Misato's car pulls up in front of Juri's apartment building.
Juri (off): Goodnight, sempai.
Misato (off): Goodnight, Juri-chan.
Juri steps out of Misato's car. She leans inside the window. We see Misato in the backside, looking a little intoxicated. Kaji is actually the one in the driver's seat.
Juri to Kaji: Take care of her, Ryouji-san.
Misato: I'm fine, I'm fine!
Kaji to Juri: Don't worry.
Kaji drives off. Juri watches them go. She then turns and walks inside. We see her as she moves down the hallway, as she opens the door, and walks inside. Once inside, she just stands there in the dark, looking at something. View switches, and we see Utena asleep on the floor. Slowly pan right, where Rei is sleeping a few feet away. Both girls are still wearing their school uniforms. Focus on Juri for a moment as she sees this. As she shuts the door, Utena cracks an eye, then wakes up enough to sit up.
Same scene, new angle. We are now in the kitchen while Juri is preparing tea. After she's done, she pours some for both her and Utena. They are at the table together. Juri looks down the hall once, seeing Rei still asleep. As Juri sips her tea, Utena looks nervous.
Utena (sheepishly) to Juri: So...how was your day?
Scene switches: Juri is walking through NERV HQ. She meets Misato at the coffee machine in the break room. Misato looks like she had a late night.
Juri to Misato: Good morning, sempai.
Misato to Juri: Morning.
Misato fills her coffee cup, drinks it quickly. Juri watches her like she's crazy, after all, the coffee is fairly hot. Misato fills her cup again, and downs that one as well.
Juri to Misato: Late night?
Misato to Juri: Kaji-kun came over last night.
Juri to Misato: Oh...
Misato to Juri: What's so funny?
Juri to Misato: Just that you seem quite happy with his company, despite your initial protests when I met him at sea with you.
Misato to Juri: Is that a fact?
Juri to Misato: No, just an observation.
Misato leans against a vending machine.
Misato to Juri: There is that. Juri-chan?
Misato has not called Juri "chan" before that we have seen except for the previous scene. Since this occurs earlier chronologically, however, Juri seems a little off-guard at its use.
Juri to Misato: Sempai?
Misato to Juri: Have you ever been in love when you knew you shouldn't be, because there wasn't much chance of it working out?
Juri reflexively reaches up to her tunic, and rubs the space where her locket would be underneath it. Misato doesn't see this.
Juri to Misato: Yes, I have.
Misato now turns her head to look at Juri.
Misato to Juri: How did you handle it?
Juri to Misato: I...don't express myself well. I've never worked up the courage to tell that person.
Misato to Juri: Oh, you kept it a secret. But you can't know if it will work out unless you tell him.
Juri to Misato: Of course, sempai. What about you?
Misato to Juri: Hmm?
Juri to Misato: Have you told Kaji how you really feel?
Misato to Juri: Has it been that obvious?
Juri to Misato: Be thankful I'm not Ritsuko-san.
Misato to Juri: You didn't happen to see Shinji-kun last night, did you?
Switch scenes. We are now in a flashback within a flashback. Continuing from where Episode XI left off, we see Rei in the gown of the Rose Bride standing before Juri, Asuka, Utena, and Shinji.
Rei: Welcome, Duelists. I am the Rose Bride. Which ever of you is engaged to me shall have the power to bring to the world revolution.
Utena to Rei: Ayanami?
Juri to Utena: That something missing you mentioned earlier...I think it found us.
Asuka to Rei: Engaged to you? You mean, as in to be married? Why would I want to be engaged to a girl? In fact, isn't Ikari the only one here you should be talking to?
Rei to Asuka: You are all the chosen of End of the World.
Juri: End of the World?
Utena to Juri: You've heard of this?
Juri to Utena: End of the World is the same name given to the agency that locates potential pilots for the Evangelion project.
Shinji to Rei: You called us Duelists.
Rei to Shinji: Only by defeating the One Engaged in a duel can I be engaged to another.
Asuka to Rei: And the person that is engaged to you gets some kind of miracle power?
Utena to Rei: You mean...you become engaged by whomever wins a duel?
Shinji to Rei: Well, then you'll end up being engaged to Juri-san. None of us can beat her.
Utena to Rei: You don't have say in the matter?
Rei to Utena: I am the Rose Bride, Tenjou-sama. I must be engaged to whomever wins the duel.
