Chapter Five

“Asuka’s Assault!”

 

            Onna-Ranma wiped some stray red hairs out of her face.  The cargo helicopter they were flying was causing her hair to swing wild.  The tresses were, however, the least of her annoyances.  Currently something else was bothering her more; namely the two fourteen-year-old bags of hormones that were just staring at her wide-eyed.

 

            Toji pointed at her.  “A-Are you really…?”  He stuttered out.

 

            The redhead just nodded her head.  “Yes, I’m really Saotome Ranma.  I got this curse in China when I was sixteen.  How many times do I have to explain this?”  She flashed an angry glare at the taller child.  “My face is up here, boy!”

 

            Toji’s eyes snapped up.  “Yes, sir…I mean ma’am…arrgh!”

 

            The redhead’s wrath didn’t stop there.  “You too Kensuke!  Point that camera somewhere else!”

 

            “Yes, s-, ma-, uh, yes!”  He quickly pointed the camera outboard.

 

            Onna-Ranma just sighed as he rolled his eyes.  Misato giggled from the front of the copter.  “What’s a matter, Ranma?  Fame getting to be too much for you?”  She teased in her playful voice.

 

            “You shut up!”  The redhead crossed her arms.

 

            “Why did you come as a woman anyway?  It would have saved you a lot of grief.”

 

            Onna-Ranma narrowed her eyes.  “Misato, what is that stuff we’re flying over right now?”

 

            The blue haired girl looked out the window.  “Uh, water.”

 

            “Ver-ry good.”  She bit out sarcastically.  “Now, what happens to Ranma around any amount of water?”  Misato’s eyes lit up in understanding.  “Now you get it.  I thought I’d change now and save God the trouble.  We’re going to be in the middle of the planet’s largest puddle, so I think I’m probably going to get wet. Besides, I don’t want to have to explain the curse more than a few times.”

 

            “Sorry.”  Misato replied sheepishly.

 

            “So what are we doing, Misato?”  Shinji asked from the back.

 

            The captain gave her young charge a smile and wink.  “Well, I thought you guys would be getting bored with staying cooped up in the mountains, so I thought I’d bring you all out on a little date.”

 

            Toji’s eyes lit up.  “A date!  Really?!  I bought this hat just for today!”  He hastily leaned forward and adjusted his new ball cap. 

 

“Sit down!”  Onna-Ranma growled menacingly.

 

“So where are we going?”  Shinji asked again.

 

            Oh we're just taking a cruise on that cute little boat down there.”  She pointed out the window.

 

            Kensuke peered out and his eyes grew to the size of Buick hubcaps.  “Oh my God!  It’s the super carrier Over The Rainbow and the whole pacific fleet!”  He then went into a spiel about the specs of the aircraft carrier and accompanying fleet.

 

            Onna-Ranma’s eyes drooped for a second and then she came full awake.  She rubbed her eyes a little.  “Geez, I thought I was in school again.”  Misato giggled at that.

 

            “I’m amazed the thing is still floating after all this time.  It dates well before second impact.”  The Captain started to lecture.

 

            The martial artist’s head began to droop again.  “STOP THAT!”

 

            Shinji shook his head at the whole exchange.  “So what are we carrying in the cargo bay?”

 

            “Oh.  Just an accessory a girl shouldn’t be without.”  Misato stated whimsically.

 

            Onna-Ranma’s raised an eyebrow in disbelief.  “Don’t tell me we’re hauling a copter load of tampons.”

 

            Misato reached back and swatted at him the best she could.  “Shut up!”

 

            They landed safely on the deck and everyone stretched out and started walking to the control tower.  Kensuke was going nuts with all the military equipment around.  He was taking video like there was no tomorrow.  Toji ran off chasing after his hat that had blown off his head.  Ranma, Misato, and Shinji followed behind with bored expressions on their faces.

