Superwomen of Eva: Emerald Fury @orionpax09
Don't Make Her Angry

Disclaimer: I do not own Evangelion or anything associated with it. I have written this story solely because I enjoy writing.

Disclaimer: I do not own anything belonging to Marvel Comics or anything associated with it. I have written this story solely because I enjoy writing.

Superwomen of Eva: Emerald Fury

Chapter 6: Don't Make Her Angry

"NERV Central to Captain Chiron. Come in," came the voice of Commander Ikari over the radio.

Looking down at his secure radio for a moment, Chiron frowned before picking up the receiver. "Chiron here."

"Katsuragi's mutant pattern has just disappeared. She's reverted to her human form," Gendo informed him. "We're sending you her coordinates. Have a team move in and secure her, but be advised that the 3rd Child is also in her vicinity. Whatever happens, make sure that he is not harmed."

"Understood," Chiron replied, looking at the computer screen on his dashboard. As soon as the pertinent data arrived, he studied them and plotted a course to the stated location. "Coordinates received. Moving out."

"Remember, I want Katsuragi secured quickly and without incident. As soon as you have her, bring her and the 3rd Child directly to NERV," Gendo intoned, his voice heavy with unspoken warning.

"Very well, sir. I'm proceeding to the designated coordinates now. Will notify you when the package has been secured," Chiron responded.

"You do that, Captain. NERV Central out," Gendo spoke, his sentence punctuated by the sound of the connection breaking.

"Alright, then. Attention all units. This is Captain Chiron speaking. Target location has been confirmed," the Section 2 head announced as he forwarded the pertinent information to the rest of his agents. "Now I want an ambulance routed to the target location and to be ready for pickup! Teams 1 through 8, remain in position! Teams 9 and 12, be ready to move in on my signal." As a round of 'yes, sirs' were heard, Chiron continued to plan out his next move. "Echo 4 and 5, you're on standby! Echo 1, 3, and 6, take up position one mile away from the target point. If anything goes wrong and this thing shows up again, I want you ready to follow it. Is that clear?"

Another round of 'yes, sirs' was heard, leaving Chiron eminently satisfied. This was how Section 2 was supposed to operate; like a single, elegant machine with him as its head, not a collection of idiots running around going off on anything that moved. "Now, then, Katsuragi…it's just you, me…" he smiled, pausing to pat the tranquilizer gun that sat next to him, "and this baby makes three!"

"So…where are we, anyway?" Misato wondered as she stood up and looking about the alley they were in, wrapping herself up in one of the towels Shinji had brought for her.

"Um…" Shinji hesitated, trying to figure out exactly how much he should tell Misato. For while he didn't want to lie to her outright, there was so much that had happened that night that he still had no idea as to how to put into words. And while he knew that, sooner or later, Misato would have to be told about what had happened to her, he didn't want to be the one to have to tell her that. He desperately didn't want that burden. "Well…we're pretty close to the First Impact."

Her eyes rounding, Misato gaped at the boy in horror. "Wait a minute. The First Impact?! I went there?!" Groaning heavily, she brought her hand to her forehead. "Don't tell me. Let me guess. I got drunk, didn't I?"

"Uh…" Shinji frowned, glancing around the purple-haired woman, nervously examining the ruined kegs that lay in evidence of the monster's binge. Kegs that had clearly been torn apart by someone's bare hands. Misato hadn't seen them in the darkness prevailing in the alley, or if she had, she hadn't paid too much attention to them, but he knew it was only a matter of time. "Well…you did have quite a bit. I think. I…" Wanting to get her away from there before she focused on the kegs, to avoid the questions that would then ensue, he looked back up at her and pleaded, "Um, Misato? Maybe we should…you know, get away from here? I, uh…"

"Right. This is a pretty bad part of town, even on a good night," Misato frowned, examining her bare feet with ill humor. "But…how did I lose my clothes again?! What's wrong with me, anyway?!"

Groaning deep in his throat, Shinji struggled to think of something to say. "Well, uh…you didn't have much on when you left, anyway," he murmured even as he winced at how lame he sounded. "And you were in a…bit of a hurry. I…"

"A bit of a hurry?! Shinji, I don't even remember leaving the apartment!" Misato exclaimed sharply. "And how did I get here, anyway?! Did I drive?! And where's my car?! I -!"

"Misato, I -!" Shinji started, cringing helplessly as she visibly became more and more upset. "I'm sorry, I -! I didn't mean -!"

As his words broke down into incomprehensible noises of sorrow, Misato broke off in mid-question, her mouth hanging open as she looked at the boy. "I – I'm not blaming you for anything, Shinji! I…I just want to know what the hell's going on here!"

No, you don't, Shinji thought mournfully, despite the fact that he knew that there was no way of keeping the truth away from her. "Still, I…I'm sorry."

"You don't have to apologize, Shinji-kun. If anything, I'm the one who should be apologizing for…whatever the hell I did," Misato grumbled sourly, shaking her head as she secured the towel in place. "Anyway, thanks for bringing these towels. I…" At this, her mouth popped open again before she narrowed her eyes at the boy. "Wait a minute…Shinji, why did you bring towels with you, anyway?"

"Ummm…!" Shinji froze like he'd just been dunked in liquid nitrogen. Think fast, Ikari! was the thought that hammered through his mind as he cudgeled his mind for some kind of explanation that would sound at least a bit plausible. "Well…I...was just thinking that…well…you weren't looking…quite right when you left the apartment…and I was worried, so…"

Trailing off helplessly, Shinji barely stifled a groan at just how feeble this excuse sounded, something that wasn't helped when Misato frowned and asked, "And that's it? That's the only reason?"

"Uh, yeah…well…" Shinji tried again, only to blanch as Misato shifted about on her feet, putting one of the ruined kegs just behind her right foot. If she stepped backwards, even slightly…

"Um, Misato…don't you think we should…get out of here?" Shinji suggested desperately. "I was thinking that maybe I could call someone, like Akagi-san or something? Then she could give us a lift, and…?"

Misato pulled back a bit, and for a terrifying moment, Shinji thought for sure that she would step on the creature's handiwork. But then she sighed and shook her head, saying, "Yeah, good point. This is a pretty rough neighborhood." Then she rolled her eyes and muttered, "I just know Rits is never gonna let me forget about this…"

"Oh, I don't think it would be…that bad," Shinji replied helplessly, knowing that he wasn't home free yet. "Uh, why don't we go get out of this alley? It's…hard to see, and…"

"Yeah, I know. And the smell isn't exactly endearing, either," Misato noted grimly. Then, with a slight shrug, she started moving towards Shinji…and away from the shattered kegs.

Almost collapsing from relief, Shinji led Misato away from the ruined kegs and into a slightly better location. It was another alley, but this one was positioned between several large buildings, with what looked like a busier section of Tokyo-3 just within view. It was much wider than the previous alley and was well enough away from the ruined kegs and the bar that the 3rd Child felt more comfortable. There were even some small crates that Misato could sit on and get off her bare feet. "Whew, that's better," the purple-haired sighed as she raised her tender soles off the filthy concrete. "How'd I manage to get us into something like this, anyway?"

Watching his guardian out of one eye, Shinji brought out his cell phone, eager to give control of this mess back to someone who knew what the heck they were doing. Before long, a familiar voice was heard on the other end. "Shinji! Is that you?"

"Yes, i-it's me, Akagi-san!" Shinji responded beneath his breath. "I…I'm with Misato, and…she's changed back!"

"I know. We lost her pattern the instant she reverted," Ritsuko reported in a calm, cool voice. "Shinji, did you move from your previous location? Your cell phone signal is coming in from a different tower."

"Uh…yeah, I…we had to," Shinji murmured gently. "I didn't want Misato to see the empty kegs. She's…she's pretty confused and…I didn't want her getting upset, or…!"

As Shinji's voice failed him, he could practically see Ritsuko nodding in thought. "I see. Good thinking. We'll update Section 2 on your current location," she told him in a reassuring voice. Then her tone became more concerned as she asked, "Shinji, you said that Misato's…confused. Does she remember anything about what's happened?"

"No. I…I think it's like last time. She doesn't remember changing, or – or any of that," Shinji reported, constantly glancing out of the corner of his eye, making certain that Misato didn't hear any of their exchange.

"I see," Ritsuko murmured thoughtfully. "Shinji, let me talk to Misato."

"Uh…okay," Shinji replied shakily before turning back towards his guardian. Looking more like she was relaxing at a public bath than in a filthy alley, Misato smiled as her ward held up his phone. "Misato…Akagi-san wants to talk to you."

"Hmph. Sure she does. The same way she wants to laugh her head off at me for getting us into this mess," Misato groused, rolling her eyes as she accepted the cell phone. "Hey, Rits. I take it that Shinji's already told you where we are and what's been going on?"

"He gave me the gist of it," Ritsuko responded, her voice just audible to Shinji. "So…do you remember how you got there?"

"Nope," Misato grumbled with a roll of her eyes. "Rits, I don't know what's going on, but there is something wrong me! I don't know what it is, but…" Heaving a wearied sigh, she seemed to rest her head on the cell phone. "I swear, as soon as the Commander hears about this, I'm as good as fired."

"Maybe not," Ritsuko returned in a slow, thoughtful voice. "I've been doing some tests on that blood sample of yours, and…I think I might have found something."

"Found something?" Misato asked in a querulous voice. "What do you mean?"

"I'm not sure, exactly," Ritsuko admitted. "But just the same, I think it might be best if I had you brought to NERV, so I can run some additional tests."

"Wait a minute. Brought to NERV? As in right now?!" Misato demanded, looking as if she wished she could reach through the phone and strangle the doctor on the other end. "Rits, this had better be a joke, because if isn't…"

As Shinji panicked, certain that he could see a spark of green in his guardian's eyes, NERV's Head Scientist told her, "I wish I was joking, but we have to face facts, Misato. You've already had three blackouts in just over a week, and I think I might have an idea of what's causing them." Pausing momentarily, Ritsuko then went on to say, "Now, I wasn't going to mention this until tomorrow, but with what's just happened, I think it'd be best to get you into NERV Medical. Immediately."

Misato looked ready to protest this, but then she visibly deflated, brushing aside an errant strand of her hair as she visibly considered the matter. "Well…okay, I guess you have a point," she finally admitted with considerable bad grace. Then she looked wryly at the phone and added, "Besides, knowing you, you'd get the Commander to make it in order if I didn't cooperate."

"I certainly could," Ritsuko admitted with no pleasure in her voice. "Alright. I'm going to have an ambulance sent to your location right away. Just stay right there, and wait for it. Understood?"

