In The Forest Of Sudden Defeat

[20:28] <Dorian> [[SESSION 4: Neon Genesis Evangelion. Date: 7th of March. Episode Title: In the Forest of Sudden Defeat-
[20:30] <Dorian> [It was a grey, overcast Saturday. Winter was finally giving away to Spring, at least by the calendar. In truth, the city remained cold and frosty, and would right through until June.-
[20:30] <Dorian> [There wasn't any school today. No doubt the pilots would be spending the day minding their own business- studying, hanging out with friends, or the like.-
[20:32] <Dorian> [Each of these activities would be interrupted by exactly two things at the same time. The first would be a sudden alarm, ringing throughout the city. "Attention all citizens: Paris-2 has been placed on High Alert. All citizens are to proceed in a calm manner to the nearest shelter and await there until further directions. This city is now under the directive of NERV. This is not a drill."-
[20:32] <Dorian> [And then, each of them would get a call on their Phone, calling them to NERV HQ immediately.]
[20:37] * Aline had previously been… well. Just sort of sitting in a chair, in her apartment. Bored out of her skull but too unmotivated to -do- something about that. Thus in a perverse sort of way, she almost welcomed the attack. On one hand, absolute terror becoming manifest. On the other hand… something to do. She even realized internally how screwed up that was, but… welp. No time to
[20:37] * Aline really deal with that, only enough time to make it off towards HQ and the Slowest Escalators Ever. Which led her to tap her fingers against the handrail impatiently the whooooooole way down.
[20:37] * Yanmei left her mug of hot cocoa steaming on the counter of the cafe that she had been relaxing at, and did not realize it until she arrived at HQ. She huffed, and pulled her coat a little tighter around herself, finding the fight for a smile a bit more taxing than usual as a result. Still, it did not keep her from uttering her hellos as she passed frantic personnel on the way to the briefing room.
[20:41] * Sept pulled out the beeping phone trying to get his attention. "Oh." He looked around, as if feeling guilty, and then pushed the newly-acquired flute onto his companion. "Take care of it, okay, Viviane? See you." Without further waiting, he made for the nearest exit and dashed in the direction of the HQ.
[20:43] <Dorian> [Sooner or later, the pilots would be gathered in NERV Command, which was a frantic buzz of activity compared to its usual state. All posts were manned. Dorian sat in his wheelchair in front of the large holographic screen. In the tallest tower sat, of course, Commander Fontaine- at her side, Vice-Commander Leon. Both of them were staring impassively ahead.-
[20:44] <Dorian> "Ah. Good, you're all here." Said Dorian, nodding to them, his face grim. "No time for niceties, we've got a Pattern Blue. Gosselin! The video!"
[20:45] <Dorian> ["Yes, sir." The screen shivered for a moment, before resolving into a picture- a clear, broad area, dense with forests. A map in the corner of the screen showed it centred on Northeast France- near the Belgian border. And of course, right in the middle of this arboreal loveliness…-
[20:48] <Dorian> ["Object: Fourth Angel, Codename: IADIEL". It was… Tall. Gazardiel had been long and spindly, but the line between where its tail began and its body ended was very thin. This thing had obvious legs, and obvious arms, all of them covered in a thick, chitinous plate. Upon its shoulders sat two bony 'handles'. Its head was thick and bulging, its eyes low and hard to see. Its mouth, however, was terrifyingly obvious.-
[20:49] <Dorian> [The beast looked around, before looking 'up' at the camera. One of the 'handles' on its shoulders popped up, a long, slender tentacle slipping out of the sudden orifice… Before immediately lancing straight up. The camera went dead.]
[20:53] <Yanmei> …even scarier than the last one. Yanmei suppressed her shivers, managing to cling to her composure. "It's certainly very aware of its surroundings, isn't it? Will we have trouble getting in close?" That seemed to be the thing to ask.
[20:55] * Aline shook her head… "…Is it still there or are we engaging it in Paris-2?"
[20:55] <Sept> "It'd be much better if we could fight it out there."
[20:56] <Dorian> "I think that's the idea." Said Dorian grimly. "The Angel was detected by NERV's Detection Field 10 hours ago. That video is eight hours old. The Pattern Blue is still registering there, in the Ardennes forest region. It hasn't moved." He nodded to Sept. "I think it wants us to go to it, and I think we're going to oblige."
