fanfic_mausoleum_n_grill: (NGE)
[personal profile] fanfic_mausoleum_n_grill

(The phone begins to ring just as Seyoko steps out of the shower.

Clad in a towel, wet hair hanging over her shoulders, she frowns, letting the the caller wait in frustration until finally they give up. Finding something to wear is, for now, more important.

After a moment, the phone begins to ring again; with a grunt of disgust, Ozakazi walks over to the phone and, still clad in her towel, picks it up, speaking roughly.)

Seyoko: (into phone) What?

Agent: Its me.

(The woman's mouth sags open in astonishment, which quickly makes way for anger at the male of her species - of all the times she could have recieved this call, why now??)

Seyoko: (angrily) Nothing's changed since we last spoke.. why are you calling?

Agent: I have some news.

(This news could not be more unwanted to Seyoko's ears.)

Seyoko: You've caught me at a bad time.

(Hastily she clutches at the damp towel which even now seems to want to slip down to immodest levels. Her wet hair and the warmth still lingering from the shower suddenly become an irritation, a hassle which she does not wish to add an Agent's ramblings to - especially when she had thrown her own investigations in the trash pile a few hours ago. Her ward - Lyn - was more important to her, more important than this man's information.)

Seyoko: (thinking) He's probably got another dead end for me to chase.

(Her eyes wander away, down to the table on which the phone rests. There, next to the phone rests a small wrapped box - the package recieved by Lyn a day previously. The woman begins to play with the wrapper, cradling the phone between shoulder and chin.)

Agent: Is it not safe to discuss this now?

Seyoko: No, no.. I..

Agent: ..

Seyoko: (timidly) .. I just got out of the shower.

(She grimaces, hands ripping the brown paper of the box as her caller responds.)

Agent: I'm sorry I missed it. But this is more.. significant. We need to meet.

(.. and, with a final grunt, Seyoko manages to prise open the package, using the box as a distraction from the caller she simply does not want to hear.)

Agent: Are you listening?

Seyoko: (distractedly) Yeah..

Agent: We need to meet.

(Okazaki takes her time in answering the Agent's statement, instead choosing to overturn the box in her hand. Out onto the table spills the contents: a small optical diskette.

Seyoko frowns, staring at the underside of the container. There, a small sticker is placed, listing the details of the sender. Not so in this case: the sender line is blank; no return address, only the mark of the package courier:

Tokyo-2 Couriers

Nothing fancy; a simple mark of a company. As she contemplates this, the Agent's voice breaks through.)

Agent: I've been contacted by an old.. aquaintance. Someone I believe you were interested in.

(This, combined with the package in front of her, makes the woman start. Picking up the disc, she stares at the reflective surface as a synthetic rainbow shifts across it.

No sender. No return address - and a Tokyo-2 company. Could it possibly be..?)

Seyoko: (suddenly) Contacted how?

Agent: A message.

(Seyoko looks at the disc in her hand a second time, feeling a shiver creep down her spine..)

Seyoko: Give me two hours.

Agent: Agreed. I'll be in touch.

(There is a faint click on the other end of the line - then the steady disconnected beep begins. Seyoko moves immediately, hanging the phone up quickly and rushing over her computer, disc in hand..)

----------------------------------------------------------

(Somewhere, on a street corner, is a phone booth we visited recently. In that phone booth, a man of average build wearing a trenchcoat that is all too much for the still-warm night frowns at the handset of the phone he just hung up.

The woman should have bought his story; she had been very inquisitive as to the whereabouts of this Kimio fellow. Her reluctance was unusual.

The Agent shrugged. Shortly, her reluctance would cease to matter. Picking up the handset once more, he makes one final call..

.. and is greeted by a now familiar silence.)

Agent: She said two hours. I'll report in immediately afterwards.

(He hung up. Two hours - and then his duty in this place would be over. He would dissapear; a necessity to avoid the possibility of the police - or worse - NERV, tracing the murder to him by some means. His weapon would be crushed in a dumpster and his current identity would vanish.

The Agent - or perhaps that should be Spy - smiled at the prospect of immigration; Tokyo-3 is beginning to wear on him anyway. Shifting the pistol in his pocket slightly to make it more comfortable he steps out of the booth, whistling softly as he makes his way home and the night air begins to cool.)

----------------------------------------------------------

(Somewhere, in the darkness, a voice calls out softly..)

Voice: Six..

(The voice is gentle but insistent, slowly making its way through the warm night air to its target..)

Aoi: You're in my home.. for the night.. with permission.. and you want to sleep?!

(..the half-asleep boy laying nearby.

Aoi's comment, however, rouses him quickly - before he can even pretend to be horrorified at her suggestion, Aoi releases a warm, relaxing laugh.)

Lyn: (drowsily) That would be a.. waste of time.

(Lyn Anouilh, the Sixth Child, lies sprawled on the carpet in Aoi Tamashii's living room. The girl's apartment is dark - the only light comes from the television resting in front of the two. The volume is down low - largely irrelevant, as Lyn hasn't been paying attention to the video anyway.)

Aoi: Just don't get any bright ideas..

(Her living room tonight is very dark - with curtains drawn and lights out, the glow of the television is barely enough for them to find eachother in the room. Certainly it is too little for the boy to see what Aoi does not wish him to see - that the cord to the telephone has been pulled out of its socket.

Aoi lies with her chin resting on her hands, her elbows on a pillow that lies fluffed on Lyn's chest. Lyn has been made into the foundation for a small pyramid, from which Aoi watches the television. A blanket covers the boy's legs - entirely too much for the warm night - and to add insult to injury, another pillow cushions his head, stuffed there by Aoi earlier that night.

Lyn Anouilh feels, all in all, like an invalid.)

Lyn: ..

