Chapter 3: From Tangshan to Beijing
The sensation of the Eva's harmonic systems enveloped Shinji, wrapping his body within a warm cocoon. While it took time, he became accustomed to the LCL's sharp metallic scent and the brackish taste. The harmonics tests conducted by Dr. Akagi became routine for him. At times, he even looked forward to them. It allowed him to clear his mind and ward off all stress and anxiety.
He looked up to the Pribnow Box's window. While mildly distorted by the LCL river, he made out the shapes of Dr. Akagi and Major Katsuragi deep in conversation. Wonder what they are talking about now. He opened the Pribnow comm channel. A bit of eavesdropping hurt no one.
"-th, and Seventh Child will be here shortly. Let's wrap this up quickly and get everything prepared for them," Ritsuko said.
He froze, his eyes widened. "A… Seventh Child?" he muttered. He moved his attention to Asuka's entry plug. "Is that why she was so upset last night?" The comm channel opened, making him jump in his seat.
"Shinji, Rei, Asuka. We're finished for today. You can come out now," said Ritsuko. "Good work."
"This is a surprise," Ritsuko said, leaning over the screen. "You did very well, Shinji."
"What do you mean?" he asked.
"Your harmonic levels jumped by eight points since the test from last week," she said.
Intrigued, Shinji approached the screen. Much to his surprise, she was right. His harmonics levels had jumped; in a week, no less.
"Still fifty-points below me…" Asuka muttered, her arms crossed.
"Yes, but for him to jump so high in only seven days. It's remarkable. For not enjoying it, he is quite the adept."
The redhead stifled her laughter. "Pfft, sure," she turned to Shinji with a smug grin. "Great, isn't it? Getting words of praise?"
He turned away from the monitor, his eyebrow raised. Asuka's face turned sour and she stomped out of the room, the door hissing shut.
Misato, standing on the other side of the box, noticed the soured look on his face as he returned his attention to the screen. "Something wrong, Shinji?"
He looked up. "Hmm? No, it's nothing," he said.
"It was Asuka, wasn't it?" she asked, unconvinced. "I know she's… opinionative. But you shouldn't take everything she says to heart."
"I-it's not that," he reluctantly answered. "It's just... I heard something about a Seventh Child. Is that true? Were other pilots found?
The scientist sighed. "Damn it, could Section two just do their job for once?" she asked. "But, yes. The Marduk Institute identified four new pilots."
"Why didn't anyone tell me?"
"The commander only informed a small number of people," she said. "He didn't give an exact reason, only that it was not to be made public until otherwise."
He was not surprised by who made that order. His father often excluded him and the other pilots in a majority of NERV's activities.
"So, um… who are they? Are they coming from somewhere besides Japan?"
"That is confidential for now. If that was it, then you may be dismissed," she returned to the computer screen.
Shinji bowed and made his way to the exit.
"Shinji…" started Misato. "You did great today," she said with a comforting smile.
"T-thanks," he said, returning a subtle smile. He exited the box and his way to the locker room, keeping his grin.
Back in the box, Misato eyed Ritsuko, preparing for the new pilots to arrive. "You didn't need to scare the kid, Rits." she joked.
Ritsuko sighed and smirked. "Sorry, but the last thing I need is an earful from the commander," she said, adjusting her glasses. "Speaking of which, have any idea how you are going to break the news about who they are?"
Misato shook her head. "No idea at all."
He stared at his plugsuit. Its black and deep blue color almost matched his clothing. A cheap detergent smell came off of it. The baggy, lightweight suit was one of the most sophisticated pieces of equipment made; housing high-tech support systems and various state-of-the-art mechanisms, which took years to perfect. And here Toji was. A fourteen-year-old boy, about to slip it on.
Been about a week since we started, and it still doesn't feel right at all.
The locker room door slid open. Kensuke entered, wearing the typical wide smile. He placed his bag on the beach across Toji and unzipped it.
He pulled out a similar plugsuit. "Ah, man, it's still hard to believe… my very own plugsuit," Kensuke said, admiring his sage green and white plugsuit.
The jock snickered as he pulled over the changing curtain. "Good to see you're still happy," he said.
"And you aren't?" he asked, "Four days! Four days and then boom! We're full-fledged pilots. Just thinking about it… gah!"
Toji pressed the button on his wrist. The suit compressed and tightened, fitting perfectly on him. Something also that took some getting used to, "You still kept your promise, right?"