Utena: I can't be a part of this. I can't support something that would rob Ayanami of her personal freedom.
Asuka to Utena: Not even for the power to revolutionize the world?
Shinji: I agree with Tenjou-san. It isn't right to decide one's life based on a duel.
Juri: I do, too.
Utena to Asuka: Don't tell me you're considering becoming a part of this, Soryu-san?
Asuka to Rei: We haven't fought any duels, though? Who is the One Engaged?
Utena to Asuka: Asuka!
Asuka grins mischievously at Utena.
Rei to Asuka: A duel must be fought to decide that.
Back to Juri and Misato in the break room. None of this was related to Misato.
Juri to Misato: I...was with Tenjou most of the evening. Did Shinji not return home?
Misato to Juri: I heard him leave a few minutes after getting home, and then I heard him coming back an hour or so later. Just curious if you knew where he went.
Misato (leaving): Probably went to see Shinohara-san. That Kaji's a bad influence on him.
Switch scenes, now in NERV HQ. Ritsuko, Kaji, Juri, and Misato are there along with Maya and Shigeru. This is the room where images are displayed on the floor. The Tenth Angel is in orbit, a satellite passing by. We see part of it separate, the image follows the separated piece as it plummets to the earth and detonates.
Ritsuko: It's using its AT-Field as a weapon. It's dropped two other pieces of itself thus far, each one closer to us than the previous one.
Maya: The Magi estimate the next one will hit the city directly.
Ritsuko: And that in all probability, it will drop its entire mass when it does. If it hits Tokyo-3, everything, including the Geo-Front, will be disintegrated.
Misato: How much time before the next pass over Japan?
Shigeru: Three hours.
Juri: That's not much time.
Maya: The JSSDF already attempted destroying it using Nē weaponry without effect. As long as it remains in orbit, there's little we can do it.
Misato: What do the Magi recommend?
Ritsuko: They unanimously recommend evacuation. You're in charge with the Commander Ikari and Vice-Commander Mikage gone.
Misato (after a pause): Evacuate the civilian population and all non-essential personnel.
Juri: We're not evacuating?
Switch scenes: same room, but Misato and Juri are now with Utena, Shinji, and Asuka.
Utena, Shinji, and Asuka: Catch it?
Asuka to Misato: Are you mad? Catch an object that is falling from orbit?
Juri raises an eyebrow at Misato, but says nothing.
Misato to Asuka: There's no other way. Its AT-Field is strong enough to withstand Nē bombing, so we can't attack it before it gets here, and there's no way we can get the Evangelions to it while it remains in orbit.
Asuka to Misato: This plan would take a miracle, Misato-san.
Juri looks at Asuka at those words, Asuka looks back to Juri and realizes what she said. This doesn't improve Asuka's enthusiasm.
Utena to Misato: I'm not exactly thrilled with this either. Isn't there some other way?
Shinji to Misato: That doesn't involve us trying to catch a falling bomb?
Misato to pilots: No, there isn't another way. Think of it this way. You three will be relatively safe in the Evangelions if things go wrong. The rest of us will be disintegrated, but you'll be fine.
Shinji to Misato: Oh...since you put it that way.
The pilots leave. Juri and Misato are alone.
Juri to Misato: That's your plan?
Misato to Juri: I don't need this from you, too. I already had an earful from Ritsuko and Kaji.
Switch scenes: Ritsuko is alone punching a keyboard in NERV control. Everyone else is gone. Juri walks up behind her.
Ritsuko turns her head.
Juri to Ritsuko: Hello, Akagi-san.
Ritsuko to Juri: She didn't listen to you, either?
Ritsuko smiles faintly.
Juri to Ritsuko: You mean Misato? No, she didn't. She said you gave her an earful as well.
Ritsuko to Juri: I believe my exact words were, "Don't make others suffer for your personal hatred."
Juri to Ritsuko: The pilots aren't very happy about her plan either. Misato's determined to stop this Angel rather than retreat.
Ritsuko leans back in her chair.
Ritsuko to Juri: She never told you, did she?
Juri to Ritsuko: Hmm?
Ritsuko to Juri: Misato is the only person to have seen the Second Impact and survived.
Switch scenes: We are again in a flashback within a flashback. Scientific installation, a wounded man is carrying a bleeding girl. Both of them are dressed in heavy coats. The man places the girl into a long cylinder. As we focus on the girl, we see it's a young Misato. Misato opens her eyes and looks up.
