a central chair, fitted with a trough-like arm rest for his limp limb, a great screen in front of him and all manner of gaudy gadgets. To his horror, the plug began to fill with a clear, warm liquid that threatened to drown him, filling up the cockpit in absolutely no time at all. To his surprise Alexis, speaking and breathing normally, instructed him to take slow breaths and he found it easy to cope with. However, before Aaron could act or do anything of his own in the Eva, Nerv security and the Commander of their particular wing burst into the hangar with orders for everyone to shut their machines down. Forced to comply, Aaron and Maria, despite her inaction and unwillingness to pilot her Unit, are taken to the piloting compound and placed under a three day house arrest. This put to bed any hopes for further exploration.
All of the pilots under the Ark's immediate jurisdiction were clumped into one building, a living compound with four, two-person bedrooms. Naturally, this meant that Aaron was forced to bunk up with the only other male occupant, the never-present Harry, incidentally not a pilot himself. Maria didn't even need to be there, having a family and home of her own, and would almost never be found there. In the ensuing days after the incident in the Hangar, Emily had found her way to the compound as well, sharing a room with Terry, who appeared to be the master of the house. It took very little time for Aaron to meet her in the common room playing video games, and the boy was quick to playfully flirt with her, something she found funny when within limits. The two of them had started to play some console games before one of them suggested friendly wagers, something Aaron eventually managed to win through both skill and the use of a one-handed controller. Somewhat worried but contractually bound, Terry offered a no-stakes rematch, eventually losing that as well.
The fourth pilot to arrive had in fact been inside the ship the entire time. The daughter of the Ark's prestigious Head of Medicine, Sophie had opted, surprisingly, to stay in the compound with the others. Through similar maturity and friendliness, she and Terry soon hit it off, to Emily's slight jealousy, and had started to discuss the role of each of the pilots. Sophie, through her reputation, had been mistaken taken for someone going for a leadership position, whereas in reality the more timid Emily had gone for that position. The talk of Evangelions did not last long and eventually the girls settled down doing a number of other things, watching movies, reading books, things like that. Once everyone had gathered in the house to relax, the ship's predictive algorithms announced that an Angel, a Beast Angel, would be dropping Kiev within two days...
Symphony of the Fourth (Fourth Angel, Orthrus)
"Bridge, alert the Ukrainians about the impending Angel drop!" Captain Quaid shouted across his expansive section of ship. The various technicians and communication staff work quickly to grab telephones and radios, organising evacs. The numerous ship dwellers all rushed off in their various directions, rushing home as an ominous order rings through the vessel. "All citizens, tie everything down and prepare for Table Flip". In the piloting compound, Talia braced herself instantly in preparation, though the what she was preparing for what as yet unknown to her.
"Ah!" Maria suddenly stood up from her seat, alarmed. "Na- what? Is it time?"
Aaron had been in his room, sleeping the day away, simply put, though the sudden sound of sirens was a bit of a rude awakening. Yanking the headphones out of his ears, he stuck his head out of his bedroom door, looking around in a bit of a panic. "Angel drop!? It's happening already? What the hell is a Table Flip!?"
Emily was lying in her bed, reading a book in the dim lighting when the klaxons began to wail. Immediately the girl jumped to action, grabbing her helmet and dashing into the common area to see everyone standing around like bumps on a log.
Outwardly, Sophie was entirely calm as she sat in the common room, reading a novel, as the command rang out. Inwardly, she was focusing more on the fact that this was her first Table Flip that didn’t involve her having to tie things down and not on the fact that she was about to get thrown headfirst, literally, at an Angel. “That would be our cue,” she said as she got up and put the book in a drawer.
While everyone else was staring in confusion, Terry began nailing and tying various objects to the ceiling and walls on previously placed knobs and poles. Evidently her experience was proving its value. "Stop sitting around, guys! Grab something and stick it upside down! Close your liquids and wrap your food!
"What?!" Emily said, an incredulous edge to her voice belying her fear. Table flip, table flip... the hell is a table flip?! She should've paid more attention in the briefing...
Sophie, however, joined Terry in securing objects, calmly but efficiently fastening drawers and cabinets shut. “I will admit, I was under the impression that pilots reported directly to the staging area for a Table Flip.” While apparently a mistaken impression, it did mean that Sophie’s room was already flip-ready.
"Stick what where?" Aaron asked, looking utterly confused.
