In The Darkest Of Moments You Are Not Alone

[23:22] <Dorian> [[SESSION 8: Neon Genesis Evangelion Season 1 Finale. Date: 7th of May, 2015. Episode Title: In the Darkest of Moments, You Are (Not) Alone.-
[23:23] <Dorian> [It's 6:54 PM. The sky is dark, a thousand thousand stars twinkling in the firmament next to the white moon. All is still in Paris-2.-
[23:24] <Dorian> [But it's an unnatural stillness. It's apprehensive, fearful. It's the calm before the storm. In NERV HQ, a giant digital display on a wall ticks down: 00:05:25.-
[23:25] <Dorian> [The streets of Paris-2 are quiet, except for the reverberating sound of tanks, spread out throughout the city; most of them formed into a long battleline to the east. VTOLs hover above them.-
[23:26] <Dorian> [In the western suburbs, an achingly-slow train of civilians moves, grudgingly, reluctantly.-
[23:26] <Dorian> [And finally, three giants- three mechanical gods- the last hope of humanity- stand, ready, and waiting.]
[23:36] <Dorian> "How're we doing, pilots? ETA five minutes."
[23:37] * Yanmei tries to watch the distant line of civilians still fleeing the city. They're too impossible to make out individually from her distance, but she can catch the movement of distant lights, like little insects that glowed in the dark. She tries to make herself comfortable, but given that she's in a dreaded entry plug… "Everything's fine over here, Major!"
[23:37] * Aline came on the comms. "Fine, fine. I've been going over the cannon controls and watching the evacuation." She looked down a little, sort of eyeing how her umbilical laid along the road, and that they actually were driving around it. Amusing.
[23:38] * Sept swallowed. He'd been staring at the sky as more starlight flowed down with every passing second. "Still ready, Dorian."
[23:44] <Dorian> "I just want to say… Before things get going. I'm proud of you kids. You're all damned, -damned- brave to be going out there. You'll all have -thoroughly- earned that vacation after this."
[23:44] <Dorian> [00:04:55.]
[23:45] * Aline nodded quickly on her video link. "It's in our hands. So we must! That's all there is to it." …She did seem to have this odd tone, maybe even sentimental?
[23:46] <Sept> "Vacation. Right." Don't think about it, Sera, don't think about it look at the pretty stars.
[23:47] <Yanmei> "It's not as if we could run away?" Yanmei chimed in calmly. She closed her eyes briefly "That's all there is to it."
[23:47] <Dorian> [00:04:21.-
[23:48] <Dorian> [Bleep! All three pilots would find a new video link activating. A direct link into a part of the Command Centre. There stood… Lillian, and Patrice, Emile and Evangeline, and Freya and Alexandre Fontaine.-
[23:49] <Dorian> ["They just-" started Dorian, before Lillian stepped in. "We just wanted to wish you luck, Leenie! And-and you two as well, Sera and Aline. You have all of our prayers!" "That's right! We're rooting for you!"-
[23:49] <Dorian> ["You're not alone, Sept. Hang in there, ok? We'll go see Paris-2 when it's alive again. Together." Said Freya, beaming at Sept softly.-
[23:50] <Dorian> ["Stay alive out there, Zhang." Said Alexandre curtly, giving her a slightly respectful nod.]
[23:52] * Aline smiled softly. "Thanks, Lil, Patrice, Emile, Eva…" Aline's chest rose and fell with a heavy (LCL-saturated) breath. "…and Shinji…" She could feel it. She swore she could. The resolve of a greater feeling. There was going to be no sorrow, no apathy. She'd stand here!
[23:54] <Sept> "Thank you. I promise we will, Freya." A nervous glance toward the chain of convoys making their way through the streets… so slowly.
[23:54] <Yanmei> "Don't you worry, Mr. Fontaine." She smiled sweetly at him. "I said before that I don't intend to die, and I meant it." She skimmed the rest of the group. No Isaiah? Well, she had last left him alone, but what were all those other kids from school doing there? "Thank you all for your support," she added with a smile.
[23:57] <Dorian> [00:03:35.]
[23:57] <Dorian> [("Major, I'm picking up a distortion…") ("Yes, that's the presence of Qaphsiel's teleportation. It'll be here just on time…")]
[00:00] <Sept> "…" Sera closed his eyes. Most of the last day had been unbearable, but it was almost over…
[00:00] <Dorian> [00:02:54.]