Young Misato: Father?
The cylinder's hatch closes. A titanic explosion follows, and we see the Second Impact occur, complete with the spreading light of the First Angel's wings. We then see the escape cylinder floating in the ocean. Its hatch opens, and the young Misato stands up and looks out. She is still bleeding and has one hand over her wound.
Back to Juri and Ritsuko.
Juri to Ritsuko: Her father died saving her?
Ritsuko to Juri: Misato is the only survivor of that expedition.
Juri gets a thoughtful expression.
Juri to Ritsuko: I knew that an Angel was responsible for the Second Impact, but I didn't realize that humanity knew there was an Angel in Antarctica before it happened.
Ritsuko pales; she has revealed more than Juri was ever really supposed to know.
Ritsuko to Juri: It's not very well known, so I wouldn't talk about it anymore than you have to. The public still believes it was a meteor.
Back to present time, which is of course Juri and Utena having tea.
Utena to Juri: Poor Misato. I didn't know that there was an expedition to Antarctica then, either. What happened next?
Juri to Utena: Well, when it was all over, Misato dragged Kaji, Ritsuko, and me out for drinks.
Utena to Juri: They let you drink?
Juri to Utena: Not anything with alcohol. Misato-san did though. Quite a bit. I don't know if it was a celebration that we didn't die, or that Ritsuko's words hit her harder than she'll admit, but it wasn't a sight I'd like to see again.
Juri finishes her cup, and looks back down the hall at the still sleeping Rei.
Juri to Utena: Engaged?
Utena blushes and buries her head on the table, nodding.
Juri to Utena: Your turn.
Switch scenes: Rei and Utena are in the Rose Garden. Rei is wearing her Ohtori uniform again and it is day time. Rei waters the flowers while the conversation happens.
Utena to Rei: I don't get it, Ayanami. Why do you have to be engaged to whomever wins one of these duels?
Rei to Utena: Because I am the Rose Bride, Tenjou-sama.
Utena to Rei: What does that mean, anyway? Rose Bride? You don't even like roses. And what's with the floating castle? And why did only those of us who are involved with the Evangelion program get letters? And who or what is End of the World?
Utena to Rei: Mysteries? You mean, you don't know either? Then why are you doing it?
Rei to Utena: Because I am the Rose Bride, Tenjou-sama.
When Rei says her next line, it is said with a cold certainty that stops Utena in her tracks.
Rei to Utena: I have nothing else but that.
Utena pauses, she's lost her train of thought. She looks down at her Rose Signet.
The door to the Rose Garden opens, and Touga walks in.
Touga: I thought I might find you here.
Utena and Rei both turn to face him.
Utena (terse) to Touga: What do you want?
Touga pauses with wide eyes, then leaves.
Utena looks back to Rei, who looks at her emotionlessly. She then looks back to the door, and then bolts off towards Touga.
Touga turns as Utena catches up to him outside the Garden.
Utena to Touga: I'm sorry. I didn't mean to snap at you. I have a lot on my mind right now.
Touga smiles faintly.
Touga to Utena: That's quite alright. I understand. If you're feeling particularly apologetic, perhaps you might feel up to joining me for dinner sometime?
Touga again looks every bit the Prince. Utena blushes. Her cell phone rings. She hastily pulls it from her book bag and answers it, embarrassed the whole time.
Utena (into phone): Hello? (pause)
Misato (off): Utena-san? We've just gone on alert. Please report in immediately.
Utena (into phone): Yes, ma'am.
Touga smiles at her.
Touga to Utena: The gallant lady Prince is off to save the village again. Ah, the call of duty.
Utena to Touga: You don't know the half of it. I'm sorry, but you're right, I do have to go.
Utena turns and heads off, waving to Rei who is standing in the doorway to the Rose Garden. Rei waves once back to her.
Touga to Utena: Be careful, Tenjou-san.
Touga turn to look at Rei, who is now looking at him. He smiles at her before walking off himself. Rei watches him leave blankly at first, then her eyes narrow.
Switch scenes: Asuka and Utena are changing into their Plug Suits.
Asuka: Catch it as it's falling. Craziest plan I've ever heard.
Utena to Asuka: Like you said, it sounds like we'll need a miracle this time.
