Max and his allies search the blasted wastes for supplies and answers.
So far, they have found none of either.
Desperate, at the end of their reserves, they find themselves presented with a choice:
Die in the wastes, or risk venturing closer to what remains of civilisation.
A mysterious organisation still hunts them, and Boss Nova seeks his revenge.
No matter what happens, one thing is certain: There Will Be Blood.
After all, this is...
EVA MAX 2: BEYOND TSUNDERDOME
“You,” replied the Rei. The one thing he hadn't wanted to touch on, of course.
Max didn't even bother waiting for the girl to elaborate – base-model Reis never did, unless someone had given them some basic conversation training. Obviously no-one had bothered in this case. A shame, really. All the other Reis Max had met – three by his count, although he'd never actually been taught to count – had had someone looking after them. It was a little sad that this one hadn't. “What about me? This prophecy bullshit? Because I'm pretty sure you told me everything you knew about that already.”
The Rei shook her head. “Only what I saw then,” she said. “I can see the marks on your soul, Max. They are difficult to read, but they are there.” She paused for a moment to lift the pot off of the stove and pour three equal portions out. “It is like reading a tree's age by counting the rings inside, only you are reading the path someone needs to take to complete themselves by looking at the marks upon their soul.”
“I've never even seen a tree,” said Max. “Outside of dreams, anyway.” He took a bowl from the Rei, and left one aside for Suzahara. The mechanic was working on the Eva, trying to cover as much of it as possible with the few scraps of armour they possessed.
“You dream a lot.” Not a question, but a statement. How could she know? “Those dreams are important, Max. Without them, you would be lost.” Another pause. “Moreso than you are right now, at least.”
“Not my fault you can't read a map,” Max muttered. “Look, I'm getting a little tired of the mystic crap, so if there's something you know, just bloody tell it me in plain English, alright?”
The Rei shook her head. “That... I don't know it in plain English. It is like trying to describe colour to a blind person, only you are trying to describe the marks upon one's soul to someone who cannot see those marks. Such a task is beyond me.” Apparently, metaphors were beyond the girl as well. “What do you dream of, Max? How were you blessed with a true Evangelion?” The Rei leaned forward, her expression somehow becoming serious without shifting at all. “Why are you so important?”
Max opened his mouth, about to answer, when Suzahara opened the flap to their tent. The mutant was... still a mutant, Max supposed, but less broken than when they had first met. He still wore that filthy loincloth, though; it seemed to be a mark of pride.
“Trouble, boss,” Suzahara whispered urgently.
Letting out a breath, Max stood up. His revolver was still on his leg, not that he had any rounds for it, and his sword sat on the opposite hip. If only the Rei or Suzahara had thought to scavenge one of those rifles from the weird faceless soldiers back at the Tsunderdome... “What sort of trouble?”
“The Boss Nova kind,” was the mutant's reply. “Looks like a full combat lance. Mercenaries, if my eyes have not yet begun deceiving me. Today, however, is their unlucky day! The Blood-and-Bone is ready!”
A feral grin spread across Max's face, matching Suzahara's expression. This was his purpose. Filling his eyes with blood? Remembering who he was? Both of those only came through battle, and here was battle. “Find some cover,” Max said. “We'll move out when I'm done.”
The M12 Gavin was generally considered by pre-Third Impact militaries to be the definitive Generation 1 non-Evangelion combat mech. Entering service in late 2014 with all branches of the United States military (including the Coast Guard, due to the wording of the appropriations bill that led to their deployment), M12s saw action all over the globe. Each could carry enough fire-power to level a small city, and each had armour sufficient to protect them against all but the heaviest anti-tank weapons, along with the mobility to avoid most of those.
Most of the M12s in service and their pilots survived Third Impact, though in a heavily-modified form. The mercenary lance employed by Boss Nova, for example, each carried a single experimental Positron Rifle, scavenged from NERV Nevada, along with two 20-round thermobaric missile launchers and a 120mm cannon apiece. Their pilots had been widely considered to be the best the US Air Force had to offer, having played an instrumental role in capturing the Third Angel using prototype Gavins in 2012. For their payment, Boss Nova had sent his armies to sack no less than three major settlements and very nearly emptied his cash reserves on top of that. These were pilots that had fought old-world armies and won. Their price reflected that.
Their opponent was an Evangelion, unarmed, armoured only with an AT Field and some scrap metal, piloted by an amateur. A talented amateur, but an amateur nonetheless.
They never stood a chance.
“JUST! FUCKING! DIE!” Captain Ryan “Snipes” Young screamed, holding down the trigger for his Positron Rifle. The bright blue beam span out from the rifle's snub-nosed barrel, spearing out towards the engine mounted atop the Evangelion's skeletal shoulders, to be met by its AT Field. Five more beams struck the Evangelion from all sides, accomplishing even less than Young's shot. The bastard hadn't even bothered shifting his AT Field. Not that they needed to. Whoever the pilot was, they'd positioned themselves perfectly in the sand dunes – Young was the only one who could get an angle on the engine without using his jump jets.