 

            “Stop it!  Somebody catch my lucky hat!”  Toji shouted as he chased the errant headwear.

 

            The hat came to a stop as a small foot stomped down on it.  Toji followed the leg up to see an auburn haired girl wearing a yellow sundress and a confident smirk on her face standing over him.

 

            “Well, hello, Misato.  How have you been?”

 

            Misato smiled at the younger girl.  “Just fine.  Goodness, you’ve grown some haven’t you?”

 

            “That’s not all.  I’m taller and my figure has filled out as well.”  The girl continued to carry on the conversation obviously ignoring Toji’s efforts to free his hat from under her foot.

 

            Misato turned to the others in her party.  “Everyone let me introduce the designated pilot of Unit Two, the second child, Soryu Asuka Langley.”

 

            At that moment, the wind picked up and blew Asuka’s skirt up exposing her underwear.  Toji’s eyes went wide.

 

            “Perverts!”  Asuka shouted as she slapped all the boys.

 

            Onna-Ranma half-flinched, fully expecting one of the slaps to come at her.  She relaxed when the slapping stopped.  However, she became surprised when she saw why the slapping had stopped.  There stood Shinji with his arm raised effectively blocking Asuka’s attack.

 

            “What are you doing?”  He asked the fiery tempered girl.

 

            “You were looking up my skirt.  This is the fee for the peek.”  She brought her other arm around for another strike while Shinji was looking at her.

 

            The boy put up his other arm and blocked the second attack, almost without thinking.  “I didn’t look at your skirt!  Toji’s the only one who did it.  You didn’t have to slap all of us.”

 

            Kensuke coughed from the side, trying to look innocent.

 

            “He’s definitely come a long ways in his training.”  Misato commented idly to the redhead beside her.

 

            Onna-Ranma nodded.  “Good thing he doesn’t have any hang-ups about fighting girls.”

 

            “You mean like someone we know…” Misato teased.

 

            “Shut up.  How did you find out about that anyway?”

 

            “A little birdie told me.  Of course it cost me a pretty penny.”  She mumbled the last bit.

 

            The martial artist picked up on it and frowned.  “Nabiki.”

 

            Meanwhile, the two kids were still arguing.  Asuka finally got fed up and tried for a kick to the groin.  Shinji sidestepped and swept her standing leg out from under her.  She fell back and fell on her pert derriere.  Shinji smirked.  “Now I’ve seen you’re underwear and pink polka dots are not your type.”  Onna –Ranma shook her head.

 

            Asuka grit her teeth and pulled her skirt down in rage and embarrassment.  “I’m going to KILL YOU!!!”

 

            “HEY!”  Misato stepped between them with a forced smile.  “I think that’s enough for now.  Why don’t we all head up to the bridge?”  She took Asuka’s hand and helped her to her feet.

 

            After she was back on her feet, Asuka tore her hand out of Misato’s.  “I want to know which one of these perverts is the famous third child.”

 

            Misato smiled and pointed at Shinji.  “Asuka, I’d like you to meet Ikari Shinji, the third child.”

 

            “Ach nein.”  Asuka shook her head.

 

 

 

A short time later they all arrived on the bridge.  Misato held out a stack of papers.  “Captain Katsuragi Misato and party reporting.  Here are the specs for the equipment that we brought along for the EVA.”

 

The Captain of the ship frowned as he turned to Misato.  “From your antics on the deck I had thought that you were the leader of this little Boy Scout troop. I was obviously mistaken.”

 

“Thank you for having us aboard.”

 

“No, thank you for bringing so many more kids for us to baby-sit.”

 

“I think you can curb the attitude, Captain.”

 

The two captains turned to face the redhead standing with her arms crossed.

 

The ship’s captain’s eyes went wide.  “Saotome!  It’s so good to see you again.  Why I haven’t seen you since…”  He trailed off as he tried to remember.

 

“Norfolk.”  The redhead smiled.  “And I see you still haven’t learned to be more respectful to women on your ship.”