Asuka to Utena: There's no such thing as miracles. Just ask Juri-san.
Asuka looks thoughtful.
Asuka to Utena: Unless you have the power to revolutionize the world.
Asuka turns to face Utena.
Asuka to Utena: How come three of the four people invited to compete for this Rei girl also happen to be girls? It's like you and this Prince hang-up of yours. Doesn't anyone know that girls are Princesses and that they get engaged to men?
Utena to Asuka: I don't think gender is the issue. I'm more interested in the fact that the four of us are all pilots. Or in Juri's case, was supposed to be one.
Asuka to Utena: There is that. Say, Tenjou-san?
Utena to Asuka: Hmm?
Asuka to Utena: What would you do with the power to revolutionize the world?
Utena to Asuka: Since I don't plan on dueling, I haven't given it any thought.
Asuka (coy) to Utena: Liar.
Utena to Asuka: I'm serious.
Asuka to Utena: So am I. Think about it. Is it coincidence that all the pilots were trained in sword fighting? Or that the people who located the pilots are those who invited us to duel for this miracle power? For whatever reason, we're meant to be doing this.
Utena to Asuka: Or that these creatures attacking us are called Angels. Angels are believed to be bringers of miracles. There does seem to be an awful lot of connections, doesn't there?
Utena looks firm.
Utena to Asuka: But I mean it, I don't want to duel if it means Ayanami loses her freedom, even if I could make miracles happen.
Switch scenes: Across Tokyo-3, all three Evangelion Units are positioned in a triangular fashion. We see each one at a "sprinter's start" stance. As Juri speaks, we see a diagram of Tokyo-3 indicating their positioning, and also the faces of all three pilots.
Juri (off): We've placed each of you for the maximum coverage allotted for the Eva's range, and time to impact once the Angel is in visual range.
Brief shot of Misato, Juri, Kaji, Shigeru, Maya and Ritsuko in the control room.
Misato: Once it enters the atmosphere, you'll be guided by the Magi until it reaches one-thousand feet. Then you're on your own.
Another shot of all three Evangelions in their respective positions.
Asuka (in Entry Plug of Unit 02): We should have refused to do this.
Shinji (in Entry Plug of Unit 01): We could have. We volunteered, remember? This isn't an official operation.
In the control room:
Asuka (on monitor) to Shinji (on monitor) and Utena (on monitor): I think this silly Prince idea is starting to rub off on me. Curses to you both.
Misato looks at Juri, Kaji, and Ritsuko.
Misato: Do you ever get the impression we're missing out on something?
Kaji and Ritsuko both nod.
Asuka (on monitor): And to you, too, Arisugawa-sempai!
Maya: Target has entered the atmosphere!
We see the Tenth Angel beginning to plummet towards Tokyo-3.
The three Evangelion Units race off. Shots of Angel falling, shots of Evas running. Units 00 and 01 get there about the same time. Their AT-Fields spring to life, catching the Angel just as it is about to crush them.
Shinji (in Entry Plug of Unit 01): Asuka, hurry!
Unit 02 gets there, takes out its Progressive Knife, cuts through the Angel's AT-Field, then stabs the Angel in a "one-two" swipe. The Angel explodes.
Back in the control room, after the explosion clears, Misato looks very excited.
Misato: All right! You did it!
She turns to the Kaji, Juri, and Ritsuko.
Misato: We should celebrate this one. We just witnessed a miracle, eh, Juri-san?
Juri manages to smile, just barely.
Switch scenes: Utena and Asuka are changing back into their normal clothes. Utena has already changed and is leaving.
Utena to Asuka: See you later, Asuka-san.
Asuka to Utena: Later.
Asuka opens the locker where her bag and clothes are kept. On the inside of the door is another letter sealed with a wax rose sigil. She pops it open and reads it, smiling when she puts it down.
Asuka: Oh really?
Switch scenes: Utena and Rei are watching people begin to return to Tokyo-3 from one of the Ohtori hillsides. The hill on the far side of the city where the battle just occurred is busy with NERV clean-up people. Asuka approaches from behind them.
Asuka to Utena: Fourth Children!
Asuka hands her a white rose.
Asuka to Utena: I challenge you to a duel.
Utena to Asuka: What? No! I already told you I'm not dueling!
Rei looks at Utena a little sadly. This is really the first time we've seen Rei express that emotion, and Utena doesn't see it.
