The intelligence reports are clear: SEELE is ready to initiate the Human Instrumentality Project.
God damn it.
I advise full mobilization against NERV. The JSSDF could be fully deployed alongside our agents and Chinese forces within six hours.
Will it be enough?
A full UN task force could be deployed within thirty-six hours, but those may be hours that we do not have.
How many agents do we have embedded in Japan?
Forty-seven, enough to open the way for a major task force.
Very well. I am initiating code Omega-One.
BY ORDER OF THE O5 COUNCIL
ATTENTION ALL PERSONNEL
WE ARE NOW AT CODE BLACK
REPEAT: WE ARE NOW AT CODE BLACK
LOCKDOWN CODE OMEGA-ONE HAS BEEN INITIATED
ALL NON-COMBAT PERSONNEL REPORT TO YOUR DESIGNATED SAFE ZONES
ALL COMBAT PERSONNEL PREPARE FOR DEPLOYMENT
REPEAT: WE ARE NOW AT CODE BLACK
SECURE. CONTAIN. PROTECT
The plan was simple on paper: embedded Foundations agents in Japan and operatives from the sites in China would infiltrate NERV and hack into the MAGI supercomputers. This information would be passed on to the main UN force and additional Foundation mobile task forces, which would then attack Tokyo-3. The EVA pilots would be captured or killed, alongside Gendo Ikari, Kozo Fuyutsuki, Ritsuko Akagi and the rest of the NERV high command. If at all possible, the members of SEELE would be located and killed. The EVA units themselves, as well as any additional SCP-class items in NERV's control would be destroyed. If only one of the critical parts of the project was destroyed, the entire mission would be a success.
Entry was the easiest part. The destruction the Angels left in their wake had forced NERV into a ragged, undermanned corner. Simply showing a medical license was enough to get in, with only minimal questioning. No one seemed to notice when three of those new doctors went missing in the wing that housed the MAGI servers, or when the normal technicians seemed to be taking an extended coffee break.
The Shank was a wonderful device: Only the size of a backpack, yet powerful enough to cut through the MAGI’s defenses like butter. The Foundation had begun development as soon as they had received word of the MAGI: NERV had beaten them to functioning AI, so the most reasonable thing to do was design a failsafe against it. This was not incredibly difficult, given that NERV had ended up with all three of their AI based off of the same highly unstable bipolar narcissist
The device hummed away, breaking down the MAGIs defenses. It would provide maybe twenty minutes of access, but that was enough to get the pertinent data to the main force. When the MAGI finally adapted enough to react and overcame the Shank, the Shank would take the MAGI down with it. Data poured from the MAGI to Oberon (a failsafe was not the only thing the Foundation had built), where it was compiled, disseminated, and added to the TACNET.
Meanwhile, the combined force of the JSSDF and Chinese Navy approached Tokyo-3 harbor.
The heads-up-display inside every agent’s helmet lit up with new data. General Tanaka’s voice came over every headphone and speaker in the task force.
“This is General Tanaka. TACNET has been updated with identification and status of the EVA pilots. The capture of these individuals is our top priority. The pilots are not to come in contact with the EVA units: lethal force is authorized to prevent access. All other primary targets remain kill-on-sight.”
“I’m so fucked up…” Shinji Ikari could barely believe what he had just done.
Who was he fooling? Of course he had done that. That’s all he was, right? Just a fucked-up piece of shit. He wasn’t worth anything. Nothing, nothing, nothing. Not even shit. Shit actually had some reason to exist.
The door opened, two figures walked in one man and one woman, dressed in surgical scrubs. Shinji was frozen where he was: the shame was mortifying in the absolute.
The man glanced at Asuka, and then scowled at Shinji.
“For fuck’s sake, zip up your pants.”
Shinji had just enough time to realize that the man spoke with a Chinese accent before he was knocked out. His unconscious body crumpled.
Agents Bao and Min worked quickly: Shinji was draped in a hospital gown and put in a wheelchair, Asuka was wrapped in her bedsheet and placed on a gurney, and the two were wheeled out into the corridor. If anyone asked, they were headed for the surgical ward. If they were lucky, they would be out of the country by the time the JSSDF struck. So far so good: they had encountered nobody in the hall.
The elevator dinged up ahead, followed by some footsteps. A woman in her late twenties turned the corner into the hallway, and froze. She had major’s stripes on her collar, and a name tag that read Misato Katsuragi. Her hand darted to her belt, raising a pistol at the Foundation agents.
“I don’t recognize you…Who are you? What are you doing?”
The agents leapt to each side, drawing and firing their own weapons as Katsuragi did the same. Min dropped to the floor, a bullet in her chest. Katsuragi dropped to her knees, clutching at her bleeding abdomen. Bao steadied himself and took a second shot. The major’s body was flung onto its back as the blood pooled on the tiles. Bao looked at his partner: just as dead as the major. No time to mourn now. There were two pilots here, and he could only manage to take one by himself. The Third Child was top priority. The Second was a liability. Bao stepped over to the gurney and, without hesitation, placed a bullet in-between her eyes. He had seen enough of her file to know that it was an act of mercy.
He grabbed Shinji out of the wheelchair, slung him over his shoulder, and ran.
Two hours later
Tokyo-3s outer defenses had been devastated by the Angels. The ground forces had landed with minimal conflict, and NERV’s facility had been breached with just as much ease.
The air was filled with smoke, screams and gunfire. The hallways and corridors of NERV were littered with bodies as the JDSSF went deeper into the headquarters.
