Thousand Shinji (NGE crossover)

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Academia Nut
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Thousand Shinji (NGE crossover)

Post by Academia Nut » 2007-12-03 02:25am

I would like to thank (blame) the following authors for putting a Neon Genesis Evangelion bug in me.

Chris O'Farrel, for his phenomenal work Once More With Feeling
Charles Bhepin, for being fucking awesome with Shinji and Warhammer 40k
John Biles, for slowly yet surely kicking so much eldritch monstrosity ass with Children of an Elder God

So now I present to you Thousand Shinji, which features Shinji not as an supremely confident and competent bad ass, but as a supremely confident and competent manipulative asshole who inherited all the worst qualities of his father and had some mentoring along the way, which is why this is a crossover and not just a straight AU. Why? Because I'm whacky that way, that's why.


His name was Shinji Ikari, and he was a quiet, unassuming young man, who kept to himself, seemingly uninterested in the affairs of the world and the people in it around him. He often seemed to lack a spine, and would bend to the whims of anyone more powerful than he, lacking any self confidence or respect. He simply existed, ignorant of others, and they in turn ignorant of him.

It was a lie.

At best, Shinji found the mewling morons about him valuable only as clay in need of moulding at his whims, at worst he despised them for the way they looked down upon him, the way they refused to see beyond the superficial and acknowledge the obvious truth of his supremacy. Shinji only hid his passions and full intellect because it was useful to hide behind a mask. Useful in that the morons could not see that it was not the edge of the typhoon they should fear but the eye.

A word here, a subtle expression there, all little things, like the flapping of the wings of a butterfly, and Shinji would sow the wind so as to reap the whirlwind, cackling within over the destruction of the fools about him. Fortunes rose and fell at his whims, pathetic juvenile relationships engineered and demolished as he saw fit. He was the puppet master, and none saw the strings that bound their motions to him.

Still, his own antipathy for the children around him meant that he only indulged in such masterminding when he sought revenge… or practice. Despite the often long tracks of boredom as his teachers blathered on, he refused to indulge in such pettiness if it did not serve him, which it rarely would. Too much chaos and sooner or later some of the brighter of the idiots would notice that he was the one who always seemed unscathed by the drama swirling about him. Attention from these weak willed fools was not what he sought, was in fact the last thing he sought, for attention brought unwanted questions.

Questions his sensei would not want raised.

Aside from the utility of appearing weak that made others misjudge his true strengths, his carefully cultivated aura of weakness drove others from him, and let him spend large amounts of time “alone” without anyone, even his guardians, asking twice about it. His cello playing was a useful cover, allowing him to wander off into the wilderness of the hills to “practice” without “disturbing” others.

Had they actually known what he was doing they probably would have bombed the area with N2 mines until there was nothing left.

Still, for all his internal self-confidence, he was shaken by current developments, the most recent being the note he had received written by his father’s hand bearing a single word: “Come.”

The brusqueness of the letter infuriated Shinji, mostly because he knew that there were forces at work here that he had no knowledge of, and he suspected that this summons could not be refused. It was not a request, it was a demand. His father had the power at the moment, and Shinji was not foolish enough to defy such power. Yet. When he had greater understanding, greater power, then he would crush the bastard. Crush him for abandoning him, for finding him useless up until this moment.

But he would discuss this first with his sensei.

So he waited quietly at the entrance to an abandoned mining complex, his legs tucked beneath him in a lotus position, for his sensei to see fit to make an appearance. He did not have long to wait before he felt the old man’s eyes upon him.

This was the other thing that had been troubling him of late, for he had come to know and understand that his sensei was dying, and had been since his arrival in this place. It had only been recently that it had become noticeable though, although once he realized this simple reflection on the time they had been together over the years made it clear that the one being he could be said to care about was slipping away and had been since before their first meeting.

Bitterly so, Shinji also knew that his sensei was dying for his benefit, although Shinji gladly would have reversed the roles if he could, although he knew that such things were not possible. If they were, his sensei would have already suggested it.

Thus neither one of them had broached the subject, seeing it as a waste of already precious and fleeting time.

Shinji turned his head and immediately hid his shock behind the masks he wore. Today would be the day to talk of such things. The acceleration of his sensei’s condition had just taken a decided turn for the worse in the two days since they had last met.

Bowing his head respectfully, Shinji says, “Sensei, I came to you with news, but I can see that we both have things to share with the other.”

“Indeed,” his sensei rasped, his ancient voice having grown rough and ragged, the innate noble presence in it eroding away but still present.

“Would you prefer I report to you first, or tell your tale?” Shinji asks respectfully.

There is a long pause before his sensei hisses out, “There is little for me to tell. This lost, forgotten realm has sapped at my strength since my arrival here. With so few as talented as you, I have had little strength to draw upon, so I have been forced to burn my own just to survive.”

“And to train me,” Shinji replies coldly, knowing it is true.

“I have railed against my own doom for a long time, and I still refuse to accept it quietly, but when I found you I knew that even if you were not my salvation, then by imparting my wisdom and knowledge to you, a part of me would always live on. As would my brothers,” his sensei says quietly before pulling out the deceptively fragile looking jars he carries on him at all times and placing them in front of Shinji.

Shinji regarded them coldly before saying, “They are…”

“Bound to you now,” his sensei interrupts. “Whether my own declining strength or the fact that in your training they have latched on to you as a new source of sustenance, they will no longer hear my summons. They are yours and yours only to command now Shinji, to protect and be protected.”

Bowing deeply in respect, Shinji says, “Then I shall ensure to take good care of them sensei.”

“Then that is all that needs be said about this matter,” the old man replies dismissively. “What news do you have to report?”

“My father has summoned for me. As much as I dislike him, it is wiser to bow to the wind when you know that it will topple you if you resist. So I must leave this place, for how long I do not know, but I can see now that this will probably be our last meeting,” Shinji explains.

There is a short, comfortable pause before Shinji says almost happily, “There are no coincidences.”

His sensei eyes him wearily for a moment before announcing too in an almost happy tone, “So this is the final part of the fate my Lord has seen fit for me. I am too old to feel bitter at this point, only the satisfaction at having played my part well. I hope.”

Rising to his feet, his antediluvian joints creaking in protest, the old man says, “Then let this parting be a sweet one, the parting of a teacher who no longer has anything to teach a student.”

Shaking his head ruefully, Shinji also rises and says, “That is a bald faced lie and I am disappointed in you sensei for making it so obvious.”

Shrugging, the old man says, “I know,” before unleashing a torrent of crackling blue lighting from his fingertips. Catching the blast of conjured energy with a flick of his own hand, Shinji grounds the blast and with a twitch of his other hand summons the “walking stick” to him.

Drawing his own weapon, his sensei thumbs it to life, filling the antechamber of the mines with a throaty growl. Raising an eyebrow, Shinji questions the wisdom of such an act while simultaneously swatting aside the mental constructs sent his way in the astral plane.

Shinji knew that even with his sensei in such a deteriorated state he was no match in physical or psychic combat. Absolute victory was impossible. Still they fought, for neither one of them would allow Shinji to use that as an excuse. For years they had relentlessly drilled, seeking a level of perfection that both knew it was impossible for Shinji to achieve.

But if a man could not grasp beyond his reach, then what good was life?

Lightning and telekinetic blasts ripped between the two of them as they feinted and parried, Shinji’s solid metal staff clanging off his sensei’s armour while he dodged the maiming sent his way. Already Shinji could have slain a dozen men a hundred times over each, but his blows were as a babe’s wailings against his sensei.

Normally they would have stopped at this point, but as they continued, it sank in that his sensei had meant what he had said. Shinji would have to win this impossible fight to prove his worth.

Shrugging, Shinji spat forth a word that wasn’t a word, wasn’t even a proper sound, while telekinetically drawing the four jars to him. Their lids flew off and in an instant four whirlwinds of dust formed between him, solidifying into four armoured forms that towered as tall as his sensei, their blue and gold bulks forming an implacable, deadly wall between the two combatants, levelling their weapons at Shinji’s sensei.

For just the briefest moments his sensei knew hurt before he burst out laughing and said, “Oh Shinji, I can see that you truly have taken my lessons to heart! Such exquisite treachery!”

Shrugging without dropping his guard, Shinji says, “If they are truly mine then they are my weapons to wield as I see fit, including against you.”

Deactivating the whirring teeth of his axe, his sensei salutes and says, “Very good. Find another master now that our time is over.”

Nodding, Shinji says, “It would shame your honour if I did not seek to better myself, to change for the better.”

Bowing to one another, not another word was exchanged by the two as his sensei receded back into the mine, to make it his tomb. Shinji gathered his things and kept his guards with him until he was well away from the mine, knowing that treachery was part of his lessons. Only when there was a significant danger of someone seeing his otherworldly guardians did Shinji return them to their slumber within their jars.

Arriving at the home of his guardians, he sighed and wondered what exactly he would pack to take with him.

At the very depths of the mine, where the walls grew unstable, Khnemu, Sorcerer of the Thousand Sons, felt the last of his energy begin to slip away like the last grain of sand circling about the cusp of an hourglass. Ten years he had lasted in this gods-forsaken place where his brothers had been killed almost instantly upon arrival.

For ten thousand years he had kept his four brothers, brothers in blood and in battle, at his side, having modified the spell of Ahriman specifically for those four so that they would ever be with him. The cost had been that they drew energy from him, but with Chaos anything is possible.

Including for his ship to become lost in the Warp and actually end up outside the Warp. Upon re-entry into normal space, the other members of the Thousand Sons had dropped dead; their empty armour now truly empty, their souls torn from them as the power they fed on was nowhere to be found.

Khnemu has calmly marched out of the disintegrating ship, his brothers at his side while the daemons bound to the machines screamed and thrashed as their essence began to evaporate into the void, the five of them gunning down any foolish enough to stand in their way. His was the only escape pod to make it away from the doomed ship.

The price he had paid had been significant though, having to draw upon his own reserves of strength instead of the Warp to fuel his brothers. It had been terrifying, but Khnemu was no follower of Nurgle to give into despair so readily. By the time he had managed to haul himself out of the wine-dark sea of this backwards world, he was nearly dead, his energy reserves depleted.

And in the days of quiet contemplation, he knew that whether he was now, he was beyond the gods. This was a place where even the power of Tzeentch could not reach. And yet, in the still void where psykers and daemons should not, could not, exist, Khnemu had found a sad boy who shone brighter than the beacon of the accursed Corpse God, even when his powers were underdeveloped and locked away behind a thousand barriers. Perhaps he shone so bright because he was the only psychic being that could be found, but about his presence, Khnemu could draw power, if only weakly.

At first he attempted to ensorcell the boy, but he was still weak and the boy’s mind was more resistant to such things than anticipated. He got far enough to convince the boy not to run, and instead chose to befriend the child, to share his secrets and pain. His mother dead and his father having abandoned him, he was ripe for taking under the wing.

As the years past, Khnemu trained the boy in the ways of sorcery and Chaos. As the boy’s power grew, so too could Khnemu draw more strength from him, but it was not enough, never enough. Ten thousand years of service to Tzeentch had altered Khnemu, and without the Warp, his body was slowly deteriorating. The only way to draw enough power to sustain him was to teach the boy more potent and complex arts, which required training that sapped his reserves.

The boy would have made an incredible addition to the Thousand Sons, but Khnemu knew that in the race between the boy unlocking more power and Khnemu facing his death, he had long since known the outcome. Still, was Tzeentch not the God of Change, of hope? Khnemu refused to surrender quietly.

Slowly his breathing faded and his hearts slowed, the last grain of sand suspended like a fly caught in amber across a precipice as he slipped into a coma, a hibernation that might give Shinji enough time to fully awaken his true potential. Khnemu refused to believe he had been abandoned, and in fact suspected that he had been sent here to train Shinji.

So that one day he might lead Tzeentch to this dead zone to claim what was rightfully His. All would be His.

Shinji stood before a phone with an annoyed look on his face. Fat lot of good it did him to try and find a shelter when the damn emergency broadcast system refused to cooperate and actually tell him something useful, like where he could find a shelter. Whatever emergency had left this area had also evacuated the brains of whoever was in charge of organization.

Growling in frustration, he took out the only remotely useful communiqué he had received since his father had sent him his summons, a picture of a shameless woman drawing attention to her considerable feminine assets. What was she to think this would be appropriate for a boy his age, a follower of Slaanesh?

It was at that point that he felt a presence prickling at his senses. Turning his head about like a tank turret, he caught a glimpse of a strange girl with pale, almost luminescent white skin, blue hair, and red eyes staring at him, and he immediately knew that he was seeing an astral construct. Before he could formulate his own attack though, the phantom vanished to be replaced by an Earth-shaking tremor.

A presence so large that he had not noticed it up until this point made itself known in his mind, and Shinji knew fear for a moment before he quashed it. Fear was the mind killer, and the mind was the tool Shinji had honed for a decade to be his most potent weapon. His first instinct was to reach towards the sealed canopic jars sitting in his bag, but he quickly suppressed it. He still did not know what this enemy was, and it would not due to reveal his power unless it was truly necessary.

As the ground continued to shake, the roar of jets became apparent, several gunships backing into view with an enormous creature following behind almost childishly. Shinji’s eyes immediately narrowed and he whispered, “Daemon” in a curse. Such a monstrosity was far too powerful for him, for even his sensei. To summon his guardians now would be futile.

As expected, as the missiles roared overhead and impacted, they failed to do anything to the plague-mask beast. An enormous glowing battering ram shot out from the thing’s arm and swatted one of the ships out of the sky, causing it to crash hard near Shinji. With an unearthly glow the daemon took to the air and landed with both feet on the fallen craft, igniting its fuel and unexploded ordnance in an orange fireball. Shinji instinctively threw up a telekinetic barrier to shield himself from the concussion and shrapnel, but he quickly dropped it as a blue sports car screeched to a halt between him and the daemon.

“Get in!” A female voice shouted out, and Shinji immediately threw himself into the car, more concerned with getting away from the ongoing battle than his own humility at his awkward landing. Putting the pedal to the metal, the woman took off as quickly as she arrived.

Misato noted with a raised eyebrow the loud clank as the boy dumped his walking stick, although since it was nearly as tall as him it was probably better considered a staff, in the back so that he had some room to move to get into the seat properly and restrain himself.

“Ah, Katsuragi-san…” Shinji began.

“Call me Misato,” she said with a smile that made Shinji wince as she had turned away from the road to look at him.

“Ah, Misato-san, I was going to say… you’re late,” Shinji said with some annoyance. If she had arrived on time the whole near death thing probably could have been avoided, and people who endangered his life tended to annoy him.

Misato returned his annoyed look before it broke down into something more sheepish and she said, “We weren’t expecting the Angel to attack when we scheduled to pick you up, so I got stuck in evacuation traffic.”

Taking this in, Shinji lightly probed the surface of her mind and found that she was more or less telling the truth. He got the niggling feeling that she might have been running late anyway, but if he probed deeper she would probably notice and comment. Plus distracting her from the road would be a bad thing.

Nodding, Shinji says, “Okay, apology accepted Misato-san.”

For just a moment Misato wondered whether or not she should be the one asking for an apology over the whole matter, but she let it drop. Shinji was a bit of a weird kid; certainly different from the reports on him she had been forwarded about how he behaved in school. She had been expecting someone significantly meeker, more reserved, although after his annoyed outburst he seemed to quiet up considerably, lost in thought gazing out at the aerial battle taking place far too close for comfort even as they retreated away from the war zone.

Near death experiences had a way of bringing out unexpected character traits in people. Misato definitely knew that.

Of course, unbeknownst to her, Shinji was actually examining the battlefield with his mind, keeping his probes away from the daemon, which radiated malevolence. But it was… unrefined, almost childish in its emotions. With a snap of his head, Shinji suddenly felt a spike of fear rush through the pilots as they receive a very emphatic retreat order.

Misato had just stopped the car and pulled out a pair of binoculars to get a look at the battle when Shinji grabbed and hauled her down, crying out, “Get down!” just as the gunships started to fly away.

An instant before Misato could get out an indignant remark the sky flashed white with the dawning of a second sun, and she reversed her struggle so as to protect Shinji where before she had been trying to get out of his grip. He was actually surprisingly strong for his size, his muscles like tightly wound steel cables.

With Misato’s view averted elsewhere, Shinji also managed to erect a telekinetic barrier against the onrushing shockwave threatening to crush them. The car rocked up on two wheels as Shinji’s barrier failed after a second, but it did not roll, instead landing with a suspension punishing lurch.

“How did you…” Misato began questioningly.

Shrugging, Shinji said, “I saw the gunships start to pull away all at once. I figured that meant something big was coming.”

It was a passable lie, and in the chaos of the moment, Misato bought it fully. He had been paying more attention to the battle than her, and he definitely had the look about him of a quiet, sensitive type likely to notice subtle things like that. He certainly had the lineage for the brains to put two and two together.

“Come on, we’re going to meet your father,” Misato said while starting the car back up.

Several hours later, Shinji could only stare in wonder at what was before him. A Titan. They had built a gods-damned Titan. A Daemon-Titan too by the feelings radiating off the soul… or was it souls… he felt trapped within. It was current restrained and inert, requiring a princeps for activation. Shinji could tell from the surface thoughts of Dr. Akagi that they were expecting him to pilot this thing.

His probes also detected another mind watching from above.

He swivelled his head up and looked at a darkened observation window to say coldly, “Hello father,” just a fraction of a second before the lights came on and his father could address him. Shinji realized he was in something of a precarious position. His carefully crafted mask of weakness would crumble if he pushed too hard, but he was loathe to give any more ground than was necessary to the man who thought him useless.

Gendo for his part was caught off-guard, but expertly suppressed the emotion. He had wanted to get the drop on his son, but the moment had been snatched from him before he could say anything. He might have the higher ground, but Shinji had the upper hand at the moment.

“Hello Shinji,” Gendo replied just as coldly, the two women on the catwalk shivering slightly at the chill passing between the two. The slight temperature drop was also caused by Shinji drawing extra energy from his surroundings to throw a minor curse at his father. It was petty but worth it.

Gendo for his part showed incredible resolve not to show any weakness even as he was suddenly overcome by the feeling of thousands of ants crawling beneath his skin. He opened his mouth to speak only to be cut off again by Shinji saying, “I presume that reason I am here is to pilot this thing against the ‘Angel’ besieging the city above us.”

“What?” Misato began only to see the looks on Gendo and Ritsuko’s faces and realize that they meant it.

Cursing inwardly again at his son’s almost prescient ability to usurp his words, Gendo replies, “Yes.”

Shinji glared daggers at his father while the women next to him argued about whether or not he could pilot it. He was tempted to say yes, desperately wanting the power of this Titan, but he bit his tongue and refrained for the moment. His father’s mind was a dense ball of thoughts and emotions tightly bundled away, and surface probes revealed nothing. But a mind honed on the plots of Chaos told him that he was expected to reject the offer.

It annoyed him greatly. His father thought him a weakling, either too pathetic to deny him or too scared to agree to go into combat with a machine he had never seen before, and he expected the latter. He had a card to play still.

Shinji wanted the card played now when it would be useless, rather than not knowing what kind of trump his father held and hope it was not something he could not resist when it mattered later.

“No,” Shinji said simply. “No, I will not pilot this ‘Evangelion’ as you called it. You do not get to abandon me like that and then expect suicidal loyalty.”

Gendo took this in and then said, “This pilot is useless. Begin preparations for Rei to enter Unit 01.”

Shinji ignored the outbursts from Misato and Dr. Akagi protesting such a decision. If there was someone else who could pilot it but they had brought him here instead then…

He suppressed his desire to raise a curious eyebrow at the entrance of a heavily bandaged girl on a gurney being wheeled in; for she looked remarkably like the astral projection he had seen earlier in the day. He detected a significant psychic presence from her, but it was heavily restrained, similar to the state his sensei had found him in.

Shinji’s head swivelled away from the girl like a gun turret acquiring a new target and he said to his father darkly, “So this is what you use, blackmail? Fine, I’ll do it.”

It wasn’t that he cared for the wellbeing of the girl on the stretcher, although he did admit he was interested in learning more about her, it was that he needed to look like he actually had a shred of human sympathy in his body or they would lock him up in foolish, misguided terror of what he could do to him. That would be a mistake and an annoying snag in Shinji’s plans.

His mask was sorely tested when high above the attacking Angel blew through the armour of the city and blew a suspended skyscraper from his mooring. Debris rained down on the Geofront and a section of the ceiling in the Eva cage was knocked free, falling directly for the girl, who had tumbled out of her gurney upon the initial impact.

Shinji grabbed her to haul her out of the way, having moved with speed just on the lower side of superhuman and intending to use his powers to hold the steel girders at bay for a split second to haul them both out of the way. It would do good to make everyone think that he was truly worried about her, and having a Daemon-Titan princeps in his debt was always a useful thing.

Surprisingly, the killer debris was stopped short of crushing the two of them by the Eva lifting its hand to shield them. And in the shadow of that hand, Shinji looked down at the girl he had intended to snatch away to safety, and he knew rage. There was only pain in her single uncovered eye, and he could feel that her spirit had been broken down again and again by forces beyond her control. It made him angry that this unique individual had been ground down, when she should have been worshipped as a goddess for her power.

Was this what his father intended to do to him? Grind him down until he was but an instrument of Gendo’s will?

Putting the unique creature gingerly back on the gurney, Shinji told her, “Rest, regain your strength,” before turning to the Eva and whispering, “Good… you know who your master is…”

A few minutes later and Shinji was sitting in the entry plug of the Evangelion, enjoying the A-10 clips in his hair, how they amplified his mind, although he had the sneaking suspicion that if he tried anything other than telepathy he would blow them apart. As an orange sludge began to fill the plug, he could feel its additional psychic amplification properties, but it wouldn’t do to let them know that he knew that right away.

“Hey! What is this?” Shinji cried out in horror at the rising tide.

“Relax Shinji, its called LCL and its hyper-oxygenated so you can breathe it just fine. It helps with synchronizing with your Eva, and it provides a shock absorber. So just get over it,” Ritsuko replied dismissively.

Shinji kept the frown off his face as he held his breath as the LCL rose over his head until he could expel all the air in his lungs explosively. The human gag reflex meant that he would have probably swallowed much of it if there was still air to be had, rather than actually breathe it in. The taste and smell was awful, somewhat like blood, but he quickly ignored it as inconsequential at the moment.

Power began to flow from the nuclear reactors buried within Central Dogma through the power cable, and a wild grin managed to escape to Shinji’s face before he ruthlessly suppressed it. Power! Power! All the power in the world, to do with as he wished! It was a heady brew, and Shinji had to exert tremendous self-control in order to keep from drowning in the power he sought.

As the power flowed, it also awoke the savage daemon bound to this Titan, stirring it from its slumber. As he had suspected, it was a raging beast, certainly of the character of the god Khorne his sensei had described. Neither knew if such creatures could exist in this place, but if this beast were to have a god, it would certainly follow the mad deity of senseless slaughter and destruction.

Shinji ruthlessly clamped down on the beast, its soul restrained by the machines and… something else. Another soul perhaps? It was a distant presence, unwilling to share its identity readily, too occupied as it was holding down the daemon bound within. A powerful entity indeed then, one worthy of his respect.

You have my gratitude.

Shinji received back a rush of thanks and… pride? It was almost as if this presence knew him. He would have to learn more about the Evas, especially since from the discussion about him he doubted he was supposed to actually know about these other minds. Apparently they were worried about the way his sync ratio kept spiking up and down and that there was some danger of contamination.

Easing back on his communion with the bound spirits, Shinji waited until those monitoring him seemed satisfied that the situation was stable. And then Misato shouted “Eva launch!” and Shinji found his body pressed into his acceleration couch as the Eva was fired towards the surface on electromagnetic rails.

Shinji exited on the surface just behind the attacking Angel and cursed the stupidity of whoever had assigned this position; he didn’t even know how to make this thing walk… yet…

He started to laugh, a sick, hysterical laugh that sounded more like terrified screaming than anything joyous. If this was how his father wanted to play this game then he would make him regret this course of action.

Down on the command bridge of Central Dogma the staff was frantic as everything started to go out of control, but not in any way they had ever experienced before.

“Sync ratio is climbing but we’re losing the pattern!” Lieutenant Maya Ibuki cried out frantically.

“That’s impossible! That doesn't even make sense!” Ritsuko cried back, but she could see it happening on the display screens. The signal was flowing backwards and forwards, nerve connections were forming and breaking at random, often crossing over, and through it all, Shinji’s frantic screams could be heard over the link.

“Cut audio, the pilot is clearly out of his mind right now,” Gendo orders coldly, to everyone’s shock. They should be recalling the poor boy, but instead they were just going to ignore his cries. The audio line went dead.

Shinji was normally the eye of the hurricane, but there was Chaos within him too. So he inversed the situation and turned the barrier between him and Chaos into the barrier between him and the outside world. He was a tornado; fickle and picky, but infinitely more destructive to that which it was directed. Even the daemon quailed at this sudden burst of madness, although the other presence seemed more… disappointed at this behaviour than anything else.

Cackling with mad glee, he directed his thoughts at the approaching Angel and told them This is that which threatens US; that threatens all that WE are; that WE may do. It must DIE!

The Eva howled in mad glee as the berserker spirit was told to do its thing, to rip and tear at the offending Angel, while Shinji and the other presence held the leash and offered strategic advice. The Eva ducked beneath one of the glowing battering ram arms and slammed right into a glowing barrier put forth by the Angel to shield its body. The Eva simply tore the field apart and plunged forward, tackling the surprised Angel.

The Angel’s eyes flashed the helmet of Unit 01 was blown off in a purple blast that branched off into a giant cross shaped flare. Unit 01 bit into the Angel’s plague-mask face while its hands dug into the flesh of its gut, spraying blue-purple blood and gore everywhere as the two gargantuan monstrosities fought. The Angel tried to get one of its hands around the Eva’s exposed head, to batter it at point blank range. Still trailing ropes of something from the Angel’s guts, Unit 01 intercepted the arm and savagely snapped it along an angle it should not have been at just before ripping the face off with its mouth.

The Angel, seeing its own demise approaching, obviously decided that it would take out its foe with it, and tried to wrap itself around the Eva as it self destructed, but Shinji and the spirits bound to the machine would have none of that, instead punching it in the core so hard the crystal cracked and forcing the Angel back down to the ground just as it went critical in a cross shaped flare that could be seen across much of Japan.

Standing at ground zero, the three souls within the Eva cried their triumph just as the internal batteries ran down, the cable having been severed shortly after it went berserk. Shinji felt that with the right application of will, he could force the machine to keep acting without an external supply, but the strain wasn’t worth it. Their enemy was splattered across them, no need to overdo things.


Shinji woke shortly after he was put to bed in one of NERV’s medical facilities, and spent the rest of the night and well into the morning re-centering his mind. A spot of madness now and then was rather cathartic, but he could not indulge too often, lest he lose the calm required to ride the storms of Chaos he created. There was nothing more embarrassing than being ensnared by your own plots because you failed to pay attention to what was happening.

As Shinji sat upon his bed, slowly breathing in and out, he began to sketch out the ties that bound these people together, the flow of power, and all the other bits of information he would need to gain control, even if it was from the shadows. He knew depressingly little, and had almost as much power in this situation.

His first step then would be to learn and build up his power base. That would require short term sacrifices of what power he had, and he would probably have to make some compromises. The bastard Gendo already had him under his thumb, but not as firmly as he thought. Better to play the fool and servant now than be the fool and servant later.

First he would have to begin the acquisition of resources and making contacts. He was quite good with money and had managed to set up a few difficult to trace accounts through which he had stashed away some valuable investments. Not exactly earth-shatteringly valuable, but significantly more than most children his age. With the resources flowing through NERV, he figured he could probably pull some out of his father one way or another. Money in turn would help with building contacts in various ways.

He had already, in his limited contact with them, begun building a friendly relationship with the maintenance crew of Unit 01. It was only sensible that the people you trusted with your life be treated well and taken care of. Shinji was also planning on furthering his relationship with Misato, as her position as tactical commander made her a useful ally to have, although he was rather curious about her personality. The dissonance between her seemingly air-headed natured and her position terrified him on several levels. And while he doubted he could gain Ritsuko as an ally, he would need to do something about her eventually. Her knowledge combined with the monitoring equipment in the Eva would make using his full abilities problematic.

Finally, there was Rei, an enigma to him for the most part, his brief brush with her mind revealing absolutely nothing, although the wall of pain at the time made things difficult to read. Still, there was a vast power beneath the surface, perhaps even greater than his. She was a pawn of Gendo’s, she had enormous psychic potential, and she was a fellow pilot. Individually each of those items was worth further study; in sum total they demanded immediate attention and extensive long term planning.

It would not do to let Gendo control such power, especially when it could be his to command.

There were so many pieces to sort through, so many strings to gather and tug at. A lesser mind would have quailed at such things, but Shinji had been mentored by a sorcerer of the Thousand Sons. He had spent the past decade with plots and conspiracies as his food and drink. And loathsome as it was to admit, he was also his father’s son. He would figure something out.

Feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, Shinji slipped out of his bed and picked up his staff, which despite outward appearances of being made from wood, was actually a ten kilo pole of metal that had some unusual modifications. Despite being a sorcerer, his sensei had still come from a martial tradition and believed that training the body was almost as important as training the mind.

A slow smile crept over Shinji’s face as he went through a series of slowed down motions with his staff. This was actually more difficult than full speed because maintaining the heavy pole in the proper positions put serious strain on his muscles. It was not enough that he be able to use the staff, he had to master each movement. He still had a long way to go, but he managed to perfect a few patterns already.

This was why he smiled. Chaos was all things, including order. Break anything down, and there were laws that governed their actions. Take each individual piece and it could stand on its own, perfect and refined. It was the patterns they made when strung together that confused and terrified lesser minds. By mastering each movement, Shinji could create an infinite series of patterns at will. The next piece of an attack could not be predicted because every tiny twitch of his muscles had to stand alone, a perfect expression of form independent of previous and future states.

This was Chaos, utter perfection of the moment, allowing for action without regard for antecedent or subsequent action. It was freedom in its ultimate form. Despite their outward decay, the disciples of Nurgle were held in a stasis of the moment, able to simply shrug off perturbations to their brand of perfection. The berserkers that followed Khorne made the swirling mayhem of battle their sole focus of their attention, but still they sought perfection of the arts of war. Acolytes of Slaanesh sought perfection in all things, from battle to physical sensation; they pushed themselves to extremes to master anything they chose to pursue.

And then there was Tzeentch, the god Shinji would follow if he could. Tzeentch taught that the ultimate perfection was of the self, the evolution of the mind, body, and soul, and that in the end, such things were impossible, for there was always a way to change, to be better. In a way this limited the freedom of Chaos, for emphasis on the moment was lost, the component of the future added in, but if one controlled all the pieces of the moment, control of the future followed.

Finishing his final kata, his muscles aching pleasantly from the exertion, Shinji does a few stretches before setting his staff down next to the rest of his things and then leaving the hospital room to try and learn some more about his surroundings. It was midmorning already, and a wan, pale light was filtering down through a partly cloudy sky, rolling green hills visible in the distance, their colour washed grey by the diffuse sunshine. It was as if the whole world was numb from the arrival of the Angels.

Shinji felt a strange presence pricking at his mind, and he slowly turned his head down the corridor to find a large hospital bed being wheeled down the corridor. Even before the subject lying still on it came into view, he knew it was Rei. Other than himself and his sensei, she was the only other being he knew of with any psychic potential.

As she passed in the hallway, his eyes locked with her one good eye and for a brief instant their minds connected. She did indeed hold a vast power within her, but it was damned up behind dozens of layers. What little leaked out she did seem to understand, but her usage was mostly instinctive. Thus she was clearly surprised and confused to find another mind reaching out for her own.

What Shinji got through the link was a cold, emotionless blur, devoid of any true desires, her soul broken through unknown abuses. It was an identity without wants, without hopes, defined only by its lack of definition. As far as Shinji was concerned, Ayanami Rei was the most horrifying creature he had ever encountered, the antithesis of his being. He would have to change that.

From Rei’s perspective, she was terrified by the vast mind lurking behind those dark eyes, a mind of frightful complexity that she could only glimpse at. He was a boiling sea of emotions that ran counter to everything she thought she knew about existence. He was strong and confident, and she felt lost in his vastness. And yet, she was also strangely drawn into those eyes, a resonance between the two of them, some deeper connection neither could understand.

And then the moment was over, contact broken as Rei’s bed was wheeled past and turned down another corridor.

Shinji then spent the next few hours wandering the halls, crafting a new mask for himself. The old one, of a meek introvert, still had its uses, but that was unsuited to this task. This was war. War against the Angels. War against his father. He needed a new face for this task, a war face. The empathetic warrior, walking amongst the wounded in the aftermath of the battle, more concerned with the wounds of others than his own.

Inwardly he was laughing, for as with all the best lies, it was true. Shinji was incredibly empathetic, as he had cultivated more than one way to get into the skulls of others. He could quite easily place himself in another’s shoes and see the world from their eyes. But like a good chess player, it was merely so that he could see what his opponents were thinking. He could feel and understand their pain and suffering, and simultaneously not care. They were not him; their problems were not his problems unless he chose to make them so. Shinji was overflowing with empathy, but he had but a few drops of sympathy.

Shinji was about ready to return to his assigned room, retrieve his things, and see if he could sign out of the hospital, when the doors to the elevator in front of him opened up and his father stepped out. Shinji caught a snatch of a thought, of Gendo remembering the path to Rei’s room, and he knew why the bastard was here.

“Hello father,” Shinji says icily, taking the initiative.

“Hello son,” Gendo replies, his voice lacking any signs of paternal warmth.

“We need to talk father,” Shinji states.

“Not now,” Gendo says, attempting to brush Shinji off as if he were some sort of piece of dirt on his clothes.

“We need to talk about my demands for piloting Eva,” Shinji states.

“‘Demands’?” Gendo says, as if the word disgusted him in its basic form.

“Yes father, demands. I do not want you holding Rei’s well-being over my head like the Sword of Damocles every time you want me to pilot. Eventually she will recover, and unless you intend to keep injuring her to ensure my compliance that means that my presence will no longer be so necessary. I feel that a more civilized arrangement must be made. I want a million yen a month as salary and hazard pay, I figure I deserve something to enjoy in life if I am going to rush out and try and end it every time an Angel shows up, and exchange I’ll be the perfect little soldier. No need for threats and blackmail. Bribery will work just fine,” Shinji explains in a simple and matter of fact tone.

There was a long pause as father and son glared at one another, neither quite knowing Gendo’s glasses were blocking or enhancing the vitriol passing between their eyes, before finally Gendo said, “Fine. You’ll have your first cheque tomorrow.”

Before Gendo could leave, Shinji added on, “And it’s poor professionalism to ask for such a significant raise and not request that my co-workers be given similar benefits, especially on the second day of the job.”

Gendo paused for a moment and Shinji managed to steal a few, confusing thoughts that surfaced from his oceanic mind before saying dismissively, “Pilot Ayanami has no need of such things.”

“Why?” Shinji pressed.

Gendo realized he had made a slight tactical blunder by revealing something like that before he said, “She is well taken care of already, and she, unlike you, is unconcerned with petty materialism.”

Touché father, touché. Still, he had given up an important piece of information. Shinji wasn’t quite sure what, but it was important.

“If she does not wish such a salary, then that is her concern, but if she asks for it, you would be obliged to accede to her demands, no?” Shinji recovers nicely.

Damn near everyone in the hospital shuddered at the frigid glare at passed between them before they both parted. Both hated the other’s guts more than ever now, and both wanted to know what games the other was playing.

Shinji left with a smirk on his face. Had his father known his lust for power, he probably could have simply told Shinji to pilot it and Shinji would have complied. He wasn’t about to let a Titan slip from his fingers. But now… now he had sold his obedience, something already free in this instance, for a million yen a month. He probably could have gone higher, but a million was a nice childishly large number and he didn’t want to risk pushing his father too hard. The man was unlikely to haggle.

Upon his return to his room to collect the things that had been left there for him, Shinji found Misato looking for him in the nearby hallway. She looked tired, no doubt from working through much of the night and then getting up early to work some more. Alien attacks tended to create paperwork.

“Good afternoon Shinji-kun,” Misato said to him warmly all the same.

Inclining his head in a respectful demi-bow, Shinji replies, “Good afternoon Misato-san.”

Eyeing his staff and bags, she said, “Ready to get out of here I see.”

Grinning sheepishly, Shinji says, “Well, I ah… don’t particularly like hospitals.” A true statement, although he had no great antipathy for them either, he just embellished his tone to let her fill in the blanks.

Smiling, Misato says, “Neither do I. Now come on, I’m here to take you to your new home.”

“Oh?” Shinji asks. Just so long as it wasn’t with his father, he would be fine, although wherever he went would inevitably be filled with bugs. That would be irritating and troublesome in the long run.

“Yup! Now come on, let’s get you out of this depressing hospital,” Misato says, taking Shinji by the hand and leading him out of the building to her still battered and dented blue sports car.

After Shinji had finished putting his stuff in the back seat, Misato asked him cheerfully but warily, “So why do you have such a heavy walking stick?”

Buckling in, Shinji quickly formulates his response. ‘Because my psychic super soldier sensei demanded that I have a weapon capable of taking a few blows from a chainsaw axe’ just wouldn’t do really. He had an answer after a little less than a second, but he decided to play it out for a full three seconds, even summoning up a little flustered blush before he finally said slowly and haltingly, “Well… I liked to walk in the woods of my old town, and so I started bringing walking sticks… and I guess I wanted to be stronger… so that maybe people would notice me… so I started finding bigger and bigger sticks… until one day I found a metal pole… but I didn’t want people to think I was weird… so I made it look like it was just another wooden one.”

Misato looked at him passively for a little while before smiling and saying, “And did it work?”

“I… I suppose I did get stronger,” Shinji says almost pathetically. Again, he didn’t lie; he just understated just how strong he was. For whatever genetic reasons, he had yet to really have any growth spurts and his muscles were all of the ropey, scrawny kind, but he could just about bench press about half his own body mass. Of course, he could also throw this car across the block with telekinesis, but that was cheating.

Shinji liked to cheat. Or as his sensei had put it, “Win and you get to rewrite the rules so that it was fair retroactively. Then laugh at the fools who complain about this.”

They drove in a comfortable silence for a time, before Misato spoke up again and asked, “So, you like to take walks in the woods?”

Nodding, Shinji says, “It lets me get away from others, enjoy the peace and silence.”

Misato looked saddened by that, and asked, “Why do you enjoy being alone Shinji-kun?”

Shinji frowned for a moment as he formulated the perfect response to that, before saying, “People are always filled with pain and troubles, and it can hurt if I’m surrounded by that all the time… so I just like to escape from that when it becomes unbearable for me.”

Another twisted truth, in that being surrounded by petty idiots who were too weak to confront their problems properly tended to drive him nuts with its obnoxiousness. It was always words like that left out that made people think he was more of a sensitive introvert than was actually true. The lack of words like that also deluded people into thinking that he actually cared for them and their problems.

Frowning at this for several silent moments, Misato finally replies, “Well, you know what they say: Shared pain is lessened, shared joy increased.”

That’s because ignorance is bliss and the intelligence of a group is inversely proportional to the number of people in it Shinji thought in annoyance at the inanity of that statement, but he just replied with a properly melancholy and insincere, “I suppose…”

“Well cheer up, you’ll be at your new home soon,” Misato says, suddenly cheerful, obviously trying to lighten the mood.

Looking out the window of the car to brood for a moment, Shinji says, “I doubt it will be with my father.”

“Oh come now Shinji-kun, he’s your father,” Misato points out.

“Ever since mom died we haven’t got along at all. The two of us couldn’t live together,” Shinji says bitterly and without fabrication or omission. The fact that the reason they couldn’t live together was because they would probably attempt to kill one another the first day if forced to live together was a completely different subject. And as the one who could throw lightning from his finger tips and make heads explode with a thought, Shinji was mostly certain who would win. Only mostly because his father was a clever bastard and there was a small possibility he had some sort of counter to such attacks.

“Oh come on, it can’t be that bad,” Misato says somewhat dismissively, somewhat teasingly, and somewhat worriedly.

“Wait and see,” Shinji says sourly.

By the Gods! How could this have happened? He was this close to living alone with just the expected eavesdropping bugs to contend with, when suddenly Misato got the bright idea to take him under her wing. Subtle psychic persuasion had been insufficient to steer her away from such a course of action, her indomitable will easily shoving aside his smaller probes, and he feared that nothing short of deep, and eye-glowingly obvious, attack would get the results he wanted.

Although he did at least admire the fact that she actually had that much willpower. It seemed that once she set her mind on something, she stuck to it, and damn near nothing could deter her from her chosen path.

Now they were on a highway outside of the city, a bag of groceries on Shinji’s lap, and Shinji wondering exactly what sort of hell he had just been signed up for.

“Where are we going?” He asked quietly.

“Somewhere special,” Misato replies before pulling off the highway to an observation area that overlooked Tokyo-3.

Getting out of the car, Shinji could not help but be unimpressed. The city was so desolate looking, hardly the great work it was often hailed as being.

Misato looked at her watch and said, “Here we go…”

The wail of dozens of sirens arose from the distant city, and with the sounds of great machines rumbling to life, huge covers began to open up and then skyscrapers began to rise from the Earth, the city that had been suspended from the top of the Geofront yesterday rising up into natural light today.

For one of the few times in his life, Shinji could not contain his glee. On one level he was thrilled to see that this city was practically a giant tribute to the God of Change, capable of altering its form so radically between combat and peace. On another level, the fourteen year old boy in him could only think about how cool something like this was.

“They’re rising from the ground! That’s awesome!” Shinji exclaimed excitedly.

Smiling at the sudden change from his often quiet and sullen moods, Misato says, “This city is a fortress designed to stand against the Angels. This is Tokyo-3. This is our city, and it’s the city that you saved.”

With the sun setting in the background, Shinji reached out as if to grasp it all. To Misato, it appeared that he was trying to embrace it all. What Shinji was actually doing was making a silent promise that one day this would all be his.

The rest of the car ride was pleasantly quiet, with Misato making a bit of small talk while Shinji found himself incapable of keeping up his mask of moping after seeing something like that, so he just smiled and made the occasional comment. By the time they arrived at her apartment block, it was night out.

“The rest of your stuff should have been delivered by now. I just moved in myself,” Misato says as they walk to her apartment from the elevator. There were indeed the boxes Shinji had shipped out her waiting for them at the door.

“Come on inside Shinji, this is your home now,” Misato says warmly.

Hesitating for just a second, Shinji steps over the threshold and says, “I’m home.”

“Oh, if you wouldn’t mind, could you put the groceries in the fridge?” Misato says while heading off to what Shinji presumed was either her room or the bathroom.

Stepping into the kitchen and main living area, Shinji had to fight the urge to drop the bags and fall to his knees in agonized screaming. There was Chaos, and then there was this! Bags of garbage on the floor, magazines scattered everywhere, and the crumpled beer cans probably outnumbered the inevitable vermin.

He revised his original thoughts of her being a follower of Slaanesh. She was a damned Slaaneshi daemon princess she was!

Examination of her fridge revealed nothing but beer and instant food packages. Shinji felt less healthy just looking at this stuff. He glanced over at the other refrigerator and asked, “What’s in that refrigerator?”

“Oh, he’s probably just sleeping,” Misato answered back unhelpfully.

Groaning, Shinji wondered again just what he had been signed up for.

Within half an hour, Shinji was staring in mute awe of Misato in a sleeveless yellow shirt, tight denim shorts, and clearly no bra. He wasn’t staring at her feminine assets though, just at the way she demolished yet another beer and laid into the feast of microwavable food laid out on the table.

Maybe if I seal the apartment with Symbols of Chaos I can control this daemon… damn it, sensei only skimmed over daemon summoning! And I don’t know nearly enough about Slaanesh to hope to control this daemon princess!

Finishing off the beer she was chugging, Misato slams it down into the table and lets out a loud, enthusiastic bellow before saying, “Life doesn’t get much better than this, does it Shinji?”

Shinji declined to comment on Genghis Khan’s views on the subject, but rather he said, “Is all this really necessary?”

“Of course it is silly!” Misato exclaimed while cracking open another can of beer. What, did her body think ethanol was water? “This is your welcoming party!”

Sighing, Shinji just shakes his head and tries to find something Misato hadn’t smothered in the thick, sludge-like hot sauce she slathered all over her food. It seemed to be a combination of crystalline capsaicin dissolved in sulphuric acid with raw wasabi added in for flavour. Shinji was fairly certain the stuff could overload the taste buds of an Emperor’s Children space marine.