[00:00] <Dorian> [("Reports coming in from the third defense line. Qaphsiel has just bypassed it.")]
[00:01] * Aline sort of idly muttered back to the chatter. "Better that than just destroying it. Almost there!"
[00:02] <Dorian> [00:02:21.]
[00:02] <Dorian> [("Second defense line bypassed.")]
[00:03] * Yanmei stiffened. Easy now. Stay calm… "We can do it!"
[00:04] <Dorian> [00:01:30.]
[00:04] <Dorian> [("First defense line bypassed. Sir, should we order the mobile units back toward Paris-2?") ("No, keep them where they are. They won't have time to intercept.")]
[00:07] <Dorian> [00:00:45.]
[00:07] <Dorian> "Nearly time, pilots. Keep calm."
[00:09] * Aline stared ahead. "…That's it. That's what I'll do."
[00:09] <Dorian> [00:00:19.]
[00:09] <Dorian> [("The AT distortion's becoming a lot more pronounced, sir.")]
[00:11] <Dorian> [00:00:10.]
[00:11] * Yanmei envisions her training. Two firearms this time. They couldn't have let her just have the one. She was -comfortable- with just one. At least insofar as she could be with guns in general.
[00:11] <Dorian> [00:00:09.]
[00:11] <Dorian> [00:00:08.]
[00:11] <Dorian> [00:00:07.]
[00:11] <Dorian> [00:00:06.]
[00:12] <Dorian> [00:00:05.]
[00:12] <Dorian> [("…! Visual contact! It's here!")]
[00:14] <Dorian> [The air above eastern Paris-2, which had been warping and distorting for long, agonising minutes… Finally solidified into a real shape. A massive, horrifyingly elegant creature… Easily three times as tall as an Evangelion. Wrapped up in its wings, with only its tiny head visible.]
[00:15] <Dorian> [With a slow, deadly grace, the wings unfolded, revealing that body- and the milky white mass that dominated it. Within… The red, glowing core. Qaphsiel's eye.]
[00:17] <Dorian> [The night sky of Paris-2 was suddenly lit up as thousands of tanks opened up with their main cannons, sending blasts into the air, through buildings… And each and every shell was stopped in mid-air by a massive, glowing, visibly-present AT Field.]
[00:19] <Dorian> "Evangelions- full power!"
[00:22] * Aline twitched suddenly, raising her own positron rifle… and then… focusing her mind. "Alright then, go go go!" With a 'shwoop', 00 /bounded/ into the air, sending its umbilical whipping (safely above) the convoys as it bounded a bit closer to engagement range!
[00:25] <Dorian> [In and amongst the crowd of civilians, a sudden tumult went up. Each and every person in that massive thicket stared in fear and horror at the thing that now dominated Paris-2's sky… And when EVA-00 flew into the air, that panic took form in screams and shouts. A sudden, heaving momentum pushed forth, wired into the basic primal need to flee.]
[00:27] * Sept started walking, calmly, toward the Angel, concentrating on raising his AT field.
[00:30] <Dorian> [Across the outside fringes of Paris-2, there was a loud, thudding sound as rocket artillery tanks opened fire. Rocket after rocket streaked through the air, all of them heading toward the same thing… All of them slamming into the AT Field harmlessly.]
[00:30] * Yanmei forced herself forward as well, hefting both rifles into a ready position. The air around 04 shimmered in a familiar fashion
[00:32] * Aline looked around herself as she prepared for her next leap. "G… Gah! It's a high-AT target! Nothing short of that thing charging back there will even hit it without neutralization!"
[00:33] <Dorian> [("H-High energy reaction inside the target!") ("W-what?!")]
[00:34] <Dorian> [Qaphsiel's core started to glow. Energy ran across its wings, which shimmered a liquid blue for a moment. The eye glowed- the glow became a glare- and the glare emitted, for a split second, a rainbow ring.-
[00:35] <Dorian> [Then, an explosion- energy, pure energy, burst forth, engulfing the entire area in front of it in a cross-shaped holocaust.]
[00:37] <Dorian> [The blast decimated everything it touched. Every tank, every building in that lineup was ripped apart, destroyed, waves of fire and heat melting metal, incinerating flesh. An Umbilical port was consumed, the electrical line sparking and exploding before collapsing into ash.]
[00:43] <Dorian> [Yanmei would see the blast coming just in time to raise her AT Field… Only for it to be swept aside.]
