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Khas    12,154

Fluidus Potentia Evangelion

Chapter One

“So.” Captain Kathryn Janeway began as she put down the coffee mug and faced the younger woman who stood on the opposite side of the office.  “Are you positive that he’s the one we want?”

“Completely.” the younger woman – Lieutenant Colonel Misato Katsuragi – replied.  “We’ve done every test in the book, and the bio-neural circuitry of Unit-07 will respond to him and him alone.  At least, that’s what the Magi supercomputers say.”  Misato paused, watching as Janeway picked her coffee up again and took another sip, the look on the older woman’s face just screaming ‘go on’.  “And besides, despite his homeworld’s literally medieval level of technology, it IS still a Star League planet, and it’s not like they haven’t had contact with off-worlders before.  Last I checked, Ferengi merchants visit this world all the time.”

“Point taken.” Janeway said with a slight chuckle.  “Now, how do you propose to break this news to him?”

“The usual way.  I’ll mention something about him being needed for a top-secret Star League project, as well as a few things here and there about the Undine threat.  Nothing he doesn’t need to know.”  Misato replied.  At least, nothing he doesn’t need to know about right now.  The Undine I can talk about with select Star League citizens, but the Children of Adam – aka the Angels?  No way in hell.  Not outside Nerv-HQ, at least.

Janeway seemed to accept this plan, and nodded. 

“Well then, I see no reason to delay you.  You’d better hurry, if you want to make it to your appointment on time.”

“Heh.  Right.” Misato said, racing towards the office exit.  The automatic door slid open, and she bolted across the bridge towards the turbolift.  The turbolift’s doors opened up, and she walked through them into the elevator in question.  “Deck Five.”  Almost instantly, the turbolift began racing towards its destination.  Misato sighed.  Okay.  She thought.  I know that at twenty, he’s technically an adult, but it still doesn’t seem fair.  If only people born before the Eden Incident could pilot one of those things.  She sighed again.  Hell, even the Katos IV negotiations are less of a burden than doing that, considering some of the things he’ll have to fight.  Him and the other pilots.  She chuckled at that thought.  To think that resolving a dispute over a world simultaneously claimed by the Klingon and Tau Empires would be tame compared to something.  That wasn’t a thought many people had.

The turbolift doors opened to reveal a hallway indistinguishable from the hundreds of others like it on both the UNSS Voyager and on every other Intrepid-class starship in the United Nations Star League Starfleet.  Misato quickly walked out of the turbolift and through the hall to her final destination – a room with the words “TRANSPORTER ROOM 04” written on its doors.  Misato took another deep breath, before stepping forward into the room.  As she stepped forward, the doors automatically opened, revealing a young man wearing an ensign’s uniform standing at the transporter’s control panel.  The man turned to her and smiled.

“All ready to beam down, Colonel?” he asked.

“As ready as I’ll ever be.” Misato replied, her hand instinctively reaching into her coat pocket.  Feeling her tetryon pistol secure in her hand, she smiled, relieved that she wouldn’t have to rush around looking for it this time.  “Alright.” she began.  “Energize.”

*************************************************************************************************************************************************


Rand al'Thor brought the axe down onto the block of wood, splitting it in two instantly.  As the two halves went flying, Rand paused for a moment to take in the sight of the early autumn afternoon.  The leaves, which had until a few days ago been green, now sported a dazzling array of colors – red, gold, orange, brown, and even purple if one knew which plants to look for.  These colors, contrasted against the always-green grass and conifers and the sapphire blue sky, made it appear as if a rainbow had exploded onto a painting of a landscape.  To think that only a few days ago it had been summer, and now the holiday of Danshu was only a few weeks away.  The thought of that brought a slight smile to Rand’s face, as memories of previous Danshu celebrations worked their way up from the depths of his mind.  There’d be feasting and drinking, peddlers and Gleemen bringing tales and trinkets from other lands, Ferengi merchants and on-leave Space Wolves bringing their tales and trinkets from other planets, among other merriment.

Rand grabbed a second block of wood, and prepared to bring the axe down again, when a shimmer of light in the corner of his eye caught his attention.  He turned around instantly to see the light begin to take a distinctly humanoid shape.  A transporter beam?  He thought.  Has to be either the Ferengi or the Space Wolves.  They’re the only ones who visit here like that.  Much to his surprise, the person who materialized was neither.  Instead, he found himself looking at a strikingly beautiful woman with waist-length raven black hair clad in a red jacket and black dress that didn’t even come halfway down her thighs.

“Rand al’Thor?” the woman asked.

“Uh, yeah, that’s me.” Rand said, verbally stumbling for a few seconds.  The woman smiled as she heard him say that.  “And you are…?”

“Lieutenant Colonel Misato Katsuragi.” she replied.  “I represent a rather… unique… branch of the Star League military.”  She paused, and took a few looks around, seeing if anyone nearby was listening in.  Despite that not being the case, she looked back at Rand with a slightly worried look on her face.  “Maybe we should discuss this somewhere more private.  Inside your house, maybe?  Can’t be too careful.  Ya never know who could be listening.”
“Um, sure.” Rand replied, taking the lead on the path towards his home.  “It’s right up this way.”