"Huh? Oh… yeah," he replied. "I haven't said a peep to Ikari, just like you asked."
"Good," Toji said, adjusting his A-10 headset.
Kensuke shook his head, pulling the curtain in front of him. "There's no point in keeping it from him. You know that, right? He's going to find out anyway."
He frowned. "Yeah, yeah I know. It's just..."
"Just what? Why keep it a secret if he's just going to find out? It's not like he's going to hate you. You're his friend for crying out loud."
Toji slumped down onto the bench next to him. He did not hate Shinji- not even by a long shot. If anything, he was afraid of what would happen if he did tell him. A clear picture of how Shinji would react was painted in his head, based on how his sister responded.
"Look, all I'm saying is that it's now or never at this point," Kensuke said, pressing the wrist button on his suit.
He scratched his chin. Lying to a friend gave him an overbearing feeling of guilt, one that would eat him like a swarm of starving piranhas.
"Y'know what? Screw it, tomorrow," he said. "Tomorrow, we tell him. Not like there was any point in not telling him. Now hurry up. Or else the doc is going to throw another fit." Toji said, walking out of the room.
Kensuke looked at the doorway, his eyebrow lifted, and a grin spread onto his face. That was easier than I expected. He quickly adjusted his headset while leaving the room.
Shinji walked down the sidewalk, curious about the call he received from Toji. He had not heard from them in a week- not since school was let out for summer break early- so it came as a surprise when Toji asked if he could meet him and Kensuke near the school ground, entirely out of the blue.
Summer break might have started, but it made no difference. Japan was still as hot as the year before and the year before that. Being born not long after the Second impact, he and the rest of his generation became accustomed to the eternal summer the world was in.
"Yo!" yelled Toji, carrying a basketball on his hip, while standing with Kensuke in front of the school entrance.
"Hey!" Shinji waved and quickened his pace. "You guys needed me?" he asked.
Both nodded. "Uh… yeah," said Toji, hesitant.
Shinji raised an eyebrow. "Something wrong?" the three began to head in the direction of the basketball court.
"No, everything's alright. It's just uh…" he stammered, scratching his head.
Kensuke rolled his eyes and smacked Toji back. "Jeez man, you wanted to tell him, so do it!"
"I know damn it!" he turned to Shinji. "Sorry, we haven't talked to ya' since school got out. Something came up, y'know?"
Shinji shrugged. "Oh, it's okay. I figured you guys were busy," he said. "But, everything is alright?"
"Yeah, yeah, we're good..." Toji turned to Kensuke, bearing an impatient look. "Do you remember the other day? When Ken, Class rep, and I all got called up to the principals?"
He nodded. "What about it?"
"Y'see, someone named Akagi from NERV came to see us," he said.
What? What did she need them for? He scratched his head. It couldn't have been about the incident with the fourth angel, that was months ago.
"And, well, she told us that… we… we were selected to um… be Eva pilots. All three of us."
Shinji stopped dead in his tracks. His eyes widened. "A-all three of you, Horaki included…?" His voice was shaky.
Kensuke nodded, grimacing. "Yeah, all of us," he replied. "We didn't want to worry you."
Shinji sat down on the pavement, paying no attention to what Kensuke said. His stomach was sinking. Everything was starting to click into place. His friend's sudden dismissal. The Marduk institutes recent findings. His dream with the crushed entry plug, and the jersey.
"B-but none of you accepted, right? He asked, their faces saying otherwise.
His heart dropped further. The two of them were now pilots, and there was nothing he could say or do about it. It was their choice; he could not hold that against them. A shiver ran through his spine at the thoughts that brewed within his mind. Would he be forced to watch his friends be mortally wounded- or even worse- die?
He was taking the news worse than Toji had expected. He sat down next to him, placing the basketball beside him. Kensuke followed suit. "You alright, Shin-man?"
The boy snapped out of his daze. "S-sorry," he said in a low voice. "I'm fine. Just worried, that's all. So, when do you all start?"
"We're having our activation tests Saturday. All three are going to be held at the same time. They planned on having all three activated in the same place," Kensuke shrugged. "But I guess something came up, 'cause now the Class reps test is going to be over at HQ. While we'll be at the Matsushiro facility."
New Eva's to boot, I see. Shinji turned to Toji. "Does anybody else know?"
He shook his head. "No one besides my family, NERV, and now you," said Toji. "They told us not to say anything about it outside of HQ. Guess we broke that rule, huh?" he chuckled.