 

“I’m so sorry!”  He turned to Misato.  “Forgive me for being so rude.  It won’t happen again.”

 

Misato was overwhelmed by how easily cowed the ship captain was.   She blinked.  “No problem.  It’s all right.”

 

The older man turned his attention back to Ranma.  “So what are you doing here?  Don’t tell me you’ve joined that damned NERV.”

 

“In a manner of speaking.”  The redhead narrowed her eyes.  “What problem do you have with NERV?”

 

“They always act like they are above the law and they turned my fleet into cargo service!”

 

“Well you just happen to be carrying one of the last hopes for the human race, so I think that it is warranted.”

 

“From the sound I thought it was you arguing with the Captain, Misato.” came a voice to the side.

 

Misato’s eyes went wide and Asuka turned and shouted, “Kaji!”

 

Onna-Ranma turned to see a man with about a three-day stubble on his chin and long brown hair tied in a ponytail.  He wore what looked like business casual clothes that hadn’t been ironed in ages.  By the way he was looking at Misato, Ranma took an instant dislike to him.  The redhead glowered at him.  “So, who are you?”

 

The man gave her a half-smirk.  ”Ryoji Kaji.  I’m here at the request of NERV.  It’s nice to meet the famous Saotome Ranma, the only fighter ever to be banned from every fighting circuit on the planet for outclassing all other participants.  I understand you got quite a compensation for that.”

 

Onna-Ranma was REALLY not liking this guy.  “How did you know that?”

 

“Let’s talk about this down in the lunchroom.”  The man smiled, turned, and walked to the elevator.

 

They arrived at the lunchroom after a few ‘accidental’ gropings in the elevator, which almost resulted in Ranma breaking Kaji’s hand when Misato had cried out.  They all took a seat at one table and Kaji leaned over toward Misato.  "So do you have a boyfriend right now?"

 

She turned to Onna-Ranma.  “As a matter of fact I do.”

 

“So you decided to date a variety platter.”  Kaji smiled his annoyingly cocky grin.

 

“He’s more of a man than you ever were.”

 

Kaji gave her a look of mock sadness.  "I'm hurt!"  He turned to Onna-Ranma.  “So, is she still so wild in bed?”

 

            “Dunno, she keeps pulling me down to the floor before we get there.”

 

            Misato’s eyes went wide and then she snarled.  “RRRRANMA!!!”

 

            "She hasn't changed, has she?"  Kaji commented casually.

 

            “Apparently not.”  Ranma agreed.  “Let’s get back to business.  Why do you know so much about me?”

 

            Kaji smiled and leaned back in his chair.  “I make it my business to know about great warriors.  For example there’s Ikari Shinji here.”

 

            Shinji looked up in surprise.  “Me?  Famous?”

 

            The older man gave the boy a warm smile.  “Of course.  You’re very well known in the intelligence community.  The famous third child that piloted an Evangelion to victory with no prior training.  You have a very special talent.”

 

            Shinji sheepishly scratched the back of his head.  “It wasn’t anything.”

 

            Asuka glared at Shinji for being so arrogant while Misato gave the same look at Ranma for rubbing off on Shinji.

 

 

 

            A short time later, Asuka was sitting on one of the railings of the ship, kicking her legs, trying to be as close to Kaji as possible.  Kaji was leaning on the rail and looking out on the ocean.  “So what do you think about Shinji?”

 

            “Oh, the great third child? He’s just an annoying brat!”  She looked upwards.

 

            “That may be, but his synch ratio was well over 40% without any prior training.”

 

            “Mein gott!”

 

 

 

Elsewhere, Onna-Ranma, Misato, Shinji, Toji, and Kensuke were riding an elevator back to the main deck.  Shinji looked back at Misato.  “That Kaji guy is pretty interesting, eh Misato?”