"Fine, fine," Misato groaned, looking as if she had just bitten an apple and found half a worm. "Just what I needed; another night of playing guinea pig for my friend, the mad scientist." Ritsuko managed a light chuckle at this, to which the purple-haired woman growled, "Just do me a favor and don't let anyone from Section 2 know about this! Is that clear?!" As Shinji's heartbeat shot up at this, Misato rolled her eyes and grumbled, "I swear, if that porker Chiron gets wind of this, he'll never let me hear the end of it!"

"Um…" Ritsuko hesitated before loudly clearing her throat. "Well, hopefully, we can get things squared away without...too much trouble." There was another heavy pause before the doctor concluded, "I guess I'll see you later, then."

"Later, Rits. And thanks a bunch!" Misato snippily responded. The doctor said something that Shinji couldn't make out, to which the Major nodded. "Alright, fine," she grumped before handing the phone back to Shinji. "Here you go, Shinji-kun. Rits wanted to say something else you."

"Uh, right," Shinji nodded, not sure what else to say as he accepted the phone. Putting it to his ear, he asked, "Um…Akagi-san?"

"Shinji, I'm going to contact Section 2. Make sure that they keep a safe distance, so Misato won't see them," Ritsuko told him carefully, a bit of hope to her words. "Now, I want you to stay with her until the ambulance gets there. Make sure that Misato stays calm." Shinji nodded nervously, knowing full well how much rode on that. "Remember, Section 2 has been armed with tranquilizers, in case something goes wrong, but let's make sure that it doesn't come to that. Understood?"

"I…I understand, Akagi-san," Shinji nodded nervously, sparing a glance at the woman in question. "I'll…I'll do my best. I…" A lump appeared in his throat, forcing him to pause and swallow. Then he cast another glance at Misato, and whispered just loudly to be audible, "A-Akagi-san…you…you can help her…can't you?"

"I think so. Once I have a better idea of how the mutation functions, I see no reason why I shouldn't be able to neutralize it," Ritsuko told him. While Shinji was swooning in relief, the doctor declared, "Just be sure to keep an eye on her. The sooner we get her back here, the better."

"Uh, right. Right. Of…of course," Shinji nodded shakily. "Uh…I'll see you…" He was cut off by the sound of the phone disconnecting, he heaved a sigh and folded his phone shut. Putting it away, he turned to Misato and shrugged. "I…I guess we just…wait, then."

"Guess so," Misato smiled in her usual impish fashion. "So…any ideas on what we can do to pass the time?"

As Shinji considered an answer to this question, he paused and looked at her. Looked the woman who had taken him in for no other reason than the fact that she didn't want him to live alone, the person he couldn't imagine being without anymore. He saw inside of Misato the destructive beast that she had been cursed to become…and found him thinking of what was going to happen next.

As soon as Misato was brought to NERV, Ritsuko would have to tell her everything she had discovered. Would tell Misato that she was the monster that had caused so much destruction, that had attacked Asuka and who knew how many other people. And as Shinji thought of that, his mind showed him what would happen next. It showed Misato's cheerful, impish visage collapsing into grief, horror, and ultimately despair. And that was only the beginning of the nightmare that would befall her.

No matter how much he wanted to deny it, Shinji knew that the creature currently locked away within Misato was extremely dangerous. Its rampages were proof enough of that. And he also knew that there was no way that NERV could ever allow his guardian to roam freely, not with such a beast waiting for the moment that it could break loose again. Which meant that the instant they were done telling Misato what had happened, they would lock her away in the depths of the Geofront.

Unless…unless they just… Shinji cringed as a more dreadful fate appeared in his mind. But then he gave a quick of his head to rid himself of that thought. No! They…they wouldn't! They can't! he protested with all his being. Besides, Akagi-san is Misato's friend! She told me that she wanted to help! That she could cure her!

Forcing himself to take hold of this little bit of hope, Shinji did his best to use it to keep his deeper dreads at bay. But even as he did so, he knew that the nightmare wouldn't end there. Even if Ritsuko truly wanted to help Misato, even if she could find a way to keep her from transforming again, there was no telling how long it would take for her to do so. It could take days, weeks, possibly even years, years in which Misato would be forced to live in a cage. Never once allowed to leave NERV…and possibly denied even the chance to even talk to anyone from the outside world.

Which means…I might not ever… Shinji thought, his face sagging with horror in the face of such a scenario.

"Shinji?" Snapping from his dread musings, the boy looked to see Misato looking at him in concern. Completely unaware of the horror that awaited her….or who was responsible for her fate. "Shinji what is it, what's wrong?"

"I…" Shinji started, only for his voice to fail him. All he could think of was that moment when Misato had tumbled from the top of Jet Alone, a moment in which all he and Unit 01 had to do was reach out and catch her, and she would have been spared this horrid fate. And as he saw this moment again and again, greater and greater amounts of guilt piled up upon his shoulders, crushing him until he was forced to blurt out, "Misato, I…I'm so sorry!"

Sitting up sharply, Misato looked at the boy before smiling wanly. "Sorry? For what?! Me being an idiot? What are…?" Both words and smile failed her, and she exhaled sharply before asking, "Shinji, what is it? What's wrong?!"

"I…" Shinji started, grief and shame welling up in his eyes. Caught between his fervent desire to keep the truth from Misato for as long as possible, and the guilt-born need to confess his role in her predicament. "I…" he tried again, his mind working furiously as he tried to think of something, anything to say to her. "This…this is all my fault!"

"What?!" Misato squawked, only to gasp out a laugh. "Shinji, what are you talking about?! How could this possibly be your fault?!"

"Because…Akagi-san, she…" Shinji sputtered helplessly, tears running down his cheeks. "She told me that…" Swallowing loudly, he looked squarely at Misato, and somehow managed to get out, "…that she thinks…that your…blackouts…they were caused by…Jet Alone!"

"What?! Ritsuko told you that -?!" Misato cried out, only to freeze as her mouth and eyes popped open. Then she frowned in consideration, then asked, "Wait a minute…Jet Alone?" Shinji nodded limply to this, her frown deepening. "Then…hold on…are you saying that…she thinks this is some kind of…that I got doused by the reactor?" When Shinji looked up at her miserably and nodded, she sighed. "I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Not with what happened to my suit." Shaking her head in thought, the purple-haired woman then smiled reassuringly. "But, Shinji…even if Rits is right, it's not your fault. I was the one who decided to go after that thing, remember?"

"I know, but…Misato, don't you see?! It was my fault!" Shinji moaned, the tears coming ever faster. "The only reason your helmet got cracked because you fell! And I could've stopped it!" Clenching his teeth, he once again saw Jet Alone, the things he could have done differently. "I…I could've grabbed that thing sooner…I could have caught you, I…I should've…"

Shinji couldn't get any further before Misato placed her finger upon his lips. "Shinji, stop it right now! This wasn't your fault," she commanded him, forcing him to look up into her firm, brown eyes. "If you have to blame anyone, blame whoever it was who sabotaged Jet Alone in the first place!"

Shinji's eyes shot wide open at this. "S-sabotage?!" he gaped, his mind essentially crashing as it tried to cope with this concept coming out of left field. "But…they said…I thought that…was a malfunction…?"

"No. It wasn't an accident. Somebody wanted Jet Alone to fail, Shinji-kun," Misato insisted, her voice taking on a dangerous edge. "Now, I don't have any proof of it, but…I know that somebody reprogrammed Jet Alone so that it would go berserk."

Blinking a few times, Shinji struggled to process this concept. That he wasn't to blame for what happened, that Jet Alone wasn't an accident. "Then…whoever it was that sabotaged Jet Alone…" he slowly got out, "they did this to you?!"

"That's right, Shinji. So if you have to blame someone for this, then please, don't blame yourself! Blame them!" Misato demanded. While Shinji was still trying to accept this possibility, the purple-haired woman looked away and heaved a deep breath. "I just hope that, whatever is wrong with me, it doesn't manage to kill me before I deal with the rat-bastards responsible!"

Shinji took a moment to picture the green giantess that Jet Alone had spawned in Misato, and actually managed a weak smile. "I…don't think that will happen, Misato," he guaranteed her in all honesty. "Actually…I don't think anything could kill you."

Taken aback by this statement, Misato smiled warmly before placing her hand on his head and running it through his hair. "Well, thanks for the vote of confidence, Shinji-kun!" she grinned before leaning forward to wrap her ward in a bear hug.

"Uh…" Shinji got out as he found herself pressed firmly against her breasts. While nothing compared to the beach balls sported by her monstrous other, they were still more than enough to color his cheeks. He struggled to breathe, only to wince in pain at the stench of beer that still clung her to. "Ugh…uh…Misato…?"

"Hmm? Oh, right. Sorry, forgot about that," Misato announced in a sheepish fashion as she released her ward. As he backed away slightly, she held out her arms before her and looked at them in renewed humiliation. "How the hell did I get soaked with beer, anyway?"

"Uh…" Shinji started, once again not wanting to be put in the position of answering any questions, of crushing her smile before it absolutely had to be done. As he looked about, trying to think of a graceful way out of it, he spotted just what he needed out of the corner of his eye. "Oh, look! A gas station!" he exclaimed, pointing out the lighted building that stood at the far end of the alley. It was just close enough for him to make out the sign and the lights. "Maybe I can get some water or something to help you get cleaned up!"

"No, you don't have to do that!" Misato protested. "I can wait until we get to the base. Besides, we're supposed to wait for the ambulance, remember?"

"I know, but…" Shinji replied, looking down at the ground. While he knew that he was supposed to remain near Misato until the ambulance came, he honestly couldn't see what difference such a short distance would make. And after everything that had happened that night, everything he had learned, the last thing he wanted to do was just sit around. "I just…want to help. Besides, it's not very far, and…."

"And besides, I stink like hell. Is that about it?" When Shinji froze in response, Misato rewarded him with one of her impish smiles. "Relax, I'm kidding. Besides, stale beer isn't my idea of sweet perfume, either." Snorting a laugh, she shrugged helplessly before saying, "Okay, Shinji-kun. Just be careful! This isn't the safest of neighborhoods!"

"Okay!" Shinji grinned before dashing off, determined to get back as quickly as possible. But as he ran, his mind began to churn and overflow as he thought about what Misato had told him. Jet Alone…sabotaged…

As his mind chewed and gnawed at this notion, already coming up with various ominous images, images that plunged into the pit of his stomach, where they proceeded to burn. Someone out there had unleashed this madness on purpose, cursing Misato in the process. And as he thought about it over and over again, the resulting fire began to burn into a hateful flame.

Focused on his task and distracted by his furious musings, Shinji ran up to the gas station…completely oblivious to the gazes of the two-legged predators that stood watch nearby…

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Shinji, someone else was fuming with barely suppressed anger.

"Pull back?! What do you mean, pull back?!" Chiron demanded, clutching his receiver so tightly that it felt like it would shatter in his hand. "Just who do you think you're talking to?!"

