Nova Verno Fabula

I approach you with good thought, Ohrmazd, so that you may grant me the blessing of two existences

Date: 3/27/2031

Title: Interview with Major Katerina Rasmussen, post-combat; subject: AMERATAT

Interviewer: Dr. Siobhan L. Pulver, Chief Psychologist, Nerv Zurich


Pulver: Hello Major, congratulations on your promotion.

Rasmussen: Thank you, Doctor.

P: It’s been a while since I’ve last seen you. Several months, I believe. Anything in particular you’d like to speak about.

R: No. Thank you. I am not here of my own volition.

P: Yes, I know Major; you’re here because I put in a formal request for your attendance. As unpleasant as you may find this, it is essential to good mental health on your part, and for us as a whole. We have to make sure that our forces are in top condition every day, for whatever may happen.

R: [No response given]

P: Let’s begin with a simple one, hm? Yes, good. How is it living with the pilots?

R: They are well-behaved, at least. No arguments, so far. No mess. Very well behaved. Hunter seems to be taking charge of chores, mostly, and Caitlin is—was doing a lot of cooking. She had seemed to take a liking to it.

P: And Aleksei?

R: Shows little personal motivation to assist other people. Except to gain something for himself, of course. I scratch your back, you scratch mine – that sort of thing. Excellent pilot. Bad soldier.

P: Mm-hm. Let’s talk about this last battle. Do you mind telling me about that?

R: Is this a classified record.

P: You know it is, Major.

R: I have to ask. And no, I do not mind. There needs to be records of what happened. Caitlin’s de—loss will be swept into secrecy, otherwise.

[Sounds of movement.]

P: I wasn’t… I wasn’t aware that she had…

R: Yes. Yes she did.

P: I… see. I’m so sorry. It must be hard—

R: [Interrupting] Yes, extremely. I want you to know what happened.

P: Please, continue.

R: We found the kids – well, the pilots – actually, fuck it, yeah; they’re just kids. Found them in the Graveyard, down past Terminal Dogma. We still don’t really know how they got down there, supposedly all the tapes were degraded during the times of their exploration. We strongly suspect outside help allowed them to past so quickly through the A-wing and into the direct-down elevators. That’s not even mentioning the redundant securities they bypassed. [A sigh is given] The alerts rang just as we got them out into the Commons Wing. Ameratat had been sighted.

It passed the Cham Absolute Defense line with little to no resistance. Well, of course those conventional forces threw everything they had at it, those UN generals love to play with their little toys. We fielded the Angels through the electro-rail lines south, disembarking them in a triangulation pincer formation in the hills directly east of the God.

[Bitter laughter]

Some good that did. It all went to shit.

Ameratat was completely impervious to all convention forces, including ICBM bombardment, and it was only after several bursts of sustained Pallet fire from Ramiel did Cassiel manage to disrupt its Anima field enough to allow a few rounds to pass through – both Ramiel and Kushiel had a few solid hits – but, of course, no discernible effect.

Caitlin abandoned her Pallet Rifle at her embarkation point, drawing her progressive knife and moving to support Cassiel in melee range. They crossed the river together, but Cassiel’s Anima-acceleration allowed him to reach the target a few moments before Kushiel. That was where common sense just fucking went out the window. It completely ignored Cassiel. M8 Handcannon, Progressive knife — hell, Hunter even headbutted the thing — all it did was throw him back with its Anima field. Forty-five civilians died when he rolled through a semi-evacuated suburb. Just something else we can never tell them.

Speaking of field; strongest we’ve ever measured. Incredible power from that black fucking box. Tossed Cassiel around like he was made of paper. Then Kushiel comes in, gets to around 200 meters…

[27 seconds of heavy breathing]

It split a bit of itself off. A little sliver, stretching the length of itself. We’ve done some measurements: 3.5 microns in width. We still don’t know what it was made it. It slivered itself, this wide, thin sliver of blackness. Did I mention the snow? Observation could hardly see a thing. And you know how shaky the cameras on the headmounts of the Angels’ are.

This thing just cuts the air, straight at Kushiel. Didn’t even have time to raise her knife. I remember the sound, it was like meat being cut. Just a like a fucking butcher and meat. Snap. [Rasmussen snaps her fingers]

Kushiel is beheaded, micro-edged blade cut through 37,000 layers of quantum-laced armor like they weren’t even there. Titanium-reinforced spinal column, ablative neurofibres… nothing. Fucking nothing. I don’t know how Caitlin took it, but she shrugged it off. She stayed conscious through the whole ordeal.

Kushiel stays standing, just like we designed it to. I made the decision to keep her plug within the Unit; can you imagine ejecting it then? Can you imagine? She would have been crushed – Cassiel was getting blown all over the place by that thing’s Anima field. I can’t imagine how that felt for Hunter. Then the God… it just kept going. It cut her right in half, bisected her directly along the meridian-line. The control… it was terrible. Incredible power.

Kushiel fell, then. In two parts. I didn’t realize how… meaty they were in the interior. Guts. Other things. Fuck, I’m not a doctor. I have no idea. They were there. And the entry plug was exposed, open to the air. Scraped, punctured, LCL spewing to the snow, but there it lay, Caitlin inside. We lost contact with the interior of the plug.

Cassiel was too far away to help. Just… he was too far. He tried so hard for her. Oh, Hunter. He tried so hard. Poor Caitlin. Poor children.

Caitlin left her plug to face the God. I want people to know that. Her bravery in the face of death is… she showed me how strong humanity can be. She did not go darkly into the night.

It annihilated her, utterly. And then it started in on the remains of her Angel. Several ten thousand liters of blood… I can’t describe the destruction, but it was nothing compared to seeing Caitlin disappear underneath that alien’s blade.

I ordered Cassiel and Ramiel to quit the field. Both refused. I repeated the command; both refused. It was the first time Hunter has disobeyed a direct order of mine. I didn’t realize until later… [16 seconds of silence] All we could hear from Hunter’s plug was screaming. His Anima field exploded, fluctuated; Red-type directly to Green. Unprecedented. We’re still developing theoretical data from the measurements.

His shoulder-wings were immediately destroyed, his Anima field breaking through his armor and freeing his… the Angel’s true form. Wings of light and fire, he arose on those wings to the surmount of the God. Lancing claws of light, he tore through it. Even as the God ruined Kushiel below, Cassiel rent the black form above.

The restrictive armor finally broke, and Cassiel roared to the heavens. I didn’t know… we didn’t know that it was possible for it to do that. We didn’t know.

[109 seconds of silence]

Cassiel tore the God in two parts. Literally a quarter of the thing’s size, Cassiel tore it in two parts. And then it ate the core, the heart of a God. We have no accurate projections about what that means. It consumed part of something not of this world, and then—

Dr. Pulver; Cassiel walked home, unpowered. More than 40 kilometers, it walked unpowered, never mind the normal 1 minute reactor battery limit. It walked home, tore open a hatch, and then docked itself in the Geofront, and did so all while we could hear Hunter… we could hear him screaming in the Entry Plug.

[Rasmussen stands at this point]

Doctor. I have to visit my pilots. Have a good day.

Pulver: And what of Caitlin?

Rasmussen: We’re decanting her now. She’ll be awake by the time the boys and I return from the UK.

Pulver: Decanting?

Rasmussen: Classified, doctor. As is this entire conversation. This never happened, and you don’t remember a thing. Except for one thing:

Caitlin was brave.