And Each Slow Dusk A Drawing Down Of Blinds

[05:30] <Marianne> [[Session 39: NEON GENESIS EVANGELION. Date: 6th of February, 2017. Episode Title: And each slow dusk a drawing down of blinds.-
[05:33] <Marianne> [Southern Spain. The small city of Almeria sits on the southern coast of Spain, staring out towards Algeria. A harbour city founded as a fortress to guard the coast, its original purpose was once again being brought into being.-
[05:37] <Marianne> [Three Evangelions crouched within the city, empty at the moment; two of them graceful and agile, a third huge and hulking in massive armor.-
[05:38] <Marianne> [Down on the ground below, in a command vehicle, Colonel Marianne tapped her chin quietly. The pilots had been summoned.]
[05:41] * Aline found herself, at the moment, staring at her own Evangelion, having already been in the command vehicle for a while, out of a sense of… …Obligation? She considered it that.
[05:47] * Sept had been out for a stroll, or a good spacing-out, and he returned with little sense of urgency. He'd betrayed few signs of being excited or otherwise worked up about the battle, but who knew how that would change once he got back in the plug?
[05:47] * Yanmei had been elsewhere, having a hurried discussion with some technicians via long-distance communication about a new weapon. She arrived briskly, smiling and still rather put-together in spite of the change in scenary.
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[05:50] <Marianne> "How are we all feeling?"
[05:51] * Aline raised a hand, and waved it side-to-side. Standard gesture for 'so-so'. "Had better, had worse. I just hope this goes well, is all."
[05:52] <Sept> "Nervous, I think. Yes, that would describe…"
[05:52] <Yanmei> "Ready, Colonel," Yanmei's simple reply.
[05:53] * Marianne nodded slowly. "Good. We've had word from Eden."
[05:54] <Sept> "Are they all right?"
[05:54] <Yanmei> Yanmei's gaze turned… a little intense.
[05:55] * Aline just stared ahead, a tiny brow raise as her only signal.
[05:55] <Marianne> "The base is gone, and Ayanami Juu is en route. However, we've lost contact with Roku and Isabelle."
[05:58] <Yanmei> "Lost contact." Yanmei echoed. Her brow furrowed.
[05:58] * Sept turned his eyes downward. "I see."
[05:59] * Aline frowned. "Nn. Not good news."
[06:04] <Marianne> "No. But… We'll have to make do. The LN First is en route." Said Marianne quietly. "General de Poitou's forces are set up within the city, and our long range fire support is in place. This is it."
[06:10] <Yanmei> "We won't let ourselves be overwhelmed." Yanmei tossed her hair, and threw a glance over the city. "There's no way we will."
[06:11] <Aline> "Right. You remember the briefing… break formation and we'll get sliced. Let's try to keep as unified as we can."
[06:11] <Sept> "Of course. The three of us will make it through."
[06:14] * Marianne nodded.-
[06:15] <Marianne> ["Colonel." It was James from his console. The command vehicle was actually a little crowded- apart from the usual crowd, Dr. Riel (who was staring at James with a deep frown) and Julien Lafabre were present as well. "Object incoming."-
[06:15] <Marianne> "Enemy?"-
[06:15] <Marianne> ["No, ma'am. Verifying… EVA-16."]
[06:18] * Yanmei smiled again at that. "Hope she's still in okay condition?"
[06:18] <Marianne> "Let's hope. Raise her, James."-
[06:18] <Sept> "What about the other battles? Will she be able to assist us?"
[06:18] <Marianne> ["Yes, ma'am."-
[06:20] <Marianne> "She'll be able to assist. Falling back here was the idea anyway."-
[06:21] <Marianne> [A visual and an audio- Juu, sitting in her plug, staring forward. "Ayanami Juu reporting."-
[06:21] <Marianne> "What happened, Juu? Where are your squadmates?"-
[06:21] <Marianne> ["I don't know." She muttered. "Bellamy refused to retreat, and Roku vanished in the chaos."]
[06:23] <Sept> "Is it possible they survived, Juu?"
[06:23] * Aline muttered to herself. "Stubborn. Can't kill God from behind human lines…"
[06:25] * Yanmei closed her eyes for a moment, and when she opened them they were hard. "Maybe we'll get a better idea of what happened if we push them back far enough. We shouldn't count on them appearing again in time to offer assistance, though?"
[06:25] <Marianne> "Probably not…"-
[06:26] <Marianne> ["I think so. I didn't see any debris after the self destruct." Said Juu.]
[06:27] * Aline actually spoke up, now. "EVAs are hardy, and so are their pilots. They're probably still alive…"
[06:28] <Sept> "That is good. The caretaker… Isabelle has been in enough danger without our support."
[06:29] * Aline briefly /eyed/ Sera at that.
[06:31] <Marianne> "Let's hope so. Either way. Let's get to the plugs, pilots."
[06:32] <Sept> "Yes. Let's. Stay safe, Yanmei, Aline."
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[06:33] * Aline nodded swiftly. "Right." And she headed off to ready for battle!
[06:33] <Yanmei> "Of course, Colonel. Let's stay alert, everyone, shall we?"
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[06:41] <Marianne> [A few minutes later, they'd be safe within their plugs, and standing tall over Almeria. The white form of EVA-16 had landed, shield and sword in hand.-
[06:42] <Marianne> "Report, Gosselin."-
[06:44] <Marianne> ["EVA-01 operating above normal parameters."-
[06:44] <Marianne> ["EVA-00 operating at estimated parameters!" Said Sophie.-
[06:44] <Marianne> ["… EVA-04's Synch Ratio is awfully low." Said James dubiously.-
[06:44] <Marianne> "Yanmei? Everything alright in there?"
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[06:46] <Yanmei> "Yes." Yanmei was leaning forward in her seat a little, hands relaxed on the controls. "I don't thik it's anything to be alarmed about? I can still fight."
[06:47] * Aline frowned. "It's lowering 04's performance. Stay on guard…"
[06:47] <Sept> "Please don't take too many risks to make up for it, Yanmei."
[06:48] <Yanmei> "Aware of that, though the concern is appreciated." She smiled. "Juu, how are you doing over there?"