Nine great shadows hovered over the ruined city, dropping their payload below.
They’ve launched EVA units! All ships, fire!
Artillery shells and machine gun fire bounced harmlessly off of the AT fields of the nine white EVAs. With floppy-lipped smiles, the nine charged the fleet.
Gendo Ikari was running. He hadn’t had to run anywhere since high school gym class. He was out of shape.
The great vault doors to Terminal Dogma opened. The corpse of Lilith, Ubbo-Sathla, SCP-001, hung from its cross.
He set Rei down in the shallows. The girl looked at the gigantic alien corpse, at her “mother”, with a blank face. Her face was always blank.
Gendo looked at the embryonic Adam embedded in his hand. Now it was time. He could meet Yui again.
“Commander.” The voice of Ritsuko Akagi came from behind. Gendo turned to see the scientist standing there, a pistol in her hands and pointed at them both. “I’ve started the self-destruct sequence, Commander. We’re all going to die here.”
Gendo Ikari laughed. It was really only a dry chuckle, devoid of humor, but he laughed all the same. Another thing he had not done in years.
“Actually, Doctor Akagi, the truth is…”
His words were cut off by a fifty caliber bullet that tore through his right temple. Dr. Ritsuko Akagi spun and had just enough time to register what was going on before her own skull was blown apart. The blood mixed with the LCL like food dye in water.
The First Child stood there, flecked with blood and bits of brain. She didn’t respond at all. She looked to be maybe ten years old, but only in appearance: her eyes betrayed a mind as blank and featureless as cardboard. She walked over to the body of Gendo and picked up his arm. Without a change of expression, she tore off the hand and ate it.
Flash, bang, splash. She fell.
The team waded out to the bodies, boots sloshing and gas masks hissing. The squad leader opened up what was left of TACNET.
“Three targets eliminated: Ikari, Akagi, and Ayana…”
He was cut off as Rei’s body exploded with an indescribable brilliance, searing all the lesser existence from the place as Adam’s power was made manifest and passed on to Lilith. The giant stirred. Life had returned to the Mother of All.
The MP EVAs paused their destruction of the fleet, as if they had heard someone calling to them. As one they took to the sky on their black wings, and in perfect synchronicity, impaled themselves upon their lances, AT fields just barely visible against the backdrop of reality.
In an instant, Tokyo-3 crumbled to dust as a massive explosion rent the ground. The fleet was completely consumed in the blast, to the last ship. In the midst of the destruction crouched a great white figure, like a human tucked in a fetal position, barely perceptible amidst its own glow. With slow, smooth movement the giant rose up, great wings unfolding across the miles of scarred earth, bathing the world in its harsh glow. Nine little dots sparkled about its head, shimmering, mirage-like folds and sheets of force radiating from each, mixing and melding and dancing with the others and growing into the invisible crescendo of the song that ended the world.
An ocean away, O5-1 sat watching the broken and shaky video feed. A single sentence came from the intercom on her desk.
Ace in the Hole is in position and prepared for firing.
NERV may have had giant robots and ancient alien artifacts beyond mortal ken. It may have managed to delve deep into the applications of the soul. It may have had consistently kept their leadership out of the Foundation’s grasp. It may have resurrected SCP-001. But there was one thing it did not have. A backup plan.
Especially not one that involved an orbital railgun.
The air burned red, rippled orange, and tore white, faster than the human eye could record.
The Lance of Longinus hit Lilith at .15 c.
In an instant, everything within one hundred and fifty miles was gone.
There was silence.
OPERATION NERVE PINCH COMPLETE
LOCKDOWN CODE OMEGA-ONE RETRACTED.
CODE BLACK HAS BEEN RETRACTED.
WE ARE NOW AT CODE YELLOW.
REPEAT: WE ARE NOW AT CODE YELLOW.
RECONSCRUCTION PROCEDURES ALPHA THROUGH DELTA INITIATED.
SECURE. CONTAIN. PROTECT.
Shinji woke up. He was greeted by a hospital ceiling. It wasn’t his ceiling, he knew that much. His ceiling was a different color.
He lay there for a long time, not doing anything, not thinking anything. He just wanted to fade away. Just to be gone. And the world wouldn’t let him. His father didn’t let him. Misato didn’t let him, NERV didn’t let him, and now after all that, he still couldn’t go. Someone else wouldn’t let him.
He just wanted to be alone, that was all. That’s all he wanted. No one else cared, so neither did he. Everyone else could just die.
The room was smaller than the one he had been used to, and it was a softer white than the harsh blue-white of NERV’s medical bay. There was a little TV on the wall, and a bedside table, and a nice potted plant, and a privacy curtain (pulled back) and a painting of some cats.
After some time, the door to the room opened. A nurse walked in and placed a plastic tray across Shinj’s lap-board. There was toast with butter and jam, and some scrambled eggs, a glass of orange juice and a glass of milk.
Shinji didn’t touch the food. The toast went cold. The milk went warm. Time passed.
The door opened again. This time a balding man walked into the room. He was wearing a white button up shirt and a pink tie, and holding a clipboard in one hand.
“Good morning, Shinji.” His Japanese was stilted and his pronunciation was horrendous. Most likely he was reciting from a machine translation.
Shinji didn’t respond.
“Shinji, can you hear me?”
“I speak English,” Shinji murmured.
The man smiled. It was a kind smile.
“Oh, well that’s good. My name is Dr. Glass. It’s nice to meet you.” He pulled a chair up next to the hospital bed and sat down.