Shinji cracked a smile and returned to staring off into his thoughts. Toji roughly patted his back. "C'mon, man! Quit worrying about it. Everything'll be fine."
Shinji once again was brought back- this time forcefully- from his world of thought. He turned to his friends, both wearing reassuring grins.
"There's no need to be so worried all the time," Toji stooped, dusting himself off. "Ken and I can handle ourselves just fine. All we need is a little practice and before ya' know it, we'll be fighting those… those whatever the hell they're called!"
A smirk grew on Shinji's face. "Heh… I wish it were that simple. But, I guess you're right." he rose from the sidewalk.
Toji breathed a sigh of relief. Stood up and passed Shinji the basketball in his hands. "Enough of this NERV crap, let just shoot a few hoops!"
Toji let out a loud yawn and stretched in his chair. "Why're we here again?"
"Yeah… it's almost 5:00," said Shinji, fighting down a yawn.
Kensuke faced the black chalkboard; his back turned from his friends. "Thank you for coming on such short notice," he said, his voice comically ominous and a smug grin on his face. "I do not want to waste any time, so let us get straight to the point. The reason I brought you two here is…" he filled the black side of the board. Drawings and writing cluttered the other side.
"...The hell am I looking at?" asked Toji.
"I am glad you asked my friend…" he took a deep breath. "...This is our pre-Evangelion activation test workout routine!" he said with vibrant enthusiasm.
Shinji frowned. "Our… what?"
"Pre-Evangelion activation test workout routine. Since all three of us are pilots now, it is imperative for us to be well-trained physically and mentally," his voice had a businesslike tone to it, "I did an extensive amount of research on military training routines over the years, and have devised the perfect routine for us…" he balled his fist tightly.
"Alright, let's hear it then," Toji crossed his arms. "This better be worth it,"
"Oh, trust me, it will be." Kensuke snatched the ruler next to him and pointed at the top of the board. He cleared his throat. "For our warm-up, we will start with a 2-kilometer run around the school track. After that, 30 push-ups, pull-ups, crunches, and chin-ups. All in that order. Finally, we end our workout with a 5-kilometer hike on the Shiga Kogen trail! If we start in the next 30 minutes, by the time we finish the 30 chin-ups, there will be an hour before lunch rolls around. So, what do you say?" he asked, trying to catch his breath.
Shinji and Toji turned to each other. While they did not say anything, they both agreed on what to say. They looked back to their friend, their faces blank.
"Nope," said Toji.
Shinji shook his head. "I'm not sure if I can even do ten pull-ups. Let alone something like a 5-kilometer hike. Sorry but it's a no for me too."
"W-what?! Why not?" asked Kensuke.
"Ken… you paid attention to what the doc said when she was explaining what activation tests do, right?" he asked. "Cause none of this is needed at all."
Kensuke lifted his eyebrow. "Of course I did, who do you think I am? An activation test establishes a neural connection between the Eva and the pilot so that thought-impulse commands can be performed by the Eva. From there, once a connection is established, a synchronization ratio is calculated and averaged."
"...Well, I stand corrected, though I'm not surprised. But, if you know, why the training routine?"
"Pilots should be in top shape at all times, should they not?" asked Kensuke, his friends still unenthused. "I see. Well, do you guys want to hang out then? Maybe head over to the arcade once it opens?"
Shinji nodded. "I don't see why not,"
Toji shrugged. "Sure," he rose from his seat. "In that case, I'm gonna go make some tea while we're waiting."
Noon rolled around. Tokyo-03's central mall had reached its peak in activity. The 150,000 square foot building- capable of holding 2,000 people, possibly more- given the time of day. As one could expect, it was loud and busy. The boisterous cackles of people and the cries of young children ringed all around. Throughout the building, the smell of cheap perfume and air freshener lingered.
Asuka collapsed into one of the food court chairs and placed her bags next to her. Hikari followed suit and grabbed a seat beside her.
"So… tired… so… hungry," Asuka groaned. "I forgot how exhausting shopping was."
"And we didn't end up getting much anyways," Hikari said. "Was all of this necessary, though? This whole shopping trip?"
"Are you kidding?! Of course, it was! How else are we supposed to celebrate the day before the tests?"
"Well, a few things do come to mind," he replied. "But I don't think they would be all that appealing to you."