"Spare me the attitude, Chiron! I'm not in the mood for it!" Ritsuko growled in response. "Look, Shinji is with Misato, making sure that she stays calm! And as long as she is calm, there's no danger of her transforming again. Which means that, unless something unforeseen happens, then it'll be best if you and your people keep a safe distance from them."

Snorting in disbelief at the audacity displayed by the Commander's designated horizontal tango dancer, Chiron retorted, "And just what makes you think you can order me or my people around?! Does Commander Ikari know about this?!"

"The Commander is fully aware of the situation, Captain!" Ritsuko snarled. "Now, you listen very carefully! Until there's some indication that Misato's transformed again, Section 2 is not to interfere with her retrieval in any way! Is that clear?!"

Sucking in a deep breath, Chiron dearly wished he could tell Gendo's whipped dog exactly what he thought of her and her orders. But despite everything, he knew that Ritsuko wouldn't dare to give such orders without the full authority of the Commander behind her. Which meant all he could do was sit back and respond, "Very well. Inform Commander Ikari that Section 2 will be standing by."

"I will do so," Ritsuko answered in a voice of tightly controlled triumph. "NERV Central out."

As soon as the radio fell silent, Chiron shook his head slowly before slamming his fists down upon his dashboard, snarling his frustration. This was his operation, his hunt, his victory. He was supposed to be the one who had the pleasure of taking down Misato and delivering her to the Commander on a silver platter. And now he was being cheated of these things by a whipped dog who didn't even take a take a leak without Gendo's authorization.

Dammit straight to hell! Chiron snarled inwardly as he pictured the glorious moment that was supposed to be his to enjoy. If only we'd found her while she was still that big, green freak! Then Ikari would have had to let us handle this, and -!

Before this thought could be completed, a blast of blinding inspiration hit him like a thunderbolt. What if something went wrong? What if, for some reason, Misato transformed again?

As Chiron considered this notion, he found himself nodding thoughtfully. It could work. After all, he had her general location, and the helicopter units were close enough so that they would be able to keep track of the ugly green monster's location, even if she ran off. So all he really needed was something to happen. Something that would trigger her transformation, and give him the excuse he needed to come in and take the victory that was rightfully his.

Unfortunately, Chiron knew that that part would not only be tricky, it would be damn near impossible to accomplish. Not without the Commander realizing that he was personally responsible for the monster's reemergence. And as much as he wanted that victory, he wanted to keep breathing that much more.

Still… Chiron muttered inwardly, fussing with the receiver for a moment before flipping it on. "This is Captain Chiron to Echo Units. Status report."

"Echo 1 reporting, sir. No sign of the target, sir, but all systems are good to go if she shows up," one of the helicopter pilots reported. Then the others responded as well, making similar reports.

"Very well," Chiron responded in a bored fashion, hoping against hope that some deity or whatever was on his side this night. "Now, do you see anything unusual in the target area? Anything at all?" Pausing to clear his throat, to make sure that he spoke with absolute professionalism, he added, "We can't afford to have anything interfere with this operation."

"Understood, sir," was the response he received from the three helicopter pilots. Leaving Chiron to sit in his car, knowing that if he were the kind of man inclined to believe in higher powers, he'd be praying to them with everything he was worth. Praying for just one lousy fly to appear in the ointment.

After a few seconds of waiting, Chiron's hopes were fulfilled. "Sir, I've got something!" Echo 3 piped up. "I've spotted a bunch of kids in a truck. They're parked near a gas station, and they're almost right on top of the target's location."

As he processed this report, Chiron forced himself not to become unduly optimistic. Even though a bunch of idiot kids could easily screw up any situation, there was no guarantee that they would be feeling cooperative that night. "Have they noticed you?"

"Can't tell. If they have, they're not particularly concerned. I – hold on." His ears perking at this interruption, Chiron waited in anticipation of Echo 3's next words. "There's another kid heading out of the gas station. He's heading towards the target's location, sir!"

"Is he, now?" Chiron oozed, his hopes skyrocketing at this report.

"Yes, sir. And…it looks the other kids have just noticed him, sir," Echo 3 continued. "They're starting up the truck, and…they're going after him, sir!"

Though he was maintaining his cool exterior, Chiron couldn't help but grin inwardly. He couldn't imagine that the punks in the truck were following that other kid to offer to tell him a bedtime story, and if they wound up running into Katsuragi, with no clothes on her back and completely vulnerable…

"Sir?" Echo 3 spoke up, intruding on the delightful image Chiron's imagination had conjured up. "What are your orders, sir?"

Chiron didn't even need to think before answering. "Remain in position," he told them, savoring the words. "Our orders are not to interfere with Katsuragi's retrieval. Until there's some sign that she's transformed again, we do nothing. Is that understood?"

"Yes, sir!" the men under Chiron's command responded as one. Leaving the Captain to sit back in his car and wait for the eventual fallout.

"Here you go, Misato!" Shinji smiled nervously as he gave her a handful of damp towels.

"Why, thank you!" Misato replied as she accepted them, smiling as best as she could as she washed off the lingering beer that clung to her arms. Trying as best as she could to deal with what was happening, to keep control of herself. Control that was rapidly slipping away.

Something was radically wrong with her. That much was obvious. But it was also obvious that, whatever it was that was happening to her, it wasn't something as simple as her passing out, or suffering memory lapses, or anything of that nature. None of those things would account for her losing her clothes twice in a row, nor would they explain why Shinji and Ritsuko were so upset.

Then again, my being so stupid might have something to do with that, Misato thought grimly. Rits probably thinks I had too much to drink again. Wincing as she continued to wash away the stench of booze that clung to her, she added, Though judging by the smell of me, she'd probably be right…

Sighing as she allowed the expended towel to fall to the ground, Misato frowned in consideration. There was no doubt that booze could have something to do with her forgetting a few things, but in all the years she and beer had been acquainted, she had never suffered memory lapses that were as complete as these recent ones. And she simply couldn't imagine completely forgetting wandering halfway across the city, or losing the clothes on her back in the process.

As these questions mounted up, Misato frowned and glanced over at Shinji. Her ward was standing right in front of her, staring at her in concern. And that's another thing, she realized unhappily. While Shinji was certainly one of the least confident people she had ever met, and sometimes acted like he expected to be beaten for the least offense, his current jitteriness had her worried. If I'd just gone off and gotten drunk, Shinji would have just said so. Which means…

As her train of thought petered out, Misato narrowed her eyes at her ward. "Shinji?"

"Yes?" he replied, as if eager to do whatever she asked of him.

"What happened to me tonight?" Pausing to observe her ward, noting with some dismay the way Shinji immediately stiffened up at her question, Misato proceeded to elaborate. "After I left the apartment…where did I go? What did I do?"

"Um…" Shinji hesitated, looking like a cornered rat, looking desperately for a way out. "Well, I…don't really know what happened after you left the apartment! I'd just…caught up with you after you…you left the bar! So I…I really don't know what happened…!"

Furrowing her brows, Misato considered this statement. "I see," she finally murmured, somewhat satisfied by that answer. It seemed plausible enough to be at least part of the truth. "And how'd you find me there, anyway?"

"Well, you…you once told me that you…went there, sometimes," Shinji replied lamely. "So, I…I was just guessing where you went, and…"

As he trailed off, Misato again considered his statement. Again, it seemed to be at least part of the truth. But that was all it was. Shinji clearly wasn't telling her the whole story, and that didn't make her happy.

"And what was I doing back in that alley?" she asked in a more pointed manner. "And…why did you decide to bring all those towels, anyway?"

"Uh…" Shinji got out, freezing up more completely this time. "Well, I…uh, that is…um…"

As Shinji tried and failed to say something intelligible, Misato found her frown deepening. Shinji tended to be brutally honest about just everything, so his hesitation was an instant red flag in her mind. "Look, be honest with me, please!" she pleaded. When he responded with a look of deepening dismay, she frowned and demanded in a firmer tone, "Now, something strange is going here, and I think you know a lot more than what you're saying. Now, please, tell me; what's going on?"

"Uhh…" Shinji stalled, something that was wearing away at what little patience Misato possessed. "Well, I…how about I tell you later?" he asked with almost desperate hope. "You know…when we get to NERV?"

That settled it. Not only did Shinji know a lot more than he was telling, but he scared out of his mind of telling it to her. Neither of which made her happy. Folding her arms before her, Misato leaned closer and gave her unhappiness voice. "But I want to know now."

Shinji groaned at this, for the manner in which she had spoken had left no room for misinterpretation. "I…well…" he hemmed and hawed once again. As Misato looked at him, her patience and temper all but gone, another sound was heard. A sound she quickly recognized as an engine drawing closer. "Oh!" Shinji piped up, suddenly all smiles as he turned about. "That must be the ambulance!"

What?! Already?! Misato frowned, standing straight and looked towards the open end of the alley. It can't be! There's no way they could have gotten an ambulance here from the Geofront this fast!

Even as she thought this, she saw a set of headlights filling the alley, forcing her to shield her eyes. Squinting out between her fingers, Misato watched as a vehicle of some sort filled the alley. She couldn't make out exactly what it was, but she could already tell that it wasn't an ambulance. Something that was confirmed when its lights faded and engine sputtered and fell silent, revealing it to be a battered truck. As Shinji squeaked in dismay at this, the truck shook as several punks laughed and whooped it up as they clambered out of the flatbed. They were soon joined by two more getting out of the cab.

"Well, well, what do we have here?" one of them grinned nastily as he took the lead. He had rough hair, was unshaven, was dressed completely in leather. To make matters worse, he and his friends were moving in a manner that showed that he had a few too many. "Talk about service, huh, guys? It must've been, what, five minutes since we called and ordered a babe delivered, and here she is, looking good enough to eat!"

Oh, no. No… Shinji groaned inwardly, faced with utter disaster in the form of a bunch of creeps who didn't look to be more than a few years his senior. They were making wolf whistles and various lewd comments that he couldn't really understand and suspected that he didn't want to. Looking from Misato to the creeps and back again, he found his heart plummeting rapidly. The punks were clearly looking for trouble, hoping to have some sport with the scantily clad woman they had found. And to make matters worse, she didn't look the slightest bit interested in running from them or calling for help. She looked ready to use the creeps as punching bags. But…Akagi-san said that…if she gets mad again…!

Gulping loudly as he pictured what would then happen, Shinji once again looked at the punks, completely unaware of the doom they were inviting with open arms. His mind racing, he thought about what would happen if the Misato's green other reappeared. He recalled the destruction the creature had caused when it had first appeared. He thought about Ritsuko, who made it clear that he had to keep her calm until the ambulance arrived. With all these things in his mind, there was no room for further thought as he flung himself in front of Misato. "Stop right there!" he cried out, no fear or hesitation in his voice. "I'm warning you! Stay back!"