(The need for sleep is a constant opponent - occasionally his eyes close and his thoughts wander. Sleep is something that Lyn had missed for several nights prior to the activation. Aoi's presence - her close presence - is, normally, enough to bring him to wakefulness. Now it inspires nothing more than deep sleep - wrapped in cushions, cushioned by pillows and playing pillow for a girl, he is both pampered and pinned in place.

An invalid?)

Lyn: ..

(The activation had not gone well.)

-(flashback)- The vast sound ripples through the LCL, muting Seyoko's voice as she desperately tries to contact the pilot. Without sight, without hearing, Lyn is left alone in the entry plug. Alone with it.

(An invalid?

Was he meant to be weak? Was he meant to need Aoi this way?

The girl continues her previous remark, breaking his musings once more.)

Aoi: (teasingly) You can think about it, though..

(Lyn's smile mirrors Aoi's own - he never takes her playfulness out of context. She is.. relaxing. Safe. Is that wrong?)

Lyn: (closing eyes) I am thinking..

(No - It feels right.

Even if this damned blanket is a little too warm for the weather..

Something cool on his forehead - a kiss - gentle, while his eyes are closed.)

Aoi: You can't scare me, Sixth Child..

Lyn: ...

Aoi: But I bet I can scare you..

(The girl reaches across his prone form, grabbing at something from beside the TV. When she withdraws her hand it becomes clear what she has picked up - a flashy, "girl colored" video cassette tape that had been strategically placed there. A "teenage drama" - that was how Aoi had enthusiastically described it. Lyn stifles a groan of discomfort and pulls the covers up over his head, praying for sleep as Tamashii moves deliberately towards the television..)

----------------------------------------------------------

(Across town, the young boy's guardian begins watching another video - one of an altogether different make and, as a woman is about to discover, content.

It is a small optical disc - just the right size for her notebook computer. A bit of a fiddling soon gets the disc running, and Seyoko Okazaki is rewarded with an interesting list of files. Folders, documents, you name it.. but the woman is drawn to what looks like an introduction file, of sorts. Clicking on the file, Seyoko is rewarded as a window pops up in which a small video begins to play.

The video begins, focussed on what appears to be the face of an old man - an aged professor, by records in his early 50's, but by appearance probably closer to his sixties.

The man on screen is best characterised by his eyes; very little else sets him apart from his assumed age bracket. His face is lined, careworn, with an average shape to his jaw and the usual wispy strands of rapidly greying hair of a man with too many worries and not enough time. But his eyes - his eyes are narrowed, his gaze deliberate as he turns his face slightly, apparently looking into the camera of whoever is making the recording as he begins to speak.)

Man: Hello. No doubt you're wondering who I am - and what you have recieved..

Seyoko: ..

Man: .. just as I am wondering why I am recording this.

(Seyoko shrugs to herself - the man's question is apparently rhetorical. Even in playback he has a confidence in his bearing that belies the lines on his face - he looks for all the world like a professor; almost as if he were going to give a lecture on a topic he knew well - as if he had been thinking about it for a very long time.)

Man: The situation must be grave indeed for me to make such a recording.

(A wry grin appears on the speaker's features.)

Man: I suppose you can consider this my will - although it seems most egotistical of me to request that anything be 'saved' in light of what I have done. But request I shall - this disc is going to you, and only you, because you are in the best person to carry out my.. legacy.

(Now he takes a breath - probably marking the beginning of what he truly wants to say.)

Man: We always believed our goal was the highest - our cause the most noble. (serious pause) They still believe this, my old colleagues. They believe that any crime they commit, any atrocity perpetrated in the name of their cause will be washed away by the 'greatness' of what they hope to accomplish.

(The unknown person pauses again, this time looking away, down towards the ground. The camera does not follow his movement - it occurs to Seyoko that this is because the recording device is in a fixed position. No human is holding the camera for him - no person is helping him record this monologue.

The person on screen recovers from his thoughtful delay, lifting his head. He stares straight out of the screen, unblinking, seeming to lock gazes with Ozakazi who leans forward unconciously in response.)

Man: My name is Chiba Kimio. I am the third member of an organisation known as SEELE.

(Okazaki rears back in astonishment..)

Kimio: In twenty four hours I will be - in all probability - dead.

(.. and is, for now, most certainly attentive as the playback continues to run.)

----------------------------------------------------------

(Aoi watches as Lyn's eyelids flutter, battling against fatigue - the drama on screen had taken its toll, though the Sixth Child's drowsy state was probably due more to boredom than exhaustion. Sighing, Aoi glances over, catching sight of the boy's face - eyes closed again, nearly asleep. Reluctantly she struggles up from her comfortable spot and stretches out a hand for the TV's power button.

The screen goes blank, quelling what little light remained in the room. Tamashii lets herself slide back down, fumbling around blindly to shift her pillow to rest beside Lyn's, careful not to disturb him as she snuggles down alongside him. The carpet is certainly no mattress, but Lyn seems too tired to care.)

Aoi: (softly) Lyn?

(His response comes very slowly - the boy is tired, but somehow still receptive to her voice.)

Lyn: (drowsily) Uh huh?

Aoi: I've been thinking - about that stuffy old movie. You remember.. when we watched it?

Lyn: (slurred) You thought ... that the ending ... wasn't fair.

Aoi: I did?

Lyn: You said that it wasn't ... fair that the guy lost everything ... in the end.

Aoi: I guess .. it sounds like something I might have said.

(Aoi stares up at the ceiling as her eyes adapt to the dark.)

Aoi: I was thinking.. If you wanted to protect someone, could you do something like that?

Lyn: (sleepily) mmm..?

Aoi: ... I was wondering...

Lyn: ..

Aoi: .. people you love.. are they the ones you try harder to protect? The ones you'll protect in any way?

Lyn: ..

Aoi: Or the people you can trust enough to tell the truth - that will accept what you.. do.

Lyn: ..

(His face lost in the dark, Lyn responds, his voice almost unintelligible.)