 

“Grrr!  He hasn’t changed a bit!”  Misato bit out.

 

Onna-Ranma raised an eyebrow at the captain.  “So how do you know him?”

 

“Old boyfriend.  But that’s over.  WAY over.”  She crossed her arms and scowled.

 

They approached the top of the escalator only to be met by an angry brunette.  “You’re coming with me, third child!”

 

 

 

A little while later, Shinji and Asuka were transported to the main cargo freighter of the fleet.  They walked across the deck and she tore open the canvas that separated the payload from the outside elements.  Shinji looked inside.  “I didn’t know it was red.  That’s a really interesting color.”  He followed Asuka as she climbed down into the hold.

 

Asuka beamed with pride about her robot.  She stepped up to the head of her EVA like it was a podium.  “Unit Zero and Unit One were the prototype and test type respectively.  My Unit Two is the first real production model!  It has all the most modern weaponry and armor.”

 

The boy took a closer look.  “You’re still using the B-type equipment.”

 

“What?”  She stopped her tirade about the Evangelion specs.

 

“I hope you’re not planning on fighting in any environment besides dry land.  Your ‘production model’ wouldn’t take it with its current equipment.”

 

Asuka stomped her foot.  “That’s not the point!  I’ve got the best Evangelion in the world and I’m the best pilot in the world!”

 

“How many angels have you fought?”

 

“WHAT?!”

 

“How many angels…”

 

“I heard that!  What do you mean?!”  She set her hands on her hips and scowled at the boy.

 

“How do you know you’re the best if you’ve never been in a real combat situation?”

 

Asuka gritted her teeth.  This wasn’t the spineless dweeb that the intelligence reports had said was the third child.  This one was an annoying, arrogant jerk!  “I’m still better than you, and I’ll prove it!”

 

“Yeah?  How?”  He had a smirk on his face.

 

“Grrrr.”  The auburn haired girl snarled.

 

            As if on cue, an explosion was heard in the background.  Shinji’s eyes went wide as he ran for the bow of the ship.  Asuka followed shortly after.  He peered over the edge of the ship and what the fuss was about.  “An angel!  We’ve got to tell Misato!”

 

            Asuka just smiled an evil grin and looked back toward the hold.  “Wunderbar!”

 

 

 

            Earlier, up on the deck of the super carrier, Ranma and Misato were looking out on the ocean.  Misato was leaning into the now female martial artist and contentedly sighed as she gazed over the blue horizon.  “It’s so romantic.”  She whispered.

 

            “You ever stop to think that you were leaning against another woman when you say that?”  Ranma asked snidely.

 

            “Shhh…You’re spoiling the moment.”  She smiled and took one of the redhead’s arms and put it around her waist, much to the disappointment/enjoyment of the surrounding sailors.  “Why should that bother me?  I know you’re a man on the inside.”

 

            Onna-Ranma shook her head and squeezed Misato with her arm.  “You are so annoying some times.”

 

            “I know.”  Misato smiled wider.  She was half tempted to steal a kiss, but knew that would be really pushing it.  She suddenly felt Ranma tense up.  “What?”

 

            The redhead’s expression hardened.  “There’s an angel coming.  We’ve got to tell the captain!”  They turned and rushed to the bridge.

 

            A pair of eyes watched the couple run to the bridge.  Kaji stepped out and rubbed his stubbly chin.  “So he can sense angels, eh.”  He pondered that in between thoughts of what was between Misato and he when they were in college.

 

 

 

            Ranma and Misato got to the bridge.  The martial artist managed to get through the door first.  “Captain!  You need to get the ships into attack position.”

 

            He turned and gave the redhead a strange look.  “Have you taken leave of your senses?  There’s nothing but blue water out there.”

 

            “Trust me.  There’s an angel on the way.”  She insisted.  As if to drive her point home, an explosion sounded in the background.

 

            Misato smirked from the doorway.  “NERV special delivery.  Would you like information on the target and appropriate procedures?”