“Thank you!” Misato said, her smile returning as she began to follow him.  “Sorry for interrupting your chores, but this is an urgent matter.”

“No worries.” Rand said.  So, a Star League Colonel of all people just beams in, wants to talk to me about something they insist is ‘urgent’, and most of all, wants to talk about it in private?  He thought.  This day just got much more interesting.
 

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Khas    12,154

Chapter Two

Rand and Misato continued walking up the dirt road, taking them further and further from the village of Emond’s Field.  As they trekked onwards toward his house, Rand – clearly curious about exactly what the Star League would want with him of all people – started asking Misato questions.

“You said that you work for a ‘unique’ branch of the Star League military.  Well, what’s its name?  And more importantly, what does it do?”  Misato smiled slightly, anticipating questions that Rand would have questions like this.

“Well, I can’t tell you TOO much out here.  But I can say that we’re called Nerv, and that we deal with various threats that the rest of the galaxy doesn’t even know about.  Mostly involving various hostile aliens, or arcane matters that even the Asha’man can’t handle on their own.”  Rand’s eyes widened at that particular statement.  The Asha’man were human Channelers – people who could tap into a mysterious energy field known only as the One Power to perform feats that could easily be described as magic.  Setting fires, conjuring storms, triggering earthquakes, and more were all abilities these men and women had at their disposal.  His own world had its own organization of Channelers, the all-female Aes Sedai, but they used their powers almost solely for civilian purposes.  The Asha’man, on the other hand, were solidly a military organization, as much as Starfleet, the MACOs, the Starfighter Corps, the Space Wolves and other so-called “Elemental” super-soldiers, and so on.

“And… I take it that ‘hostile aliens’ doesn’t mean some slightly overeager Ferengi?” Rand asked jokingly.  Misato laughed.  

“You’re right about that.” she said.  “Tell me, aside from the Ferengi, how many non-human people have you met?”

“Honestly… none.” Rand replied.  “I’ve heard stories though, but a lot of them were probably exaggerated.  Even so, I’ve always wanted to meet an Ogier.”  Rand spoke of the race of tufted-eared giants, half again as tall as a human, who inhabited some of his homeworld’s more isolated regions.  Misato nodded at his response.

“Well, to give you a list of some of the alien races humanity has encountered, not counting the Ferengi, Ogier, or Trollocs – assuming you could call a human-animal hybrid an ‘alien’ – we’ve made official contact with the…” Misato took in a deep breath, knowing that even a ‘short’ list of known alien races would be a long one.  “Klingons, Cardassians, Jaffa, Oranians, Unas, Bajorans, Asgard, Caitians, Nausicaans, Breen, Goa’uld, To’kra, Tau, Kroot, Vespid, Tholians, and…” Misato shuddered, as if recalling a particularly unpleasant memory.  “Pakleds.  And there are certainly even more out there.  Some of these alien races are on good terms with humanity.  Others, not so much.  But even the ones on that list that hate our guts don’t concern Nerv.”  Rand blinked, feeling a little bit uneasy.

“They aren’t?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Nope.” Misato replied.  “Because unfortunately, Nerv has bigger fish to fry.  Like the Undine.” 

“Undine?” Rand asked, his feeling of unease only growing.

“I’ll have to tell you more about them when we get to your home.” Misato said, narrowing her eyes.  And the rest of those ‘bigger fish’ after you’ve been brought to Nerv-HQ.  The Angels, along with whatever else in the Dead Sea Scrolls ends up being true.  “Security reasons, you know.  Can’t have any unwanted guests listening in.”  Misato shook her head, and seemed to instantly regain her former perkiness.  “So, how long is it to your home, anyway?” she asked.

Rand, thoroughly disturbed both by the thought of aliens who not even Starfleet would deal with, and by the implications of Misato’s mentioning of “unwanted guests”, stumbled for a few seconds before he could answer her question.

“Not far.  Just a few hundred feet up that way.  Ah, there it is!”  As Rand said this, Misato squinted her eyes again, trying to get a better view in the glare of the afternoon sun.  After roughly half a second, she saw it.  A solitary farmhouse, resting on the edge of the forest known to the locals as the Westwood.  In the fields around the house, a herd of sheep grazed, ignoring everything aside from the grass.  A small apple orchard stood slightly closer to the house, while multiple rows of tobacco plants growing directly up against one of the walls soaked in the bright autumn sunlight.  A single chestnut brown horse galloped around the field, with not a care in the world.  Misato smiled at the sight, which reminded her of the countless picture books she’d had as a child.

“Like stepping right into a painting.” she said, savoring the view.  Taking a deep breath, Misato began walking forward again.  “Now then, let’s get inside.  We’ve got business to take care of.”

