Disclaimer: See previous chapters

Daigo Himura – Now is good. Sorry for the long delay.

Neferius– I'll let the chapter answer that first part. As for the second, that's another day and another chapter away.

Chapter 9 – Evasion

"Look out!"

Kaji turned in shock as Qui-Gon suddenly dashed in between him and the window, his emerald lightsaber crackling to form just as a bullet clipped through the glass only to be intercepted by the blade of green. Both men immediately looked outside in search of the source and caught sight of the shooter, wearing a black jumpsuit and motorcycle helmet just like before and with a sniper rifle in his grasp.

Wasting little time, Qui-Gon whirled his lightsaber about, shattering the entire window before leaping out and rolling onto the nearby roof where he immediately rose up into a run. Seeing this, the assailant quickly strapped the rifle onto his back and made a run for it. Despite the distance though, Qui-Gon was quickly closing the gap between them, bound across rooftop after rooftop until they were only a building away from each other.

But rather than jump across to another rooftop, the assailant suddenly descended off the side, leaving Qui-Gon's sight. By the time the Jedi master had reached the edge of the building, he looked down to see the shooter effortlessly scaling down the building side and toward a waiting motorcycle. Qui-Gon pursued, but was unable to make it down in time before the assailant revved up his vehicle and took off, leaving the Jedi behind to watch. But that moment was son gone as a silver car suddenly screeched in and stopped beside him.

"Get in!"

Qui-Gon quickly jumped into the passenger's side of the car and Kaji immediately took off after the cyclist. Behind the wheel of the car, Kaji quickly eyed the assailant beginning to race away on his motorcycle and stepped hard on the gas

"This is going to get rough. Hang on."

Qui-Gon didn't reply, simply holding a focused and determined gaze on the cyclist as they sped away down the street. The chase, he realized, would be difficult, as motorcycles generally had greater maneuverability than cars. But it appeared that the driver wasn't aware of that fact, or rather, ignored it entirely and he wove the vehicle, almost recklessly, about on the streets, keeping the cycle and its rider in his sight.

'This style of driving is familiar' the Jedi master found himself musing.

"Everything set?"

"Yes. All bio-data is recording normally."

In a control booth, Maya and Ritsuko ready for their new test, with Makoto and Shigeru at the controls ready to start. Behind them, Misato stood in wait, looking out of the glass in front of them and wondering how she let herself be convinced in letting this particular test take place. Actually, the truth was that there was no real objection she could have made. She had mentioned that the only resource NERV had was its science division and this new project that Maya and Ritsuko had been looking into was just that.

'Me and my big mouth…'

Unaware of her thoughts, Maya moved over to the mouth-speaker. "Okay. Children, you're up."

Below the booth, the three Children, wearing their plugsuits and having their lightsabers hooked to their sides, were stationed in the center of a wide, semi-open room. Various types of objects were scattered around them, such as cylinders and blocks of varied sizes, making the room appear like a cross between a rock-climbing gymnasium and a children's playground.

"So how should we start?" Shinji inquired.

With a sly smile, Asuka turned to him. "Remember what I said to you before we started our Eva test?"

-"Don't worry about it."- she returned. -"Just keep your eyes peeled."-

Returning her earlier tease, Shinji lifted his hand up in mock salute. "Yes, ma'am."

Annoyance came to the forefront now.-"Cute, Third. I'll remember that during our next spar."-

Asuka didn't even have to see the realization come across Shinji's face as she went on the attack. Shinji blocked it, but Asuka pressed on, attacking him rapidly and almost furiously. Facing Shinji was different from facing Rei, as Shinji would take the offense at some point and come at her. That was his way of fighting; defensive start, create an opening, and then counter. And true enough, Shinji manage to halt her attack briefly, locking his violet blade with her crimson one before pushing her back.

But she had anticipated this and used the momentum to skip back, hop up on one of the large cylinders, and propel herself through the air, her saber in motion toward Shinji as she flew right over his head. But the young man had managed to deflect her blow and soon enough advance on her with attacks of his own.

'There's the Invincible Shinji-baka…'

It always pleased her to see the hidden aspects of her two friends come to the fore when they sparred with her, largely because she was responsible for it, but also because she knew more about them with each strike exchanged. Granted, she and everyone else know about this part of Shinji. It seemed like passive-aggressiveness, but Asuka knew better. He honestly doesn't like fighting, but he would if necessary. And when he did, he was a force to be reckoned.

There was a body count of Angels that proved that…

Of course, it didn't help that said personality side was now pressing her back. 'Guess Wondergirl was right. I need to work on my defense more.' Just as that thought crossed her mind, a sapphire blade suddenly crossed into her vision, blocking Shinji's blade. Asuka almost laughed aloud upon hearing Shinji's mental scowl, knowing that he had just as many problems dealing with Rei's defense than she did, if not more so since Shinji didn't possess Asuka's aggression.