 

            The older man huffed up.  “The sea is still our domain.  We shall handle this threat.”

 

            “You’re in over you’re head.”  The two women commented in unison.

 

            The captain gave them a glare and turned to his microphone.  “Ships fan out!  Fire at will!”

 

 

 

            Meanwhile, back on the barge, Asuka was towing Shinji down into the hold.  She stopped at the last landing and pushed Shinji back.  “Wait here!”  She took her bag and went down the last steps and started to change into her plugsuit.

 

            Shinji was a little confused at the girl’s actions.  Out of curiosity, he poked his head around the steps and looked in on her. 

 

            Asuka stiffened and turned to see Shinji peeking around.  At the time he looked she was only wearing her underwear.  “Stop peeking!”  Shinji quickly pulled his head back.  “Why are all boys such perverted jerks?!”

 

            She finished donning her plugsuit and pressed the button that pulled it tight about her body.  “Let's go, Asuka.”  She whispered to herself.

 

 

 

            Back on the bridge, the captain was starting to pull his hair.  “Why won't it sink?!”  He cried to the heavens.

 

            Onna-Ranma shook her head.  “We’ve been trying to tell you!  Only an EVA can beat it.”

 

            Misato nodded in agreement.  “You’ve got to listen to us captain.”

 

            “Listen, captain, you trusted me before.  Why won’t you trust my word now?”  Ranma gave the old man a stern look.

 

            The captain seemed to deflate.  “What can I do?”

 

            Misato smiled.  “Just get the power cables ready, and locate Asuka.”  She turned when she realized Ranma wasn’t paying any attention all of the sudden.  “What’s wrong?”

 

            The redhead glanced at her.  “I just thought that something’s wrong about this.  You stay here and run things.  I need to check on a hunch.”  He turned and disappeared down the corridor.

 

 

 

            A few moments later, Kaji was in his assigned quarters talking on his cell phone.  “I wasn’t expecting to see an angel.  This isn’t how it’s supposed to be, is it?”

 

“That’s why Unit two is there, and I’ve generously provided a second pilot as a reserve.  And if worse comes to worse, you can always escape by yourself.”

 

            Kaji lifted a set of field glasses to his head and looked out at the ships still firing at the monster.  “Of course I can.”  He hung up the phone and reached for a strange case on the floor.  “Looks like you and me are going on alone from here.”

 

            “Not really.”  Kaji spun to see Onna-Ranma standing directly behind him.   “Say goodnight.”  With one swift blow, Kaji was out on the floor.  “Escape that.” 

 

            The redhead untangled the case from the fallen man and laid it on the bed.  Seeing the obvious environmental seals on the case’s lid, she carefully picked the lock on the case and opened it.  When she saw the frozen fetus-like creature inside, she shut the box quickly and held her hand over her mouth.  When her stomach had settled she exhaled a deep breath.  “And I thought I had seen it all.  What the hell is he doing with this?”  She looked down at the fallen man again.  “Hmm…I’d better show this to Misato.  She might be able to shed some light on this case and the creep.”  She kicked him in the side for good measure and walked back to the bridge.

 

 

 

            Back on the freighter, Shinji was standing on the landing in from of Unit Two holding his arms over himself trying to cover the fact that he was wearing a female plugsuit.  “I know you’re planning on fighting that angel, but is this really necessary?  I mean; I piloted Unit One without a plugsuit.  Why can’t I do it now?”

 

            “I don’t want you to dirty up the inside of my Unit Two!”  Asuka pressed the button that opened the entry plug for the EVA.  “You’re Unit One may work with trash inside, but my Evangelion is a precise piece of machinery!”  She jumped into the pilot chair.  “Get ready for an amazing display of piloting.  Just sit down and don’t bug me.”

 

            Shinji rolled his eyes and tried to make himself comfortable in the space behind the pilot chair.  “You sure this will be okay?  Shouldn’t we ask Misato first?”