[20:58] <Sept> "So it just wants… us?"
[20:59] <Dorian> "It looks like."-
[20:59] <Dorian> ["Captain." Came a sudden voice- the cold voice of Commander Fontaine. "This is obviously a trap."]
[21:00] <Dorian> "Well, yes, I'm aware of that, Commander." Said Dorian, looking up. "But we -know- it's a trap. An ambush, if properly taken care of, repays its danger with interest."
[21:01] * Aline nodded. "…But the alternative is letting an Angel live, is it not? As long as we're properly prepared…" She looked around. "Are we? Will we have adequate power? What about aerial support? That's ready to go, right?" She was trying not to be defiant, just informative!
[21:03] <Dorian> ["The French military is unwilling to contribute much in the way of support." Said Commander Fontaine coldly. "But, two wings of VTOL aircraft will be waiting nearby. Tell them about the complications, Captain."]
[21:03] <Dorian> "Ah… Yes." He turned to the pilots. "The VTOLs can't get an image confirmation."
[21:04] * Aline blinked. "No image confirmation? Is it invisible, or is it just concealed in the trees and they rightly aren't getting close without Eva support?"
[21:04] <Dorian> "They can't find it, no. It's hiding itself. -Somehow-."
[21:06] <Sept> "Could it be underground..?"
[21:09] <Dorian> "No, I don't think so. We have sensors that would've picked up on that sort of thing shifting into the earth…" He stared up at the map. "Either way, it needs to be fought. Pilots!" He turns back to them. "We deploy in half an hour via Carrier. Let's get to it!"
[21:12] * Aline nodded. "Ah, ah, right!" …and Aline rushed off to get suited up and suchlike. This time, at least, she wasn't going to be so slow to get dressed. Nope, no jumping around like an idiot! (A few minutes later, Aline would again have to jump around to make sure the legs of her plugsuit fit properly.)
[21:14] * Sept nods, and goes to grab his gear as well.
[21:15] <Yanmei> "Yes sir," she said brightly, although her own departure was a bit more slow.
[21:19] <Dorian> [And so, the pilots would be inserted into their Evas, and loaded onto the Carrier planes. The Carrier planes were massive, black planes with -enormous- wingspans. The Evas were strapped to the underside, as the Carrier then emerged from the Bois de Boulogne Embarkation Hatch, and launched into the air.]
[21:22] <Dorian> [The Carriers soared through the skies of France- a beautiful, green and white land beneath them. As they flew, they watched the tall buildings of Paris-2 slowly recess into the ground.]
[21:22] <Dorian> [Two hours, nine minutes later: At 14:11 hours, they reached their destination: the heavily-forested, hilly land of the Ardennes Department. Belgium was -right there-.]
[21:22] <Dorian> [And of course, beneath them were three Mobile Support Structures, and the Command Vehicle.]
[21:28] <Dorian> "Deployment in T-minus 15 seconds." Said Dorian.-
[21:29] <Dorian> [And indeed, fifteen seconds later- after the carriers were low enough- the three Evangelions would be dropped free-fall towards the earth, towards an open patch of land.]
[21:39] <Dorian> "All EVA units. Status report."
[21:41] * Aline let herself - that is, 00 - settle into standing position on landing… and nonchalantly let go of the flail she was holding in one hand as soon as she was sure nobody was under it. "Pilot Blanc and Unit 00, ready!"
[21:43] <Dorian> [The road beneath the EVAs buckles and cracks beneath their massive weight- as does the green grass beneath them.]
[21:43] <Sept> -Laughter- through the entire duration of the fall, and a graceful landing effortlessly and seamlessly transferring the energy to a dash down the highway, simultaneously spreading his field.
[21:51] * Aline then clicked on the loudspeaker she hoped the EVA had. "All personnel, though you are likely already not underfoot, please do not stand directly under this unit. Full AT spread in progress~" Loudspeaker off, field up!
[21:54] * Yanmei is also in the process of spreading her field, although with less warning. She closed her eyes in concentration. "Unit 04 here. Nothing unusual here." A pause, and then here eyes flew open. "Correction to that. I think I found something."