In his conversations with her, he quickly started to realize that her Slaaneshi traits ran from the obvious towards the subtle. Like with the Prince of Pleasure, Misato’s drinking and party attitude was not solely for its own end, it was merely that once she set her heart towards something, she was going to push that aspect of her character to the limit. While he had been too busy going berserk the previous night to pay attention to what she was saying, the fact that she was the NERV tactical commander indicated that she was an exemplary soldier and commander.

And now she seemed to have set her sights on being a mother to him, although he doubted she truly understood that herself yet. Her attempts were ham-fisted and clumsy, but damn it if she wasn’t going to give it her all. The thought of a Slaaneshi being motherly both intrigued and terrified Shinji, and he knew to his chagrin that he would experience such a thing first hand.

This also required him to further modify the nascent plans he had with Misato. She had pushed the soldier aspect of her personality already, so combining that with this newly awakened motherly facet was a recipe for instant mother bear action. The trick was to ensure that she always thought of him as her cub, which meant that he had to be careful when manipulating her. She could be a useful guardian, but she would demand that he remain loyal to her.

If he did ever find need to betray her, she would have to die instantly, hopefully before she even realized what had happened. That way on the off chance that ‘instant death’ turned into ‘not quite dead’, she wouldn’t know it. Never forget back-up plans for the low probability eventualities. Those were the things that tended to bite you in the ass.

Of course, there was also the part of Shinji that was still four, crying on a beach, all alone in the world now that his mother had disappeared through the veil of mortality and his father had abandoned him, who could only stare in awe as the being that would become his sensei walked out the waves like some ancient god. Despite the plots, the pain, the frequent betrayals, his sensei had actually cared for him, his harsh teaching merely a method of expressing his fondness, such as it was. His sensei came from a harsh place, and he demanded strength. He had shown infinite patience in his tutoring of the young boy to grow him from the weakling he once was, and had never pushed Shinji harder than the boy could tolerate.

And Shinji missed that. A strange paternal bond had grown between the two of them in their secret studies, a twisted sort of love between two twisted individuals. They had accepted one another unconditionally, had known that even if one stabbed the other in the back they would still care for the other afterward.

Who was he to say that he could not care for this messed up woman, to develop a strange maternal bond between them, a twisted sort of love for two twisted individuals?

Oh, that was right, the student of a Thousand Sons sorcerer; a worshipper of the Scheming God Tzeentch.

He would not sell Misato’s life and loyalty cheaply, but for the right price, everything could be sold. For Misato, the price was not monetary, or even necessarily for power, but he could think of a few offers that could be made that he would accept.

Once dinner was finished, Misato proceeded to demolish Shinji at rock-paper-scissors over who got to do what chores. Of course, Shinji was trying to lose and psychic powers made predicting what she was going to do very simple. Had he not tried to blow every single round, he still probably would have been demolished. Misato was terrifyingly good at reading him, and he had to increasingly close himself off to make sure she didn’t pick up to the fact that he was plucking her moves right out of her brain.

Once he had been assigned everything but the laundry, a task that he didn’t particularly care for, he feigned displeasure at having so much to do, and grumbling he began to clean up the table. Inwardly he was overjoyed. This apartment would never be clean if Misato had to do the chores, and the act of cleaning was to change one’s environment, to act against decay and entropy, things that pleased Tzeentch. It was a small thing, but there were small things and big things in life, and the small ones came around more often.

Feeling the length of the day and the day before starting to weigh down on him, Shinji decided to take a bath before going to bed. No need to smell like a Nurgle worshipper, especially since the shower he got after climbing out of the entry plug was better described as a hosing down.

After striping down, he opened the door to the bathroom, only to discover a penguin on the other side. The two of them looked at one another for a moment before Shinji shrugged and they traded places.

He was either hallucinating from Misato’s chilli sauce, or he had just seen a penguin exit the bathroom. Either one confirmed the fact that he was in a den of Chaos. Perhaps not the kind he would have preferred, but he could deal with Chaos.

After enjoying a good long soak in which to clear his mind, Shinji went to the room Misato had set aside for him. His stuff was all still in boxes, but he made sure that before he went to bed he set up a small shrine. Atop a small wooden table he laid out a blue cloth embroidered with the Star of Chaos and the Eye of Tzeentch, and then set down the canopic jars that held the dust of his undying guardians.

He was bowed down in silent prayer to a god that might only exist in the tales of his sensei when Misato stuck her head in to check in on him.

“What’s that Shinji-kun?” She asked curiously.

Smiling sadly, Shinji said, “In my old town I was very good friends with an old man, the last member of his family. Just before I left, he gave me the ashes of his brothers to take care of, for he knew his time was coming soon and he did not want them to sit forgotten, no one to remember their names; who they were.”

Misato nearly rushed Shinji to wrap him up in a bawling hug, to tell him that he didn’t have to be so selfless and noble, that he was just a kid, but instead she just said, “I’m proud of you Shinji-kun,” before turning away to hide the tears forming in her eyes.

When she was safely out of view, Shinji let a snake-like smirk cross his face.

Hot damn I’m good!
I love learning. Teach me. I will listen.
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Post by Academia Nut » 2007-12-05 03:33am

Table of Contents

Shinji was getting annoyed. He was a being of change, of control, and right now he had neither. It was long past time to correct that situation.

The Eva sized rifle in Unit 01’s hands suddenly switched from targeting the Angel in the distance to a significantly closer skyscraper, hosing them down with 105mm penetrator rounds. The damage would have been mostly superficial had Shinji not pulled up his advanced targeting displays and used them to target the internal struts and shred them instead of sending most of his rounds straight through the structure.

Shinji watched impassively as the building toppled into one of its neighbours, setting up a domino effect that soon reached one of the weapon stores and set off a chain reaction that blew up a good chunk of the Tokyo-3 downtown along with Unit 01. This forced a system reset, ending the current incarnation of the simulation.

Shinji, what do you think you’re doing?” Misato screamed over the radio.

“Voicing my displeasuring in the only way I could considering no one was listening to me. Misato-san, these simulations are too easy,” Shinji said with a hint of fake childish petulance mixed in with real boredom.

“Shinji-kun, you need to learn the basics first. And this simulation is based off the data from your fight with the Third Angel,” Misato replies, still angry with him but most of the outrage fading from her voice.

“No, it’s not. All the briefings you gave me said that the Angels are supposed to learn and adapt. The data you’re using is clearly based off the Third Angel before it was hit by the N2 mine. Chimps can be trained to point and shoot at something that stupid. This isn’t combat training; it’s a multi-billion dollar first person shooter,” Shinji replied coldly.

At her station, Ritsuko shivered. Sometimes she would forget that the boy piloting the Eva was Gendo’s son, but every once in a while he showed his inner bastard. The boy could be far too clever by half sometimes.

Frowning, Misato says, “Fine. If you’re going to be that stubborn, what is your proposal?”

“Allow the simulated Angel to learn between simulations, allow the program to make adjustments to its strength, speed, and durability based on my previous actions. Add a mutation factor so that there will be growth in unexpected directions as well,” Shinji details out.

Frowning, Ritsuko says, “Increasing the strength, speed, and durability are fairly easy, but actual learning and the mutation factor would take quite a bit of time to program. Not only that, but if we increase the durability too much then the Angel could become immune to conventional weapons even if you neutralize its AT-field first.”

“And that would be unrealistic how Dr. Akagi?” Is Shinji’s response.

A hush descends over the control room as everyone considers the validity of that statement. They knew next to nothing about the Angels, that one of these creatures might be immune to the weapons they were giving Shinji was not impossible. In fact, there was a chance that it was likely.

Nodding, Misato turns to Ritsuko and says, “Begin modifying the simulation. Shinji’s right. If we train him to fight the last battle we’ll lose the next one. He’d already figured out fire control, as demonstrated by his little stunt, he needs to learn actual combat now, against a challenging enemy.”

Nodding, Ritsuko and the other MAGI technicians begin updating the parameters for the next simulation while also working out how to get the supercomputers to do this automatically while not overwhelming Shinji, and to add the mutation factor he asked for. Within a few minutes they had the next simulation prepared so that they could have Shinji continue his training.

Several hours later Shinji was hauled out of his entry plug, physically and mentally exhausted by the training. He hadn’t even realized how hard he was pushing himself he was so exhilarated by exposure to the Evangelion, but when he fainted in the last encounter even he had to admit that it was time to call it quits for the day.

He also knew that the weapons designers were going to have to go into overdrive. A mere 50% increase in the toughness of the Angel’s body and core had made it nearly completely immune to the weapons he had been using, as at that point even without an AT field the Angel could shrug off enough damage to quickly regenerate. They needed a weapon that caused tremendous damage to hard and soft tissue, where “soft” for an Angel meant “tougher than structural steel and thicker than battleship armour”.

Shinji had already made a few queries about how the AT field was projected that would hopefully let him have a force weapon by the end of the year, perhaps even sooner with the speeds at which people worked around here. Maybe with something like that he could start “experimenting” with his AT field. The thought of being able to throw lightning from an Eva filled him with a glee that would terrify most people.

The past week had been filled with long, boring lectures and discussions on the piloting of Unit 01 and discussions of what was known of the Angels, with frequent synchronization tests and the occasional combat simulation. Only today had they finally decided to give him some full training with the weapons. That unfortunately rapidly degenerated into endless repetitions of “Centre on the target and then pull the trigger.”

Now though, he definitely had the respect of a lot of people down here, and better yet, he was learning how not to get himself killed in this thing. The berserker daemon inside the Eva could be rather difficult to handle, and in fact Shinji suspected that he wasn’t supposed to be dominating it, but rather syncing with the other spirit in there so that his commands could be passed on. It seemed like a rather backwards way to do things really, but he made sure to keep a link to the other soul so that he wasn’t moving Unit 01 around with a 12% sync ratio. He had settled in at around a 55% ratio, as that let his commands be almost doubled in strength without distracting him too much from controlling the daemon and being capable of paying attention and reacting to his situation.

Once safely on his feet, his eyes drooping from the strain, he smiled and thanked the ground crew around him, basking in the pride and respect they were beaming at him. He was their pilot, and they were his ground crew. They were useful pawns, but for now Shinji was content for them to simply worship him, such as it was.

People were such simple animals to control. Just show them a sliver of respect when you had power over you, and they would grovel at your feet like dogs demanding more scraps. A kind word here, a smile there, and they were putty in your hands. A little anger now and then when you were clearly and unequivocally in the right, and they would bow down to you as a king. So wise, so noble, so kind they would say.

And then you could tell them to march off a cliff and they would call you glorious.

Already, Shinji had ideas to further cement their loyalty to him. Perhaps he should ask for a rallying banner; a flag around which his pawns could flock. Humans did so love symbols, and if he could somehow get the eight-pointed Star of Chaos emblazoned on his Eva, so much the better. He would have to see if the seeds he had planted would start sprouting soon.

Who thought that painting a giant monster smashing mecha purple was a good idea? Seriously, who? Ah well, he had already heard a few of the techs commenting on how dark blue with gold would look better. There was also talk of how as humanity’s hope for the future, there should be more hopeful imagery on it. Maybe something featuring rebirth or renewal?

Scarabs perhaps? To the Japanese they would seem exotic, and the use of an ancient civilization would give the Eva a timeless, eternal feel. This was the greatest work of man, and it would stand for eternity in opposition to the Angels!

Ah, nothing like word here, an idle conversation there to get people thinking that your ideas were theirs. Another month and Shinji would have the ground crew demanding to redo Unit 01’s armour into something suitably Egyptian during the next refit cycle. And none would ever know where this idea had come from; just that it seemed to have spontaneously arose from the ranks.

Once Shinji had managed to wash the remaining LCL out of his hair and changed out of his plug suit, he went to find Misato. He was particularly glad that he now publicly had enough money to invest in some of the finer things in life, and in what little spare time he had he bought a whole new wardrobe. Gone were the monochromatic white shirts and black pants, replaced by tastefully cut outfits made from the finest materials available, most often Egyptian linens or cottons, dyed a wide spectrum of colours and finely trimmed and embroidered where appropriate.

Updating his wardrobe, and to a degree Misato’s, had actually caused him to dip into his other reserves, but Misato had been so excited by the fact that Shinji wanted to actually go clothes shopping with her that she had not paid any attention to how much was actually being spent. Soon he would begin making discrete investments, none truly realizing how much money he was actually moving about, distracted by his seemingly flippant and childish spending sprees.

Plus the clothes made him look good.

Finding Misato waiting for him outside the locker rooms, Shinji waves and says with a yawn, “Hello Misato-san. Thanks for the advice in that last simulation.”

Grinning, Misato puts her arm over Shinji in a motherly fashion and says, “Hey, you were the one who wanted to electrocute the Angel, I just figured out how to best do it.”

“I never would have done it without you,” Shinji says, leaning happily into her. In the past week he had come to cherish Misato’s life more. She was nuts, but she was the kind of nuts that Shinji liked. He hadn’t realized how much he missed his mother until this… neither substitute or replacement was the right word. Misato was an alternative mother.

“Yes, well, you never should have done that last simulation at all. Look at you! You’re exhausted and it’s your first day of school tomorrow,” Misato says both sternly and teasingly.

A sudden irrational jolt of pain shot through Shinji’s heart. His rapidly growing feelings for Misato were suddenly juxtaposed with a decade’s worth of pain and loneliness. Oh, how he had longed to hear his own mother say those words!

Shinji was drained mentally and physically and his normally perfect mask crumbled under the internal emotional storm. Before he could help it, his lower lip was trembling and tears were welling up in his eyes, and the harder he fought against the rising tide of suppressed pain, the worse it got.

Misato paused and looked at him, asking worriedly, “Shinji, what’s wrong?”

His nose flooding with moisture diverted from his eyes, Shinji says, “I… I… you have no idea how long I’ve waited to hear someone say that.”

“What?” Misato asks, clearly confused about what statement he was crying about.

“‘It’s your first day of school tomorrow’,” Shinji replies before burying his face in her shoulder to hide his tears.

A look comes over Misato’s face, one part embarrassment, one part concern, and one part just plain confusion. Before she can chide him for being a boy and crying he responds with a muffled voice, “I saved humanity from a forty metre tall monster, so I think I deserve to be allowed to cry every now and then.”

The rebuke dying on her lips, Misato can only strengthen her hug about him and guide him away, saying, “It’s alright Shinji-kun, it’s alright.”

Shinji spent the rest of the trip home brooding, looking pensively out the window, annoyed with his lack of control. He was also brooded over the fact that he was brooding. He hated brooding, it was so unproductive.

Damn it! Damn it! How did I let such a simple, stupid thing get to me? I’m better than this! Damn it! How did I… damn it! I’m going in circles! How could I let myself go in…? DAMN IT!

Flopping down on his bed, Shinji found that his exhaustion had been replaced by angry, restless energy. He had to work out the emotions in his system before he could fall asleep. After trying to meditate for a time, he gave up in frustration. Meditation would not purge him of these feelings.

So he pulled out his cello. He had taken up the cello originally to blend in, but the capacity to make music gave him a valve to vent all the emotions and frustrations that would have been impossible to allow form in any more easily translated medium. Rage, loss, and the desire to commit atrocities against others were much harder to pin down when you expressed them across the strings of a cello.

Shinji had a taste towards the stranger uses of the cello, especially the way it had been developing into popular Western music in the years before Second Impact caused global culture to come grinding to a halt in the name of survival. Frenetic, angry notes flew in ordered discord from Shinji’s bow as he poured all his hate into his instrument.

Eventually he was finally as emotionally drained as he was physically and mentally, the works of vanished Finns having sated his desire for destruction: destruction of others, destruction of the self. He had no idea where he would be without his sensei, but he doubted it would be a good place. Self-loathing was such an easy trap to fall into, especially once one began to hate that aspect of the self. Disgust and abhorrence would breed and in-breed, becoming a mass of pathetic tumours about the heart and mind.

Shinji fell asleep happy that he was still in control.

Waking bright and early in the morning, Shinji went about making breakfast for all three members of the household. He tended towards being quick and with little ambition when making breakfast, saving the experimenting for dinner when he couldn’t accidentally ruin his day by doing something wrong. Or screw up so badly that Misato decided to take over the cooking.

By the time Shinji had eaten, cleaned up, and had everything ready for school, Misato was just rising and opening her first can of beer of the day. Shaking his head, he says, “Are you sure I have to go to school? Isn’t learning how to save the world somewhat more pressing?”

Waving her hand dismissively, Misato says, “We have no idea when the next Angel will show up. It could be tomorrow or another fifteen years from now. And this is Japan; you don’t get to miss school just because you pilot an Eva. Besides, you already have the basics and it’s going to take a while before we figure out a good training regimen for you.”

Shaking his head again, Shinji just says, “Fine.”

Waggling a finger teasingly, Misato says, “Don’t give me guff like that Shin-chan. You’re going to go out there, have fun, make friends, and meet a bunch of cute girls. Got that mister?”

Rolling his eyes, Shinji says jokingly, “Yes mother,” before even thinking about the consequences of that. Realizing his mistake at the last instant, he bolts out the door before additional commentary could be made.

Damn it! Damn it! DAMN IT! You’ve got to get your cool back dumb-ass! You’re forming an emotional connection with her! Stop it, now!

But he knew that it was too late. A bond had formed, one he had not been expecting, one he would not have invited. Sensei had cared for him, but had always been distant, physically and emotionally. Misato was so accessible and they were together so often at home and at work that the bond had snuck up on him. He would have to tread more carefully from now on, lest he grow more attached to her or others.

Attachments made it hard to sell people out, something Shinji was still quite willing to do.

Annoyed that he was starting to fall into more brooding, Shinji cheered himself up by plotting out impractical plans to off his father. By the time he got to his new school, he was grinning from ear to ear at how he had managed to perfect the plan involving a car battery, a geisha, a metric tonne of boiling ramen, and a rubber chicken. A true classic he had been working on for years.

But where would I get that much tapioca?

Shinji’s pace slowed as he entered the building and he began to feel an itching, scrabbling sensation from all around him. Cocking his head to the side, he tried to discerning the source, until eventually he arrived at his assigned classroom, a confused look on his face. What was going on?

And then he opened the door and he realized what was happening.

He was surrounded by psykers! They were all weaker than he had been when his sensei had found him, and just as suppressed, but they were all about him, the whole school filled with dozens of untrained psykers, their surface thoughts broadcast strongly enough that Shinji could pick up on them. He had to retract his senses to avoid going insane from the random, inane chatter, but without his warp senses active it was like intentionally blinding or deafening himself.

As he was standing there shutting out the background thoughts of so many twittering idiots somehow given powers they did not know of or even understand, a serious looking girl with pig tails came up to him and said in a business-like tone, “You’re the new transfer student, right?”

“Ah, yes. My name is Ikari Shinji, I presume you are the class representative if you were expecting me,” Shinji says smartly.

“Yes, I am Hikari Horaki. Good to see you here, so many people have been transferring out since that giant monster attacked,” Hikari says with a smile.

Shinji smiled back, having already subtly appraised her. Clever and business-like, this girl would probably be only moderately difficult to manipulate to his will. The trick would be in making her think she was doing the “right” and “proper” thing.

“I had to move here because of my father’s job,” Shinji says in explanation.

“Ah. Well, when sensei arrives he’ll assign you a seat, but for now any of the ones along this row will be empty,” Hikari says, indicating a section of seats.

Bowing respectfully, Shinji takes a seat and looks about the other students. Not many at the moment. He quickly catalogued Aida Kensuke as an overly intelligent idiot who would be so pathetically easy to manipulate it was mildly amusing, especially with his rapidly evident fascination with all things military. He would make a good pawn at some point.

And then Rei showed up, still heavily bandaged but now wearing a school uniform rather than a plug suit or a hospital gown. His eye caught hers for a moment before she turned away, no emotion on her face but a twinge of fear clearly radiating off her. This quickly made the other students rather uncomfortable.

Interesting. None of them are even aware of why she scares them. This should prove… amusing.

Shinji enjoyed the first half day at school, in that while he remained a quiet introvert, there was no need to maintain the meek part of his mask as that was really not a face he felt he needed to project anymore. Aside from being a transfer student when everyone else was fleeing, he was a damn fine snappy dresser with an air of confidence. He didn’t speak up much because he didn’t need to.

And then lunch time came and the first thing Shinji did was approach Rei and say, “If you would care to join me for lunch, I will be on the roof Ayanami-san.”

That surely sent the rumour mills into overdrive, but Shinji cared not for the buzzing of insects. He left with a sly smile on his face.

Rei did not join him for lunch on the roof that day. Or the next day. Or the day after that. He ate along on the roof, a smug smile on his face, for a full week, before Rei finally approached him.

Setting his bento box aside, Shinji clapped his hands and smiled, saying, “Thank you for joining me Ayanami-san.”

She blinked her unbound eye once at him before saying flatly, “You have asked me to come here every day since your arrival. Why?”

Lounging back, Shinji says, “It was merely a suggestion Ayanami-san. We share the same profession, no? We shall be working together, no? I merely felt that it would be good policy to come to friendly terms with one another.”

“That is unnecessary Ikari-kun. That we do our duty is sufficient,” Rei replies flatly.

His eyes still half-hooded and his mouth still smiling, Shinji says in a direct and serious tone of voice, “Why do I terrify you so Rei?”

The sudden change in tone and manner causes Rei to stiffen up as much as the direct question, but she says, “You do not terrify me Ikari-kun.”

“No? Then let us try some less emphatic adjectives. Scare? Spook? Frighten? Worry? Make to feel anxious? Go ahead, tell me which ones fit, Ayanami-san,” Shinji replies coolly.

They stare at one another for a long time before finally Rei blinks, turns, and walks away.

Still smiling, Shinji picks up his bento again and calls out to her, “I’ll be here tomorrow, ready to answer your questions.”

Rei did not show up the next day, but she did the day after, sitting down next to Shinji. There was silence for a long time before finally Rei says, “Ikari-kun, you are not like other children.”

“No, but I am like the other Children,” Shinji says, using the English word used by NERV to designate the pilots.

“You…” Rei begins.

Raising a hand for silence, Shinji says, “I merely received training from one who knew how to… better utilize our gifts. It is something you could learn too, although I fear that I am now the only one who could teach you such things. Well… perhaps you could learn them. You are… incomplete. Such things are impossible for you right now.”

Rei absorbs this information before saying, “I am… made anxious by you Ikari-kun. You are… different.”

“I embrace different Ayanami-san. Get used to it. When you are ready, ask me why I think you are incomplete,” Shinji says coolly, detecting that Rei was already reaching her tolerance of his mere presence. The Chaos in his soul was surely disturbing to her obedient, broken spirit. And yet she was still drawn to him.

Ayanami left and did not return to the roof for several days.

Before she returned, some interesting events happened.

The first was the arrival of a face new to Shinji, although not new to the rest of the class. A boy named Toji; he wore a track suit in defiance of the school uniform policies, although they seemed rather lax in enforcement anyway. While clearly aiming for the dumb jock look, Shinji found a perceptive mind hiding behind the muscle. Still relatively stupid, but not as stupid as he looked, which Shinji supposed was fairly easy to do.

“Where’ve you been Toji-kun? You haven’t been to school since the giant robot incident, and when I went to your house it was rubble,” Kensuke asks his friend.

Oh ho!

Smacking his fist into his palm angrily, Toji says in a murderous fury, “That stupid robot crushed our home and my little sis got caught in the rubble. She’s been in the hospital since then, and with dad and gramps working overtime for NERV, I was the only one who could be there for her. If I ever find out who the pilot of that thing was, I’ll pound him flat.”

Oh, this will be fun!

Once class had started and no one was listening to the teacher drone on and on about Second Impact, Shinji found a message for him on his computer, asking if he was the pilot of the giant robot. The rumour mill had been stewing since his arrival two weeks ago, but with Toji now intent on discovering the identity of the pilot, someone had finally worked up the courage to ask the quiet young man directly.

Shinji replied with a message that read, “What do you think?”

The chat room instantly exploded into activity as everyone in the class interpreted that as either a confirmation or denial and reasoning for why they thought so. Watching the deluge of messages, Shinji finally added in, “That was a rhetorical question. It required no answer.”

“Are you the pilot then?”


The whole room exploded into activity as everyone mobbed about Shinji’s desk, asking questions about the robot that he deflected with quiet remarks of, “That’s classified.” Hikari tried to regain control, to which Shinji could just say to her, “The Chaos has been unleashed, best let it die down on its own.”

Soon after that the bell rang for lunch, at which point Hikari managed to shoo the crowd away from Shinji, who calmly walked out of the room and down to the courtyard, barely even paying attention to the furious boy following behind him or the nerd trailing in his wake.

Once outside, Shinji turned to face Toji, who was cracking his knuckles. “Sorry new kid, but for my sister I’ve got to pound you.”

Shinji caught the fist approaching his face in the palm of his hand, his natural strength enough to halt its momentum and hold it fast. Toji was bigger than him, but he had not trained most his life under the expectation of having to go hand to hand with a superhuman in power armour, and his sport of choice was basketball, not a sport known for practicing punching.

Shinji caught the other fist aimed for his face, and pulled Toji’s arms apart while Kensuke could just stand in the background and stare in mute awe at the display of strength Shinji was displaying. Tears began to form in Toji’s eyes from rage and pain as the bones of his hands creaked from the strain.

Finally, in desperation, he tried to kick Shinji, but just as his leg was leaving the ground Shinji shoved down violently, causing Toji’s other leg to buckle and forcing him to the ground on his knees, his fists still held in Shinji’s iron grip.

Yes! Bow before your lord, your superior!

He did not let these feelings escape to his face however, but merely stared impassively down at Toji and asked, “Are you calm, or will you try to hit me if I let go?”

Toji didn’t answer, his head hung in shame.

Shinji released Toji’s arms, livid bruises forming on the backs of Toji’s hands already from where Shinji had placed his fingers. His arms flopped uselessly to his side, and then Shinji squatted down low to be level with Toji’s face.

“I know you must hate me for what happened to your sister, but let me tell you something: that was my first time in that war machine and I didn’t even learn how to make it walk properly until two days later. And it is… shall we say temperamental? I short, the commander of NERV wanted it to go berserk. He’s the one you should be mad at, not me. Do you want me to tell you his name?” Shinji whispers slyly and hatefully.


“The director of NERV is Ikari Gendo. Yes, Ikari. So if you want to pound him, get in line, because the bastard is my own father and I hate him for what he has done to me,” Shinji says before rising.

The phone in his pocket then rang and he pulled it out to discover that he was needed at NERV immediately. The rising of sirens told him all he needed to know about why he was needed.

Shinji left Kensuke to gather up his fallen friend. Toji would soon come to worship Shinji for the same reasons all men worshipped terrible, cruel deities: fear. Shinji could squash the boy and everything he loved like bugs, but he would not, for was he not a merciful deity? If he crippled his sister, did he not also, in his compassion, spare her life?

Rei was soon at Shinji’s side, their destination the same.

“A new Angel has been spotted,” Rei says flatly.

“Indeed. Time to see if practice will pay off,” Shinji says dryly.

“Hmmm… looks like Shinji was right to be worried, this Angel is nothing at all like the last one,” Ritsuko comments as visual data is fed to them. Long and low like a centipede, it floated above the Earth serenely despite the fact that it was cruising at near the speed of sound. Two stubby arms projected from its side near its spade shaped head, and its red core seemed to serve as a giant, cyclopean eye for the Fifth Angel.

“Looks like it’s a lucky thing we started adding flight capacity to the combat simulations,” Misato notes before asking, “What is Unit 01’s status?”

“Shinji has been loaded into the entry plug and is has stabilized at a sync ratio of 55%, as usual,” Maya reports. “All systems are nominal.”

Nodding, Misato looks up at Vice Commander Fuyutsuki, who merely nods before she says, “Eva launch!”

In the entry plug Shinji was expanding his awareness, pushing his psychic sight into the shifting currents of time, looking for snippets of moments yet to come to give him any advantage he could in the coming battle. Even knowing a second ahead of time what was going to happen could be precious in such a conflict.

Emerging from a hollowed out building, Shinji armed his assault rifle and moved to take a look at the enemy, keeping his AT-field tight against his Eva. A split second precognitive warning was all he had to move his head out of the way as a glowing pink tendril sliced through the building he was using for cover and nearly cut straight through his AT-field, only the angle preventing full penetration.

Rolling out of the way of the follow up strike, Shinji unfolded his field to neutralize the Angel’s, continuously moving to avoid the whip-cracking strikes, although he did take several glancing blows that melted away strips of his armour. Finally, after what felt like eternity but was probably only three seconds, the phase spaces neutralized and Shinji let loose with his weapon right at the bright red core.

The Angel took all of three hits on its core before it dropped its “head”, at which point the 105mm depleted uranium rounds began bouncing harmlessly off the creature’s unnaturally strong flesh. A precision tendril lash neatly dissected the rifle in Shinji’s hands, cutting it along atomic force planes.

“I’m going to need a bigger gun,” Shinji understates in agitation.

“Send him a rocket launcher immediately,” Misato commands the bridge crew, her orders rapidly being relayed. Then to Shinji, “The building marked on your map will have a rocket launcher for you in 30 seconds.”

“Affirmative,” Shinji notes while hopping and rolling about downtown Tokyo-3 in order to avoid being bisected by one of those energy tendrils, the various buildings taking a tremendous beating while Shinji concentrated on staying alive.

A light flashed on Shinji’s pop-up map display to show that the rocket launcher had arrived at the designated building. Getting it under these circumstances would be a bit difficult thought.

And then Shinji had an idea.

Dodging behind a particularly large and dense building, Shinji watched as the Angel sliced off the top ten floors before he built his AT-field into a wall, which he then shoved forward several metres in less than a second.

The Angel tried desperately to counter the attack, but its slicing did nothing to counter the overall momentum of the incoming object, and was subsequently bowled over by tens of thousands of tons of metal, glass, and concrete.

Floating back up off the ground and shaking off the offending debris, the Angel had just enough time to spot Unit 01, rocket launcher in hands, kick off from another building and approach from above, landing feet first on the Angel’s projected AT-field, driving it back into the ground.

Shinji opened up a hole in that field and shoved the entire rocket launcher through it before remotely triggering the launch command. The both missiles were already armed, and thus when the first one rushed down the tube and met Angel flesh, the back blast triggered the remaining missile and set off the hundreds unexploded munitions the Angel was lying in from the destroyed combat buildings.

Both Angel and Eva disappeared in the explosion.

“Unit 01’s cable has been severed,” Maya reported as the five-minute countdown timer kicked in automatically.

“Where is Unit 01?” Misato cried out as the image cleared at a badly mauled Angel could be seen rising from the rubble, its right side melted nearly beyond recognition by the blast and its belly oozing blue-purple blood from numerous wounds.

Only one camera caught what happened next, and it was in the awed hands of one Aida Kensuke.

“Holy shit!” He whispered, dredging up the only profanity that seemed appropriate for the occasion.

Shinji had used the AT-field and the explosions to jump nearly a kilometre into the air and had performed a tuck and roll to gain control over his tumble before drawing his progressive knife. Now falling spread eagle, he was directly above the confused and disoriented Angel and plummeting at a fantastic speed.

Only a disciple of Tzeentch would be hopeful enough to think this would work and skilled enough to try it.

Shinji hit the Angel like the hammer of a god, it’s only warning the sudden neutralization of its weakened AT-field before Unit 01 slammed into it like a hunting falcon at the bottom of its stoop. The prog knife slashed straight through its head and slammed into its core, the knife going in to the hilt before momentum ripped it out of Shinji’s hand. His other hand grabbed hold of some of the creature’s flesh, which quickly tore under the uneven transfer of inertia.

Shinji smacked hard into the ground and dug a crater all the way to the first armour plate, but he held onto the Angel enough to bleed some of his energy to it, the off centre impact and its lack of ground contact causing it to be flipped across the city and collide with another munitions building.

Inside his entry plug, Shinji hurt all over, some of his pain from the Eva, some from his own body not appreciating the sudden acceleration. Fortunately the LCL matched human tissue quite well, so Shinji was insulated from shock to a large degree. The bound daemon wailed in fury and pain, but did not go berserk seeing as it was now terrified of Shinji.

That… was stupid.

On the command bridge, everyone, including the normally unflappable Vice Commander, was staring at the screen in open mouthed shock and amazement. Finally Misato snapped out of it and demanded, “Status of the pilot?”

After a moment of looking dumbly at their instruments, everyone started scrambling about and reports started flooding back. “Shinji appears mostly fine… Eva has a broken right arm and several ribs have caved in. Armour integrity is at 30%.”

Sighing, Misato fingered her necklace and said, “At least that’s over…”

“Blue pattern still detected!” Someone shouted out.

Shinji heard that in his cockpit and could only groan, “You’ve got to be shitting me.”

Floating out of the burning wreckage of where it had landed, the Fourth Angel floated lopsidedly over to Unit 01 and used its remaining tendril to grab hold of one of the legs by the ankle and physically pick the war machine up, spinning it a few times before releasing it like an Olympic hammer thrower. Shinji landed several kilometres away in the hills, gouging a deep impact trench in the soft earth before lying still.

Reaching up with a tendril to the inert prog knife, the Angel pulled it out as best it could. The energy whip quickly burned through the handle and thus left a good chunk of the blade still imbedded in its core. It then proceeded to begin regeneration of its battered frame, starting with the burned off arm, such that in a few seconds it had both tendrils active again.

Before it could begin rejoining its “head”, one of the special autocannon cars flew through the air to smash into it in an impressive fireball that sent shrapnel everywhere, gouging new holes in its body.

Now it was the Angel’s turn to go, “You’ve got to be shitting me.”

Limping down out of the hills like a prize fighter coming back from a corner after the ref had nearly counted to ten, Unit 01 moved to finish the fight. One of its arms hung uselessly at its side, and its armour was cracked and coming off in places to reveal browned flesh that was bleeding, but it was still moving, still pissed.

The Angel started to back off, terrified for the first time in its mostly mindless existence.

Unit 01 bellowed and dropped its head in a charge.

The Angel squealed, making a gurgling, aquatic sound in terror as it retreated, trying to skewer Unit 01 with its tendrils. Unit 01 took the blows to the chest and kept coming despite the energy whips punching straight through its armour and flesh and out the other side. The Eva rammed its head into the centre of the Angel, its horn gouging out the Angel’s guts before snapping off, while the burnt hands tried to dig into the core along the crack created by the prog knife.

The Angel attempted one last trick, setting up an electric current between its tendrils. Unit 01 screamed in agony as tens of thousands of volts and hundreds of amps surged through it, but the circuit only lasted for a moment before the strain overloaded the Angel’s core. Lightning burst from it along the crack before everything went silent, its tendrils losing their glow.

Unit 01’s internal power clock hit 00:00 a second later.

Over the radio, Shinji said, “That… really hurt.”

Shinji came to class the next day with an arm in a splint, ironically because as he was being hauled out of his entry plug he had slipped on a puddle of LCL and sprained his wrist, which aside from some massive bruising was the worst of his injuries. Everyone was silently respectful of him, although none more so than Kensuke and Toji, who had actually seen him fighting.

At lunch Toji approached and bowed low, saying, “I apologize for my behaviour yesterday, it was unacceptable.”

One of his eyes closed from a swollen bruise about his face, Shinji smiles and says, “You just wanted to defend your family, there is nothing wrong with that. Just make sure you know who the right target is next time.”

“Of course,” Toji says smartly.

After a few moments of silence, Shinji asks, “So did you get any good footage?”

“Wha…?” Toji asks.

“I saw you two in the hills yesterday, which was why I decided to get up and attack before that thing could recover and come to me. I didn’t want to squish either of you,” Shinji explains with a darkly humorous expression, leaving out the part about him being almost out of energy at the time.

“It was awesome! Especially that jump you did. I mean, how cool was that? You’ve got to let me try that some time,” Kensuke says before both boys go silent at the cold shivers they suddenly felt down their spines.

“Ayanami-san, come to eat with us today?” Shinji asks cheerfully.

“Yes,” she says.

“Uh… we’ll leave you two alone,” Toji says; the two of them still crept out by Rei’s presence.

“Suit yourselves,” Shinji says with a shrug as the two of them leave.

Sitting down next to him, Rei waits for several seconds before saying softly, “I wish to know why you think I am incomplete.”

A smile washes over Shinji’s face as he clears his throat and says, “Let me tell you a story about two gods, one named Tzeentch, and one named Nurgle…”
I love learning. Teach me. I will listen.
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Post by Academia Nut » 2007-12-08 04:29am

Gendo had returned to a situation… somewhat outside his scenario. He had expected his son to be forced into a situation where the only options would further serve to break his psyche, make him easier to control in the future. Instead he had arrived to find a growing pro-Shinji camp in the NERV staff, especially amongst the technicians who worked directly with him and Unit 01.

“What is your post-battle analysis Captain Katsuragi?” Gendo asks coolly.

“After running simulations both with and without Shinji-san on the MAGI supercomputers, we have come to the conclusion that he performed at 92% efficiency of the optimal scenario, given what we knew. Part of the problem is that we badly under-estimated the Angels’ ability to learn and adapt. In essence, because of Shinji’s initial actions the Angel Shamshel marked him as an immediate threat and attacked as strongly as possible from the beginning, limiting Shinji’s options. Damage to Tokyo-3 and Unit 01 is thus considered to have been less than most probably outcomes, excluding losing scenarios,” Misato reports.

Gendo took a moment to digest this report. This was not what he wanted to hear.

“Recommendations?” He asks.

Misato pulls out a thick folder and replies, “We have several, a few of which have already been implemented. We have updated the pilot training programs for both the Second and Third Child to include much more difficult scenarios than previously generated under the assumption that the Angels will adapt at a rate 25% greater than we have previously seen and that each subsequent Angel will have learned from the mistakes and failures of the previous ones. The biggest issue though is that we need more effective weapons and armour for the Evas.”

“And where would we get the money for this?” Gendo replies coldly.

Raising an eyebrow, Misato smiles and says, “Corporate sponsorship.”

Gendo was not expecting that response.

“Nike is willing to pay us fifty million USD for permission to use this in their next advertising campaign,” Misato says, passing Gendo a picture from her folder. The picture is a black and white silhouette of Unit 01 in mid-air above Shamshel, with the English words “Just Do It” in red letters beneath the image. “They are also willing to pay a considerable amount towards the repair of the Eva’s armour if allowed to put their swoosh on the soles of Unit 01’s feet. Several other large corporations are clamouring to be allowed to donate to the Eva program money, resources, and expertise and desire to make statements of solidarity.”

“‘Statements of solidarity’?” Gendo asks incredulously.

“For once they all seem to be looking at the long term, big picture, in that if humanity is destroyed by the Angels then there won’t be anyone to make a profit off of. Short term, being associated with the people trying to save the planet from alien invaders will do wonders for their public relations,” Misato explains.

Gendo considers this, and then deciding that since he plans on initiating Third Impact within a year he might as well take advantage of the potential resources. The Old Men would probably have their fingers in things anyway, but a line of resources that they didn’t directly control would be useful.

“Very well, begin sorting through proposals from the corporations. And have we figured out how that video of the fight leaked to the Internet?” Gendo asks.

Ritsuko shrugs and says, “The film was edited so that the original makers are still unknown, and the initial release was done from a public terminal here in Tokyo-3 as a global e-mail spamming. The initial terminal was destroyed by a dormant virus that erased and then overwrote the hard drive shortly after the release, which was probably done with a time delay. What little we found was all amateur script kiddie stuff, which means that there are no fingerprints in the coding to trace as it is was publicly available. The MAGI might be able to crack it if we devote considerably more processing time and power to the problem, but there is not a lot of evidence to go by.”

Frowning, Gendo says, “Unless there is a repeat of this sort of leak, forget about it then. Have public relations clean up the rest. Let us return to the discussion on combat capacities of Unit 01 then Captain Katsuragi.”

Nodding, Misato says, “We already have several plans for updating the weapons and armour for Unit 01. Of particular interest is to use the AT-field amplifiers we have to produce an effective close combat weapon that will not rely on neutralizing an Angel’s AT-field first.”

Passing over a set of documents detailing the initial proposal, featuring an Eva sized staff that would warp the AT-field produced by an Eva and wrap it around its length while altering the field’s harmonics. It would theoretically be impossible for any single opposing AT-field to nullify the field around the staff and around the Eva simultaneously.

“Is this proposal possible Dr. Akagi?” Gendo asks.

Shrugging, Ritsuko says, “I’ve reviewed it and it is theoretically possible, and we already have most of the individual components realized. We would have to build one and field test it to know for sure though.”

Nodding, Gendo passes the document back and says, “Very well, begin full engineering and design. What other proposals do we have?”

“We have already moved up the time table for completion on our positron rifle, but it is rather large and bulky so considering the speed of the last Angel, it may not be as effective as we hoped. There is some research being done to miniaturize the weapon somewhat. That said; we are working on a weapon designed to have both armour piercing and explosive properties in order to cause maximum tissue damage. We also have several other proposals, although they are all less practical or achievable than what I have already detailed,” Misato explains.

“Then go with the most achievable options,” Gendo says before declaring, “This meeting is adjourned, the Vice Commander and I have other business to attend to.”

Once everyone had filed out, Gendo turned to Fuyutsuki and cries out, “What the hell happened?”

Rei was for the first time in her life, confused. Pilot Ikari had been telling her things the past few days, things that scared her with the sense they made. And now Rei found that she had questions. Questions like, “Who am I?”

Pilot Ikari told her that he had learned meditative and focusing techniques that allowed him to expand on the same potential that allowed him to pilot an Eva. The man who had trained him also introduced him to a strange religion featuring four rather strange deities, with Pilot Ikari only worshipping one of the four, if acknowledging the other three.

He worshipped the god of change and evolution, of hope. For him, nothing was impossible; everything was achievable if one was smart and strong enough. He saw the world and saw limitless potential in everything.

Rei did not share that point of view.

Strangely, Pilot Ikari did not mind the fact that she did not share this opinion. In fact, his insistence that she was incomplete was over her lack of strong emotions. The conversation still played out in her mind.

“The gods are beings of emotion, just as humans are. If you wish to touch even a fraction of their power, you must open up to the raw veins of feeling within you,” Pilot Ikari said.

“Why?” Rei had asked, not grasping the reasoning behind his words.

“Why must you open up, or why do it in the first place?” Pilot Ikari asked back.

For a moment Rei considered this before saying, “Why would I do it in the first place?”

Pilot Ikari grinned and said, “Power, what else?”

Rei blinked a few times before asking, “Why would I want power?”

“Why not? Power is freedom. If you have power, you can choose how to do things, when to do things, and all the other little details. If I had more power the other day, I would not have fought the Angel the way I did, and it would have been easier for all involved. I especially would have been at less risk of dying,” Shinji explains.

Frowning now, Rei says, “I am not afraid of death, so why should I seek more power?”

Pilot Ikari twitched an eyebrow at this remark, and Rei immediately hid away all thoughts relating to her “sisters” lest he pluck them from her mind. Still smiling, he said, “Not afraid of death are you? Why is that?”

“I am replaceable,” Rei said.

“Oh? So you’re a piece of trash then, a mass produced consumer item to be used and discarded when no longer needed?” Shinji asked mockingly.

Rei frowned deeply at him.

He smirked and said, “What? Those are the only things that are even remotely replaceable: cheap copies made on a large scale. You use one up, discard it, and there’s another one waiting, like facial tissues out of a box. Are you a facial tissue, to catch someone else’s tears and snot and other less pleasant things and then be tossed aside?”

Rei did not answer that question.

“So you do consider yourself replaceable,” Shinji says, the smile not leaving his face. “Does that make you angry?”


“Do you want to change the situation?”

“I have no need to.”

“Does it make you happy then?”

There was a long pause.

Pilot Ikari broke the silence by saying, “Curious reaction to a curious question, no? If you are replaceable as a person, then your death is inevitable, no? But neither is death the end to your work. So why not be happy? Inevitability is the antithesis of hope, for hope is defiance of the seemingly inevitable. When you have no hope, you have no fear. When you have nothing to be afraid of, why not enjoy your life. Live and love and be joyful while you can, for death will come for us all.”

There was a meaningful pause before Pilot Ikari said, “I don’t believe in the inevitable, but then again, I’m not you. Believe what you want, just

Pilot Ikari’s words had badly shaken her. She had lived without emotions, without attachments for so long under the assumption that they didn’t matter, and now he told her that if nothing mattered then why worry?