 

            “I’ll get her permission after we’re successful.”  She began to run through the startup sequence in German.

 

            The boy rolled his eyes.  “What a bitch.”  He thought to himself.

 

            Alarms started going off in the entry plug.  The German word for failure flashed all around them.  “Looks like a program error.”  Shinji commented idly.

 

            “It thought noise!  I told you not to bug me!” Asuka yelled back at him.

 

            “What do you mean?  I didn’t do anything!”

 

            “You’re thinking in Japanese!  Think in German!”

 

            Shinji thought for a second.  “Okay, I’ll try.  Uh, bratwurst… strudel… stroganoff…”  “What’s the German word for bitch?”  He kept to himself.

 

            “Dumkoff!”  Asuka swore as she restarted the sequence.  “We’ll have to do this all over in Japanese.  Switch language to Japanese.”  The power came up on the EVA and the readouts showed green.  “EVA Unit Two…GO!” 

 

            The red Evangelion stood up and wrapped the canvas that was covering it about itself like a cloak.

 

            “Is that you Asuka?”  Came Misato’s voice over the radio.

 

            “Yes.  I’m going to defeat that angel!”

 

            “You’re a goner if you fall in the ocean.”  Shinji reminded.

 

            “Shinji?  You’re in there too?”  Misato asked.

 

            “Yes, Ma’am.  Uh, request permission to launch.”

 

            “Go for it!”

 

            Shinji turned back to the one behind the wheel.  “How do you plan on fighting this thing?  We can’t go in the water!”

 

            The auburn haired girl smirked.  “We’re going to play hopscotch!”

 

            “WHAT?!”  Shinji could only watch in terror as he spotted the angel bearing down on the freighter.  At the last possible instant, Asuka willed it to leap.  It landed neatly on a destroyer beside the freighter just as the first ship was split in two by the monster.

 

            “Not bad, hmm…?”  She gloated at her co-pilot.

 

            “LOOK OUT!”  Shinji shouted.

 

            The angel had come around for another pass.  Asuka just barely jumped out of the way before another ship was sunk.  She continued to jump toward the Over The Rainbow.”

 

            “The power cable is ready on deck, Asuka.”  Misato informed them.

 

            “Right.”  She landed on the deck of the super carrier.  The rock in the ship caused a few planes to go into the drink.  Kensuke nearly had a heart attack on the bridge.

 

            Asuka attached the cable to the EVA’s back, drew her progressive knife, and took an offensive stance.  The angel closed on them.

 

            Through the link of the EVA Shinji felt a wave of nervousness come as the abomination approached.  He knew it wasn’t him; he’d fought angels before.  Then it came to him:  This was Asuka’s first battle!

 

            The angel leapt from the water and opened its mouth to swallow the EVA.  Asuka was frozen with fear.  In the brief two seconds the angels hung in the air, Shinji shot his hands out and took control of the EVA.  He pointed the progressive knife down the throat of the angel, where he had seen its core.  He thought the EVA down to a knee to help stabilize the impact.

 

            The monster impaled its core on the outstretched arm of the robot.  Life left its body and the mass dropped like a sack of wet rags.  Most of the angel’s weight was still behind it when it dropped.  The angel’s body fell into the water, taking the Evangelion with it.

 

            The robot and angel sank rapidly.  Shinji pushed away the angel’s corpse and untangled Unit two from it.

 

            “Stop messing with my Unit Two!!!”  Asuka shouted as she socked him in the face, knocking him back away from the controls.  She tried to get the EVA to swim upward.  “It won’t move!”

 

            “That’s because you’re using the B-type equipment!  I told you that before!”

 

            “We wouldn’t be in this mess if it hadn’t been for you messing with MY EVANGELION!!!”

 

            “We’d be dead if I HADN’T!!!  You’ve never fought in battle before!  You froze on the deck!!!”  Shinji stood up in her face.