[21:55] <Dorian> "(Captain! The AT Ping- we're getting a positive result, to the east.)" "Yes! Yes, Yanmei, you've found it! All EVA units, be advised, the Angel has been located, 550 metres to the east."
[21:56] <Dorian> [The VTOLs started moving toward the east, their engine whines filling the air.]
[21:57] <Aline> "Aha! Well that settles that, good going Yanmei!" She then checked her displays briefly. "Well, alright. If the VTOLs would so kindly listen, I think maximum range engagement will be a good idea. Also -try- not to fire until we can confirm AT field strength. Pilot Zhang's Battle Rifle probably has more rounds than any of your missile batteries, after all, and until we can tell how strong
[21:57] <Aline> the field is, and then try to take it down, no amount of fire will be able to take down a target of that magnitude!"
[22:06] <Dorian> "Note that, VTOL pilots. Sept, move ahead and try to draw him out. Aline and Yanmei are on support. We want to lure it out into the open, then try to gun it down- understood?"
[22:06] <Sept> "East? Got it." Sera makes for an all-out dash toward the Angel, reluctantly slowing down as he feels the tension of the umbilical cable. Like a dog barking at an intruder, its chain pulled taut.
[22:06] <Dorian> [The MSS trundles after him as fast as it can!-
[22:07] <Dorian> [… But as Sept moves, the -greenery- shifts as Iadiel emerges. It's truly a tall beast, two heads taller than an Evangelion. Its tentacle-handles are closed for now. It turns toward Sept.-
[22:08] <Dorian> [It… Jumps. Just clear jumps into the air, its handles blowing open as two, 100-metre long tentacles burst out into the open. It lands with a crash- in front of Sept!]
[22:08] <Dorian> [The ground shakes with the force of its landing.]
[22:12] <Dorian> [The AT Field around Sept… Suddenly starts to dissipate into nothing.]
[22:12] <Dorian> ("It's neutralising the AT Field!") "Alright, Sept, that's good. Draw back."
[22:14] * Sept fortunately doesn't have to wait for the painfully slow journey of the support vehicle as the Angel takes the offensive. "Back? But I can… nngh."
[22:14] <Dorian> "That's an order, Sept!"
[22:17] <Sept> "…will do. But our time's limited as-is."
[22:18] <Dorian> "It's gonna be a lot more limited if you're dead."
[22:19] * Aline then moved forward, sighting down her railgun, as targeting data flooded her sight. "…I can see it… Alright, let's see how much of a field you have left!" And with a loud hum, then a burst of flame as the rail slug ignited the air around the rail system, it struck out towards the Angel!
[22:20] <Dorian> [The bolt cut right through whatever AT Field the angel had… And was promptly ignored as it rammed into the Angel's thick chest carapace to no effect.]
[22:21] * Aline stared, wide-eyed. "…The hell kind of armor does that thing have?!" But then she paused. "…It must be committing most of its AT Field to neutralizing Pilot de Pteres'!"
[22:36] <Dorian> [Iadiel lowers its head and charges at Sept- a long tentacle flipping out, suddenly glowing with energy! It doesn't do any damage as it snakes around EVA 01, but suddenly Sept finds- he can barely- even- move!]
[22:39] * Aline took a deep breath, focusing. "This makes it harder… MSS-00, if you could get a little bit ahead of me so I can move forward later, that'd be great. Don't worry, you only need to go about 50 meters or so." Then she turned her head, as if to focus on the pilots. "I'm trying to aim for a clear shot. Hang on!"
[22:40] <Dorian> ["Y-you want me to get -closer- to that thing?" "Jean, calm down and just -DRIVE-!" "O-Oui, Captain!"]
[22:40] <Sept> "Hnng… This work for you? Keeping it busy enough?"
[22:40] <Dorian> "Sept, can you move at all? Try to get free."
[22:44] <Yanmei> No sooner had Yanmei rammed her sword upright into the earth, then the situation changed. She fired off a wild round, and muttered something in Chinese. All of her range practice for naught! "Start with melee. Always start with melee. Hang on, de Pteres! Support is on the way!"
[22:48] <Dorian> [The spare tentacle lashed out, this time- severing Sept's umbilical from his eva entirely! They both began to pummel 01, the chest starting to crack and melt underneath the heat of the tentacles.]