Unsurprisingly, his demand didn't elicit the fearful compliance he might have hoped for. Instead, an array of laughs and derisive snorts were heard. "Aw, look at the little kid!" one of the punks guffawed. "He's trying to protect his lady friend!"

"Watch out! He might throw his diaper at us!" another rejoined, braying with laughter.

Forcing down his fear, Shinji reached into his pocket and drew up his wallet, letting it flop open as he held it out to them. "I am Shinji Ikari, 3rd Child of NERV! Pilot of Evangelion Unit 01!" he announced for all the world to hear, making sure that the punks got a good, long look at the NERV ID in his wallet. "And I'm telling all of you to stay back!"

This got the reaction his earlier demand had not. The group of punks instantly froze, their amusement turning to genuine concern. "What?!" one of them squeaked out, his eyes go wide with disbelief. "He's with NERV?!"

"One of the pilots?!" another muttered, looking around as if asking for advice.

Shinji just smiled grimly. He had seen Asuka do this with some jerks who had tried to harass her once, laughing as they had drawn back like her NERV ID was a lump of kryptonite. He knew that nobody wanted to mess with NERV, and especially not with the pilots. That is if they planned to stay breathing.

Calming down as his NERV ID had the same effect on this band of creeps, Shinji frowned when he saw that the lead creep was moving towards them again. "Aw, relax, kid! We don't want to bother you! It's your lady friend we're interested in! And I don't see any NERV ID on her!" His heart sinking at this, he heard the other punks chiming in with lustful laughter, common sense giving way to booze-enhanced hormones. "In fact, I don't see much of anything on her at all. And I'd like to see a whole lot less!"

His heart pounding in his ears, Shinji stepped closer to Misato, glaring harshly at the creeps as he spread his arms out to his sides. "You'll have to go through me, first." Working quickly, he reached into his pocket and grabbed out his cell phone. "Misato, call Akagi-san!" he cried out, tossing the closed phone at her. "Tell her we need help!"

A noise of surprise escaped Misato's throat, but fortunately, the cell phone didn't escape her grip. As Shinji continued to glare at the thugs that had blocked off the alley, he quickly considered their options. Running was first and foremost in his thoughts, but he had no idea of where they could run to. Fighting clearly wasn't an option either. Which left him with one option; playing human wall until Section 2 could come and save the day. And while that was a dubious plan at best, it seemed like their best chance.

At least, until the lead thug drew something out of the folds of his jacket. And while Shinji couldn't see what it was in the gloom of the alley, he instantly recognized the distinct clicking of a gun being cocked. "Aw, you don't wanna do that, pretty woman! Not before we've had our fun!" A chorus of lewd chuckling echoed this statement, causing Shinji to sag with dismay. "Now why don't you come over here, drop that phone…and drop that towel of yours while you're at it!"

Moaning helplessly as their only way out was cut off, Shinji looked helplessly at the thugs that were inviting certain doom. While he was sinking beneath the reality that they were basically doomed, a dangerous voice growled, "Shinji, stay back." Jumping at this, certain that this was the voice of the monster he heard, he looked back and saw Misato, the human Misato, coming up from behind him, defiance in her eyes instead of green. "I can deal this."

I know! That's what I'm afraid of! Shinji thought frantically, the image of the monster twisting the punks into pretzels appearing in his mind's eye.

While Shinji was wondering what could possibly be taking the ambulance so long to arrive, morons whooped in laughter, completely unaware of the danger they were in. "Wow, we've got us a real fireball, don't we, boys?" the lead creep enthused, fiddling with his belt as he moved closer, his gun still pointed at Misato. "A woman like you must go a long way!"

"Please, don't do this! Don't make her angry!" Shinji begged, pleading for their lives as much as Misato's. "You won't like her when she's angry."

"He's right, you know," Misato growled as she handed the phone back to Shinji. Who very nearly passed out when he looked up and saw the slightest spark of green flash in her eyes.

"Actually…I think we'll like her just fine!" the lead jerk countered as he came up to her and grabbed her by the towel, his hand right above her breasts. "It's so much more fun when they fight back!"

"Oh, is it, now?" Misato demanded in a dangerously sweet voice. Just before she lashed out at his gun arm, knocking his weapon from his grip. While he was looking off in the direction of the lost firearm, she fired off a palm shot to his jaw before hammering him with a punch to the gut. Doubled-over and bleeding from his mouth, the punk could only stare as Misato hammered him with another palm shot to the head. Utterly astonished as the lead creep fell to the ground, moaning in pain, Shinji gasped as two more jerks came at her. When one swung at her, Misato instantly caught him by the arm and tossed him with a judo throw that sent him flying into a pile of garbage, and then turned about in time to launch into a sweep kick that knocked the third creep's feet out from under him.

Whoa…she kicks ass! Shinji gawked, astonished by what he was seeing. He stood there, caught between the fear that, sooner or later, enough adrenaline would have flooded Misato's system to uncork a very nasty, green-eyed monster, and fascinated disbelief. I…since when can she…fight like that?

As Shinji slowly realized that his guardian was not a Major by the benefit of her strategic skill alone, he caught something moving out of the corner of his eye. Before he could get a better look at it, something leaped out of the darkness. "Come here, kid!" the thing rasped, grabbing Shinji by the waist and locking him with a chokehold. "Hey, bitch!"

Shinji gasped when he heard the voice. It was the first punk, the leader Misato had taken down, though obviously not for the count. Even as he realized this, Misato turned about and let out a sharp hiss. While Shinji couldn't see her face very well in the gloom of the alley, he could still see her face creasing with anger. And even worse, he was certain he saw a flash of green.

"Yeah, that's right! You better stand real still now!" the lead punk rasped as he moved closer to her, a fearful sweat trickling down Shinji's face. "One more move out of you, and I snap the kid's neck!" Standing at the ready, Misato looked at her ward, visibly calculating the odds of her being able to deal with creep without Shinji being hurt or killed in the process, and grimaced in frustration. The gang leader saw this as well and grinned in delight at her look of hopeless frustration. "Alright, boys! Take her!"

"Noo!" Shinji cried out as two more goons came at Misato, grabbing her by the wrists. Helpless to do nothing but watch as the leader dragged him closer to the rest of his fellows, Shinji looked on as the two creeps twisted the Major's arms behind her, forcing her to her knees.

"Damn you! Misato roared, her voice taking on a hint of the monster's own voice. "You hurt Shinji…and I swear I'll kill every last one of you!"

"Aw, I'm shaking in my boots, baby!" the leader grinned, shoving Shinji to the ground. As the boy crashed to the ground, he cried out as the creep placed his boot squarely on his head. With leather pressed against one cheek and concrete against the other, Shinji winced at the sound of a zipper being unzipped. "Here, watch the little creep for me! I want him to watch while I have my turn with his lady friend…"

"Don't you touch her!" Shinji veritably shrieked, looking in despair at Misato, knowing full well what was about to happen. And completely helpless to do anything to stop it.

"Aw, shut up, brat!" the punk replied, bringing his boot up a little before slamming it back down upon Shinji's head. Red filling his eyes, he cried out despite himself.

"Hey, watch it, man! He's NERV!" one of the other punks pleaded as the leader ground his heel into Shinji's face. "One of the pilots, and -!"

"Yeah? Well, right now, he's getting my nerves!" the punk countered. Stomping Shinji again. And again. Grinding the cleats of his boot deep into Shinji's face. Drawing blood and sending it spilling down to the ground. Making him cry out even more.

And through it all, Shinji's focus was on Misato. He saw her looking in horror at his torment, horror that quickly turned to rage. Her face contorting with animalistic hatred as her eyes exploded with emerald fury.

"Get…away…from my…SHHIINNJIIII!" Misato screamed, her voice turning into a bestial roar as green exploded through her veins, causing muscles to surge into existence.

No…not AGAIN! Shinji thought in horror as the monster ripped its way out of Misato's frame. Her breasts swelled tremendously, sending the towel to fall away from her. Heedless of the punks restraining her, she rose to her feet, looking at herself as mountainous muscles exploded throughout her body. Still holding her by her wrists, the punks stared in astonishment as she continued to swell with might, looking from her amazing body to her hateful face. Their hateful grins evaporating before a wave of pure terror, they continued to hold on, too frozen with fear to let go even as she lifted them into the air. Then, the transformation still incomplete, Misato whipped her right arm about, sending one punk flying through a nearby window. The other creep whimpering helplessly, she snarled furiously at him before rearing back and hurling him straight up.

Shinji and the remaining punks looked in astonishment as the one creep flew into the air, screaming in horror before coming down upon a roof several stories above. Then they all turned and focused on the emerging creature. "Uh…" one of the creeps groaned as green washed about Misato's body, and she roared at them in hatred, the monster now fully unleashed. Her teeth gritted in a furious snarl, she advanced on them with clenched fists.

Only now realizing how large an error he had made, the lead creep jumped off Shinji and backpedaled away from the creature. Looking about frantically at his goons, he stammered out, "W-what are you waiting for?! Shoot her! SHOOT HER!"

These words instantly driving Shinji to prop himself up, he watched as the remaining goons pulled out guns of their own. "NOOO!" he cried in protest even as they opened fire. Misato stopped at the sight of the guns and brought up her arms as she was hailed with bullets.

"That's it, that's it! Killitkillitkillit!" the leader ordered, even as two of his fellows closed in on Misato, firing relentlessly. Shinji whimpered in terror at the sight, expecting to see her crash down dead before she even hit the pavement. Instead, he gaped in astonishment as the green beast grimaced in hatred, swung out her arms, and roared in defiance. Without a mark on her body.

A moment later, the hailstorm of bullets ended and was replaced by the sound of several guns clicking on empty at the same time. Looking wildly about, Shinji watched as the goons looked helplessly at their emptied firearms to the creature and back again. As they tried to figure out what had gone wrong, their leader put their confusion into words. "W-what the hell?!"

As for Shinji, his focus was strictly on Misato, as well as the bullets that lay on the ground before her, smashed and worthless. Omigod…she's…she's bulletproof! Looking at her unblemished green hide, he very nearly fainted with relief. They - they can't hurt her!

But even as he thought this, Shinji looked at the creature's face, saw it tighten with additional rage, and he realized that he had been wrong. The sound of the guns had hurt Misato's ears. The flash of the guns being fired offended her eyes. And the impact of the bullets, while causing neither pain nor damage, was something she could still feel. Something she recognized as an attack on her. And all these things annoyed her.

Making her angrier.