"Someone has to prepare this room for it and I'm afraid Harry won't be helping us". Terry moved quickly over to the fridge, messing with random buttons and dials. "Aaron, just close all of the cabinets and closets, okay?"
Talia sat on her bunk holding on to the rails, looking puzzled, "What's going on? What do you need me to do?"
Terry shook her head, noticing this girl for the first time. Never mind, she thought. "Uh, please try and stick the couch to the wall... I'll give you a hand in a second". Sophie internally cursed Harry in German for making the pilots late while she outwardly calmly locked down the entertainment center. Emily quickly followed suit, helping to flip tables, close the drawers in hers and Terry's rooms, and generally trying her best to make herself as helpful as possible.
Aaron simply blinked back, brain still backfiring as he tries to figure out what was going on. Terry's orders help to brought him back into the present, though he still looked extremely confused. "Err... Yea, I can do that." He quickly rushed to help shut everything.
"Table Flip: 30 Seconds," the rumbling mechanized voice of the titan grumbled. All over the Ark, thousands of people rush and scramble, trying to tie everything they could down. Being permanent residents, most had been smart enough to have permanent fastenings or at least very, very quick ones.
For a second, the entire midsection of the Ark sank a little and a truly monstrous groan went through the ship. Underwater, hundreds of rockets fired off as thousands of tons of flesh and steel start to turn.
Aaron paused and looked up as the ship groans and rumbles. "That doesn't sound safe..." Sophie knew that iconic rumbling. She broadened her stance in preparation as she finished securing the cabinet of games and DVDs. Emily shifted on her feet, then grabs onto the tied-down couch and holds it for dear life. Outwardly, her expression was as impassive as her sunglasses, but anyone near her would have noticed her shaking arms and her sweaty palms leaving a light sheen on the fabric of the couch. Talia, on the other hand, held on to some railing, after making a guess at the safest place in the room. The Ark's rotating midriff increased its pace, necessary to lift a titanic weight from the cold sea. A gargantuan shaft of rivetted steel and electric coils break the surface. "Arm of God ready."
Aaron gripped the counter as the slant of the ship suddenly became very noticeable to him. "What!? What the hell is the Arm of God!?"
Emily bent her knees slightly, leaning into the list of the ship. Be cool... be cool..., she thought to herself, don't scream... Soon enough, the entire midsection had done a full 180, presenting a truly tremendous gun over its top. The AoG turned toward the sight of the predicted landing of its own accord, waiting...
As the ready notice rang out, Sophie did a quick internal headcount. Yes, all the pilots were currently still in the dorms and not ready to get launched. She wondered if it had always been like this. “The Arm of God is our ride to Ukraine.” She left out that it was absolutely terrifying…even just to be on the ship when it went off.
"Our what!?" Aaron asked back again incredulously. His grip on the counter, however, was rather poor, and anything else he had to say was lost as he slipped and fell back onto the kitchen wall behind him with a grunt and a groan.
"Do we suit up now?" Talia asked.
"Pilots to Evangelion Hangar. Prepare for Combat"
Seeing Aaron fall, Emily dashed over to him and crouched down. "Hey, you okay?" She asked, concern evident in her voice.
"Fine..." Aaron gasped out. "Just... Let's just get to the hangar..." The boy waved Emily's help away, picking himself up off the... wall, and getting ready to move.
"Advance Notice: Insurance on shattered windows is not liable to be collected from Nerv staff"
So apparently this was the normal order of operations, Sophie mused to herself. Sophie made a mental note that the notice to the pilots was a lot clearer here than down in the refugee decks. While she moved gracefully, she also moved quickly as she exited the apartment after Talia and started toward the hanger deck.
"That's our cue, everyone," Terry said with a bit of guilt and hesitation over her fellows' unprepared state. She released the wooden chair she'd grabbed and started ushering the others to the door
Emily looked at Aaron for a moment, quickly eyeing him over to make sure that nothing had happened to him, especially to his bum arm, which she judged that he wouldn't have noticed. Satisfied after a cursory glance, Emily dashed back to her room, quickly threw on her plugsuit, and powered on her helmet. There's a soft "whirr," and the device came to life. She glanced around the room one more time, then dashed out the door to her designated staging area, mentally running through the combat exercises she's been practicing for several years, all in preparation for this moment... she smiled. Time to make Mia proud. Emily dashed to her room and quickly threw her plugsuit over her shoulder, grabbing her helmet not too long after...