 

            “THAT’S NOT TRUE!!!”  Asuka shouted defensively.

 

            “Are you two all right?”  Misato’s voice came over the com.

 

            “Oh we’re FINE!”  Asuka bit out sarcastically.  “We’d be better if the GREAT Third Child hadn’t dumped us in the ocean.”

 

            “HEY!”  Shinji tried to rally his defense.  “If it wasn’t for me, we’d be dead!”

 

            “We could still be dead!  The fleet doesn’t have anything to pull us out of the water with!  The only thing that had a crane was the freighter that sank!”

 

            “You mean I’ve got to stay down here with YOU until we get into port?!”

 

            “Think how I feel!  I’m stuck here with a perverted idiot!”

 

            “And I’m being crowded in this pod with your EGO!”

 

            “That’s enough you two!”  Onna-Ranma’s voice came over the radio.  “You’re too young for that!  Now shut up, and I don’t want to hear another word out of you two until we reach port.  YOU GOT THAT?!”

 

            “Yes, sir.”  Shinji buttoned up immediately.

 

            Asuka got a confused look on her face.  “What did she mean, that we’re too young?”

 

            Shinji blushed and looked away.  “No way!  I’m not going to make Ranma’s mistake!”  He furiously thought to himself.

 

 

 

            On the bridge Ranma shut off the communications and turned to Misato.  “Come here.  I want to show you what I think the angel was after.”  He turned and walked off the bridge.

 

            Misato nodded and followed.  The two stooges started to follow.  “Stay here.  Uh, make sure that Asuka and Shinji don’t fight.”  She added quickly.  “Have to keep them busy somehow.” She thought.

 

            Down the hall, the redhead showed the NERV Captain the case and contents.  “Kaji was going to make a break with this.  He was apparently delivering this to Gendou.  That was the whole purpose for this fleet, not to deliver Unit Two.”

 

            Misato saw what was inside and shut the case quickly.  “No.”  She cried softly.

 

            Onna-Ranma looked up with a concerned look on her face.  “What is it?”

 

            “I haven’t seen this since I was a little girl.”  She said in a subdued voice.  She looked like she had seen a ghost.

 

            “What is it?!”  Ranma insisted.

 

            “It’s Adam, the first human and angel.  This is the monster that the Evangelions are patterned after.  This is what caused second impact.”

 

            Ranma’s eyes went wide.  “Oh shit”, was an understatement.  “What are they going to do with it?”

 

            Misato threw up her hands.  “I don’t know!  I can’t let them do it, whatever it is!  This thing killed millions and changed the Earth forever!”

 

            Onna-Ranma opened the case once more and thought, “I don’t know if I should kill you or thank you.  You took care of half my problems, but then again you did take a lot of innocents with you.”  The redhead pondered several more moments before finally shutting the case.  “Kaji will be conscious again in a little while.  I’m going to put the case back.”

 

            The black and blue haired woman gave him a wide-eyed stare.  “You’re kidding!  Why would you do something stupid like that?!”

 

            “I want to find out the whole story.”  She exhaled, releasing some tension.  “The only way we’ll figure out Gendou’s plans is if we have more information.  I can let him have Adam and watch what he does with it.  We can piece together his plan and stop him at a critical point.”

 

            “What if you wait too long?”  Misato asked anxiously.

 

            Onna-Ranma tensed up again.  “We’ll just have to make sure that doesn’t happen, now don’t we?  Come on.  Let’s drop this off and check on the boys.  I don’t exactly trust them alone on the bridge.”

 

            “Good call.”  Misato agreed.

 

            They quickly dropped the case off with the unconscious Kaji (Ranma kicked him again for good measure) and went back to the bridge.  They walked in to see the old captain banging his head on one of the bulkheads and the two stooges rolling on the floor laughing.  “What’s going on here?”  Ranma asked.