Lyn: Well..

Aoi: ..

Lyn: I guess ... it depends on who they are. And what they did ... if that matters.

Aoi: ..

Lyn: .. can't make one rule ... work for everyone ...

Aoi: ..

Lyn: It's something you ... work out ...

(There is a sound in the darkness, and then a gentle touch of air on Aoi's face; Lyn's breath, as he turns over onto his side. Without realising it the Sixth Child has brought his face to within inches of hers; his eyes are closed - as if anything could be seen in the darkness - and his next words are only fractionally above a whisper, tainted as they are by tiredness.)

Lyn: Is it okay if ... I sleep now?

Aoi: (softly) Yeah..

Lyn: ..

(The young man's breathing changes slowly deepens as he begins to take longer breaths, finally succumbing to sleep. The night becomes silent, punctuated only by the rasping sound of the sleeping boy - and the final words the girl beside him speaks into the night air.)

Aoi: (quietly) I thought it would be something like that..

----------------------------------------------------------

(Meanwhile, on the screen of Seyoko Okazaki's computer, the dead man continues to speak.

The woman neither knows or cares for the time - but for what it's worth, the clock on the table reads 11:14. The night air - much colder now - blows in through the open window at her back. It is merely another fact she discards as she hunches over her machine, enthralled in the disc, clutching her bomber jacket around her shoulders to keep warm.

Her shivering is not due to the breeze.)

Kimio: (recording) This whole.. situation.. was built up out of two needs: a desire for control, and fear.

(The man continues speaking; a litany of truth, his face drawn by exhaustion - and at the same time, something in his eyes reveals contempt. Disgust. As Seyoko listens to Kimio speak she gradually understands what undercuts the aged man's tone. It is disgust, disgust for himself and his actions - something distasteful he is now.. confessing..)

Kimio: Second Impact was borne of fear - fear, I suppose, of fate. Cause and effect; an Angel comes in contact with Adam, humanity will be destroyed - or at least that is what is believed.

In actuality, we do not know for sure what would happen in such a situation - our destruction is taken for granted, reinforced by our fear. SEELE and NERV have been all too effective in preventing the true Angels from contacting Adam. It is much more reassuring to control the situation through the use of Evangelions - and eventually the control was to be total, streering an "Angel" to Adam in the way we wished.

Gendo Ikari we controlled through fear - borne of himself. Too afraid to move on from the loss of his wife - he was easily guided into our hands when it was suggested to him that which he desired the most.

Ikari now believes he has found another way. His fear overcame him, and his desire to return to his wife - originally our ploy - has now resulted in betrayal. After he put the Lance out of our reach, we - SEELE - were forced to turn to an alternative.

That alternative was found in Synthetics Applications - a privately sponsored laboratory. Its leader, Jean Phillip Anouilh, was a man we politicked into power without his knowledge.

We found Anouilh better suited to the role of an unknowing pawn than a willing partner - after Ikari, we were cautious of empowering another man with the truth. Though less ruthless than Ikari, this alternative did not flounder, grieving the loss of his wife - he had turned elsewhere for comfort: to religion.

Our method, when executed, was the same - we offered him that which we knew he could not refuse, what he wanted so desperately to believe in - in this case, salvation. A lie, of course; man cannot conjure salvation.. something SEELE does not realise.

Maybe it was some sort of ironic humor - or maybe it was simply that our last creations were male. Our newest fish was hooked with a different bait - that of a young girl; a pawn in an elaborate ploy.

She is where my story - my end begins.

For whatever the reason, whatever the method of her creation, something was born within her that SEELE could never have expected.

She has led me here - to my death.

(From his lonely audience, the only response is silence.)

----------------------------------------------------------

(A short way across town, two youths we left a short while ago are now asleep in the darkness.

But then, like so much of what has happened lately, that is a deception - for as we return to the floor of Aoi Tamashii's small apartment, it becomes clear that only one of the pair is sleeping.

Lyn Anouilh is laying on his side, his breathing deep. The faint rasp of his breathing - not quite a snore - sounds in the ears of the teenager beside him.

Aoi Tamashii lays on her side, still very much awake. Her arms are around the sleeping Sixth Child - but her gaze is not on his face. Instead, the young woman looks over her companion's shoulder, a sorrowful expression on her face..)

Aoi: (whispering) I'm sorry, Kimio-sensei... but it was my choice.

----------------------------------------------------------

Seyoko: (irate) God damn it, ANSWER!

Phone: The mobile phone you have called is currently switched off, or has left the area covered by this service. Please try again later.

(Seyoko shouts her anger at the phone, slamming the reciever down in its handset.

Behind her, in the bedroom, the computer screen is blank, reflecting the visage of an angry woman in her mid twenties. This is the fourth time she has tried to reach Lyn.

He is not answering the phone - in fact, according to the recording, his phone is switched off. For the pilot of an Evangelion, one of four possible that may be called upon at any time to battle the threat of Angels, this is a very disturbing situation.

Okazaki passed "disturbing" a short while ago. Right now, by her best judgement, she's mired in the middle of "abject terror" - for what she had seen, what Kimio had told her on the disc, had been more frightening than anything she could have imagined in her deepest nightmares.

Lyn's life was, by her judgement, in extreme danger - and he was not answering the phone. Seyoko grabs for the phone again, dialling a different number.)

Seyoko: (exasperated) Come ON, please work!

(The new number - Aoi's apartment - rings steadily. Seyoko does not - and could not possibly know that the phone had been physically torn from its socket.

She slams down the handset, frustrated again. After a moment of clenched teeth, during which several sweat beads form on her brow, she grabs the phone again, going for a third try.)

Seyoko: Come on, come on...

Phone: (phone) Security branch seven.

Seyoko: (urgently) This is Seyoko Okazaki, Lieutenant and Guardian of the Sixth Child. I need his location and a team as backup.

Security: One moment.