Maria made her way to the Eva hangars after all the excitement of the 'Table Flip'. Though with some difficulty, she managed to find the locker room, and quickly set about changing into her plugsuit. Aaron made it to the hangar room quickly enough after everyone else as well, changed into his plugsuit. It was black, with white lines tracing branching lines down the center of his chest, filled with yellow shapes and polygons, while his left arm was entirely white leading down to the edge of the cuff where it cut off into a black glove.
As Sophie gets to the changing room with the rest of the pilots, she quickly keyed in the code to her locker and got out her plugsuit and A-10 clips. Stripping down, she placed her clothes into the locker and got into the suit, pressing the wrist buttons to seal it before closing her locker. Matching Hesta waiting in the hanger, Sophie’s suit was primarily grey with dark red sections and dark purple highlights. She adjusted the fit of her nerve clips on her head as the exits the changing room and makes her way towards the catwalk and Hestia’s accessway.
Terry stayed a short distance behind everyone else after checking over the house's contents and making sure nothing was broken. "I've been told by Edgar that you should all log in and get inside the units ASAP," Terry said, trying to keep out of the changing rooms.
Emily slid to a stop on the slick floors of the changing room, slamming into the lockers to do so. She quickly threw down her suit and helmet onto the bench in front of her and strips, seemingly not caring that Maria and Talia could very easily have been watching her. After but a moment her clothes were off, and she steps her scarred, battered body into the gold and blue plugsuit designated for S00, tightening it with the press of a button, then plopping her helmet on her head and powering up its HUD .
Maria paused, noticing she's being stared at. "Eh?" She looked down at her black and purple/blue suit, the material far too thin in some places, then around her. "Is something wrong?"
"No." Talia mumbled. "This is a first for me."
Aaron stopped and blinked, looking over at everyone, only then realizing he's the only guy surrounded by girls in skintight outfits. "Well... This is a little unexpected but, uh... I suppose I won't complain." He half shrugged to himself, glancing over at Maria as he moves over to the console in front of his Eva. "I'm sure everyone is just stunned by your, ah... Super special plugsuit."
"Oh..." Maria smiled confidently. "It will be fine." After the suit self-seals, she smacked her right fist against her left palm. "The enemy is already as good as dead."
Emily nodded, smirking behind her helmet. She said, her voice bearing a monotone edge inflicted by the built-in voxcaster, "We're gonna win, and we're gonna kill it." Around each of the Evas was a series of plates and flared wings, loose rockets linked to the shoulders. A very large hole hung over the pilots, an ominous gaping, toothless maw begging to be fed.
Aaron set his password into the console, staring up at his Eva as the liquid drained from the tube. "Of course it'll be fine, I mean, we've got you around, right?" Aaron stuck his tongue out and winked in Maria's direction before he started to climb into the entry plug, though not before staring at the rockets dubiously. He sighed, climbing in anyways. "God, this is gonna suck..." He mumbled to himself, sliding a headset over his ears and tilting the microphone down besides his mouth.
Emily felt a pang of... something, like a burning and twisting sensation in her stomach when Aaron banters with Maria, but... she took a deep breath, then exhaled fully and let her plug and helmet fill with NIL. The systems powered on, delivering a direct data feed to her computerized helmet; leaning forwards on the chair, Emily said with the cool tones of someone who's not actually feeling what they say, "S00 Hermes, operational and ready for deployment on your command, Director."
"S02 Athena starting up!" Talia said with a tad more excitement than usual as she watched the fluid level rise.
Meanwhile, Aaron's coughs filled the communications channel and his video link showed him pounding on his chest as it comes online, the plug having just filled with NIL. "Uh... S03... Proteus is ready... I guess?"
Sophie, for one, was glad for the opaque metal construction of the plug, because having her lungs suddenly fill with NIL threw her composure off for a second. Taking a few seconds to breathe deeply and let all the rest of the air out of her lungs, she activated the plug’s interior systems, and the screens were covered in seconds with dense computer language. There was a rumble as the exterior of the plug spun, then shuddered to a stop and the contacts engaged with the sockets in Hestia’s spine, and the screens went from text to images as the optical feed came online, showing Sophie the other Evangelions all lined up for launch. Recalling the manual, Sophie reched to her left and flipped a few switches. “S05 Hestia, reactor online. Sensors…online. Weapon managment systems…online. Neural synchronization steady at 43%. Reactor pressure steady. Output at maximum, combat potential full. All systems green.” Half of what she said was just reading off of the heads-up displays, and she bet the techs at their stations probably knew more about the system than she did, but repeating the status gave her something to focus on. Giant armatures on the hanger walls were already writhing with life, transporting weapons to the Evangelions; Hestia’s loadout was a single positron S-rifle. A quick glance at her HUD told Sophie that, yes, the pylons were still not combat-ready and had been left empty.
