The Aftermath of Betrayal is the first chapter of the first story arc of Attack on Titan: Retribution. It will be four or five parts long, as it is only a transition from the Raid in Stohess District chapter of The Female Titan arc of the canon Attack on Titan, to the next full chapter of Retribution.
Part 1: Change of the Guard
- Written: 6/25 - 6/27/14
Less than two weeks ago, the Survey Corps set out on the 57th expedition beyond the walls, in order to reach the basement of Eren Yeager's home in Shiganshina, hiding secrets that even Eren himself doesn't know. Once past the wall, the squads encountered many Titans, but none more powerful than the Female Titan, a shifter later discovered to be Annie Leonhart, the 4th highest graduating soldier of the 104th Trainees Squad. Eren Yeager, another shifter, upon returning to within the walls and heading to the Stohess district, helped setup a trap to capture Annie. It was too late; she suspected the trap and a fight began between the two shifters, resulting in large areas of Stohess being destroyed, and eventually in the capturing of Annie, albeit after she sealed herself in a crystal.
Now, with Erwin Smith, the former head of the Survey Corps, being questioned by the Military Police, Hange Zoë has taken over the corps, with the contents of Yeager's basement still a mystery.
Hange and Levi were walking down a long, dimly lit hallway, deep underground. Levi was a emotionless as ever on the outside, but on the inside, he was grief-ridden and regretful. He was walking gingerly, still recovering from the broken leg he suffered during his fight with the Female Titan.
It was weird to him, because unlike Eren, he didn't know Annie. She was just another enemy to him, but he recognized how hard it must have been for Eren and the others to come to terms with her betrayal.
There was no reason for Erwin's plan to have failed, he thought. Unless of course there are others like her within the Survey Corps.
He hoped that he was wrong. He was still too weak to fight another titan if one were to appear within the walls.
Hange was less depressed, hoping that she could find answers. She desperately wanted to know Annie's motives and if she had any accomplices. It's so important, she thought, that we need to find a way to get her out of that crystal. Without killing her of course.
She looked over at Levi and realized that he was stopped behind her. She turned forward and found the giant crystal sitting in front of her, with Annie inside of it. She smiled with a crazed look at looked at Annie inside the crystal, her eyes closed, and her state of consciousness unknown.
"Oh, I bet you can hear me you thieving girl. This is all some clever ruse, I'm sure of it," screamed Hanje. "I bet you can hear every word I'm saying."
She sat down on the ground.
"And I guess I'm going to sit here until you come out of that crystal."
Levi groaned softly so Hanje couldn't hear him.
"You've got other things to attend to," muttered Levi. "Commanding the Survey Corps, for one."
"Ah, I guess I do have to do that."
Levi grunted, a bit louder this time.
"Do you want me to watch her?"
Hanje popped up and turned at Levi. She grinned and put her hands on his shoulders, shaking him back and forth.
"You'd do that?"
"I can't go out and fight, not with my leg the way it is. I guess I'm stuck here."
He didn't want to do this. He really didn't want to do this, but there wasn't anything else for him to do. The doctors had told him that it would be about one to two weeks before he could put on 3D Maneuver Gear again. Yes, he had put it on for the trip back to Karanes, and while he was in Stohess, but that was before the doctors could get their hands on him. Even the best of the best need a break, they had told him. You can't always be the one to save the day, they had told him. It's all a bunch of bull crap, he thought, trying to keep his temper. And of course I have to guard her, even in a crystal, the girl who killed most of the few people I could call friends.
Hange started to walk away, but then stopped and turned around to instruct Levi.
"As long as someone is here, unless that person is her accomplice, I doubt she will try anything," she started. "She's a skillful warrior, in human or titan form, and she's smart enough to know not to try anything down here. If at anytime you need to leave, make sure someone else is watching her, and don't leave for more than a few minutes at a time. I'll send someone else down here to keep you company or cover for you it you need to leave."