[22:49] <Dorian> [Within the Command Vehicle, the wall flashed with an alert as a giant 5:00:00 appeared… Ticking down immediately. "Sept! Your umbilical's been damaged!"]
[22:52] <Sept> Groaning. "Worry about… cable… later"
[22:54] * Aline took another breath, and focused… as the telltale sign of her markerlight array focused on one of the tentacles!… only to leave the rail bolt that followed to go wide, sailing off into somewhere to the east! "Y… Yanmei, I designated that tentacle, get it, please!"
[22:58] <Yanmei> "Roger that!" Reaching behind herself, she yanked her own cable plug out- "Sorry Captain." - and sprinted ahead!
[22:59] <Dorian> [Iadiel turns its gaze toward Yanmei- those alien, murderous eyes boring into hers.]
[23:08] <Yanmei> - And Yanmei stops dead in her tracks. "…"
[23:10] <Dorian> "VTOL Wing Bleu, OPEN FIRE!"
[23:10] <Dorian> ["Roger that!" A full salvo of missiles echoed forth, slamming into the tentacle gripping EVA 01… With a screech of anger, the Angel reared back, the bleeding stump of a tentacle all that remained. EVA 01 was dropped, clanking onto the ground.]
[23:11] * Sept is struck free from the Angel's grip, and suddenly finds himself looking at the sky, out of breath.
[23:12] * Aline fistpumped! "Woo! Come on Sera, the cavalry's here!"
[23:30] * Sept climbs up, slightly hunched as to protect his chest against further Angel invasion… and lunges at the monster! For a moment it feels like he's going to miss, but as if the Eva itself had been assisting in the attack, the knife found its way to Iadiel
[23:32] <Dorian> [The knife burrows itself deep, -deep- into the Angel's head- before it's just ripped apart entirely, the face splitting open like an overripe, rotten tomato. A spurt of blood shoots everywhere, and EVA 01's gaze is obscured with gore.]
[23:32] <Dorian> [The angel would have roared if it had a mouth left, but instead it lets out a moan of abject pain as it swipes into the air with its claw- and misses 01 entirely.]
[23:33] * Aline stared forwards, making a few more deep breaths - a weird exercise when you were breathing orange goo. She remembered to do that because her rifle trainer had apparently had some sniping experience! "Great stab, Sera, that was one in a million! Now let me aim this… and do try to figure out where that core is!"
[23:34] * Sept waited for his quarry to topple… waited and waited for what seemed like an eternity in the midst of battle. "…core. Right."
[23:39] * Yanmei pushed forward now. It was as if seeing the angel bloodied and injured gave her courage somehow. …and that fact made her feel like a dirty coward.
[23:43] <Yanmei> She swung, almost blindly, and while she actually hit her mark, it didn't seem to do a ton of good!
[23:44] <Dorian> [The beast staggers a little from Yanmei's blow, a line of blood appearing on its chest.]
[23:45] * Sept seemed a bit lost… his enemy had no head, where was he to start? Still, he made for another assault.
[23:59] <Dorian> [The beast shook its… Mangled head. It turned to Sept, and - the air itself started to burn. Its mouth opened, and a wave- a veritable WAVE of fire burst forth, entire sheets spreading across the entire area, licking, burning, ripping through EVA 01- its armour melting and cracking.]
[00:00] <Dorian> [An MSS unit is liquified by the white-hot flame, the screams of the poor men inside cut abruptly short- Yanmei's energy reading suddenly turns to 5:00:00.]
[00:11] * Sept was too late to shield against the heat. The already-weakened chest plates of Evangelion unit 01 quickly gave way, searing the flesh(?) beneath. Sera knew it was happening, and he felt some of it, but ultimately felt guilty about not feeling -all of it-. He felt a jerk unrelated to his Evas movements. "No." The mental link was severed, and the entry plug exited the smouldering torso
[00:11] * Sept of Unit 01. "NO!!"
[00:11] * Aline peered ahead even more. "S… S-Sera! Hang on!" And the markerlights moved… "There's the core! OPENING FIRE!" First, the familiar atmo-searing burst of the railgun. Then… wait. Was that an AT disturbance?… uprooting a flaming tree?… Into the core?! What the fuck?