"Whatever your ideas are, they're probably ten times better than what the Third is doing," she rolled her eyes. "I don't understand how he can put up with those two idiots."
"It's a mystery to me," Hikari giggled, knowing firsthand how immature those two could be. "Say, Asuka, do you mind if I ask you something?" she asked, her tone changing.
"Ask away…" she replied, her head resting on her arms.
"Why do you pilot your Eva?"
Asuka lifted her head. "Well, to show my talent to the world, of course!"
"So, you are trying to prove that you exist?" asked Hikari.
"Nope, I've already proven that I exist by exhibiting my talent to the world. But, why do you ask?"
"Just curious, since you are so experienced with all of this, I wondered if there was any reason why. That's all."
"You sound like the idiot when you say that," she joked. Her stomach interrupted with a low grumble. "...Why did I skip breakfast?" she keeled over in her seat, earning more laughter from Hikari.
"You stay here, I'll go get us something. Any idea what you want?" she asked.
"Anything that isn't rice… please."
"Damn it!" cursed Toji, kicking the arcade machine. Shinji and Kensuke approached him, holding cans of soda and wearing hesitant looks.
"You good?" asked Kensuke, holding out one of the cans.
"Huh? How long have you guys been standing there for?" he asked, taking the can.
"Not long," replied Shinji. "I guess you didn't make it to the top, then?"
He shook his head. "Nope, was damn close, though. I would've if the game makers of this game hadn't made the enemies cheat all the time!"
He always says that. His friends thought in unison.
How about we check out that new game they got over there." said Kensuke, pointing to the other side of the building. "Besides, you've been at this one for two hours now."
"Fine, whatever. But I ain't done with you yet! Just you wait, I'll beat your four-arm ass for all of earth-realm!" he said, further embarrassing his friends.
The potent smell of cigarettes and jet engine-like sounds bled into the arcade floor. The floor below them was the pachinko corner. As expected, it was an adult-only part of the building that only children could dream of being in. The building itself was an old, pre-impact arcade. It had been there since before the city was even called Tokyo-03.
"So, Ikari, let me ask you something," said Kensuke, passing by the aisles of pre-impact arcade machines. "How many Angels have you killed? I gotta know."
"Um… if you mean by myself, then I think two. The Third and Fourth Angel's, to be specific. After that, I started teaming up with Ayanami and Asuka," he said. "They aren't exactly things that you should try and kill alone."
"Huh… I see,"
"Yeah, not that big of a list… sorry," he said.
Kensuke shook his head. "No-no, it's alright," he said. "Just, I thought you'd have more than two."
"Quit bustin' his balls already, Ken. He's not some superhero that can kill 'em in one shot. They're giant aliens, man, you remember, don't you?" chimed in Toji.
Shinji waved his hand. "It's okay. It's a valid question," he said. "I'm surprised though, at how calm you guys are about all of this."
Toji frowned. "Well… we wouldn't exactly have agreed if we didn't have an idea of what we were getting ourselves into," he said.
Shinji chuckled. "Guess you guys are lucky then. I had no time to prepare or anything. I showed up, and next thing I know, I'm piloting Unit-01."
"Wait, hold on… you're telling me they put ya' into an Eva before you got any kind of notice or training?" asked Toji, baffled.
"Pretty much. The only thing I knew was that…" he slowed his pace. "Well, that my father needed me for something."
Toji eyed Shinji and shook his head. "Tsk… what a bunch of assholes, making someone with no experience at all fight some big monster, jeez…"
"If I hadn't done it… they were going to have Ayanami do it. And she wasn't in any condition to fight," he said. "But, it would have been nice if they at least told me what was going before I fought… but, that's all in the past now. It's not like they tell me anything regardless," he said, with a somber chuckle.
"Hmph, great. Suppose we'll be getting the same treatment, huh?" he said. "This must be what my old man feels like."
A smirk grew on Kensuke's face. "We're not gonna be in the dark for long. I've still got my dad's passwords, remember?"
"Sure… if you're not caught again." joked Toji.
"...Assuming Section two won't catch you first," added Shinji, trying to suppress his snickering.
Both Shinji and Toji began to laugh hysterically, needing to stop for a second to catch their breaths. Kensuke quickly became flustered. "Shut it! It only happened once, alright?" he said. "Where's this stupid game anyway?" The two boys began to laugh even more as Kensuke frantically swept the aisles for the arcade machine.
