“Shinji! What’s going on?”
“I don’t know. I… I don’t know.”
“Commander Ikari, what’s happening to Shinji? The Unit-01 isn’t responding to our measures!”
“Everything is going according to plan, Col. Katsuragi.”
“What plan are you talking about, Father? What have I done? What exactly did you make me do?”
“You will understand in due time.” Gendou’s line went dead.
Misato Katsuragi banged the console. “We’ve been had! We need to save Shinji at once, sir!”
ExecutiveOtaku adjusted his sunglasses. “I can’t authorize that. Giving Shinji, no, the Evangelion Unit-01 the AcGaoGaiGar will only serve to further Gendou Ikari’s plans.”
“It’s all up to Shinji if he wants to doom or save the world!”
Another face appeared on the display. One pink eye stared at them, devoid of emotion.
“ExecutiveOtaku, NERV. I want you to evacuate everyone within the tournament grounds. I’ve called for a colony drop on the Test Type, ETA 600 seconds.”
EO was livid. “Ten minutes to evacuate thousands of spectators? Are you mad, Zaku?”
“It’s either this, or the end of the world as we know it.”
“Patch me through all available ships!” Misato rallied the NERV staff. “The Nadesico, Cathedral Terra, the SDF-1, every last one of them. Mobilize our ground staff to take care of the evacuation!”
“And get someone to bring the AcGaoGaiGar to Shinji. God help us all.”
* * *
“Are you sure we should be doing this, Ryoma?”
“Damn right we do!” The red streak of light slashed through the dark sky, making a beeline to the statuesque Eva Unit-01.
“Shinji! Take down your AT Field! We have a delivery for you.”
“Forget it, Ryoma,” Shinji said sullenly. “I’m going to cause everyone trouble again. My father’s right–I’m just a body to sit in this cursed cockpit.”
“I told you so,” Benkei said.
Ryoma made a wide, wide grin. “I knew it wouldn’t be this easy. Clench those teeth!”
Shin Getter-1 punched through the AT Field like it was paper, its red fist smashing the gigantic Eva’s jaw. Shinji recoiled from the blow, clutching his mouth. It had rattled his teeth good. He couldn’t feel a thing.
Speechless, he checked the Eva’s diagnostics for any damage. A flashing report told him that there was a foreign object embedded into the Test Type’s jaw… AcGaoGaiGar!
The tiny trophy dissolved into green dust, which was lost in the winds that followed. Shin Getter-1 made a V sign, and flew right back at NERV headquarters.
The Test Type howled.
* * *
Zaku finished supplying itself. The power of Acguy Scopedog enabled it to equip any type of real robot weapon, as well as access to the Scopedog’s other nifty features. It wore the rotary lens over its eye, and switched to the long-range one to zoom in on its final opponent. All readings pointed to the AT Field being completely impenetrable.
The venerable mass-production mech was unfazed. It had a mission, and it was going to complete it–or die trying. Bending forward, its newly-fitted skates allowed the Zaku to skid along the ground at high speeds.
Beam rifle in one arm and a shield gatling in the other, Zaku opened fire. The distinctive pew sound of the beam rifle mingled with the roar of the gatling. Shells and beams alike exploded at the AT Field’s perimeter, doing no damage. Zaku kept firing, circling the Eva as it did.
It only had to buy enough time for the colony drop to obliterate this scourge, this monster.
* * *
Shinji couldn’t understand what was happening. A strange and peculiar emotion was welling up inside him, that which he couldn’t pinpoint. It was similar to fear–almost identical even–but it was different.
He was still nursing his jaw when a miracle happened.
The Eva’s wings suddenly retracted, and it shrunk. Rapidly, the Eva reverted to its former size, now just double the height of the Zaku.
The Zaku’s barrage struck the Eva, right as its AT Field went down in one vulnerable moment. The beam tore off pieces of its right shoulder armor, and the solid shells shredded its left knee along with vital tendons.
Shinji’s cry of pain was now audible. But the damage remained only for a few seconds and recovered quickly. Tissue regenerated from exposed sinew, rendering the blasted limbs and carapace as good as new.