(Seyoko's foot hammers a fast pace on the floor as she waits impatiently for her identity to be verified and the teams to answer her call.

After what seems an eternity, the reciever at the other end is picked up once more.)

Security: I'm sorry, Ma'am. We cannot disclose any information to you.

Seyoko: (astonished) WHAT?

Security: I'm sorry, Ma'am.

Seyoko: What the hell are you talking about! I'm a NERV Officer! I need a security team dispatched to pick up the Sixth Child! His life is in danger you asshole!

Security: (steadily) Ma'am, we cannot discuss these matters on this line. Goodbye.

(There is a dull click as the security branch hangs up on her. Okazaki stares, dumbfounded, at the phone in her hand - then slams it into the handset once more.)

Seyoko: Bloody hell!

(The curse is barely out of her mouth when the phone rings - its harsh buzz making the hostile Lieutenant jump slightly. She looks down at it, caught between anger and concern - is it the security team calling back? Have they got their act in order?

The phone rings again.

The phone rings a third time - and Seyoko grabs the handset.)

Seyoko: ... hello?

Agent: Its me.

(Okazaki closes her eyes in agony.)

Seyoko: What?

Agent: It's been two hours. Have you resolved your.. situation?

Seyoko: I've... there've been developments.

Agent: What kind of developments?

Seyoko: (flatly) I've been contacted.

(There is the briefest of pauses on the other end of the line; the Agent returns quickly with another question.)

Agent: How?

Seyoko: A package - a message from Kimio. He's dead.

Agent: (seriously) I recieved the same message. We need to meet - now.

(Seyoko frowns slightly - the man had said as much in his previous call, but something does not gel.)

Seyoko: Hold on a minute! (angrily) Why didn't you warn me what the hell was in it! Lyn's life is in danger now!

Agent: (angrily) Because in our last conversation you neglected to mention a message!

Seyoko: ..

Agent: If we had met immediately I would have briefed you on this information! We have to meet - now. The disc is critical.

(Okazaki closes her eyes again briefly, pressing the fingers of her spare hand to the bridge of her nose.

Everything - everything was going too fast. She had no time to adjust, no time to ...)

Seyoko: Alright. Where do you suggest?

Agent: (quickly) There's a warehouse in the southern part of the storage sector - T3D14. It will be empty until sunrise. It's the only safe place I could find on short notice.

Seyoko: I'll be there as soon as possible.

Agent: After we meet we can look into protecting the boy you mentioned. For now, hurry. Time is short.

(Seyoko sets the phone down much more calmly than her previous attempts. As she turns towards the bedroom, headed for the laptop, a feeling of relief washes over her. The message had been downright terrifying in its disclosure - but at least she was not alone in the knowledge.

Or was she? As the woman moved over to her laptop, ready to eject the CD and hurry off to meet the Agent, the words of her previous conversations begin to sink in.)

-(flashback)- Security: Ma'am, we cannot disclose matters on this line.

-(flashback)- Agent: The disc is critical.

(.. on this line ..

.. the disc is critical ..

What was wrong with her phone line? What was wrong with--

How did the Agent know about the disc? Was the Agent contacted by Kimio also?)

-(flashback)- Kimio: This disc is going to you, and only you..

Seyoko: Oh my god..

(The woman freezes in place, her eyes moving slowly left to right. She sees nothing but an ordinary bedroom - her bedroom - everything where she put it, nothing out of place. Without turning her head she very carefully looks around - nothing. No cameras, no listening devices.. at least in plain sight..

With an exaggerated casual air, Okazaki resumes her movement back to the laptop and sits before it. The screen is blank - she has only to eject the disc and be on her way.. and then she sees it.

There - reflected in the dark screen. Herself.. a worried young woman. No, over the shoulder - there. The window, looking out on the city, curtains wide open, letting in the night breeze.

They were watching.

Any thought of leaving the disc behind is instantly discarded. The woman turns the laptop slightly, ejecting the CD. She cannot help but feel nervous all the while, a strange tingle forming between her shoulder blades as if she could sense the knife - or bullet - that someone was itching to thrust in. In a spasm of terror she grabs the CD as soon as it slides out and whirls, knocking over her chair, fumbling for her bomber jacket and ducking into the corridor with haste.

Once out of sight of the window, between the reassuring wooden panels of her apartment hallway, Seyoko sags, leaning against one wall, letting out a deep breath. Turning her head to the side she looks back at the laptop, which she angled strategically - and for a fleeting instant she is rewarded as, reflected in the LCD screen, two quick flashes of light shine outside. A signal?

Seyoko Okazaki grunts, satisfied. The scenario may be grim, but at least the enemies are clear. She shoves her arms into the leather jacket, scrawls a hasty note on the kitchen table and heads for the front door, sticking her pistol in the waistband of her jeans. The jeans are probably inappropriate for the night - the coat would be preferable, especially with the boron carbide plates sewn into it, but any delay would be noticable. She had to leave now, before the Agent - and the signaller - suspected that she suspected their ruse.

The apartment door slams shut behind the redhaired Lieutenant who, as she moves quickly through the cool night air, curses her career choice - and the convoluted and bloody web of betrayal she had noticed all too late.)

----------------------------------------------------------

(It is morning. But only barely.

Okazaki's watch reads 12:15 am; appropriately, the streets are silent. The actual day - for the inhabitants of the city - begins much later.

The exceptions to the rule are few; either those who need to be awake, those who failed to sleep, or who have business at this odd hour.

Seyoko obviously falls into the last category.)

Seyoko: ..

SEELE 05: Our operative?

(The Lieutenant drives through the industrial sector of the city, guided by light from the streetlamps. The district is filled with manufacturing and storage plants, mostly automated, but overlooked by the night shift, who are hours away from the end of their working "day". Despite the late hour, the woman behind the wheel has no trouble staying alert - primed, a coiled spring, Seyoko's eyes are everywhere.