"Guess we know the first match up now." Asuka remarked before she attacked.

Loud horns blared, tires screeched, and unfortunate pedestrians dashed out of the way as motorcycle and car raced down the streets. Despite the agility of the motorcycle and the apparent skill of its rider, Kaji was doing well in keeping up with him in the car. And while he was at the moment unable to close the gap between them, neither did the gap widen away. Normally, this would be dangerous, but it seemed the spy drove well enough to keep them out of danger as well as avoiding pedestrians. Even in this focus, Kaji found himself impressed by his passenger's calm and equally focused demeanor in this situation. But given that said man had deflected a bullet in mid-flight with an energy sword and then took off after the assailant by leaping out of a window, being impressed was rather easy.

But he could muse on it later; right now…

Twisting around a corner and down the next street, the duo continued in hot pursuit the biker's tail, who gave a small glance in his mirror to see the two still behind him. Revving up his vehicle, the biker began to tighten close to the surrounding traffic, making it harder for his pursuers to close in on him. Kaji grimaced at this, but kept him in his sights and stick to him.

'You've got the moves, Ryouji; I'll give you that.'

The tires of the car screeched as Kaji turned down another street. All the while, Qui-Gon was trying to determine the biker's next move and ultimate destination. It might have been better if he had been driving, but he had to admit that Kaji's skill behind the wheel of a car far exceeded his own, even as a Jedi. And driving was never his strong suit anyways. Even still, he wished he could pick up an idea of their assailant's course. He was trying to evade them, clearly, but to what end? Granted, they had taken him by surprise when they pursued him almost immediately after his rooftop attack, but he had to have an escape route of some kind by now. He must have, especially given the fact that he had been able to make himself undetected by NERV for a long while.

And then he used it.

The biker suddenly veered off to the right, almost getting hit by a car in the process. Stomping down on the brake, Kaji twisted his vehicle about with a painfully loud screech and followed, nearly skidding into the same car that almost hit the biker. Qui-Gon held on tight at Kaji's maneuver as the spy continued to race after the biker, who was heading toward a drawbridge at the waterfront.

A drawbridge that was just beginning to rise…

"You've got to be kidding me."

The biker slid past the stop barrier, up the rising bridge and shot right over it as it parted, soaring over the sky until it landed on he other end and slid down, speeding away as if normal. Stopping before the now fully-upright drawbridge, Kaji and Qui-Gon exited their vehicle only to watch the biker speed away, his escape successful.

"Well, that didn't go well." Kaji muttered.

Qui-Gon could only nod in agreement.

"I know I've seen this already, but still…this is incredible."

As the three Children fought, the data from their plugsuits relayed the information to the crew above, who were in-between keeping an eye one on the reading and watching the Children in action as they began using more of the faculty. Asuka in particular, seemed to be enjoying the obstacles around them as she seemed to catapult all over the place in her attacks, with the other two occasionally following her to continue their match on top of, pretty much everything. Even Ritsuko couldn't keep the awe off her face as she took in both their movements and the bio-data

"The applications of this may go well beyond the Eva project." Maya half-whispered. "I wouldn't know where to start."

"I agree." Turning to Misato behind them, Ritsuko added. "Any ideas, Misato?"


Ritsuko felt herself begin to frown, but managed to keep her expression and voice neutral. "Surely you must have thought that there could be some way they could put their talents to use."

"I try not to."

It was said just under her breath, but Ritsuko caught it somewhat."Hm?"

"Nothing. Just… Nothing."

Ritsuko turned to her fully, almost worriedly. "Misato?"

"Just drop it."

Hearing her firm response, Ritsuko did just that, at least vocally. Turning back to face the Children, she found she couldn't completely focus on their activity now. Despite their obvious talents and skills, Misato didn't seem so keen on using them. And while she understood much of Misato's reluctance, she had to know that there was a great potential here with the three Children, so much more for them than being the designated pilots of the Evangelions and tied to their tragic existence.

But perhaps she had something else in mind? It seemed unlikely, but Ritsuko would not question her. She knew that if anyone wanted the Children to have a better future, it would be her. Sighing to herself, she put her focus back on the task at hand and went back to observing the Children, all of who were now exchanging strikes with each other. And despite how fast they moved and the potential of harm that was in their weapons, they moved as though it was a choreographed dance. Her gaze lowering to the bio-data, it seemed to show the same thing, the patterns and rhythms moving in synch with each other, despite being from three separate people. This was science and that was what she would stick with.

Keep her thoughts on the science; leave the decision-making to Misato…