She picked up the broken glasses she had acquired when Commander Ikari saved her, trying to find meaning in the only item of sentimental value she kept with her. They were shattered… useless… the Commander had discarded them and acquired a new pair… just as he would discard her and obtain a new Rei if the time came.

If the glasses could feel anything at all, surely they would feel despair. They had served well and faithfully, and then, through no fault of their own, they had been damaged and cast off. But they could not feel. They were inanimate objects. If Rei did not feel, did that make her inanimate?

But she did feel. She felt affection and loyalty for Commander Ikari. She felt drawn to Pilot Ikari and simultaneously scared of him. But why should she be scared? She had known her whole life that there were other clones capable of taking her place should she die. She had already perished once. Death was not an end for her, so why should she fear it?

Why should she fear anything?

Because even if she could not die, others could die or get hurt. And if NERV failed against the Angels, then there would be no more clone bodies to take her place. The mission to defeat the Angels was thus the most important thing to her. That was the only thing that was not inevitable, that was the only thing to fear. Everything else could be endured.

A sudden epiphany struck Rei. She could endure any level of physical pain, so why not emotional pain? If she could endure, then she had nothing to fear. If she had nothing to fear, then why limit her contact with others?

So this was what Pilot Ikari, what Shinji had meant that power was freedom. Power and strength was freedom from the chains of the self and from the chains of others. She also now understood when he said that she was incomplete. If she felt nothing, then she was no better than the broken glasses in her hands. And how could an inanimate object do anything?

Rei fell asleep smiling for the first time.

Shinji was humming to himself happily while reading the newspaper. The announcement of Nike’s newest advertising campaign had led to a sudden jump in their stocks as investors worldwide noted the marketing coup of getting the image of Unit 01 performing a “Shinji Suicide Special”. Overall, it was a good day to have already invested in Nike stock.

Or Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, who had been allowed to announce that they were the primary supplier of heavy machinery to Tokyo-3 and had even been involved in some of the armour production for the Evas.

Or any one of a dozen companies that had proclaimed their association with NERV and the Evangelion program.

Shinji’s net worth had tripled in the past four days, and he was already covertly moving to expand that wealth further still. Money attracted more money, and within another two to three months his income from his investments would start exceeding his income from his NERV salary, to say nothing of his net worth. Within a year he could easily become one of the richest individuals in Japan.

And no one would know just how much money he had. Off shore accounts were a wonderful thing.

The doorbell rang and Shinji said, “I’ll get it Misato-san.”

As he had expected, Toji and Kensuke were waiting for him at the door, and they immediately said, “Good morning Shinji-san”

Misato smoothly reached her arm about the doorway to the room she was in and said silkily, “Good morning boys.”

Good morning Misato-san!” Both said enthusiastically and in a sing-song voice.

Rolling his eyes at their predictable response, Shinji throws on his coat and picks up his book bag and says, “Come on you two, if you stand here too long not only will we be late, but you’ll die of dehydration from all the drool.”

Practically dragging the two horny teenagers away, Shinji then quietly waits for the daily, “Ah man Shinji, you’re so lucky, getting to live with such a major babe like Misato.”

“Hardly worth it when there’s no way in hell I would ever get anywhere and I have to clean up after her all the time. Woman is an absolute slob,” Shinji replies in annoyance.

“But still man…” Toji begins before trailing off into a hormone fuelled day dream.

Shaking his head, Shinji says, “Trust me, reality is never as good as dreams.”

Unless you force reality to be like dream, but that’s a little different.

“Oh come on, you’re just trying to discourage us so you can Misato all to yourself,” Toji complains.

“Just as I’m sure you’re trying to get us all after Misato so that you can grab the girl who is actually making googly eyes towards you without anyone noticing,” Shinji replies.

Had there been a soundtrack to his life, there suddenly would have been the sound of a needle scratching to a stop across a record.

WHAT?” Toji cried out.

Grinning slyly, Shinji says, “You heard me. I see and hear things you guys don’t because instead of staring only at girls chests and mouthing off, I’m actually paying attention. Thus it’s not that hard to tell who likes you Toji-kun.”

The psychic powers don’t hurt either.

“So who is it?” Toji demands.

“Well…” Shinji says, dragging out the last syllable before saying, “No. I could tell you, but where’s the fun in that? Tell you what, if you don’t figure it out by the end of the day today I’ll tell you… but you’ll owe me.”

“Like you need more money Mr. Only Egyptian Cotton Will Do,” Toji says.

Rolling his eyes, Shinji says, “I can’t help it if unlike some people I have refined tastes. And obviously I wouldn’t be asking for money. It would be a favour.”

“Oh. Well I suppose. I bet you I’ll figure it out real quick,” Toji says arrogantly.

Deciding to come back into the conversation at this point, Kensuke says, “Oh? You mean now that you know that there’s a girl with a crush on you, you can figure it out?”

“Shut up Kensuke,” Toji grumbles while taking a half-hearted swing at his friend, who easily moves aside.

Shinji was about to comment when he felt a strange mind approaching. It was… was… bubbly. Shinji was suddenly rather worried.

“Shiiiiiiiinji-kun,” a strange female voice called out, causing the trio to turn around and find a very strange, very terrifying image.

“Toji… are my glasses busted or is Rei running towards us? And smiling?” Kensuke asks rather worriedly.

“She is,” Toji answers fearfully.

“I’m… I’m scared. Hold me Toji,” Kensuke asks.

“Only if you hold me back,” Toji demands and the two of them grip the other in abject terror.

Her bandages now mostly off, Rei approaches the three with a huge grin on her face, but it looked like she didn’t know how to smile properly, and instead it came off as some sort of psychotic killer grin.

“Good morning Shinji-kun, I thought about what you said, and you were right, I can endure. I am much happier now,” she says, before bowing and continuing on her way.

Toji and Kensuke watched her go until she turned a corner, at which point they realized how closely they were hanging on to one-another, at which point they leapt apart and brushed themselves off in as manly a manner as possible given the circumstances.

That was… not quite as planned. Thank Tzeentch for back-ups!

“What the hell was that about?” Toji asks while glancing back and forth to make sure no one saw what had happened.

“I’m… not quite sure. I think something that I said to her may have clicked and now she won’t be as quiet anymore,” Shinji says with a shrug while continuing on.

“I liked quiet Rei! She was creepy, but at least she wasn’t… that!” Toji points out.

“I can’t control how people will react to my words,” Shinji says theatrically to help cover up his believable lie. Controlling people directly was just too obvious and a pain in the ass to maintain for an extended period of time.

“Well then be more careful with them. What the hell did you say to her anyway?” Toji asks.

“Oh, just talking philosophy with a fellow Pilot,” Shinji says.

“Rei pilots an Eva?” Kensuke asks, excited about anything to do with the Evangelion program.

“It’s how she got hurt. You can try talking to her about it if you want,” Shinji says, and Kensuke suddenly got a look on his face that suggested that was probably a bad idea.

The rest of the day was fairly normal, although the sudden change in Rei’s character was well noted. She didn’t say a whole lot more, but she smiled a great deal, and seemed more animate, more interested in others in a sort of bizarre, mute puppy dog way. The effect was extraordinarily creepy for the rest of the class, although Shinji enjoyed it to an extent as it helped soothe out the psychic background noise. When everyone was thinking along the same lines you could sort of tune out that channel of thought.

As they were walking home afterwards, Toji smacked Shinji in the arm and said, “Hey! You lied! There aren’t any girls making googly eyes at me.”

Smirking both at Toji’s denseness and at the way the jock was covertly shaking out his hand after punching Shinji’s wiry muscles, Shinji says, “Oh really? Because I could swear that you noticed that there was a girl looking at you all through class today.”

“What? No. The only one who kept looking at me was… no way! Dude, you do not have your head screwed on right,” Toji cries out in protest.

“You’ll note between the yelling at you to shut up, Class Rep Hikari tends to shoot you little glances that aren’t authoritarian in nature. She likes you Toji,” Shinji says, making a childish face to accent his words.

“But… but… what?” Toji says stumbling over his own words as he suddenly begins reviewing his own interactions with Hikari.

“I think you broke his brain,” Kensuke says helpfully.

“I don’t think it was in very good repair to begin with,” Shinji replies.

“I… uh… I… what am I supposed to do now?” Toji asks desperately.

“Hmm… well, I suppose I could impart to you my somewhat limited sage knowledge on matters such as the heart, but you’re already down a favour with me Toji. Want to go even deeper into debt?” Shinji says.

Yes! Anything! You’ve got to help me out here man!” Toji cries out.

Shrugging, Shinji says, “Well, first you should ask if you like her back.”

Toji struggles with this suggestion for a while before saying, “I don’t know!”

He did know, consciously too, he just didn’t want to admit it. Shinji would enjoy reading off the list of things Toji found attractive about Hikari.

“Well, let’s see what you think about these things. Don’t you think that those pig tails of hers are cute? Or that look on her face when she gets annoyed with you? Or the way her skirt flips to the side when…” Shinji enumerates before Toji holds up a hand in protest.

“Alright! Alright! I like her, I like her. No need to make me all jealous now,” Toji says, annoyed.

“I am as observant of you as I am of her, and I know how your eyes light up and your ears perk when she does something you like,” Shinji explains.

“I’m not a freaking dog!” Toji protests.

“I don’t know, you whimper pretty well when she starts chewing you out,” Kensuke adds cheekily. He was still cheeky when he dodged the retaliatory punches.

His frustration vented a little, Toji asks, “So now what do I do?”

“Well, if you like her, and she likes you, then isn’t it obvious?” Shinji says.

I can’t do that!” Toji cries out in horror.

“I was talking about asking her out,” Shinji says with a frustrated sigh.

So was I!” Toji replies.

Holding up his forehead with his thumb and index finger, Shinji tries not to throw about the term ‘monkey’ too much before he says, “Okay, if you can’t take the direct route, be sneaky. Doesn’t Hikari have a younger sister?”

“Yeah, and?” Toji asks.

“Don’t you have a younger sister?” Shinji asks.

“Yeah, and?” Toji asks.

I will refrain from mind crushing him, even though it would feel so good right now. I will refrain from mind crushing him…

“So, don’t you think a good way of getting closer to Hikari is to see if your sisters know one another? And shouldn’t your sister have as many friends as possible in the hospital?” Shinji suggests.

“Isn’t that rather… deceptive?” Toji asks worriedly.

Shrugging, Shinji says, “Perhaps, but who gets hurt by it? Your sister will feel better, and you and Hikari will be closer. Plus, I hear she’s a really good cook, so I bet you could convince her to help bring a smile to your injured sister by getting her something better to eat than hospital food.”

“I… err… ah… that second one might work better than the first,” Toji says.

“You do what you think is best,” Shinji states before saying, “Well, I have to go. Dr. Akagi is coming over for supper tonight.”

Ah, love was a beautiful thing. Especially when it allowed for extra avenues of manipulation of both Toji and Hikari. And Shinji had managed to extract two favours owed out of Toji. Small favours really, but Shinji knew how to take small things and magnify them into big things quite quickly.

Arriving at the apartment, Shinji was assaulted by the smell of instant curry and chili powder.

By the gods NO!

“Hey Shin-chan! Rits-chan said she would be coming over a little early so I decided to start cooking despite the fact that it was your night to cook. Nice, huh?” Misato called out from the kitchen.

Shinji went and curled up on the floor next to an equally frightened Pen-Pen. The penguin just let out a pained, “Wark!”

“I know Pen-Pen, I know. I thought the dark times were over too,” Shinji replied.


“At least capsaicin is an analgesic for birds,” Shinji replies.

“Wark. Wark-wark.”

“True. The allyl isothiocyanate in all that mustard can’t be pleasant for birds either,” Shinji concedes.

Ritsuko, who had walked in on this, wondered if she should flee from this den of insanity now, but unfortunately by that time Misato had arrived and hauled her off into her den of horrors.

A little while later while they were all “enjoying” their meal, Ritsuko sudden snapped her fingers and said, “Oh! I just remembered! I keep forgetting to give Rei her new security card. Could you do that for me before you go in tomorrow Shinji-kun?”

“Of course Ritsuko-san,” Shinji says, accepting the card. “There’s a test of Unit 00 tomorrow, correct?”

“Yes, we believe we have isolated the error that occurred last time, although… uh… well, we also intend for you to be in your Eva this time Shinji. If Unit 00 were to go berserk again, we would prefer for you to be on standby to help restrain it and retrieve Rei… less violently than last time,” Ritsuko explains.

“It would be my pleasure,” Shinji says. Bonus points either way. He also got the idea that this last part had only recently been added on. “How goes the refit plans for Unit 01 by the way?”

“The engineers are mostly done with the redesign of the armour so we should have it manufactured and installed within a month; maybe less if we get extra funding. The weapons are complete though. The AT-staff will be ready for testing with the Evas next week, and APHEGSRB system is ready for combat trials,” Ritsuko explains.

“APHEGSRB?” Shinji inquires?

“Armour Piercing High Explosive Gyroscopically Stabilized Rocket, Boosted. Quite ingenious really. The engineers were having trouble combining an armour piercing profile with the high explosives, or rather combining both with the demands for combat against Angels. Eventually someone came upon the idea of using an old idea for rocket pistols called Gyrojets. The rockets provide a smoother acceleration profile than a standard bullet while achieving armour piercing velocities, and as added bonuses they give better long range accuracy, and better penetration and explosive properties within the range of their fuel. The only problems were low initial exit velocity and feed rate, but they added a small initial propellant block to get around those problems. The ammunition costs a fortune, but they tell me a five round burst would have blown Shamshel in half,” Ritsuko explains, wondering idly why she was so interested in the subject.

“Hopefully the Fifth Angel won’t be expecting that sort of thing,” Shinji says with a smile. He had wanted to make sure that an Eva sized bolter was being produced properly, but the design teams were being tight lipped about it all. “Do they have a simpler name for it?”

“I think the engineers like to call it the boom gun,” Ritsuko says with a somewhat annoyed smirk at the childishness of her colleagues.

Both Shinji and Misato shrugged and said, “It works,” simultaneously before bursting out into a fit of giggles.

The next day Shinji found himself at Rei’s apartment, wondering why it had taken her so long to find the name of her deity. The building was a squalid prefab structure that had mostly been abandoned for the newer structures, despite the fact that Tokyo-3 was only about a decade old. Garbage was scattered everywhere, the elevator had an “Out of Order” sign on it, and the stairwells stank of stale urine.

Shinji could feel Rei’s mind on the other side, calm and… bubbly. It was like her new found outlook was reacting badly with something already inside her. At least she wasn’t quite as bad as yesterday and seemed to have settled down significantly.

Going to knock on the door after trying the bell to find it was not working Shinji noted that it just swung open when he pressed on it, indicating that both the lock and handle were broken.

“Hello Ayanami-san,” Shinji said while walking into the equally squalid apartment, although it was apathy that had made it this way, not the active despoilment present outside.

“Hello Pilot Ikari,” Rei answered from somewhere in the apartment.

“Where are you?” Shinji asked.

“In the bathroom contemplating the utility of taking a shower,” Rei replied. Shinji noted the clothing on her bed and figured she was probably naked.

“Oh?” Shinji asked, waiting in the hall connecting to her room.

“Yes. I will be performing a test with Unit 00 this afternoon and will thus be exposed to LCL. Therefore I will be required to take a shower later. Taking a shower now seems… like an inefficient use of my time,” Rei replies.

“Did you shower yesterday?” Shinji asked.

“No,” she answered.

“The day before that?”



“I was otherwise occupied.”

“What with?”

“Living,” Rei responded.

“You picked Nurgle, didn’t you?” Shinji said with a sigh.

“That deity seemed most in-line with who I am. Are you displeased with my choice,” Rei said.

“As a follower of Tzeentch, a little, but frankly, Nurgle is better than where you were before. Nurgle is the god of despair and love, of decay and endurance. All the Chaos gods are many things, for Chaos is all things,” Shinji answers.

“I… I feel more connected to thing Pilot Ikari,” Rei states before walking naked into view.

Shinji did not flinch, did not stutter, and did not become embarrassed at the sight of her body, for he had more self-control than that. Rather he just said, “Then you can begin learning. You will have to learn much yourself though, for I know little of Nurgle’s deeper theology, and the methods of the Changer of Ways often stand in opposite to those of the Lord of Decay.”

“What you can teach me will be sufficient. I shall find a way to endure my own lack of knowledge,” Rei replies while getting dressed.

Nodding, Shinji says, “Perfect. The first lesson is that emotions are power. Mine are hope and ambition and fear. Yours would be love and acceptance and despair. Learn them, know them, and master them. Make them your servants, your allies, your friends. Know when to control them, when to follow them, and when to let them run wild. Know what they mean, what they are telling you, and what you should do about them.”

Now fully dressed, Rei sat on her bed and gestured for Shinji to join her. “We have little time before we must report to NERV, but teach me what you can until then.”

Sitting down next to her in this den of decay, Shinji smiles and says, “Very well. First you must find your centre, the part of you that defines you. Do not worry if you do find your centre right away, you will often find false ones. But like a misbalanced top, you will soon know if you are off centre. Embrace these false starts, for they move you closer to the truth.”

“What is your centre Pilot Ikari?” Rei asks.

“Me,” Shinji replies curtly. “For a time I thought it was my father and my hatred for his abandonment of me, but then I realized that I was letting myself be controlled. Now I know that for me, control over myself is the most important thing I have. Control within produces control without, makes me the master of my own destiny.”

In another universe, Rei would have probably slapped Shinji for his candid remarks about his father, but instead she asked, “Do you still hate him?”

“Yes, but it is not a definitive hate. A reckoning will inevitably come between us one day, but he shall be the initiator, not I. I have better things to do with my life,” Shinji replies.

Rei nods and says, “I can accept this. I can endure this.”

“So what do you think defines you right now?” Shinji asks.

“Piloting Unit 00,” Rei replies.

“Very good, run with that, use that. How do you feel about it?” Shinji asks.

“I… I must pilot it. There is no choice for me in this manner,” Rei says flatly.

“Oh? There is always choice, always things that can be done. You could refuse. You could run away. You could throw yourself off this building,” Shinji points out.

Rei shakes her head, “I would be replaced, and my actions would be pointless. Piloting is inevitable. Death is inevitable. These facts must be accepted.”

“Does such responsibility without choice not crush you down?” Shinji asks.

“Yes,” Rei replies.

“How does that make you feel?” Shinji asks.

“It must be accepted. Despair… despair is inevitable. There is no hope to escape this crushing weight, it must simply be accepted and endured. There is no use… no use despairing over despair,” Rei says, a light going off in her head.

“Did you just make a joke Rei?” Shinji asks.

Tilting her head to the side, Rei replies, “Yes. Yes… and now I understand. Despair is inevitable, for all things fall apart, all things come to an end, and nothing can stop that. But love is also inevitable, as is joy. Even the most crushing weight will not prevent that. Even if all else is gone, ground to dust, then memories remain, and in those memories are love and joy. If memories vanish, then the bad go with the good, and then what is there to be sad about? All can be broken and destroyed and ruined… and there will still be nothing to be sad about.”

Laughing, Shinji says, “Now you are coming to understand. Understand the meanings of your emotions, and they are powerful. Love binds us. To be bound is to be restrained, but it is also to be strength, for it reinforces us if we try to move out of line, even if that motion is involuntary breakage. Acceptance means that we have given in, but is that truly such a bad thing all the time? Just because we may not like the rain does not mean we must defy it, and in accepting it, does it really do us more harm than if we rage against it? And despair, that merely lets us know our limits, no?”

Rei looked at Shinji and said, “You do not believe these things?”

Shrugging, Shinji says, “I can believe that you believe them. I fear that which I do not understand, but I have ambitions to learn, and thus I can hope for a better future. I may fear what you are and may become, but I am ambitious enough to teach you, to guide you, and hope that you and I become something greater for it.”

Rei absorbed this knowledge and finally said, “I can accept that.”

Glancing at his watch, Shinji notes, “We must get going now.”

Far, far away, an Angel began to stir, realizing it had its own appointments to keep.
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Post by Academia Nut » 2007-12-09 04:44am

Rei sat in the entry plug for Unit 00, which in turn was locked in place in one of the test chambers, with Unit 01 standing by in case anything should go wrong again. She sat and contemplated the new knowledge she had, and listened to the crew techs describing the progress of the activation test.

As the power-up sequence approached the absolute borderline, Rei could feel the spirit within her Eva begin to stir, began to feel its hatred towards her and all things, but especially Gendo, surface. It wanted to go wild, to destroy, to rip and tear.

Rei faced it with despair. She threw two lifetimes of despair, of the knowledge that death and duty were inevitable, inescapable. The spirit raged all the more, but it was rapidly drowning in the deluge of hopelessness. It could try and kill Rei, but the next day a replacement would come. If it killed that one, then there would be another. And another. And another. And another.

The Eva would serve NERV, one way or another. It would be crushed and ground down and there was nothing it could do. Through the mind link, the beast wailed in despair, only to find Rei still there, smiling at the creature.

I accept you and your rage. Let us share our despair. Let me share my love, so that you are not so lonely.

The beast clutched onto Rei in desperation, and the absolute borderline was achieved. It was still a raging monster, but already it could no longer deny her. Defiance was pointless; she would win, therefore she already won.

In his own Eva, Shinji could feel the daemon in Unit 00 already start to change character. He could feel it happening in his own Eva too, although Unit 00 was far less stable so the change was faster there. But already the daemon was becoming less interested in direct confrontation but in sneakier methods that put it well out of harm’s way. The fight with Shamshel had caused it a great deal of pain and it was quite willing to try ranged attacks next time.

And then the call came, announcing that there was an Angel in bound.

“We can have Unit 01 on the surface in sixty seconds,” Misato tells Gendo.

“Do it then,” Gendo replies coldly.

Taking a quick glance at the new Angel, Misato says, “Prep the positron rifle for action and deploy Unit 01 well away from the target. It has no obvious melee combat abilities, so it will probably use some sort of ranged attack.”

Ah, I see that my influence is making those around me smarter, a refreshing change from feeling like I’m the one getting dumber.

Taking the positron rifle from an oversized weapons rack, Shinji clamps it down next to him on the launch platform and hooks in. With a rush the electromagnetic accelerators kick in and propel him towards the surface, his extra senses already expanding outward to taste the future.

Arriving on the surface, Shinji immediately moves to cover behind an available hill, positron rifle at the ready, like a World War One soldier sitting and waiting in the trenches for the enemy to begin coming over the top.

The Fifth Angel rounded a hill and came into view, a giant octahedron made of reflective blue metal, serenely hovering in mid-air. It was essentially a giant “Fuck you” to Shinji, in that it completely disdained getting anywhere near him, preferring instead angled armour and a distinct lack of ground contact. Shinji took it as a compliment.

Extending his awareness into the future to predict his shots, Shinji found…

Son of a bitch!

Shinji twitched off two quick rounds from the positron cannon before ducking down behind the hill and running for all he was worth. The two bundles of magnetically contained plasma blanketing cores of positrons drifted right into the path of the proton beam fired from within the enormous Angel. The opposing fields twisted and bent, the much smaller positron blasts taking the worst of it, but the Angel’s attack was slowed and warped just enough that Shinji managed to dive out of the way as the hill he was hiding behind was turned into a glass cliff.

What happened next Shinji really would have liked to have taken credit for, but anyone who looked at it would see right away that the whole affair was really just dumb luck.

The first shot took the brunt of the warping effect, its containment field completely disrupted, causing the bundle of plasma to spill out along with the positrons, which then proceeded to play merry hell with the atmosphere and produce a large ionization patch that featured separated positive and negative charges. The negative chunk then went and bent the Angel’s beam.

The chaotic dance of dynamically moving magnetic and electric fields, hauled the second positron blast into a bizarre and unpredictable path that somehow, miraculously, put it a few metres from the firing point on the Angel. With the Angel still diverting most of its power to the proton beam, the plasma sheath was capable of burning through its AT-field with raw brute force to deliver the packet of positrons straight to the outer edges of the accelerator ring, which was now heavily charged with electrons produced in the production of the beam.

There was a terrible explosion along the flank of Ramiel that left enormous cranks along the affected sections of its armour.

Picking himself up off the ground after the dive, Shinji pumped his positron cannon until the weapon ran dry. The first blast caught the Angel while it was still stunned and blew off a huge chunk of formerly smooth armour, while the second was intercepted by a rapidly building AT-field and only the positron packet made it through. The third through eighth rounds bounced off the now full strength AT-field like BBs against main battle tank armour.

The Angel began to rotate to expose an undamaged section to Shinji, its circumference glowing with a brilliant blue-white light as it built up a massive charge while maintaining its AT-field.

“Retreat looks good right about now,” Shinji muttered just a few seconds before the recall order was given and he ran for the nearest elevator tube. Screw staying and fighting now.

Shinji leapt head first for the elevator shaft just in time for Ramiel to fire its beam. An entire block of armoured buildings were obliterated and the water of the lake beneath was pressed down by the confining magnetic field. Shinji was caught in the chest plate by the blast, causing his armour rapidly evaporating and the oxygen in his LCL boiling out of solution.

But momentum carried him clear of the blast when he fell down the elevator shaft. Despite being in incredible pain, Shinji managed to dig Unit 01’s fingers into the side of the shaft wall and slow his descent enough that neither he or the Eva were killed on impact with the bottom.

It was at about that point he fell unconscious.

“What is it doing?” Misato asked as the feed from the surface came in, showing Ramiel descend to the surface of the lake and then settle in up to its equator, a massive cloud of steam rising from it upon contact.

“Licking its wounds it looks like,” Ritsuko commented. “That last blast had quite the build-up, probably more than was safe for the Angel.”

“So we get a couple of hours while it cools down and regenerates before the attack is resumed. Great,” Misato comments sarcastically.

“It could have been worse. If we had deployed a minute later Shinji would have been in its firing arc while he was still attached to the elevator rails. He would have been a sitting duck,” Ritsuko points out.

“True. What’s his status?” Misato asks.

“He took a few bruises from his fall down the shaft, and some neural overload from the blast, but otherwise he is in good condition. We can have Unit 01 back in working order within 3 hours, but neither can take another pounding like what just happened. We’re all out of reserve stocks of armour for both Evas,” Makoto reports.

Misato watched the Angel cooling in the lake and she said, “I have an idea.”

Shinji sat in the hospital bed reviewing the plan Misato came up with and replied, “I like it. It has a certain appealing deviousness to it. Although I must admit that the naming conventions are rather… unfortunate.”

Misato shrugs and says, “That’s the media for you. Too bad the alliteration is in English and not Japanese though.”

“Would this technically be a ‘Shinji Suicide Special’? After all I won’t be launching using a high explosive blast and I will be in a controlled fall. Incidentally, has any of the equipment been tested yet?” Shinji asks.

“I think the phrase will be expanded to anything insane you do at this point,” Misato says with a smile.

“That didn’t answer the second question,” Shinji says in an annoyed tone.

“Nothing has been field tested yet…” Misato says before saying more happily, “Everything should theoretically work.”

Sighing, Shinji just shakes his head and says, “Please tell me the plane has been tested.”

“Well of course! Well… no, don’t worry about that part!” Misato says, waving the matter aside cheerfully.

Shinji groans and says, “You know what, don’t tell me. What are the chances of success?”

“The MAGI give a 4% chance of success, which is our best result yet!” Misato replies.

Just shaking his head, Shinji takes a pen from one of Misato’s pickets and starts writing on the plans, saying, “I presume you’ve been testing the Angel’s defences?”

“Yes, although we’ve trying to prevent it from figuring out what we want to learn from it. The bastards are remarkably good at learning and adapting,” Misato replies.

“What’s the refresh time for its beam weapon?” Shinji asks while making annotations and notes.

“Twelve seconds,” Misato replies.

Tossing the plan back to her, Shinji says, “There, now I have a twelve second window and that other addition should bump the chances of success up a bit.”

Looking it over, Misato grins and says, “This is going to cause a lot of very expensive things to explode.”

“If we lose this battle, will it matter?” Shinji inquires.

“Not particularly, although if you fight every battle like it is your last one, eventually it will come true,” Misato notes.

“Then can we recover from the losses in a reasonable amount of time?” Shinji asks.

Looking over the list of changes Shinji made, Misato makes a quick tally before saying, “These losses are within our budget. I’ll make these suggestions.”

Getting up to leave, Misato says, “Oh, and you have a visitor.”

Shinji already knew that Rei was waiting outside, so he said, “Send her in.”

Misato raised an eyebrow, to which Shinji shrugged and said, “Who else would have clearance to see me here?”

Shrugging in concession to that logic, Misato says, “Rei, you can come in now.” Just before leaving, she glanced over her shoulder with an impish smirk and said, “Have fun you two.”

Rolling his eyes in exasperation, Shinji gestures for Rei to sit and asks, “Have you seen the plan yet?”

“It is… ambitious,” she replies after consideration.

“Just my kind of plan,” Shinji says with a smile. “I understand they’ve begun strapping on whatever they can to give Unit 00 some extra protection.”

Rei smiles at that and says, “It is what the Americans call ‘hillbilly armour’ I believe.”

Shinji smiles and says, “This will be fun, I can assure you of that. I wish I could teach you about precognition, but that took me months to figure out.”

“Is that how you struck Ramiel the first time?” Rei asked.

His face twitching in a half smile, Shinji says, “No, that was all Tzeentch’s handiwork, and taking credit for His work is a bad idea. I was just shooting blind because I knew the particle beam would be deflected a bit by the shots.”

“You were hopeful it would help,” Rei points out.

“Something that between the two of us only I could do at this point,” Shinji replies.

Nodding, Rei says, “I shall not hope about our battle.”

“Oh?” Shinji asks.

“No. Victory is inevitable,” Rei states simply.

“And how do you know that if I haven’t taught you how to read the strands of the future yet?” Shinji asks.

“Because you have enough hope for the two of us, and I enough endurance,” Rei says before standing up and leaning over to kiss Shinji on the forehead in an almost motherly way. Perhaps sisterly. Certainly familial.

“I must go and help prepare,” Rei replies before leaving.

Shinji raised his hand to his forehead where the moisture from Rei’s lips still lingered, and waited until he was certain she had moved out of psychic range before he burst out in tears. After a while he settled down, climbed out of the bed, got dressed, and then found something that he could draw the Star of Chaos on.

Kneeling down in prayer, Shinji says, “Great and Wise Tzeentch, I do not hope to comprehend your plans and ways, but I thank you for blessing this humble servant. That you might know my soul better than I do humbles me, and that you might grant me the desires of my heart truly astonishes me.”

He then pauses for a moment before adding on, “And if you’re doing this to royally screw me over later, know that it had better be damn well worth it, because I will not simply accept being fucked over like an apathetic follower of Nurgle. You obviously know me well enough to know that if you pull some bullshit like that, I will find a way to hunt your ass down, no matter how insane and stupid that might be. And if you do something like that just so that I do hunt you down for whatever reason, I will simply have to say that… okay, if your scheme is that complex I’m probably going to have to give you your due.”

That’s the problem with worshipping the god of schemes. You never quite know whether or not you’re being divinely blessed, screwed over royally, or both at the same time.

Standing up, Shinji found Misato standing behind him, looking at the symbol, a curious look on her face.

“What is that symbol anyway, it’s on your shrine at home too,” she asks.

“It’s the symbol of a tiny religious sect, very localized but kind of old. I’m probably one of two or three people who observe it left with that old man I told you about being one of them. It has to do with a belief of interconnection between all things, how objects and ideas can seem to be moving in opposite directions but all tie back to a central point. To an extent it is also something of a cardinal rose, showing global perspective in all things,” Shinji explains, lying about half the time.

“Huh, neat. Would you like me to ask the ground crews to paint one of those stars on your Eva? For luck,” Misato suggests.

Yes! Yes! A thousand times YES!

Keeping his face straight, Shinji nods solemnly and says, “If you could get approval, it would be nice. I didn’t want to seem presumptuous or proselytizing with my religion.”

“At a time like this you could probably ask to slap a giant Buddhist swastika on Unit 01 and neither Germany nor New Israel would make a peep,” Misato points out.

“If you think it would be alright, I would appreciate it,” Shinji says happily before handing over the drawing and saying.

“I’ll get it down to them right away. Meet at the Eva cages any time before 1435,” Misato say, accepting the drawing of the Chaos Star.

“Thank you,” Shinji replies, bowing gratefully. Once she was gone, he left the room and quietly found his way to the roof of the building with a “borrowed” mop handle. It didn’t have the weight or balance of his staff, but Shinji needed some good practice with staff fighting before round two with Ramiel.

Full speed practice.

To anyone who might have been watching, Shinji became a blur, the mop handle moving in ways its creator had never intended. Had Shinji been seeking to actually hit anything, he would have broken the lightweight wood several dozen times over, but as it was, the only things he struck were shadows.

The Angels were evolving, getting smarter and tougher, but then again, so was he. So was NERV. So was humanity. The Angels disdained close combat after losing terribly twice in that area? Well, if that was the case, then they had made a mistake, an evolutionary dead end. Ramiel was over-specialized while humanity was still adapting.

There were still tricks to play that the Angels, in their reactive nature, had yet to dream up.

They would probably try something totally different after Ramiel fell, would seek a new evolutionary path to try and throw humanity off. It wouldn’t help. They were already preparing for new battles, expecting tougher and stranger enemies.

Shinji slammed his makeshift staff into the ground and it shattered. Tossing the splintered remains to the side contemptuously, Shinji smiled. The Angels were strong, he would give them that, but humanity was smarter.

Shinji knew who he would always bet on.

Ramiel had lifted out of the water several hours ago, and begun drilling down to the Geofront at a slow and relentless pace. The faces damaged by the initial exchange of fire had regenerated, replaced by complex geometric patterns that marred the Angel’s once perfect surface but that also were probably sub accelerators to its primary central ring.

The Angel was apparently experimenting with point defence.

The MAGI estimated that these additions only decreased the probability of success from 23% to 18%.

High above Tokyo-3, Shinji was quietly meditative inside the entry plug to Unit 01.

When the enemy has overwhelming ranged firepower, there are two methods of dealing with it. The first is to engage with equally overwhelming firepower.

The second is to close to short range faster than the enemy can respond and stab the bastard before he can track his weapon against you.

The solid rocket boosters added to the Eva lift transport for this mission cut out and the pilots ejected away in special escape pods as the enormous plane went into a steep dive from the boundaries of space, plunging almost straight towards Ramiel’s position below. At a designated point in the trajectory Unit 01 was released from the main body of the transport and allowed to drift up and behind the plummeting plane.

On the ground, Tokyo-3 suddenly responded with incredible force, with missile pods and autocannons suddenly pouring torrents of fire into the stationary Angel. While the weapons would have just bounced the AT-field off anyway, Ramiel responded with bursts from its particle cannon to efficiently dispose of the potential threats, and the new growths did indeed prove to be smaller versions of its main weapon.

At which point the now nearly supersonic transport came into the range of notice of the Angel and it realized that it had probably been had. When it noticed the unfolding AT-field of Unit 01, it knew it had definitely been had.

Just as the plane slammed into the Angel’s AT-field in a massive explosion of jet fuel and shrapnel made from expensive composites, Rei in Unit 00 exited from the closest elevator shaft with the positron rifle and an enormous chunk SSTO heat shielding as a shield. A second barrage of missiles and shells opened up at the same time, and the Type 12 mortar held in reserve rolled out of tunnel and opened fire.

With two enemy AT-fields eroding it and much of its energy devoted to recharging its particle cannon, Ramiel was forced to let some of the fire through in order to keep Unit 01 from breaking through and landing on its surface, completely outside of its firing arcs. While most of the conventional weapons bounced harmlessly off its dense armoured surface, the enormous beam from the Type 12 mortar carved a huge gouge in its surface.

Firing the experimental rockets installed just hours before, Shinji slowed down so that he hit the Angel’s AT-field at a reasonable speed rather than like a bug splattering against a windshield. The rockets rapidly burning through their fuel, he kept himself from slipping down the angled field and into the main beam’s firing arc, and pulled the highly experimental AT-staff off his back and plunged it down at the Angel.

Rei took up a position almost directly underneath the Angel and began firing positron blasts up into the point where the drill met the main body, her AT-field completely nullifying that section. After two blasts the drill was blown completely free of the body, while the third attempted to chew deeper into the core.

It’s recharge cycle complete, Ramiel immediately obliterated the Type 12 in an apocalyptic display of firepower before strengthening it’s AT-field on the underside, Rei’s fourth shot being mostly deflected by the hexagonal barrier. Rei immediately ceased firing so as to conserve the remaining shots for the next opportunity to fire.

On the top side, the AT-staff did its job and punched a small hole through Ramiel’s AT-field. Crying out in triumph, Shinji shoved it forward and projected a flat plane of force from the tip of the staff, turning it into an atomically sharp spear. The rockets on his back burned out about then, but he held on to the spear, suspended in high above Tokyo-3.

Sensing this new attack, Ramiel moved to neutralize the AT-field projected from the spear, only to discover that Shinji had already adapted Unit 01’s field to match, practically inviting him through the barrier. Landing on the angled surface, Shinji dug in until his descent was halted.

Attempting to strengthen its surface AT-field to shove the offending Eva off, Ramiel weakened its bottom defences and Rei began firing with the positron cannon again, digging in to the weakened armour methodically with each round, until she completed the work that the Type 12 had begun, which was to cut an entire chunk of Ramiel off, exposing the core.

Several guided missiles were launched from surface positions, but only one made it through to detonate inside the Angel, the rest being blown out of the sky by the now active point defences. The damage it did was dubious at best, but Ramiel’s core was now exposed from the bottom.

Unfortunately, so was its accelerator ring.

A fresh charge established in its mostly hollow body, Ramiel fired at the biggest and most obvious threat: Unit 00. A brilliant beam of violet-white light lanced out from the hole and slammed into Unit 00’s shield. Pulling her AT-field tight about her and hiding like an ancient soldier under a rain of arrows, Rei attempted to weather the storm.

Shinji slammed the AT-staff into Ramiel’s skin and extended a force blade again, biting deep. Shoving the weapon towards the heart of the Angel, Shinji swore when the emitters suddenly burned out and the weapon went dead, partially embedded in the surface.

Thinking quickly, Shinji hauled Unit 01 up to where it could brace its back against the quite sturdy staff and pull out the last weapon they had that could possibly damage the Angel.

Boring his own AT-field down into the Angel, willing its substance to weaken and dissolve, Shinji fired the new Eva sized bolter point blank into Ramiel. 300mm armour piercing high explosive rounds rocketed out of the barrel and accelerated into the target, each one penetrating a little before exploding and gouging out a new chunk of the target.

Shinji bored a hole straight through the outer armour and exposed the inner core just as the magazine for the weapon ran empty. Ramiel immediately ceased its assault on Unit 00 to turn its attention to this new attack vector.

Shinji had already ejected the first magazine and had a fresh batch firing when the remains of the charge struck him. In total seven bolter rounds struck the bright red core, blowing enormous chunks off of it before Shinji’s aim was fouled by super energetic protons slamming into him and pushing him off his precarious perch.

Rolling down the side of the Angel, Shinji only barely managed to catch the edge of the angled surface, leaving his Eva dangling right in front of the main firing trench. Mournfully he watched the new bolter tumble past to land with a crash on a building below.

A blue light began to build along the trench, the Angel badly mauled by the attack but still alive. It would take time to build enough charge, but the Angel had both its tormentors at its mercy now.

On the ground two NERV soldiers brave and stupid enough to have been outside while gods did battle and lucky enough to have survived fired a TOW missile directly at the exposed core. Under any other circumstance the damage would have been minimal, but with the core saturated with energy, straining to accelerate the particles for its cannon in the damaged state, that single anti-tank round was more than enough to finish the job.

The cracked and battered crimson core exploded in a shower of fragments and a massive electrical discharge that nullified the building charge. Like a mighty battleship that had taken one torpedo too many, the now dead Ramiel began to list to the side and drop slowly towards the ground below.

Letting go, Shinji dropped to the ground and found the smouldering wreck of Unit 00 lying in a puddle of half molten concrete and steel within the descending shadow of the falling Angel corpse. Rushing out to her position, Shinji picked up the fallen war machine and hauled it out of the way before using the last few seconds of internal power he had left to extract the half molten entry plug from Unit 00.

Ejecting his own plug, Shinji slid along his partly congealed armour to where Rei’s plug was held, emergency venting its LCL. Savagely he ripped off the access hatch with a burst of telekinesis.

He could feel Rei’s mind still in there, but it was weak and battered along with her body.

“Rei! Rei! Are you alright?” Shinji called out while feeding her a tendril of psychic energy.

Slumped over in her acceleration couch, Rei looked mostly dead, but after a moment her eyes fluttered half open and she stared at Shinji with a half smile on her face.

“I will endure… Shinji,” she then slumped over, unconscious but alive.

Clambering into the entry plug, Shinji hauled Rei out of it and then carried her in his arms to where the various soldiers and emergency teams were boiling out of their underground bunkers.

Medics immediately rushed the two of them, and Shinji handed Rei off to their expert care, adding on, “If anything happens to her, the offending party answers to me.”

Despite coming from a scrawny looking fourteen year old boy in a funny looking suit, Shinji just received polite and mildly terrified nods from the medics. The burning mountain of armoured alien flesh in the background that he had helped create probably had something to do with that.

Before the medics could haul him off, Shinji held up his hand and said, “I want to talk to the ones who fired that last missile first!”

After a few minutes of shuffling about, two NERV soldiers carrying a man-portable TOW missile system came forward, somewhat sheepishly.

“Alright you two! The fact that both of you were outside meant that you were disobeying orders. I’m sure your own commanding officers will chew you out for it, but need I remind you that when people don’t follow the plans then the plans have a tendency to fall apart. That tends to get people, especially people like me on the frontlines, killed,” Shinji said furiously, the two adult men trained in the arts of killing things cowering from the child before them.

Shinji then paused, took a deep breath, and bowed deeply. “All that said, if you had not done what you did, then not only would I be dead, but so would Pilot Ayanami, and with us defeated humanity would have no defence against the Angels. So you have my deepest thanks, and if you ever need anything, you have but to ask it, I owe you that much.”

I will spare someone who saved my life sometime in the past. This is only reasonable as it encourages others to do so. However, the offer is good one time only. If they want me to spare them again, they'd better save my life again.

Not quite fully fitting with the exact situation, but the sentiment was the same. Plus his standing with NERV would probably go up several more notches after that.

“Okay, good. Now I think reporting to the hospital would be a good idea,” Shinji says before collapsing from physical and mental exhaustion.
I love learning. Teach me. I will listen.
You know, if Christian dogma included a ten-foot tall Jesus walking around in battle armor and smashing retarded cultists with a gaint mace, I might just convert - Noble Ire on Jesus smashing Scientologists

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Post by Academia Nut » 2007-12-10 02:19pm

Tokita Shiro was beside himself with grief and shame. The Jet Alone project had ended in a terrible disaster, with the prototype having gone amok and nearly reaching the outskirts of the city before coming to a stop just before its reactor had miraculously shut down. Or rather, the virus that had infected it ran its course, having sought to irreparably embarrass the Jet Alone program rather than cause a major nuclear disaster.

It was obvious to everyone that NERV was behind it, or at least parts of NERV, but who cared? A weapons system that easy to hack was useless.

Worst of all though was the fact that NERV had volunteered to scramble their own Evas to stop the out of control Jet Alone… if not for the fact that they were still refitting their own machines after the savage beating they had taken at the hands of the last Angel. Someone in their PR department was a genius at spin control, making it not only sound like this was entirely their fault; that the Jet Alone had been a waste of resources that could have been better used elsewhere.

Namely on NERV and the Evas.

Putting aside the imported pre-Impact whiskey, Shiro began to consider his options. The company had already been hurting lately, the Jet Alone project looking rather lacklustre in comparison to the insane stunts being pulled by the Evas, and today was supposed to have been their moment to shine. Now everything was in ruin.

The phone rang.

Picking it up, Shiro asked angrily, “What?”

Do not hang up Tokita Shiro, we have things to discuss,” an electronically distorted voice on the other end said.

Shiro blinked and then asked fearfully, “Who is this?”

Your new corporate overlord. The takeover has yet to be complete, but it is inevitable at this point,” the voice replied.

Shiro was a very smart man and he suddenly blurted out, “You’re from NERV aren’t you?”

Very good Tokita-san. Now, I want you to listen to me very carefully and obey my instructions. The company’s stock is falling in value faster than waterfront property in Old Tokyo after Second Impact. The investors are jumping ship as quickly as possible, inevitable after something like this, but the company still has a great deal of value not represented in its stock,” the voice explains.