[06:50] <Marianne> ["I'm good." Said Juu quietly.-
[06:51] <Marianne> ["Colonel, incoming transmission. It's from…" James coughed. "The Positron Battleship."-
[06:51] <Marianne> "… Really? Put it through."-
[06:51] <Marianne> [The message was communicated to the command vehicle- but also to the Evangelions.-
[06:55] <Marianne> ["United Nations forces. This is General Silas Caine of the Liberated Nations' First Regiment. What is about to occur will bring glory to no one, only devastation and waste. To this end, I implore that you lay down your arms and surrender. You will be treated well- you have my word on that. If you continue to resist, you will be destroyed."]
[06:58] * Aline clenched her fist, starting to push a little bit past some of the depressive fog in her head… with anger, inspired by something else. "And the same to you, I so dearly hope." The diplomatic tone /strained/ with each syllable, but she kept it.
[07:00] <Sept> "It is a shame he will have to die again," said Sera, more interested in the ocean view than his nephewcousin, for now.
[07:02] <Yanmei> "If you're so concerned about the waste and destruction brought about by this battle, General Caine, then you could simply turn around and retreat." Yanmei was smiling wryly.
[07:03] <Marianne> "I think you've heard our response, General Caine. We emphatically refuse."-
[07:05] <Marianne> ["Have it your way." The comms ended.-
[07:05] <Marianne> ["Colonel! Twelve Aqua Solaces emerging from the water!"-
[07:05] <Marianne> "Very well. Evangelions- move in and engage!"
[07:12] <Yanmei> "Yes, Colonel." Yanmei promptly took aim. "I'll try to reduce numbers in this smaller group before aiding in taking down the central one. Unless things get really dire. Blanc, any wide-area tricks at your disposal?"
[07:15] * Aline nodded. "I have a bit. Full-auto on the posirifle, planar AT Wave…" She briefly racked her brain to remember. "Close-up repulsion field, aaaaand if I'm feeling stupid, I can abduct them into a Dirac Sea."
[07:15] <Aline> > Meanwhile, 00 briefly advanced, as its field raised.
[07:17] <Marianne> [The Aqua Solaces first appeared as large waves cresting the top of the sea- before their strange, frog-like bodies started to emerge. Nine of them burst onto the shore, prog rams at the ready.]
[07:19] <Sept> "Engaging primary Solace squad," came the voice as EVA-01 lurched into motion, wings spread as it glid confidently toward the mechanical beasts ahead.
[07:28] <Marianne> ["Engaging the right flank." Said Juu, holding her sword in the air. With a thrust of AT Energy the blade spun forward- narrow missing its target- before returning to EVA-16's hand. "…"]
[07:30] * Yanmei glanced at the situation that 01 was in only after she had pulled the trigger. It was a brief frown between aiming attempts.
[07:32] <Marianne> [The bolt shell spun towards the lead Solace on the left flank, immediately ripping its head apart. The Solace jerked for a second before collapsing forward.-
[07:32] <Marianne> "Good shot, Yanmei!"
[07:33] <Yanmei> "Thank you, Colonel. Juu, please keep helping 01!"
[07:39] <Marianne> ["Yes, ma'am." Said Juu, charging forward, shield and sword raised. The blade crashed down on one Solace- who brought its blade up to parry. "…"]
[08:03] <Marianne> [Meanwhile, the Solaces in the central group began to shift away carefully from 01 and 16, leaving them exposed…-
[08:03] <Marianne> [… And a volley of fire burst from rifles mounted on their torsos, shredding through armor and AT Field, vaporising EVA-01's left arm and shield completely.]
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[08:08] <Sept> The comms stayed quiet as Sera pushed the pain away, gritting his teeth with eyes tightly shut. When he started breathing again, it was ragged, mixed with half-spoken, unrecognisable syllables. 01 gripped its knife tight like someone at a dentist might grip the armrest, and drove it through the head of the closest Solace.
[08:10] * Aline on the other hand, stayed calm and level for now, 00 marching forwards, a single phrase uttered from Aline's comms. "Hang in there, Sera." …Then, with a broad flourish from the right arm - still wielding the Lance of Tears - 00 cast out a massive shockwave over the ocean, orange ripples tracing it out as an AT effect!
[08:11] <Marianne> [One of them was already dead by the time Aline's wave rippled out- 01's knife having rent the head in two. It fell just before the blade rippled over it, inflicting deep damage into the armor of nearly every other Solace…-
[08:17] <Marianne> [… Which immediately saw three of them peel off and charge at Aline, massive progressive blades emerging from their very heads, each blade around 10-15 metres long. One of them came very close…!]
[08:19] <Aline> …But not close enough, as 00 carefully wove and bent out of the way! "Hm…" Aline said, nearly thoughful.
[08:33] * Yanmei slammed her melee attachment into the face of one of the nearest Solaces with an unpleasant grinding chainsawlike noise.
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[08:42] <Marianne> [And the Solace went down…!-
[08:43] <Marianne> "Juu, break off and free 00."-
[08:43] <Marianne> ["Yes, Ma'am." EVA-16 spun about and charged once more, Progressive Sword beheading a Solace cleanly.-
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[08:45] <Marianne> [Meanwhile, another Solace harassing 00 saw its weakened chest armor buckle as thousands of tank cannon rounds slammed into its front plate, buckling it and shredding internal circuitry, seeing it stumble back and fall.-
[08:50] <Marianne> [Tank fire opened up on Yanmei's last foe, damaging its head…-
[08:50] <Marianne> ["Colonel! Incoming fire!"-
[08:50] <Marianne> "What!?"-
[08:50] <Marianne> [With a screaming keen, two massive explosive shells slammed into the earth- the explosion vaporised the tank regiment completely.-
[08:51] <Marianne> "… T-those men… That… That damned Silas…!"
[08:51] <Marianne> [Yanmei would soon feel the tide turn- her last opponent's injuries stopped it not at all as a Progressive Prow emerged from its head and sank deeply into 04's left arm, wing dock sliced straight off.]
[09:06] * Yanmei made a noise through gritted teeth, and resecured her gun with her good hand. She was still feeling the heat from that explosion, which seemed to have happened just a hair's width away.
[09:07] <Sept> 01 swayed slightly, raising the knife up as if it would stop the next positronic barrage. "Yanmei, Aline. Are you alright?"
[09:09] * Aline blinked. "…I'm fine, you should worry about yourself and Yanmei." She wasn't rude, but was a bit surprised-sounding.
[09:11] <Yanmei> "I'm fine too. That just leaves yourself, de Pteres. …sorry I'm taking so long."