[00:46] * Yanmei screamed! A shrill, pained, desperate noise! There was a mini-quake as Unit 04 smashed to the ground, on its back from the force. Hurt, hurt! How could something hurt so much?!
[00:49] * Aline scremed in shock! "Y-y-YANMEI!" She quickly brought up Dorian's targeting data, and raised the rifle. "They said these things can punch through an AT Field. I'm going to do JUST THAT! Hang on, Yan-yan!" …the brilliant energy of her positron rifle shot out, lighting up the sky, and… striking… striking… through the field!
[00:50] <Sept> "…" Sera gritted his teeth in the confines of his plug as he heard the scream just as he finished raising his field.
[00:50] <Dorian> [The streaking blue actinic beam ripped right through the AT Field, burning itself onto one of the left wings of the Angel. A horrible sound came from it- the Angel had tasted pain. It was displeased.]
[00:53] <Dorian> [The civilians screamed. They saw the explosions. They saw an Evangelion fall. Surely this was the end? "H-HEY! It's not over yet! Don't go! Don't go! Hey- cowards…" A red-headed boy yelled in futility.]
[00:54] <Dorian> [Deep in the bowels of Paris-2, a blonde haired boy closed his eyes. He took a deep breath, tried to keep the utter fear in. He whispered to himself, over and over.]
[00:57] <Sept> "Let's go." The words were practically inaudible, maybe not even meant for the audio connection at all..? Nevertheless, 01 picked up the pace, and ran toward the enemy at a slight angle.
[01:00] <Yanmei> Bastard. Bastard bastard bastard! 04 stirred, climbing back to its feet, awkwardly, groping about for the fallen guns. "Won't…" her breaths were heavy. "Won't get away with that. Not in front of all these people!"
[01:07] <Dorian> [The Angel turned its giant eye towards Sept. It -stared- at him.]
[01:16] <Dorian> [Then, slowly, its wings closed.]
[01:16] * Aline aimed… and held onto the rifle with care and diligence… Then let off a burst of positron fire, sending a -storm- of beams in Qaphsiel's direction!… but unfortunately, unlike the last shot, none of these were able to burrow through! "D-d-damnit! Someone, anyone, try to neutralize it! Even positron weapons aren't reliably strong enough!"
[01:17] * SyntaxTerror is now known as Sept
[01:17] <Dorian> "What's the status on that damn cannon?!" "Still charging, sir."
[01:18] <Sept> Advancing for the rest.
[01:18] <Sept> Turn.
[01:22] <Sept> Sera's steps faltered as the eye - the horrible, giant eye - turned to him. His heavy breathing sounded from the comms, but 01 kept moving, even more calmly than before. No, not calmly. Mechanically. Finally getting close enough, 01's knife hand extended slightly toward Qaphsiel. AT Fields shimmered briefly as one was sacrificed to weaken the other.
[01:27] <Yanmei> Nuetralize, right then. She was up again, and was running forward. Face flushed, but set in a grim expression
[01:30] <Dorian> [Qaphsiel's AT field started to oscillate. The shimmers moved around its body faster and faster… Before expanding in a wave that bypassed the Evas harmlessly… But left two horrible, white, monstrous things in its wake.-
[01:30] <Dorian> [The bubble collapsed, immediately pressing in upon itself- and with a horrible ripping sound, Qaphsiel teleported, reppearing 500 metres away.]
[01:36] * Aline shook her head frantically. "No, no no no NO. This won't do! Cover me, I need to get a better shot!" …And so Aline bounded up again, 00 soaring through the air and this time setting down on an island the Seine-2 was routed around, levelling her rifle, and taking deep breaths. "Okay… okay… calm. Focus."
[01:40] <Dorian> "Yanmei, you need to find another umbilical. We're outfitting another cable on your old one south-west-west."
[01:41] <Yanmei> "Yes, Major. I'll try!"
[01:44] <Sept> A moment of confusion as Sera's quarry disappears before his eyes. Then, without a need to turn around to check, he goes into a full sprint toward the Angel. He doesn't expect to run into a Guardian, but it doesn't stop his knife from finding the softest spot in the head of the one standing in his path.
[01:45] <Dorian> [The head splits like an overripe melon, ripping completely in half. The body flails for a second, before collapsing.]
[01:46] <Dorian> "Rocket Artillery position A! Open fire on Tango-2!" ("Yessir!")