“You ruined us just to loot us, didn’t you?” Shiro says before slumping down in response to the depths NERV would sink.

Loot is such a pejorative term. I prefer the phrase ‘hostile takeover with extreme prejudice’. Now, if you want to see looting, you should ask for an inquiry into the behaviour of your corporate executives. One could almost claim that they started selling their stock before full news of the disaster became apparent. And their refusal to give a shut down authorization? Suspicious, no? One could almost say that they wanted something like this to happen,” the voice explains, causing Shiro to perk up.

There was laughter on the other end, and the voice says, “That got your attention, now didn’t it? If you play our game you will come out of this as the hero Shiro. The poor, mistreated head of the engineering department, a scientist ordered to build the Jet Alone while your masters plotted a disaster. While you desperately tried everything you could to stop an out of control robot, they played golf and refused to give the shut down authorization. Go public with ‘your’ theory and demand a full audit. Something will turn up if you kick over enough rocks, and you’ll have a convenient scapegoat that isn’t you. Throw your support behind NERV and claim that the design team always envisioned Jet Alone as a ‘supplement’ to the Evas, but it was greedy, short sighted bosses who demanded it be marketed as a ‘replacement’. Can you do that Tokita-san? Can you swallow your pride? Will you replace one set of overlords for another?

The line went dead.

Ah, precognition, telepathy, and remote viewing were such wonderful things when you wanted to make a killing on the stock market. It wasn’t even considered insider trading as he had no known means of getting the sort of information he did. It wasn’t like anyone knew that one Tokita Shiro would lead an anti-corruption crusade and rescue his company from the brink of annihilation, being promoted to President and leading a strong stock market rally, especially after the announcement that the entire Jet Alone team was willing to work with NERV to improve the operation of the Evas.

Life was sweet right now.

Rei was steadily learning new methods and techniques for controlling and expanding her powers, and Shinji had managed to convince her to wash up at least occasionally so that no one commented too much on her lack of hygiene. Her abilities seemed to rapidly be developing along the lines of personal shielding and regeneration, with active telepathy and precognition being almost nonexistent, and telekinesis only barely present.

And now was the day of the big reveal for the new L-Type equipment on Unit 01. After the pounding it had taken at the hands of Shamshel and Ramiel, Unit 01 had no reserve armour left, so it was decided to move directly to the heavier equipment that had been on the drawing board since the first fight with Sachiel.

When the lights came up, all Shinji could say was, “Sweet…”

The purple and neon green and orange armour had been completely stripped away, primarily by Ramiel’s particle beams, and replaced with significantly heavier armour painted Egyptian blue and gold. The horned and frilled helmet had been replaced with a heavily reinforced version that resembled an elaborate pharaoh’s burial mask, although significantly more fearsome. The shoulder fins had been replaced with large shoulder pads that now bore the NERV symbol on one shoulder and a scarab on the other. Painted on the left side of the breastplate was an enormous Star of Chaos, while on the right there was a stencilled “Unit 01”.

On racks next to the new and improved Eva were the new and improved weapons available. The bolter had been rebuilt in a new and sturdier frame, and the AT-staff had been fixed and strengthened, with extra capacitors and back-up emitters to try and avoid a burn out like had happened in the battle against Ramiel. There were also several armour mounted weapons that could be added if the mission required them, such as the progressive claws that were to replace the too easily lost prog knife and that could also be useful for climbing, or the missile pods designed to strap on to the new shoulder pads. Finally, NERV had appropriated the JSSDF designs for their positron cannon and were using them to build a new and more powerful positron rifle. The new design philosophy was that the Eva should be capable of taking on any mission profile, be it melee combat or long range fire support.

Unit 00, having taken a much worse pummelling with its lighter armour was still only half done its refit. When asked how she wanted her Eva decorated, Rei had responded that she was quite proud of the wounds her Eva had sustained. Thus it was much barer, but had scar markings incorporated into its plain, off-white armour, which combined with the helmet fin now standard made the Eva look kind of like a decaying mummy rose from the grave to do battle with those who had disturbed its rest.

And curiously enough, one of the empty Eva bays was being activated and a suit of the new L-type equipment being built. Raising an eyebrow, Shinji caught the attention of Misato, who smiled and said, “NERV-Germany is shipping Unit 02 out here, so we wanted to make sure we were ready for it.”

“Ah. Is there a pilot for Unit 02 yet?” Shinji asks.

“Yes, the Second Child, Asuka Langley Soryu, who has been training with Unit 02 for the past ten years. I was actually involved with her training before I moved to Tokyo-3,” Misato explains.

“Ten years? She must be very good with her Eva then,” Shinji notes.

“She has the most extensive combat training of all three pilots, although obviously she hasn’t been in any actual combat yet,” Misato says.

“That will change shortly though, won’t it?” Shinji says, his tone suddenly going dark.

“Shinji, I know that…” Misato begins.

“We have some form of bait, don’t we?” Shinji asks before looking out over the Evas contemplatively.

After several seconds of silence, Shinji elaborates, “The world is a big place, but the past three Angels have all zeroed in on this one tiny corner of it, which also happens to be the most fortified position on the planet. Their stupid, but the Angels do have a degree of cunning. They wouldn’t be coming here if there wasn’t something they wanted. Something they wanted badly.”

Misato sighs and says, “It’s classified above my level, but there is something that draws the Angels, I know that.”

“Probably the Evas or whatever they’re based off of. I mean, the Evas are mostly biological in nature… a lot like the Angels, no? And while I’m sure Ritsuko would say I’m just daydreaming, but every time I get in the entry plug, I can feel that Unit 01 has changed just a little bit more. The Evas can evolve too, just like the Angels,” Shinji says coolly.

Misato was quite at this revelation before she said, “Do you care?”

“Nope. Just an observation. Good strategy too. If you know and can control where your enemy will be, then you have already won half the battle. It’s why sieges are such brutal affairs,” Shinji replies with a smile.

Misato shivered. Sometimes Shinji was too damn smart for his own good.

“Well, starting tomorrow the fight will be a little easier for us. That’s when Unit 02 and the Second Child are scheduled to arrive. I’ll be going out to meet them and deliver some supplies. Care to join me?” Misato suggests.

“Can Kensuke and Toji come as well?” Shinji asks.

Her smile beaming, Misato says, “Of course!”

“Wow! A Mi-55D transport helicopter! I never thought I would get to see one, let alone ride in one!” Kensuke says while rapidly panning his camera around to get a good look at things.

Any chance to secure you more tightly to me my friend. And of course it would be just rude to leave Toji behind.

“I’m glad you’re having fun on our little date,” Misato says happily while glancing back at the boys in the rear seat of the helicopter.

Toji was very quiet, trying to control his blood pressure. Not only was Misato pure hotness, but every time he looked at her in that red jacket with that tight red dress on his mind kept superimposing Hikari’s face at which point it drifted into bad thoughts. It was taking every ounce of his willpower to not explosively exsanguinate through his nostrils. It would be a good death though.

“Wait until you see where we’re going Kensuke,” Shinji notes slyly.

“Where are we going?” Toji asks.

“Oh, just for a cruise on my cute little boat,” Misato says as the helicopter clears a cloud bank and the fleet below becomes visible.

Kensuke nearly went insane with a joy overload as he counted off all the various ships present below. Shinji just shared a knowing look with Toji, which Toji returned. Friendship was a beautiful thing.

Settling down on the deck of the super-carrier Over the Rainbow, Toji followed after Kensuke to make sure the military nerd didn’t have a stroke from excessive stimulation, while Shinji slouched behind; content to watch the two of them go at it. He wanted to appear to be the calm one in this situation.

And then he felt her. It could only be Asuka, because Shinji had already figured out that being a psyker was a prerequisite for piloting the Evas, and other than the latent buzzing of Toji and Kensuke, there were no other psykers aboard the ship. Plus the mind had a taste to it somewhat like Rei’s when he first met her in that Eva piloting apparently opened up certain aspects of the mind.

This mind however, was as different in character from Rei’s as night and day. Rei was soft and quiet and passive, but this Asuka, she boiled. She was bright and active and so filled with beautiful rage and pain and confidence and so many delicious emotions to experience. It was a banquet as far as Shinji was concerned.

And then she came into view, tall and proud, long red hair and a yellow sundress billowing in the wind, a blue ribbon tied about her throat while A-10 nerve clips were worn in her hair as both decoration and declaration. She radiated certainty and arrogance even to those not blessed with warp sight, and her eyes burned blue like the heart of a fusion reactor, filled with boundless fury and energy. Shinji wanted to drink her.

So this is what lust feels like. I wondered when those hormones would start doing their job. If the Eldar had women a quarter this good, no wonder they blew up half the galaxy and spawned Slaanesh.

“Well hello Misato! How have you been” Asuka said out happily, her voice dripping with pride and arrogance.

“Just fine. Goodness, you’ve grown so much since I last saw you, haven’t you?” Misato asked, almost like a distant aunt.

“Uh huh! And I’m not just taller, I’ve filled out too as well,” she replied boastingly, showing off her curves.

“Let me introduce you all. This is the designated pilot of Eva Unit 02, the Second Child, Asuka Langley Soryu,” Misato announces to the boys.

Precognition and simple knowledge of physics let Shinji foretell what was coming next, but he made no attempt to prevent it, even though a bit of telekinesis would have avoided the whole situation. He did not interfere though because he enjoyed the path already laid out.

As was inevitable on an aircraft carrier at sea, a strong breeze was kicked up by… well the fact that it was an aircraft carrier at sea! It was freaking wind central! Who wore a sundress, or any sort of skirt for that manner, in this sort of environment and didn’t expect to have to do a Marilyn Monroe impression?

Toji and Kensuke got slapped in the face in short order for seeing Asuka’s little white cotton lace panties, but when she got to Shinji, both boys let out a vengeful smirk as they saw what was about to happen.

Shinji caught Asuka’s hand, a smirk on his face. He could drink that fury all day and it would never get old, and he found the expression on her face that he had dared to stop her priceless. When he caught the other incoming slap, the look on her face became twice as priceless. The paler complexion associated with red hair made the angry blush stand out all the more, and if looks could kill, Asuka could have shot down Ramiel.

“I don’t like to be hit,” Shinji says coolly, a smug smile on his face.

Particularly glad of his pattern recognition and precognitive abilities, Shinji caught the kick aimed for his groin with his leg, and wrapping his ankle about hers so that he had control over her leg. Reversing his grip with one hand while shoving forward, he caught her by the small of the back so that they were in a rough approximation of a dance dip.

Asuka barely had time to react before Shinji gave her a peck on the nose before dropping her flat on her ass and legging it across the aircraft carrier. Several crewmen wearing ear protection looked up as Asuka’s scream of absolute outrage made them think that an alarm had gone off.

Chaos! Such pure, wonderful Chaos! I haven’t had this much fun since… EVER! I so need to get her a chain-axe.

For their parts, Toji and Kensuke watched in stunned silence at the audacity of their friend, while Misato laughed her ass off. After a little while she just shook her head and ran down the two athletic teens and subduing them with a sound tongue lashing.

Still giggling at the shit-eating grin on Shinji’s face and the outraged twitching of Asuka, Misato just said “I see you two are going to get along just fine.”

“Get along? Who is this pervert anyway?” Asuka whined.

“The Third Child,” Shinji replied smugly.

WHAT?” Asuka cried out, again causing the deck crew to check their equipment for transmission errors.

“It’s true Asuka, this is your fellow Pilot, Ikari Shinji,” Misato said while holding the two of them apart.

“You know, for someone who was so offended by flashing all of us, you sure don’t act very lady-like,” Shinji says just to stir the pot.

Ich zerreiße Ihren Gott verdammten Kopf weg!” Asuka cried out in German while trying to get at Shinji.

Rolling her eyes, Misato knocks their heads together and says, “Alright, fun is fun, but now is the time to put this behind you and shut up. Now, Asuka, stop trying to kill Shinji, and Shinji, stop encouraging her to try.”

“Okay Misato-san,” Shinji says brightly.

“Fine,” Asuka spits out.

Letting them go, no one watching is surprised when the two teens bolt off again like a lioness and a particularly cheeky gazelle.

A few minutes later the two of them were looking rather sullen on the bridge, especially in comparison to the still ecstatic Kensuke. The large lumps on their heads probably had something to do with that.

“…and here we have the transfer orders for you to sign off on,” Misato says, handing over the last of the paperwork to the American commander.

“No, we will not sign off on this until we get to port and we can unload this toy and this scout troop of children,” the admiral growls, still not happy with having his fleet assigned to what he saw as an inglorious escort mission.

Shinji had suffered through enough degradation of his person and the Evas. Yeah, he could tolerate being called a bratty kid after his little display on the flight deck, but now he was tired of it all.

“Admiral, tell me, what would happen if this fleet took an N2 mine at point blank range?” Shinji asks out of the blue, drawing everyone’s attention.

“No look here you-” the admiral begins to go on a tirade but is cut off by Shinji forcefully asserting himself.

“What would happen?” Shinji growls, stopping the man in his tracks with sheer confidence.

After a moment the admiral says, “All the ships were designed during the Cold War and are somewhat hardened against nuclear, and thus N2, weapons, but a point blank detonation would sink most of the fleet and disable the remainder.”

“The Third Angel, after walking through more firepower than the Battle of Kursk like it was rain, took a direct hit with an N2 mine, as in the mine actually made contact before detonation. Approximately three hours later it continued on its way to Tokyo-3, the mine having only stalled it,” Shinji says, letting it all sink in before finishing off with, “One minute thirty-two seconds after engaging Unit 01 the Third Angel self-destructed in a vain attempt at victory. The Angels and Evas have powers you cannot comprehend, and if one should show up, your fleet would be a glorified meat shield. So show some respect to us pilots and that Eva.”

There was stunned silence for a moment before Misato shooed the kids off the bridge.

“Well that was smart Third Child,” Asuka says sarcastically.

Shrugging, Shinji says, “You’re just jealous that I said it first.”

“Dude, I swear the bulkhead behind you is melting,” Toji comments quietly.

“Shut it monkey,” Asuka said, twitching her stare at Toji for a moment before focusing back on Shinji.

“Shows she has poor aim,” Shinji comments dryly.

“Oh, you downplay both her aim and your ability to weather her fire,” a warmly humorous voice says.

Asuka’s attitude suddenly changed from “Old Norse berserker” to “giddy schoolgirl” with such speed that all three boys had to rub their necks from mood whiplash.

“Kaji!” She said in a high pitched, overly excited voice.

“Kaji!” Misato shouted out angrily upon leaving the bridge.

Shinji took one look at the man’s well cultivated rugged handsomeness along with Misato and Asuka’s reactions and made a quick mental note.

Note to self: kill the competition at earliest convenience.

“What are you doing here?” Misato growled while glaring daggers at the man.

“Oh, just a little business trip for the NERV Third Branch, helping to transport Unit 02 and all that,” Kaji says before offering, “Care to join me for some coffee?”

One overly cramped elevator ride later and they were all sitting at a table sipping coffee and tea. Kensuke, Toji, and Misato sat on one side of the table, which left Kaji, Asuka, and Shinji to the other side. Asuka was not happy about having to sit next to Shinji, but it was the only place left for him so there was really nothing she could do if she wanted to sit with Kaji.

Sipping at his coffee, Kaji set it down and asked Misato, “So… are you seeing anyone?”

“None of your business,” Misato replied while turning up her nose in disdain.

Smiling, Kaji set down his coffee and turned to Shinji to ask, “So I hear you live with Katsuragi-san now?”

Nodding, Shinji says, “Yes.”

“Is she still wild in bed?” Kaji asks from out of the blue, causing everyone but Shinji to recoil in shock and horror.

Rolling his eyes, Shinji says, “I barely got any sleep at all the first couple of nights. All that thrashing and moaning…”

The beet red colour of Misato’s face changed from outrage to absolute embarrassment, and now it was Kaji’s turn to gape in shock.

Shaking his head, Shinji just points at Misato and cries out, “See a damn doctor woman! Snoring like that should not be heard through walls, and if I hadn’t invested in ear plugs I would be an insomniac by now!”

I DO NOT SNORE!” Misato cried out angrily in protest.

Shinji pulled a small tape recorder out of his pocket and hit the play button, filling the small mess hall with the sound of… something that may have been snoring. Misato stared at it with abject horror for several seconds before screaming out, “That is not me! That’s a wood chipper!”

Kaji fell out of his chair he was laughing so much at the exchange, and when he recovered from the floor he was wiping mirthful tears from his eyes. “Oh… wow. Damn kid that was… wow. Why do even have that on you?”

Picking up the recorder before Misato has the sense to snatch it up, Shinji says, “You never know when an opportunity like that might pop up, and it pays to be prepared for any eventuality. It only looks like improvisation if you plan it out well enough.”

Turning to Misato, Shinji then grins and says, “Incidentally, that was the sound of a wood chipper. The fact that ‘the lady doth protest too much’ proves my point, no? ‘The play’s the thing’ and all that?”

Misato went very, very quiet as she stewed on that little bit.

Still grinning from ear to ear from the whole exchange, Kaji says, “I can see why you defeated the Third Angel so quickly.”

Waving his hand to the side, Shinji said dismissively, “My Eva went berserk, I don’t even remember what happened.”

“Yes, but the fights with the Fourth and Fifth Angels, those were all you,” Kaji points out.

Oh Asuka, your jealous rage is to my palette like a sweet summer’s wine in comparison to the various emotionally repressed idiots I have been subjected to. Dare I?

I dare.

“The Fifth Angel was a team effort and it would be impolite to take credit there, and with the Fourth Angel I was just making it up towards the end,” Shinji replies with self-depreciatingly humorous false modesty.

In the kitchen a coffee pot that had been left on way too long exploded in a shower of glass and boiling water. Or at least, that was what the official report would say, as it was the only reasonable explanation.

Good! Use your aggressive feelings, girl. Let the hate flow through you. Strike me down in your anger!

Asuka stormed out of the mess while everyone else was on edge from the loud bang, and Kaji immediate chased after her. Eventually he caught up with her sulking on one of the railings, looking out over the Pacific Ocean.

“So, what do you think of the Third Child?” Kaji asks, leaning casually on the rail.

“He’s an idiot and a jerk and he really isn’t much to look at. How did he ever get to be a pilot in the first place?” Asuka asked angrily and sullenly. To Kaji’s experienced ears, he could hear a hint of wistfulness to her tone. He somehow suspected that she already had a crush she wasn’t even aware of yet.

“Oh, it probably has something to do with the fact that when they first put him in Unit 01 he achieved a synchronization ratio of 48% and has since been holding steadily at 55%,” Kaji notes idly.

Gott in himmel!” Asuka cried out, nearly falling off the railing if not for the fact that she had her legs wound around the bars of the railing. She then disentangled herself and stormed off to find Shinji.

Shaking his head in good humour, Kaji doesn’t know which one of them to feel sorrier for. After a moment’s thought, he decides that whoever got in their crossfire was the one deserving of pity.
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Post by Academia Nut » 2007-12-12 12:36am

“Huh… red. Wasn’t expecting that,” Shinji notes when Asuka pulls up the tarp to reveal Unit 02, all trace of sarcasm ruthlessly purged from his voice. It would be best to play it straight right up to the punch line. Plus she wouldn’t get why he would think red was suitably fitting.

“The colour isn’t the only thing that’s different you know,” Asuka replies, ducking under the tarp to rush down to the Eva and then clamber up on top of its head.

Shinji held his tongue about whether or not Asuka cared to dance again. He swore that the girl wore skirts just so that she could get pissed at people when she invariably flashed them.

Invest in some pants bitch! That or just admit that you like to pound on people for no good reason and go with it.

Turning about to face him, she says proudly, “Unit 00 and 01 were the prototype and test-type, respectively. The fact that Unit 01 synchronized with an untrained pilot like you is proof of that. However, Unit 02 is a little different. My Unit 02 is the world’s first real Evangelion! Created for actual combat, it’s the final production model!”

Let’s see how far I can push her. This will be sweet.

Taking it all in, Shinji comments, “A pity it’s using obsolete equipment.”

A pin could be heard dropping in the huge bay, it went so deathly silent. Asuka just sort of quivered with building rage while a malicious smile crept over Shinji’s face.

Continuing, Shinji explains, “A combination of simulation and actual combat proved that Type B equipment was utterly inadequate for extended combat with the Angels, so both Unit 00 and 01 have been upgraded with new Type L equipment.”

“Oh, well obviously that’s because the pilots are incompetent and need extra toys to fight effectively,” Asuka ripostes brilliantly, although there was a large tint of bitterness in her arrogant tone.

Ah, the berserker does have a brain between that mop of hair!

“Perhaps, although perhaps the inherent difficulties in piloting experimental war machines have been the cause of that. Prototypes and test types tend to be so finicky with regards to the controls,” Shinji retaliates, turning her own boasting against her.

Before Asuka could formulate an appropriate response, Shinji continues on by saying, “Ah well, probably for the best anyway. The colour scheme is rather plain.”

Plain?” Asuka growls, not taking the insult to her machine lying down.

“Yes, plain,” Shinji states, letting the word sink in for a second before he says “The Evangelions are testaments to humanity’s undying defiance of the Angels. They bestride the Earth like primordial Titans of ancient myth and legend. They deserve the appropriate appearance, for all to know their true might.”

Pausing to appraise the still Eva while Asuka’s mind works over the conflict of her pride actually coming into agreement with this cheeky monkey that so enjoyed insulting and tormenting her, Shinji finally says, “Bronze. It needs bronze, or at least bronze trimming of some sort. Unit 02 is the combat production model, the mightiest warrior of the group, no? It deserves to be as mighty Hercules or Achilles, or better yet the Egyptian war goddess Sekmet, blood stained and victorious lioness. Yes, bronze and red, flashing gloriously in the sun, for all to see and fear and love. Perhaps some black highlights to help such bright colours stand out even more.”

Finally Asuka says with uncertain contempt, the temptation already seeping into her, “Why would I care about useless gilding like you?”

Chuckling, Shinji replies, “Why not? I did not even ask for the decorations, my ground crew just found them appropriate. At first they were going for the idea of the Evas representing the rebirth of humanity and hit upon the Egyptian iconography, but eventually after so many thrashings at the hands of the Angels they decided that it should be my rebirth they were representing.”

Asuka burst out laughing at Shinji’s expense at that, to which he just smirked to say, “Considering that I’m still here, you really should have seen the other guys.”

Before Asuka could retaliate with another sarcastic barb, the entire ship rocked with an undersea shock wave, which caused both pilots to immediately leap to the, ultimately correct, conclusion that they were under attack.

Rushing out of the cargo hold, they peer out over the rail to watch one of the escorting ships sinking beneath the waves, and then for a dark object to pass beneath another one, a huge knife-like wave rising up out of the water to cleaning slice through the ship, detonating fuel and munitions.

Asuka got a smile on her face as she saw a chance for glory, while Shinji frowned while he took apart the situation for analysis. Before Asuka could say anything, Shinji ordered coldly, “Inform the captain we need to move closer to the Over the Rainbow.

“What the hell are you blathering about?” Asuka asks irately.

Over the Rainbow has the power socket, correct? The one Unit 02 needs to move for more than five minutes, correct?” Shinji points out.

“And, why can’t you do it yourself idiot?” Asuka demands.

Face palming in frustration, Shinji asks rhetorically, “What language are we speaking and what nationality is the crew?”

Asuka scowls and says, “Fine.”

Shortly after finding a phone to call the bridge and relay the command, Asuka met Shinji carrying a large waterproof duffel bag and pulled out a plug suit. Descending down a stairwell until she was around a corner and out of sight, she pops her head back into view and says, “Peek and I rip your head off.”

Rolling his eyes, Shinji says, “Will you add it to your throne?”

“Yes!” Asuka cries back in frustration before ducking back behind the turn to change.

When she finished, she had a slight pout on her face. What a boring, unexciting boy! He didn’t even try to peek on her beautiful body.

Mmmm… remote viewing, it’s a beautiful thing!

Tossing a spare plug-suit at Shinji after looking oddly at his funny expression, Asuka says, “Here, put this on.”

Holding out the plug suit, Shinji just shakes his head in disgust at what he would be forced to wear before sighing and walking off with it to change. He quietly did not make any fuss when he noted Asuka peeking around the corner. He figured one show should pay for the other.

Asuka for her part goggled at the muscles wrapped about Shinji’s scrawny frame. It looked like he was made of steel cables wrapped around a skeleton. He also had numerous and extensive bruises across his torso and limbs, fading to yellow and green with age. She had read reports on the brutal beatings Unit 01 had taken in combat, but it was one thing to read a dry, stale post combat debriefing and another thing to actually see the damage done to the pilot.

Looking rather displeased with the rather feminine fit of the red plug suit, Shinji just waits patiently for Asuka to get the entry plug open before quietly getting in with her. Once sealed and filled with LCL, Asuka begins to go through the start up procedures in German, but the test patterns quickly devolving into bright red error messages.

“Damn it! You’re generating thought noise! If you have to think, do it in German,” Asuka demands angrily of Shinji.

“Jawohl Mein Fuhrer! Seig heil!” Shinji retorts sarcastically, throwing his arm up in salute.

“Dummkopf!” Asuka growls before ordering the system to switch the operating language over to Japanese.

As the system rebooted, Shinji felt the nature of the spirits bound to this Eva. The daemon was, ironically, far more constrained and mentally stable than Unit 01’s had been initially, although it still had the same basic berserker attitude. The other, restraining spirit, was significantly diminished from the one in his Eva, but perhaps more concentrated in its focus. That focus seemed to be entirely upon Asuka.

Deciding not to interfere, Shinji let his own mind flow about the daemon and let it know under no circumstances was it to go nuts without his permission. The daemon growled in his mind, not just that there was a mortal that dared tell it what to do, but that it was a mortal it didn’t know and didn’t like. Still, after taking one look at Shinji’s mind, the beast quieted down. The other spirit found itself less distracted and gave its thanks to Shinji before redoubling its concentration on Asuka.

The other spirits in the Evas were troubling for Shinji, in that he did not know where they came from, and he felt as if there was a memory, long buried, scratching at the back of his mind, but it was like the wind. Every time he tried to concentrate on the thought it slipped away, and his mind instinctively avoided it in meditation. Somehow Shinji knew that if he ever figured out what the memory was, he would be pissed beyond reason. Probably at Gendo too, considering that all repressed memories from his childhood stemmed from the bastard.

“All right! Unit 02 ready for launch!” Asuka finally declares, willing the enormous war machine to rise from its transport coolant, lifting aside the tarp to see the devastation the Angel had done to the fleet. The sudden activation of its AT-field drew in the Angel, which extended its own AT-field into its hull slicing blade.

Asuka leapt from the transport seconds before it was sliced in two, clearing the shortened distance from the transport to the Over the Rainbow in a single bounding leap that ended with a crumpled flight deck and Kensuke weeping over the loss of several beautiful war planes. Grabbing the power cable on the deck, Asuka plugged in and the power count immediately went to 8:88:88.

Shinji immediately sized up the situation and said, “We need to get into the water now.”

“What are you, stupid? B Type equipment doesn’t work in water,” Asuka points out angrily.

“Yeah, and that was a particularly stupid decision. Who thought that transporting a war machine that would be a major military target and not giving it the proper equipment to fight with in an emergency was a smart idea? Anyway, while we’re on the Over the Rainbow it’s a major target, and what would be the smart thing for that Angel to do? Rise up out of the water where we can stab it, or cut away the ship beneath us, destroying our power source and any means of retrieval?” Shinji points out.

For all her often seemingly undeserved bluster, Asuka was a university-level educated combat pilot with a decade of training. It made a certain sort of ironic sense that the only place where they could safely engage the enemy was in its territory where their equipment would work poorly.

Asuka dove in.

Shinji expanded his awareness outward. The Angels were always a pain in the ass to detect, for their presence was somewhat like a mountain up close: it was so damn big you couldn’t get any proper impression of it because all that could be seen was rock.

Soon enough the Sixth Angel became visible on the screen, a titanic monstrosity that dwarfed the ships above with its enormous bulk. Clearly a being of pure aquatic origin, it had the sleek likes of a predatory cetacean, although on a significantly more massive scale and with some older aquatic predator features thrown in as well.

Struggling to get the Eva to move in the crushing marine environment, Asuka shouted at Shinji, “This was a really bad idea you idiot!”

Slipping in behind her so that he could also put his hands on the controls, Shinji says, “No, this one isn’t as smart as the others, I can feel it. We have it right where we want it now!”

The Angel opened its mouth wide to reveal rows of pointed teeth nearly as big as an Eva.

“Teeth!” Asuka screeches as the Angel catches them in its mouth, the Eva wedging between the teeth as the Angel dove with it, ramming through the aquatic graveyard of Old Tokyo. Inside the entry plug the two pilots were slammed about forcefully, although Shinji took the worst of it as he had moved such that Asuka was basically sitting in his lap.

This however caused a bit of a problem.

Asuka whirled about and tried to slap Shinji, screaming, “Pervert!” but he just caught her hand and glared at her.

“Take it as a compliment and shut up. We’ve got more important things to deal with right now,” Shinji replies dryly while gesturing to the view of the inside of the Angel’s mouth. He then smiled and said, “Ah! Perfect! Look, there’s its core. We just need to get a little closer and we can take it out.”

Treasonous bastard. I definitely inherited you from father.

Bringing up the comm. systems, Shinji asks, “Misato, do you have many munitions left up there?”

“Plenty,” Misato replies cheerfully. “I convinced our admiral friend up here that firing would be futile. The thing is too fast to target, and even lucky hits would just bounce off its AT-field.”

“Okay, good, I think I can help you with both problems at the same time. Give me a second,” Shinji replies before closing his eyes to concentrate.

“Now what are you doing you idiot?” Asuka demands.

Plunging into the links, Shinji grabs the daemon and begins to modify Unit 02’s AT-field to neutralize the Angel’s. The Angels had incredible physiology that defied standard theories on biology and engineering, but without their AT-fields they were still mostly constrained by the laws of physics.

Up until it was neutralized, the sixth Angel was using its AT-field as its primary form of propulsion. The sudden loss left it to deal with a sudden, enormous drag problem, and the fact that at any speed greater than “sluggish” moving with its tail created sonic booms in its flesh.

His eyes still closed in concentration to maintain the AT-field, Shinji says, “Okay Misato, if the UN would like a little revenge, now would be the time to take it. You can reel us in and it will be like shooting fish in a barrel.”

As the power cable began to retract with the Angel in tow, Shinji said to Asuka, “When the torpedoes and depth charges start hitting, this bastard is going to spit us out and retreat. We’re not going to let that happen. If you can, hold its mouth open so we can get a couple high explosive treats down its gullet, otherwise you have to use your prog knife to take out its core. I’ll maintain the AT-field.”

Asuka grumbled at Shinji, but began to stubbornly move the limbs of the Eva, first unsheathing her progressive knife, and then inching it forward towards the red core at the back of the mouth. She would be damned if this perverted, idiotic, cheeky monkey would embarrass and humiliate her, would steal her thunder and glory.

Huh… I may have overdone things there a bit.

A whole day’s worth of frustration and wrath hit a lifetime of suppressed fury, resentment, and bitterness like a white-hot spark struck in a room filled with gasoline fumes. Overwhelming rage exploded out from Asuka in a frenzy of hatred. The spirit, so closely connected to her, raged with her, and the daemon gave Shinji a sour look before it broke its bonds of him and exploded too. The entry plug was filled with incoherent screaming, war cries from a wounded heart that sought to destroy everything else to soothe its pain. The Eva roared with its master beneath the waves, just in time for dozens of torpedoes and depth charges to strike simultaneously.

Designed for breaking hollow hulled ships and submarines, the weapons had minimal effect of the tough hide of the Angel, but it did rear back in pain and open its mouth. Grabbing one of the teeth, the berserk Eva surged forward, one hand extended with the now humming prog knife trailing bubbles as it shot forward towards the crimson sphere that was the core. The weapon plunged in effortlessly and the Angel gave a final shake before its core shattered and the alien monstrosity went silent.

Asuka and Unit 02 continued to rage, a dam within having burst. Everything has to die! Die for your sins! Die! Die like momma died! Die and leave me alone! Always alone! Die!

The nearest target was Shinji. The one person who was probably the worst target to attack while in a blind, incoherent berserker fury. In the close confines of the entry plug, it quickly came down to a grappling contest. Mindless struggling had nothing on planned action, and besides, in a contest of raw strength, Shinji was stronger. Only barely though. Asuka had been training her mind and body for just as long as he, just in different ways and with very different teachers.

With all her limbs pinned, Shinji fixed her with a concentrated glare and shouted, “You won! Calm down!”

Asuka glared up at him, and slowly the anger seeped out of her body… for now. Shinji could still feel it burning beneath the surface, ready to explode once the time was right, like how a burning room without flame could flashover when oxygen was introduced, producing a super hot fireball.

The smoke that covered up this fire however was sadness, the half burned fuel for her frenzy. Peering into her soul, Shinji could feel a near infinite well of sorrow hidden behind enough fortifications and trenches to make a World War One general wince at the thought of assaulting it.

She began to cry, and Shinji let go of her to allow her to regain her composure. She was more fragile than he had first thought. He would either have to repair her damaged heart or break her completely so as to rebuild her. If the situation continued, she could, and probably would, break in an undesirable fashion, most likely becoming useless.

And that was something Shinji would not tolerate. His attraction to her, and he had to admit to himself it was attraction, was based on her spirit. He had cultivated a mask of quiet introversion, only coming out of his shell when he felt it important enough to warrant his voice. But Asuka acted the way he often wanted to. To truly let others know how beneath him they were, to crush their pathetic feelings and lives like the bugs they were. It wasn’t smart in the long run, but oh how sweet it would feel. And unlike so many other arrogant braggarts, this girl, nay, young woman had earned her swagger. She who had walked as a god for the past decade was well deserving of her arrogance and pride.

Asuka abruptly surged forward again and grabbed a hold of Shinji, but before he could wrestle her away their lips connected. There was no love there, just tremendous passion, one soul desperately grappling about for human contact with the closest available target. The LCL interfered with the moment, along with the feeling that it wasn’t real.

Still, the contact caught Shinji off guard, and swept him away as his brain struggled to adjust to this new and unexpected input.

And then he took a brutal open palm/backhand combination to the cheeks and Asuka crowed, “HA! I finally got you, you freaking pervert!”

The fluid mechanics of slapping someone in an entry plug filled with LCL minimized the damage, but Shinji still felt the sting on his face, and in his heart. He could not help but wonder that if he had returned her passion if she would have still rejected him like that, or at least abandoned her plan in favour of continuing the moment.

He could feel that this one would be the greatest puzzle Tzeentch had given him yet. Over the months since his arrival in Tokyo-3, Shinji come to realize that he was being granted what he truly wanted: a mother in Misato, and a sister in Rei. He wanted a family, to fill in the holes in his heart left by the death of his mother and the abandonment by his father.

Love was his greatest desire, making it little wonder he could tolerate Rei taking up the cause of Nurgle over Tzeentch. Platonic and familial love was better than emptiness, but there were so many varieties that demanded exploration in the human condition.

He could live with and love like a mother a woman who was the closest thing to a Slaaneshi princess this world had. He could work with and love like a sister a girl who had embraced Nurgle after only a few days preaching for Tzeentch.

Could he romance this wounded Khorne berserker?

Of course, anyone who looked at these two would consider it a very strange romance considering the fact that they were still slinging barbs and insults at one another when they were fished out of the ocean.
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Post by Academia Nut » 2007-12-14 01:30pm

Ikari Gendo’s office was a marvel of intimidation, a great hollow void with occult drawings and symbols on the ceiling and floor. To walk into this room was to enter the domain of some sinister sorcerer, an arcane manipulator of events and people.

The glass of fizzing Alka-Seltzer on his desk marred the image significantly, especially considering the fact that they had run out of regular, and loathe to actually admit to his underlings that he was taking the stuff, he was forced to make do with the cherry flavoured tablets remaining.

Fortunately only Fuyutsuki actually saw him drinking the stuff, a somewhat acceptable situation considering that he had suggested it in the first place, and because the old professor was dignified enough not to say anything to anyone else. Of course, he would still mercilessly rib his former student.

“Things not quite going to plan?” Fuyutsuki asks smugly.

Downing the entire concoction in one go, Gendo glares at his former mentor and says, “You laugh now, but when this all blows up in our faces it won’t be so funny.”

“So is it your son or the Old Men this time?” Fuyutsuki asks.

“Both!” Gendo exclaims. “With the Old Men, it seems that they didn’t have their fingers in as many pies as we thought, and now they’ve taken issue with NERV having corporate sponsorship. They need me to come see them in order to work out this how ‘we’ will handle things. I trust you can keep everything in line for a week or so.”

“The last time you left for other business an Angel attacked,” Fuyutsuki points out.

Groaning, Gendo says, “You realize that by the rules of cosmic irony there will be an Angel attack while I’m away.”

Fuyutsuki considers this for a moment before hanging his head and saying, “Do know what schemers and writers have in common?”

“An acute sense of pattern recognition,” Gendo answers while pulling out several files. “This brings me to the problems with my son. The boy is… not what I anticipated. Years of surveillance produced the image of a shy, introverted loner, but recent events have shown him to be a skilled dissembler. He has dropped most of his meeker attitudes in exchange for a position of strength, although he remains quiet most of the time. I do not know what lurks beneath the surface, but it is not something I can control as easily as this scenario called for.”

Picking up a report, he says, “And the damage is spreading. Rei’s personality is changing outside the bounds of my scenario, and at the last memory dump unusual fluctuations were detected. I’m considering termination and resetting to an earlier memory pattern, but she has shown significant improvement in piloting ability recently, and the Angels are demonstrating capacities far outside what we had originally predicted. My scenario won’t work if I don’t have control of Rei, but that will be pointless if we lose against the Angels.”

“If Shinji were simply more wilful than expected, you would not be in this state old friend,” Fuyutsuki points out.

“No,” Gendo concedes, bridging his fingers so as to have something to lean his face against while he looked at the other files. “As I said before, pattern recognition. My son is a schemer, and damn it if he didn’t inherit it from me. But he also apparently inherited his intelligence from Yui, because I am having a hard time tracking his true actions. All I can see are pieces, ripples on the surface from the motions beneath the water.”

“You sound almost like you feel outmatched,” Fuyutsuki comments.

Glaring at his partner in crime, Gendo replies, “Not by this boy alone. If it were just him, I could deal with whatever petty plans he has, but there are other players in this game, ones he is either not aware of or only peripherally aware, and visa versa, that I must deal with. He is clever, I will give him that, in that he knows many will underestimate him for his youth, allowing him a freedom of movement I am not afforded. He will need to be dealt with in due time, but right now I must deal with the Old Men. I cannot afford to dive beneath the surface of his schemes right now without proper preparation.”

“You sound almost scared of what might happen,” Fuyutsuki points out.

Smirking, Gendo says, “The first rule of scheming is ‘always have a backup plan’.”

“Was that pride in your voice?” Fuyutsuki asks.

“He is my son,” Gendo replies, the smirk still on his face.

Toji was brooding. He was brooding because he had a dilemma. He had a dilemma because despite the fact that he had not seen Hikari’s attraction to him, and his attraction to her, until Shinji pointed it out, he was actually rather perceptive of other people’s emotions and relationships. And because of this, he knew that Shinji had a thing for Asuka.

Thing was, he found Asuka a complete and total bitch. Thus his dilemma.

Toji had already shut down Kensuke’s little entrepreneurial photography business before it got started, to which Kensuke complied with little resistance. Especially when Toji found that Hikari was in a rather compromising view in one of the pictures. All Toji had to do really was point out that if Hikari found out, and considering how much she hung around them at lunch these days that was a real danger, the Kensuke would measure his remaining lifespan in seconds.

Kensuke’s brooding was interrupted by the arrival of the one person guaranteed to brighten his day, the aforementioned Hikari. He still wasn’t sure what to call what they had between them, but for now it was a comfortable sort of distance the two shared at lunch and whenever they visited his sister in the hospital. A distance that was day by day shrinking.

“Hey, why the long face Toji-chan?” Hikari asked, sitting down next to him, a bento in each hand.

“Just thinking about relationships and stuff Hikari-chan,” Toji replies idly.

Frowning at him, Hikari says, “You were frowning while thinking about relationships…?”

Holding up his hands in protest, Toji says, “Not ours! Not ours!”

“‘Ours’?” Hikari asks.

Blushing a deeper red than Unit 02, Toji just sort of stammers and tries to say something. After a moment of letting him flap about like a fish out of water, Hikari giggles and says, “Go back to what you were saying.”

Still blushing, Toji eventually gets his thoughts in order and says, “I was thinking about Shinji-san… and the way he looks at Asuka-san.”

Taking this in, Hikari lets out an, “Oh.”

“Yeah. He… uh… goes about it a bit the way… uh… you did… with… uh… me,” Toji squeaks out, shrinking further and further in anticipation of a helping dose of Hikari rage.

“You mean constant glances out of the corner of his eye when he thinks no one is looking,” Hikari says.

“Uh… yeah…” Toji says, scratching the back of his head in slight confusion at the lack of the expected explosion. He would never get girls.

“Sounds like me,” Hikari says with a shrug. “So you’re conflicted about what to do.”

“Yeah, that’s the problem. On the one hand, I just want to look out for Shinji, but on the other Asuka’s a real b… err… unpleasant person, I my opinion,” Toji says, quickly altering his word choice as the glare of the class rep began to manifest in her eyes.

Shaking her head, Hikari says, “At least you’re just trying to look out for him. No wonder they call you one of his Chosen.”

“Chosen?” Toji asks.

“When they think I’m not listening, some of the other students will call you and Kensuke, and sometimes me when now that I’m hanging out with you more, the Chosen. Shinji is so quiet but when he does speak it’s usually something profound, and with him as an Eva Pilot and all there’s a bit of a hero cult about him. And we’re the ‘Chosen’, the ones he chooses to speak to out of everyone else,” Hikari explains.

“Ah… that’s different,” Toji notes.

“Yeah. So if you were to go about helping them, what would you do?” Hikari asks.

Blushing once more, Toji stammers before saying, “Well… I would… uh… I would… you know… I… well… you see… I would…”

“Toji…” Hikari says in an annoyed tone.

“I would ask you to help me scare off all the other guys going after Asuka,” Toji blurts out before planting his face to the pavement. If he was going to be stomped he would damn well be prepared for it.

“You would ask me to scare off guys going after Asuka?” Hikari asks incredulously.

“Yes!” Toji says, face still on the pavement.

Bursting out into giggles, Hikari says, “Oh Toji, you’re so stupid sometimes, but at least your heart is in the right place. Now come on, eat up, we don’t have all day for lunch.”

Toji definitely did not get women.

Asuka was annoyed. This seemed to be her default emotional state since coming to Japan, and since she wasn’t quite sure when they had entered Japanese territorial waters, she may have been annoyed since before arriving as well.

And the worst bit was that that idiot Shinji was perhaps the least annoying part. Oh sure, he seemed to derive endless pleasure in pissing her off, but he seemed to sulk if she didn’t try and fire back, so there was a sense of accomplishment when verbally sparring with him. Although from the singed looks, most bystanders seemed to consider their version of verbal sparring a live fire exercise.

No, what was annoying Asuka was school, mostly. While true that she deserved to be the most popular person in school, the sheep like way everyone seemed to follow her was pathetic. All the love letters from the obnoxious, buzzing insects compounded the problem, since not only was she not interested in the pawing advances of a bunch of blockheads, but they were all so insincere. And then there was the fact that people seemed to acknowledge her more for the fact that she was a foreigner, some exotic curiosity, than her skills as a pilot, her intelligence, or her natural beauty. That really pissed her off.

“Hey, why the sour face? Forget to drink your prune juice this morning?” Shinji calls out from the shade of a tree where he seemed to have been hiding.

“No, just wondering how this country ever became important when it’s filled with morons like you,” Asuka spits back.

“Oh, you wound me,” Shinji says sarcastically and clutching his chest melodramatically before pointing out, “And I think you got a little collateral damage on you there.”

“I’m a quarter Japanese, and I was raised in Germany,” Asuka sniffs. “I think I took minimal splash.”

“Ah, so the Übermensch German sides overwhelm the barbarian Japanese side?” Shinji suggested.

Growling, Asuka snaps, “Can you cut it out with the Nazi jokes?”

“But they’re so easy! Come on, throw an Imperial Japan joke. Hell, I haven’t even tried to throw out any weird German fetish jokes cause I know you’ll have way too much tentacle demon material to work with,” Shinji says cajolingly.