[09:25] * Aline nodded calmly, as she made a stab at the last remaining Solace harassing her, Lance glowing with energy. "Ugh, out of the way!"
[09:30] <Marianne> [The Solace moved quickly, pushing the Lance away by the bladeless staff- before trying to prog-headbutt 16, which nimbly sidestepped.]
[09:35] * Yanmei fenced with her remaining opponent between mutters, the prog attachment showering sparks when parried.
[10:02] <Marianne> "Let's start moving! Shift yourselves and form up on the main group!"-
[10:03] <Marianne> ["Yes, ma'am." Said Juu, quickly dispatching her opponent and hurtling herself across the field to 01's side.]
[10:04] * Aline flew alongside Juu, wordlessly, landing on the opposite side with a thud, and brandishing 00's spear menacingly!
[10:06] * Yanmei made a sudden break for it, her A Field flourishing in a distraction that didn't pay off. She first dodged the attck that followed, and then scrambled, glancing over her shoulder in annoyance as the Solace quickly caught up.
[10:07] <Marianne> [The Solace was charging at her, chasing her, head bowed-!]
[10:08] <Marianne> [Whilst two other Solaces threw themselves recklessly at Juu. A swing- which she parried with her shield- before flipping over a low cut, and finally deflecting the two with a split-second deployment of her AT Field.]
[10:10] <Yanmei> 04 spun deftly aside! "I'll be there as soon as I can!"
[10:24] <Sept> They were… getting away from him, now? No. No, they weren't. Sera was fast enough not to need another hand for this. One after the other, the Solaces fell under the gentle touch of his progressive blade.
[10:25] <Marianne> [Like someone clipping hedges, the heads of the Solaces fell one by one.]
[10:25] <Aline> …Until the last in that group caught Aline's eye. Then, the last thing it would see on its camera was a burning lance-tip poking through the last of them. "At least it's a fine weapon."
[10:28] <Yanmei> Yanmei's persistant friend fell as well, headless, some yards away from the main group. Yanmei sighed under her breath. "Finally…"
[10:29] <Marianne> "We've weathered the first wave." Said Marianne, with relief. "And we're not too bad for it…"-
[10:30] <Marianne> [… A high pitched keening sound. From the clouds above screamed an EVA unit, white, a heavy railgun held in its arms. It landed, kicking up huge clouds of dirt.-
[10:31] <Marianne> ["Ayanami… Roku. Reporting." She said, with a sigh. "I had to climb high to evade them."]
[10:32] * Aline smiled relatively briefly in her plug. "Ah, hi there! Nonetheless it's good to see you here."
[10:32] <Yanmei> "Ah!" Yanmei glanced over. "You made it! Welcome. What's your condition?"
[10:33] <Sept> "Welcome, Roku. It is good to have you with us."
[10:33] <Marianne> ["I am combat ready. I couldn't find 07…"-
[10:33] <Marianne> ["… Nee-san." Juu's voice, slightly accusatory. "Did you stay behind to try to find 07?"-
[10:33] <Marianne> ["I did."-
[10:34] <Marianne> ["…"]
[10:35] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei shifted slightly. "It was an admirable thing to do, Roku. I'm glad you made it through."
[10:35] <Marianne> ["Thank you."]
[10:37] <Yanmei> "When things are done here, a more thorough search will probably be conducted. Let's focus on what's ahead for now.]
[10:42] <Marianne> ["Colonel!" Sophie's voice. "New contacts! Approaching from the south- airborne!"-
[10:42] <Marianne> "How many?"-
[10:42] <Marianne> ["T-Twenty!"-
[10:42] <Marianne> "Identify."-
[10:43] <Marianne> ["Four fighter jets- breaking off. Twelve airborne Solaces of an unknown design, and… Four T-RIDEN-Ts."]
[10:50] <Sept> "Their pilots. The same ones that defeated 04 last time?"
[10:50] <Marianne> ["We can't confirm…"-
[10:51] <Marianne> ["None of their weapons configurations match Linden's." Said Gosselin.-
[10:51] <Marianne> "Hm…"
[10:52] * Aline shook her head. "He doesn't strike me as the sort who'd work for Silas's battlegroup. Not really big on his brand of psy-ops, from what I got of the guy."
[10:56] <Sept> "Yanmei, Aline," Sera said. "It's them."
[10:58] <Marianne> [Juu stepped forward, opening fire with her wing bolters at one of the T-RIDEN-Ts- a particularly armoured one. It dodged most of them effortlessly, although one met its mark.-
[11:04] <Marianne> [A T-RIDEN-T broke from the ranks first, charging forward, a long Progressive sword held in its hand. It charged at Sera- but just before it landed, its engines burned at full speed, putting immense strength behind its blow as it slammed into 01's arm.]
[11:09] <Sept> Pieces of the F-Type coating showered on the streets below as the arm fractured in several places, 01 somehow soaking much of the impact with its AT field. Inside the plug, Sera tried desperately to regain control of his fingers through the pain.
[11:15] <Marianne> [Three of the Valkyries- thin, agile machines with wings, and swords integrated into their hands- landed around EVA-00, strange, black-white bursts of energy shooting from collars on their wrists at the Evangelion.-
[11:15] <Marianne> ["Aline!" Julien's voice. "Look out! They're using Quark Disruptors- they'll sap your AT Field!"]
[11:16] * Aline blinked suddenly. "Eh?" …She hesitated on the first, eating it right in 00's head… but then almost-grudgingly raised her field to protect against the last two. "Damnit!"
[11:19] <Marianne> [The bright actinic blast of a Great Positron Cannon overhead, barely missing EVA-11…-
[11:19] <Marianne> [As another flight of Valkyries swarmed for 04.-
[11:19] <Marianne> ["Damn, she dodged! She's way too fast." A voice over the comms- enemy transmissions from the T-RIDEN-Ts. This one from the GPC-armed war machine.]
[11:24] <Marianne> [Quark bolts flew at 04, but before long a T-RIDEN-T joined the fight- with a burst of energy, the T-RIDEN-T wielding a Prog Sword was upon Yanmei…]
[11:26] * Yanmei … dodged them all, a violet whirl that even lapsed into a short-lived cartwheel. "Phew. Nice try, though?"
[11:33] <Sept> EVA-01 and the T-RIDEN-T war machine stared at each other for a split second… before the former lunged at the latter with inhuman speed!