Fury growing exponentially, Misato stomped towards the lead creeps, who were fumbling with their guns, struggling in vain to reload them. As soon as she was close enough, she reached out and crushed two of the guns, along with the hands that held them. Shrieks of pain emanating from the wielders, shrieks that intensified when she lifted them up by their crushed hands and whipped them aside. Flying into the walls, the punks fell to the ground like sacks of garbage, blissfully unconscious before they hit the concrete.

Finally getting the idea that sticking around wasn't the best of ideas, the rest of the punks fled in the direction of their truck. The only one to remain was their leader, who turned to stare at them in disbelief at his fleeing forces. "H-hey! Get back here!" he shrieked…only to gasp as a massive hand clenched his throat. Choking as he was lifted up off his feet, the punk clawed helplessly at the jade skin, struggling desperately to breathe as Misato raised him up to her face. He paled several shades as she snarled hatefully at him, her grip tightening that much more.

"No…no, please, please don't kill me!" the lead creep begged, virtually melting before the hateful glare of the creature holding. "Don't kill me, don't kill me, please don't kill me!"

While the punk sobbed and wept and begged, Shinji struggled to his feet. Wincing at the smell of the thug soiling himself, he turned and focused on the transformed woman. "Misato, no! Don't kill him! Please!" he pleaded, placing his hands against her leg, desperately trying to attract her attention. "Please, I'm okay now! You don't have to fight anymore! Please!"

The creature frowned, sparing a moment to glance down at Shinji. Before he could take advantage of this opening, the green beast furrowed her brows and looked past the boy. Suffering a chill, he followed the creature's gaze, and saw the rest of the punks, still trying to get into the truck and escape.

Oh, no… Shinji moaned inwardly, his bad feeling getting that much worse.

"What the hell are you waiting for?!" one of the punks screamed desperately, clinging desperately at the one that had gotten behind the driver's wheel. His eyes locked and continuing to swell as he looked at the immense green beast, her green eyes shining ominously at them. "Start the car! START THE CAR!"

"I can't! HE"S got the keys!" the would-be driver responded, gesturing at the member of their group that was dangling from the monster's grip like a sack of wet garbage.

Moaning in despair, the first punk shook his head, marginally aware of another of his companions shoving his way towards the wheel. "Man, oh, man!" he groaned, sweat cascading down his face even as his friend moved to jam a knife into the ignition. "I swear to God, I am never messing with NERV again!"

"C'mon…dammit, c'mon!" his friend with the knife swore as he tried to start the truck. Unable to see the creature as its eyes shined that much brighter…before it roared.

"Uh…Commander Ikari?" Makoto reported, the bespectacled tech leaning in closer to study the information displayed. "I…I think we have a problem."

As much as Gendo didn't want to hear these words, he wasn't really surprised by them. "What is it?"

"That weird pattern of the Major's…its back, sir," Makoto explained, frowning deeply as he looked up at his superior.

"What?" Ritsuko squeaked in dismay. Instantly processing the implications of this statement, she turned towards Gendo. "Commander…"

Ritsuko wasn't able to say anything further. Not that she needed to. Both she and Gendo knew what this meant. "Contact Section 2. Tell them to move in, but to proceed with caution," he ordered smoothly, adapting to the situation as necessary. "I want Katsuragi sedated and transported to NERV Medical immediately. And above all else, I want to avoid another incident if at all possible."

"Yes, sir," Makoto replied as he and his fellow techies went to work. Leaving Gendo to his thoughts.

This wasn't the first obstacle to have appeared in the realization of his scenario, nor did he expect it to be the last. But no matter what happened, he intended to remain in control of the situation. And that meant keeping the information that passed beyond his control kept to the absolute minimum. The less the old men at SEELE knew about what was going on, the better.

"Remember, be careful in there!" Makoto was heard speaking over the radio. "The Commander wants the Major brought to NERV as soon as possible. Without any trouble."

"Yes, of course. I do know how to do my job," Chiron responded in a bored fashion. "Tell Commander Ikari that I'll notify him as soon as Katsuragi has been neutralized. Chiron out." Not giving the otaku a chance to say anything else, Chiron broke the connection to NERV Central…before grinning wickedly.

I swear, if there's a God, then he loves me! Chiron thought as he pressed down harder on the accelerator. His hopes had been fulfilled in spades so far. Not only had Misato once again transformed into a job for Section 2 to handle, but he was already closing in on her position, having been notified by Echo 6 when he had sighted one of the punks flying up over a building before coming crashing down on that roof. Now all that's left to do is to put that whore down, and call it a night!

Smiling that much more as it all came together in his mind, Chiron began setting his plans in motion. "This is Captain Chiron to all Section 2 units. Katsuragi has transformed again. I repeat, the target has transformed again." Giving this a moment to sink in, Chiron looked at the computer display next to him and plotted out his next move. "Teams 9 and 12, you're with me! Teams 1 and 5, close in on our position. We have civilian witnesses in the area, and I want them taken into custody as soon as the target has been contained." His heart beating that much faster at the round of 'yes, sirs' that was then heard, he focused on his air assets. "Echo 1, 3, and 6, close in our position! I want the target boxed in and with nowhere to go! Echo 4 and 5, remain in position! Is that understood?"

Another round of 'yes, sirs' was heard as Chiron floored the accelerator. "You're all mine now, bitch!"

Shoot them…

The creature was staring hatefully at the weak little humans that had scurried into one of the metal things she had seen that evening. They were clamoring noisily as they squirmed about with the stupid metal thing, easy targets. Even with the one human in her hand, it would have been simplicity itself to walk up to the metal thing and smash it, humans and all. And she wanted to smash them. They had attacked her Shinji. Hurt Shinji. And she wanted to hurt them back.

Shoot them…

Frowning as the strange words repeated themselves in her mind, words that had from the part of her that was Misato. The creature frowned as images of the Major's training wafted into her, images of her striking from a distance. Images that the green-skinned Amazon simply couldn't understand, which frustrated and confused her. Making her that much angrier.

And yet…the impulse was still there. Shoot them…

As these words repeated themselves once more, spurring her rage to new heights, animalistic instinct combined with years of now-buried training. The creature sucked in another breath, her eyes flaring an even brighter green as she gave voice to her frustration by releasing a monstrous roar. A roar that rippled through the air, filling it with bright green as it shot forth and smashed into the metal thing.

Shinji was beginning to think that the madness of that night would never end.

Misato was growling ominously, her eyes sparking with bright green as her breasts heaved. Then she leaned forward and cut loose with a roar more savage and terrible than anything he had ever heard in his life. And as she roared, a poisonous green light shown from her throat before erupting from her mouth, sending forth a green distortion that pulsed through the air like an Angel's AT-Field before it slammed into the truck.

Jumping at the sound of metal crumpling and of people screaming in terror, Shinji turned and watched as the truck popped up into the air before coming down on its roof. The shattered vehicle with its panicked occupants skidded backward, sparks flying up into the air as it came to a halt in the middle of the street.

"Oh, my God..." Shinji gasped before looking back at Misato. For a long time, she stared at the truck in obvious surprise, looking almost as stunned as Shinji himself was. But soon her surprise faded, and her face slowly creased into one of delight. Taking another deep breath, she roared again, firing off another shockwave that plowed into a wall, blasting it apart and sending chunks of masonry flying into the air. Giving a low, bestial chuckle, she fired another shockwave, and again. She roared over and over like she was a little girl playing with a new toy.

Each time she did it, however, Shinji felt his heart breaking that much more. He felt as if the Misato he knew was disappearing more and more, fading beneath the creature that had taken her place. To make matters worse, he had failed her again. He had been supposed to keep her calm. To keep her from transforming until the ambulance arrived, and he had been unable to do even that much more for her.

As another wall exploded into a cloud of dust, Shinji let out a broken sob, tears running down his cheeks. Unable to take it anymore, he focused on the creature, who was about to roar once again. "Misato, stop it!" he cried out, his voice cracking beneath the weight of his own emotions. "Please, stop!" Jolted by his cry, the green Amazon paused even as she was drawing another deep breath. Exhaling slightly, she looked down at Shinji. She seemed to be confused as if she were a little girl being scolded, only she didn't know what for.

Shinji didn't know how to begin to respond to such a look. Instead, he sucked in a breath before looking at the punk she still held by his neck. "Now, please…put him down. Please."

"Yeah, lady…" the punk rasped out. He was clinging desperately to her forearm, trying to alleviate the strain being placed on his fragile neck. "I…promise…I won't even look at him anymore…!"

Looking up sharply at the thug, as if she had only just remembered she was still holding him, the green beast grimaced with renewed hatred. But even as she tightened her grip on him, her gaze wandered to Shinji. And as she looked into his sorrowful face, a bit of the Misato he knew peaked out at him as she frowned sadly. Returning her focus to the punk, she snorted loudly, and then marched over to a nearby dumpster. Growling in distaste, she dumped the thug into the open side. As he landed amidst the garbage, audibly gasping for air, she unleashed a solid kick that sent the dumpster rolling down the alley. It bounced off the walls once before shooting out into the street, where it crashed into the shattered truck.

Giving a slight nod, Misato growled in satisfaction before returning her gaze to Shinji. The boy just stood there, looking at her in tears. "Misato…" he moaned even as the creature moved to him, growling sadly as she crouched down before. The woman he knew once again showing in the beast's eyes as she gingerly caressed his cheeks, wiping away his tears. "What did they do to you…?" Choking as a wad of bile formed in his throat, Shinji continued to stand there, he thought of the people that had sabotaged Jet Alone, trapping his guardian in this monstrous form.

"I - I swear, Misato…" Shinji fumbled out, hatred shifting poisonously about inside of him, "I swear…I'll find whoever did this to you…" Sniffling loudly, he gritted his teeth hatefully. "And I'll make them pay…"

"Shinji…" Misato growled lowly, as if in agreement. Then, another sound was heard.

The sound of numerous engines.

Boy and beast looked about and winced as numerous headlights filled the alley. A moment later, Shinji grimaced, for he realized he was out of time.

Section 2 had arrived.

"Move in!" Chiron ordered, his tranquilizer rifle held at the ready as the agents under his command rushed into the alley. Already taking up position before the hideous, muscle-bound freak of nature that Katsuragi now was.

So this is what the damned slut's become, huh? Chiron sneered disdainfully as he marched up, professional and ready to put her down. A mindless savage who runs around causing chaos and mayhem, wearing nothing to conceal her freakish body. How fitting.

Pausing to smile at how appropriate it was that Misato had become on the outside what she had always been on this inside, Chiron frowned at the chatter of his men. "Holy crap!" one of them gasped as he fell into position. "Will you look at the size of that thing?!"

"I'm looking!" another, more perverse voice responded. "Man, am I ever looking!"