He nodded, understanding his task. Hange turned around and walked back down the hallway, eventually heading up a large set of stairs, and arriving the Military Police's Headquarters. She was the Commander of the Survey Corps, and despite that Annie was technically the Military Police's responsibility, she was being guarded by members of the Survey Corps. Hange walked by Reiner and Jean as she headed for the exit of the headquarters.
"One of you needs to go down there," she said quickly and rather quietly as she exited the headquarters without stopping to instruct them further.
One of us? thought Jean. I really don't want to be the one who has to watch Annie. Not after what she's done.
"Don't worry, I'll head down there," said Reiner. Jean was lucky, he didn't even have to explain himself. He exited the headquarters to follow Hange, leaving Reiner alone with the Military Police. He went over to the door that Hange came out of and started to walk down the stairs towards the long hallway leading to Annie.
Alone in a small room, sitting upright at the side of a bed, Eren Yeager slammed his fist down onto a table, almost knocking it over. He couldn't stop himself from shaking. The nightmares wouldn't end. Three days ago, he had seen his father. Two nights ago, he had seen Annie. Last night, he had seen Armin and Mikasa; not only had he seen them, but he had seen their deaths. He felt regretful, guilt-ridden almost. If only he had trusted himself and attacked the Female Titan when he had the chance. He could have saved more lives, and maybe not have to worry about losing even more.
He was afraid of what he was becoming. A monster? Sure, some may call him that.
He knew, however, that he was a savage, only looking out for himself and those he cared about. He wanted to kill all the Titans for what they have done, but he couldn't bring himself to kill Annie, for reasons unknown. He had no doubt that she was the Female Titan. He witnessed her transform, and after the fact he saw her inside of it, but he was in shock. He didn't want to believe that it was her.
And he definitely didn't want to believe that she had help. How else would she have known about our trap for her? he thought.
Oluo. Gunther. Eld. Petra. They were his friends. He wasn't surprised that Levi had survived, and although he didn't show it, he knew that his survival with the other's deaths made both of them queasy.
But what about my father. What is in the damn basement? he thought. I need to know.
There was a knock at the door. Eren stood up and turned to the door, which opened itself to Hange waiting on the other side. Eren seemed to be surprised that Hange knew where he had been staying. He had been certain that only Mikasa, Armin, and Levi knew.
Levi probably told her, he pondered. Figures, she's his superior.
"Um, if you don't mind me asking, how'd you find me?"
"Jean told me," she replied. Jean? How did he know? Did Armin or Mikasa tell him? Levi doesn't seem like the kind of person who would've told Jean of all people. Where was Levi anyway? "We've got a lot to get done so we better get a move on."
Eren tried to relax himself as Jean arrived in the hallway and poked his head out from behind Hange, the latter not noticing his presence. She turned around to lead Eren to their destination and found Jean standing right in front of her.
"Oh, Jean, you followed? You must have sent Reiner to check on Levi?" assumed Hange.
Reiner, checking on Levi. It was really starting to bug him. Where was Levi?
"Well, like I said we need to get a lot done, so you two can follow me," continued Hange.
"And, uh, where exactly are we going?" asked Jean.
"We're going to find Commander Erwin," she replied.
Okay something's up. Why Erwin? Where was Levi? Now that he thought about it, he realized that Armin and Mikasa weren't in building. Did they leave without telling me?
"I'm not going anywhere until you tell me what the hell's going on? Why did Jean send Reiner to go with Levi? Why are we going to find Erwin? Where are Armin and Mikasa?" scream Eren angrily.
Hange stood across from Eren for a moment before looking at Jean next to her.
"Armin and Mikasa? I didn't know that they would be here, Jean only told me that you were here. I really don't know why you'd be in this torn up apartment building, though? Reiner went to guard Annie's crystal with Levi. And you should know why we're going to find Commander Erwin."
"But he's not the Commander of the Corps anymore!" complained Eren. Unknowing to Eren, he was basically still the Commander in everything except title.
"The government stripped him of his position after the conflict in Stohess. He's still involved with the Survey Corps, and he's thought of another plan," replied Hange again.