Most of facilities of the city had been requisitioned by NERV; in fact, the layout of this entire district was designed with NERV's grand purpose in mind. This structure is empty; many of them are. Dormant, awaiting a time of true need, this warehouse is silent, the structure sound dispite disuse.

Out of the car, into the night air. It is cooler, but the moon has not yet shown its face. It is overcast - if this weather continues, rain is likely.

With an expertise born only of practice the woman reaches into the pocket of her bulky jacket as she approaches the side door. Smiling at the irony, she extracts her NERV issue card and gently slides it between door and frame, moving it down until she finds the locking bar. Reaching into her pocket, she produces another tool - a small lockpick - and in but a few moments the mechanism clicks over and Seyoko steps cautiously through, entering the warehouse, stepping willingly into the darkness as, with the utmost irony, the dark night sky rumbles with dull thunder.

Empty - a soulless warehouse, a hollow shell waiting to be filled. Hardly worth even locking the door for.. but at least it keeps the rain off.

Seyoko grimaces slightly as a thought occurs - the thunder might cover the sound of any gunfire directed at her.)

SEELE 10: Another meeting has been arranged.. the opportunity will be taken as it presents itself.

(Despite her alertness, Seyoko remains ignorant to the men who discuss her fate - these voices, speaking in a very different kind of shadow, hundreds of miles away, to be heard only by a select few..)

SEELE 07: It has been arranged.

SEELE 02: They have been told their part to play in this.

(Seyoko cannot hear these voices, speaking across the world, covert whispers, encrypted with the highest technologies. She remains unaware, despite the importance of what they say - of how the will of SEELE will reach her. But of course, Okazaki has more immediate concerns than the mutters of old men in shadows..)

Seyoko: ..

(Her footsteps are slow and careful through the bulky shapes barely distinguishable in the low light. Were someone to catch her in here, her pace might almost be confused for a leisurely stroll - but not quite. Seyoko's gaze roams again from left to right, making sure the warehouse is empty; this is almost the perfect place to meet.

The most important factor - she is not dead yet.)

SEELE 05: This was delayed for long enough. It was inevitable from the moment that she touched him.

SEELE 01: So the damage is done, and our course is set.

SEELE 09: Anouilh.. now a liability.

(A driveby at a stop light, a hand grenade, a bomb in her parked car.. any could have ended it far more easily than this meeting in the dark. But this choice offers them protection - they can hide their business in the shadows. They have picked the location well - aside from a large window by the main door, the interior is in complete shadow. Okazaki is not stupid - she stays far away from the spill of light streaming through the glass.

Seyoko hunkers down on the opposite side of the door, chewing one lip absently as she checks her watch. The florescence display shines in the dimness; the Agent is late, but the woman is untroubled. With grim satisfaction, she slows her breathing, waiting in ambush in the darkened warehouse as nearby, droplets of rain splatter on the glass.)

SEELE 11: The delay to the schedule?

SEELE 02: With the production levels they have shown thus far, the delay should be acceptable.

SEELE 05: Even with the loss of the existing Eva series?

SEELE 09: And the response to such an action - the UN will not sit idly by as another group reveals that Eva is in its grasp.

SEELE 06: The American improvements to the design will more than make up for the delay.

(What goes around, comes around..)

SEELE 11: Perhaps it is better this way - our control over Anouilh was precarious, given the power that we bestowed upon him.

SEELE 05: But that operative.. will our measures be sufficient?

SEELE 07: The men we selected are professionals. We have.. utilized their skills before.

SEELE 01: They know what to do.

(The door opens easily - Seyoko had left it unlocked after her entrance. Faint light from the streetlamps streaks into the room.)

Seyoko: ..

(And - he doesn't see her.

A footstep, and another; the man is inside, the door swinging slowly closed.)

Agent: Hello?

(Another step - and the door has closed. Seyoko makes her move.)

Agent: (turning) ..

(In one movement she slams the door shut and pounces, the pistol in her hand swinging around viciously into the man's head. The strike is perfect - the man crumples, his balance failing with the jarring strike to his skull. As he falls to the floor, his hands out to break his fall, Seyoko's foot arcs neatly into his gut.

The air bursts out of the stricken man's mouth as he wheezes, winded, his safe fall spoiled. Thumping heavily to the concrete, the Agent gasps, rolling over just in time for his eyes to lock onto the barrel of Seyoko's gun.)

Seyoko: (seriously) Face down. Hands on your head.

(The order is almost unnecessary - clearly the man is in no position to resist. The man winces in discomfort as he obeys, moving sluggishly onto his belly.)

Agent: (wheeze) Not very.. professional..

(Seyoko reaches under his left arm as she frisks him, her pistol pressed to the base of his skull.)

Seyoko: It serves..

(The man admits this with another grunt. Okazaki, meanwhile, yanks something out from under the would-be assassin's coat - a large calibre pistol, affixed with a long, heavy suppressor.)

Seyoko: Silenced? I wouldn't think you'd need it with this weather.

Agent: You know orders.

Seyoko: Sure. (sarcastic) I'm sure if you weren't ordered to kill people you wouldn't.

(The man does not respond, only struggle to catch his breath as Seyoko finishes her search, producing the man's wallet and a spare magazine for his pistol. With casual ease she tosses these items - along with his weapon - towards a dark corner.

The Agent manages to regain his footing, watching his captor carefully. Casting a brief glance towards the corner of the warehouse, he shrugs slightly, resigning himself to his captured state - at least for the moment.)

----------------------------------------------------------

(They exchange brief nods. One signals with his shotgun; another silently moves the trigger selector of his submachinegun to the "semi" position while the third looks left and right down the hallway. They remain crouched; out here, on the open walkway that circles the apartment block's interior courtyard, they are nearly exposed to public view - only the waist-high concrete wall prevents them from being seen by any resident who might open their door.