Maria exhaled just as she practiced when the entry plug fills with the liquid medium, but inhaling... she held her breath as long as possible before finally giving in. "Ehm... ah, S04, ready for action! It... yeah!" she fumbled, before keeping quiet. Once everyone was seated inside their units, a crane arm grabbed each by the head and pulled them into the cavernous hole. In a second, the furious rush of electrified air rang through their ears as the giant machines sailed through the air.
Aaron winced as the crane pinches at the Eva's head, glancing over his control surfaces, and sighs. His heart pounded rapidly in his chest. "I did not sign up to get shot out of the side of a boat..." He grumbled to himself before he felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end and the air fill with some kind of 'pressure', and then suddenly he was flying, doing his best to suppress a scream, but failing, crashing into the ground in a bit of an undignified head, especially as the boosters arrested his fall suddenly.
They had been... launched toward Kiev, a huge population centre at the time. It had been nothing short of a miracle that the occupants of nearly every building in the city had been evacuated and rushed to numerous underground bunkers or to the armored city centre deep within central Kiev. The centre sat several hundred metres away from the pilots, who'd all holed up in the forward base. Some skyscrapers and purpose-built armored buildings sat just ahead of them before the cityscape flattened out into regular residential buildings, homes and apartments. So far, the city was unharmed and the citizens mostly only shocked. How long that would last relied on the pilots doing their jobs...
Emily checked over her weapons systems one more time, determined not to make a fool of herself on the first sortie... Pallet rifle... check. Smartgun... check. Polythermic knife? Checkity-check.. She braced herself for the thrust, for the pressure on S00's head, and then... promptly got the wind knocked out of her by the sheer brute acceleration. And then... she opens her eyes, and underneath her is a beautiful blue sea, its cresting waves moving backwards at a supersonic pace augmented by her accelerated territory, and... slowly, the girl begins to smile. Then... she giggles, watching as the sea turns to shore, then to farmland, and finally... She landed headfirst in a skyscraper.
Talia, taking the sudden flight marked better than the others, merely observed the sea and ground floating under the launched Eva "Pretty." "Ow..." Emily moaned, rubbing her helmet in the plug.
Maria, on the other hand, managed to land as gracefully as she could, which essentially involved rolling until the gigantic machine lost enough speed she dared spread out to stop. "Ha..."
Aaron picked himself up off the ground with a groan. A large shield was strapped to his left arm, and clutched in his left was a thick, heavy-bladed knife. It looked like any other hunting or combat knife on the market, only thousands of times larger. "Greatest weapon of mankind, and they can't afford to give me anything else other than a shiv and a metal sheet..." the boy griped to himself. He looked around quickly, watching everyone else make their own landings, before he noticed... "Er... We're in the right place, right? I mean... I don't see the Angel anywhere... They're supposed to be pretty, well... unsubtle usually, right?"
Emily pulled her head out of the skyscraper, then leaned against another building for support as she gathered her bearings, drawing her smart-rifle to bear and glancing about for the angel; satisfied with the cursory examination, the girl plugged herself in and said, "I guess?"
"I trust you all enjoyed the flight," Terry said through the communicators in each of the units. "This is your lovely correspondent, Terry Mitchell, here to make sure you survive". She cleared her throat, hiding her nervousness. She'd been out of active duty for a time now... Did she have what it took to jump right back in? "Orthrus should be landing in a moment..."
Talia surveyed her immediate surroundings cautiously, still not raising her hammer
Aaron seemed surprised by the correspondent on the other side of the call. "Terry? What are you doing on the comms? And Orthrus?" Maria's S04 ignored the conversation for the time being and plugged itself into the support umbilicals, easily carrying the enormous 'rifle' it was deployed with.
"Landing?" Emily immediately pointed her rifle to the sky and switched her targeting computer from ground calculations to AA calculations.