Okay, thought Eren. "But where is he?"
"Pay attention, Eren," interrupted Jean. "He's in the capital, being questioned by the government."
Mitras, the capital.
Erwin was sitting in a chair at the end of a long table. Members of the Military Police were sitting on the sides of the table, and Nile Dok, the head of the Military Police, was sitting at the far end of the table. He looked stressed and troubled, unsure of how to deal with Erwin's previous actions.
"Is there anything more you need to say, Erwin?" asked Nile.
No, unfortunately, thought Erwin. I wish there was more to it, but sadly...
There was a knock at the door. Again, a door opened, revealing Hange, Jean, and Eren on the other side.
We found him quickly, thought Eren.
"Er, no," responsed Erwin. He quickly turned around and saw the members of the Survey Corps standing in the doorway.
"Hey, this is a private hearing," raged Nile. "You can wait outside until we finish."
"Correct me if I'm wrong, but there are other Military Police soldiers at this table, why can't we sit in on this hearing, too?" argued Jean. I still don't even know why we're here, but it's worth arguing.
"Do you object, Commander?" asked Nile. Erwin silently shook his head 'no' as Hange, Jean, and Eren took three of the five remaining seats at the table. "I guess Yeager does have the right to know his own fate?"
Oh great, more arguing over me, just what I came here to see, thought Eren. I don't care what they say or what they do. If they make the wrong choice, it will only stop me for a little while. My destiny...
He stopped thinking for a moment, realizing that he hadn't heard himself use that word before. Destiny, he though. What is my destiny? Is it really to kill all of the Titans?
"Where were we, Erwin?" asked Nile.
"You asked me if I needed to add anything, and I said that I didn't."
I think it is. What else could it be? My destiny must be to kill Titans. I want to kill Titans.
"Well, then I think I'm close to reaching my decision," continued Nile.
But I'm a Titan, thought Eren. It doesn't make any sense. I know that I want to kill all of the Titans, but what if I was the last one? Would my job really be done if I was still alive? How do we know that just because I'm the only Titan left that more can't be created? Do I have to...? He gulped. No. That would make it useless
"But before that, I do have a question for Yeager. What do you think should happen?"
Why would I have to do that?
I would never...
That can't be my destiny
"Um, yes?" He had become lost in his thoughts.
"What do you think we should do?"
"Um, about what, sir?"
"About you and about the future of the Special Operations Squad and the Survey Corps in general."
Asking me? Did he really trust me? Less than three weeks ago he had wanted to dissect me.
"I think the Survey Corps should determine their own fate."
"And that is?" wondered Nile.
"We need to try again. We need to make it to Shiganshina. We need to make it to my father's cellar."
Nile took a deep breath. Perhaps I shouldn't have asked.
"Well, as much as that may do good for us, I don't think trying again so soon after the previous failure is a step in the right--"
"Actually, he's perfectly right," interjected Hange. "He just didn't know about the plan that Armin came up with."
"Which is?" asked Nile.
"After realizing that the main reason for the failure of the 57th Expedition, the Female Titan, was now captured, the Corps began to plan another expedition headed for Shiganshina. Armin, however, devised a two-part plan to ensure the expedition's safety. With the possibility of more shifter's threatening the next expedition, Armin decided to use Annie as bait, and to use her capturing as a means of baiting her allies within the Corps. Once her allies have jumped at the trap, the expedition will begin. We only know of two other potential shifters, but eliminating the threat of the Colossal and Armored Titans would give us a pretty big advantage," explained Hange.
"Sure, it's a long shot," added Jean. "But if it works, barring another Female Titan-like incident, we should be home free."
Ha, I doubt that'll work, thought Nile. They might end up distracting two shifters but they have no idea if there are any others. But... "Okay, it's your call. Do what you want with your own Corps and with Yeager."
"Oh, thank you--"
Hange was interrupted.
"But this is the last time that you will determine your own fate. If your Armin's plan fails, then Yeager must be handed over to the Military Police."