[01:46] <Dorian> [A host of missiles fly through the sky. The other Guardian turns its head… Just in time to receive a violent volley to its head and chest, ripping it bodily apart.]
[01:47] * Aline went on the comms. "Thanks, rocket guys! Those things are going to come back to life soon enough, so keep your scopes on 'em! If they get a chance they'll hold one of the EVAs so the main Angel can melt it!" She switched attention, mostly just a change in tone. "Major, suggest that that be made the primary mission of artillery support!"
[01:48] <Dorian> "That's certainly a wise action. I'm already on it."
[01:49] <Aline> "Thanks!"
[01:50] <Dorian> [The civilians can only see that the horrific monstrosity in the distance… Has now become bigger. -Closer-. Panic overtakes them- soldiers desperately try to keep control, but…-
[01:50] <Dorian> [A woman- blonde, rather thin and small- a soldier at her side- walks along, dragging her suitcase. The noise around her… She looks around, up at Qaphsiel, and up at the Evangelion that hangs in the air. She frowns slightly, as if… Trying to remember something… "My… My daughter…? Aline is up there…"]
[01:51] <Yanmei> "They're… really weak." Yanmei can't help but blink as the two spongey white beings are brought down almost as soon as they appear. Surprise or not… power issues or not! she still manages to focus on the larger abomination's AT field, weakening it further.
[02:01] * Aline stared. "…Don't shoot until you see the…" Then it -opened- before her. The damn thing's wings /opened/. "…Until you see 4RED!" A bolt of positron energy shot out of her rifle in an instant, guided by her markerlights to strike true into the core!
[02:02] <Dorian> [The bolt struck the core! Another angry shriek seemed to form from the air… This time accompanied with a light show. Energy poured down the wings, toward the core. The eye turned toward Aline.-
[02:02] <Dorian> [The prismatic light shone, a rainbow lighting up the air- before a massive bolt of energy struck into her right arm!]
[02:04] * Aline yelped briefly in sympathetic pain… but then turned back to face her attacker. "It hurts, doesn't it? That's nothing compared to what you've done to my family!"
[02:14] * Yanmei charges back toward a designated supply caches, reaching desperately for another cord. Darn 04. Why couldn't have a longer battery? She's flustered, and unfilfilled, having not murdered anything for the entire fight - wait, since when did she care about that?
[02:18] * Aline let out another burst shot, hitting squarely with everything she could, but… but… to no effect?! "Damnit damnit damnit is it /adapting/?!"
[02:19] <Dorian> [The blasts ripped through the AT Field. But when they hit the wings… Aline would remember the strange liquidness of the wings, that had grabbed and absorbed Asuka's chainsword.]
[02:19] <Dorian> "Aline! The wings' outsides are coated with some sort of super-ablative, absorbing material!"
[02:20] * Aline nodded slowly… "Gkk… We're going to have to make sure they stay open! My rifle is useless until then!"
[02:20] <Dorian> "Sept! Give us an opening!"
[02:23] <Dorian> "We need that Cannon charged! Marianne! Status?" "The power is pooling in Eure, Eure-et-Loir, Loiret and Yonne, Major!" "Damnit, it needs to reach us faster…"
[02:27] <Sept> "An opening? Alright." Sera widened his stance and reached out, only to find the feathery texture deceiving his eyes. He just couldn't get a grip on the stupid idiot Angel wings.
[02:36] <Yanmei> Plugged in, finally, Yanmei moves forward to do more of the same AT field manipulation, frowning in concentration
[02:40] <Dorian> ["… Commander…!"-
[02:41] <Dorian> [The spawn started to quiver. Their bodies became… Less harder, more like a jelly. And then, when they moved… They split. Where there had once been two Guardians, now stood four.-
[02:41] <Dorian> ["Commander, they're -dividing-!"]
[02:41] <Dorian> [Qaphsiel, still wrapped in its wings… Manipulated its AT Field. With a sudden thrust, Sept would feel himself being hurled backwards at great speed!]
[02:42] * Aline slammed her hands on the control surfaces of her plug! "Keep 'em down somehow anyway! If you can't, then I'll have to handle it myself!"
[02:44] <Yanmei> "Calm down, Blanc." Yanmei, now closest to the dividing creatures adjusts her grip on the weapons. "You have enough to do?"