What? What kind of man would think a thing like that could ever be attractive?! Chiron grimaced in disgust. Who could ever be interested in an overdeveloped freak such as that? Sickened just by the thought of that, the Section 2 head snorted loudly and put such things out of his mind as he got down to business. "Cut the chatter, you two!" he commanded, already taking aim at the ugly thing. "Just get in position! Fire on my mark!"

"What?!" a surprised voice cried out. Glancing about, Chiron noticed the 3rd Child standing just behind the green freak. The pallid little spawn of the Commander gasped before he flung himself in front of the monster, waving his hands wildly in the air. "No, wait! Don't! Don't shoot! Don't -!"

Great. Akagi must've forgotten to tell him we were using tranquilizers, Chiron grumbled inwardly. Deciding that he should have figured she'd screw up like that, he focused on his target. Even with the stupid kid in the way, the green freak was large enough that even the worst shot on his team would be able to hit her without endangering a pilot that was too dumb to live. "Alright, men!" he commanded, already pulling the trigger, "Open fire!"

An instant after the dart flew from his gun, the rest of his people opened fire, showering Katsuragi with tranquilizers. Enough to send an elephant into dreamland. A moment later, he heard a series of thuds, followed by a tinkling as the darts fell away from the beast, bouncing off her skin like it was made of hard rubber. As they landed harmlessly on the ground, their tips bent and useless, he watched as the monster snarled ominously, and crushed the expended darts underfoot as she started towards them.

Realizing that something unexpected had gone wrong, Chiron was about to order his troops to cease fire when Shinji turned about to face the creature. "No, Misato! Please, don't!" he pleaded, spreading his arms and blocking her advance. "It's alright! They can't hurt you! They're just trying to – ack!"

Yelping in pain, Shinji jumped back and looked at his shoulder, where one of the tranquilizer rounds had struck after rebounding off the monster. He stared stupidly at the dart for a moment before moaning loudly, his eyes rolling up into his head as he fell to the ground.

"Cease fire!" Chiron cried out, finally finding his voice. As the rest of his men heeded his command, he watched as the monster they were supposed to dart looked down in surprise at the boy.

"Shinji?" the creature muttered, kneeling down beside the boy. Extending her hand towards him, she caressed his cheek with her finger, as if prompting him to wake up.

The boy groaned at her touch, almost causing her to recoil in fear. "Misato," he groaned, his head rolling from one side, then the next. "Please…don't go…away…"

A low growl of concern emerging from her throat, the monster carefully scooped the boy up in her left arm, cradling him with her immense forearm, his head gently supported in her hand. Frowning in concern, the beast-woman then looked up at the Section 2 agents, who looked back at her. Then, as Chiron looked on, pure, uncontrollable hatred carved itself into her monstrous features.

His heart plummeting right into the ground, Chiron sagged as he realized what was going to happen next. "Oh, crap…"

Rapidly sucking in breath after furious breath, the creature's eyes burned brightly before she roared, releasing a wave of green energy that filled the alley and slammed into the agents and their vehicles alike. Chiron felt like a giant had punched the earth and sent it flying off kilter as he and the rest of him men flew through the alley, tumbling helplessly as they flew out into the street.

As he rolled to a stop, Chiron looked wildly about at his men. None of them seemed badly hurt, at least not enough to keep them down for the count. This was fortunate because their assailant was already stomping her way out of the alley, howling her outrage as she scrutinized her attackers. The rest of his men scrambling to their feet, the freak placed the boy securely between her breasts as she grabbed the nearest car by its front. Metal crunching in protest, she lifted it up without any apparent effort and failed it about, whipping it at the Section 2 men, sending them fleeing for their lives.

Aw, damn… Chiron grimaced. As much as he hated to admit it, he knew when it was time to call a tactical retreat. Breaking into a run, he darted to his own car, which was thankfully untouched. Throwing himself behind the driver's seat, he hit the accelerator and left the monster in his dust.

"This Captain Chiron to all available Section 2 units! We have an emergency! Teams 9 and 12 are down! Tranquilizer rounds have no effect on the creature! I repeat, no effect!" Grimacing at this admission of failure, Chiron focused on plotting out his Plan B. "Echo 1, 3, and 6, keep track of the target! I want her in your sights at all times! Teams 1 through 5, I need cleanup and assistance at our original location! Everyone else, go to live ammo and be ready to move in on my -!"

A hideous jolt like a hammer blow from above cut Chiron off, followed by the sound of metal crushing and grinding against concrete. Crying out as it stopped, practically snapping his seatbelt as he was flung forward, the Captain turned and looked about, and practically fainted when he saw that the monster he failed to capture was practically sitting in his backseat. The insensate 3rd Child still clutched securely to her chest, the creature used her free hand to expand the hole she had made in his roof. When she could finally look him in the face, she snarled malevolently and grabbed the back of Chiron's chair. Without any visible effort, she ripped it free of the frame with him still in it.

No! My baby! Chiron cried out inwardly as the creature took him and his chair and flung him down before her. Looking about for a gun, for any kind of weapon, he was brought up short by the sound of metal tearing again. His jaw falling open, he watched as the monster ripped her way through the side of the car before turning about to glare at him. And then she did something he would not have expected.

She smiled. And it was not a nice smile.

Chiron had just enough time to realize that he was not going to enjoy what happened next when the creature went into action. Raising her foot up and bringing down on the car, she held it in place as she leaned over and grabbed the front of his ruined vehicle, and pulled. The frame bent like aluminum foil as the monster folded it up and bent it over Chiron, pressing him in place.

"No…" Chiron sobbed as the creature continued to fold up his car around him, his ruined vehicle seeming to cry out in anguish as its useful life was brutally ended. And as she continued to fold, he grew increasingly certain that he was about to join it. But even as the metal constricted about him, pressing against his legs and cutting off the flow of blood, it suddenly stopped.

Unable to explain this unexpected reprieve, Chiron looked about. His field of vision was extremely limited, but he could still see a bit here and there, and he could definitely hear. And he could hear the sound of bare feet pounding on concrete, allowing him to look about and see the monstrosity responsible for his predicament rounding his ruined vehicle and looking at him. For a moment, he was tempted to think that the creature had expended its energy, and that was why he had been saved.

And then she smiled grimly at him.

The instant she did this, Chiron's mind was awash with fury. She had left him alive on purpose, intent on humiliating him as thoroughly as possible. "Damn you, you blasted whore!" he howled, too furious to think better of this action. "Damn you straight to hell!"

The creature snorted loudly at this and then paused to look down at the boy she still held, her smile fading into a worried frown. A frown that changed even more as she looked back up Chiron, and snarled in a manner that said to him, Come after us again…and next time you will die.

Clutching the 3rd Child even more tightly to her chest, the creature then broke into a run, picking up speed until she leaped into the air, disappearing from sight. Leaving Chiron to sag helplessly in his shattered car, thinking, If there's a God…then he hates me. And he made that bitch the way she is just to show how much he hates me.

"Sir?" Makoto started, a worried expression adorning his face. "I just got a report from Section 2. It seems the tranquilizer rounds didn't work on the Major!"

"What?!" Ritsuko spat out incredulously. "Why not?! Her biochemistry didn't change that much!" Shaking her head in protest, she admitted, "I mean…we predicted that she'd be able to burn through a small amount of sedative, but a sufficient dose should have -!"

Makoto shook his head at the doctor's confusion. "The tranq darts never penetrated! They just bounced off of her!"

This got Gendo's attention. He looked up at Fuyutsuki, who wore a similar look of befuddlement. "Bulletproof skin?" he wondered, his eyebrows raised as he turned towards Ritsuko.

Shrugging helplessly, Ritsuko answered, "With a mutation this complex…anything's possible, I - I suppose!"

"What's Section 2's current status? Where's Chiron?" Gendo inquired with a deceptive mildness.

"Well, the Major trashed several cars, but she hasn't hurt any of the agents too badly. She trapped Chiron in his car, though. They've got a team trying to get him out, but they say it'll take awhile." Makoto frowned as he deciphered more information coming in. "They've got helicopter units in pursuit, sir. But…"

"But?" Gendo prompted, his glasses shining ominously.

Pausing to clear his throat, Makoto informed them, "Sir…Chiron had authorized the use of lethal force against her."

Ritsuko let out a hushed gasp at this, and Gendo furrowed his brows in disdain. He wasn't particularly surprised by Chiron's unimaginative solution to their problem, but he wasn't certain that it was the approach to take in this situation. Brute force very rarely solved problems, and if what the creature had done so far was any indication, he didn't doubt that it might have other surprises in store for them. And more importantly, he wanted Katsuragi captured alive. Whatever she had become, whatever processes had remade her had given power beyond anything he would have thought humanly possible. And whatever secrets lay within her mutant cells, he wanted them for himself.

"Contact Section 2. Inform them that I am taking direct command of this operation," Gendo announced, steepling his fingers together in the typical 'Gendo pose'.

As Makoto acknowledged this order and went about carrying it out, Fuyutsuki frowned and shot his former student a sideways glance. "What now, Ikari? If the tranquilizer darts couldn't penetrate, then -?"

"We still have the sleeping gas, sensei," Gendo responded easily. "And in the meantime, it might be informative to see how this creature contends with…bigger guns."

As Hikari sat in her room, frowning as she sewed the damaged garment that lay on the table, she couldn't help but glance at her bed, and sigh longingly.

As much as some people might wish otherwise, there were times that it was tough not being able to sleep a full eight hours a night anymore. Of course, Hikari had to admit that this was mostly because she really didn't know what to do with herself in those long hours, especially since she didn't want to wake up her sisters and father. There was only so much time a girl could spend on homework and sewing, despite how necessary those chores might be.

Of course, I suppose I could fuss around on the internet, play some online games… Hikari frowned, but then she nixed her own idea. She simply wasn't a gamer or the kind of person that could spend all day online, fooling around on the various sites or working on one of her own. I bet Kensuke would love to be able to go without sleep this much, she thought, sniffing loudly at this. I swear, with all the weirdness going on in this city, I don't know how he even keeps up with it all!

Shaking her head in dismay, Hikari thought of the various news stories and headlines Kensuke had shown and crowed over in school recently. Some kind of big, green monster shows up, and all he can do is go on and on about how cool it is. Rolling her eyes at the memory of their resident otaku and one-third of the Three Stooges showing off pictures of the places the monster had destroyed, footprints it had made in concrete, and commenting that he was hacking computers for more information about it, the pigtailed girl snorted loudly. I bet he wouldn't think it was so cool if he had to deal with something like that face-to-face.

Pausing to imagine Kensuke confronted with such a beast, smirking at the thought of him wetting himself before passing out, Hikari sighed before returning to the tedious task of mending one of her damaged outfits. It was a boring job, but necessary if she wanted to spare her wallet needless pain.