Were it not for the NIL, Sophie was pretty sure the g-forces of the launch would have broken bones. It definitely wasn’t comfortable, even through Hestia’s double-thick armor plating. The trip was very quick, and came to a sudden halt as braking thrusters fired and airbrakes opened, bringing her from supersonic velocities down to a near standstill in the span of a few seconds. Reflexively adjusting her…no, not her body, the body of the giant war machine she was synched to, Sophie managed to land on her feet, though her knees buckled on impact and she skidded for what must have been several hundred meters before coming to a stop, one hand on the ground behind her to stop her from going completely prone. Inside Hestia’s plug, Sophie flipped one last switch as soon as she finished moving. “Hestia, reactor at combat full.” There was a whine as Hestia’s reactor stack spun up, and Sophie could feel the plug get warmer. And, as her fellow pilots had already realized, whatever they were supposed to combat wasn’t showing itself. “Hestia to Shinn. Can you provide estimated landing location?” Hestia had a nice big second-generation positron rifle, and Sophie brought it into a ready position.
Back on the ship, in a quiet cubicle in the vast bridge, Terry adjusted her headphones while simultaneously fiddling with all manner of buttons and prompts. Soon enough, the grey-and-black computer screen just ahead of her lit up with bright, psychodelic colors before settling on a wireframe form. Some sort of beast, a beast whose biometrics and prediction thereof soon flooded her eyes. "Sorry, I'm getting a lot of chatter from you lot... one moment... Yes, Fourth Angel, designation: Orthrus. That's your opponent... It'll be crashing in the next few moments, maybe half a kilometer east of the city center. Expect something large, expect something dangerous..."
In the sky, a shining globe of light began to burn up, fiery in its energy. It sailed over and through the tops of buildings before settling on top of one. Fleshy 'petals' enclosed some mysterious package in this gigantic gift from the air, their seams oozing with yellow, boiling pus. The very tips of them opened and a wild, unholy scream escaped the infernal pod...
Aaron looked up in the sky, his eyes tracing the fleshy comet. "Oh... I guess that's Orthrus..." he said with a tone of resignation.
That’s one question answered, Sophie thought. “Hestia to Shinn: contact with probable Angel.” Sophie hoped they already had the coordinates, as Hestia’s HUD was already highlighting the thing. That, and it was easier to worry about that then the fact that she was now facing down an eldritch abomination of unimaginable power.
"There it is!" Maria took aim, staring down comically huge iron sights.
Emily immediately fired off a flurry of positron blasts at the incoming meteor, but it was falling quicker than her targeting systems could adequately predict. When it comes to a stop, Emily tensely trained her smartgun on the target and said over the comms, "Emily to Shinn, target close." When the petals unfurled, Emily swallows, wincing slightly at the monster's scream and slotting in a new generator to her positron weapon. "Emily to Shinn, please advise." Bursting with sudden vigour, the smooth, bulldog head of the 4th Angel emerged, dozens of bright blue eyes taking their first sights. Huge teeth sit far too large in its head and cut through both jaws, the abomination drawing its own blood as sockets, fleshy sheathes for the teeth, formed in its flesh. The pink, vaguely embryonic beast broke free, eight limbs supporting its girth. A titanic, muscular, worm-like body sat at the centre of the tentacle-cluster of limbs, veins pulsating over the bulging musculature of the Angel. Raw, naked muscle tissue greeted the air, steaming with unknown fluid...
Terry's eye narrowed. She'd heard of the drop pods coming from space but... never had she seen it in the flesh, so to speak. For a moment, she just stared at the writhing monstrosity, watching as it shivered and twitched on its first, and hopefully last, outing into the world. "I don't see anything built for missile combat. Ranged units, you should be safe..."
Aaron flinched as the thing bursts out of its... Shell? Egg? Entry pod? Whatever the hell this thing was... He was about to have to fight it... He forced a smile onto his face despite the fear. "Well, I mean, it certainly looks like an Angel..." he said with a lopsided smirk.
Talia took initiative practically instantly, lifting her hammer and setting a heavy foot down on the ground behind her. "S02 Athena, engaging!" With a monstrously strong push, Athena burst forward, hammer swing in a wide, and unfortunately inaccurate, arc. The Angel stared at this strange new 'creature', biting reflexively at the hammer that flew past its head. As if in response, a wave of heat went around the monster, a blue, transparent sheen surrounding the beast's flesh. The shell solidifies, taking on a crystalline appearance, and the creature had grown some manner of 'skin'.