[02:51] * Aline started to move forward, preparing herself for what was to come… but… as she gripped the handle of her positron rifle… "Oh… god…"
[02:53] <Sept> "—urk" Which way was down? Which way was Qaphsiel? The sudden force tossed Sera around in the air. With great effort, he managed to somehow right himself, falling on his knife arm while bending his field to redirect the impact, staying with the motion long enough to roll back onto his feet. "Gnn…" Leaning on the ground with his shield, the pilot prepared to retaliate.
[02:57] <Dorian> [The VTOLs moved in around the new Spawn, filling them with missiles! Two of them went down…]
[03:00] * Aline saw an opening as Sera moved closer… and she pointed at one of the spawn… but for the sake of not being -retardedly huge- she couldn't get a clear shot in!
[03:00] <Dorian> [The beam streaks through the sky, striking a residential suburban area. A few residential blocks are vaporised by a beam of antimatter.]
[03:10] * Sept takes a running start from his landing site, letting go of the shield on the way, and leaping back at the Angel, prying its wings open. The strange material burned, melted his- 01's fingers, but the grip held steady. If anything, it strengthened his resolve.
[03:16] * Yanmei scrambles forward too, having had quite enough of AT manipulation, and slams the pointy end of one of her rifles into Qaphsiel's torso!
[03:28] <Dorian> [Qaphsiel's odd pain cry filled the air. With a methodical slowness, it turned its eye towards Yanmei- the energy gathered, pooled…]
[03:32] * Yanmei glowered. Still not enough! She prepared to spring out of the way for another retaliation, but…
[03:33] <Sept> The image of Yanmei's earlier injury flashed across his Sera's mind. "Yanmei, watch out!" Reflexively, he let go of the wing with his other hand, and -reached out-.
[03:34] <Dorian> [A coruscating light, a ring of rainbow energy…-
[03:34] <Dorian> [Then, the beam struck out, igniting the very air. It slammed into Sept's arm… And instead of stopping, vaporised it -completely-, leaving a bloody mess behind it.-
[03:35] <Dorian> [The arm did absolutely nothing to stop the attack, either- it slammed into 04's chest, which immediately caught fire. The armour started to physically melt at the impact, the skin beneath vaporising into dripping pools of flesh.-
[03:36] <Dorian> [And then… it shot out the other side. 04 staggered backwards, and backwards… A white, tube-like object could be seen in the chest of the thing.-
[03:36] <Dorian> [It was broken. With a shuddering slam, 04 fell backward onto the ground.]
[03:38] * Aline stared… in… abject horror. Total and complete. "Is that the… that's… that's her entry plug! Ohgodohgodohgod Yanmei… no. No! NO! Not again, not a second sister to this thing! I can't accept it! I won't!"
[03:38] <Dorian> [("Y… Yanmei! YANMEI! YANMEI! NO! NO!")]
[03:40] <Yanmei> Screaming! It was all she could do. Her vision throbbed and darkened, but even then there was a vague regret. She wish she had spoken to her mother, at least…
[03:41] * Sept screamed. It more than hurt his lungs, but it was the only response he had. Vaguely aware of the voices, he knew he'd failed Yanmei, too.
[03:43] <Dorian> "W-We have to remain calm. We have to stay calm! Aline! Open fire, now!"
[03:44] * Aline raised the rifle. She could feel her grip shaking. Which is absurd, it's 00's grip, not hers. Come on. Aim. Aim. AIM. AIM! Aline wasn't doing her normal serenity breath, she was hyperventilating, and… "I must be calm I must be calm I must be calm I… One shot left come on FIRE!" …The shot… …missed.
[03:45] <Dorian> [Screams amongst the civilians. They saw an Evangelion… Just… Destroyed! What sort of monstrosity could do that?!-
[03:46] <Dorian> ["I… I…" Niles Windsor-Yamato stared, the image bleary. He'd lost his glasses- he could hardly see- but… He knew what that meant.-
[03:46] <Dorian> ["… This… This can't be happening." He whispered. He'd opposed Zhang Yanmei, competed against her… But her death wasn't… This… He fell to his knees. "No…"]
[03:51] <Dorian> "Aline. You need to get to that cannon. It's nearly charged."
[03:55] * Sept picks up his shield, shaking in the plug, and advances, stepping over 04's lifeless smouldering husk. There is absolute silence on the communication channels from his end.