Six cannon shots flew struck home, a mix of depleted Uranium and HEAT rounds, to still no effect. Young couldn't breathe; the air felt thick and heavy inside the Gavin's cockpit. They'd been shooting at it for a full minute now, but it hadn't even moved. It just knelt in place, staring off into the distance, even allowing them to surround it and theoretically negate its main defence. The only reason they knew it was even operational was because it occasionally blocked a shot with its AT Field, and because they'd accomplished nothing in all that time.
Enough was enough. “Launch thermobarics,” he ordered, switching control over to the shoulder-mounted missile racks. To his lance's credit, none of them questioned his order, even though expending that many thermobaric warheads would be enough to turn this mission into a financial loss for them. Two hundred and forty thermobaric missiles streaked out, staggered just enough so as to not cause fratricide. This barrage had been enough to knock the Third Angel unconscious through sheer overpressure. Even a full kilometre away, Young felt the blast and heat waves through the Gavin's armour, the mech's advanced stabilisation systems suddenly struggling to keep it upright. He smiled, knowing the battle was over – even an AT Field could only protect you from one direction at once. Sure, any Angel aside from the Third - which had not yet been fully grown - would have completely ignored the barrage, but they weren't fighting an Angel.
As a scream filled his cockpit, he finally realised he was fighting something much, much worse.
Max descended upon a mech, driving the Blood-and-Bone's left leg through its torso. He'd kept still long enough to ensure that Suzahara and the Rei made it into cover, but once he'd seen those missiles come in he simply had to act. And, since the missiles were coming in from all around him, the only place he'd been able to dodge was straight up. Strange, how few people expected a True Evangelion to be capable of kilometre-high jumps from a standing start with a little bit of AT Field assistance. Slowly, he stood back up, shells plinking off of the Evangelion like so many pea-shooters.
Max laughed, a low sound echoing around the half-filled entry plug. “What the fuck was your plan?” he muttered between laughs. That the external speakers were off didn't bother him. “Did... did you think you could fight a True Evangelion in such pitiful machines?” He cast his gaze upon his next target, just as its laser weapon fired into the Eva's eye. Pain filled his skull, and he screamed in rage: “DON'T GET AHEAD OF YOURSELVES, SHITHEADS!” Flooring the throttle, feeling the rush of power through the Eva's body, he charged forward and closed the distance between himself and the enemy in one long bound. More lasers and cannon shells struck the Eva, as the other four mechs tried to save their friend. It was to no avail. Max brought the Eva's right arm down, crushing the mech under his open palm.
Two down, four to go. A sting to the back of Max's neck told him that it would soon be three and three. A mech had used its jump jets to land on his Eva. Perhaps the pilot even thought they were being smart. “IDIOT!” Max shouted, simply forming his AT Field above the poor bastard and slamming it down. Caught between an impenetrable barrier and the impossibly-hard flesh of the Evangelion, the mech was crushed instantly, exploding as its reactor was destroyed. He had no time to think, though, as cables wrapped themselves around the Eva's arms. Two of the final three mechs were trying to tie him down. Seriously, how desperate were these people? The last mech fired laser after laser, shell after shell, into the Eva's body, doing nothing more than annoying Max. Grasping the cables in his hands, Max pulled. The two mechs trying to hold him down went flying, reached the limit of their cables, and were torn in half. Keeping a hold of the cables – they were the first Evangelion-sized weapons Max had ever encountered – Max strode towards the last remaining mech. The air felt suddenly hot, and he focussed his AT Field forward just in time to block a massive explosion; the bastard must have breached their reactor on purpose.
“A-a-a-all h-hostile t-targets elim-inated,” the Evangelion's computer intoned, as though Max couldn't see that for himself.
“Way too easy,” he said, kneeling the Evangelion down. To think of it, this was the first time since being captured by Boss Nova that he'd piloted the Eva and not passed out. Things must be getting better, in that case. As he ejected the plug, however, that notion was dispelled. Suzahara was bent double under the weight of the Rei, the girl even paler than normal. Blood trickled from her mouth, despite there being no visible injuries on her, and her breathing was heavy and ragged.
Max ran over to her, fear filling his mind. “What happened?” If the mutant had done something...
“I know not,” Suzahara said. “She simply collapsed! Holy Pilot, I do not know what this portends, but we must seek a doctor immediately!”
Before Max could reply, the Rei grabbed his hand. She whispered three words before passing out again. “You... were... beautiful...”
Max found himself filled with determination. It welled up from somewhere inside him, some room inside the mansion of his mind that had not been opened in so long that even the dust mites had died, and was all he could think about. “I know where we need to go.”
Yes, this is finally the sequel to EVA MAX, and the title up there is literally the only reason I wrote EVA MAX in the first place. Like I said in the last thread (which was last year, wow I lost 2017 somehow), I had a plan from the very beginning - well, sort of. This one probably won't update all that often, I'm working on mutilple creative projects at once (one of which is in the Gaming sub-forum, go check it out, shill, shill) and I don't have the energy needed to just power through on one.