The man armed with the shotgun - apparently the "point" - kneels a few feet from the door, leveling his weapon as his teammate waits to one side. The third man sets a security access card into the slot beside the door; the electronic card had been obtained from NERV's security database, from a comprehensive library of "keys" that the organization collects for these "unpleasant" occasions..

The man with the submachinegun gestures.)

Voice: Three.. two.. one..

(The card runs into the machine. The door opens.)

Leader: Go!

(One after another the three rush through the doorway and into the darkened expanse beyond; the night does not trouble them - courtesy of the bulky optical enhancements they wear over their eyes, the dim apartment is as bright as day. With practiced efficiency they move, the first leading into the bedroom, the second checking the kitchen and the third remaining behind in the living room to watch the flank.)

Operative: (from bedroom) Clear!

Operative #2: (from kitchen) Clear!

(The third man, near the entrance, nods in satisfaction. The small apartment - belonging to one Seyoko Okazaki - was vacant and declared safe.)

Leader: She's not here.

(From the open door there comes the sound of screeching tires, and distant shouts; the NERV support team. These agents are the spearhead of an operation - highly trained men designed to be the front line in what could potentially be a hostile situation. The case in point was Lieutenant Okazaki, the situation in this case being her tapped phone. Reported only a short while earlier after a routine call to a security branch, the operatives had moved in to check the apartment and detain the Lieutenant.)

Leader: Did we at least find the tap?

Operative: Here, Sir.

(One of the Operatives returns, cradling his weapon - a 10mm submachinegun - under one arm. In the other he holds a small device - an analog recorder.)

Operative: Tape recorder, Sir. Simple device; if it was a radio transmitter we would have picked it up in our routine scans.

Leader: Simple my ass - the people doing this weren't stupid. (shouting) Any idea where the woman went?

(After a brief moment, the other operative returns from his assigned area - the kitchen - bearing a small scrap of paper.)

Operative #2: Looks like it, Sir.

(The Leader grins in satisfaction as the support units rush towards the apartment. They are unneeded; there is no battle here for them to support - but perhaps they will prove their worth soon enough.)

----------------------------------------------------------

Agent: Well, what now?

(The scene is the dismal apartment in the very wee hours of the morning. The situation, simple: Seyoko Okazaki holds the operative - a double Agent sent to kill her - hostage.

This leaves the woman in a small quandry. In her haste to leave the apartment, she left little notice as to where she was going or why. There was no guarantee that friendly forces would even find the note she left for a while, and to assume they would and rush blindly to this location was, at best, foolish.

Okazaki, however, brought backup of her own.)

Seyoko: Easy.

(The woman reaches into her coat with her spare hand, carefully keeping the pistol aimed at the man before her. Her target licks his lips nervously - or perhaps to lend the appearance of nerves - as he creeps to the left slightly, mentally gauging the distance between himself the still-unlocked door.

The Lieutenant produces from her jacket a mobile phone - her phone. Smugly, she stabs at a button with her thumb, dialing the preset number for NERV Security. In less than two rings, she has an answer.)

Seyoko: This is Lieutenant Seyoko Okazaki. Verify me.

(Security verifies her at short notice - unlike the last time. With terse phrases, the young woman describes the current situation, her eyes never leaving the target before her. Concluding the call with a request for backup, she snaps the phone shut and returns it to her pocket - all onehanded - the pistol unwavering in the other.)

Agent: You're turning me in?

Seyoko: I'm sure there's a lot you can tell us.

Agent: You mean.. (scornfully) ..you don't have the guts.

(The tone of disdain in the man's voice earns an immediate reaction.)

Seyoko: What?

Agent: Don't you want to question me? Rough me up a little?

(Her captor's grin turns nasty.)

Agent: Afraid to get blood on your hands? Why don't you get the answers you want, before NERV does..

Seyoko: ..

Agent: .. you know that as a Lieutenant, you won't be told what those answers are.

Seyoko: (humorlessly) Maybe I'll get a promotion.

(The man shrugs, the amused expression on his face detailing just how likely he thinks that is. Self-conciously, Seyoko is forced to agree with his point; once the man is taken into NERV custody, it is highly unlikely she will learn what she knows - but little matter. She has the disc.. unless NERV wants that handed over also. Put off balance by the concept, Seyoko grasps an answer to continue the verbal conflict which replaces what would have been a bloody, physical gun battle.)

Seyoko: I'm not stupid enough to march you out of this building without backup - I know you aren't alone.

(The operative shrugs again, turning away slightly, standing clearly now in the spill of light from the window. Raindrops patter a rhythm on the glass, the only sound offered in response to Okazaki's claim.)

Seyoko: Come to think of it, you were a little late to this meeting of ours -

(Suddenly the man turns, focusing on the woman holding him captive. Seyoko's arm tenses in response, straightening the elbow of the arm she had let bend just a little; locking the sights of the gun squarely on her target's head. The double agent shows no sign of caring - a smirk twisting his lips as he fills her sudden, tense silence with a revelation of his own: )

Agent: You know, Kaji told me the exact same thing right before I blew his head off.

(Like a jab to the nose, the man's barbed comment brings forth exactly the reaction he wants - Seyoko surges forward, turning the pistol in her hand into a blunt object which she slams into her captor's mouth. Her victim staggers backwards, but Okazaki does not care; seeing nothing but a haze of red, she smashes the man across the face a second time, pistol whipping him - then a third, heavy blow, sending the traitor staggering backwards to smash against the plaster wall beneath the glass window. A spiderweb of cracks form instantly in the glass, smearing the droplets of rain on the outside, and a heavy crash of thunder sounds as the sky lights up - the fury of the heavens this very night. The blaze of the thunderbolt slowly fades; the rumbling sound fading slowly in the alleyways and between the buildings of this warehouse district.

Seyoko discovers that she is breathing heavily, hands clenched at her sides.)