[11:34] <Marianne> [To the left- then to the right. For a second, it seemed as though the blows'd hit…-
[11:34] <Marianne> [But, despite the huge, and slightly clumsy design… The knives hit air.]
[11:38] <Marianne> [A T-RIDEN-T hurled over the skies, swooping down on EVA-16, a leg held out…-
[11:38] <Marianne> [But Juu sidestepped at the last second, causing the T-RIDEN-T to plunge into the ground.-
[11:39] <Marianne> ["Oh, son of a bitch! What the fuck?" An enemy voice- Edgar Chevalier's, without a doubt. "Goddamnit, that doesn't count! Do you hear me, Sera? Doesn't count!"]
[11:39] * Aline meanwhile was firing her positron rifle on auto, hitting one of the Solaces…
[11:40] <Marianne> [Which very nearly put it down. The metal twisted and burned, and it nearly collapsed- but stayed upright barely.]
[11:46] <Sept> "If y-you wish, Edgar. We'll c-call the Reis…" Sera swallowed. "Exempt."
[11:49] * Aline could be seen, if anyone was watching, counting things off on her fingers. She only hit two, though.
[11:51] <Marianne> ["Yeah, alright. How you been, Sera? You look like shit from here."]
[11:55] <Sept> "'Shit' is… is right. Although something of an u-un-understatement," Sera said, suppressing a fit of laughter… or maybe just sneezing.
[12:05] <Yanmei> There was gunfire from slighty to the north. A lot of it. Very rapidly. One Solace in an non-functioning heap, another missing limbs, and a T-RIDEN-T unit… barely nicked. Yanmei frowned at that one.
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[12:13] <Marianne> [Stormwind smashing its sword against EVA-01's AT Field… Viviane screaming in frustration. Why…?-
[12:14] <Marianne> [Whilst Juu took the initiative, smashing into the Knight with elegant lethality. An arm went, and huge gouges were cut out of its blast shield.-
[12:14] <Marianne> ["Oy! Sera, you keep some hardcore company!"]
[12:26] <Marianne> [A bark of a Heavy Bolter- rounds raking 00, 01 and 16. One penetrated 01's AT Field, smashing it in the leg, sending it tumbling through Almeria.-
[12:27] <Marianne> ["Aline!" The pilot- Evangeline Marchand- piped up. "Did you see that? See? This is -me-. Aren't you proud?" She asked hopefully.]
[12:28] <Sept> "Y-you… don't know the h-half of it, Edg-" Sera was about to step back in to make another lunge at an opening in Stormwind's defense, when a bolter round caught him, the blast sending him not only off balance, but through a block or two as well.
[12:29] * Aline stared out into space on hearing that, even as 00 blocked everything that came its way with its field. "…I never figured you were bad at it." It sounded distant, though…
[12:38] <Marianne> ["But you see? I didn't need to be kept away! I could handle it by myself, Aline!"]
[12:40] * Aline allowed a gentle smile. "So I do! But we're stuck fighting one another, aren't we? I just hope, if day comes that you stare down an Angel, you have the resolve you do now."
[12:42] <Marianne> ["I will, Aline, I promise. Once we win this war, it'll be up to -us- to protect the world." Said Evangeline firmly. "But don't you worry. I won't kill you or let you be killed!"]
[12:47] <Marianne> [Explosions in the distance as a squadron of Valkyries opened fire- small salvoes opening in their chests and bombarding EVA-11. But the nimble Eva and its nimble pilot were gone before the first hit.]
[12:55] * Aline decided to leave it at that… and instead moved a small bit to stab at one of those pesky Solace units, while keeping a close eye on Edgar's unit…
[12:59] <Marianne> [a parry- and Edgar's unit was rising once again, swinging its blade at Juu, who parried.-
[12:59] <Marianne> [Three Valkyries sped across the battlefield, towards- the Command Vehicle.-
[12:59] <Marianne> "… This is bad. We're under attack."
[20:50] <Yanmei> "Roku, please intercept it." 04 sprang backward, firing a bolt at the lone remaining Solace that had been assaulting it. It went wide, however, exploding against the side of a nearby building.
[20:56] <Marianne> ["Yes, ma'am!" EVA-11 turned smartly around, opening fire with its heavy gun- and shredded the lead Valkyrie's head.-
[20:57] <Marianne> ["Hey!" Edgar's voice. "Hey you, Ayanami whatever. Which one are you? The one with the sword."-
[20:58] <Marianne> ["I am Juu."-
[20:58] <Marianne> ["… What's that in French?"-
[20:58] <Marianne> ["'Ten'."-
[20:59] <Marianne> ["Right, so. Anyway. Tell ya what. Give it your best. Right goddamn -now-. You wanna be a real person, then you gotta prove it to me that you're worthy of bein' called that."-
[21:00] <Marianne> ["You -want- me to hit you?"-
[21:00] <Marianne> ["Nope."-
[21:00] <Marianne> ["You… Want me to defeat you."-
[21:00] <Marianne> ["I want you to -try-."-
[21:00] <Marianne> ["…"-
[21:00] <Marianne> [A flying Progressive Blade, slicing off the T-RIDEN-T's right arm- before reversing and being plunged, tip first, into the head, which was shredded to pieces and ripped apart.-
[21:00] <Marianne> [… Edgar's commline went dead.]
[21:07] <Sept> "H-hey, Edgar, remember when we- Edgar..?" Sera glanced toward the now-defeated T-RIDEN-T while doing his best not to be fettered by the incoming fire. "H-haha, I guess we'll have to do a rematch…"
[21:10] * Aline on the other hand just stared ahead, and sighed, as a shot plinked off - and sapped - 00's AT Field.
[21:13] <Marianne> ["Edgar…?" Evangeline asked over the comms. No response- she tried again, and again. "…"-
[21:14] <Marianne> ["The cockpit- you- why…?!" The Great Positron Cannon charged to life, before a spear of energy ripped into 16's torso- Juu shouted in pain, but the Evangelion remained standing.]
[21:26] <Marianne> [Aline would soon find herself surrounded- quark bolts flying past and into her field, joined shortly after by a massive Heavy Railgun round.]
[21:32] * Aline waved a hand of 00's out, casting out a wave with a frustrated gesticulation that looked a bit like swatting at flies, aiming to damage as much as she could. "Gggg. Don't you have any better targets?!"
[21:35] <Marianne> [A distant explosion as the Valkyries fired, the Command Vehicle and the immediate vicinity around it vaporised in a massive explosion. Marianne's comms lines all died.]