Drops of rain trickled down onto the highway road. Booming blasts of thunder accompanied it. A single semi-truck carried a large object strapped down and covered head-to-toe in a white tarp on its back. It moved slowly, the driver cautious of the weather.
The man in the passenger seat kicked his feet up on the dashboard. "Wow… what wonderful weather we're having today, huh?" commented the man. "Say, how much longer till we get to Beijing?" he asked, turning to the driver.
"We passed Xianghe a little while ago. I would say we've got another hour to go." the driver said.
"Great…" groaned the man, looking at the tarped object through the side mirror. "More hauling this thing around, eh? What is it, some new bomb or something?"
The driver shrugged. "Hell if I know, I think it's part of some top priority project NERV and the UN is working on."
"Must be from NERV, look at all the damn escorts!" he said, pointing to the military vehicles surrounding them. "Everywhere you look there's an escort. Wouldn't be surprised if they have tanks in the rear too."
The wind began to pick up, throwing the drops all around. A blue glow began to emanate from the tarp, only being slightly visible under the thick clouds of mist from the wind.
Out of the corner of his eye, the man on the passenger side caught a glimpse of the light. "What is that? Hey, you see that?" the man tapped the driver's shoulder.
"That light!" he said, pointing to the mirror. "There is some light coming out of the tarp!"
The driver began to slow down and reluctantly took his eyes away from the road. "What light?" he asked.
When the man turned back, it was gone. The light had vanished. "What? Where did it go! There was some blue light just a second ago!"
The driver rolled his eyes. "Look, I get you're bored and all, but that does not mean you should start joking around like that! We're going to get an earful if they see me slowing this thing down," he said. "I'm only allowed to stop for emergencies. The last thing we need is the brass in Beijing yelling at us for being late. So sit down and do something else, will ya?"
"Y-yeah… my bad, sorry," said the man, embarrassed. He put his feet back up onto the dash and began to keep a close eye on the side view mirror.
Toji packed his plugsuit and headset into his duffel bag. "I think that's about everything…" he turned to Kensuke. "Yo, Ken, how much longer do we have?"
Kensuke glanced at his watch. "About five minutes," he said, stuffing his things into his bag.
Hikari pressed the wrist button on her suit. The orange and pale yellow plugsuit compressed tightly on her. "It's scary to think that after this, we'll be official pilots," she remarked, behind the changing curtain.
Toji sat on a bench close by. "Eh, it'll be okay," he said, taking a sip from his water bottle. "Hey, at least you'll have Ayanami to keep ya' company… I guess."
"If she talks to you that is," muttered Kensuke.
Hikari shook her head. "You two are exaggerating. She isn't that bad… well, I don't think so."
Toji snickered. "Guess we ought to get going about now. Or else they'll be on our case about being late," he said, throwing his bag over his shoulder. "See ya when we get back, Class rep."
"See you soon, good luck!" she said, waving from the curtain. "If you see Ikari tell them I said hi- if you get the chance- that is."
"We will," replied Kensuke. "Don't let Ayanami eat ya' or anything, alright?"
"Y-yeah, I'll be sure she doesn't…" she replied. For crying out loud, she's not some monster.
It was busy in the cage. NERV's entire staff was scrambling for Unit-05's imminent arrival from the U.K. The decision to have it be sent directly to NERV's main headquarters was rather last minute.
As a way of killing two- no three- birds with one stone, the now repaired Unit-00's activation would be held at the same time as Unit-05's. The two activations would also act as a test for Matsushiro's MAGI and technician team.
Hikari stood anxiously in the cage elevator. Beside her was Rei, clad in her solid white plugsuit, staring vacantly out the chain-link window. The two often did not speak to each other. Only when Rei needed to fulfill a classroom task of some kind.
She turned to Rei. "So Unit-00 is being reactivated," she said. "That must be exciting for you. Finally able to get back into action, again."
Rei did not reply. It seemed she paid no attention to her when she spoke.
"Can I ask you something, Ayanami?" asked Hikari. The girl gave no reply. "What does it feel like when you are inside an Eva?"
"Why do you ask?" Rei now appeared to be distracted by Hikari's bright orange plugsuit.
"I've only been in the test plugs, so I was curious."
Rei remained quiet. Sounds of heavy machinery and technicians working urgently for Unit-05 echoed throughout the cage. "It feels like me."
"I-I see…" she said, unsure how to answer. "...I don't understand." The silence grew between the two of them once again. "How do you do it?"