Then, the last stitch was applied to the garment before her, and she smiled in satisfaction. Finished. And with five more safely hidden away, I should be good for a while. Brushing an errant strand of hair away from her eyes, she eyed before thinking, I just hope I don't need any of them anytime soon.

The instant this thought was completed, a deadly, familiar sensation encroached on Hikari's mind. What the – is that an Angel?! she thought, already cursing herself for jinxing herself so easily. Furrowing her brows in concentration, she focused on the sensation and found herself shaking her head. No…no, it doesn't feel like an Angel. It feels like…like… Then her eyes widened as she made the connection. It feels like that creature does. That…whatever-it-is that attacked before.

Trembling somewhat, Hikari thought back to several nights ago, when she had sensed a similar sensation. It had been the night before she gotten up in the morning and learned that Kensuke's mysterious monster had ravaged Tokyo-3. She hadn't sensed it for very long before it had moved too far for her to sense it, but still, the sensation it created in her mind was unmistakable.

"Aw, great," Hikari groaned in dismay, looking unhappily at the costume she had just finished mending. It was late, she had to deal with school in the morning, and the last thing she wanted to do just then was fight some mysterious monster and possibly wind up splashed on the cover of yet another tabloid. But at the same time, she knew that the creature was dangerous. She had already had quite a few close calls in recent times, too many according to her old sister, and the last thing she was in the mood for was yet another lecture from Kodama. And if she went out and NERV got involved, the probability of her getting into trouble skyrocketed to heights she was less than thrilled with.

I mean, it's not that I want people to get hurt, Hikari thought as she wrestled with her dilemma, but…

As she struggled with her internal conflict, Hikari became aware of something else. The sound of a helicopter flying overhead. "What the -?!" she got out, only to leap out of her chair and go over to her window. Flinging it open, she stuck her head out and quickly spotted a black helicopter flying off into the distance, its spotlight shining down on the ground. Heading in the same general direction she sensed the disturbance coming from.

Groaning heavily, Hikari placed her hand to her forehead. "Of…course…" she groaned in dismay, something that grew more intense when she heard two more helicopters flying by. Going the same direction as the first one.

Her heart sinking, Hikari pulled back into her room and went to her table. It seemed that there was no getting out of that lecture after all. NERV was obviously mobilizing, and if whatever was causing the disturbance had gotten their attention, then she knew she had to look into it. At least it's not an Angel, she thought, though that was of little comfort to her at the moment. Judging from what Kensuke had said about the creature, it might be just as bad as one of those notorious beasts. And just as much a danger to the people of this city.

This thought settled any qualms Hikari had about going out. Angel or not, something bad was happening, something that was putting everyone who lived in Tokyo-3 in danger. And that meant that she had to take action. Less than enthusiastically, she looked at the costume that she had just finished mending. I'm just glad you're ready to go back to work, she decided, already shedding her pajamas. I don't want to start breaking in my other costumes until I have to.

Soon, a girl wearing a white, low-cut top with silver trim appeared from a back alley near the Horaki house. She also wore a red skirt and mask, and her top had the kanji for 'Spirit' embroidered in red on the chest. As soon as she was clear of the alley and had enough room, she thought, I have wings. And with that thought, she did. Large, snowy-white wings erupted from her back, sprouting from holes cut expressly for their emergence. Pure, luminescent silver washed away the brown of her hair, and beneath her mask, her eyes suddenly blazed from brown to red.

Hikari Horaki completely disappeared as the teenaged hero known only as Spirit took to the skies, intent on investigating the situation.

"Shinji?" came Misato's voice. The boy groaned, feeling something splashing across his face. Never before had he felt as tired as he did now, and never had he had to struggle as much to wake up. "Shinji?" Misato's voice came again, and as he groggily opened his eyes, he saw his guardian looking down on him, smiling as her brown eyes filling with relief.

"M-Misato?" he blearily wondered, feeling as if his brain was wrapped in a fog. As he struggled to fully awaken, the image of Misato blurred and grew, turning green. Blinking away more of the sleep, Shinji saw the monstrous beast-woman that had sprung from Jet Alone's reactors kneeling above him, cradling him in one hand as she gently splashed water in his face.

"Shinji…" the creature cooed, even as the boy struggled to sit up. Standing erect, Misato cradled the boy in both arms, staring at him with adoration.

I guess…it wasn't a dream, Shinji thought sadly, his addled brain slowly coming back to life and providing a context for his situation. I feel so tired. Why…oh, right. The dart… With that, more memories came to the fore, and he looked about, trying to get his bearings. Blinking his eyes a few times, he looked about, and soon saw the many towering buildings of Tokyo-3 a short distance away. From their position, he quickly realized that they on the border of the city. Then he gave a quick shake of his head in order to clear more of the cobwebs from it and looked in a different direction. He discovered that they were on the shore of a lake, with mountains just on the other side of it.

"The lake…" Shinji realized, looking down at the water Misato had found to splash him awake. "We're at…Lake Ashi…" Sighing with emotional and physical exhaustion, he was brought to greater wakefulness when he felt the massive arms holding him tensing. Looking up, he saw the beast-woman's face filling with renewed anger. "What is it?"

Growling lowly, Misato looked off in the distance. "Enemy..."

"Huh?" Shinji wondered, automatically looking in the same direction. Almost immediately, he saw what she was looking at. Three helicopters were heading in their general direction, shining their searchlights this way and that. As they came steadily closer, the green giantess snarled hatefully. With a sudden chill, Shinji realized how she intended to deal with them. "No…Misato…" he weakly pleaded. "Please, don't…fight…"

She turned back to Shinji, and once again he saw his Misato's compassion peeking out at him from behind the emerald irises. Then she looked back at the helicopters, and the creature she had become once again held dominance. Standing up and pressing Shinji tightly to her, the savage Amazon grunted in effort as she leaped upwards, the wind whistling past as they rose higher and higher. Crying out in alarm as the ground fell away, Shinji instinctively wrapped his arms about the creature's thick neck. Barely staving off the urge to close his eyes, he forced himself to down, very nearly fainting when gravity reclaimed them. Crying out again as he envisioned himself being reduced to chunky salsa, he watched as the ground came up, and was shattered by Misato's landing. To his astonishment, he felt the impact only very distantly, as if he fell onto a soft mattress, rather than a street from hundreds of feet up.

While Shinji was shuddering with confusion and terror, the Amazonian beast marched up to a nearby apartment building. Taking a moment to examine the structure, Misato coiled her leg muscles once again and sprang straight up, flying up at least twenty stories. As Shinji clung to her that much more tightly, unable to fathom what she was doing, she grabbed hold of the building at the apex of her leap, her fingers digging into the masonry as is it was foam rubber. Quickly kicking footholds into the wall, she fired off another of her deadly roars, blasting the wall in and revealing a small, empty apartment.

"W-what are you doing…?" Shinji wondered absently, the drug still fogging him with sleep even as Misato muscled her way into the building. She paused to examine the small room, and snorting with satisfaction, the green giantess bent down, allowing him to set his feet on the ground. "Huh?" he gasped up, his knees shaking like jelly as he released her. "Wh-what are you…?"

"Shinji…stay…here…" she intoned, the words coming to her with difficulty. Massaging Shinji's cheek with her fingers, Misato then rose up and turned about, stomping her way to the opening she had made. As he continued to watch, he saw one of the helicopters appear just outside the building.

She…she's trying to protect me! Shinji thought incredulously as the helicopter played its searchlight at them. She thinks I'm still in danger! Blanching with horror, he started towards her, reaching out as he croaked, "Misato, wait…!"

But it was of no use. She was already leaping back into battle, grabbing hold of the tail of nearby helicopter and sending into a spin. Moving to get a better view, Shinji spotted the other two helicopters closing in on the one burdened by the creature. Misato spotted them as well, and without hesitation, she ripped off the tail rotor and threw it at another helicopter. The improvised projectile tore through her target with terrifying accuracy, very nearly sending it into another building.

I…I don't believe this! Shinji quailed as the damaged helicopter was sent spiraling down in defeat. While it flopped down on the pavement below, clearly damaged beyond repair, he returned his focus to the ongoing battle. Misato punched a hole in the side of the helicopter she was on before pulling back, a handful of machinery and circuitry sparking in her grasp.

As smoke belched from the helicopter, already spinning down towards a crash landing similar to that of the first one, the third Section 2 craft dropped down, its side door open. Wondering what they were up to, Shinji looked and saw an agent standing at the door, with what looked like a rocket launcher in his hands and a wicked grin on his face.

Frozen in realization, Shinji could only watch as a rocket exploded out of the tube and flew out towards Misato. Distracted by her current quarry, the mighty she-beast took the rocket to her stomach, the resultant explosion tearing away her grip.

"No!" Shinji shrieked as she crashed into the building he was in. Racing up to the opening in the side, he looked down just in time to see guardian tumbling down the side of the building, before crashing down to the ground, a large crater forming upon her impact.

"No!" Ritsuko shouted in horror as she watched those same events through the camera feed of the third helicopter. Twin waves of revulsion and guilt hitting her in the stomach at the sight of her mutated friend breaking pavement. "They were supposed to take her alive!"

"They might still do that! Look!" Shigeru reported, the awe clear in his voice. At his words, everyone watched as the creature that had been Misato Katsuragi sat up in the crater. Having survived an explosion and a fall that would have reduced a normal human's body to burning chunks of crushed flesh without so much as a mark on her. Getting back to her feet, the creature then looked up at the helicopter and roared hatefully. The camera filled with green as the surviving helicopter rose up and away from the creature, determined to avoid the fate that befell the others.

"You've got to be kidding me…" Ritsuko breathed, watching in horror as the killing machine that had once been her friend looked wildly about for something else to smash.

"Incredible…" Shigeru whispered.

"I don't believe this…" Maya moaned in low horror.

"No…way…" Makoto whispered. Then a geeky smile split his face in half. "Wow…she's awesome…!"

Rolling her eyes even as Shigeru was shooting Makoto an incredulous look, Ritsuko was brought back to the present by a loud beeping alarm. "What the –what's happening?!"

"Sempai! The MAGI have just detected another pattern!" Maya reported, immediately pouncing on her display.

"An Angel?" Gendo asked warily.

"Negative, sir! It looks like a red/blue pattern!" Maya reported as she worked. A beat passed before she turned to look up at her superiors. "Sir! The MAGI have confirmed a pattern match! It's Spirit! She's heading towards the Major's current position!"

"What?!" Ritsuko spat out before smacking herself in the forehead. "Dammit! As if things weren't bad enough without her butting in!"

"Actually, this could work out to our favor," Gendo mused from his position.