[21:37] <Sept> "…" 01's duel with the Stormwind continued uninterrupted as sparks from clashing metal lit the air around them.
[21:37] <Marianne> [Shield! A counter-thrust. The pilot of Stormwind was silent on the comms, but was crying in rage in her cockpit.]
[22:01] <Yanmei> There was gunfire from 04! A hail of it struck down the Victory T-RIDEN-T, and she stared after it with some surprise, as if she hadn't expected it to be that easy.
[22:02] <Marianne> [The T-RIDEN-T went down, slumping into the dirt, its body exploding soon after.-
[22:03] <Marianne> [The cockpit opened, and a man walked out- … Or at least, it was man-shaped. It was tall for a human being, about eight or nine feet tall, and it was entirely made of metal- bluish grey metal plates. Glowing white yes stared up at Yanmei from a face spookily reminiscent of an Evangelion.-
[22:03] <Marianne> [It stared up at her, before turning- thrusters emerged from its back, and it flew off.-
[22:06] <Marianne> [… With a buzz, Marianne's comms returned a second after.-
[22:06] <Marianne> "He must think I'm a real idiot."
[22:07] <Yanmei> "I don't know about that…" Yanmei was staring after the escaped pilot, hard. "…what the hell was that?"
[22:20] <Marianne> [Yanmei wouldn't have time to think- two more screaming bolts were heading towards the battlefield, one of them for her and Sera…!]
[22:21] <Yanmei> "?!" Yanmei tried to dive to safety. "Incoming! De Pteres!"
[22:24] <Sept> "..?" Sera took a quick step back from the T-RIDEN-T to buy himself time, hoping his AT Field would hold out this time instead of risking overexertion, and a quick defeat. And this time, it did. "Th-thank you, Yanmei…"
[22:25] <Marianne> [Roku did the same as the bolt screamed towards her, the flames of the explosion flickering around her AT Field.-
[22:27] <Marianne> [Whilst 00 would face explosions of a different kind- a hail of Heavy Bolter shells, fired from the T-RIDEN-T Longbow. "I-I'm sorry, Aline…!"-
[22:27] <Marianne> [They rippled against her AT Field- but some punched through, blasting into 00's right arm and turning it into a spray of blood and gore- another bolt ripping 00's left foot clean off. The Lance of Tears clattered to the ground.]
[22:28] <Marianne> «The Positron rifle clattered to the ground.»
[22:29] * Aline focused herself, and /hard/, as the salvo of bolts at first seemed to be dead-set on hitting 00's torso… when its /wings/ spread out, AT Field suddenly brought to higher power, not… not enough though! "I… nn… know why…" She was gritting her teeth /hard/.
[22:42] <Marianne> [When the smoke cleared, Sera would see Viviane and Juu sparring.-
[22:42] <Marianne> ["Get out of it, you nothing!" Snapped Viviane in the silence of her cockpit.]
[22:52] <Marianne> [Two swooping Valkyries dropped down next to Yanmei- one hurling a quark bolt at 04's head, the other trying to latch onto its one arm.]
[22:55] <Yanmei> "Blanc." The dust was clearing, and Yanmei's voice was hard as more Solace Units started to flit around 04. She shook off the one that tried to grab her. "Can you still move?"
[22:56] * Aline sighed. "…Some." Was the terse reply. "Got a plan, or?"
[22:59] <Sept> "Away from her. This is between us," Sera snapped at Viviane in the silence of his own plug, charging back at her, forcing her away from EVA-16.
[23:00] <Yanmei> "Suggestions. Either pull back, as far as you can, or try to finish her up close. We don't know how melee-capable she is, but she's a pretty good shot."
[23:01] * Aline slowly nodded. "…I think I'm starting to like the sound of pulling back."
[23:03] <Yanmei> "Do it. If you can take out a few up north on your way, that would be great."
[23:07] <Aline> "Got you on that." …and, with a stain of blood still decorating the streets - and one armored foot - 00 flew off rather far, heading for some distant part way back. "I should stop trying to engage up close anyway. It's stupid of me."
[23:17] <Marianne> [She'd see the two northern Valkyries charge into EVA-11, one of them cutting into its leg- but the other repelled by the AT Field.-
[23:17] <Marianne> ["This is Roku. I am under attack."]
[23:19] <Yanmei> "We hear you, Roku. Help is on the way." Yanmei slammed her melee attachment into the rude grabby Solace, twice, hard, and watched it topple over.
[23:33] <Marianne> [Roku pulled back with her wings, firing as she went, but her nimble opponents dodged.-
[23:33] <Marianne> ["I can handle this, Sera." Said Juu, moving forward with her shield. "Let me screen you-"-
[23:34] <Marianne> [The Stormwind lashed out. A clean, quick cut right through EVA-16's right leg. Juu screamed as the Eva fell forward…-
[23:34] <Marianne> [… And immediately into the blade, which cut the head straight off the neck. Juu's agonised screams were suddenly cut short.-
[23:35] <Marianne> [But the T-RIDEN-T didn't stop rising after that- and with a mix of handling and thrusters, landed some 100 metres way behind the Valkyries.]
[23:40] <Marianne> "Eject Juu's plug."-
[23:40] <Marianne> ["I-I'm trying but there's no response-!"-
[23:41] <Marianne> ["Incoming Impact rounds!"-
[23:41] <Marianne> ["EJECT HER, NOW!"-
[23:41] <Marianne> [Another two massive explosions- that unharmed 01 and 04, but…-
[23:41] <Marianne> "Juu?! Juu! Lifesigns?"-
[23:41] <Marianne> ["… N-None…"]
[23:46] <Yanmei> "N…"
[23:52] <Marianne> [Evangeline was shaking in her cockpit, her hands trembling as they gripped the weapon controls. For a second, her left hand withdrew…-
[23:52] <Marianne> [… Then it shot out, grabbing it and pulling back hard. "HERE! THIS IS HOW IMPORTANT!"-
[23:52] <Marianne> [A beam of intense energy ripped across the sky, hurtling straight towards 01's chest.]
[23:54] * Sept turned, raising his protective field made of paper. The shot went clean through 01's chest with little resistance, even with the F-Type armor. 01 swayed, caught in the middle of a step, a coyote suspended over a canyon. Yet, there was still his voice. ["Welcome to my world, Evangeline." The beginning of what sounded vaguely like laughter, but soon fading into nothing but static.