**************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************


As they opened the door and stepped inside, Misato got a good look at the place Rand called home.  A table surrounded by four chairs stood in the middle of a room with a dirt floor.  On top of the table lay some simple food – a loaf of bread, a wedge of cheese, some links of sausage, and a bowl full of apples.  Next to the table sat several large bottles, the smell emanating from them revealing their contents to be home-made hard cider.  Towards the window on the opposite side of the house, Misato noticed a still, surrounded by bottles of what she assumed to be apple brandy.  Misato turned her head to face the fireplace and the shelf above it, on which rested three weapons.

The first was a sword encased in a black scabbard, upon which a bronze heron was displayed.  The second was a longbow, whose quiver full of arrows hung from a hook on the side of the shelf.  The third, to her surprise, was seemingly the only piece of modern technology in the whole house – a plasma rifle, along with its power packs, almost certainly purchased from a Ferengi trader.

Continuing her scan around the interior of Rand’s house, Misato found a step ladder that lead up through the ceiling to a second floor, a level whose contents she could only speculate, but guessed that it was either a bedroom or attic.  Place is a lot nicer than I thought it’d be.  Misato thought.  At least, it’s neater than my own apartment.

"Nice place you got." Misato said, finally voicing her thoughts.  “You live here by yourself?”

“No.” Rand replied.  “Still live with my father.  Someone has to help him ever since my mother died.”

“Oh.  I’m sorry.” Misato said.

“Don’t be.  She died eleven years ago.”  Rand looked around the house, searching for his father.  “Dad?”  He called out.  “DAD!?”

“Hang on…” came a voice from upstairs.  A few seconds later, the voice’s owner – Tamlin “Tam” al’Thor – climbed down the ladder linking the first and second floors of the small farmhouse.  The large, gray-haired man straightened his shirt before facing his son.  “Yes, Rand?”

“We’ve got a guest from the Star League military.  Dad… this is Colonel Katsu…. Katsur…”

“Katsuragi.”  Misato said.  “Lieutenant Colonel Misato Katsuragi.”  She extended her hand out to Tam.  The middle-aged farmer extended his own hand and gave Misato’s a hearty shake.  

“So!”  He said, letting go.  “What brings a colonel to our humble little village?  Looking for troops?”

“Something like that…” Misato began, reaching into one of her coat pockets.  “Well, more like a single troop.  Specifically, Rand.”  Rand and Tam exchanged a confused look.  Misato sighed.  She pulled out a small device from the pocket in question, and placed it on the table.  “What I’m about to say is highly classified.  It does not, I repeat, does NOT leave this house, understood?”  Rand and Tam both nodded.  “Computer.” Misato began.  “Display all available data on the Undine.  Authorization: Katsuragi Four-Seven Alpha Tango.”

“Stand by for Retinal Scan.” the feminine, computerized voice said.  A beam of light shot out of the small device, beginning the process of mapping the blood vessels of Misato’s left eye.  As the blood vessels were scanned, the internal computer began comparing it to the previously recorded retinal data.  99.999999999999999472% match.  Well within acceptable deviations.  “Access granted.” the computer replied.  “Welcome back, Colonel Katsuragi.”  Misato sighed, knowing that this was going to be a long briefing.

“Six months ago…” she began.  “Humanity came into contact with a previously unknown race.  A race we now know as the Undine.  And to say that they’ve got the top brass panicking is perhaps the understatement of the past few centuries.”  Misato pressed a small button on the device, and a holographic image of an alien creature emerged.  The… thing was nothing short of hideous.  Three legs, which ended in digitigrade feet, supporting a vaguely humanoid torso, from which two long, spindly arms also emerged.  Instead of a single neck, the creature had three muscular strands which connected its head to its torso.  And the alien’s head itself only served to heighten the sense of other-ness.  The eyes especially.  Piercing, with their cruciform pupils, they seemed to gaze directly into one’s soul, all the while revealing a malevolence that knew no bounds.  These eyes sat above two elongated nostrils, which in turn rested above a small, almost vestigial mouth.

“That’s… an Undine?” Rand asked, visibly disturbed just from the holographic image.  

“Unfortunately, yes.” Misato replied.  “And to make matters worse, each Undine is about as tall as an Ogier – about three meters, or ten feet.  And they’re mind-readers.”  The look on Rand’s face changed from one of “mere” disturbance to utter horror.  To think that this creature would be able to probe into one’s thoughts, and could know everything about you in mere seconds.

“And… and the reason you’re showing me this is….?” Rand began, almost certainly knowing the answer to this question.

“The reason I’m showing you this is that, out of all the people in the Star League, you’re one of the few who can operate a newly-designed weapon capable of fighting the Undine, should they decide to openly attack.” Misato replied.  “And…” she began.  “If you’re wondering how we know that you’re one of the few people who can use this weapon, well…. I’m not at liberty to talk about that.  At least, not outside Nerv-HQ.” she said.  Not if I don’t want my head to be served to Commander Ikari on a plate.  Rand mentally went over what Misato said.  After a few seconds, he started chuckling.

“Well then, looks like I don’t really have much of a choice.” he said, a weak smile on his face.  “When do I start?”
 

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