"How can you be so calm about all of this?" she asked. "I can't help but worry about all that could happen to me and everyone else. I'm beginning to lose sleep over it. And yet you, Asuka, Ikari, Aida, and even Suzuhara are so calm. How, how?"
Rei turned to Hikari, her red vacant red eye's making contact with Hikari's. "You do not need to worry," she said.
With a loud clunk, the elevator had reached its destination. The gate opened wide, revealing a long hallway. "We have arrived, farewell," said Rei, exiting the elevator.
"R-right, best of luck to you!" replied Hikari, jogging in the direction of the cage Unit-05 was being held.
Misato entered the observation deck, Shinji tailing behind her. Japanese and American technicians were both heard going back and forth. Ritsuko stood in the center, clipboard in hand, staring out the plexiglass window.
"Go sit over there, Shinji," Misato pointed at a vacant chair towards the side. "If you need anything, tell me."
Shinji nodded and sat down, waiting nervously for Unit-03 and 04's activation tests to begin. His foot began to tap repeatedly.
Misato walked over to Ritsuko. The scientist wore a smug but subtle grin. "Well, aren't you the doting foster mother." she joked.
"Can it! Let's just get this over with," muttered Misato, embarrassed.
Ritsuko chuckled. "I'm surprised you were permitted to have him tag-along," she said.
"That makes you and me both. It was fast too, did not need to beg or anything," she said. "No need to dwell on it now, though. There are more important things to worry about."
One of the technicians turned to Dr. Akagi and Captain Katsuragi. "Both Pilots and Evangelions are in position, ma'am. We're ready to begin."
"Speak of the devil," she said under her breath. "No use in keeping them waiting then. Begin simultaneous level one contact."
"Doing both at the same time feels risky, don't you think," asked Misato.
"It does, however, Matsushiro were the ones who wanted to put their MAGI to the test. Though, they could have prepared another cage for Unit-05," she said. "If the Commander was not the one overseeing Unit-05 and 00, I would have strongly reconsidered all of this."
"Operating thresholds crossed. Level two contact initiated."
Misato bit into her nail. "Should I have thrown a coin in a fountain on my way here?"
"You are asking me, the scientist, that?" Dr. Akagi asked, receiving a shrug from Misato.
"All neural links established, no abnormalities detected with central neural elements in both Units."
"Beginning pilot synchronization… now!"
The activation process was almost complete. Technicians and staff sat at their consoles, flooding the room with calls and commands on the status of the Evangelions. Misato and Shinji both began to cross their fingers, their whole bodies tense.
"Approaching borderlines…" said Hyuga. "Borderlines… crossed, Evangelions activated!"
Misato blew a sigh of relief, wiping away the sweat built upon her forehead. "Good, the fountain wasn't needed, after all," she said.
While she did not show it, Ritsuko was just as relieved. She approached the monitor next to Hyuga. "This is… interesting."
Misato lifted her eyebrow. "In a good way, or…?"
"Both of their scores are identical to Shinji's when he first synchronized with Unit-01. So yes, in a good way," she said. "And what of Unit-05 and 00? Have they been successfully activated?"
A technician removed their headset. "Yes, ma'am, HQ just sent confirmation. Both Units have activated with no glaring issues."
"I guess that is it then. Everything has been taken care of," she cleared her throat. "Ready Unit-03 and 04 for transport. Make sure the transportation team takes extreme care with them," she ordered.
Misato pulled up a seat next to Shinji. He was relieved as well, a small smile on his face. "Glad it's all over, huh?" she asked.
"Y-yeah looks like I was worrying for nothing," he said. Both him and Misato laughed. Now transportation was the only thing they had to worry about.
The blare of a siren was cut off by a blinding blast. Concrete flew high into the air, and steel contorted violently. Vehicles of all kinds were carried all over by the shockwave from the explosion. Two immense figures rose from the bright light. Their inanimate, eyeless heads looked to the vista in front of them.
The white-clad armor they wore was partially incomplete. The cloud-colored flesh underneath was exposed, revealing a red, bulbous sphere embedded into their chests.
Great wings expanded from their backs. Like enormous doves, they soared upwards. Their wings fluttered as they flew towards the horizon, leaving behind a cavity of destruction.
A pirated copy of Photoshop haunts me.
I Changed "Touji" to "Toji", I got confused about the spelling and just ran with it. Also, hope someone liked the Mortal Kombat reference.