[23:56] <Marianne> "Sera? Sera! Sera! No! Damnit- no, this can't be happening…"
[00:21] <Yanmei> "Should have done this a long time ago," Yanmei muttered. 04 braced itself against the ground and then launched forward, skimming over air and then water. Its wing gun twitched, focused, and then fired just as 04's shadow engulfed Evangeline's unit.
[00:22] <Marianne> [A smooth slide away. "No! Go away!"]
[00:25] <Yanmei> "Shut up!"
[00:33] <Marianne> "Yanmei, no-!"-
[00:33] <Marianne> [Viviane's Stormwind hurled across the battlefield, sword raised. Roku looked up at the last-
[00:33] <Marianne> [A perfect slice. EVA-11's head toppled to the ground…-
[00:34] <Marianne> [And Roku -screamed-. A scream of such intense pain and absolute horror that it made Yanmei's skin crawl. "T-the- the worms! They're- my legs- my legs!"-
[00:34] <Marianne> "Get her to safety, now!"-
[00:34] <Marianne> [The Plug ejected from 11's back, leaving to to topple forward.-
[00:34] <Marianne> ["Pilot Roku now safe."]
[00:52] * Yanmei tensed up at the controls. News of Roku's safety didn't quite put her at ease, especially not after those screams. Frustration flooded her!
[01:02] * Aline grit her teeth again, having been lost in a daze for a moment there… and attempted to send an Angelic Cross up against the Stormwind! But it was too little, too late.
[01:03] <Sept> "And you will notice, insecure, manipulated child… The world of Elisha Caine differs vastly from yours."-
[01:04] <Sept> The dust and gore stirred as the hulking figure of 01 pushed itself off the ground with erratic motions, stood up, slouching, and howled its rage for all the world to hear. The voice, definitely Sera's, echoed to all present, from the UN command staff to the bridge of Silas Caine. And it didn't care about something as pedestrian as communications systems or speakers. The voice was simply
[01:04] <Sept> -heard-. "Behold! Death itself is not an obstacle for -Elisha Caine-!"
[01:05] * Aline was left, after her reverie, properly speechless. "…"
[01:07] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei, too, was left speechless. Also, she was visibly gritting her teeth.
[01:07] <Marianne> "… W…"
[01:16] <Sept> Elisha Caine had transcended the hammiest of actors, the most narcissistic of masterminds. His histrionic hand motions were without equal. "Bear witness! I am Heaven Above crashing down upon your heads! The skies, the stars, and the very world itself are mine to protect- and mine to wield as I will. Return to the dust from whence you came!" Explosions lit up vast swaths of land to the north
[01:16] <Sept> of 01, threatening to engulf the Solaces, as well as the Stormwind.
[01:20] <Marianne> ["What-?! No!" the Stormwind dived to the side, as did a Valkyrie- but one was not so lucky, being vaporised on the spot.]
[01:23] * Aline stared, glasses glinting. "You heard the man. TO DUST!" And she broadcast another plane of force, this time actually chopping through and buffeting the dying embers of Elisha's attack.
[01:24] <Marianne> ["-!"-
[01:27] <Marianne> [The energy vaporised most of the Stormwind, but the automatic ejection pulled Viviane out before that. She screamed as loud as she could, slamming the controls in impotent frustration. "No! No! No no no no-! No! I was supposed to kill him! I-…"]
[01:45] <Yanmei> More gunfire erupted to the south, and a few more explosions to boot. Yanmei was tightlipped, struggling to focus despite the slight leftover ringing in her head. The deafening roar of the explosions made it worse.
[01:45] <Marianne> ["Ah- Ah- AH!"-
[01:46] <Marianne> [The Longbow ripped in half messily, its head barely flying free- before the cockpit came loose, thrusters carrying it to safety. Bodies riddled with maser energy, the Valkyries melted and twisted before exploding violently.-
[01:47] <Marianne> "… Did… Did that really just happen?"
[01:48] <Marianne> ["Uh, Colonel. High energy buildup detected in the Battleship's bow."-
[01:49] <Marianne> "… Shit. Alright. Yanmei! Aline! We're retreating! Yanmei, grab Juu!"-
[01:49] <Marianne> ["Ma'am, that last Valkyrie-"-
[01:49] <Marianne> [And indeed, a Valkyrie was swinging wildly at 00-
[01:49] <Marianne> ["I believe it's set to self destruct, its energy readings are going berserk."-
[01:49] <Marianne> "… Right. Aline? Behead it."
[01:49] * Aline nodded. "Will do."
[01:53] <Yanmei> "Yes, Colonel!" Yanmei was skimming aross the water now, swiftly, coming to a skidding landing right beside the fallen EVA-16
[01:54] <Marianne> [… Only to be followed by an Impact shell, which exploded a second after she landed.-
[01:54] <Marianne> [Aline would see another heading right towards her…!]
[01:55] * Aline reacted as quick as she could, holding up an arm - and then an invisible barrier!
[01:58] * Yanmei shielded her face with her hands, skipping just barely out of range. "Crap. Juu!"
[02:14] <Sept> The last of the encroaching Solaces made to escape, but was suddenly caught - seemingly just stopping by itself at first, but closer inspection revealed the glimmering fingers of a phantom Absolute Territory limb wrapped around the head. There were no words this time, but the sentiment was clear. The head crumpled suddenly, and the Solace fell to the ground, purposeless. "You have come far,
[02:14] <Sept> nephew. You may surrender whenever you feel at ease doing so. But as long as that does not happen… The stars will continue to fall." EVA-01 raised a hand - the real one - and the air beside it took on a glow that spread slowly at first, then concentrated, rapidly intensified and shot out towards the Positron Battleship.
[02:16] <Marianne> [The beam of light struck the Positron Battleship on the top deck, vaporising a battery of anti-air turrets.]
[02:33] * Yanmei had, in the meantime, removed her rescuee from the remains of her EVA, and made a second stop before racing onward. She passed the god-EVA on the way. "…" And was speeding further still toward safety before she became aware of a familiar shift of light from directly above. "…"
[02:34] <Marianne> [Another impact shell rammed into the ground at her feet- and another into 01.]
[02:36] * Aline on the other hand, was a bit busy… and because of a flash of inspiration (maybe even because of the whole Divinity thing going around?), remembered… "Let's try this, now. One…" The lance charged up, and then fired off towards the Solace's head! "T-" …Said head was summarily torn to shreds. It was dead. The lance returned to 00's hands. "…My part's done."