[03:56] * Aline nodded… "Right, right, right! I… it's going to take a while, even with my AT movement!" She nearly slammed part of her control surface, even though she knew opening a commlink to Sera was totally mental-control. "Sera! I need a little bit of time to make it to the cannon! I know you're worried about Yan-yan but you have to keep the thing busy until then! It's our last, best
[03:56] * Aline hope!"
[04:01] <Sept> "I'll. Be. Fine." The mixture of emotions -anger, grief, pain- wasn't concealed in any way whatsoever. "Go."
[04:10] <Dorian> [The Angel turned towards the Evangelions. Its eye shone. Sept had a moment to see that ring of rainbow light, before-
[04:11] <Dorian> [A blast of heat and fire, ripping through the area, scorching the earth- demolishing what remained of the Louvre in the process- and burning at 01's body, melting part of the armour.]
[04:12] <Sept> He had enough time to react. But he had nowhere to run. Even after he buckled down behind his AT field, it wasn't enough. It still came through, burned through his shield, his armor. Once again, he screamed, though with more anger than pain this time. There seemed to be an echo to the voice, lower in register…
[04:13] * Aline could see the blast streak past her out of the corner of her eye. She screamed, just a solid yelp of surprise. "Ee… eee… eeeeyaaa! Sera! Are you alright!?!"
[04:14] <Dorian> Aline's turn.
[04:15] <Sept> As the blast cleared, 01 was still standing there. The shield in its hand had turned to junk, not much more than the handle was left. It was tossed to the side. "I. Said. GO!!"
[04:16] * Aline nodded quickly, now just as scared of Sera as she was of the Angel. "Yy-y-y-y-yes right I had to okay right going going!" 00 took a running jog, and… did an acrobatic fucking pirouette off the ground - and possibly the metaphorical handle of keeping one's cool, sending it closer to the cannon!
[04:16] <Dorian> ["The power's reached the main conductor!"]
[04:17] <Dorian> "Aline, when you get to that cannon, I need you to make -sure- you're going to hit it. I'll walk you through the steps."
[04:18] <Aline> "I know I know I have to do it perfect the first time right!" …Hyperventilating in LCL. That must be doing a number on her diaphragm. "I'll wait for the instructions once I get there, but I gotta get there I gotta get there."
[04:29] <Dorian> [An expanding wave of force issued out, headed toward Sept! The wave picked up an Artillery unit and smashed it bodily against buildings and roads.]
[04:32] * Sept concentrated his field to counter the wave. It came nowhere near to hurting him. "It's getting tired..!"
[04:35] * Aline was now just soaring and leaping and vaulting through Paris-2 like she was in some kind of ninja anime, moving at nonsense-speed to make to the cannon in time! The panicking civilians might be able to catch a glimpse of 00 hitting ground near the stupid-huge cannon, and move around it to get into position. "D-D-Dorian I did it. I'm at the cannon! Get ready to drop the instructions!
[04:35] * Aline Sera! Just… a little bit… more!" Then, in a moment of clarity? Loudspeakers on. "To everyone down there nearby, stand back! I'm about to fire this really big gun! And…" For the briefest moment, Aline's voice dropped to a more melancholy tone. "Mom. If you're down there… Remember what I said. The red one. This is Aline. Stay safe, and… watch me. Your daughter is protecting you,
[04:35] * Aline remember that!"
[04:36] <Dorian> "Aline. Make sure you aim. I'm… I'm deploying the Evangelion Targeting Headset.-
[04:37] <Dorian> [A massive targeting computer rose from the back of 00, deploying itself over 00's eye. In the Entry Plug, another computer- almost like a blast shield- came down, covering Aline's face. Immediately, the image changed. A new HUD was there, with targeting data, telemetry, enemy status. Qaphsiel was right there…]
[04:50] <Sept> Another sprint toward the Angel. The final stretch. Now almost familiar with the wings, Sera uses his remaining arm to hold one wing open. Slowly, it burned through the fingers. Too slowly.
[04:51] <Dorian> [The wing's acid started to burn- the armour peeling away, revealing the fleshy white skin beneath…]
[04:53] * Aline stared into the HUD, flicking off the loudspeaker. "…Right. I need to focus. This thing took the entire battle to charge. It's like when I was using the raiilgun. One shot left. Have to make it count." She breathed in slowly. Out slowly. Watching the reticule focusing on her target just as slowly. She muttered something, just loud enough to be audible. "Lillian. Patrice. Emile.