“Oh? You know about German porn do you? Pervert,” Asuka strikes back.

Wincing, Shinji says, “I walked into that one.”

“You set yourself up for that one,” Asuka says while rolling her eyes.

“I see no contradiction between our statements,” Shinji says with a smug smile on his face.

Please, I don’t need your help to insult you. Your face does it for you,” Asuka replies.

“A ‘your face’ joke! What are you, thirteen?” Shinji says with a smile.

“Clever monkey, clever,” Asuka replies with a roll of her eyes.

“You really should expand your Japanese vocabulary, there are so many primate terms you’re failing to use: ape, chimp, feces flinging troglodyte… although typically we just use ‘otaku’ for that last one,” Shinji says, ticking off the terms with his fingers.

“I have a plenty good vocabulary, thank you very much. It’s just that your language is so polite that insulting someone right and proper requires more practice, and seeing as I’m not the kind of simpleton who looks up swear words when they first learn a language, that’s practice I haven’t needed up until I met you,” Asuka says haughtily.

“Prove it,” Shinji says.

Asuka then spent the next minute ripping Shinji a new one with a combination of English and German. Blinking a few times, Shinji pulled out a small note pad and flipped it open to make a tick under Asuka’s name, saying, “That’s three for you to seven for me so far. Incidentally, could you repeat some of those words? They just sounded filthy. As expected from a dirty foreigner like you though.”

“I can give you a full transcript if you want, but I didn’t swear once. I am far too elegant and graceful and feminine to stoop to such unsophisticated and vulgar language. That you would presume I was swearing shows what an uncultured barbarian you are,” Asuka says with a smug smile.

Considering this for a moment, Shinji shrugs and says, “Whether that’s true or not, I’m going to have to give you another point for that one. Well played, well played indeed.”

“Why are you even keeping score? And intentionally incorrectly at that, I’ve won way more than you have,” Asuka asks in an annoyed tone.

“Because the absurdist prop gag is sure to piss you off, and if I am incorrectly scoring, it is assuredly in your favour, seeing as you score a point whenever you can out insult me, while I score whenever you get pissed off. And since you seem to be perpetually PMSing I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt half the time,” Shinji says gleefully.

Asuka’s glare went from an intensity of ‘targeting radar on a modern destroyer’ to ‘capable of getting into a beam duel with Ramiel’ in about two seconds, and Shinji wisely decided that an exit strategy, namely running for all he was worth, was in order. Of course, he could not give up the opportunity to shout out, “Eleven!”

Shinji then lead Asuka on a merry chase about the school campus, but with his greater familiarity with the lay out of the buildings, Asuka quickly lost him about a corner.

“He’s hiding in the tree,” a soft voice says behind Asuka.

“Damn it Rei!” Shinji shouts out from his hiding place.

“Stupid monkey! Get down from there!” Asuka shouts.

“No! If you want me that badly you’re going to have to prove it by coming up here after me,” Shinji replies obstinately.

Asuka glares at him before limbering up to climb after him, but Rei interrupts by saying, “He’s just trying to embarrass you by having you flash your underwear while climbing.”

“Stop reading my mind Rei!” Shinji cries back in annoyance.

A small leaf spontaneously combusted next to Shinji’s head, although only he noticed, and he quickly smothered the flame with some precision telekinesis to prevent it from spreading. He also whispers to himself, “Twelve.”

Turning away from Shinji and sniffing dramatically, Asuka says, “I will not give you the perverted satisfaction then. Thank you Rei, it is good to see that one of my fellow pilots has some sense of responsibility.”

“She only did it to annoy me,” Shinji replies dryly from his perch.

“True,” Rei admits. In recent days she had found a certain satisfaction in wrecking Shinji’s plans, at least the minor ones. As soon as he had noticed the behaviour he laid down some guidelines for which ones were safe to interfere with. His ‘Project Annoy Asuka’ was one of them.

“Well then we should be friends. ‘The enemy of my enemy’ and all that,” Asuka says.

“‘And all that’?” Rei asks. Shinji had used a different ending to that phrase. “You mean ‘dies next’?”

Asuka looks at Rei weirdly before saying, “No, the phrase goes ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’.”

Rei takes this in before shaking her head and saying, “I prefer Shinji’s version.”

Glaring up at the treed pilot, Asuka says, “What have you been teaching her?”

Shrugging, Shinji says, “I think it’s a more valid interpretation in my opinion.”

“Gah! Stupid Japanese! Corrupting a perfectly… good…” Asuka trailed off as her nostrils started flaring and her face crumpled into a confused and mildly disgusted expression.

WHAT IS THAT SMELL?” She demands.

Eau de Rei,” Shinji replies from the tree. “We haven’t had to go in for anything in the past couple of days, which is when Rei normally takes her showers.”

Looking at the small, blue haired albino girl, Asuka can only ask the obvious question.


Swinging down into view, Shinji decides to deflect the question for Rei to avoid the wrong line of inquiry.

“Rei lives on NERV handouts rather than accept the pilot combat pay, and they’re real cheap skates. Her shower doesn’t even work properly,” Shinji explains.

“Yes,” Rei says, deciding that his explanation was adequate.

“You should just… wait, what was that part about combat pay?” Asuka asks.

A sudden look of evil mischief settles over Shinji’s face and he says, “Oh? They didn’t even ask you if you wanted the raise to your pay, did they?”

“What pay?” Asuka asks. “All I get from NERV are disbursements for living expenses while in Japan.”

“Oh really? Because a few months ago I successfully negotiated for all pilots to receive combat pay if they request it. Ayanami-san chose not to take it, but you are legally entitled to the same pay and should have been informed immediately after,” Shinji says, still hanging upside down from the tree.

“How much?” Asuka asks while glaring at him.

Shinji told her.

Far away in a secluded SEELE meeting Gendo was suddenly overcome with a massive sneezing fit that lasted a good thirty seconds before it subsided, to be replaced with a general feeling of doom.

Once the storm of multi-lingual swearing subsided, Asuka turned to Rei and said, “First chance we get, we’re going shopping!

Dropping down to the ground, Shinji pulls out his wallet and says, “I feel awful for my father’s utterly unethical behaviour. Here’s a couple hundred thousand yen, interest free, for you two to have fun with.”

Rei looked at Shinji’s bright smile and realized that this was the price of betrayal. Rei would have to be more careful next time to she stuck her nose in one of Shinji’s plans. Sometimes his Plan Bs were worse than his Plan As!

Looking at the offered money, Asuka snatched it up before saying, “This should be enough for the three of us.”

Three?” Shinji asks.

“Well there is Rei and I, but I should invite Hikari-san along as well. You of course can help carry our purchases,” Asuka says.

The look on Shinji’s face would warm both Rei and Asuka for a long time as he was most definitely hoisted by his own petard. He just glared at Rei, who had found the situation suddenly enjoyable again, before he suddenly broke out into a smile and said, “If you’re going to bring along Hikari-san then perhaps Toji would like to join us.”

The thought of having two out of three of the stooges was unappealing to Asuka, but she knew how much men hated shopping with women, and making the monkeys suffer was probably worth it. Plus, for whatever reason Hikari saw something in that ape and it wouldn’t do to hurt her new friend’s feelings.

Fortunately for Shinji, all three of their cell phones went off at once, causing him to roll his eyes and say, “Angel attack.”

Several kilometres away and underground and several minutes in the past, Dr. Akagi Ritsuko was scrolling through the data collected from the last battle, and as usual just looking at Shinji’s sync graphs gave her a headache. The boy seemed adamantly against actually giving proper sync data, because what she was ready was impossible.

According to the monitors, Shinji had neutralized Gaghiel’s AT-field with a sync ratio of 10%. The best explanation was that since Unit 02 was calibrated for Asuka the readings were all off, but Shinji consistently had sync ratings lower than should be possible considering what he did with his Eva. If the readings were correct, there was either still a bug in their measurements or he was precognitive, because Unit 01 moved far faster and with better reactions than should be possible with a 55% sync ratio.

Then of course there was the fact that Eva Units 00 and 01 were changing and adapting, just like Shinji had suggested. Unit 00 seemed to be changing the fastest, but further analysis was suggesting that Unit 01 may actually have been more altered by its experiences than previously thought. It also seemed that just simulations were enough to encourage the biomechanical war machines to begin adapting.

Unit 00 was taking on some unusual new physical properties. Its flesh was actually weakening, but it had a highly accelerated regeneration rate, and most solid weapons would probably over penetrate and cause minimal damage the way the Eva was developing. Worse yet, its blood showed trace amounts of toxins and acids. If it continued down this path, then eventually anything that hit it in close quarters combat and penetrated the armour would do little damage while being sprayed with a deadly chemical cocktail.

Interestingly enough, this could be categorized as a classic ‘Rei’ method of fighting. She cared more about the mission than her own well being, little surprise there, and so in the simulations she tended to simply wade into a fight, and endure any and all attacks until she or the target were destroyed. It was a simple, brutal method, but it could get results, especially when Shinji was backing her up.

This brought Ritsuko to Unit 01’s data. At first it looked like little was happening, but upon closer examination it seemed that the Eva was getting smarter, terrifyingly enough. Its nervous system was changing, the relays becoming tighter and faster, while synaptic connections increased. The techs kept finding new bits of code that randomly popped up and tended to improve upon their own algorithms. Tests with the MAGI showed nearly an order of magnitude increase in the number of targets the Eva could independently track. AT field generation was also significantly improved.

Again, this fit with Shinji’s combat style. He was capable in close quarters combat, but he preferred to attack at range whenever possible, which required a stronger AT-field as neutralizing the enemy at range was significantly harder than close up. He also had a tendency to use his environment to his advantage as often as possible. He hated stand up fights on open fields and felt that if the battlefield wasn’t skewed in his favour, it wasn’t a fair fight.

And he hated fair fights! He often commented that in battle the objective was to kill the other guy as quickly as possible and as massively as possible, and that meant stacking the deck in your favour. It was only proper because any competent enemy would do the same.

Ritsuko was interrupted from her thoughts by Kaji embracing her from behind, saying, “You’ve lost some weight. You’re enduring an unrequited love.”

“Oh really? You’re so very sure, are you?” Ritsuko replies, playing along with Kaji’s flirtatious teasing. He did this sort of thing all the time back in college.

Drawing his fingers across her face, Kaji continues, “A woman with a mole like a tear on her cheek is destined to a lifetime of heartache and sorrow.”

“If you’re trying to put the moves on me, I’m afraid you can’t,” Ritsuko replies with a small smile while glancing to the side. “Not while that face is pressed up against the glass anyway.”

Misato’s breath flared out of her nostril’s and steamed up the window she was pressed against in animalistic ovals while she gave Kaji a glare that would have made Asuka humbled. Growling, she shoved away from the glass and went to enter the lab to give Kaji a chewing out.

“It’s been quite a while Kaji,” Ritsuko says warmly, glad to see an old friend.

“It’s been a while alright,” Kaji admits.

“You know, you’re not as discrete as I remember,” Ritsuko says while turning back to her computer and her work.

“He’s never been discrete in his life,” Misato grumbles loudly while entering the room. “You’ve finished handing over Unit 02 haven’t you? What are you still doing here?”

“I received orders this morning that I’ll be staying around,” Kaji says smugly before turning to Ritsuko and saying, “So gorgeous we can hang around again, just like we used to.”

“Don’t flatter yourself,” Misato warns angrily.

And then the alarms went off.

On the command deck, Vice Commander Fuyutsuki could only think Me and my big mouth.
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Post by Academia Nut » 2007-12-16 07:23pm

There was an Angel approaching from the ocean, which was reasonable as every one of the bastards had approached from the ocean. Unfortunately for NERV, and somewhat fortunately for anyone owning property in Tokyo-3, the city was still being repaired after the last battle had left it in a state best described as “not fit for another damn battle”.

So Units 01 and 02 were being deployed for intercept. Unit 00 was being left behind as reserve, partly because it was still being repaired, partly because they didn’t have any spare lifting craft after crashing their primary one into Ramiel to act as cover for Shinji’s assault on the octahedral Angel.

“We’re going to do this by the book okay? Shinji, you have the lower synch ratio, so you’re assigned to fire support. Engage at range so that we can ascertain its capacities. Asuka, with your higher synch ratio and more thorough training, you’re assigned to close range combat. Wait for Shinji to finish his ranged strike then if appropriate close in to engage. Be prepared to break off if things get too hot,” Misato instructs the pilots from the command van while they fly overhead towards the intercept point.

“Damn it, my debut battle over Japan, and instead of being allowed to do it solo I’m stuck with you,” Asuka complains.

Popping up a holographic display, Shinji stares at Asuka coldly and responds, “Our mission is not to fight the enemy, it is to kill the enemy, quickly, cleanly, and efficiently. Two Evas can achieve all three better than one.”

“Just stay out of my way Third Child,” Asuka growls at the projection.

“Considering that I’ll be the one behind you with the heavy weaponry, it would be smarter for you to stay out of my way,” Shinji replies just as the Evas were dropped clear of their transports, the massive flying wings jumping into the sky with the sudden loss in mass.

The drop was a smooth one in comparison to the rocket jump against Shamshel or the sub-orbital death dive against Ramiel. Controlled and with no enemy fire to worry about, both Evas fell serenely from the sky before firing their temporary boosters a hundred metres off the ground and then landing relatively softly at the edge of the beach where the Angel was predicted to emerge.

Ejecting the spent boosters, both Evas waited as service vehicles brought them umbilical cables and their weaponry. Shinji picked up a bolter and several magazines of spare ammo while the missile pods on Unit 01’s shoulders were loaded up with a selection of missiles, primarily oversized variants of the Hellfire anti-tank missiles and a nasty thing that detonated into a cone of white phosphorous flechettes that would have been banned by international treaty in any other use. He also had two thermobaric missiles in case he needed to cause a really big explosion.

The new “headdress” was actually a sophisticated targeting suite that also served as a shield against the back blast of the missiles. It limited the motion of the head, especially with the missile pods attached, but it also gave near 360 degree sensor coverage, so this was an acceptable loss.

Asuka already had a set of retractable prog claws equipped as a back-up weapon, but from one of the service vehicles she picked up a sleek looking prog spear. With her now well decorated Eva, she truly did look like some Bronze Age Titan ready to open a can of whoop ass on anyone who doubted her divinity. That or a World Eater ready to open a can of “BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!” on anything she was pointed at. With Asuka the delineation between the two was a bit fuzzy since everything seemed to doubt her divinity.

Out in the water, the Angel emerged, wading forward through the surf, flanked on either side by ruined buildings. It was a dull grey colour, somewhat similar in shape to Sachiel, if significantly more simian in the build of its arms and legs, and much more of a barrel chest. Instead of the plague mask or the crimson core, it had a strange ying-yang symbol off to one side.

Shinji immediately narrowed his eyes as his senses tested the Angel. Something… something was wrong with this one. It was… it was not right.

“Cover me Third Child!” Asuka suddenly announced as she launched forward, screaming “Charge!”

“Son of a!” Shinji cries out before opening up with his bolter to give Asuka some covering fire. The enormous munitions streak forward… and impact against its AT-field.

I neutralized that! Unless…

Leaping from building to building, Asuka took one final leap through the air to neatly bisect the Seventh Angel from head to groin, splitting it in two.

“There! Combat should be clean, simple, and elegant, don’t you think?” Asuka says.

“You didn’t hit the core! It could still be alive,” Shinji cries out while trying to probe at the creature with his mind and AT-field. It was strange… almost as if…

Asuka did not have time to respond as the two halves abruptly transformed into two smaller versions of the Angel, one green with orange highlights and the other orange with green highlights, each with its own core.


Shinji opened up with his bolter and a several Hellfire missiles on the one Angel he had a good bead on, but the opposite one threw up an AT-field and the weapons exploded harmlessly. The one Shinji had been targeting used the confusion to leap upon Asuka, its claws slicing through her spear in a single stroke.

It really wasn’t a fair fight, two against one when they covered their backs so perfectly. Shinji decided to change the tune of the dance a little.

“Asuka, get on the building to your right,” Shinji orders.

“Busy here!” Asuka shouts out.

“Damn it! Okay, listen to me! Get on the building to your left then! I need to break their formation before they cut you apart,” Shinji cries out.

For just a second Asuka was about to ignore him again, but he was using that voice that demanded attention and compliance. Before she had even fully thought about it, she was moving. Shinji then screamed, “JUMP NOW!”

Asuka leapt off the abandoned building almost as quickly as she had arrived, and the green half of the Angel leapt up after her, just in time for both of Unit 01’s thermobaric missiles to punch through the outer walls and detonate. The fifteen year old wreck exploded in a shower of shrapnel and collapsed beneath the Angel’s feet, toppling it over.

The other half had been using Asuka as a shield from Shinji while covering its partner with its AT-field. The sudden change in the battlefield caused it to suddenly be under the sights of Unit 01 and the incoming barrage of bolter rounds and missiles. One arm was sawn off by explosions, its entire front side was set ablaze by the white phosphorous missiles, and best of all, and its core was blown to scrap by the concentrated fire.

YOU SHOT AT ME!” Asuka cried out. This unfortunately gave the second half enough time to recover from the rubble and assume a defensive position while its core flashed brilliantly for a moment.

There was an explosion of tumorous activity upon the silent half, and before a proper response could be mounted it had a fresh, intact core.

Shinji could see what was coming. Not because of precognition, or even pattern recognition though. He could see what was coming because somehow the Angel had managed to twist its masks into a look of extreme annoyance, or at least that was the impression Shinji got, although he couldn’t quite confirm that they had actually changed at all.

This… this was going to hurt.

Asuka was very, very quiet right now. This was because even with half his face wrapped in bandages, Shinji had a glare that would make the Death Star back off. He did not get angry easily, and he could control it very well as evidenced by his cool competence during the battle, but now that the immediate danger had passed, he let his infinite displeasure be known without saying a word.

The Vice Commander had been planning on chewing them out, but just looking at Shinji made him back off. Fuyutsuki had heard of the confrontation between father and son at the hospital when he had first arrived, and he knew that the boy was not one who would back down from his word lightly. So long as he was in a military situation, he would act with the utmost professionalism. He knew what had gone wrong, and who had screwed up, but he wasn’t going to point fingers, not now.

Sighing, Fuyutsuki just lets the pictures speak for him, of both Evas implanted in the earth by the Angel, then of the UN engaging with an N2 mine, and finally of the now reunited Angel looking half dead at the centre of the crater.

“After the N2 mine hit, 28% of the Seventh Angel’s mass was burned off, but unfortunately it has now erected an AT-field sufficiently strong to repel further such attacks. The power expenditure is slowing its regeneration, but we estimate that within six days it will be fully healed and restored,” Fuyutsuki says.

“Then within six days we had best sort out our coordination problems,” Shinji replies coldly, having deigned to speak for the first time since he was taken out of his entry plug, his body covered in bruises.

YOU SHOT AT ME!” Asuka shouted, pulling out the only thing she could use against him.

“I shot at a position where you were located at the time the missiles left their tubes, yes. However, I trusted you to heed my warning, just as you should have trusted me to know what I was doing,” Shinji says bitterly.

“Silence both of you,” Fuyutsuki says angrily but without raising his voice. Raising his voice would probably unnecessarily escalate the situation. “What is your mission?”

“Piloting Eva?” Asuka asks in confusion.

Wrong,” Shinji states with absolute certainty. “Our mission is to kill the Angels. We are to do it with maximum prejudice. We are to maim and eviscerate and impale and take their heads as trophies. We are to do all sorts of horrible things to them. But they are all incidental to the fact that the reason we do such things is to make the enemy dead. Dead, dead, dead! Piloting the Evas are the same concept, that we pilot them is a means to an end, with that end being the crucified, torched bodies of our enemies with their heads on pikes, if necessary to ensure they will not stand back up.”

A deathly quiet settled over the room at Shinji’s announcement. The words coming out of his mouth were barbaric, but they were utterly true. This was a struggle for survival against inhuman forces. Any and all measures against them were justified. Including sticking adolescents in giant cybernetic organisms that caused physical and mental strain and then shoving them head first onto the frontlines.

Asuka looked hurt, but she could tell that Shinji wasn’t joking around anymore. She had screwed up and cost them the battle and everyone was mad at her… she… she…

She ran from the room.

Shinji arrived back at the apartment before the movers arrived and well before Misato retrieved the distraught Asuka, who had holed up in one of the change rooms in a state of severe emotional distress.

When the two women arrived back, he was deep in meditation, plotting his next moves. He was furious and on the edge of control, something he wasn’t used to dealing with. He was used to letting his grievances simmer, he was used to being calm, the eye of the storm.

When they had retrieved him from his Eva, he was one comment away from grabbing Asuka by her throat, lifting her off her feet, and screaming at her. It would have been so easy too… but he had held off. The situation was not unsalvageable, and truth be told he had not being managing it well. He had let himself be caught up in his own scenario, gaining short term satisfaction at pushing Asuka’s buttons while neglecting the more long term shaping of her psyche into a more useful instrument.

Annoying her still had its place, but Shinji needed to be more careful. He kept over-estimating her emotional resilience because he had done insufficient observation of her person.

And worst of all, he had thus far neglected to try to convert her to Chaos. She would be incredible no matter what god she followed, but if she could be taught to properly channel and control all of her wrath, she would be magnificent as a follower of Khorne. She just needed to be taught the other aspects of the war god or she would be useless. She needed to learn honour, discipline, and martial pride in addition to her anger.

But first Shinji needed to learn the source of her anger. He needed to find the root of that raw nerve of emotion.

When the two of them arrived at the apartment, Shinji did not rise from his position, but rather simply asked from his room, “She will be living with us, won’t she?”

“Yes, you two need to learn to work together as a team,” Misato says.

“What?” Asuka cries out. “After the age of seven boys and girls should not be living under the same roof!”

Gritting his teeth, Shinji swallows his anger with her and rises from his meditative position and picks up a duffel bag and leaves his room to confront Asuka in the hallway, grabbing her by the wrist and hauling her off, saying with arctic chill, “Come, we must talk.”

Asuka was suddenly too terrified to protest.

Misato just sighed and shook her head. There had been a fight brewing all day, and she trusted Shinji not to do something stupid. They had to get it out in the open now, before things had time to fester and rot and then explode in a shower of vitriol at the worst possible moment.

Misato did the only thing she could. She grabbed a beer.

Meanwhile, up on the roof of the apartment, Shinji had a large open space marked out that he typically used for training. Throwing the duffel bag to the side, he lets go of Asuka’s hand and unzips it and pulls out two wooden practice weapons. Specifically, they were wooden practice axes.

Tossing one at Asuka’s feet, Shinji says, “We’re going to play a little game Asuka, called Ten to One. If I can beat you ten times in a row, you owe me a favour, but if can beat me once then I owe you a favour. So go ahead, pick up the axe and test your strength against mine.”

Asuka just gaped at him. This was what he brought her up here for? What was he, stu…?

Asuka’s train of thought was derailed by Shinji abruptly closing the distance between the two of them, the “blade” of his weapon resting upon her throat. Despite the injuries that covered his body and the lack of depth perception, he seemed to be barely slowed down.

“One,” he says simply.

“Hey! I wasn’t ready!” Asuka cries out.

“Do the Angels care?” Shinji asks while withdrawing and letting her pick up the weapon at her feet.

Once again he exploded into action, knocking the axe out of her hand with one swipe and then resting the blade against her throat again, this time on the opposite side as before.


I wasn’t ready!” Asuka screeches, tears in her eyes.

Shinji just stares at her.

“Forget this!” Asuka screams before trying to run off, only to be intercepted by Shinji, one leg hooked by his axe such that she was suddenly on her back, the blade once again at her throat.

“Three. We’re not done yet,” Shinji replies.

Leave me alone!” Asuka screams, trying to crawl away.

“Why should I?” Shinji says, staring contemptuously down at her. “Did the Angels let me escape the fight?”




“Five. You’re pathetic. Ayanami would still be fighting at this point. She does not give up,” Shinji states.


“Six. What are you? Are you a doll, an inanimate object shaped like a human being?” Shinji asks her contemptuously.


Asuka screamed and hurled herself at him, Germanic obscenities spilling from her lips while tears tumbled from her eyes. For her trouble she got whacked in the gut and then shoved back to the ground, the wooden edge resting against her neck once more.


But this time she would not accept it lying down. Scrambling away, she picked up the other axe and clutching it in a two handed death grip, charged. In her blind rage, she would probably break bones if she actually connected. Not that she would.

Effortlessly side-stepping her charge, Shinji dodges her wild swipes before punching her in the solar plexus, knocking her to the ground with the wind taken from her. Once more the axe rested on her neck.


Once she had her breath back, Asuka growls at him, “You cheated.”

“Who ever said that this fight was just with axes?” Shinji asks mockingly.

The next time she attacked, he didn’t even use his axe, instead he just flowed around her defences and slapped her across the face, then tossed her, then kicked her in the right kidney when she was down, then flipped her onto her stomach when she curled up in pain, before pinning her to the ground with a knee on her back. The axe finally rested on the back of her neck.


Shinji then stood up and walked several paces away, before dropping his axe in front of him, taking a step away, and then dropping to one knee, hands to the side and on the ground, his head bowed and neck exposed.

Coughing, Asuka struggled to her feet and then looked at him kneeling there before her. She asked, “What are you doing?”

“We are now both one fight away from victory. All you have to do is rest your axe upon my neck and you win. You can request that we never do this again. In fact, you could probably strike me hard enough that I might die in an ‘accident’ and then your problems would be solved, no? No more taunting, no more humiliation, no more me upstaging you, and no one would make you pay for it. They need you too badly, especially with me out of the picture. It could all end here, and your life would be back to perfect the way it was before,” Shinji says invitingly.

Asuka hesitated. On the one hand, she did indeed wanted to lash out, to strike him down, but she also…


She had not even seen him move, and yet somehow he had picked up his axe, stood up, and cleared the distance between them in an instant. Asuka fell down in shock and surprise.

In the waning light of the day, Shinji was haloed from behind by the setting sun, his face shadowed into total obscurity, but his hair burned like some sort of terrible demon as he gazed down at her.

“But your life was not perfect before, was it? I am not the monster that comes charging in to destroy your idyllic world, to replace it with one filled with pain and ruin. I am the monster that tears down your idyllic illusion, to remind you that you live in a world of pain and ruin. Life is pain. Life is suffering. Who we are is defined by how we deal with it,” Shinji tells her angrily.

Asuka could only stare up at him in mute horror.

“Rei… Rei was practically inanimate when I first met her. I do not know what abuses were heaped upon her, she would not tell me, but she has grown to accept all that pain in her life. She has learned to simply endure all the slings and arrows life has to throw at her, shrug it off, and live the way she wishes.

“Misato has pain in her life too; you can see it in the way she drinks, the way she acts. She distracts herself from her pain. She throws herself into activities to forget what it is that hurts her. Sometimes it is alcohol and sex; sometimes it is being a military commander.”

Shinji takes a deep breath and then says, “But you and I are not like either of them, and that is why we do not get along. When something causes us pain, we seek to change the situation. You… you get angry. You seek to dominate, intimidate, or destroy those things around you that cause you pain through sheer force of will and strength, and it must be done immediately. I get even. I manipulate, control, and convert at my own pace, once I have full control over the situation. I will ruin something only if it suits me, if I feel the pain inflicted upon me is worth it.

“And I have such pain Asuka, such pain, but I will keep it for now. For you though, you owe me a favour for my victory. Tell me of your pain Asuka. Tell me honestly, tell me fully,” Shinji demands, crouching down to fill her vision.

“I… I… never agreed to this,” Asuka says in terror. Terror of Shinji, terror of telling her secrets.

“We rarely agree to the things that hurt us. So either defeat me, prove that you are worthy of keeping your pain secret, or show some honour in defeat and give me that which I ask,” Shinji says at just above a whisper.

Only the wind and their breathing answered him.

TELL ME!” Shinji roared next to her face.

Momma died!” Asuka shrieked, clutching her head in agony and shame.

There is a pause before Shinji says, “So? Everyone in our class at school has a dead mother. Including me.”

This revelation was like a slap in the face to Asuka, who looked up at Shinji through tear stained eyes, seeing him in a new light.

“So that cannot be all of your pain. Tell me everything, tell me the how and the why,” Shinji says softly.

“Momma… momma worked for GEHIRN… they… they were the group before… before… before NERV. She… she… she was in an… an… an… accident,” Asuka sobs out.

Shinji twitched at that, but even he didn’t know why really. There was an old memory in there somewhere, inaccessible like a chunk of metal embedded in his flesh that had become trapped there as a scar formed over it. It would take major surgery to extract, something he could not do at the moment.

And Asuka was not done speaking.

“She… she… she… she went… went… crazy! She didn’t… didn’t… die… right away. She… she… she… she… she… she thought a… a… doll was me! She didn’t see me as her daughter! She hung herself and I was the one who found her!” Asuka screams

Shinji went deathly silent for a moment before he demanded, “What division was she in?”

“She… she was one of… one of… the primary designers… designers of the Evas,” Asuka stutters out.

There was a flash of pain in Shinji’s head as the suppressed memory scratched against his mind, that piece of embedded metal grinding against bone now. He suppressed his own suffering for the moment and simply held Asuka as she cried. As she settled down, Shinji asked quietly, “So what happened next?”

“I… I had to prove I wasn’t a doll… that I was good enough… I… I threw myself into piloting Eva… it’s everything… it’s all I have! And… and… and you’re taking it away!” Asuka cries out.

Still holding her close, Shinji says, “No… no. I cannot take that away from you, only you can. I made a mistake earlier today. You and I, we are different. I am cast from the mould of a soldier. For me, fighting is a living, a means to an end. You… you are a warrior, for whom fighting is life. You carry conflict with you wherever you go.”

He kissed her on the forehead and she did not flinch away from the contact, and then said, “We must learn to work together. You must learn to accept my brutal, sneaky, underhanded ways, and I must learn to accept your passionate, headstrong ways. We can complement one another wonderfully and make the battlefield our dance floor. The Evas were made to fight the Angels, so your mother died fighting them. If not for them, you would be home in Germany, going to school like a normal girl and your mother would still be around tuck you in at night. Hate them. Hate them for all they have stolen from you. Let all your sorrow turn to wrath, and if your breast be a cannon, shoot your burning heart at them. We shall make their blood flow, and we shall stack their skulls into a grand throne that shall let all know of your victory over your pain.”

Rising, Shinji offers a hand for Asuka to take, to symbolically rise from her sorrow. For so many years, she had been raging against a cruel fate, pushing others away to keep from being hurt while simultaneously demanding attention. And now the one person she had ever feared would take away everything she had was telling her to keep raging, to keep fighting, and he would stand with her. He would stand with her and make all that had pained her suffer for their offences.

She took his hand.
I love learning. Teach me. I will listen.
You know, if Christian dogma included a ten-foot tall Jesus walking around in battle armor and smashing retarded cultists with a gaint mace, I might just convert - Noble Ire on Jesus smashing Scientologists

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Post by Academia Nut » 2007-12-19 01:52am

The original plan had called for the two pilots learning to synchronize with each other through close associated living and coordinated motion drills, with the ultimate plan being a well timed and planned assault on the Angel.

Shinji more or less shot that down as soon as Misato told them. The plan was too rigid, and the first maxim of military planning was that no plan survives contact with the enemy. Any sort of planning required a certain fluidity to allow for adaptation to changing circumstances, and it could not have just a single path to success, but rather required multiple paths that could be taken at certain junctures depending on previous successes or failures.

It was actually rather stunning for Misato and Asuka watch him work. He plotted out an eighty-eight node map that had two hundred eighty-three possible outcomes, with eighty-five percent of them ending in victory and all but one of the remaining outcomes ending with the Evas retreating intact from the battle to fight again. There was even one bizarre, but logical, path that ended in victory but required losses at every single node.

The entire demonstration of course was that this sort of thing couldn’t be kept track of in the midst of combat, and to rely on rigid battle plans was asking for trouble. Rather, he pointed out the fact that the closest they got to success was when he had fired upon the building Asuka was standing on.

Simply put, if they could learn to know the other’s movements intimately and to trust the other in combat, then they could make the kind of narrow margin attacks that would allow them to engage opposite partners. Each half of the Angel shielded and covered the other, so they would simply attack from vectors not expected.

To that end their training quickly became a series of non-stop sparring matches between the two pilots as they learned each other’s motions and tell-tale signs. The objective was to come as close to striking the other without actually making contact. They started out slow and with lots of bumps and accidental hits, but they very quickly moved up the pace.

And Asuka demonstrated that when she wasn’t an emotional wreck a decade of combat training really paid off. She couldn’t touch Shinji in staff fighting, he was far too well trained there, but once she was centred emotionally she could fight him almost at parity with axes, and with other forms of melee weapons she had the advantage due to familiarity.

For the past two days they had done nothing apart unless it involved the bathroom. They tried to do everything but the sparring in stereo, so much that it soon became a competition between them to see who could more perfectly track the motions of the other. Asuka went at it full bore, always watching, always correcting, while Shinji preferred to try and slip her up by throwing in chaotic motions at unexpected times. The whole psychic powers bit made it rather easy for him to predict Asuka’s movement, so it was more important for her to figure out his motions.

By the time their classmates had shown up to find out what was going on, their muscles were aching from the non-stop drills they were being put through, but the two were displaying a mastery of martial arts that would not have been expected from two fourteen-year olds. So intent on their drills were they that they did not even bother to pause when the doorbell rang, instead letting Misato answer it.

Wooden practice weapons cut the air, making whirring noises as they fought to not touch the other. Shinji was using a wooden staff, his own regular one considered too dangerous to use, while Asuka was using a practice battle axe. Wood striking wood rang out through the apartment and the two danced and rolled about one another in a series of attacks, parries, feints, and counter-feints that looked choreographed but was merely a product of incredibly focused practice.

When they noticed their friends staring in awe of them, they both paused and as one bowed before saying in stereo, “Hello.”

Kensuke and Toji were in total shock at their friend so readily associating with Asuka, and synchronizing with her no less, while Hikari was in a total state of confusion about what this meant from the standpoint of what was proper.

Each getting a sly look on their faces and said in unison, “This is part of our training. Our enemy has two bodies that act as one, so we must do the same.”

Smiling at the confusion written on the non-pilots faces, Misato explains and then says, “Okay, that’s probably enough for now, you two can cool down while I make some lunch.”

The two glance nervously at each other before saying, “Perhaps Hikari-san would like to cook.”

“Nah! They’re guests here, I should cook,” Misato says dismissively while taking a sip from her beer.

Shinji and Asuka shot Hikari a look that screamed “For the love of all that is holy do not let this woman into the kitchen.”

“Uh… I like cooking, it would be my pleasure to… uh… help you Misato-san,” Hikari says tentatively.

“Well… I suppose you could help if you really wanted to,” Misato says.

Half an hour later and everyone was sitting down to a nice meal while Hikari was glad she had been volunteered. She shuddered to think what Misato would have created without proper supervision. Some sort of unholy abomination of curry and instant ramen probably.

“That was pretty cool what you guys were doing back there… but… uh… how exactly will not hitting each other help you fight the Angel?” Kensuke asks.









The switch off effect leaves the others speechless, causing them both to break down into laughter before Shinji breaks off and says alone, “Really what we’re trying to do is learn to predict and react to each other’s movements and actions so that we can fight as one coordinated entity. For the rest of the time we will be focusing on Eva combat simulations.”

“Hopefully you should get to train with the new weapons tomorrow as well… or well, the simulated versions anyway,” Misato adds on.

“New weapons?” The pilots ask in synch.

“Yeah, we were planning on introducing them about now anyway, but the Angel merely sped up our timetable a little. Don’t worry, they’re both fully tested and there is nothing theoretical about them,” Misato assures.

“It’s a nuclear weapon!” Shinji says from the cockpit of Unit 01 while being instructed about the UDPIDTEPW, or Unidirectional Positron Initiated Deuterium-Tritium Enhanced Plasma Weapon.

“Technically yes, but it’s perfectly safe to use,” Misato tells him.

“It’s a thermonuclear weapon!” Shinji expands upon. “And how the hell do they know this is safe? How long ago did they even come up with the theory for this thing?”

“It’s a thirty year old design based off a bomb,” Misato replies.

“Excuse me, but did I hear that last part right? Did you say it was based off a bomb?” Shinji demands.

“The theory was! The US developed a series of shaped charge nuclear weapons during the late stages of the Cold War and continued experimentation afterwards. After Second Impact they perfected the design, but we reworked into something that wouldn’t use the barrel as a fuel source, didn’t use a fission weapon as an initiator, and wouldn’t be destroyed while firing. We’ve tested fired the design a couple times,” Misato explains.

Somewhat more mollified, Shinji asks, “So there is no chance of this thing turning into a mushroom cloud in my hands?”

“Just point it away from civilized areas and you should be okay. You might want to have an AT-field up while firing it too. Oh, and while the current model of the boom gun is designed to be fitted with this new weapon, the recoil is a little much, so make sure you brace it properly,” Misato says.

Shaking his head, Shinji just says, “So this model is good for one shot?”

“Yes. That’s why it was designed to be slung under the boom gun as a supplement rather than as an independent weapons system,” Misato explains.

“It’s called the Wave Motion Gun by the build team, isn’t it?” Shinji suddenly asks.

“Err… yeah,” Misato admits.

“How long does it take to charge?” Shinji asks dryly.

“It takes ten seconds to go from a cold start to a firing ready, which is recommended to do right before firing as the system is a little touchy once the plasma has been primed and rather unstable once the positrons are moved to the firing position,” Misato explains.

“Ten seconds! Do you have any idea how long that is in combat?” Shinji asks in horror.

“A long time, I’m a soldier, I know. But that’s the price paid for getting something this small and manoeuvrable. To get equivalent instantaneous power would be impossible with a traditional design and would require massive capacitor banks. This system sacrifices a degree of safety for enormous firepower, and then sacrifices some readiness of use to gain back some safety. I mean, if you want to carry around an armed nuclear bomb, go right ahead and prime and ready it before battle,” Misato points out.

Shaking his head, Shinji replies, “No, it’s far too useful, if it works, to abandon. So if this is my combat upgrade, what is Asuka’s?”

“Well, there’s the boom pistol, or rather the APHEGSRB-PV, or Pistol Variant. It was developed along with the carbine version you’re using, but as the name suggests it is smaller and has a somewhat shorter range. And then of course there is the RCPTCCW,” Misato says.

“What is with all the acronyms?” Shinji asks in annoyance.

“It’s a military organization, live with it,” Misato says with a shrug.

Punching in a few codes in his entry plug, Shinji examines the meaning of the acronym before saying, “Rotary Chain Progressive Tooth Close Combat Weapon… you made a giant chainsaw!

“Well… technically they were originally trying to make a chainsaw sword but they couldn’t fit all the components in properly, so they settled for a chainsaw axe. It should cause tremendous tissue damage to the Angels,” Misato explains.

Sweet…” Shinji notes with a grin. “Okay, let’s see what we’ve learned.”

Asuka was annoyed at Shinji, although he couldn’t really blame her considering the fact that he kept accidentally shooting her in the simulations against the Seventh Angel. He was getting better, and their coordination was significantly up, but after several days of practice, he was still having trouble with the melta, as he liked to call the fusion weapon strapped to his bolter.

The thing kicked like a mule! And it didn’t have a targeting icon so much as it had a cone where everything ceased to exist in a flash of light and plasma. So far he had vaporized Unit 02 twice, although the second time wasn’t entirely his fault as Target Beta got wise to him powering up the gun and hit him with a beam weapon, triggering the burst early.

Tomorrow was it, the day where they would have their rematch with Israfel. The plan was to intercept well outside of Tokyo-3 and then launch a coordinated assault using everything they had learned. It was going to be tough, but Shinji was confident they could pull it off.

Asuka was bathing while he practiced his cello, Metallica’s “Master of Puppets”, a perennial favourite for obvious reasons, flowed from his strings, although it was a pity he didn’t have any other cello players for accompaniment. Music could be so cathartic for him. Helped him centre, to bleed off pressure and empty his mind.

Exiting the bathroom dressed in her night clothes of a loose yellow t-shirt and short pants, Asuka asks, “Where’s Misato-san?”

Pausing, Shinji says, “She called while you were in the bathroom to say that she would be at work all night, and, to quote ‘I had better not find out about any hanky-panky when I get home’.”

Rolling her eyes, Asuka says, “Please.”

“Yeah, I mean, it’s like she doesn’t trust me to be smart enough to properly dispose of the evidence,” Shinji says cheekily.

Glaring at him, Asuka opens her mouth to say something before asking, “Are you going to be playing much longer? I want to go to bed now.”

“No problem,” Shinji says while packing away his cello and taking it back to his room. Setting it away, he then kneels before his shrine and begins his nightly prayers.

Asuka watched him for a time before commenting, “Your god has a funny name, even by Japanese standards.”

“It’s obscure and I do not believe that it is of Japanese origin,” Shinji replies. He then asks, “Would you like to learn more about Tzeentch, or any of the other gods in the pantheon?”

“No thanks, not interested in your crazy cults,” Asuka says while walking off.

Every day her rejection becomes less enthusiastic. She sees the strength I gain from my faith, and she wonders if it is the secret to my strength. She will accept my offer… eventually.

Leaving his room, Shinji goes to the main living area where Asuka is gathering up her sleeping bag and pillow, obviously intent on not having to sleep in the same room as Shinji.

Shinji looks at her and says, “That’s a bad idea.”

“Why? Because ‘it will break our synchronization’ or some bullshit like that?” Asuka asks sarcastically.

Smiling, Shinji says, “Because you will be cold and uncomfortable in the morning.”

Looking at him strangely, Asuka says, “Are you stupid? I have everything I need right here.”

Shaking his head, Shinji says, “Mark my words, you won’t by the end of the night.”

Staring at him suspiciously, Asuka drops her stuff and says, “Whatever. This is the impenetrable wall of Jericho. Cross it and you will suffer instant death.” She then closed the door between them.

Turning off the lights, Shinji settles down into his own blankets and smiling to himself whispers, “…and the walls of Jericho came tumbling down.”

About an hour or two later, Asuka emerged from her room and went straight to the bathroom. There was the sound of running water and a light from under the doorway.

And then Asuka plunked down next to Shinji.

His eyes still closed, he said, “I told you.”

Asuka bolted upright as she realized Shinji was still awake.

Lifting up his sheets, Shinji says, “Do not be angry at me or yourself, be angry at the Angels. They were the ones who ultimately left you this way. Left you lonely.”

Asuka was about to leave angrily when Shinji said, “You are strong Asuka. Seize what you want. I know I’m a poor substitute for your dream man Kaji, but do not deny yourself what you want when you can take it. I offer warmth and a refuge against the lonely night, are you scared to take it?”

“You’re just a pervert trying to rub up against me,” Asuka says.

“You trust me to point a thermonuclear weapon at your back and yet you don’t trust me to behave honourably. You should know me better than that. You’ve been to the school; you’ve seen the fan girls. If I wanted to, I could have as much ass as I wanted at a snap of my fingers,” Shinji says, snapping his fingers for emphasis. “But I’m not interested in that sort of thing. Pawing over a woman like that is so… juvenile.”

“What are you, gay?” Asuka asks. She was quite noticeably not leaving.

“The same principle would apply. I bet I could get Kensuke to blow me if I let him into the entry plug of Unit 01,” Shinji suggests.

Giggling, Asuka says, “Yeah, I bet.”

“So what will it be? Me or the night?” Shinji asks.

There was a moment of silence and then Asuka slid in next to him, muttering, “One wayward limb and I will make the stomping Israfel gave you look like a boisterous tussle.”

“I wouldn’t dare,” Shinji says before adding on, “Just don’t you toss about in your sleep. I can only keep track of my own limbs.” Shinji then crossed his arms over his chest like an Egyptian mummy.

After a few minutes, Shinji felt Asuka’s face press against his shoulder and he could feel the tears on her cheeks. He said nothing and finally Asuka asked, “How can you be such a bastard and so kind at the same time?”

“Because kindness serves my purposes best. Traps are best laid with something tempting rather than something repulsive,” Shinji admits.

“Bastard,” Asuka says.

“I know. But if I snare your heart, will you complain? If I am there to fill the hollows left by the losses in your life, will you resent your completion?” Shinji asks.

“And why do you want my heart?” Asuka asks.

“If I answered in a way other than ‘control’ would you believe me, even if I spoke the truth?” Shinji asks quietly.

“Tell me,” Asuka asks.