 

            The captain gave them a weary glance.  “Those two boys have been singing love songs quite out of tune over the radio to the two trapped in the EVA that we’re dragging along by its power cable.  I don’t think I can’t take much more of this adolescent behavior!”

 

            Toji was about to launch into another nauseating rendition of ‘That’s Amore’ when Ranma wrenched the mic out of his hands.  He pulled it to his mouth.  “Are you two all right?”

 

            “MAKE IT STOP!!!”  Came the chorus from the EVA below.

 

            “At least now they agree on something.”  Kensuke smiled from the side.

 

            Misato and Onna-Ranma facefaulted.

 

 

 

            Five long hours later, the EVA was fished from the sea in the bay of Tokyo-3.  The plug was ejected the occupants quickly flew out and went to opposite sides of the ship.  They glared at each other for a little while before Asuka finally stuck her nose up in the air and walked down the gangplank.  Not to be outdone, Shinji stuck his nose up and followed with a confident stride.

 

            “Hey!  Nice outfit, Shinji!”  Toji yelled from the side.

 

            “Yeah, can I have a date?”  Kensuke added.

 

            Shinji quickly remembered what he had been wearing for the past six hours.  He tried to cover the extremely feminine plug suit that he was wearing.  Asuka just continued to walk on, ignoring him and everyone else.

 

           

 

            Toward the evening, a slightly bruised Kaji delivered the case to Gendou.  “Here is the case as you requested.  So this is what all the trouble was for.”

 

            “Yes.”  Gendou answered him with a smug grin on his face.   “This is Adam.  This first human and the keystone for the Human Instrumentality project.”

 

            “I think your plans might have hit a small snag though.”  Kaji said off-handedly as he sat on the director’s desk.

 

            The dark brooding man turned to the disheveled one.  “What’s that?”

 

            “Although the case was exactly where I left it when he knocked me out, I believe that Ranma got a little peek at your care package there.”

 

            Gendou growled and clenched his fist.  He thought for a second and then relaxed.  “It doesn’t matter.  He’ll never learn of its true purpose, and the fool let us have it back.  We cannot be stopped by someone who knows too little.”

 

            Kaji nodded his head, leapt to his feet, and walked out the door.  “That may be, but I wouldn’t underestimate him if I were you.”  He turned and left.  The door closed on the brooding Ikari.  Kaji just shook his head and ambled down the corridor.  “Fool.”

 

            Uncloaking himself from the Umisen-Ken, Ranma nodded his head.  “Fool indeed.”  He pulled out a pad and pen and started writing.  “Human Instrumentality Project…”  He scribbled down.

 

 

 

            The next day, the three boys were taking their usual route to school.  Shinji was still a little on edge from the day before.  Toji and Kensuke were still giving him hell over wearing the plugsuit and spending so much time with Asuka.

 

            “Well personally, I’m glad she’s gone.”  Toji commented as they entered the classroom.  “She was a real female dog, if you know what I mean.”  He stopped dead in his tracks when he saw familiar figure writing on the chalkboard.  “Oh…”

 

            “NO!!!”  Shinji finished.

 

            With a swirl of auburn hair, the girl faced the class.  “My name is Soryu Asuka Langley.  Pleased to meet you.”

 

 

Author’s note:  You’re probably thinking that I had Asuka way out of character for this chapter.  Well, it depends if you go by the manga or anime.  In the manga (the only EVA comic issue I own) they just glossed over the battle and went to the guys meeting Asuka in an arcade.  Asuka killed the angel herself, no problem.  In the anime, if you look closely you can see that she is really a frightened girl trying to put forth a brave front.  You also see as the series goes on that that brave front is the only thing she relies upon.  When that fails, she becomes a hollow shell of a human.  So…(slaps shut the intro to psychology book)…I think I’m justified in portraying her this way.  Don’t worry; I won’t bore you with any more of my amateur psychology.