[02:38] <Marianne> "Good work! Now- let's get out of here."
[02:39] <Sept> The bombardment didn't seem to enter into 01's conciousness as the blast wave was summarily stopped in its tracks by the AT wall.
[02:40] <Yanmei> "Hng!" Yanmei had taken to the air in an ungraceful half-skip to avoid the blast, spinning slightly so that her back took the brunt of things rather than allowing it to disturb her unconscious passengers.
[02:41] <Yanmei> She raced further, further still, out of range and into safety!
[02:44] * Aline made a firm nod, though. "I hear you!" …And 00 began to climb, then soar out of the engagement zone as well!
[02:44] <Marianne> [And not a moment too soon.-
[02:50] <Marianne> [The horizon lit up, as though it were burning with a white fire, a fire so bright and powerful that it outshone the very sun.-
[02:51] <Marianne> [Yanmei and Aline, no matter how fast they looked away, would see the light burn so brightly that it literally took their vision away, overloading their optic nerves with the sheer magnitude of its magnificence.-
[02:51] <Marianne> [It screamed across the water, the sheer energy leaving a trench of parted water under it as it flew, hurling itself towards Almeria- and EVA-01.]
[02:52] <Sept> The beam approached the unaffected Evangelion at its blinding speed. EVA-01 raised its hands ahead of it. Then… time seemed to slow down as everything suddenly happened.-
[02:53] <Sept> The Apocalypse Cannon's projectile seemed to collide with 01's AT Field several dozen meters ahead of it, forcing it to retreat closer and closer, slowing down, infinitely approaching the figure. There was a sense, though it couldn't be pointed out from its stance, that it was leaning into the impact more and more as the ultimate weapon and the ultimate shield struggled to overcome each
[02:53] <Sept> other. The light intensified exponentially… and the massive plates of F-Type armor began to -peel off- the Evangelion, disintegrating, revealing the flesh underneath. "SILAS." Came the voice again, different, amplified tenfold.-
[02:55] <Sept> "WITNESS THE FOLLY OF YOUR WAYS - THE CONCEIT OF MAN." The form of the unarmored, unshackled Evangelion holding on to the light, yet still keeping it away would've been unforgettable for anyone witnessing it, though the figure was soon engulfed in the light as it concentrated, entered its AT Field… and exploded in a brilliant, lasting flash of undescribable colors.-
[02:56] <Sept> And when it passed - For just a moment, EVA-01 was still there, standing facing towards the Independence, the light still surrounding it in a brilliant halo, wings of light reaching far into the sky.-
[02:58] <Sept> And then, it was all gone, and Evangelion unit 01 was crumpled on the ground of the Spanish coast, a smouldering wreck among others of its kind.
[02:59] <Marianne> "It…" Marianne hadn't stared. Her eyesight was safe, but…-
[03:02] <Marianne> "… My God…"
[03:09] <Yanmei> "Colonel? What happened?" She -made- those words sound even, goddamn it "It just… cut out at the end."
[03:10] <Marianne> "EVA-01… It… It absorbed the Doomsday Cannon energy. A-All of it, and… And it became… Something else. It became like a god… I-It collapsed, now, but…"
[03:11] * Aline stared… at nothing. Eyes glazed and unblinking, as if she forgot that it blinded her. "…That kind of power… what the hell happened…"
[03:12] <Marianne> ["Well, I do not know what happened." A new voice, pompous.-
[03:12] <Marianne> ["But I know what's happening now. This is General de Poitou! I want five N2 strikes on that battleship -right now-!"-
[03:12] <Marianne> "What?! General, wait-!"
[03:14] * Aline continued to stare, and almost lamely muttered her reply. "Gun or bomb, same thing…"
[03:15] <Yanmei> "Colonel?" It was occurring to her with a sickened feeling that the temporary vision effects she was suffering from were not wearing off with time.
[03:16] <Marianne> "Y-Yanmei, what is it?!"-
[03:16] <Marianne> [Overhead, unseen but heard, five cruise missiles streaked across the sky towards the horizon.]
[03:18] * Yanmei took a deep breath, and then let it burst oout all at once. "I can't -see- anything, and Juu wasn't moving, and the prisoner needs medical attention. What's the LN doing now? Are they getting ready to attack again?"
[03:19] * Aline finally closed her eyes, and sighed. "…A gun like a WMD on its own can't be able to fire that soon after last time…"
[03:19] <Marianne> "We aren't sure. They seem to be keeping their distance- the UN General just launched a series of N2 strikes."-
[03:21] <Marianne> [The horizon lit up once more, but this time the light was a ruddy red, the cloud rising into the sky. The ground rumbled beneath them.-
[03:21] <Marianne> "We got it!"
[03:27] <Yanmei> "Really?" Yanmei blinked a few times, but it wasn't helping. "What now..?"
[03:28] <Marianne> "Well. I guess now we've wo-"-
[03:28] <Marianne> ["… Colonel."-
[03:28] <Marianne> [The interference caused by the N2 blast evaporated, and a clear picture of the Independence came into sight.-
[03:29] <Marianne> [The battleship was in one piece. The only damage caused had been to the outer hull- most of it was burning, peeling back and revealing… Essentially scarred but mostly undamaged hull beneath.-
[03:29] <Marianne> "It survived a direct N2 impact. Wellesley was right…"-
[03:31] <Marianne> [A communication to all channels and all units, including the Evas.-
[03:32] <Marianne> ["Forces of the United Nations, hear me. You have just attempted to destroy this ship with an N2 missile. You have failed. However, you have endangered and risked the death and destruction of every one of the eight thousand four hundred and twenty-four crewmembers assigned to this ship. This is an insult I -cannot- allow."-
[03:35] <Marianne> ["I will say this only once. Consider this your ultimatum. If this happens again- if you so much as fire -one- more N2 missile anywhere near LN territory, I -will- retaliate. We will retaliate. I will nuke every goddamned city in Europe if I have to- and that is not an euphemism. I will use long-range nuclear weapons to destroy Madrid. I will destroy Rome. I will destroy London-2, Berlin-2, Warsaw-2, Leningrad-2, Copenhagen-2, Stockholm-2, Oslo-2. I will destroy Vienna, Budapest, Kiev- I will destroy Paris-2. And I will do so in such a way that it will be one thousand years before anyone can even set -foot- onto the entire continent of Europe."-
[03:35] <Marianne> ["I have said my piece. You have been warned. Proceed cautiously. Farewell."-
[03:35] <Marianne> [The communications cut.]