Aaron seemed a little unsure about what exactly to do, especially as Talia rushed the thing. He looked down at his knife, letting out a quiet curse. "Fuck me... Alright, let's get this going!" He dashed forwards, his Eva's footsteps resounding loudly against the floor and his blade flashed out, starting to glow with heat. Orthrus, however, prepared itself much more effectively this time. The rushing Eva had left itself open and the Angel's hungry eyes took note. A lightning swipe of its claws rips the umbilical to shreds in an instant, sending shreds of electrical wiring and battery flying in all directions. Orthrus hissed, seemingly growing into its role... All of its dozen eyes lit up with a dark blue glow and a permanent, drawn-lip snarl crawled across the Angel's predatory snout. Aaron let out a hiss as his attack missed, and his eyes widened at the sudden counterattack. He darted to the side, avoiding the blow but his cable was not so lucky. "What!? Dammit! Running on battery power! 5 minutes and counting!"
Two of the pilots were already rushing the beast. Sophie was not so impulsive, or perhaps not so brave. As her allies rushed the Angel, Sophie ducked behind one of the larger buildings that some small part of the back of her mind recognizes as similar to a building she remembers seeing wrecked, with a lot of solid-looking metal beams sticking out of it. With this sturdy structure hiding most of her, she pointed her rifle at the Angel, taking time to line up a proper shot so as to not miss like her teammates...
Switching its gaze to the first Eva, Orthrus bit the air feigning a blow as it got used to its own body The Angel growled with multiple voices, perhaps angry at its unused body, shuffling away from the two machines before slithering closer to the city centre. Maria tracked this alien enemy, waiting for a chance to deliver a clear shot as Shinn analyzed the monster's capabilities.
"Angel's breaking away, watch out!" Aaron called out in warning.
Emily tracked the Angel with her gun, waiting for a firing solution, then... SHOOM. White-hot positron energy lanced from the barrel of the gun, arcing across the battlefield and impacting against the angel with a loud crackle of ionized air, sending hot shockwaves of sound and superheated air bouncing off the walls of the city. To the pilots' collective horror, the superheated blast washed over an invisible bubble around Orthrus, as if it was a solid object. A shimmering flash ran over the Angel's sinuous form, hinting at something unnatural... The shining eyes set a laser sight on Hestia, the Evangelion furthest back... The Angel's body sank to to the ground before its hind limbs fired backwards explosively. Its mouth agape, Orthrus rammed its teeth into the side of a building, digging deep easily but leaving itself dangerously open. Its aim had failed it, dangerously so this time...
Scheiss! Sophie didn’t swear out loud, but did let out a gasp as Orthrus charged straight towards her. Luckily, the building proved to be as sturdy as she had hoped, and it momentarily stuck itself in the concrete and metal, giving her enough time to fire off a shot at point-blank range. The sister of Emily’s earlier attack, this lance of energy, supported by Emily’s smartgun’s forepulse, lashed out and hit the Angel dead-center. Emily herself swapped the firing mode on her smartgun; instead of a full-power blast, she fired off a quickly-aimed ionized pulse, which smacked against the angel and weakened it just enough to let Sophie's shot through. The field of energy burned away as a wave of power surged over it, a blade of orange energy ripping through the solid barrier. With its only source of protection gone, Orthrus thrashed wildly, tearing down the construction and roaring with a reverberating gurgling noise that shattered nearby windows. With the Angel still too close for comfort, Sophie leaped from cover, pushing the pedals in the entry plug down…and then, past a small amount of resistance, even further. Adrenaline flooded both her and Hestia as she ran around the Angel back towards the rest of the team.
Over the comms, Emily called, "Aether, it's open. I'm firing another pulse, follow it up." With that, Emily dod exactly as she said, firing another pulse and momentarily weakening the angel's field for just long enough for Maria to make a follow-up shot.
"Roger, roger!" Maria answered back. S04 opened up with the cannon, the white-blue beam cutting through evacuated buildings as it traced across the angel's exposed body. "Take this!"