[04:53] * Aline Evangeline. …Shinji, though you're not on the line now… Give me strength. This is the final moment."
[04:56] <Yanmei> A thin crack of static over the comm system.
[04:57] <Yanmei> [14:54] <Yanmei> "Ah, is this thing on?" The speaker paused to catch her breath from just that. "I'm… cheering you two on from here. So." Another pause. "Please win! You can do it together!"
[04:57] * Sept watched the Guardians approach. They looked hungry. He was using his only hand to keep up the opening for Aline. But the Guardians probably weren't aware that he had teeth as well. And Sera felt like using them.
[04:58] <Yanmei> "Heh… That's enough from me. Hurry up and focus you two, and win… I'll be… taking a nap or something? Heh. Well. Not really."
[05:09] <Dorian> [The moment came. Aline sat there, the Great Positron Cannon in her hands. The targeting computer was locking on. Beep… Beep beep… Lock.-
[05:10] <Dorian> [Everyone in NERV froze. They stared at their various screens, eyes wide, praying, hoping against hope. Sophie was praying, a rosary in her hands. Aline's schoolfriends weren't even moving. Freya watched on, with wide eyes, and Alexandre… Couldn't watch at all.-
[05:11] <Dorian> [Outside, the panicking crowds stilled as they felt the energy pulse through the air. The Positron Cannon lit up, a blue aura around the base of the giant cannon. Together, the great mass- the people, the civilians, the citizens of Paris-2, stared, looking up at this one moment, this… One last chance to save not only their homes, but their entire race.-
[05:12] <Dorian> [Celine Blanc stared. Something… Important… It… She felt the pulse. With a sudden shock, she dropped her briefcase, where it fell on the ground, unheeded.-
[05:12] <Dorian> [She stumbled forward, feelings and emotions raging through a body that hadn't felt them in years. Cupping her hands around her mouth, she screamed, a single, holy word.-
[05:13] <Dorian> ["ALINE! ALINE! ALINE!"-
[05:13] <Dorian> Dorian's voice, now. "FIRE!"
[05:16] * Aline leaned forwards onto the control surface, pulses of her own heart, her own lungs, matching the positron weapon in time. She could see the targeting point moving. Her eyes followed it. Her soul followed it. For this moment in time, it didn't matter what the numbers said. She was one with everything. With the weapon in her hands. With 00. With the people of Paris-2, the people in
[05:16] * Aline the Japan MiniFront, her brother and sister on the battlefield… her mother right below her. It beeped. It beeped again. A second passed. Another… Something was wrong. The aim wasn't right. Something in her told her to shift it just the smallest bit. "Come on… Come on…" Then she heard it! Dorian's voice, right as the reticule blipped again! Squeeze. The trigger went, and with it,
[05:16] * Aline the wave of relief, the wave of salvation - all of it came out of Aline just as surely as the wave of positrons struck out of the cannon. She slumped down against the controls, her grit and nerves spent.
[05:18] <Dorian> [The beam erupted from the base of the cannon, lighting up the night sky. It was brighter than anything that'd happened that night, outshining the fire, the moon… It was powered by the entire grid of France. But it was also powered by other things, too. Determination. Sacrifice. And the desperate, singular goal to fight, and to die laughing. Not because you were the best, but because you were not, in the end, alone.-
[05:18] <Dorian> [The beam struck the eye, ripping straight through the middle, leaving a gout of flame behind it.-
[05:19] <Sept> For a split second, Sera started to relax the hand gripping the wing. They had done all they possibly could.
[05:19] <Dorian> [The core shuddered for a moment… It burst, splashing red and white across its wings, leaving behind a single, glowing spark of energy. A rainbow shone from it, before… It exploded, massive, wide, engulfing everything in the area, swallowing Sept… And unleashing a final blast of energy at Aline.]
[05:23] * Aline held on. She held on! Aline didn't even know that it was coming at her, because her eyes had turned down from the strain… But it didn't matter. It didn't matter that she felt it burning at her. It didn't matter how much it hurt! She did it. She did it, she took all the things Sera and Yanmei and Asuka sacrificed and turned it into victory. That's what it'd take! That's what it
[05:23] * Aline /did/ take! A pained chuckle, mixed with very weak sobs… and… a lighter emotion still? echoed over the comms line even as 00's head was burnt straight off…
[05:28] <Dorian> "… We… We did it."
[05:28] <Dorian> "WE DID IT!"

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