Seyoko: (fury) You... mother.. fucker..

(The motherfucker in question - the Agent - slowly picks himself off the floor, blood running freely from his nose and one corner of his mouth. He wipes himself clumsily, looking angry, yet alert, his eyes smouldering. A few more wipes make a quick mess of his sleeve, but no matter - the brand of coat ensures that blood, like rain, runs off the cloth.)

Agent: (grimly) I'm impressed. I didn't think you had it in you, Okazaki.

Seyoko: ...

(The man bows, a graceful act for someone whose face is beginning to swell. He straightens, the smirk twisting his lips a second time as he nods to himself, perhaps correcting an internal assumption.)

Agent: Goodbye, Lieutenant.

(Seyoko blinks in surprise - and in that moment the man makes a sudden move to his left, a dash for the door. Seyoko raises her weapon in response, trying to bring the pistol to bear before her captor bridges the few short metres to the door..

.. and then everything slows down.

The man's actions become clear.

His taunts make sense.

It hits Seyoko suddenly that the Agent has goaded her - deliberately - pushing her to either execute him here.. no, not execute.. a coldly calculated plan to maneuver her exactly where he wanted her.

The window.

The second thing that hits Seyoko is a bullet.

The window splits as the high calibre round speeds through it, bringing shards of glass spraying into the warehouse. The Lieutenant, already off balance and aiming her gun with her right hand, suddenly feels what seems to be a baseball bat slam her on the left side. Spun half around by the terrific impact, the woman is thrown helplessly backwards, falling to the floor and hitting the concrete hard.

Her captor dives through the door, escaping just as a new flash of light brightens up the street outside. Another peal of thunder is heard, drowning out a second shot which sparks off the floor just in front of the prone Okazaki.

Seyoko frantically drags herself backwards, pulling her legs out of danger as the numbness of impact gives way to pain.)

----------------------------------------------------------

(The patter of rain on the pavement mixes with the scuff of the Agent's shoes as crosses the street. Reaching the opposite side, he raises his head to look up at the building now before him, the rain stinging at his bruised face. He quickly signals up at a second-storey window.

The other man - hidden - does not bother to return the signal. There was no way any observer from the street could have seen him.. this sniper picked his spot well. Just the right elevation to be concealed from street level, yet not enough to prevent him shooting cleanly through the window. At present, the man barely takes his eye away from the scope of his rifle to grope for something in the darkness nearby. His prey may be out of sight, but she may step stupidly into his crosshairs once again.

A dark shape is tossed from the window; a black shape, a pistol coated specially to kill any metallic gleam. The Agent catches it awkwardly, hampered by wet hands, poor visibility and a smarting face that makes him flinch. He takes a brief second to check the magazine, and another to disable the safety. Ready, he levels the weapon at the door of the warehouse - where beyond, Seyoko Okazaki lies wounded.

A second gesture indicates that his unseen ally is to descend. The other operative joins him quickly; both had heard the faint dragging sounds from within the warehouse. There is little doubt that Okazaki is wounded - but not dead, not yet.

The second man, dressed in an equally dark coat, steps from a nearby ally to join his compatriot. In his hands is a compact machinepistol, far more effective in close quarters than his long barreled sniping rifle.)

Accomplice: Let's finish this.

(They advance across the street, towards the doorway, weapons trained on the opening.

The sniper takes the point position, darting in first, weapon angled for a quick shot - to no avail.)

Accomplice: (distantly) Empty.

(The Agent enters after, looking down at the spot where Okazaki had been catapaulted barely a minute earlier. All that remains is a spreading puddle of blood - and the Lieutenant's sidearm, knocked free from her grasp by the impact of the sniper shot.

The chase is on.)

----------------------------------------------------------

(Not far away..

A sudden flash of light causes a woman to jump, shooting fresh agony through her shoulder and down into her arm. The pain causes a stagger, the heavy clank of boot on metal covered by the rumble of thunder that follows immediately afterwards.)

Seyoko: (painfully) Its.. just the lightning.. just lightning..

(What was merely a doublecross has turned into a full blown nightmare.. and there are at least two men after her intent on finishing their job - which invovles finishing her.

Being shot does not help, of course. Fortunately for the Lieutenant the wound was a clean one - the round had made a short journey through tissue, not enough to tumble and tear flesh, but simply punched through; painful, but far less unpleasant than it could have been. The end result is a messy hole and what feels like a horse kick somewhere in the chest area - the woman is in no condition to tell whether either entry or exit wound has stopped bleeding; it occurs to her briefly that perhaps something should be done about it.

Blood droplets spill from the lower end of her shirt to fall among the raindrops on the hard cement. Seyoko is thankful the bullet exited cleanly.. though she finds it difficult to believe that it could hurt even more than her current injury does.

She staggers down a dark alleyway between warehouses, perhaps fifteen feet across, careening drunkenly from one side of the path to the other. Red splashing marks her weaving trail, fortunately washed quickly into the gutter by rain - but an attentive eye would see them as they dribbled into the nearby culverts. This is no time to stop and bandage oneself - even if she could - the smallest delay could result in death.)

Seyoko: (muttering) Stupid.. should have shot him.. when had chance.. dumb rookie..

(A slide to her left results in her meandering into a loading zone - a space between the warehouses. Heavy machinery is scattered around along with numerous wooden crates, all well covered by tarpaulins in case of rain. Okazaki is not so fortunate; in the more open square of ashphalt, the rain is harsh, stinging her face and making her coat heavy with water. Clutching at her wounded shoulder, she is halfway across the loading area, and well into a string of curses regarding the rain and her coat when she remembers it - the all important item in the coat pocket.

Her mobile phone.)

Seyoko: (muttering) Thank god.. waterproof..