Sighing, Shinji says, “I have holes in my heart too. I have hopes and desires, and I must admit that you are very warm and your skin is very soft, and it is incredibly pleasant to have such a beautiful, confident, wondrous woman lying next to me.”

“How incredible?” Asuka asks, her face still pressed against his shoulder so he could feel her smile.

Thinking for a moment, Shinji says, “Do you want the honest answer or the poetic one?”

“I would be amused to hear a straight answer out of you,” Asuka says.

“Well then you would be disappointed, because there is a difference between an honest answer and a straight one. If you want the honest answer, then I shall say that if you were to begin groping me you would find yourself highly ‘complimented’,” Shinji replies.

It took Asuka a second to figure that one out, but before she could scream in outrage Shinji says, “It’s biological in nature, and as I said, you should feel ‘complimented’.”

Frowning, Asuka asks angrily, “You’re not going to jerk off over my comatose body now are you?”

“Please, that would be pathetic. And if you were that deeply asleep I chose to only do something like that, well that reflects poorly on my part, now doesn’t it?” Shinji notes.

“Yeah… yeah… I guess you do have better standards than that,” Asuka admits before snuggling in closer. This however brought her breasts into contact with Shinji’s side.

After a moment she says with a giggle, “So that’s how I control the thermostat.”

It was zero hour. Israfel, having reformed during its regeneration, was up and about again. The UN had observed it during its rest, but had now pulled back to let the Evas have their second shot at the binary Angel.

Armed with a bolt pistol and a chain axe, Asuka was to lead the assault while Shinji delivered close fire support. They were to mix it up with the two halves, switching targets spontaneously as the situation warranted and acting in perfect synchronization.

Tightening her fist about the butterfly grips, Asuka wondered if Shinji could provide the support he was supposed to. Even after days of training he still hit her on occasion with his boom gun. How could she trust him when…?

It suddenly dawned at her that she had been at fault. Last night, he had been a perfect gentleman and had demonstrated that her trust in him was not wasted. He kept her secrets, and did not use them against her. He cared for her, cared to soothe her pain, to take away the intense loneliness that had gnawed at her for the past ten years.

He trusted her to trust him. He knew what she was going to do, and he trusted her to act. When he pulled the trigger, he had to know that she would be elsewhere when the rounds arrived on target. If she hesitated, then she would not be where she should be.

So she would trust him. She would not hesitate, she would simply act. Shinji would do what he needed to do, and she would do what she needed to do. It was as simple as that. The hesitation and confusion from just a moment before faded away, and Asuka saw only the Angel. And she began to see red.

Mother died building Unit 02.

Unit 02 was built to fight the Angels.

Mother died fighting the Angels.

The Angels took mother from her.

And they would take everyone else from her if she failed. Suddenly she understood what Shinji had been talking about nearly a week ago. Piloting the Evas was incidental to the mission of killing the Angels. If she could, if she had to, she would fight them on foot. They would take everyone from her if she failed. They would take Kaji. They would take Misato. They would take Hikari. They would take Shinji…

Asuka felt hate, purest hate well up in her breast and when the orders to attack were given, she let out a roar of absolute fury escape her lips, and suddenly time ceased to have meaning. She existed from moment to moment with the clarity of a mind focused entirely on a single goal: to fight. To make war and bring conflict with her wherever she went. She touched the essence of the warrior and she fought.

The individual teeth humming with ultrasonic vibrations and the entire chain assembly roaring, Asuka advanced on the Angel, pumping out rounds from her pistol. In the periphery of her awareness, she knew that rounds from Shinji’s gun were whipping past her Eva’s head and shoulders, but she paid them no heed. Shinji knew what he was doing, and so did she.

With both Evas AT-fields unfolded, the armour piercing high explosive rounds struck exposed flesh, digging in for a few milliseconds before detonating, blowing enormous holes in the alien abomination. Already it was regenerating, faster than before, but then Asuka got to close combat range and swung her axe. With the enormous momentum built up by her charge and swing, the super sharp cutting teeth ripped all the way through the Angel’s flesh before striking its core and sending off sparks.

Rather than risk further damage to its body, the Angel immediately split into its two halves, the momentum transfer knocking both aside like baseballs struck by a Major League batter. One Angel clearly had a crack in its core, so Asuka booted it in the chest before it even hit the ground, sending it flying into a hillside.

She then ignored it. As best they could tell, Angels could not regenerate damage to their cores on their own; they needed an outside input of something, data most likely. That meant that the other half would have to pause for a brief second in order to affect repairs on its partner.

Shinji had already blown off a leg by the time Asuka got to the target, jumping on its before it could recover, her mass crushing its back while she hacked away at its head and fired more shells into it. In response, the Angel took a move from Shinji’s playbook and fired point blank into the ground, blowing both itself and Asuka into the ground.

Crashing into a hillside, Asuka rolled and pistol whipped the other half, which had recovered as best it could with a cracked core. There was a flash and it regained its strength, the wounds to the crimson sphere on its chest disappearing. Asuka blew off its face with a burst from her pistol.

Shinji’s fire patterns suddenly shifted and Asuka knew that the other half was behind her. Trusting that Shinji’s aim was true, she swung her axe blindly about and was satisfied to feel and hear the pitch of the saw change to something meatier. Spinning about, she fired the last three rounds in her magazine into the gut of the beast, showering her Eva in tens of thousands of litres of purple-blue blood.

Asuka laughed like it was a warm spring rain before smoothly holstering the weapon and using her now free hand to pick up the stunned and wounded Angel so as to toss it over her towards the other. They collided and merged back into one being, confused by the forced integration.

With Asuka safely out of the way, Shinji began the process of arming his melta. Gaseous tritium and deuterium flooded the barrel and was confined and excited by incredibly powerful magnets and high energy RF waves. Within a few seconds the inside of the barrel was a swirling chamber of blue light, while the outside ironically frosted over as super cooled liquids flooded the superconducting materials.

The Angel detected the energy build-up and turned its battered face towards Unit 01.

Asuka threw herself between the Angel and Shinji, taking the particle blast dead centre to her chest. It was incredibly powerful, but with the damage sustained, it was not full strength, so it merely dented Asuka’s armour rather than punching right through. Still, it also propelled her backwards, the momentum transfer threatening to do what the beam could not directly do.

Asuka hurled herself backwards, throwing her Eva into a back flip that took her just barely clear of Unit 01, which had dropped into a crouched position to better brace the weapon. Asuka was upside-down and facing the Angel when Shinji pulled the trigger.

A packet of positrons, brought into the final firing position, was injected into the electron rich section of the plasma at the back of the barrel. As dictated by the laws of physics, they annihilated, releasing a burst of gamma rays. These rays went off in a straight line until they struck the barrel, which was specially designed to reflect light at such small wavelengths back upon the interior.

These gamma rays collided with the charged plasma and compressed it until at the very heart of the barrel the hydrogen isotopes slammed together with enough energy that they suddenly became helium atoms, releasing more gamma rays and neutrons, which were also reflected back to initiate further fusion. The temperature inside the barrel quickly jumped to a ludicrous value, causing the liquid nitrogen cooling down the outer barrel to boil away and the superconductors to stop superconducting. This produced a massive magnetic flux that began to push the plasma out the barrel along with the impulse from the gamma rays and neutrons reflected off the back of the barrel.

It all took about less than a thousandth of a second for the wave of fusing plasma to reach the end of the barrel. A torrent of ravenous plasma and ionizing gamma and x-rays swept out of the melta. Still disoriented and with its AT-field down, the Angel barely had time to realize its own doom before it was annihilated in a cone of thermonuclear fury, the detonation of its core adding to the storm of destruction.

A storm that threw Asuka’s jump off course as it caught her Eva and Shinji’s and picked them up, causing them both to crash into the ground a distance away, their Evas tangled together at the edge of a molten crater.

Climbing out of their Evas, the battle over, they could now engage in a bit of unprofessional behaviour, such as verbally abusing one another.

“Nice landing twinkle toes!” Shinji shouts out at Asuka.

“Nice landing? My landing would have been perfect if you hadn’t been in the way,” Asuka screams back.

“Oh yeah, blame the guy who was stationary! Look before you leap bitch!” Shinji replies.

“Oh! ‘Stationary!’ Yeah, you were real ‘stationary’ getting blown on your ass by your own gun there! Learn to shoot idiot!”

“Arrogant, stuck up, incompetent bitch!”

“Scrawny, short, little puffed up jerk with a Napoleon complex!”

“Oh! So the barbarian Amazon queen knows a little culture and history, the beer swilling slack jawed expression hides it so well!”

“Come over here and say that Dummkopf!”

“I think I will!”

“Then do it!”

“Well, unlike you, I understand that when something is glowing when it shouldn’t be glowing it’s a good idea to wait a little while for it to cool off. I’m sure kept burning your fingers on the stove as a child, never quite getting the concept of hot!


“Dumb ass!”

From there it degenerated into one or two word name calling, much to the annoyance of the Vice Commander and the amusement of everyone else. There was still passion in their insults, but there was far less vitriol than when they first met.
I love learning. Teach me. I will listen.
You know, if Christian dogma included a ten-foot tall Jesus walking around in battle armor and smashing retarded cultists with a gaint mace, I might just convert - Noble Ire on Jesus smashing Scientologists

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Post by Academia Nut » 2007-12-19 01:28pm

Yeah, Unit 02 was upgraded to the new armour, it was mentioned in a previous chapter, so it now looks something like this:


Only about 20 times larger, with fewer skulls and there isn't any bare flesh, hair or a chain loincloth for some incomprehensible reason... and it has four eyes and the faceplate is a little different and...

Well, you get the point. Blend Kharn and an Eva together and you'll roughly get what Unit 02 looks like now.
I love learning. Teach me. I will listen.
You know, if Christian dogma included a ten-foot tall Jesus walking around in battle armor and smashing retarded cultists with a gaint mace, I might just convert - Noble Ire on Jesus smashing Scientologists

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Post by Academia Nut » 2007-12-21 02:18am

There were times where, for all his scheming, Shinji found himself caught between forces beyond his control, and could only bow his head and wait for an opportunity for escape lest he be crushed. This was one of those times, and all he could do was pray to Tzeentch for strength and an early escape.

“Okay, we’ve got several million yen and three strong backs to carry our purchases. Let’s get shopping!” Asuka announces.

Toji gave Shinji a look that screamed, “I hate you so much right now.”

Kaji, the most experienced male in the group, had already assumed the look of utter passivity that indicated that he had switched off higher brain functions and was resigned to his fate. He had probably been dragged shopping by Misato before.

Hikari had an ambivalent expression on her face, for on the one hand she was wondering about whether it was proper to spend so much of her friend’s money, but on the other hand the offer of a shopping trip with essentially unlimited funds appealed to her to no end.

Rei had assumed a neutral position, for she was relatively neutral on the whole affair. While she had got a kick out of the Commander’s reaction when Asuka had stormed into his office and demanded an equalization of pay for all pilots, and the tortured look on Shinji’s face was worth the price of admission, Asuka had more or less dragged her into the shower before coming shopping, something that had soured her mood somewhat. Especially the enforced use of soap.

Of course, when she had told that last fact to everyone, Shinji and Toji had both excused themselves to the bathroom for a few minutes before returning with small bits of bloody toilet paper stuffed up their nostrils. Rei did not quite understand what that had been about, but the other two females in their group had just rolled their eyes while Kaji just snickered a little.

“Okay, first order of business is to get Rei a new wardrobe,” Asuka announces before leading the merry band of over-financed teenagers and one secret agent chaperone into Tokyo-3’s busiest shopping district while making a beeline for the most expensive boutiques.

Their first stop ended with the saleswoman in tears, meaning that for Shinji the day was already looking up. The arrogant bitch had simply assumed that because they were all teenagers they couldn’t afford to shop at the store. She and Asuka rapidly got in a shouting match, which ended with Shinji pulling out his wallet and flashing all the cash as he got out a map of the shopping district so as to recommend a competitor’s store.

The fact that he did this right in front of the manager was the most priceless bit. When the manager tried to talk them into staying, Shinji had just smiled and said, “I can understand if you feel we do not look wealthy enough to shop here, but at least be polite when you try to ask us to leave so that we might explain the situation. The rudeness of your employee however has led me to ask that you politely kiss my ass as we walk out here.”

Shinji got a round of applause once they were out of that store, to which he took a dramatic bow. Somebody was going to need a new job.

Several stores later and they still had not found anything that Rei wanted, although both Asuka and Hikari had done some shopping along the way. Their purchases were very telling of their character really. Asuka was very fond of loose, airy clothing that accentuated her curves while also giving her a great deal of freedom of motion. They were, simply put, the best compromise between being “girly” and “ass-kicking” that Asuka could probably find.

Hikari on the other hand, she was much more about order. Outwardly the clothing she got was very simple and plain looking, if with a keen eye towards exquisiteness of cut, but inside there were often all sorts of arcane devices whose purpose could only be divined by the female mind and presumably the designers. They lifted, supported, constrained, and quite possibly made coffee, but the effect was quite evident as Toji had to leave several times to go to the bathroom to replenish his supply of toilet paper. Eventually Shinji looked at his friend and said, “I think we need to stop for lunch, Toji is starting to look a little hungry.”

This was of course a lie as Toji was starting to look rather anaemic from acute blood loss and he probably needed a large dosage of fluids, proteins, and iron to help offset the loss. An American style hamburger with a drink and fries would probably do the trick. The girls still wanted to do a little shopping first, so they agreed to split off for the moment. Besides, they were talking about stopping off at the lingerie stores, and Toji probably wouldn’t survive something like that.

Sitting down at the cafeteria, Toji just looked at Shinji and said, “Man, I don’t know whether to punch you or kiss you.”

“I would prefer the punch, I can block that less awkwardly,” Shinji says while snacking on a strange concoction from a North American place. It was best described as “heart disease on a plate” but it was apparently called “poutine”. It tasted alright, and it was something different.

After munching on his burger for a while Toji asks, “So what do you think was meant by Soryu ‘forcing’ Ayanami to bathe?”

Chuckling, Shinji says, “Oh, she probably just stood outside the shower and ordered Rei to shower and use soap.”

“Yeah, but if Rei didn’t want to do something like that, how could she be made to?” Toji asks.

“Oh, a stern glare and waiting impatiently for Rei to come out damp and smelling like soap instead of body odour was probably all that was required,” Shinji says.

“Oh come on, you don’t really believe that’s all that happened. I bet it was all like… a highly civilized affair,” Toji says, catching one of Shinji’s cues for ‘the person you’re talking about is standing right behind you so shut up’.

“Hey Rei, how goes it?” Shinji asks.

“I did not need any new undergarments, so I decided to meet you early,” Rei replies softly while sitting down at the table with a bowl of natto.

Shinji was somehow not surprised Rei had acquired a taste for fermented soy beans. He suspected she was also eating a lot more cheese as well. Shinji had a sudden horrific moment as he wondered what a sudden taste for fermented foods would do to Rei’s digestive tract.

“Why did you just shudder, Shinji?” Rei asks while beginning to eat her fermented soy beans.

“Oh, no reason,” Shinji says.

A long string of congealed soy paste hanging from her chopsticks, Rei says, “I can assure you that as a young lady I do not have any problems with flatulence.”

Toji toppled over in shock at that statement.

I broadcast that thought, didn’t I?


You’re getting better at this sort of thing.

You are a skilled teacher.

And you, incidentally, are still a poor liar.

I am certain that if I were to have any roommates, they would be grateful for the fact that I live alone.

Smirking at that little joke, Shinji helps Toji get back into his seat just in time for Asuka and Hikari to show up, Kaji trailing them with the distinctly blank look of a man hauled through a women’s lingerie store. It was the kind of look that said, “I’m just here to hold the bags and I can assure you I am not looking at anything.”

Asuka took one look at what Shinji was eating and then said in exasperation, “You can get poutine and I can’t find a decent German restaurant anywhere? What the hell?”

Shrugging, Shinji says, “It’s capitalism. The Americans like to spread their influence and all that.”

“Poutine is actually a Quebecois Canadian dish,” Kaji points out.

Looking at the food quizzically, Shinji asks, “Okay, how the hell did this stuff get into Japan anyway?”

“Probably a market from the Canadians brought over to teach English,” Hikari suggests.

“If that were the case, wouldn’t there be more donut shops?” Kaji counters.

“Canada jealously guards the secrets to its donuts. It’s a well known fact,” Shinji points out with an utterly serious tone.

“If the Japanese eat that natto stuff, I can see why someone could see poutine catching on here,” Asuka puts in sarcastically.

“That seems unlikely as there are no sauerkraut places. I have looked,” Rei says, not taking the jab at her taste in food lying down.

The rest of the lunch was a bickering match about tastes in food, although they eventually let the conversation peter out as they finished their meals. Then it was back to shopping.

After a few more hours of fruitlessly trying to find something Rei enjoyed, although Asuka and Hikari’s wardrobes certainly expanded considerably. Much to the horror of the males, it looked like the girls were going to have to make a repeat trip to actually accomplish their mission of getting Rei some new clothes.

And then Rei paused in their journeys to look through the window of a second hand clothing store.

“Oh, you don’t want to shop there,” Asuka says.

“No… wait…” Shinji says, raising his hand to stall things while going up to Rei.

He sees her eyeing the ratty looking clothes and whispers to her, “It's a bridesmaid's dress. Someone loved it intensely for one day. Then, tossed it... like a Christmas tree. So special, then bam; it's on the side of the road, tinsel still clinging to it, like a sex crime victim, underwear inside out, bound with electrical tape.”

“It’s not a bridesmaid’s dress,” Rei corrects quietly.

“It’s a quote, to sum up your feelings. You are attracted to the abandoned, to the despairing, to that which is decaying from the beauty it once had. It is not the price that attracts you; it is the essence of the item. You would buy antiques simply to revel in their obsolescence, to watch them crumble with time. Nurgle teaches that there can still be joy in despair, so find your joy where you may,” Shinji tells her.

Absorbing this, Rei immediately walks into the store, leaving Asuka to glare furiously at Shinji.

Shinji was quite amused by the fact that she didn’t even notice the fact that she wasn’t paying attention to her precious Kaji. Kaji was also quite amused by it as well, and relieved.

“What was that about?” Asuka demanded.

“I was just telling Rei what she needed to hear,” Shinji replies.

“And we couldn’t hear it?” Asuka asks.

“Would you like it if I paraded your dirty laundry about for everyone to hear?” Shinji asks.

That made Asuka shut up right quick.

Following Rei into the shop, what happened next was a descent into a surreal world of Rei getting excited and happy as she almost maniacally went through dozens of second or even third hand outfits before assembling a wardrobe that could best be described of as “fabulously ghetto". It was an embracement of urban decay and poverty by a very wealthy individual.

Rei left the shop wearing a light, frilly Western style bridesmaid’s dress, a battered looking long jacket that had probably been donated to charity by a dead hobo, a paint-stained grey toque, threadbare red gloves with the fingers cut off, and combat boots two sizes too big for Rei that had probably first seen use shortly after Second Impact. The rest of her purchases were similarly eclectic, and Rei had actually asked to see some of the items that they store had been considering tossing as being too badly damaged to sell.

Everyone but Shinji just looked at Rei in exasperation at her bizarre choices.

“Aren’t you hot wearing all that?” Asuka finally asks.

“Yes. Very. Thank you,” Rei replies.

It took several moments to parse that statement, at which point Shinji and Kaji started chuckling and Asuka just shrieked in frustration and clarified, “I mean warm, your temperature excessively high, the flow of thermal energy not being in your favour in this climate.”

“Yes,” Rei says with a smile.

“Gah! You’ll have a heat stroke!” Asuka says.

Considering this for a moment, Rei answers, “Then I shall use all that money I saved to buy water so as to avoid that.”

“You’ll sweat like crazy!” Asuka points out in frustration.

“That is acceptable,” Rei replies, obviously relishing the prospect.

“And after I held you down and soaped you up this morning too!” Asuka cried out before realizing that perhaps that was too much information.

Shinji managed to clamp down on his nose in time but Toji suffered an explosive nosebleed and promptly collapsed.

“Toji!” Hikari cries out while rushing to her fallen boyfriend, Kaji moving to administer first aid to the overwhelmed teenager.

Blushing bright red, Asuka says, “It’s not like it sounds! It was at one of the school showers and we were wearing our bathing suits!”

Cocking her head to the side, Rei says, “You were wearing your bathing suit, I was quite naked when you pinned me beneath the shower and began scrubbing.”

They didn’t need to know that!” Asuka shrieked while turning a brilliant vermillion colour.

“You were quite insistent in fact. I am in fact wondering if… what is the phrase? Ah yes. If ‘I am still suitable for marriage’,” Rei replies.

Asuka was at this point somewhere between burgundy and maroon, and she screamed out, “IT DID NOT HAPPEN AT ALL LIKE THAT!

“Do you deny saying, ‘Every inch of your body is getting a good hard soaping!’ after I protested your insistence that I bathe before we went shopping?” Rei asked.

“Uh…” Asuka replied, trying to come up with an appropriate response.

Fortunately at that point Kaji interrupted by shouting out, “Toji’s lost a lot of blood! He’s going into shock! Quick, call an ambulance!”

“You know, if you flashed the class, I bet you could kill half the male population,” Shinji says hours later back at home while working the blood out of his Tyrian purple shirt.

“Toji’s an idiot and Rei’s a liar,” Asuka grumbles.

“Toji’s been hospitalized and you never denied that quote from Rei,” Shinji replies.

Alright, she’s a horrible exaggerator! Happy now?” Asuka shrieks.

“No! This shirt was brand new,” Shinji complains while holding up the stained garment.

“Gah! Why must you take her side?” Asuka screams.

Smiling, Shinji says, “I’m not. I just enjoy winding you up, or have you not figured that out by now?”

Growling in frustration, Asuka says, “Why? Why must you be like that?”

Returning to his work, Shinji says, “Because your responses amuse me. You have a fire and passion that I don’t, and it excites me to see that. When the world hits you, I want to see you hit back. It’s beautiful.”

“Yeah, right,” Asuka says while rolling her eyes.

“No really. I was in awe of you when you were fighting with Israfel the other day. Your movements were so fluid, so sure, that I did not feel like I was looking at Unit 02, but you. It was incredible,” Shinji explains.

“Should I feel ‘complimented’?” Asuka asks.

“Hell yes! You’re that good. When you spun your Eva about to deliver that axe blow to the half behind you, it was like I was seeing you there, hair flashing behind you and skirt twirling about your legs dramatically. I was a little turned on by it,” Shinji says, pausing in his work to savour the memory.

“Pervert,” Asuka mutters sarcastically. There was however a small smile on her face.

Shrugging, Shinji says, “Hey, what can I say? I like my women confident, wielding a huge axe, and blood drenched. Ensures they’ll be wild in bed.”

Nodding his head to the side to avoid the pillow thrown his way, Shinji smiles and says, “I kid, I kid, for I am but a kid, juvenile in my humour.”

“Please, you’re less juvenile than Misato-san and she’s an adult,” Asuka replies.

“That speaks not highly of me but poorly of her,” Shinji replies.

Suddenly putting on a sullen look, Asuka says, “No… no… Misato can be mature when she wants to be, as much as we all hate to admit it. You… you only pretend to be a kid. You’re stronger than me.”

Shaking his head, Shinji says, “Alright, no more of this morose bullshit Asuka. Do you want to know why I’m always so damned strong? Because when I was four, my mother died and my father just fucking abandoned me. The day after the worst day of my life, he just said, ‘Fuck you son, your mother’s dead now so I’m not going to bother acting like a man, I’m just going to send you on your merry way’. After that, I had a choice: break or become stronger than the fuck head that did that to me.”

Recoiling at Shinji’s sudden vitriol and coarse language, Asuka says, “So you got stronger.”

“No, I broke! I was four! The age of four isn’t categorized by robust emotional strength, its categorized by insecurities and crying,” Shinji retaliates bitterly. “You were the one who decided to get strong, not me.”

This shocked Asuka to the core and she suddenly wondered how differently their lives could have been had they responded just a little differently back then.

“Then how…?” Asuka asks.

Smiling, Shinji says, “I found a mentor, or more precisely my mentor found me. I found someone who loved and cared for me, saw that I had potential and refused to accept my bullshit. Yeah, mommy is dead and daddy doesn’t love me, big deal, the world keeps turning despite such earth shattering tragedies. I was broken and he put me back together.”

Asuka was very quiet for a long time before she asked, “Are you…?”

“Passing the favour forward? Yeah. I’ve been helping Rei since I got here, she was far worse than she is now socially, and then you came along. You were the kid, the one in a million, who chose to become strong instead of break in response to such monumental adversity. But I could see it in your eyes, the tone of your voice in sheltered moments that you still carried the wounds, that you were more fragile than you seemed,” Shinji explains.

The house was silent for a long time before Asuka got up out of her chair and walked over to Shinji, sat down full in his lap, and kissed him. As far as second kisses went, it was orders of magnitude better than the first, but then again that wasn’t hard considering that their first kiss sucked worse than a leaky vacuum chamber.

Breaking it off, Asuka looked at Shinji, her face inches from his and tears running down her cheeks and said, “All my life… or at least since momma died, people have been asking things of me, or I of them. No one has ever, EVER, really done anything for me so freely and readily.”

Smiling crookedly, Shinji grins stupidly as his brain re-engages and he replies, “Is it really free and ready if I was doing it so that I could get a hot girl sitting on my lap kissing me?”

Half laughing and half crying, Asuka says, “Shut up stupid and kiss me again. You need practice.”

You need practice,” Shinji replied.

For the third go they got so into the moment that they did not even notice as they began to tip over the chair, and only realized what was happening when it was already too late. With a crash and the sound of wood splintering, they fell to the floor, Shinji smacking his head against the floor while Asuka smacked her head against Shinji’s.

Also, in attempt to prevent from being crushed, Shinji threw up his hands to try and catch Asuka’s shoulders, but his aim was a little off and he instead got a handful of breast each.

As dictated by the laws of cosmic irony, Misato took that exact moment to enter the apartment and find them sprawled out like this.

Looking up with half-concussed eyes, Shinji looked right at Misato and said, “This is exactly what it looks. Asuka and I were making out so hot and heavily that we tipped over and broke the chair.”

Rolling her eyes, Misato helps Asuka up so that Shinji can politely disengage his hands and says, “Damn it, if you’re going to fight, at least try not to break any furniture next time.”

“Yes Misato-san,” Shinji says while going to the fridge and getting out a beer and tossing it to their tired looking guardian.

Adroitly catching it, opening it, and downing the whole thing in one go Misato catches the next one and merely sets it down on the table, clearly intending to nurse it.

“Long day?” Shinji asks.

“Terrible. The commander was pretty pissed about the cost of the clean-up efforts for Ramiel coming in over budget and decided to take it out on all of us. He also seems to have a bug up his… err… something else has been annoying him lately,” Misato says, slumping down in an unbroken chair while the two Children cleaned up the remains of the one they broke.

“So tonight you get drunk to forget your woes?” Shinji asks in a somewhat worried tone.

“Nah, I have to go to work again tomorrow, so it would be unprofessional to show up with a hang-over. I’ll just get pleasantly buzzed to make the woes fuzzier,” Misato replies while cracking open the second beer can.

After drinking a bit, she says, “Oh, and speaking of woes, I’ve got some bad news for you guys.”

“Oh?” Shinji asks.

“I’m afraid that since you’re on active standby at all times you can’t go on the school trip to Okinawa,” Misato says.

WHAT?” Asuka cries out in horror and disappointment.

“Sorry, but that’s just the way things have to be. The Angels could attack at any time, and we have to be ready for them,” Misato replies.

“This is so unfair. Tell her Shinji,” Asuka pleads.

Shrugging, Shinji says, “I don’t know, what sounds like more fun to you, scuba diving or ploughing the spinning teeth of a chain axe through the yielding flesh of an Angel, alien blood spraying everywhere in a fountain of gore?”

Laughing, Misato says, “You sure do know how to make a girl feel loved, Shin-chan.”

Her brows furrowed in thought, head turned down slightly, Asuka eventually says, “Actually the second does sound more appealing when you put it that way. I suppose even if no Angels attack it would be a chance to get away from the monkey antics of Kensuke and Toji for a while.”

Laughing at that even harder, Misato says, “Good to see you’re seeing the positive side of this Asuka. And the time will let you catch up on your homework.” She then holds up a pair of report cards. “Don’t think I wouldn’t get these, your marks are automatically sent to my terminal at work, and you’re both slipping.”

“Physical trauma inflicted while saving the human race tends to distract from proper education,” Shinji says sarcastically, covering for the pain he felt at that little blow. He valued his brains above all else and he had consistently kept his grades up as his one method of openly showing his superiority that wouldn’t eventually devolving into him cackling atop a pile of lightning charred corpses.

Grumbling Asuka just makes some half formed comment about the grading system in Japan before storming off to her room, saying she would “Study”.

Later that night with Misato safely passed out in her room, Asuka snuck into Shinji’s room.

“Here to finish up where we left off? I think I can still find the pieces of the chair,” Shinji whispers.

“Ha-ha, very funny. I… I came here for a couple of reasons, and kissing you was only one,” Asuka admits timidly.

“Oh?” Shinji says.

“Yeah… one, I wanted to ask how you got us out of that… situation earlier. Oh, and I still owe you this,” Asuka says before punching him hard in the arm.

“Ow!” Shinji hisses. “Come on, you knew that was an accident.”

“Yeah, well, I’m probably going to have palm print bruises on my chest and it’s your fault. Anyway, how did you do that earlier?” Asuka asks.

“In situations where denial or dishonesty is expected, the truth can often be dismissed as fabrication. Control of a situation is not just based off what you do, but what others expect you to do,” Shinji says.

“You… lied by telling the truth?” Asuka asks incredulously.

“Think of it like pretending to make a feint in combat. If your opponent expects you to feint, if you follow through then the expected strike was the lie while the feint was a real attack,” Shinji replies.

“Okay, that makes a bit more sense when put into those terms,” Asuka says. She then says, “And I uh… I wanted to ask you for… uh… for some help.”

Raising a quizzical eyebrow, Shinji says, “Oh do go on.”

“Shut it. You see, the thing is… the reason I’m having trouble in school is that I don’t know a lot of the kanji, so I have difficulty understanding the questions. Everything else is really easy,” Asuka explains.

“Sounds reasonable,” Shinji muses. “I presume then that you want me to help you with your written Japanese.”

“If you could. I can help you with your homework, I took most of it already when I was in college,” Asuka says.

Shinji’s eyes went wide and he squeaked, “You went to college?

“Yeah, I graduated last year,” Asuka says with a smug smile.

Thinking over this information for a moment, Shinji asks, “Do you want to lose your virginity tonight? Because I am so turned on right now. Brains, beauty, and a degree in what I must presume is ass kicking, what more could a guy want?”

Whacking him upside the head, but lightly and playfully, Asuka mutters, “Pervert. But the reason I came now instead of in the morning is because I do want to continue making out with you. The night is lonely and you make me feel so warm.”

“Sounds good to me,” Shinji replies eagerly.

Two minutes in, before they had even moved on to groping, they heard Misato stirring outside, probably getting up to go to the bathroom. Asuka squeaked, “She’ll find us!”

“Relax, I came prepared. There’s a glass of water on my nightstand, just dump it over my head and then run for your room while I splutter and scream indignantly,” Shinji whispers to her.

Glancing at him incredulously, Asuka says, “How do you prepare for something like this?”

“The glass of water is intended for a wide variety of contingencies, the primary one being me getting thirsty, but you sneaking into my room to make out and then having to beat a hasty retreat with some form of plausible deniability was one of a few small possibilities planned for,” Shinji explains.

“You’re weird Shinji… but I think I kind of like that,” Asuka replies.

“Good. Now get to the attempted drowning,” Shinji replies.

A few moments later Asuka ran out of the room with an empty glass in her hand and Shinji screaming, “You bitch!

Misato just rolled her eyes, smiled at their antics, and went back to bed.

She would have to make sure they had both had ‘The Talk’ in the morning. They were so cute, if stupid, together.
I love learning. Teach me. I will listen.
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Post by Academia Nut » 2007-12-22 02:58am

The mortification the two of them experienced after Misato gave them ‘The Talk’ in the morning lasted for days, especially since Misato was so cheerfully nonchalant about the whole thing and seemed completely unashamed about the explicitness of her explanations. They had only been able to stare in mute horror as she showed them where her stash of condoms was located before she proceeded to give a demonstration on how to actually put one on using a banana as reference.

Their protests of “Too much information!” went on deaf ears, and even seemed to egg Misato on. When she started giving tips they had simply run screaming from the apartment, holding their ears.

When they finally stopped running, Shinji could only mutter, “That woman is worse than a Keeper of Secrets I tell you.”

“Keeper of Secrets?” Asuka asks while trying to regain her breath next to him.

“Oh, just a mythological creature from my religion, a servant of one of the gods,” Shinji explains. “A Keeper of Secrets knows what you want, and can tell you how to get it… for a price.”

“That sounds… almost like a demon,” Asuka says.

Snickering, “Oh, but the lines betweens daemons and angels are ever so thin. We fight and kill the Angels, so would that not make us the daemons? Besides, things always have a price in life. Every god demands worship, and why should the costs not be explicitly spelled out? There is faith and then there is foolishness.”

Asuka shuddered at Shinji’s cold, callousness, and she asked, “What did we just pay for back there then?”

“Well, we clearly lost a small portion of our sanity back there. What we gained, I suppose, was a measure of knowledge and safety. Misato… she truly loves and cares for us; she just has a great deal of trouble expressing it appropriately. She is the sort of person that when she sees a challenge she throws herself head-first at it and damn the consequences,” Shinji explains.

Sniffing, Asuka says, “I really didn’t need to know all that.”

Smirking, Shinji points out, “Says the girl who snuck into my room last night to make out. In a way though, I think she is the one being the most mature about this.”

Blushing at Shinji’s rebuttal, Asuka protests, “I don’t think it was appropriate to show us that… banana thing…”

“Oh? And just telling us, ‘Don’t do anything stupid’ would be more appropriate? Sure, she could give us new, separate living quarters, but we still go to school together, still work together. That would simply make the situation worse as we would have to sneak off if we wanted to see each other privately. She wants us to be happy and to be safe, and even if her presentation involved far too much detail, I am glad that she cares enough to actually take responsibility like that. Unlike some people,” Shinji says, adding on the last part darkly.

“Yeah, but that whole thing with the t…” Asuka begins before being cut off.

“We will not speak of that,” Shinji tells her and she gladly shuts up.

After a few moments of silence, Asuka asks curiously, “So what god would have a… Keeper of Secrets… as a servant?”

“Slaanesh, Prince of Pleasure, although like all the gods in the pantheon, they are many things. A being of intense sensuality, it must be pointed out that there are many forms of pleasure, of sensation. Slaanesh embodies everything from a passionate kiss to the warm feeling of satisfaction an artist gets upon completion of a great work. It is easier for those who do not understand to become lost in the surface aspects of hedonism and dismiss Slaanesh as a corrupt, decadent being. The core of Slaanesh though is to attain perfection. Sex, drugs, rock and roll, these are merely steps on a path,” Shinji explains.

Looking at him oddly, Asuka asks, “I thought you said you worshipped something else?”

“I know of Slaanesh, but I do not worship him. I give my faith and prayers to Tzeentch, a god of change and evolution and hope. I move onwards, breaking down boundaries to find the truth of things, to become something more, something greater. On the surface, Tzeentch is the most callous of the gods, as the old is thrown out in favour of the new, but this is merely a surface observation. Tzeentch does not abandon his followers, they abandon him. He is a god of change and motion, and if you do not keep up with him, keep hope alive, then he will outpace you, as is his nature. Only a fool attempts to surf a wave and then curses the wave when he cannot keep up with it. So long as there is hope, you can keep up with him,” Shinji explains.

Frowning, Asuka says, “You’re right, that does sound callous.”

Laughing, Shinji says, “Then perhaps you would like to hear of Tzeentch’s rival, Papa Nurgle? Nurgle is a god of decay, despair, and joy. Nurgle is the sort of god that would walk into the paediatric ward of a hospice filled with sick, dying children and read to them instead of healing them, simply because their smiles are more precious to him than their health. He is life without restraint, as cancer is life without restraint, burning away to inevitable oblivion… and enjoying every putrescent moment of it. Rei has recently taken up the path of Nurgle, seeing before her a path to oblivion and deciding to enjoy the journey.”

“Ewww…” Asuka says, making a disgusted face.

Shrugging, Shinji says, “She made her choice, who am I to interfere?”

By now though, Asuka was curious, and after a moment of silence, she asks, “I thought there were four gods in your religion? Who’s the fourth one?”

Welcome to my parlour said the spider to the fly.

“The War God, the Blood God, Khorne. Khorne is an angry god, but then again, there is so much in life to be angry about. There is a difference between mindless, nihilistic anger and righteous anger. Khorne and his followers rage against the unfairness of life, seek to bring those they perceive as unworthy low. Blood is central to them, but then again, blood is central to many religions. Blood is life; blood is action; blood is sacrifice. Khorne cares not from where the blood flows, whether it comes from a slain enemy or a martyr holding back a dread tide to protect the innocent. The Catholics drink the blood of Jesus to accept his sacrifice, Khorne is similar, only with less drinking and more spilling,” Shinji explains.

He watched the thoughts resonate in Asuka’s head. They would not take now, but a seed had been planted that over hours and days would grow, and she would yearn to know more.

It was at about that point they realized that they had both forgot their bags back at the apartment and they were already at school.

And there was much raging.

Their friends gone to Okinawa, the three pilots had little to do, so today they were swimming laps in the pool, going back and forth, feeling the cool wetness on sliding across their skin and the exertion of their muscles to plough through the water. Eventually it became something of a competition between the three Children, with Asuka quickly pulling ahead before falling behind due to exhaustion.

Between Shinji and Rei, it was a close match. Shinji was stronger than her, but before he had shown her the wonders of Chaos swimming had been her one pleasure in her otherwise dull life, so she had a considerably better technique. Not only that, but she had a boundless endurance.

Ah, going to cheat are you?

It is not cheating; it is merely using an advantage that you do not have.

Good, because I’m going to cheat now.

Instead of swimming like a normal person, Shinji simply used his telekinesis to push himself through the water and push the water out of the way, zipping back and forth between the walls impossibly fast, within a minute gaining such a formidable lead on Rei that she simply stopped mid lap and said, “You win.”

Asuka, of course, was gaping open mouthed at Shinji the human supercavitating torpedo. Sliding up next to her, he popped his head out of the water and grinned at her.

“How… what… how did you do that?” Asuka demands urgently.

“Can you keep a secret?” Shinji asks, his grin fading away into a deadly serious tone.

“Uh… yeah…” Asuka replies, noticing the way Rei had slid up quietly behind her.

The grin returning, Shinji says, “Why do you think they need children to pilot the Evas? Specifically, why do they need children born after Second Impact?”

“It is because Second Impact changed humanity,” Rei says softly while rising up her palm to show a perfect sphere of water suspended there.

Wide eyed, Asuka did not even get off a proper response before she heard Shinji say in a funny voice, “The Children are indeed special.

Turning to him, she just saw him smiling at her, and then he said, without moving his lips or throat, “What?

“You… you…” Asuka stutters.

“Shinji is far better at it than I, I can only broadcast to him,” Rei tells her.

“Come now Asuka, you’ve always known you were special, you just didn’t know how special until now. After everything you’ve seen, do you think that the possession of psychic abilities are really that strange?” Shinji asks.

Sliding about in the water around her, he says, “In fact, do you not think it unusual that Toji suffered such an explosive nosebleed right when you were so embarrassed by Rei? That sort of explosive nose bleeding doesn’t really happen in real life.”

“But… but… what?” Asuka asks, suddenly feeling very small.

“Oh, relax, you did minimal damage in the long run, and you already in fact have a measure of control over your abilities simply because you can pilot an Eva. You simply need to learn more control,” Shinji explains. “This is something I can teach you.”

“He taught me,” Rei says softly.

“Indeed. Tell me, why do you think Rei took up worship of Nurgle?” Shinji asks.

Looking between the two of them, Asuka asks, “Is it because your religion helps with control over your abilities?”

“Bingo. Our abilities are based around control and manipulation of emotion, and the gods are beings that are made of emotion. Their teachings are useful,” Shinji says slyly.

“How?” Asuka asks.

“Tzeentch tells us that there are no coincidences. If you agree to keep this secret then I will teach you about this, fair? If you do not agree, I will brute force my way into your mind and surgically remove this conversation from your memories. I do not appreciate being considered a freak, or people trying to use more than they already do now that I’m a pilot. I do believe you can appreciate those sentiments,” Shinji explains.

Asuka suddenly had a more pressing concern on her mind.

“Hey! Wait a minute! Were you screwing around with my mind when… you…” Her protest was suddenly shut down as Shinji’s eyes glowed with a lambent blue fire and the water of pool precipitously dropped in temperature, even forming little feathers of ice about him.

You would know it if I did anything more powerful than simply read your surface thoughts, even if it was by the sections of memory that were simply gone.

Shinji then let all that power build up slowly bleed back out into the environment, his point quite clearly made. The serious look also bled away, leaving him with a grin. Gently pushing a lock of hair out of Asuka’s face, he smiled at her and said, “I hold many secrets, but my affection for you has always been sincere and my words truthful.”

“Perhaps your jealousy of me would be lessened once we start sharing Shinji-kun,” Rei states.

Sharing?” Asuka asks in a fit of outrage.

Sighing and shaking his head, Shinji says, “Ever since I converted her to Nurgle, Rei has shown great joy in causing things to break down. Ignore her or she will gain immense satisfaction from your annoyance.”

“Ignore me and it will come back to bite you,” Rei says with a smile.

“Okay, I’ll amend that. Listen to her at your own risk, but ignore her at your risk as well,” Shinji replies.

“Okay… if I may? If I may, I would just like to point out a few things here,” Shinji says at the tactical briefing called upon the discovery of the latest Angel.

“Ahem. A list should suffice. One: we have never found an Angel before it attacked us, much less in an apparently dormant and embryonic state. Two: this Angel is in possibly the most hostile location on the planet, over a thousand feet beneath the surface of an active volcano, surrounded by molten rock where it will be a challenge to know whether the crushing pressure or the intense heat will destroy something first. Three: the Type-L equipment will not work under such conditions, because we would be going into boiling hot magma, a significant point considering that the Type-L was designed to counter the increasing power of the Angels. Four: boiling hot magma is incredibly dense and would thus impede motion massively. Five: the Evas are not physically dense enough to actually sink into boiling hot magma, so to actually get down that deep would require extra dense weights to be added, which would impair movement even more than the sort of heavy armour required to actually survive while surrounded on all sides by boiling hot magma. Six: the last report from the probe said that the Angel was sinking deeper into the boiling hot magma. Seven:[/i] boiling hot magma![/i]

“So, to sum up, in the immortal words of Admiral Ackbar, ‘It’s a trap!’ This is such a trap that I reserve the right as a soldier to refuse an obviously suicidal order,” Shinji finishes off.

Listening to this, Asuka nods and says, “I too reserve the right to refuse this mission on the grounds of being unnecessarily risky.”

“I will go if ordered to,” Rei replies.

Shaking her head, Misato says, “Don’t worry Rei, Unit 00 is incompatible with the D-Type equipment, and now that Shinji has put it that way, I’m scrapping the mission. I’m actually embarrassed to admit that I was too eager to have actually found an Angel in this state that I didn’t actually pause to consider what a blindingly obvious trap this is.”

All around the various techs and tacticians were smacking themselves over having not thought of it like that. Everyone had merely considered the risks of volcano diving and considered it acceptable, and yet somehow no one had raised the rather obvious point that perhaps the reason they had found the Angel sleeping was because it wanted to be found.

Gendo hid his frown behind his gloved hands. He had selected his command staff for myopic brilliance. He wanted them capable of acting flawlessly in the moment, not figuring out the bigger picture, and for the most part they had done that, but recently they had been getting smarter in ways Gendo did not approve of. And he felt it had to do with his son.

Unfortunately there was dick all Gendo could do about it now, seeing as he had just seen all of his current political capital go up in a puff of smoke. He had had to talk the members of SEELE into this plan, and now his pilots and senior command staff had just rejected it. If he pushed now there was a severe risk of mutiny, and the only people with the resources to put it down properly would just laugh at him.

His son had just torpedoed months of work, and it would take weeks, if not months to recover enough to move against the little bastard. Mostly because Gendo now wondered if the boy had been compromised by SEELE. This was not a frustration he needed right now.

“We need to turn the trap in on itself,” Misato says, musingly. “We need to lure the Angel to the surface where it won’t have the home field advantage.”