The first real hit struck Orthrus in its side, the flesh singeing audibly and painfully as it steams. The Angel yelled once more, rage filled screams ringing through Kiev. The sheer sonic power shattered the windows of almost every nearby building, the gaping jaws releasing more a scream than an animalistic roar... Seeing that there's no use standing around outside combat, Talia turned her Eva and runs to where the action was hottest: by the Angel itslef. Primal predatory instincts filled the beast for the first time as it turned itself around and eyes the Evas. One of them, it seemed to note, had always been firing with the others. That machine was Hermes. Orthrus' rear limbs coiled up and the Angel fired forward, bladed jaws shooting forth to score a raking gash across the side of its prey. The titan landed and fired off once more, ramming full-force into the Evangelion with enough power to knock it down in one blow. Orthrus hissed as it pulls itself free and shuffled away a short distance, cautious not to earn another hit but enraged to the point of staying close by.
Emily's lightning-fast machine dodged once, then twice, then the Angel's attack hit home, knocking the girl to her feet and sending her sprawling. Gently, she clutches her abdomen where Hermes got bit and said weakly, "I'm down... could use some help here..." Content with its work, a solid hit, the Angel shifted towards the downed Eva, peering over it like a proud hunter with its kill. Its head jolted up, scanning the horizon for opposition... Convinced that nothing was going to steal its prey, Orthrus drew its massive tongue across the metallic face of the Evangelion. The beast raised a mighty claw and drove it deep into the Eva's chest, drawing a veritable geyser of fluid surging up into the air. Scoring a kill, something so deeply ingrained its mind as the ultimate objective, Orthrus roared triumphantly, bathed in unholy success.
"Eh- Emily!" Maria shouted.
Terry's heart jumped into her throat... Not again, not again. "Emily? Talk to me?" Sophie skidded to a halt barely a hundred meters away from Emily as Hermes got taken out. As shouts rang out over the comms, she still tried to catch her breath from moving too quickly.
"Agh!" Emily gurgled in pain, the Eva taking the full brunt of the assault. Her comms had cut out mid-scream, and the entry plug ejected from the carcass of the downed Evangelion, rocketing its way through several buildings before sailing off into the sunset... or at least it would, if it didn't smash into a huge skyscraper on its way over, smacking about inside the tall building and denting itself up fairly massively.
Aaron blinked at the suddenness of Emily's fall, not quite comprehending it in his head for a moment. "Emily...? Emily!?" Aaron's heart seemed to stop, a bad sign considering his usual heart problems, but it didn't stop him from sprinting full speed towards the Angel, closing distance rapidly. While thumping footsteps may have alerted any other creature of flesh and blood, Orthrus was uninterested. The titan curled around the body of its victim, cradling the corpse in its coils. It prodded the body with its snout briefly before sinking its teeth into Hermes' left arm, severing the Eva's forearm entirely. As the arm slid down the Angel's gullet, a sudden rush of blows reduced its dangerous maw into raw pulp, spraying blood in every direction and enough of it to stain the tallest skyscraper. Orthrus screamed, high pitched and agonized. The beast was on the back foot. Talia machine had rushed in with its hammer, letting loose a flurry of blows too fast for anyone's eyes to track. The brutality of the hits made Orthrus reel, blind and disarmed. Orthrus thrashed once more before the great brute decided to make a run for it... Was this... self-preservation?
Internally grumbling, Sophie spurred Hestia back into motion. Both her and the machine were still slow from pushing too hard too fast, but she managed to jog past the Angel and skidded to a stop, facing down the wounded beast. “Hestia to Shinn. Target is attempting to flee; cutting it off.” She really, really hoped that without a head it couldn’t do to her what it did to Hermes.
"Acknowledged, Hestia. You've got this!"
Aaron cursed as the Angel sprinted by him. He considers going after it, but a look at his remaining power turned that thought around. The extrasensory abilities of the Angel detected a strange, large force ahead of it, a force it was starting to recognise as an Eva Unit. Orthrus gurgled, blood spurting from its open throat. It rose onto its hind legs and screeched through its open windpipe, spilling blood as it wailed. The bright red core on its belly was obvious now but still covered by numerous clawed arms, clasped in protection. Aaron finally spotted the umbilicals not very far away, and moved towards them, replacing the severed one on his back with a new one, and breathing a sigh of relief as he saw his timer stop ticking downwards. Orthrus growled and hissed, the liquid stopping its vigorous flow from its ripped-apart neck. It bode its time, swaying gently as a cold breeze runs through the smashed cityscape. Talia was having none of that. She charged the angel with Athena's hammer, striking a solid body blow. Orthrus responded with a wild rake of its claws, barely making a dent.