The Zaku couldn’t believe its eye. It switched to the Scopedog wide-angle lens and reversed its course, firing at its opponent. The beam rifle ran out of shots, and the Zaku threw it away. The gatling’s barrels were empty, and it was discarded as well.
The Eva gave chase, covering a lot of ground with long strides.
Right on cue, mines exploded under the Eva’s feet, sending it tumbling over and over. But the Eva merely picked itself up with little decrease in momentum.
The Zaku opened up all its micromissile tubes and fired at the Eva.
“It requisitioned UN Spacy weapons!” Misato exclaimed. The sky became thick with erratic smoke trail patterns.
Shinji stared at his radar, displaying a dense clump of blips. The Test Type glowed green, imbued by the power of the G-Stone.
“PROTECT SHADE!” The Eva held out its left palm, and formed an impenetrable shield that the Zaku’s missiles dashed themselves against. With its right hand, it drew a progressive knife from its sheath.
The Zaku changed tactics. It switched to a heat hawk and skidded forward. It slashed at the Eva’s knee, but the Test Type turned the attack aside with its knife.
“I didn’t count on you making the playing field even,” the Zaku asked. “Could it be… because of AcGaoGaiGar?”
“That’s not it,” Shinji replied. “It’s because I’d rather save this world than destroy it!”
Before the Zaku could react, the Eva placed its right fist before the mono-eyed one’s chest.
“BROKEN MAGNUM!” Its fist separated from its body from the arm up, sending the Zaku away. The green mobile suit clung to the spinning rocket punch as it drove itself deeper and deeper through the Zaku’s torso.
In one instant, the Eva’s fist broke through, and the Zaku exploded in a pink conflagration. The Test Type held out its right arm, and the separated body part reconnected with an audible clamp.
Was it over? Did the Eva win?
The sky turned red, and the colony peered out from the clouds, like a drowning body slowly falling into the dense ocean floor.
“Get out of there, Shinji! Everyone’s been evacuated already!” Misato’s voice blared through the speakers.
“There’s no telling how much devastation it could cause,” Shinji replied, his head angled up. The panoramic monitor analyzed the data of the man-made bomb. No, the resulting impact on the island would bring forth many deadly tsunamis…
“I have to stop it.”
The Evangelion Unit-01 dashed to ground zero, lowered its stance, and pointed its hands to the heavens. “AT Field, maximum output!”
The AT Field extended hundreds, thousands of meters from the Test Type. The plummeting colony smashed on it, wracking the Eva with the impact. It was all Shinji could do to keep the Eva standing on two feet.
The colony started shattering. Explosions danced between it and the barrier. Yet the AT Field was being driven back, and the Eva was shaking violently from the force.
“Hell… and Heaven…” Shinji willed the Eva to bring its hands together. It was a laborious effort, but the Unit-01 finally managed to clasp its hands.
“Gemu giru gan go gufo… VITAS!” The Test Type’s hands glowed pink and yellow. Suddenly, the AT Field formed into a cone, piercing the shattering colony by its center. It crumbled into powder, causing explosions reaching up to the upper edges of the atmosphere.
“You did it, Shinji!” Misato yelled over the channel.
ExecutiveOtaku shook his head. “Can’t say I can complain with how it all turned out. Patch me through the Awards Committee.”
* * *
The Eva-01 accepted the Strike Freedom Acguy in the palm of its hand.
“Congratulations, Shinji,” Misato said.
“Congratulations, Shinji!” Asuka said, still in bandages after her battle with the Kshatriya. Shinji felt a slight stab in his heart–the feisty girl was wearing an eyepatch…
“Congratulations.” Gendou’s channel sparked into life for one short sentence, and died again.
The entry plug disengaged from the Eva, and Shinji Ikari emerged in his civilian clothes. He looked like the same scared cat at the start of the tournament, except for the pair of sideburns that he seemed to have grown while inside the cockpit.
“Ah. Thank you, all.”
* * *
It took me quite some time to release this, but I’m still glad to have penned it. SaiMecha had been a prime source of fun for me, since its very inception. Thanks to everyone who participated and made this a reality, and see you next year