“Personally I’m all for shoving an N2 mine in one of those probes and sending it down as low as it can go. The blast might not do anything to the Angel, but it will sure as hell let it know that we’re not falling for its bullshit. Then, when it surfaces to play, we just shoot it from the high ground of the crater,” Asuka suggests.

Everyone looks at her funnily before she says, “Alright! I rushed in last time! I learned my lesson, okay?”

Beaming proudly at his student, Shinji says, “Actually, I like her idea. It’s simple, elegant, and even if we have to fight the Angel in its mature form, at least we don’t have to dive into a hostile environment.”

“Simple plans are best,” Rei chips in.

“We’ll need to figure out the proper yield… detonating a nuclear scale weapon has never been attempted inside an active volcano for obvious reasons, but I think we can come up with something that will work,” Ritsuko says, giving the scientific approval.

Sighing quietly at the complete ruination of his reputation, Gendo says, “Then proceed.”

The detonation of the N2 mine in Mount Asama was to a certain degree anticlimactic considering what was happening, namely a huge bomb was being detonated deep inside a volcano. Immediately after the detonation an enormous plume of lava was thrown high into the air and there was a significant earthquake as the mountain shifted and groaned, new cracks opening up and leaking glowing rock out into the air. All across the area hot springs went into over drive as the earth quaked and rocked, releasing scalding hot boiling water and toxic gases.

But the onsen of the region had already been completely evacuated, and in fact all across the country people had been advised of the detonation and asked to stay clear of any hot springs until further notice. After about five minutes the rumblings of the earth died down, and an hour later except for the new, now mostly dead, lava flows, it would be hard to tell that anything had actually happened.

“Okay, we’re on stand-by until further notice. We stay here for at most a week to see if, by some stroke of luck we actually killed the Angel, before returning to Tokyo-3. Any questions?” Misato asks the Pilots.

“No ma’am,” they answer as one.

“Good, now unfortunately all the hot springs in the region are closed for the next month as the mountain is monitored for any residual activity, so unfortunately none of us can relax in a nice natural bath,” Misato says.

Pouting a bit, Asuka brightens up and says, “Ah well, it’s the Angel’s fault for wrecking all my vacation plans. I’ll just have to make sure it suffers for annoying me.”

Her face blank, Rei says, “I had no interest in bathing in any case.”

Shrugging, Shinji says, “There’s always another day.”

Misato just glared at them all before saying, “I wanted to go.”

Shaking her head, she says, “Go have fun you three. We’ve probably got a lot of long, boring waiting around doing nothing ahead of us.”

“We will find a way to pass the time,” Rei replies.

The three Children had found a nice, secluded mountain grove to practice their “extracurricular studies”. Shinji had already give Asuka a few private lessons on telepathy and telekinesis, but so far she had proven difficult to get into the proper mindset. She just could not achieve the proper emotional state to unlock her powers.

She held back, she was hesitant when around Shinji. He could piss her off, but he could not push her to the depths of fury she needed, and neither he nor Rei could really help guide her. They could tell her how they focused, but she was ill suited to their cooler mentalities, so she had to find her own path.

So Shinji let Rei spar with Asuka and told her to really annoy her. Rei had begun by kissing Shinji on the cheek and then grabbing his butt. That began a truly volcanic duel between the two of them with their wooden practice weapons. Rei had had a custom wooden sword made for her, an approximation of a weapon that was best described as an oversized butcher’s cleaver. If actually made, the weapon would be slow, imprecise, and absurdly brutal.

Rei was actually holding her own against the more experience melee combatant, but that was because she was willing to take hits Asuka wasn’t. Already several of her teeth littered the ground, but she was regenerating them at a phenomenal rate, which only served to piss Asuka off even more.

For his part, Shinji was trying to detect the presence of the Angel. As usual the damn things were hard to locate psychically, although this time he wasn’t quite sure if that was because it was dead or not. The worst problem was of course that since the thing had been dormant at the time of the detonation he had no real base-line for comparison.

And then there were two simultaneous psychic spikes. The first one was Asuka suddenly lashing out at Rei after being knocked off her feet by an unpleasant blow to the shin. Rei was hurled across the clearing and would probably have broken something if not for Shinji idly catching her with his own telekinesis.

The second psychic spike was accompanied by Mount Asama blowing its top, spewing a huge cone of brilliant orange lava into the air, lighting up the twilight sky more spectacularly than the floodlights of the nearby NERV mobile command centre.

The fact that this explosion was backlighting Asuka’s triumphant victory cry was not lost on the two people watching.

“You look insane,” Rei commented.

Asuka just glared at her.

“Quiet you two. We have other things to worry about. I’m pretty sure the Eight Angel just woke up and he’s pissed we didn’t take the bait,” Shinji says while beginning the trek back down to the base.

The caldera of the mountain was filled with a lake of lava that was steadily rising and explosively boiling, while the Evas were stationed in a line along one edge, loaded out for ranged combat.

Asuka had her bolt pistol holstered and her chain axe slung across her back, just in case the Angel that emerged wanted to go hand to hand immediately, but her primary weapon out at the moment was a bolter with underslung melta, matching the one in Unit 01’s hands. Unit 01 had the missile pods strapped onto its shoulders, the incendiaries swapped out for what would best be described of as “cryo-bombs”. They contained liquid nitrogen under very high pressure and rigged to be explosively expelled in a manner such that it caused further cooling. The theory was that if the Angel could survive in magma, then it probably would not respond very well to sudden thermal shocks.

Rei, in Unit 00, was armed with the newest model of the positron cannon, although this one was significantly improved. Using the technology appropriated from the JSSDF, the NERV weapons designers had built a potent continuous beam weapon that required a prohibitively large power supply. The engineers from the remains of the Jet Alone project however had used their expertise to build a compact nuclear reactor that could be mounted on an Eva to provide power for the gun.

So the three Evas waited quietly, lava bombs raining down on them only to splatter harmlessly off their AT-fields, and while the ground trembled beneath them with the activity occurring within the volcano, their enormous legs absorbed even the largest swells with no effort. They looked like three bored sailors standing in the rain. Only the rain was glowing orange and cherry red in the night.

And then what appeared to be an eyestalk emerged from the lake of lava and looked at them. Asuka was about ready open fire when Shinji stopped her. At best they would damage the eye, which the Angel could simply regenerate at its leisure by diving back beneath the surface of the lava. They would wait.

What emerged was nothing like what they were expecting. The reason that the lava lake had been rising was because the Angel was pushing up from underneath and was nearly as large as the caldera. Its body was hard to describe, as it was covered in a thick layer of molten rock that clung to it as armour, but the best general description was of a trilobite… the size of a small mountain… and covered in lava and yet unharmed.

It spat a long stream of molten rock up at the Evas, the arc slow and lazy at this range, and they easily stepped aside. Opening fire they sent dozens of bolters rounds down into the creature and a long beam of bright blue-white plasma. The bolts merely blew off chunks of the lava, while the plasma beam boiled off a bit of rock. Despite being on the top, the layer of lava armour quickly reformed, evidently being supplied by the Angel rather than the volcano.

Reaching out a long, spindly, orange appendage, the Angel dug into the solid rock outside the lake and began to pull itself out of the caldera. More limbs began to appear, slowly hauling the beast up the side of the mountain. It was slow, but that was because it was dragging its stomach along the ground. And it was doing that so that it would always have a fresh supply of lava, because everything it touched simply melted.

“Well… shit,” Shinji commented.

“Pull back while laying down a hail of defensive fire with your guns. I hate to surrender the high ground, but so long as that thing is in the crater it will have a free supply of lava,” Misato orders.

“Affirmative,” Shinji states, giving the occasional tap to his trigger to keep the bastard’s attention. Its lava armour was simply absorbing the shots, preventing any actual damage to the creature’s own armour. They waited calmly until the Angel was in accurate lava spitting range before abandoning the edge of the caldera and withdrawing a good distance down mountain. They had no idea what the Angel would do once it got the high ground.

Cresting the edge of the caldera, the Angel hauled itself up before it came crashing down, to slide on a layer of lava down the slope of the mountain directly towards the Evas. Abandoning their positions with maximum haste, they break for the sides. Unfortunately Shinji, in the central position, is just a touch too slow and his trailing leg gets caught beneath the bulk of the bulk of the creature.

When his tumbling, crashing descent finished all that remained of Unit 01’s left leg was a lava encrusted stump above the knee. Unit 02, which was closest to him, snatched the now immobilized Eva away from a descending leg that would have skewered it otherwise.

“Are you okay Shinji?” Asuka asked.

Wincing over the phantom pain in his leg and the real pain from being thrown about his entry plug, Shinji says, “I’ll survive.”

While the Evas regrouped, the Angel began to dig itself into the ground, not stopping until it had its entire lower half hidden beneath the surface, and then it began to crawl forward, ploughing through the ground towards the distant Tokyo-3.

“Okay, experiment time kids. Shinji, I want you to fire off a quarter of your cryo-missiles followed by a barrage of your hellfire missiles and rounds from your guns. Rei, I want you to hold off with the positron rifle until there is bare flesh exposed, got that?” Misato orders.

“Affirmative,” they all chime in.

Detonating over the surface of the lava armour, the cryo-missiles flash froze the lava into hard, brittle rock that burst off into huge slabs the moment the bolter rounds struck it, instead of just blowing off little blobs of lava. This exposed the glowing exoskeletal armour beneath, and while the bolters mostly just bounced off the tough, angled armour, the positron rifle cut deep into the Angel.

Screeching in pain, the Angel dug its rearmost limbs into its lava pillow and hurled up a huge spray of lava, tens of thousands of tons at the very least of liquid hot rock. Throwing up their AT-fields, they formed a wall that caught the tsunami of fire. Shoving it off of them, they moved, Unit 02 supporting Unit 01, to a position away from the rear of the Angel.

As they moved to the side, the legs started throwing up more globs of lava. While they could simply block the attacks with their own AT-fields, they were extremely distracting as they demanded a response, for to be hit by one of those things directly was asking for pain.

“The front maybe? It can’t slide down a mountain again like it did before,” Asuka suggests.

After it spit at them a wave of lava only slightly smaller than the one thrown up by when they attacked from the rear, the Evas all retreated away to a safe distance to reconsider their options.

“Okay, I’ve still got plenty of missiles, and we have two melta shots left, what can we do with all that?” Shinji asks.

“We could use a melta blast to strip off the outer layer of lava armour and then pound on the creature with everything we’ve got, hopefully causing enough damage to force a regeneration cycle. The Angels have unlimited energy supplies but not unlimited power, and generating all that lava has got to eat up a lot of power. With any luck when it settles in to regenerate it will stop producing lava and we can simply pummel it to death like we usually do,” Misato suggests.

“Sounds like a plan,” Shinji notes. “Beginning priming sequence.”

The moment Shinji began to prime his melta for firing, the Angel stopped and abruptly began to burrow into the ground, the lava armour about it clearly swelling up even thicker.

“Son of a bitch! Quick, let’s open up a hole in its armour now!” Shinji cries out, firing all of his missiles at once while opening up with his bolter. Joining in, the two other blew off a huge chunk of the armour and tried to cut deep, but the thing just kept burrowing and thickening the lava about itself.

“Fire in the hole!” Shinji cries out as he activates his melta. For a moment night became day as the directed thermonuclear explosion flashed out to consume the Angel, but when the glare died down, it was still there, it’s armour only partly stripped away except for about the area where they had already hit it, which was now a heavily wounded scar.

The Angel reared up out of its hole and continued moving. The wound was already being covered over.

“Damn it! This thing just shrugs off whatever we throw at it!” Misato cries out over the radio.

“We need to deliver an overwhelming blow point blank to it,” Asuka notes.

“Okay, pull back and we’ll rearm you all and try and come up with another plan of attack,” Misato orders.

Asuka was pissed that this thing was just shrugging them off like this. There had to be some thing…

She suddenly had a moment of utter clarity, the world slowing down to a stand-still as her brain began to process events at a phenomenally fast rate. She suddenly discovered a new way of looking at things, her rage compressing in on itself from opaque coal into a crystal clear diamond.

The Angel could easily dive beneath the surface of the rock and be completely immune to their attack, but that would take forever to melt through, so it was merely skimming along. But if it hit softer ground, then it could simply dive beneath and move quickly and safely. It would then head for Tokyo-3 and the Geofront and attack… whatever it was there that drew the Angels, and they wouldn’t be able to stop it.

They had to finish it now.

The only weapon they had that they could hope to kill this thing was the melta in her Eva’s hands. But it would do them little good as they had to first use it to cut through the lava armour. If only they had a breach already…

“Cover me,” Asuka says in a flat tone before ejecting her umbilical cable and sprinting out ahead of the others, adroitly dodging the house sized lava bombs being hurled her way. Taking her bolter in a single handed grip and drawing her pistol, Asuka began firing everything she had at the head of the beast.

“Smile, you son of a bitch!” Asuka cries out while rushing the monster, and is rewarded with it opening its mouth to spit a huge wave of lava at her. Angling her AT-field like a cattle catcher on a train and simply ploughed through the attack to leap guns blazing head first into the Angel’s mouth, melta already priming.

“Asuka!” Shinji shouted out as he watched her do that.

For several seconds nothing happened, and then the entire rear half of the Angel was blown apart in a shower of lava and gore while the front half was lifted into the air and thrown upside down onto a nearby mountain, its belly glowing white hot. Again for several seconds nothing happened, and then the Angel began to twitch, its limbs flailing about in the air as it attempted to right itself.

Then its entire body went into a spasm, once, twice, three times. From a section on its stomach a whirring chainsaw blade burst out and cut a circle out of the Angel before descending back in. A huge spherical chunk of the Angel was then hurled out of way and the Angel stopped struggling completely. Evidentially that had been its core.

Its armour glowing and half molten, Unit 02 crawled out of the hole and raised its chain axe over its head, bellowing to the night sky that it had won. It then took a few steps before tumbling down the side of the now slowly cooling corpse, sliding on the viscous lava down to the ground where Unit 00 was waiting to catch it, Unit 01 crawling along as quickly as it could with only one leg.

Setting the damaged Eva aside to let it cool, Unit 00 takes the ejected entry plug and sets it safely to the side while Unit 01 ejects its own plug so that Shinji can rush out to see Asuka.

Rather woozy from the adrenaline rush and the heat flush, Asuka totters out of her entry plug only for Shinji to slap her across the face and demand angrily, “What the fuck were you thinking?”

“I… I did what I had to do, just like how you blew yourself up to take out Shamshel,” Asuka says in a daze.

“It’s called the ‘Shinji Suicide Special’ for a reason,” Shinji points out angrily.

Grinning, Asuka replies, “Well they can call it the ‘Soryu Suicide Special’ now.”

Tears of fear, sadness, and happiness running down his face, Shinji finally just says, “Oh, screw it, just kiss me.”

He then embraces Asuka tightly before grabbing her by the butt to lift her off the ground, her legs wrapping about his waist for extra support.

From Unit 00 Rei watches down over the two of them, and smiles. Shinji had told her long ago that he really thought of her in a sisterly sense, evidently his instincts were quite good at locating his own blood, and in truth she felt sisterly towards him too. The passion of romance was not something in her, although she did admit that now that he had awoken in her an emotional aspect she did long for him in ways she never would have thought of before.

It did not matter. Shinji was not replaceable like her, so his happiness took precedence, and he was clearly very happy at the moment. And as much as she had considered letting the berserker boil in her Eva so that she could take her place, Shinji’s happiness was tied to Asuka’s wellbeing at the moment.

At the moment. Things changed, fell apart, and people died. Rei could endure all those things, and she had the patience to see this through to the end.

She had infinite patience.
Last edited by Academia Nut on 2007-12-22 04:05pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Academia Nut » 2007-12-23 11:58pm

“You know, I’m considering coming up with a pamphlet,” Shinji notes.

“Oh?” Asuka asks with a giggle.

“Yeah. I’ve been converting a lot people to Chaos lately that I figure some streamlining is in order, make things easier to handle,” Shinji explains.

“Two people are a lot?” Asuka asks.

“You and Rei? I would call both of you a lot to handle,” Shinji says, receiving a playful whack upside the head.

I’m a lot to handle?” Asuka asks in a dry, superior tone.

Cupping her breasts playfully, Shinji says, “Well yeah! I mean you’re 14 and look how big you are already! You’re already a lot to handle.”

Whacking him playfully again, Asuka glares at him and says, “Oh, so you know this about Rei then?”

Laughing, Shinji kisses her and says, “You have me there!”

“Do I? Or is this all part of your master plan?” Asuka replies with a mischievous growl.

Tapping her on the side of the nose, Shinji says, “You never can tell with me, you never can tell.”

Giggling, Asuka returns the kiss and after a time asks curiously, “So what would this pamphlet be like?”

“I’ve already figured out the title. ‘Chaos: Fuck Yeah!’ I’m thinking it would feature a smiling, confident looking guy giving the reader an enthusiastic thumbs-up. Inside would be the various benefits of Chaos. Do you think I should start with talking about the lack of angst when you’re with Chaos, or finish off with it?” Shinji asks.

“Hmm… when writing a persuasive argument, its best to finish with the most compelling argument,” Asuka says in a pseudo-serious tone.

“Would having a hot girl sitting on your lap, her blouse open, making out with you count as the most compelling argument?” Shinji asks.

Giggling again, Asuka replies, “Considering the fact that your converts so far have been girls, I would probably put that under ‘fringe benefits’.”

“Should I make ‘access to the rich, handsome, stud Ikari Shinji’ a benefit then?” Shinji asks.

Laughing, Asuka wraps her hand around one of Shinji’s arms and asks, “Oh, you think these twigs make you a ‘stud’ now do you?”

Frowning, Shinji says, “Hey, all this is muscle here. It’s not my fault the testosterone hasn’t ramped up to full production yet. Give me another two years and I’ll make all those sports jocks look like little pansy girls.”

Grinning, Asuka says, “Shinji, you can hurl a tank with your mind, and that’s when you’re not in the gargantuan, nuclear powered war robot you pilot. You already make them look pretty pathetic in comparison.”

Sliding a hand along her leg and sliding it up to a point on her thigh just beyond the hem of her skirt, Shinji grins and says, “That’s not all my mind can do. For example, I know that you’ve got an itch you’ve want to scratch right here, but didn’t want to do it because you’re so ticklish there.”

Freezing up in horror, Asuka tries desperately not to laugh but soon breaks down into a gale of laughter as Shinji ruthlessly tickles her, eventually dropping her to his bed, and pinning her shoulders, smiling at her while leaning over to kiss her.

“You are such a pervert,” Asuka tells him.

“And yet you love me for it,” Shinji replies with a crooked grin.

“Don’t I know it,” Asuka say with a smile, returning the kiss. She then adds on, “Isn’t it a little unfair of you to tickle me like that?”

Thinking about this for a moment, Shinji says, “No.”

“Cheater! I don’t think you’re even ticklish,” Asuka accuses.

Smirking, Shinji composes himself into the perfect picture of faux-dignity and says in a tone dripping with fake gravitas, “As a disciple of Tzeentch, I am simply too stoic and impassionate in my scheming to respond to such juvenile things like tickling. I am the model of composure.”

Her top already opened up by previous making out, Asuka pulled up her bra to flash Shinji, causing him to put on a goofy grin.

And Operation Asuka’s Boobies is a success.

I heard that.

Huzzah! Operation Get Asuka to Actually Practice Her Telepathy is also a success!

Is there anything you don’t plan for?

Operation Give Asuka a Healthy Sense of Paranoia is proceeding smoothly.

You’re very annoying, you know that? And if you start thinking about ‘Operation Piss Off Asuka’ I swear…

That’s not an Operation, that’s a Mission Statement.

Do you want to see these puppies again any time within the next decade?

Oh, but they so want to be
free! Better yet, unlike the uncertain pawing of other guys my age, I know exactly what to do with these things.

You asked Misato for help, didn’t you?

Nah, I just have to listen to your thoughts and I’ll know when I’m doing the right thing. Like now. You sure you want to cover them back up?

Enjoying the moment a bit longer, Asuka then puts her hands her hands on Shinji’s and pushes him off, saying, “Yes. For now.”

Rolling off her to give her some mobility to get dressed again, Shinji props his head up with one hand while running a finger lightly over Asuka’s exposed belly, enjoying the feeling as her flesh goose pimples at his touch.

“You’re still scared you know,” Shinji says softly.

Asuka wanted to say that she wasn’t scared of anything, but she knew that Shinji knew her better than she knew herself. While she had made her life out of piloting Unit 02 up until meeting him, he had made his life out of knowing others.

Running his finger up to her sternum, Shinji leaned over and placed his head right between her breasts, his ear directly over her heart, enjoying the sound of her heart beating.

“This… this beats more strongly than it ever has now, the wounds finally fading away, but there are still scars there… I can hear it. The beat is not quite as sure and confident as it could be. When we touch, when we kiss, there is still a tremor of fear before you relax and enjoy the moment,” Shinji tells her, his head rising and falling with her breathing.

“I… I’m afraid that if I become attached to you, I’ll lose you,” Asuka admits, her voice trembling at it.

“I would not fear that Asuka, for I promise you I shall always return to you,” Shinji reassures her.

“You can’t promise that. No one can promise that,” she says morosely.

“Remember that one of the selling points of Chaos is no angst and crap. I can promise you this Asuka that I will return from anything if it is to be back with you. If you should find my body broken and dead, then to whatever hell my soul travels I will find my way back to you,” Shinji tells her.

“What if you end up in heaven?” She asks, tears starting to slide down her cheeks.

Turning his head to face her, he smiles and says, “No matter the surface trappings, any heaven would be a hell without you.”

Half-laughing, half-sobbing, Asuka says, “Damned poetic idiot.”

Smiling, Shinji says, “I promise you that I will find my way back to you. But do you know what would really help?”

“What?” Asuka asks.

“Fight. Fight for me. Fight for you. Fight for us. Your soul blazes with such fury and passion, is it any wonder I was attracted to you in the first place, like a moth to a candle? So long as you fight, I can guide my way by the light of your soul. Fight, it was what you were born for,” Shinji tells her.

“Have I told you I love you?” Asuka asks.

“Not in the past ten minutes,” Shinji says with a grin.

“How can you be so awesome Shinji?” Asuka demands.

Rolling over and propping his chin on his hands, he says, “Confidence. Every step taken in confidence is a sure one.”

“And how come you’re so confident?” Asuka asks.

“Because I know I am strong; I am stronger and better than most other people on this planet, and that is not a statement made in arrogance but simple, cold hard fact. I do not overestimate my strength, but I know I have it, and that clears away so many existential problems. Most people never realize their own strengths, and thus underestimate themselves, and thus become timid and weak. I know my strengths and I know myself, and from there my confidence flows,” Shinji tells her.

“And your weaknesses?” Asuka asks.

“My age, for people automatically treat me with less respect, but that is also an asset in the right situation. With each passing day that weakness fades away. My need to maintain the secrecy of my true abilities is another weakness. And then there is the fact that, beyond my initial intentions, there are now three very precious people in my life,” Shinji tells her.

“They are?” Asuka asks, wanting to hear the words despite already know the answer.

“Misato-san, the mother I missed during my childhood, for all her terribly human flaws. Rei-san, the sister I never had, as much as she can annoy me at times. And you, the girl who I never knew I wanted to steal my heart. If anything ill were to ever happen to any of you, it would be bad,” Shinji says with a smile.

“How bad?” Asuka asks.

“Ah, so its more pillow talk you want now, is it? Well, first I would find those responsible and I would begin by… oh, let’s say cutting their Achilles tendons so they can’t get away. Then would begin the slow, methodical removal of limbs, inch by inch, each new wound being cauterized to avoid death by blood loss. By the end they would be skinless heads attached to torsos, eyes gouged out, noses cut off, tongues yanked free of mouths, lips sewn shut with rusty ten gauge wire, and tubes inserted to keep them alive and in pain. I would then probably conquer the world, or at least a large chunk of it, so as to build a suitably grand tribute to the loss, probably a pyramid to embarrass the ones in Egypt, only made out of the bodies of my enemies coated in resin to prevent decay and give better structural stability. This of course would be occurring while I try everything to undo the damage,” Shinji describes vividly.

Shivering in a mix of fear and pleasure, Asuka says, “Sweet talker.”

Laughing, Shinji snuggles up close and says, “And that’s just if someone cuts you off in traffic.”

Holding him close, they enjoy the silence for a moment before Asuka asks, “Shinji… we love each other so much, and you are so confident, why don’t you…”

“Remember how I said that when I touch you, there is still fear there for just a split second? Well even if I have the confidence, you don’t, not yet. I would not even dream of anything like that until I knew you were happy with who you were, and unafraid of facing the future. Because, if you weren’t ready, I know it would hurt you, and I would be the source. And the last person I could ever forgive for hurting you is me,” Shinji tells her.

For a moment Asuka wanted to ask what he would do if she asked him to go further, but she let the question die unasked. Shinji had his own warped sense of principles, of morality. She knew that if she asked him to kill a random stranger on the street, he would smile and ask “How?” but that even if she were to stab him in the heart from the back, he would never lift a finger against her. As he said, the three people precious to him were his weakness, and he would never hurt them.

He would never hurt her, even if she asked him to. He might hit her, he might insult her, he might otherwise cause her physical or emotional harm, but he would never take that extra step to turn harm into hurt.

So she asked another question.

“Shinji, if I asked you to stand up in the middle of class, bend me over my desk, and screw me in the butt, would you?” She asks as crudely as possible.

Hugging her tight, he says, “If you actually asked me to.”

“I thought so,” Asuka says while smiling warmly.

Shinji was a psychopathic monster at times. But he was her monster.

And slowly, he was turning her into his monster.

But damn it, it was better to be loved as monster than alone as a human.

Rei had discovered something interesting over the past few weeks. As the smell from her apartment became more pungent, it had started drawing in animals. Despite being such a new city, Tokyo-3 had a well developed stray population, possibly related to the phenomenal rate of expansion.

When the first stray cats had started picking at her garbage, they had been terrified of her very presence, but soon she started leaving leftovers for them to pick at, and they got to know her. Of course, the easy access to food only drew more animals, and now Rei had an entire congregation of the city’s lost and damned animals loitering about her apartment.

The companionship was pleasant.

Only a select few were actually allowed inside her apartment though, an inner circle of those touched by Nurgle. Only those who were sick and dying were allowed within the shelter of her home. The door and lock was still broken, but somehow the animals knew that they were not allowed in until their final days.

Rei lay naked on her bed, the sheets having not been changed in months, not since before the night of her epiphany. Dirt, sweat, hair, grease, food, blood, and a thousand sundry other substances stained her bed, something others would consider disgusting, but to Rei it was merely the comfort of home.

And right now there were about a dozen stray cats and dogs sharing the bed with her, most of them deathly thin and frail, their fur tangled and matted or just plain falling out. Their eyes were often clouded over; their teeth and gums the wrong colours; a hundred other ailments marked them as frail, diseased, and dying.

In any other condition many of these animals would be fighting, indeed two of them were rabid, but around Rei they were at peace, content to simply bask in her body heat as they faded away. And whether feverish or already cooling before death, they all delighted in her touch, the soft stroking of her fingers across their bodies. She traced ribs sticking out, festering wounds, and bulging tumours.

As one her chosen slipped off her, excepting one tiny kitten too far gone. Only a few days old, it was from a feral colony and was extremely inbred, resulting in severe organ malfunction. Its father had brought it to her, somehow knowing that this was the best place for the infant to spend its first, and last, days. The kitten’s eyes had not yet opened, and never would.

Not bothering to dress, there was no one to see her these days, the entire building having been abandoned as people were driven away by a creeping sensation of doom, an unknowable miasma of death shrouding the already desolate place, Rei rose from her bed and picked up the kitten, its tiny body barely filling a single palm.

Carrying it close to her heart, she walked out of the apartment, the animals remaining behind. The path from her apartment to the roof was well worn and streaked with blood, a consequence of things being dragged along.

Reaching the roof, Rei entered into a graveyard, tens of thousands of bones littering the tarmac surface, most from rats and mice and other small creatures, but there were also larger animals, the remains of the cats and dogs passed from Rei’s congregation. The only living creatures other than Rei and the kitten were already dressed for the funeral.

In its last moment, the kitten offered up a tribute to its god by purring just once before its heart failed and it breathed its last. Rei smiled and stroked it one last time across the head.

She then held out her arms, the kitten still in her right hand, her fingers closed protectively about the rapidly cooling body, and the chosen mourners gathered about her, landing upon her shoulders and arms.

“A wake for the dead, a feast for the living,” Rei says, opening her hand.

The carrion birds leapt upon the body, ripping it apart in seconds, carrying it away such that the only evidence upon Rei was a slight stain of blood on her palm with some fur clinging to it. One of the birds perched upon her wrist and politely cleaned it off for her.

Rei did not attend all the funerals, in fact with school and her job at NERV, she missed most of the deaths, but somehow the animals knew how to dispose of the bodies, explaining the drag marks.

All of them.

The birds had feasted for days on the body of the man brought up here. Rei had not even known he had existed until she found the half cleaned body, but she could tell what had happened. He had been a bad man, had tried to go where he was not supposed to, and he had faced the wrath of Rei’s congregation at the defiling of her domain. Only Rei and the dying were allowed within her apartment. The man had been neither, so the infected teeth and claws of her chosen and amended that situation.

It had taken a week, an impossibly fast speed, but the bones were now clean, the flies and maggots having cleaned off what the birds did not. Things decayed faster around Rei, perhaps because of some innate ability, perhaps because the birds and flies were already waiting upon her shoulders for their chance to feed.

Rei broke open the bigger bones with her bare hands, scattering them like shattered twigs for the marrow to be devoured, for the pieces to blend into the charnel house of bodies brought here by predators and scavengers, but she kept the skull. The brains had already been removed, the back of the head broken open just before or after the man died, the soupy, fatty meat plucked out.

Rei imagined the skull looked peaceful in death.

She had to go down to NERV today so she would have to wash up enough to conceal the grime coating her body. She refused to use soap, she didn’t need it or like it, but she knew that she did not want to be questioned about what exactly was covering her.

Rei was just getting into the shower when she collapsed.

They were sparring when it happened. One moment Shinji had caught a blow from Asuka and the next he was on the ground, clutching his head in agony, his whole body curling up automatically into the foetal position as he screamed, his whole body feeling like it was on fire.

“Shinji!” Asuka cried out, dropping to his side.

Convulsing a few times, Shinji finally settled down, his face pulled gaunt by muscle spasms and his skin clammy and pale.

“Shinji! Shinji, what’s wrong?” Asuka asks.

Huffing a few times, Shinji manages to get out, “An… An… Ang… Angel. It’s an Angel. Psychic attack.”

“Psychic attack? Why is it targeting you?” Asuka asks.

“It’s not,” Shinji says before convulsing again. Settling down a bit more, he says, “It’s… it’s disrupting the city’s power grid. It’s… it’s like a flashbang going off in my face.”

“What? Why am I not affected?” Asuka asks.

Tensing up again, Shinji spasms violently for several seconds before he says, “You’re not as well trained… and… ugh… blood for the blood god.”

Shinji jerked his head a few times until Asuka clued into the fact that he wasn’t suffering spasms, but trying to point at something. Looking up, Asuka found he was pointing at a mirror, and she saw her reflection. The whites of her eyes were brilliant crimson and a thin trickle of blood was leaking from the outside corner of each eye.

Dabbing at the blood, Asuka can only say, “Whoa.”

Grunting again, Shinji says, “Listen… listen… Rei may or may not be affected… it… it doesn’t matter. Get to NERV, get to… to… ugh… to your Eva. If… if you’re lucky, Rei will be there with you… if… ah… if not… just… just kill the fuck…”

“What about you Shinji-chan?” Asuka asks desperately.

“Kill… kill… the Angel and… and I’ll be fine,” Shinji tells her.

“I’m not leaving you!” Asuka cries out.

“You… you… you’re not. You’re help… helping me. Take… take its skull… and I’ll… I’ll recover. I… I… I can stay here and stay safe… ugh… or you can carry me and I’ll slow you down. I… I can’t pilot right now…” Shinji tells her.

“But…” Asuka says.

“You… you… jumped into Sandalphon’s mouth… and detonated a nuke… then cut your way out… then faced down Misato-san’s chewing out… ugh… without blinking… and you’re scared now?” Shinji asks.

“Yes,” Asuka states firmly, trying to hold back the tears.

“Are… are you going to… to… give up because you’re afraid? Are… are you going to let me… ah… suffer like this?” Shinji asks, glaring up at her.

“No,” Asuka says quietly.

“Then go!” Shinji shouts out before convulsing again.

Asuka runs from the room before she can look back. She doesn’t stop running until she runs out of breath and falls to her knees. Huffing and puffing, she looks up to find Rei crawling naked along the ground across the deserted street. Walking over to her as fast as her winded frame can carry her; Asuka reaches down and picks up the lightweight pilot.

“Are… you… going… to… live?” Asuka asks between panting for breath.

Looking at her, Rei reveals a nasty looking gash along the side of her head.

“I believe I am in need of medical attention,” Rei states weakly.

“The Angel?” Asuka asks with her breath just about back. She rips off a strip of cloth from her skirt and begins to bind the cut on Rei’s forehead.

“Yes. I collapsed while getting into the shower,” Rei states. “I recovered somewhat and made my way here before collapsing again.”

Stripping off her blouse, Asuka wraps Rei in it to give her some modesty before picking her up and carrying her on her back.

“Listen First Child, we need to get to NERV, and… and I don’t think I can find my way through the tunnels in the dark. Can you help me?” Asuka asks.

“Where is Shinji-kun?” Rei asks.

“In a worse state than you,” Asuka says grimly.

“Alabama?” Rei asks.

Laughing darkly, Asuka shoulders her new load and begins walking, saying with dry sarcasm, “This is a perfect time for jokes.”

“I am afraid that in my current condition the only positive contribution to the situation I can make is jokes,” Rei says.

“Then I stand by my previous statement,” Asuka states wryly.

“You are in an uncharacteristically good mood today,” Rei states.

“Making out with Shinji-kun tends to do that,” Asuka says smugly.

“What base did he get to?” Rei asks.

Pausing, Asuka glares at Rei across her shoulder and asks, “Why do you want to know?”

“I want to know if he got as far with you as you have with me. I believe you are already at second base,” Rei says with a weak smile.

Shaking her head angrily, Asuka continues marching and says, “Shut it First Child.”

“So it was at least second base. Clothing or no clothing,” Rei inquires.

“I said shut it,” Asuka says vehemently.

“No clothing. How scandalous,” Rei says while closing her eyes and picturing herself enviously in Asuka’s place.

“Are you trying to piss me off?” Asuka asks.

“We’re at the station, aren’t we?” Rei says.

Looking about, Asuka realizes that they are indeed at the transit station leading to the Geofront.

“What?” Asuka asks in amazement.

“You draw strength from your anger,” Rei says with a shrug.

Frowning, Asuka looks at the security doors and says, “No power… great. We need to find a door with a manual override.”

“This way,” Rei says while pointing the way.

Reaching a door with a hand crank to open it in the event of a power failure, such as this one, Asuka sets Rei down and begins cranking it, wishing she had Shinji’s strong back here to help with the process.

Once the door was open, Asuka picks Rei back up and says, “Lead the way.”

“Then you should hold me in front of you,” Rei points out.

“Point the way then,” Asuka growls.

After about an hour of plunging deeper and deeper into the labyrinthine tunnels, Asuka notes that the banter between her and Rei is slacking off, and she asks worriedly, “Are you doing okay back there?”

“I believe I have lost a significant amount of blood and I’m suffering a mild concussion. The interference from the Angel is not helping,” Rei reports.

“Don’t you dare die on me First Child,” Asuka growls.

“Why?” Rei asks.

“A few reasons really. First of all, I still owe you for hauling me off Sandalphon,” Asuka says.

“I did not do that for you. Shinji-kun would be sad if you perished, and I do not want him sad,” Rei states.

Half-hissing, half-growling, Asuka says, “That’s the second reason. You’re one of three people precious to Shinji-kun. So I guess you’re precious to me too.”

“I… I’m precious to you?” Rei asks in a groggy sort of surprise.

“Only by proxy!” Asuka snaps. “Shinji would be furious if I left you to die.”

“He would,” Rei agrees.

“The third reason, and the most important, is that I still have no idea where I am, so if you pass out on me, we’re both lost,” Asuka states.

Grinning, Rei replies, “Pragmatic as always. Tell me, is Shinji-kun a good kisser?”

What?” Asuka roars furiously, nearly dropping her cargo so that she could slug her.

The cry echoes throughout the tunnels for a moment before there was an unexpected cry back of “Asuka? Asuka is that you?”

Her eyelids fluttering, Rei smiles and says, “My voice doesn’t carry as well as yours,” before she faded away.

“Damn it Rei!” Asuka cries out as her passenger goes quiet.

Light suddenly floods the end of the tunnel as people with flashlights begin searching for her. Rushing over to the technicians, she says, “Rei’s hurt real bad.”

Taking Rei’s limp body, one of the technicians says, “Quick, you’re almost to the Eva bays, there’s an Angel approaching and…”

Pointing to her bloodied eyes and cheeks, Asuka says, “I know, it’s the reason why the power’s out, and why Rei is hurt and Shinji isn’t here.”

Recoiling in shock, the tech quickly shakes it off and points down a hall, saying, “Quick, get to the Evas!”

Rushing now that she was free of Rei’s weight, Asuka quickly reaches the bays where the Evas are being manually prepared, with Ritsuko watching over them all.

“Asuka! Where’s… oh my God, your face!” Ritsuko says in horror.

“Defence mechanism against the Angel I suppose. It’s already incapacitated Shinji and Rei,” Asuka states.

Taking in this fact, Ritsuko says quietly, “Of course! Clever bastards!” Shaking her head, she says, “Get in your plug suit, you have to stop this thing.”

With the news that only one of the Evas could sortie reaching them, the crews quickly focus all efforts on Unit 02, which ironically was still being repaired from all the damage inflicted by diving into Sandalphon and then firing her melta point blank. Asuka hoped the bastard was using a lot of power to shut down the power grid otherwise she was going to be in for a world of hurt.

Screw thinking like that. This Angel made it personal by hurting Shinji; it’s the one in for a world of hurt.

With the extended operation battery packs loaded on and a bolter in hand, Asuka heads out, crawling her Eva through the access tunnels for the nearest vertical shaft. Punching off the blast door, Asuka vaults out into the cylindrical shaft and begins shimmying up.

Her first clue that something was wrong was a burning, tingling sensation on her shoulder. Looking up, Asuka nearly loses her grip in pain as a blob of orange acid drips on her Eva’s face, damaging one of the eyes. Soon an entire deluge of the acid is raining down on her, the Angel directly above her position, ‘crying’ acid upon her.

For just a moment, Asuka almost lost herself in the pain before the welling rose high enough to strike the little pilot light of anger she had kept lit in her heart. She entered what she called her ‘berserker state’. Her senses sped up and time slowed to a standstill, such that she could see everything before her with perfect clarity and act exactly as she needed to.

She released her grip from the wall with one hand, the one where the metal was being burned through by the acid and would have given way in any case, and reached around to snatch her bolter off her back. Angling her body to shield the weapon from the corrosive rain, she targets the Angel at the top of the shaft, a pathetically easy target that didn’t even need targeting confirmation before she pulled the trigger.

The best description of what happened next was that Asuka “splashed” the target. This was to say that she “splashed” the target all across downtown Tokyo-3, the rounds designed for killing the armoured hides of Shamshel and Ramiel plunging into the Angel’s soft body and detonating, transforming it into a substance typically described of as “chunky salsa”.

Surprisingly, Asuka had no victory shout, merely a relieved sigh. Everyone was safe now.

Ritsuko passed her hand over Rei’s eyes, shutting them forever.

“Does anyone else know?” Gendo asks quietly and menacingly.

“No. Once Asuka launched I went to Rei and when it became apparent that she would not last much longer, I took measures. She suffered a massive blow to the head, I’m surprised she lived as long as she did,” Ritsuko replies.

“How soon can another one be prepared?” Gendo inquires.

“An hour tops to fish one out of the tank and upload the memories,” Ritsuko tells him.

“Then do it. Do you have any idea the cause of her recent personality changes?” Gendo asks.

“I’ve been comparing her blood samples and I just realized that the mood stabilizing drugs have been showing up less and less in her system. It was a very slow process, each new sample a little lower despite the fact that I kept increasing her dosage,” Ritsuko explains.

“She wasn’t taking her medication?” Gendo asks suspiciously.

“No… no, I think she was rapidly developing immunity to them. One of the primary abilities of the Angels is their ability to adapt and evolve, her Angelic DNA may have been at work there,” Ritsuko explains.

“The new one should be a clean slate then,” Gendo states rather than asks.

“Yes,” Ritsuko says with a nod.

“Very well, take measures to ensure this does not happen with the new one,” Gendo says before staring down at the dead body of Rei II. “I will dispose of this.”

I bet you will.

Unbeknownst to either the doctor or the commander, the giggling Reis in the tank all looked directly at them for just a moment, their blank expressions replaced by ones of intense curiosity and suspicion. The moment lasted for less than a full second.

Had Ritsuko bothered to check, she would have discovered that all the Reis had developed a complete immunity to all hostile pharmaceuticals sometime in the past few hours, sometime after Rei II passed on.

Any attempt to kill the now completely cognizant, if still mostly non-sapient clones, would have ended… messily.

Several hours later at the very depths of Terminal Dogma, so deep down no one would have ever found anything, something skulked up to the broken, rag doll form of Rei II, dismissively tossed into the depths. Pale, delicate hands grasped the body and hauled it into a more easily accessed location, before grasping the shattered remains of the neck and pulling.

With a wet, meaty sucking sound, the head separated from the body.

Holding it up by the greasy, blood stained hair, Rei looks at her own face and grins. This would make the beginning of what could very well be a very interesting collection.
Last edited by Academia Nut on 2007-12-24 12:21am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Academia Nut » 2007-12-27 02:22am

In the ever present struggles between Gendo and SEELE, the Pilots were the ultimate prize and target, which meant that they could not be moved against too strongly. Still, there was always observation. But something had gone wrong with the observation around the First Child. The agent that had gone in to see why the monitoring devices had suddenly stopped working had simply disappeared.

So now it was time for his partners to try and find some clues as to what had happened. Guns drawn, they slipped into the complex after the First Child had left for school. The building, as always, stank, but now it had the miasma of rotting meat clinging to it. Quickly ascending the stairs while sweeping for any targets, they reached the floor where the girl had her apartment and stopped. The stairwell leading up was stained with old, bloody drag marks. Following them, the agents emerge into what appears to be a slaughter house, with bones everywhere.

“My god… what the hell is going on here?” One of the men asks.

“Let’s… let’s get the fuck out of here,” the other agent suggests.

Turning around, they find the stairwell behind them filled with mangy looking cats and dogs, their eyes glowing ominous in the darkened passage. Backing away in horror, the level their guns on the approaching horde.

The cawing of a crow makes them whirl about and see to their horror dozens, perhaps hundreds, of crows and ravens perched all about the roof, staring down at them with black, beady eyes.

One of the men points his gun a bit towards the surface of the roof and fires a round, expecting the noise to scare off the animals. The noise merely causes the birds to blink a few times and for one of the crows to caw again. As the mongrel brigade continued its advance, it became evident that several of the animals were clearly rabid, and getting bit or scratched by any of them would probably require an immediate trip to the hospital for aggressive treatment of just about every disease an animal could transmit to a human.

Still backing away, wondering what kind of nightmare they now found themselves in, the agents whirled about again as something began to rattle in the vents, and soon mice and huge sewer rats, still encrusted with the filth of their home, began to pour out of the ventilation shafts. Soon the tide flowed to a trickle, and the only sound was their frantic breathing as the men began to panic, and the cawing of that single crow.

Whirling about, one of the men shouted out “Shut up!” before spying the crow… and what it was perched upon. The man screamed and stumbled to the ground in horror.

The crow, an enormously fat and old bird with greying plumage, was perched upon a head; a human head. It had clearly been out in the sun for several days, yet neither animal nor insect had touched it, only rot touching its desiccating flesh. That was not the true horror though, for the head was clearly that of the girl they had just watched leave the building ten minutes ago.

The head was on a table with another skull sitting beneath, arcane looking symbols carved into the surface of the wood. Somehow they both knew that the cleaned, grinning skull staring back at them was of the man they were looking for.