(Clumsily she goes digging in the pocket with her good hand.. no.. wrong pocket. Grimacing, she reaches across her body, wincing at the pain that comes with the slightest movement of that shoulder, and tries to pry the phone out of the opposite pocket. Her fingers grip it tightly, slip on the wet plastic, regain their purchase.. almost got it free of the.. damn fabric! Almost, yes, got it! Pulling it triumphantly free, she is busily trying to open it one handed when another crack of lightning turns the sky white. This one is much closer than the others - the hairs on her neck rise and the great crash of thunder comes almost instantaneously, causing Seyoko to jump, sending another shooting pain through her body, making her gasp and grab at the wound with her hand..

.. and the mobile phone clatters on the asphalt - too loud in the silence after the thunder.)

Seyoko: ..!

(She looks up, hair plastered to a forehead above wild, frightened eyes. Could they have heard that? Almost certainly. Can she risk a call now?

No way.

Okazaki bites her lip against the pain and abandons the phone, pulling herself across towards a transport vehicle as fast as her battered, bleeding body will take her..)

----------------------------------------------------------

(The sniper gestures suddenly, pointing. The sound - metal on concrete? Plastic? The Agent nods - he too had heard it. The thunder had not quite covered it up - almost, but not quite.

The rain falls; the sound of rain on concrete, rain on metal, rain on glass all merging into a mash of sound that surrounds them.

They crouch hidden in the shadows on the edge of a loading zone - an opening between two warehouses to allow heavy machinery to drop off equipment. Presently, the enormous shape of a heavy ordinance transport vehicle squats like a giant steel brick in the street lights. Over ten metres long and two stories high, the vehicle seems more like a mobile bunker than a utility vehicle.

The sniper's hand does a quick circling motion above his head, then points again, twice. The Agent nods again, and the two wordlessly split up, each taking a different side of the transport. There is no point in rushing to chase noises - or rushing into a trap.)

Agent: ..

(Rain ruins the visibility. What little light from the streetlamps that reaches back here washes the rain into streaks of grey and blue. The Agent sticks to the side of the utility vehicle, using the deep shadow to keep himself hidden. A quick duck and glance at the underbelly of the vehicle shows that it is clear.

But that still leaves the cabin of the truck.

His eyes check the skyline cautiously; no tell-tale sillouhettes against the grey-blue, but he hadn't expected as much. In the poor light and rain, any shadow could be Okazaki. Fortunately, the same applies to him - as long as he stays within the shadows. It is something he is very used to.

His weapon remains level as he slowly advances, watching every shadow for movement, every rooftop for something that might give the prey away. Constantly ready to fire, he makes his way to the front of the vehicle, staying on the darkside of the heavy-bodied truck.

The rain continues to fall; a heavy rain, the shower that edges on the storm.

He pauses to wipe the water from his eyes - the cabin door is within reach now. He cautiously reaches for the handle, built into a hollow in the door. His fingers make contact with the wet metal, and, even so gently, he squeezes.

Nothing. Locked. But she still might be inside.

Careful to keep his head under the widow, he sets his foot onto the stirrup step and readies his pistol. In one movement his pushes himself upwards and aims into the cabin.

Again nothing. The cabin is empty.

The Agent slides back down again, resting briefly in the shadow of the truck.)

Agent: ..

(The rain has decieved him. Wiping a hand across his face a second time, he finds that most of the wetness there was not rain, but blood. The rest of his injuries will most likely leave swelling; he touches the bruises tenderly.)

Agent: (thinking) Damn the woman..

(She could be running - trying to get as much distance as she can. With her injuries, she won't be able to keep up any pace for long. In fact, if the man knew his work - and he did - with her wound, she would most likely die very soon.

But no risk could be taken - no chance could be allowed that the woman might contact NERV, perhaps reach the backup for which she called. They had to get her quickly, and make sure of the job.

The Agent thinks to himself briefly. The quarry might have circled around again, and head back to where her backup was going to arrive.)

Agent: (thinking) Seems more likely.. we'll have to double back and check.

(Then there is a sound - a slap? - around the other side of the truck, half lost in the rain. He tenses, his weapon hand rising, his shoulders setting to take a shot as he levels his weapon at the corner of the vehicle.

And nothing.

The rain falls.

He listens - for a shot, for the sound of a weapon cocking, for a footstep, a breath. But he hears nothing, except for the sound of the rain.

He risks a look, briefly sticking his head out around the corner, darting back quickly in case of a shot. But again, nothing. No shot, and nothing visible in the downpour.)

Agent: ..

(Weapon raised, he steps out, advancing across the front of the vehicle.

The sniper lies on the concrete, most of his face missing.

A low 'thwup' fills the stillness.

The Agent turns and falls. Numbness spreads over one side of his body. He hits the ground heavily, scraping himself, and struggles to set his feet under him. Numbness slowly turns into a stinging, then into a line of fire running though his chest.)

Agent: (grunting) ..

(He struggles to raise his weapon. His efforts are useless - he doesn't even see Okazaki as she fires for the third time.

Like the other two, the shot is fired from the suppressed pistol that Seyoko had taken from him only a few minutes before. A suppressed pistol that she had taken from the warehouse before fleeing - that instinct had told her to take, and leave her own behind.

Rookie, indeed.

The impact knocks him to the ground again, knocking his weapon from his hands. His eyes widen with pain as he tries to roll, reaching for his weapon as his blood begins to flood out onto the ground.

The rain falls; he can feel it striking at his face.

His hand slaps across the wetness of the concrete, reaching. Finding - the metal barrel of the pistol. His fingers, already weakening, clumsily pull the weapon into his grip. Another flash of light from the stormy sky.

Weaker now. The weapon slowly comes up - his arm feels like lead, wavering as he lifts the barrel, his aim wandering from side to side. Another shot punches through him; the pistol vanishes from his hand. He hears it bounce away, but cannot see it in the darkness. No; it isn't any darker. His vision is failing.

The sky thunders.

The rain falls.

A life ends.)

 


[Chapter 11]

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