Asuka to Utena: Are you refusing my challenge?
Utena to Asuka: Of course I'm refusing it!
Asuka stands up straight.
Asuka to Rei: Come along then, Rose Bride.
Asuka begins walking off. Rei looks at Utena once, and then follows Asuka. Utena blinks.
Utena: Ayanami? Wait! What just happened here?
Asuka turns back to Utena.
Asuka to Utena: If the Rose Bride isn't engaged, then a duel must be fought to determine who will be the One Engaged. If the duel is refused, the challenging duelist becomes the One Engaged by default.
Utena to Rei: What? Is this true?
Rei looks at Utena blankly.
Rei to Utena: It is true, Fourth Children.
Rei has never called her this before. Utena's eyes grow very wide as she realizes what is happening. She looks down, clenching her hand into a very tight fist.
Utena to Rei: So, if I accept this challenge, you won't be engaged to her?
Rei to Utena: The challenge has been refused already.
Utena grits her teeth, looking up at Asuka.
Utena (low in her throat) to Asuka: I challenge you to a duel, Second Children.
Switch scenes: We are now in Dueling Arena. Utena, Rei, and Asuka are there. Utena is holding what looks to be a rapier from fencing class. Asuka carries no sword. Rei is in the Rose Bride dress. She walks over and pins a rose first to Asuka's breast, then to Utena's. Utena looks down.
Utena to Rei: What's this?
Rei to Utena: If the rose is cut from your breast, you lose the duel.
Utena looks over to Asuka.
Utena to Asuka: You don't have a sword?
Asuka to Utena: No, I do. Just wait.
Rei walks over to Asuka. Rei cups her hands near her heart, and the blue globe of light begins to shine.
Rei: Oh roses of the noble castle...
Both Asuka and Utena look amazed at this. Rei bends backwards, the light getting brighter.
Rei: Power of Dios that sleeps within me...
Asuka catches Rei, holding her up.
Rei: Harken unto thy master and reveal to us...
The hilt of the Sword of Dios slides out from Rei's bosom. Asuka grasps it and pulls it out smoothly.
Asuka: The power to bring to the world revolution!
Asuka stands there, holding the Sword of Dios in amazement.
Asuka: I knew that was supposed to happen, but it's still a shock to actually see.
Utena: What is that?
Asuka to Utena: The Sword of Dios...the symbol of the One Engaged.
Utena to Asuka: How did you know all this?
Asuka smiles. Without answering, she releases Rei and springs at Utena. The clashing of swords begins along with the first strains of "When? Where? Who? Which?"
Asuka to Utena: Now do you believe? Now do you understand? This is what we are supposed to do!
Utena to Asuka: Have you lost your mind, Asuka?
Asuka is pressing her attack. Utena is on the defensive.
Asuka to Utena: Me? You're the one who is denying the obvious. The spiral stair leading to the Arena, the castle above us, the Sword of Dios. Don't you get it? Everything the letters have said has been true.
Asuka swipes at Utena's rose, Utena leaps back and out of the way.
Asuka to Utena: One of us has to gain the power to revolutionize the world! All of this is happening for a reason!
Utena to Asuka: You don't know that! We don't even know what this power is!
Asuka again presses her attack; Utena is again defending. Their blades meet, Asuka pressing down upon Utena's defense.
Asuka to Utena: If you don't want it, then why are you here right now?
Utena spares a moment to look over a Rei, who watches the entire duel blankly, almost unaware that it's even happening. That's apparently all the reason Utena needs; she finds some surge of strength to push Asuka off of her. Asuka stumbles back. Not expecting that to happen, her guard is down and with a quick swipe of Utena's blade, Asuka's rose is perforated. The Sword of Dios disappears from Asuka's hand.
Asuka looks down at her empty hand, then up to Utena, who still has her rose.
Asuka (in shock): You beat me...you actually beat me...
Back to present time. Juri and Utena are both looking down the hall at Rei.
Juri to Utena: I'm surprised you beat her, myself.
Utena to Juri: To tell you the truth, so am I.
Utena rises and heads off towards her bedroom.
Utena (leaving): I don't know which of us had the worse day.
Utena closes her door. Juri turns off the lights and goes into her room, closing her door. Down the hall, Rei opens her eyes as though she hasn't been asleep at all. Her expression is still blank.