"Deal!" sputtered out Hange.
Sure, just sell me basically. Eren looked at Jean sitting next to him. He knew that Jean was upset about the potential consequences of the agreement.
Losing Yeager is not an option. Failing to get to Shiganshina, though, would undoubtedly be worse.
Moments after the meeting ended, Eren, now separated from Hange and Jean, began heading back to the run-down apartment building that he had stayed at the last three nights. He didn't know what the building was for, only that is was empty other than himself, Mikasa, and Armin, and that it was really sketchy. It's just a really crappy apartment building whose tenant was nice enough to rent to a couple of members of the Survey Corps while they were staying in the capital.
Normally, soldiers in the capital would just stay at the Military Police Headquarters, but the Survey Corps and Military Police weren't exactly on the best terms because of the events of the past few weeks. The apartment would have to do for now.
He arrived at the room he had been staying in with Armin. Mikasa's room was right across the hallway. Hearing footsteps outside, Mikasa opened the door to her room and saw Eren in front of her. He stopped and turned to see Mikasa.
"Where were you earlier when Hange and Jean came by?"
"I didn't hear anyone, and when I checked your room, you weren't there. Where did they take you?"
"We went to Erwin's hearing. We decided that we're going to try getting to Shiganshina again."
He thought about it for a moment. Why does it matter?
"Er, why does that matter?" he asked.
She responded quickly. "With Levi's broken leg and all..."
That is a major problem. Levi is the strongest of us all and he's out for two weeks.
"We can wait, I guess. It's not that big of a deal. What matters most is us doing everything we can to ensure the safety of the expedition." That sounded dumb. He didn't want to sound like he was the one making the decisions. Even though I kind of was the one making the decisions. Why do they suddenly trust me?
He remembered Nile telling him that this would be the last chance he got before being handed over to the Military Police. Of course, they don't.
"Where's Armin?" asked Eren.
"He went to the Military Police Headquarters to find Hange," responded Mikasa. "Don't ask me why, because he didn't tell me."
"He might be back soon, Hange was going to the HQ after the hearing." It's where they're keeping Annie, I know it is. They just don't trust me enough to tell me.
That word kept coming up. Trust. No one trusts me except for Mikasa and Armin. Not Hange. Not Erwin. Not Jean or any of the others.
It was awkward to stand in front of Mikasa with both of them completely silent.
"Eren, is something the matter?" asked Mikasa.
What about Levi? He once again was so surrounded in his thoughts that he didn't hear Mikasa's question. Does Levi trust me?
"Were you even listening? Something is wrong, isn't it?"
"No, everything's fine."
Why are you so stubborn? thought Mikasa. Sometimes you can just be on a roll, and other times you can be so ignorant. Why can't you just be like the rest of us? Did I really think that? Great, now I'm arguing with myself, probably just like Eren. I'm no better than he is.
"How long until we leave this apartment building?" asked Mikasa.
"We can leave as soon as Arwin comes back. We're done with the capital," responded Eren. I guess we've kind of outlasted our welcome.
Suddenly, Mikasa and Eren turned to see Armin arrive in the hallway with them. He had an alarmed look on his face.
"What's the matter?" asked Mikasa.
"We've got to go to the Military Police Headquarters, and now," responded Armin. "Something's happened to Annie's crystal."
Part 2: The Shifters Among Us
- Written: 6/30 -
Annie Leonhart was captured by the Military Police, despite being in crystal form, and Captain Levi of the Survey Corps was assigned to guard her due to him being unable to go beyond the walls because of his broken leg. Meanwhile, Nile Dok, the head of the Military Police, held a hearing with Erwin Smith, the former Commander of the Survey Corps, to determine the fate of future expeditions beyond the walls, and also of Eren Yeager. Eventually, Eren himself decided that another expedition was necessary now that the Female Titan was captured and being used as bait for her possible allies.
The trap seemed to have worked. As Armin informed Eren and Mikasa that something had happened to Annie's crystal, it became even more likely that the Female Titan was not the only shifter to worry about.