Barely suppressing the colorful metaphor that was about to pop out of her mouth, Ritsuko and Fuyutsuki looked incredulously at the Commander. "Order the remaining helicopter to move away for now, but to stay close enough to keep an eye on things. Have the rest of Section 2 standby and await further orders," Gendo ordered as he sat back in his seat, looking intently at the displays. "I want to see what happens next."

Unsure of what Gendo meant, or if she even wanted to know, Ritsuko sighed and watched as the three bridge techs carried out their orders. As the remaining helicopter distanced itself from the battle, it kept its camera trained on the green beast that was Misato.

"Aw, damn! Is she incredible or what?!" Makoto grinned with barely suppressed glee as he watched the creature, who was presently busying herself by scaring the living daylights out of the crews of the downed helicopters. Running away from the green giantess as fast as their rubbery legs could carry them, they were then ignored as she glared dangerously at the helicopters. Firing another destructive roar at the further of the downed craft, crumpling it instantly, she then grabbed the closer one and lifted it up effortlessly. "Whoa! I'm calling that attack the Impact Roar!"

"Dude, you read way too many comic books…" Shigeru decided while Maya simply moaned in dismay.

"What's going on down there?" Spirit wondered, flying towards the where the disturbance was coming from. Her gaze focused on the helicopter she could see, which was quickly gaining altitude. "And where are the other helicopters? I thought there were three there, so where -?"

The winged wonder's question jammed in her throat when she saw one of the other helicopters flying straight her. Minus its tail and main rotor, and looking like it had been the star attraction at a twenty car pileup. Jolted by surprise, Spirit instantly folded her wings and dived beneath the arch of the ruined craft, letting it fly past harmlessly.

Swooping up again, she watched as the helicopter crashed into the top of a nearby building. "What the…?" she gasped lowly, not liking the look of this. Then she returned her attention to the source of the unlikely projectile, blinked away her shock, and continued onward. "Great. Looks like this thing is too much for NERV to handle. Again…"

Closing the distance as quickly as she could, it wasn't long before Spirit was able to spot the culprit behind the helicopter's destruction, which was presently amusing itself by throwing another one into the lake. "Whew! And I thought people were exaggerating when they described that thing!" she muttered as she studied the creature. It was a woman, that much she could tell. She was completely naked and heavily over-muscled and had to be eight feet tall if she were an inch. And to Spirit's dismay, she was looking up at her.

"Oh, great," Spirit muttered as she came to hover several meters above the not-so-jolly green giantess. "I don't suppose you'd be interested in…talking this out, huh?"

"Spirit!" a voice cried out. Stunned with surprise, Spirit needed a moment to realize that the voice hadn't come from the creature, and a moment more to notice that it was a voice she knew. "Spirit, up here!"

Her mouth popping open, Spirit looked this way and that, before finally looking up and seeing a hole in the side of a nearby building. A small figure was standing there, waving frantically at her. Shinji?! she squawked inwardly. What in the – what the heck is he doing up there?!

"Please, don't hurt her!" Shinji cried out, cupping his hands to his mouth. "It's not Misato's fault! Please, you can't...!"

Shinji continued to plead to her, not realizing that Spirit's brain had faltered on the name he had cried out. What?! Mi… Misato?! Jolted with horror, the airborne adventuress whipped about and looked down at the creature below her. She was still standing there, growling lowly as she examined the teenage hero. Letting Spirit get a good, long look at her face, at the mane of purple hair that cascaded down her shoulders.

"Oh…" Spirit moaned heavily, peeling away the layers of green and muscle in her mind's eye. Her heart plummeting when the face became human, a human that she knew. Oh, no…he – he's right! It is Misato-sama! she groaned inwardly, barely able to believe her own eyes. But…how is this even possible?!

"Spirit!" Shinji cried out again. With a jolt, she realized that he had been calling out the entire time she had been lost in thought, and looked back up at him. "Please…you can't hurt her! Please!"

"I'm not going to hurt her! I'm just here to help!" Spirit replied earnestly, returning her attention to Misato. She still hadn't spoken and continued to growl lowly as she slowly walked closer to the girl hovering above her.

Looking at the woman's transformed face, Spirit shook her head as recognition and rage seemed to war with each other in Misato's eyes. What happened to you? she wondered sadly, the creature in such a contrast to the playful, intelligent woman she had met. Then, with another look at Shinji, Spirit frowned determinedly. I better get some answers. As in right now!

Author's Notes: Well, Section 2 was as useless as usual! Will Spirit have better luck? Please, read and review! And feel free to check out my other stories while you're at it.

First of all, I want to thank Mike313 for letting Spirit show up for this cameo. Also, I'm going to be using Spirit in my "Heroes United!" story, which will have all the Eva ladies going hero for one amazing adventure. Spirit is actually fairly similar to my own original version for a super-powered Hikari. Though I had planned on her getting her powers from the 11th Angel, by being infected by it. The nanotech in its system would have caused her to get sick at school, where Shinji would have found her, just in time for her to sprout four metallic wings.

Now, since a lot of you have asked, I will make it clear to you know that all of the "Superwomen of Eva" stories will have separate storylines, though as seen here, some of the ladies might pop up in different stories. It will only be in "Heroes United!" that they will all appear, with their original origins, all for one massive adventure.

Now, some people have raised questions as to why Misato acts like the Hulk instead of the She-Hulk in this story and commented on the differences in their origins, so I thought I would get you some answers. Originally, She-Hulk transformed in response to anger, just like Hulk. However, she wasn't as strong or as savage and didn't rampage as badly. It was only later that she gained control of her powers, after an encounter with Morbius the Living Vampire. Then, as Tobi said, an exposure to a nuclear reactor locked her in She-Hulk mode. However, in later issues of the Sensational She-Hulk, she was killed after a virus attacked her body, weakening her. She was later revived through additional gamma radiation being sent into her body, which resulted in her becoming savage and more Hulk-like when angry for a time.

So, the short answer is that the level of gamma exposure is a factor in this, but there is also mental trauma. Jennifer Walters seemed to be a relatively well-adjusted woman at the time of her mutation while Bruce Banner had suffered horrific abuse at the hands of his father. That's why Misato is the way she is in this story; she got the heightened exposure to radiation and suffered the mental trauma induced by Second Impact.

As for her devastating roar, that came about from three things. One is that, as a military woman, Misato is trained in both firearms and hand-to-hand combat. She used to being able to deal with the opposition at both short and long ranges, and I thought that attack translated that nicely. Secondly, her mutation is different, because she was exposed to the power of Adam. Third, it has to deal with personalities of the mutated. Bruce Banner was a quiet angry person, who locked away his rage rather than give voice to it. Misato, on the other hand, is a loud angry person, who rages and vents in private. I thought this was a good way of expressing that difference.

Whew! I hope that explains things!

Also, Tobi, in Secret Wars issue #3, it wasn't Hawkeye who was taunting the Hulk (though I can understand why you might think so, given his position on that panel), it was Reed Richards. This is something that is confirmed on the next page when we see the two of them talking as they make good on their escape from the mountain.

I'm really glad that everybody's enjoying this story, and is looking forward to the upcoming chaos! Until then!


No! My baby! Chiron cried out inwardly as the creature took him and his chair and flung him down before her. Looking about for a gun, for any kind of weapon, he was brought up short by the sound of metal tearing again. His jaw falling open, he watched as the monster ripped her way through the side of the car before turning about to glare at him. And then she did something he would not have expected.

She smiled. And it was not a nice smile.

Chiron had just enough time to realize that he was not going to enjoy what happened next when the creature went into action. Raising her foot up and bringing down on the car, she held it in place as she leaned over and grabbed the front of his ruined vehicle, and pulled. The frame bent like aluminum foil as the monster folded it up and bent it over Chiron, pressing him in place.

"No…" Chiron sobbed as the creature continued to fold up his car around him, his ruined vehicle seeming to cry out in anguish as its useful life was brutally ended. And as she continued to fold, he could feel his legs being slowly crushed, his…

"Heh heh heh! Take that, you self-important, male chauvinist bastard!" Misato cackled wicked as she typed away, grinning more deeply with each word that appeared on the screen. "Let's see you bragging about having external plumbing once I smash it into oblivion! Right before I do the same to you!"

Laughing even more as she continued to type away, Misato instantly froze when she heard a voice behind her asking, "Uh, Misato? What exactly are you doing?!"

"Errr…" Misato grimaced, slowly looking over her shoulder to see Orion standing behind her, rubbing the exhaustion from his eyes. "Oh! Orion! I, uh…I thought you were asleep!"

"Yeah, I was. Until about a couple minutes ago, when I heard somebody cackling like they were about five cans short of a six-pack!" Orion muttered as he came up behind the purple-haired woman. "What the…what do you think you're doing?! You know you're not supposed to be messing with the script!"

"Aw, c'mon, Orion! I'm not exactly…messing with it!" Misato pouted expertly. "I was just…tweaking it a little, that's all!"

"Tweaking it? You just killed off Chiron, crushed him and his car into a tiny ball, and sent them into orbit!" Orion cried out as he studied the modifications made to the script. "And what's this about Shinji's pants tearing at his…?"

"Um…" Misato hesitated as Orion scrutinized the part of the script where she had been interrupted. "Aw, c'mon, Orion! I was just having a little fun! Aren't you always telling us to have fun with our work?"

"Yes, but not at the expense of the story!" Orion groaned. "Now, I know you hate Chiron! Fact is, I'm not too fond of him, either! But we need him around for the story!"

"Why?! The creep is a sexist prick who gets off on treating everyone like dirt and bullying people at every chance he gets!" Misato declared vehemently. "Why do we need to keep him around?!"

"Because we need someone nasty to head Section 2! I mean, let's face it! I can't imagine Gendo ever choosing someone sweet and loveable as the head of NERV's secret police!" Orion replied. "Besides, the fact that he is such an asshole makes it fun to have him get beaten up, and his being a sexist who gets trashed by superpowered women makes it that much satisfying! Now wouldn't you agree?" Misato frowned somewhat, unwilling to admit that the fanfic writer had a point. "Now, look, I don't mind keeping the bit with Chiron's car getting trashed, but I can't let him get killed off just yet. Now, later in the story, probably, but not just yet. So please, be patient, okay?"

"Ugh…being patient isn't one of my strong suits," Misato admitted.

"Don't worry, I promise I'll make it up to you later," Orion vowed. "Now, c'mon, out of the chair! I've got some rewrites to do here!" Frowning petulantly, Misato slowly stood and made her away from Orion's desk, allowing the fanfic writer to take her place. "Sheesh…and I just got done overhauling this chapter, too…"

"Oh, don't worry about, Orion!" Misato cooed as she exited his office. "I promise I'll make it up to you later!"

Sighing wearily as she disappeared from sight, Orion shook his head and muttered, "I swear, I'm a slave to my own hormones." With that statement, he went to work on modifying Misato's additions to the script.

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