[03:37] <Yanmei> "He's awfully entitled after everything that happened," Yanmei muttered under her breath.
[03:38] <Aline> "It's almost a surprise. Almost."
[03:41] <Marianne> "Yeah, well, he's serious. Harken was right, too. Once you press the red button you never know what might happen." A sigh. "The Positron Battleship is retreating. Mission complete. We've won here, guys. Report to the command vehicle for debriefing." … "… If you can't see, it's from the light of the Doomsday Cannon. It's probably temporarily scrambled your optic nerves."
[03:42] * Aline lingered a bit, before beginning to try to return - if haltingly. "Yes, ma'am."
[03:42] <Yanmei> "Yes, Colonel."
[03:43] <Marianne> [A few hours passed as people realised that a blind EVA pilot was God's own curse to insurance comapnies.-
[03:44] <Marianne> [Eventually, however, the two surviving Evangelions would be secured, with Yanmei's eyesight finally returning, and Aline's… Still mostly gone, but just slightly starting to clear. Not enough to see, but enough to catch flashes of light. They were taken to the command vehicle, to Marianne's cool office, with the soft chairs and the drinks cabinet.]
[03:46] * Aline contented herself with keeping her eyes shut, and sitting down calmly, waiting for some sort of cue that things were starting again.
[03:49] * Yanmei had found a seat herself, hands folded in her lap, ignoring the refreshments.
[03:50] <Marianne> A cold drink would be placed into Aline's hand.-
[03:50] <Marianne> "Alright." Marianne sat down. "Let's talk about us first. The battle is won. However…"-
[03:52] <Marianne> "It isn't looking good for us. Juu's entire left side has been crushed to pieces, and so many of her organs and bones have been damaged to beyond repair that she's essentially crippled. Edgar really -is- crippled; Juu's blow to him managed to sever his spine completely. And…"-
[03:53] <Marianne> "We recovered 01's entry plug. Sera's… Gone. His plugsuit was found in his plug, but all that's left now is LCL."
[03:55] * Aline took a halting sip of her drink, moving extra slow given her situation. "…Given what happened to 01… I'm almost surprised there's anything left at all. Salvaging the soul is probably going to be hard. Juu's probably going to have to have a similar treatment… a mess, really."
[03:57] <Yanmei> "It's more than a mess," Yanmei said bitterly.
[04:03] <Marianne> "More than that." Marianne's voice, louder. "Roku's in the infirmary. She's under special watch. When they found her she was trying to strip away the flesh from her own legs."
[04:05] * Aline shuddered. "…Damn."
[04:06] <Yanmei> "… she's having a psychotic episode?" Yanmei stared. "What about… what about EVA-07? Was it ever found? Is the entire Eden team…?"
[04:07] <Marianne> "We don't know. We haven't heard anything or seen anything. EVA-07's transponder isn't working, but we couldn't find any debris of it at the Eden base crater. Best case scenario, she's gone guerilla."
[04:09] * Aline just nodded. "We can imagine the worst…"
[04:10] <Yanmei> Yanmei's shoulders sank a little, and she stared down at her hands a moment. "What are we supposed to do now? It's just the two of us…"
[04:11] <Marianne> "Don't worry. There's some good news."
[04:11] <Yanmei> "Oh?"
[04:13] <Aline> "Ah…?"
[04:14] <Marianne> "Yeah. Thanks to 01's actions, most of the battlefield was actually preserved, including all the bits and pieces of Superheavyies. We've had a look and a lot of the Aqua Solaces and a few of the Valkyries could rather easily be repaired and put into active service again. Furthermore, there's a nearly undamaged T-RIDEN-T out there that we can have fixed up in a couple of weeks. We'll be adding it to Paris-2's Superheavy Regiment."
[04:17] <Yanmei> "Oh. Well, that is good news."
[04:18] <Aline> "Ah yes, that is something. We'll actually have more solid backup now."
[04:21] <Marianne> "We do. Furthermore, I just received a report from Harken, who led the Leningrad and Germany squadrons against the LN's Third Regiment in the eastern Mediterranean." A grin. "They ripped the regiment apart. Asuka herself killed the enemy general by kicking his command vehicle a length of four kilometres."
[04:23] * Aline allowed a small smile. "Fairly impressive of her."
[04:23] <Yanmei> "We'll be hearing about that one for a while." She mirrored Marianne's grin with a small one of her own.
[04:26] * Marianne nodded.-
[04:27] <Marianne> "There is some bad news, though. Wellesley's being forced to fight a rearguard action in the USA and he's doing the best he can, but the LN's sweeping across the country like a plague of locusts. Rei took a bit of a beating. Nothing serious- a broken wrist- but her Eva needs repairs.-
[04:28] <Marianne> "… And… Things really went to shit in the east. Japan's Eva squadron was sent to Guangzhou, China, to defend against an invasion. It went well until the enemy deployed T-RIDEN-Ts. Shinji- that is, Pilot Ikari… Locked up. He couldn't bring himself to fight another human being, and…" Marianne shook her head.-
[04:29] <Marianne> "Ayanami Sho received a concussion from a rough Entry Plug landing, and EVA-03 took two Heavy Railgun hits to the chest. Tsubaki…" She swallowed. "They dunno if she's gonna make it through the night. She's on life support. Shinji's been thrown into the brig for dereliction of duty."
[04:31] * Yanmei winced a little, but she fell silent.
[04:31] * Aline winced even harder. "…"
[04:36] <Marianne> "They won, but 05 had to go berserk…" She shook her head. "Anyway. That's… All for now." She clapped a hand on Aline's shoulder, and Yanmei's. "Look, we're done here for now. And it looks bad, but we'll pull through. Roku will be as good as new, and between us and Harken's girls that's still eight or nine Evas versus only one enemy regiment. Things are looking up. But for now- we're going to head home. Back to Paris." She smiled at Yanmei. "I think there's someone waiting for you that you really want to see."
[04:37] * Aline slowly nodded. "Yeah…"
[04:39] * Yanmei nodded and stood up. "All right. I'll go say hello. I'll see you two later?"
[04:40] <Marianne> "Right. I… I'll be home tonight, ok?"

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