[00:14] <Sept> The plug's trajectory was smooth, and the parachute was deployed on time and without complications. Eventually, the figure disappeared into the woods, drifting gently (considering the circumstances, anyways) downwards.
[00:19] <Yanmei> De Pteres down! Yanmei felt a sudden disbelieving shock run through her… which gave way quickly to anger! "How DARE you!" She slashed at it again, but this time missed completely in her haste!
[00:23] <Dorian> [Iadiel wasn't hit by the attack, and with a semblance of normalcy to its actions… Rammed its hand into Yanmei's AT Field. Within seconds, it just… Disappeared!]
[00:29] * Aline saw the moment. "Ohhhhh no you don't!" Another gesture, and capitalizing on it lowering its AT Field to null Yanmei's, she was able to directly extend her own to shove it a little off balance. "There we go, clear shot, redesignating…" And she saw the extra data Dorian was pumping to her. "There we go, and FIRE!" …this time, this time she struck true!
[00:29] <Dorian> [The Angel is readily pushed backward, screeching at the undignified action - then in genuine pain as a railgun bolt strikes its core!]
[00:34] <Yanmei> With the Angel now off balance, Yanmei backtracked fast, lunging for her lost rifle!
[00:35] <Dorian> "Yanmei, I'm uploading advanced targeting data based off what Aline's been sending us. Take it into account!"
[00:36] <Yanmei> "Right! Understood, Captain!" Maybe those shooting lessons would come in handy today after all!
[00:38] * Aline thought. "…I'm out of rounds. But Sera's prog-knife… Ah! Well here goes! I can't hold the designation just yet, give me a second!" …And she dashed forwards to where Eva-01 fell!
[00:45] * Yanmei made an attempt to offer cover, but her bullets went wide. Darn it! Calm down and aim. Calm down…
[00:46] * Aline then reached down, once she arrived… and set the railgun gently on the ground, while prying out the prog-knife from EVA-01's quasi-dead cold fingers… while setting up the designation. "I've restored the lock, sorry about that! And it's cutting its field to try to negate mine! You have an opening!"
[00:47] * Yanmei took the opening, steadying her hand first!
[00:56] * Aline steadied the knife in her hand… "Okay, strike!" …of course, she just sort of randomly hit a chunk of the body since she wasn't taking the risk of trying to go for the core without time to set up a designation.
[01:01] * Yanmei tried again, this time with a spray of bullets, after her previous shot went wide again. This time is no exception. Perhaps by now, a certain instructor was clapping a hand over his face in a weary facepalm.
[01:05] <Dorian> [The Angel turned to Yanmei, tilting its ragged mess of a head in her direction…]
[01:06] * Aline tried to stab it. She really did! But… what could she do? "Gaaaahhh. These damn knives are so hard to handle!"
[01:08] <Dorian> [00:00:50…]
[01:11] <Yanmei> "Hold one, Blanc! Just keep it up!" Yanmei sprinted closer, trying to ignore the creature's sudden attentions. She aimed. "This time for sure, I'll-"
[01:11] <Dorian> [00:00:03… 00:00:02… 00:00:01…-
[01:11] <Dorian> Yanmei's Plug went dark.
[01:12] <Yanmei> "…No." She tugged at the controls, first tentatively, and then frantically. "No, no!"
[01:12] * Aline stared confusedly. "…Yanmei? Yanmei?! Oh no, oh no! Hang ooooooon!"
[01:12] <Dorian> "Aline, you need to act fast. I've dispatched a Support Drop for Yanmei. I need you to plug it into her power port. I'll try to get one for you as soon as possible. Try to keep calm everyone."
[01:12] * Aline slowly nodded, though she was still sort of freaking out. "Y-y-yes sir I'
[01:12] <Dorian> [And indeed, just a few moments later… The plug dropped down, landing next to 04!]
[01:12] <Aline> *I'll keep my eyes peeled."
[01:22] <Dorian> [The Angel lashed out now at EVA 04, its tentacle suddenly sliding around, cutting into EVA 04's armor, ripping into it… The energy burned. The Plug itself was knocked about…-
[01:23] <Dorian> [… And then the Evangelion's eyes turned red.]
[01:23] <Dorian> "… Oh. Oh -No-. No no no no no no no no no no!" "Captain! Eva 04 is going berserk!" "I'M WELL AWARE OF THAT! ALINE! GET THE HELL AWAY!"