Terry sure sounded more confident than Sophie felt… and she guessed more confident than Terry actually felt, too. The Angel, however, was apparently deciding to oblige them as it reared up, giving Sophie a good look at its core: long enough for Hestia’s automated systems to lock onto it. “Hestia to Shinn. Core identified,” Sophie reported as Talia laid another solid blow on Orthrus with her hammer. Taking aim down the HUD-imposed sights of her rifle, Sophie fired, landing a beam of positrons on the Angel’s core, which scorched black as the beam transferred its energy to the Angel’s literal heart. Black veins snaked out from the Angel's core, digging deep into its flesh and burning like all hell. A devilish chorus burst from the throat of abomination, sending ripples through the air and disturbing something immaterial...
"Great shot, Sophie!" Terry said proudly through the microphone and watching as the pilots exploited their foe's one weakness. Nearby, the numerous technicians and operators worked frantically to keep the teenage director up to date with the Angel's information. It was on the back foot... definitely... They couldn't afford to let up now...
A shadowy figure sauntered up behind Terry, addressing the girl quickly. "They need to make this quick. The Angel is crippled, sure, but we can't trust these things not to pull any tricks..." the Commander says.
"Got it, sir."
Maria took aim, waiting just long enough for a firing solution before pulling the trigger. "Here I go again, don't get hit!" After spooling for a moment, a bright beam blasts into the angel from the distance.
Aaron moved quickly to rejoin the fight, the knowledge that he'd done nothing the entire conflict itching at him. Emily was down, and now the Angel was on its back leg. He had to do something. "You're not getting away..."
The body of the Angel began to char, boiling blood oozing from every open wound.
Maria clicked her trigger again and the firearm did little but smoke. "Ah... out of ammo!" Maria says over the comms.
"There should be a supply box near the city centre..." Terry responded, a tad bit close to her mic. "Alternatively we can send a box to you via gun. Either way, eliminate the Angel immediately. That's an order from the Commander."
Aaron moved in quick, ducking underneath the Angel's arms, and with a flick of a switch, his knife turned from a simple bright orange to white hot as it suddenly overheats. The blade glanced off against the side of the core, as Aaron lunged his arm forwards, and he quickly moved to back off after the hit goes through.
Sophie kept her aim steady as her teammates continued to pound Orthrus into even more of a bloody, flaming pulp. She guessed it was as good a stress outlet as any, after what it had done to Hermes. The beast appeared to have prioritized paying attention to her attacks after that hit to its core, however, because it had dodged her next shot rather easily.
"So, uh... Think we can last till it just burns to dust...?" Aaron asked, half optimistically.
The Angel wasn't taking defeat lying down. An almost instinctive lurch put the beast out of the dangerous pulse. A weak swing goes nowhere, giving the Angel time to recover.
"Reloading..." Maria inserted the spare power pack that was stored in Aether's wing into the cannon. "Set! Ready to fire. Everyone, watch out!" Another beam struck the angel, superheating its body, and melting the ground around it. Orthrus was practically a walking inferno by this point, a fact that pained and agitated the beast to no end... Orthrus screeched again, crackling accompanying its swan song.
Aaron glanced down at his knife, still glowing white hot, unsure what exactly a little extra heat would do to something already a burning pyre. He shrugged inside the plug, dashing forward again, bringing the weapon down into the Angel's chest and ripping downward with all his strength. "Come on! You can't be able to take much more!"
The combined onslaught from multiple directions was too much to handle. The stress on its body began to melt Orthrus and its limbs, turning it into a yowling, pathetic creature. It did, as most Angels did, have one trick left. The crack caused by Talia's last hammer blow sent a chain reaction through the Angel's body, each muscular fibre expanding and heating up, crystallising every part of the Angel's body before a wave of heat erupted skyward. Everything within a few tens of metres was charred, unrecognisably burnt. One final sign of life cut through the Angel's spine, twitching and convulsing before exploding into a harmless spray of ash. Kiev... had been wrecked but at least it was safe...
"Fantastic work, team! We'll be sending transports your way shortly," Terry says with a grin. Sliding back into her chair, the redhead could only hear the cheers from everyone in the bridge once she pulled her headphones off.
"Hmm, not bad for a first run of OD'ing," the Commander said with a nod before slinking off elsewhere.
Terry slouched in her chair and let out a relieved breath. "Thank you sir!"