[01:24] * Aline looked… and managed to notice that. Nothing escaped the 00's amazing sight. Though… "Uh, what i-… oh. Oh."
[01:27] * Aline then quickly nodded. "R-ririright yessir getting the hell out of here on the double sir!" …Run, EVA, run!
[01:28] <Dorian> [The Evangelion threw away the gun. To hell with the ridiculous weapons of mankind! It grabbed the tentacle, its claw-like hands simply ripping -straight through- them. The Angel screeched, reeling backwards. As 04's mouth wrenched open, it unleashed a horrible, horrible -cry-. Everyone nearby covered their ears in fear at that inhuman, demonic sound. The sky was split with the sound of an Evangelion's unleashed hatred.-
[01:28] <Dorian> [It looked at the Angel.]
[01:28] <Dorian> [Iadiel knew fear.]
[01:33] <Yanmei> The followup blow wasn't long to follow! And it was a mighty one, although sluggish, off target due to the thick mist of rage clouding the Eva's perception
[01:42] <Yanmei> Though its prey managed to slip away, there were many more blows to follow, faster, harder. [Kill]
[01:43] * Aline was just… standing there. Staring blankly. "Yanmei… Please be alright in there…"
[01:44] <Yanmei> Something cracked beneath them, delightfully, and a flood of light and fire poured out!
[01:47] <Dorian> [The Angel screamed, a scream of pure, unadulterated fear- before the core unleashed its energy. Fire, energy, like a flash nuke, lighting up the entire area, burning half of the Ardennes to ash, catching the VTOL wings completely.]
[01:52] * Aline peered back, trying to get a view. "…She's… got to have survived, right? EVA-04 did last time a core blew up on it… right?" …The Angel wasn't the only thing that was scared.
[01:54] <Yanmei> The inhuman howl from the cracking, smoldering center of the blast answers Aline's question. Not one of pain, by any means…
[01:58] <Yanmei> It's followed tearing noises, cracking noises, and then something flies out of ground zero and slams into the earth not far away from Aline, still sizzling, barely recognizable
[02:05] <Yanmei> A massive leg, only identifiable by the small bits of Iadiel's plating still clinging to it, much of its flesh not only cooked, but torn off in fresh strips. The noises continued from beyond.
[02:07] * Aline looked down… unable to even say anything. She was shaking in her own plug, the motion making tiny ripples in the LCL.
[02:10] <Dorian> It was silent in the Command Vehicle. The crew simply stared.
[02:11] <Yanmei> The hulking shadown that is 04 slowly becomes more visible, clawing, tearing at its fallen foe. There are less identifiable lumps around them. For the moment, the monstrosity's attention seemed to be focused on prying open the Angel's ribcage as one might crack open a stubborn book with pages stiffly cemented to each other with time. There was a loud and wet and very telling crack.
[02:20] <Yanmei> Finished, but not satisfied, it eases back onto its haunches, glaring around. Red eyes hone in on the distant 00 with particular interest…
[02:24] * Aline …doesn't need to take a hint twice. "Ohgodohgod it's looking my way!" …and she proceeds to run even -more-!
[02:28] <Yanmei> Pursuit! Its howl is wild, wrathful, mad! But its motions are not as quick as before… slowing, slowing still, and then stopping entirely before it can reach her. Its eyes flicker with promises, terrible promises… and then finally dim.
[02:29] <Dorian> ("EVA 04 has grown dormant.") "…"
[02:29] * Dorian slumps in his chair. "Send in the recovery teams. Get Yanmei out of there as soon as possible."
[02:33] <Dorian> "Aline, you doing ok?"
[02:35] * Aline waved. "…Shaken, but completely fine! I… I don't think 00 even took any damage."
[02:36] <Dorian> "Whew…" He takes a breath. "Marianne, send out search parties for de Pteres as well. He needs to be found."
[02:36] <Dorian> ["… That won't be necessary, Captain. He has been located and is currently with me." Came another- cooler- voice. Commander Fontaine.]
[02:40] * Aline smiled. "At least there's that… Well, uh." She peered out again. Poor Ardennes. Poor military pilots and drivers. Poor Yanmei. "…We… won, at least."

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