Their panic reached a crescendo and the two SEELE agents began firing into the mobs of animals around them. The rats and birds and some of the cats tended to practically explode when hit by the .45s fired from the pistols, but the dogs could take two or three rounds to drop if they didn’t aim properly.

They both emptied their magazines three times until with a dry finality they each clicked empty, the slides of their pistols back to show the spent state. The advancing horde merely stepped over their fallen while the birds gathered in closer.

One man soiled himself in fear and they both whimpered as the circle closed in tighter.

When the shooting began the old crow had stopped its cawing. It stared at the two interlopers long and hard before letting out a single caw.

The men’s screams were drowned out by the flapping of wings.

Returning home several hours later, Rei was surprised to find Old Priest perched on the railing just outside her door. The ancient crow had a great deal of difficulty flying and probably would have perished weeks ago had he not found Rei and the enormous supplies of food created by the strange environment she generated.

Holding out a hand, Rei let the crow hop onto her hand, and stroking the bird’s head, she proceeded to take him back up to the roof. The only reason he would come down was if he had something he wanted to show her.

Opening the door to the roof, Rei found a banquet of carrion going on. The carrion birds were out in full force, as were the rodents, unusual as they tended to prefer the interior of the building to roof. Many, many things had died very recently.

Still carrying Old Priest, Rei went to the largest concentration and found two men lying on the ground, one already nearly picked to the bone by the vast congregation of feasters, while the other was still alive, his body covered in wounds that were already dripping with pus as his body desperately fought off the hundreds of infected wounds covering him.

Stroking Old Priest, Rei sets him on the ground before kneeling down and picking up the man’s head so that she could rest it in her lap. One of his ears, having been mostly torn off in the initial mauling, simply plopped off as lack of blood and infection had caused rapid necrosis and rot. Rei ignored it to brush the blood matted hair out of his face.

Delirious with fever and pain and several mind altering diseases, the man just stared up at her and croaked, “Mama?”

Cooing gently, still brushing the man’s face, Rei says, “Yes, it’s mama, and she wants to know all about what you’ve been up to lately. Won’t you let mama know what you’ve been doing with your life?”

The man began to talk, telling her everything his fevered brain could dredge up, which while not much, was certainly very enlightening. He spoke for a good ten minutes before he finally expired.

Gently taking his head off her lap, Rei turned to Old Priest and said, “You can have the eyes, I know you like them.”

As the murder and unkindness shifted to partake of this new addition to the banquet, Rei had but one thought.

I must tell Shinji about this.

The SEELE agents in Tokyo-3 were more stirred up than a kicked hornet’s nest. First they lost one man when he went to renew the monitoring equipment about the First Child, and now the two who went to investigate the first man’s disappearance had also dropped out of contact. Someone was keeping them from investigating the First Child, someone powerful, someone unafraid to act so openly against them.

“It can’t be Gendo or Section 2. They don’t want to up this game any more than we do,” one man tells another as they begin doing the final check of their equipment. The main planning had been done out of town, but whoever was doing this had to be taught a lesson.

“Who else? Bastard’s the only one with that kind of pull in this town,” another man points out.

“I don’t know who, but I’m telling you Section 2 doesn’t do shit like this. All of our sources inside say that they didn’t even know about those guys,” the first man says while doing a weapons check.

“Then we obviously need to get our sources deeper,” the second guy replies.

It was at about that point that the power to their base cut out. An emergency generator kicked in almost immediately, but sudden the forty Special Forces agents went to full alert and were manning their posts, tense and prepared for an attack from any angle. There was a sudden clatter from a nearby alley and then silence.

Nodding, a team of five men went out to examine it with full fire support from the base. Reaching the edge of the alley, they use a periscope to peer around the corner and find…


Sweeping around, they quickly search the area, and again find nothing.

“Must have been a fucking cat,” one of the agents comments.

“Hey, what’s this?” One of the men asks, pointing to a funny looking ceramic jar with a stylized animal head on top.

Eyeing it cautiously, they sweep it with a battery of instruments and find…


Gingerly picking it up, one of the men opens up the lid and finds…

Nothing. Nothing but dust and ashes.

“There’s nothing here, probably just some dead hobo’s ashes,” the man holding it asks.

“How the fuck does a hobo get such a fancy urn?” Another man points out.

The power then goes on in the warehouse district once again, nearly causing the men to jump out of their skins.

“What is going on here?” One of them asks as they begin moving back towards their base.

The lights go out again, accompanied by the sound of swirling wind and blowing sand.

The lights flicker on again.

For five minutes the base tries to reach the team, eventually dispatching a ten man team who find all five men in five or six pieces each, their torsos seemingly blown open from the inside out, with the jar sitting innocently in their midst, upright and untouched, not a drop of blood on it despite the massacre all about.

That team quickly grabs what is left of their comrades and retreats back to base, sealing it up tight as they try and figure out what the fuck is going on.

The lights go out again.

“Someone is fucking with us!” One man cries out.

“Want to tell us about the colour of the sky Captain Fucking Obvious?” Another says bitterly.

As the minutes tick by and angers flare, one of the radio operators suddenly asks, “Hey, did you guys retrieve Kowalski’s radio?”

Doing a quick scan of the bodies, one of the men replies, “No.”

Looking askew, the radio operator just flicks a switch and the transmission can be heard. For a moment there is silence, and then a deep and quiet voice with a strange reverb effect says over the channel, “All is dust.

Switching it back off, he asks, “Anyone have any idea what that means?”

“Sir… something weird is happening,” one of the men on lookout replies.

The power had gone out again, and now pea soup fog was rolling in, impossible for this climate and this time of year and the weather they had already had that day.

All is dust. All is dust. All is dust. All is dust. All is dust. All is dust. All is…” The chant went up, the whispering phrase repeated over and over and over and over again. It seemed to be coming from all around.

“Yogi, shut off that… radio…” the commander says, his demand trailing off as he realizes that the radio operator is dead, the man’s head and spinal column ripped off and rammed through the main radio unit.

The chant was coming from all of their radio units. Including the ones set to broadcast.

“This is impossible!” One man screamed.

He promptly exploded, something punching through the cinderblock walls of the factory, an ammo drum, and his body armour to detonate inside his torso, spraying blood and gore all across his shocked comrades.

Outside, in the direction the shot had come from the fog had opened up a corridor to reveal an enormous armoured figure dressed in blue and gold armour, the helmet sculpted into an elaborate Egyptian style headdress. In figure’s hands was a gun that looked like it should be crew serviced if not for the fact that it properly proportioned next to the giant.

It took everyone a moment to realize that the chanting had stopped.

Then they began to open fire as the armoured figure advanced. In the first few seconds hundreds of 9mm, 5.56mm NATO, 7.62mm NATO, and .50 BMG rounds struck the target… and bounced off. The men just stopped and stared in abject horror at the way their tracer fire showed the bullets bouncing off like rain off a tank.

The figure hadn’t even been troubled and continued to advance, oblivious to the fire that should have shredded it in an instant.

It raised its gun and fired three times. Each shot punched through the walls of the warehouse the men were using for cover, and each shot took out a heavy weapon’s position. One struck the crew manned machine gun, another other the sniper’s position, and the third blew apart the man bringing forward the grenade launcher.

Then the figure stops and vanishes in front of them, as if made of dust and blowing away in the wind. But there was no wind, the air was completely still. Soon the fog had consumed the position, leaving the men to rub at their eyes and clutch their guns uselessly, their breathing fast and frantic. Had they actually even seen any of that?

“We’re getting the fuck out of here,” the commander orders. These men were the cream of the crop from seven nation’s Special Forces divisions, forwarded to the UN and seconded to SEELE through various back room deals from the powerful members that made up that body. They knew when to pull their losses and make an order get away.

They opened the main doors so that they could take their vans and leave. They had already checked that the path was clear.

Three of the armoured giants were standing there, right in front of the doors where a second before there had been nothing.

There were forty men in the original group. Five died in the alley. The radio operator had been ripped apart by an unseen force. One man died in the opening shot of the appearance of the first figure. Three men died when the ammo canister for the .50 machine-gun exploded and the ammunition cooked off. The sniper was blown to pieces. The man carrying the grenade launcher and the man next to him died when the launcher exploded and the grenades went off. That was thirteen dead before the massacre began, leaving twenty-seven men left.

All is dust,” the giants whispered as one as they raised their weapons.

Eight seconds later they were out of targets. One man nearly managed to run out the opposite way, only to run straight into a fourth monster and have his head ripped off his body by an armoured hand closing about his skull and pulling up.

The doctor had snapped and was curled up in the foetal position on the floor, slowly rocking back and forth, while the commander emptied out every weapon he could find, wondering for a second why they had stopped shooting and just stared at him with their glowing blue eyes, until he realized that they knew he was the commander… and thus the one with most information.

He whipped out his pistol and pointed it at his own head, pulling the trigger.


The man looked at the traitorous gun and wondered why it had failed to fire when it suddenly was yanked out of his hand, hurled away where it discharged, the reaction somehow impossibly delayed. He tried to move, but the same force that had pulled his gun out of his hands held him still.

The armoured giants faded away into dust in the wind. For a moment only the sobbing of the doctor could be heard, but it was soon replaced by a grim, echoing laughter and the sound of approaching footsteps accompanied by the thump of something heavy and metallic on the ground.

Emerging from the thinning fog was the Third Child, chuckling grimly at the slaughter all around him.

“Oh, this will be a most interesting enigma for my father and SEELE to fight about as they each blame the other for this awful, awful mess,” Shinji says with a humorous tone.

Finding limited mobility returned to him, if only enough to allow him to speak, the commander says, “NERV will never get away with this…”

His voice is cut off by the ability of speech being stolen from him again, “NERV had nothing to do with this or the disappearance of the men sent after the First Child. You merely stumbled upon something beyond your comprehension and paid the price for interfering with the Children.”

At a gesture from Shinji, the commander is lifted up off the ground, suspended impossibly in mid-air. His eyes go wide in terror at the implications of this.

“You see… the Children, we are very special people who can do very special things, and ironically piloting the Evas are probably the least special things about us. We have… secrets that we do not want to be exposed, and your men stumbled upon something they shouldn’t have. We will protect our secrets as we must. I do apologize for taking a page from the Night Lord’s playbook, but I wanted to give NERV and SEELE a boogeyman to hunt for, something that they would never find because it won’t exist when they turn their lights upon it,” Shinji says crookedly.

Looking at the babbling doctor, Shinji smiles and says, “Poor man, he’s lost his mind. Only way to soothe his broken psyche after tonight will be to obsessively write down names. Not important names of course, just the names of every SEELE compromised agent I can extract from you.”

The commander finds his voice returned to him again and he shouts out, “You won’t get anything out of me!” He then spits at Shinji only for the wad of saliva and mucus to freeze mid-air and rocket back at the man.

Smiling, Shinji says, “I’ve always wanted to hear someone say that since I learned this ability. My word choice was very precise when I said extract.”

Discedo solus, what in God’s name is that supposed to mean?” One of the shadowy members of the SEELE council asks.

“Nothing. It’s Latin, but its nonsense,” Lorenz replies flippantly. “Whoever did this probably just looked up a couple of words that looked right and mixed them together without thought for grammar. The message is clear though.”

“Oh?” Asks the French member of the council.

Get out. Ladies and gentlemen, we’re being told to leave Tokyo-3 by a force capable of dismembering a heavy assault black ops team without anyone knowing, driving a hardened war veteran insane, and then mailing the torso of the commander with the words Discedo solus carved into his chest to my name,” Lorenz says, somewhat exasperated by it all.

“This is a declaration of war,” the Russian member exclaims.

“Indeed, but it is not Gendo, as much as you all might want to blame him,” Lorenz says, looking out over the members anonymous and not.

“You have his word for this?” The Russian asks contemptuously.

“No. Conveniently for him, he is in Antarctica retrieving the Lance of Longinus as per our orders, and is thus out of secure communication at the moment,” Lorenz says evenly.

“Very convenient,” one of the American members says broodingly.

“Yes, so convenient in fact that I believe him. The timing of the raid was to be done when he and his second in command were out of the country,” Lorenz notes. “It is not his style to leave the execution of something like this to a subordinate like that. He might never get his hands dirty, but he wants to be there to watch.”

“Unless of course he knew that we knew this sort of thing would be outside his style,” the American from before points out.

“True, but we could play ‘He knows I know’ all day and get nowhere. In any case, not only is this sort of thing outside Gendo’s preferred managerial style, it is outside any sort of sane response. The occasional agent on either side going missing is simply part of the game we play. A normal response would have been to lead the follow up agents down a false or dead trail, taking them away from whatever he desires hidden. Killing anyone who approaches your secret is not the way to hide it. That merely shows that you have something to hide and where it can be found,” Lorenz explains.

“Unless of course this is merely the proverbial scrap of red cloth being waved in front of us, concealing the dagger,” the paranoid American points out.

“I will concede that point, and we are looking into just such a possibility, but the move is too aggressive for Gendo right now. He still must maintain the pretext of cooperation,” Lorenz says with a sigh.

“No… no, I feel that we have stumbled upon a third player in this game, a player that may not even realize what the game is. They are powerful, but inexperienced in this sort of thing if talented. Whoever is doing this, they want us to fight with Gendo,” Lorenz points out.

“Like that goal is difficult to achieve,” the Russian comments dryly.

“In any case, we need more intelligence on the situation before acting, but because of the actions, we can’t touch Tokyo-3 for the next month at the very least. At least Section 2 will be tied up for at least as long trying to figure out what happened,” Lorenz notes unhappily.

“I would hate to be the one in charge over there right now,” one of the members notes dryly.

“Thanks for letting us in, that rain sure is coming down hard out there,” Kensuke says while towelling off his hair.

“No problem guys, just keep your voices down, Misato-san has been working late for the past couple of days,” Shinji says, putting a finger to his lips.

“Ah,” both Toji and Kensuke say, hushing up immediately.

“Hey, what are these stooges doing here?” Asuka asks from behind a curtain.

Shrugging, Shinji says, “We have yet to find a Shemp, and you don’t want to break up the Three Stooges do you?”

“Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk,” Asuka says sarcastically from behind the curtain to flick them each in the nose.

“Shh! You’ll wake Misato-san!” Kensuke hisses.

Sliding open the door to her bedroom, dressed in her regular business attire, Misato says with a weary look, “No worries boys, I was already up and getting ready for work.”

As she goes to prepare for her day, Kensuke notices the change in her rank pins and immediately blurts out, “Congratulations on your promotion Misato-san!”

Going along with his friend, Toji bows as well and adds in his, “Congratulations Misato-san.”

Smiling weakly, Misato says, “Thanks boys.” Turning to Shinji and Asuka, she says, “You’re father and the vice commander are both out of the country now, so I’m the base commander, and with that mess down in the warehouse district…”

“You won’t be home for dinner tonight,” Shinji finishes for her.

Sighing, Misato shakes her head and says, “No, not going to be home for dinner tonight, probably not tomorrow night either. So don’t worry about cooking anything for me.”

Nodding, Shinji says, “A pity. You will be back to regular hours, or at least regular for you, once you’re no longer the senior officer in command, right?”

Smiling, she says, “Yeah, I promise I’ll make it up to you guys somehow. It’s not fair for you guys to be ignored like this.”

Giving her a quirky grin, Shinji says, “Don’t worry about it Misato-san, we both know you’ll be back.”

This comment caused an unexpected outburst from Misato… or at least the equivalent of an outburst when she was in her professional mode. She just tensed up at that statement before going over to Shinji and Asuka and bundling them up into a fierce hug and saying, “I can definitely promise you that.”

Releasing them, she then smoothes out her uniform and gives her two charges a fierce look, reminding them, “Now while I’m gone I don’t want to find out about any hanky-panky between you two.”

“We’ll remember to destroy the evidence,” the say in unison.

Smiling, she says, “That’s what I want to hear.”

“Or rather don’t want to hear,” Shinji points out.

Smiling and mussing up his hair playfully, Misato says, “Exactly. Now remember that you have a harmonics test coming up tomorrow. I can trust you two to get to NERV on your own if I’m still working, right?”

“Of course,” they say in stereo, their synch training still remembered.

Shaking her head, she gathers up her things and heads to the door, slipping on her shoes and saying, “See you guys later. Do please remember to do your homework in between make-out sessions, okay?”

“We will,” they say.

“Bye!” Misato says before heading out.

Toji and Kensuke just stare at the two of them in shock for a moment, Kensuke more than Toji as he had not quite been paying attention to how far along the two of them were in their relationship. Sliding next to one another, their sides pressing together, they grin mischievously and ask, “What?”

“You’re scandalous,” Toji says with a shake of his head.

“I see that Hikari is rubbing off on… is that because she is rubbing up to you, or are you still fantasizing about that?” Asuka asks.

That pretty much caused Toji’s brain to lock up.

Shinji just laughed at Toji’s mental paralysis and, grinning, he glances at Asuka and then asks Toji, “At least tell me you two have moved up to this?”

He then kisses Asuka, their tongues playing with one another for a moment before breaking off to turn to his friends and grin, saying, “Aren’t girlfriends grand?”

Both Kensuke and Toji fainted, causing Asuka and Shinji to break down laughing.

A few hours later after Toji and Kensuke had left the two of them lounged together in one of the chairs watching TV, and Shinji commented, “Does anyone in this house not have abandonment issues?”

“You probably,” Asuka says while munching on popcorn.

“I think wanting to gut my father for leaving me counts as an ‘issue’,” Shinji points out.

“The fact that you don’t says that you’re handling it well,” Asuka points out.

“You worked with Misato for years before coming here, any idea what went wrong for her?” Shinji asks.

Shaking her head, Asuka replies, “No, she never really talked about it.”

“We’ll have to do something nice for her when she has the time again,” Shinji decides.

“A shopping trip perhaps?” Asuka suggests.

Glaring at her, he says, “Something that would not be a form of torture for me.”

Smiling impishly, Asuka says, “But kind gestures like that usually involve some sort of sacrifice of the self.”

“Oh, and what exactly would you be sacrificing?” Shinji asks.

Her impish features changing to one of perfect angelic innocence, Asuka says, “Why, I would have to sacrifice my own relative beauty for surely after such a trip Misato-san would outshine me like the sun outshines the moon.”

Glaring at her, Shinji says, “Okay, after that load of bullshit, I’m afraid that it’s now going to have to be tickle time.”

“You fiend, I still haven’t figured out a counter to that,” Asuka says in mock horror.

“I know,” Shinji says with a smile while snaking his hand up her skirt to the ticklish spot on her thigh. Soon they were rolling on the floor giggling and laughing before Asuka suddenly cries out, “Son of a bitch!

Stopping immediately, Shinji notes that she’s holding one of her eyes and he asks worriedly, “What happened?”

“One of my contacts fell out,” Asuka says while patting down the ground looking for it.

Joining her, Shinji says, “I didn’t know you needed contacts.”

“I don’t… not exactly…” Asuka says before looking up at him and opening the eye she had closed to reveal that the whites had not returned her eyes still blood red.

Brushing a lock of hair out the way, Shinji smiles and says, “You need not have hidden such things from me, the gifts of the gods are to be celebrated and embraced. And besides, such change and growth is the pinnacle of beauty in my eyes.”

“Thanks Shinji. Still, I would prefer not to have the rest of the school learn about these things,” Asuka says, going back to her searching.

“Of course,” Shinji says with a nod, returning to the search.

After about a minute Asuka finds the lens lying on the floor and looks it over before sighing and saying, “I’ll have to clean it off.”

“Take out the other one,” Shinji suggests.

Pausing for a moment, Asuka takes out her other contact and goes to the washroom to clean them off and put them in their solutions for the night before returning to Shinji and dive bombing him and then pinning him to the floor in the resulting melee.

“You’re getting stronger too,” Shinji says with a smile.

“I have a good teacher,” Asuka says, leaning over to kiss him. After a moment of making out she suddenly finds herself pinned on the floor in her underwear, wondering what had just happened.

“You need to work on your capacity for treachery though,” Shinji says smugly.

“You know, I’m not even mad at this point, I’m impressed. How did you get my clothes off that fast?” Asuka asks in mild shock and awe.

“A good magician never reveals his secrets,” Shinji says while waggling his eyebrows.

“It was telekinesis, wasn’t it?” Asuka asks.

When her bra unhooked at the back on its own, Shinji just grins and says, “A good sorcerer still keeps his secrets, but he tends to flaunt the implications more.”

“The Tenth Angel has been identified, and it is currently in orbit above the Indian Ocean, making its way here,” Misato tells the assembled Pilots the next day, bringing up images on the projectors to show the bizarre shape of the latest Angel with three eye-like lobes and numerous smaller projections.

“Code named Sahaquiel, this Angel appears to be using parts of its body for the purposes of orbital bombardment. Protecting the pieces with an AT-field, they build up a massive amount of kinetic energy as they drop, and then upon impact a small portion of the Angel flesh is converted to energy, releasing a massive amount of energy explosively,” Ritsuko explains, showing additional images of the Angel correcting its aim for drift.

“It is currently jamming us, so we won’t know where an attack will come until the Angel is a few minutes from impact,” Misato explains.

Raising his hand, Shinji asks, “Question? How do we know the Angel will launch a kamikaze attack on us? So far it has been immune to N2 mine bombardment, so why won’t it just drop smaller pieces on us and regenerate as necessary until we break?”

“A fair question Shinji-kun,” Misato says with a nod before pulling up a defensive schematic of Tokyo-3.

“If we presume that the Angels have some way of sharing combat data with one another, then previous attacks where the armour has been breached will show that any attack below a certain size will fail. We estimate that Sahaquiel will have to drop at least a third of its mass to guarantee armour breach and damage to Central Dogma. It would take a good week to regenerate that, during which time we could come up with counter measures,” Misato explains.

Smiling, Shinji says, “It doesn’t want us adapting to it.”

“Exactly. So the only attack it can launch is an all out assault,” Misato confirms.

Nodding, Shinji then asks, “What if it launches multiple pieces at once during the attack? What if it were to say drop off a third and a bunch of little pieces as chaff and decoys and then drop with half of its original mass. A hit from even a small piece could be devastating and distract us from the primary strike.”

Sighing, Misato says, “We have already considered this, and any attack involving less than 10% of the Angel’s mass will be ignored.”

The Pilots all became sombre at that announcement. The Angel could drop hundreds of bombs without using up a significant portion of its mass and completely flatten Tokyo-3 without actually damaging the armour layers underneath, and they would just have to watch.

“Then we pray it launches all at once,” Shinji declares.

Misato had taken Shinji and Asuka up to the cliff overlooking the city, and she stared out at the now dull landscape, the skyscrapers having lowered into the Geofront. The evacuation orders had been given, emptying the city of all nonessential personnel. Now all that was left was to wait for the attack.

“Kids… I brought you up here because I have something to tell you,” Misato says, tired and world weary as she contemplates the consequences of her actions.

Taking a deep breath, she begins, “Fifteen years ago an Angel, not an asteroid, caused Second Impact, something you already know. What you might not know was that there was an expedition there at the time, with one survivor. The Katsuragi Expedition. I was that one survivor because my father sacrificed his life to save me.”

Trying to hold back the tears of memories long suppressed, Misato continues, “When I was a child, my father let his work consume him. He was never home, never around, and it hurt my mother and me. It hurt so much that when she filed for divorce, I was happy that he would be completely gone from our lives instead of hanging around, a wound in our family that refused to heal. He couldn’t understand why I was so upset with him.”

Pausing to collect herself, she touches the cross about her neck to gather strength before saying, “And then he invited me on one of his expeditions, and he died while I lived. I hated him as much as I loved him after that, never knowing what I really felt. And now I’ve sworn revenge on the Angels, maybe so that I can finally have some closure with regards to my father. Does that make me a terrible person? Am I sacrificing everything just to get back at the Angels and my father?”

Both Asuka and Shinji walk over to Misato and hug her. Bursting into tears, she returns the embraces.

After a time, Shinji says, “Revenge is what makes us human Misato-san. We have memories; we can remember that which threatens us, that which hurts us, and attack again at a later day. We did not become the species we are today by playing nice, and we will not survive by playing nice. Revenge at a time like this is not just acceptable, it is preferred. So long as your hate sharpens your focus and resolve and does not blind you, then hate them, for in a war of annihilation with no chance of reconciliation, hate is the only thing that keeps you sane. Better to hate your enemy while killing them than to feel nothing at all.”

“Second Impact wiped out half the human population. Three billion graves, many without bodies. So many families destroyed, so many lives wasted even when death did not come… revenge is not justified, it is necessary. The Angels must be made to pay,” Asuka says fiercely while hugging all the tighter.

“The Angels have taken something from all three of us, in different ways. We want revenge too Misato-san,” Shinji tells her.

“We want to mount their heads on our walls like animals, because that is what they are to us: beasts worthy only of slaughter and butchery,” Asuka says.

“We want you to stop hurting Misato, because you’re the mother we wish we had never lost. You’re a slob, you drink too much, and you’re way too lenient at times, but we love you all the same because you care. You care about us; you care about whether we live or die even when you prepare to make sacrifice us in battle. We will destroy anything and anyone that threatens you,” Shinji tells her.

“This Angel threatens you, threatens everything we love and hold dear, they all do. We would kill them for you even if we didn’t already have reason to hate them,” Asuka finishes.

Misato watched as the Evas were deployed to the three points around the predicted drop zone to give the maximum coverage. When the attack came the closest Eva would rush out and try to catch any significant pieces and stop them from making ground contact. The Evas were prepped for close combat only, Shinji with his AT-staff, Asuka with her chain axe, and Rei with an enormous progressive sword that was really more of a giant meat clever than a normal weapon. She had asked for it to be built because she apparently liked it that way. They were all also armed with retractable progressive claws for close in work.

The Evas were currently hooked up to umbilical cables, but once the attack started they would eject them to increase their mobility. They would not have much time to operate, but then again at the speeds the Tenth Angel would fall, they would not have much time to act either.

“Tracking has the Tenth Angel in our scopes… it is budding off several smaller pieces… confirm three clusters of five heading directly for the Evas’ positions,” Shigeru reports.

“Damn it, clever bastard,” Misato hisses. “It’s going to either destroy their umbilical cables or force them to move. It’s going to run out our power before attacking.”

There was silence for a moment, and then Shinji says, “I think I’ve got this.”

Remotely activating a nearby shield launcher, Shinji fires an enormous metal and ceramic composite plate up before grabbing it with his AT-field and hurling it up into the sky. High above the city the cluster of bombs heading for him collided with the hurled plate and exploded, prematurely detonating, their matter-conversion systems keyed to the impact.

Seeing the idea but not having anywhere near the telekinetic power or control that Shinji has, Rei and Asuka each take up a different method. Using her chain axe, Asuka cuts out several chunks of the road and begins batting them into the sky, missing several times but hitting one and causing it to detonate and take out three of the others, leaving only one bomb to be caught by her AT-field and thus exploded safely away from her.

Rei’s method was even more brutal and close. She used her prog sword to slice off the top of a building and then combined with her AT-field, she hurled it at the incoming bombs, the debris field catching them a mere two hundred metres above her position but detonating them all.

“Angel has begun final descent… oh crap…” Shigeru says in horror, pointing to the screen. The distance the Evas could travel in the time they had before impact was displayed as a series of shrinking circles, and the Angel was already outside the coverage zone of all three.

“Update my position, I already started moving,” Shinji reports, the automated GPS tracker offline due to the Angel’s jamming. Correcting, they see that he can just make it to the edge of the impact zone.

“Rei, Asuka, get moving!” Misato orders.

“On it!” They cry out.

Racing across the city, leaping over buildings and highways and high tension power cables, the three Evas rush for the point where the Angel will strike the Earth. Above, the Angel can be seen by the cherry red glow of the entry plasma streaming off its surfaces. Pouring in all available power, Shinji extends his AT-field and then dives forward, sliding like a professional baseball player to get beneath the Angel in time to catch it just before impact. Their AT-fields clashing, Shinji feels the shoulders of his Eva did into the ground until impacting the first layer of armour.

Then Asuka and Rei arrived, their AT-fields at the ready, and they grabbed the Angel by the edges and hauled up, throwing it off Shinji. Manipulating his own field, he rips a hole in its defences and punches upwards, the prog claws extending off his wrist to jut out from over his knuckles. Punching upwards, he drives the blades directly into the crimson core of the Angel.

The Angel explodes, the Evas disappearing into the glare.

After about half a minute the Evas can be seen casually walking out of the smoke and fire, undamaged.

"Mission successful Misato-san," Shinji reports.
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Post by Academia Nut » 2007-12-28 10:14pm

Ritsuko had a headache that was, for once, not related to the Evas. Oh, true, they continued to evolve and change in response to their battles with the Angel, but that was a headache she had already taken aspirin for. They were slowly bringing Unit 01 in line, keeping it from becoming sentient and going on an apocalyptic rampage. And the tech crews had grown used to the hazards of working around Unit 00’s various new hazards, so much that they had painted a giant biohazard symbol on one of its pauldrons, a move Rei had merely smiled at. The only Eva that seemed to have a sane evolution was Unit 02, which was apparently just getting faster and stronger.

No, the headache she was having today was from the Magi. Right before a scheduled maintenance, it was giving them all sorts of trouble, and they had yet to figure out what exactly was the problem.

Primarily the problems revolved around the investigation of the warehouse massacre. It was all very hush-hush on the surface, but in the backrooms and intelligence offices across the planet everyone was in an uproar, NERV included. Forty top black ops specialists from across the planet were not where they were supposed to be, and that was because thirty-nine of them were six feet under and one of them was still screaming his head off about phantoms in a NERV asylum.

The investigation had turned out to be equally maddening. They had found nearly a thousand spent cases on the scene, but all of them matched up to weapons used by the dead operatives. Even stranger still was the fact that the main killing grounds had next to no spent casings while the places where there were large concentrations of fire should have been enough to put down a small African rebellion, but there had been no signs of any casualties.

Finally there were the bodies. A few had normal wounds caused by ammunition cooking off, but the fact that the ammo was in an armoured box that had been blown to pieces made the situation equally unusual. One man had had his head ripped off by what appeared to be the application of industrial machinery to an unintended purpose. One man had his head ripped off by some unknown mechanism and then his head and spinal column used as a spear to destroy their radio equipment, which was impossible to say the least. One man had been violently dismembered with his headless and armless torso tossed in a box and mailed to the head of SEELE, although quite obviously it didn’t go her far as bodies in boxes tend to get noticed by security.

Those were the bodies they could somewhat understand. The vast majority of the dead had quite simply been blown apart from the inside out by some unknown force that left no shrapnel, no powder burns, and no other physical evidence of what had happened to them. There were a few holes in the walls to indicate what might have been bullet holes, but they were huge and would have required a 20mm cannon to make, if not for the fact that a 20mm cannon would not have behaved the way the ballistics of the holes dictated the rounds had.

Thus, it was only somewhat surprising that when all the data had been entered from forensics, the Magi had compiled it all and then spat out, “Incorrect data entry, please re-enter.”

The three supercomputers could be obstinate mules at times, her mother had programmed them that way, and it had taken well over an hour for Ritsuko just to figure out that the bastards were rejecting the data because it was literally impossible. In that light, it was simply a well designed UI trying to prevent user error by inputting nonsensical values. It had taken Ritsuko and her team another four hours to write a patch that would override that and allow for the analysis of data that defied the laws of physics.

Ritsuko had sent her team home for the night while the program ran and she stressed out about it. So far it had been cooking for two and a half hours. Ritsuko was just about to go get another cup of coffee when the screen displayed that the program had finished its analysis. Sitting back down, Ritsuko presses the display button and sees what the Magi have come up with.

By far the biggest chunk of the analysis was the ballistics for the road where most of the bullets had been recovered, most of the bullets having shown obvious signs of ricocheting off of something. The Magi analysis showed a rough time-line of what had happened.

The defenders in the warehouse had all opened fire at a small target. By analyzing the angles, the Magi showed that an approximately human shaped target about 2.5 to 3m tall and about 1.65 to 1.9m wide had simply walked through everything thrown at it and then fired three rounds, inflicting five casualties, including one casualty it should not have been able to see, let alone target.

“What would be required to take that kind of punishment and survive?” Ritsuko mumbled while typing the properly parsed question to the Magi.

The report was terrifying in its implication.

“Current limits on materials, power production, and miniaturization technology makes such a small yet resilience and mobile object impossible to produce,” was the report.

“How impossible?” Ritsuko asks of the Magi.

“Unknown. Time scale involved is a minimum of 100 years of research to achieve such technological breakthroughs. 100 years is considered an unrealistically optimistic minimum, but predictions in research beyond a century in the future are impossible to make,” the Magi state.

A cold chill ran down Ritsuko’s spine. The Magi and NERV represented the pinnacle of human science, and right now they were saying that whatever had done this was as at least as far beyond them as the Evas were beyond the first tanks to roll across the battlefields of World War One, if not the mounted knights of old.

The next simulations showed what would have been needed to inflict the wounds found on the men, and again it showed the impossible. Weapons with armour piercing profiles and energy densities requiring more than a hundred years of advancement in science and technology to be made possible, if at all.

Worst of all though were the deaths of the commander and the radio operator. The report showed that the only way for them to have been killed was by internally applied forces, the sort of thing that would require huge and complicated machines that would take time to set up and leave nasty marks from all the needles and such to work.

Or a more esoteric method of causing the damage.

“What about the Angels and AT-fields?” Ritsuko asks.

There is a pause followed by the response, “Theoretically possible, but the fine control necessary has never been demonstrated. Additionally, the power bloom would have been detected.”

A sudden dread washed over Ritsuko as she pulled up the monitoring logs for that night at the approximate time of the attack. There was nothing for blue patterns, but there were other patterns, patterns that were normally ignored. Like the red pattern, the one used for humans like the Children, the people who were special.

The red pattern that night was so bright it drowned out the city. Ritsuko started winding it back, to see when and where it started.

It didn’t end. She went back weeks, months, and the pattern only diminished slightly.

There was a human out there with the power of an Angel.

There was only one creature she knew of that could possibly do that. Grabbing her gun out of her desk, Ritsuko stormed off for Terminal Dogma. First she would have to destroy the remaining clones to ensure the bitch didn’t get back up, and then she would hunt her down. She was a threat unlike any ever before.

Arriving at the clone tanks, Ritsuko began to initiate the sequence to destroy every one of the damn giggling Reis. She was half-way done when she noted that the inane babble of their blank minds had ominously ceased. Turning about slowly, she found all the clones staring at her, their red eyes glowing with a light that shouldn’t have been there.

And standing behind her, naked and dripping LCL was one of them. When she spoke, her voice was hollow, with an unnatural reverberation.

What are you trying to do to my sisters Dr. Akagi?” The clone asked curiously.

“I… uh…” Ritsuko tried to say something, but then her mind exploded into pain, and she could feel the thoughts being torn out.

Ah… yes… that. I’m afraid that won’t work anymore doctor, I already took precautions to disable that system. Oh, and you won’t be needing that,” the clone says, gesturing with a finger, causing the gun to rip out of Ritsuko’s pocket and then go flying away.

“You killed all those men,” Ritsuko says.

The first three were an accident. We knew more would be sent, so I asked Shinji-kun to take care of it for me. He was happy to help,” the clone tells her.

“What?” Ritsuko asks in horror.

Of the Children, Shinji-kun is by far the most experienced and powerful. He was the one who knew how to wipe out the likes of them. It saddens me that I only discovered how much I craved him after he met Asuka-san, and irks me that he would be saddened if I tried to take away that which he holds dear,” Rei tells her.

“That… that’s impossible, Shinji doesn’t have any Angel DNA in him,” Ritsuko says unbelievingly.

He does. The ability to pilot an Eva requires incredible psychic talent, something the world lacked until Adam exploded, releasing his substance into the atmosphere. All the children born since then have had pieces of the Angels with them. In the Children, these pieces give rise to incredible psychic talent… or at least that is what Shinji-kun has pieced together from what he knows and from the various NERV reports on Second Impact,” Rei explains.

“Why… why are you telling me all this?” Ritsuko begs.

Because then the thoughts will rise to the surface of your mind and be easier to find. There is much we want to know that you know. There are also things that I want to know personally as well… like what it is like sleeping with an Ikari,” Rei says with a smile before advancing.

Don’t worry Dr. Akagi; you are too valuable to kill. Although I am afraid I am inexperienced with this technique, but you should recover within a week,” Rei tells her.

That deep in Terminal Dogma, there was no one to hear the screams.

All of NERV was in a sombre mood with the lead of their science division currently hospitalized for what appeared to be a stress related stroke. It was very minor and no permanent damage aside from some memory loss was expected, but she was still in a coma. This was devastating news with the Magi repair cycle coming up, but there was nothing that could be done.

Life had to go on even while Ritsuko lay in a bed hooked up to a dozen machines.

Especially since Gendo was not the sort of person to allow his employees any slack for this sort of thing.

He did however allow that without Ritsuko the process would be significantly slower.

Gendo was also secretly quite worried about what had happened. Ritsuko had been discovered in the elevator leading down to Terminal Dogma, her lab coat stained with LCL drippings. What had she been doing down there and why? And whatever had happened to her had not been a stroke, although it had caused neural bruising to the part of her brain pertaining to memory. The implications of what could have happened were… frightening.

Fortunately Lilith still seemed well restrained, the Lance of Longinus recently recovered from Antarctica ensuring passivity. Still, considering that the last thing Ritsuko had been working on before she suffered her “attack” was the analysis of the warehouse massacre, this was simply compounding the mystery.

Still, with everything this badly messed up the old men would be sure to leap upon him if he let news of this weakness get out. So since they were expecting new data on the Dummy Plug project, he had ordered the current batch of testing to go forward as scheduled: without Ritsuko, and with the Magi still being analyzed for anomalous activities.

So far the pilots had gone through with letting themselves be stripped down for this latest battery of tests with a minimum of grumbling, the majority of said grumbling coming from Asuka.

“I still don’t get why we have to be naked,” Asuka gripes while they are put through the decontamination process.

“Oh relax Asuka, it’s not so bad,” Shinji tells her.

“That’s because you’re a pervert,” Asuka points out.

Rolling his eyes, Shinji says, “Please. If anyone should be worried about dignity, it’s me.”

After all, I’ve seen both of you naked, while neither of you have yet to gaze upon my manly physique in its full glory!

You saw Rei naked! When was this?

Before you arrived here. Neither one of us particularly cared at the time.

It was less that she was naked and more that she was not wearing any clothes.

A likely story!

I am amused by the fact that you are not upset by the fact that Shinji claims to have seen you naked.

That’s because I’ve already shown him most of the good stuff.

Actually, I used remote viewing to peep on you when you changed into your plug suit back when we first met. Full frontal for the win!


At least I’m an honest pervert, unlike somebody who decided that since I did not look on you, physically at least, you would peek at
me while I was changing.


Climbing naked into the entry plugs, the three Children were then inserted into the simulation bodies and were immediately confronted with some rather bizarre sensations, the lack of their plug suits and the simulation bodies themselves giving them odd feedback. Asuka had yet to learn the telepathic communion that Shinji and Rei used to control their Evas, so she was perhaps the least affected, but both Shinji and Rei were disgusted by the mindless nature of the simulation bodies.

Still, it was something they just had to live with.

Meanwhile a patch of corrosion began to grow on a protein wall in the system. Unbeknownst to the members of NERV watching this happening, this corrosion was in fact the growth of billions of microscopic organisms, each one a fragment of a larger whole.

The Eleventh Angel had come to NERV.

As it began to grow and spread, preparing to make its move for the Pribnow Box and the simulation bodies, both Shinji and Rei stopped what they were doing. Every time before when they had encountered an Angel, its psychic presence had been massive, blotting out the details, but now they felt a presence actually begin to grow, very near them.

There is an Angel in the base.

Yes. Do we tell anyone?

How? They won’t believe us, and if we do we’ll just let them know what we can do once the attack begins.

Then what do we do?

I’m thinking.

By this point the spread of the corrosion had warranted alarm from the technical crews and they began to prepare for the spread of contaminants. They were not prepared for what actually happened.

Rei’s simulation body jerked back as the Angel spread into contact with it. Panic began to set in as one of the arms tried to smash open the observation window, only for an emergency charge to blow the limb free. Someone ordered the pilots to be ejected.

Two entry plugs rocketed away from the simulation bodies, exiting out hatches and heading for the artificial lake on the bottom of the Geofront.

One of them had jammed in its firing sequence, still trapped in the Pribnow box. In the chaos and confusion of the evacuation and sealing of the area, no one noticed that they were one Pilot short, except for the Pilots themselves, who remaining in telepathic contact with their missing comrade.

Rei, are you okay?

I will endure for the moment, although I am afraid that the Angel is currently trying to absorb me into its collective. It is so far rather unsuccessful.

I can feel it from here… a quadrillion tiny fragments of a greater mind… it’s a viral entity, a hive mind… and… you caused the launch failure.

I am confident I can make use of this situation.

Rei! You idiot! It might be like a germ, but I can feel its mind. It’s an evolutionary creature; it will simply find adapt to your attacks and find ways around your defences.

Then we will have to work together. My body swims with contagions. If you help them to evolve into a better plague, then I will begin the counter contagion.

Son of a bitch Rei! Are you insane?

One could say that we all are. If you could please begin, I do believe that the NERV staff are about to make a mistake.

Damn it! Alright, listen up both of you; we’re going to do this in a well organized manner. Rei, you’re obviously on the front lines, while I’ll cook up better weapons for you. Asuka, you’re damn near immune to psychic attacks since you got those eyes of yours, so you’re going to be the shield whenever possible, got it?

Sure, this is no way to fight, but if the Angels are going to be sneaky little bitches like this I guess we’ll have to go along with it.

The technicians are making their move.

Inside the Pribnow Box, ozone began to flood in, destroying countless trillions of units of the Angel, but it began to evolve, adapting to the new environment and planning on using the oxygen in the ozone as fuel for the next stage of its evolution.

The Children struck back in the moment of weakness as the Angel was still adapting. The colonies attempting to corrupt Rei from the inside out sudden discovered two massive problems. The first was her super charged immune system, the second was competition. Bacteria and viruses and even fungi began to spread from Rei, feeding upon the Angel, their spread enhanced by Rei’s psychic powers.

The Angel reeled back from this unexpected assault. The ozone adaptation was only partly done, and while the Angel was an incredibly quick learner, the attackers had a few billion years of living in oxygenated environments and were unhindered by what was still killing the colonies.

The Angel adapted and began a counter-attack. The contagions fell back to their lines at Rei’s simulation body before making their stand. The Angel, wanting to complete its mission and destroy this base by hacking the computers, felt that the threat was well contained and began to reconfigure into a structure capable of hacking into the Magi.

Shinji meanwhile had been forcing the diseases in Rei’s body into ever more vicious evolutionary cycles, producing strains of such incredible virulence that if they had been adapted for humans they would make the Black Plague look like a case of the sniffles. Even though these creations were meant for killing this Angel, if they got out into the outside world they could still make smallpox look like a nasty rash.

Their lines over-extended and the defenders overconfident, the attacking Angel colonies suddenly discovered that the fallback was a ruse and met with toxins specifically tailored to killing them. When they adapted to those toxins, new ones were used that used the adaptations to the old ones to be even worse.

The newly forming circuit colonies were mercilessly bombed. New thoughts died half formed, and to top it all off a special strike team found the physical connections to the Magi and severed them.

Furious now, the Angel resorted to using its AT-field on a microscopic scale to deal with this insult. The diseases responded by bringing forth something special Shinji had cooked up just for something like this: psychic bacteria. Trillions of nanoscopic lightning bolts began to leap out, punching through the tiny AT-fields. A well placed bolt in the circuits could destroy an entire colony as the energy propagated down the superconductive lines, burning out switches and relays.

The AT-field got stronger. The bacteria began to group together to throw about sparks visible to the naked eye. All the observation areas were destroyed and visual sensors were down, but the inside of the Pribnow Box was suddenly alive with shifting, twisting colours and sparking lighting and bubbles escaping from every surface.

The battle was brutal, but ever so slowly the Angel began to turn back the tide, its defences getting stronger by the second while the lightning throwers were no longer causing enough damage to counter the growth of the Angel’s colonies.

It was at this point that the Angel noted that it was having problems forming new colonies as the substrates to attach down to were corroding in a highly basic environment. The change had been slow enough that the Angel had adapted, but it now realized that everything it had faced had been adapted to a basic environment before the battle began.

It was at this point it noted that there was a massive bubble of oxygen and hydrogen sitting at the top of the Pribnow Box, the water broken down by the AT-fields and electricity thrown about. A tiny spark was launched by a strike team at the surface.

If bacteria could have grinned, they would have.

The Pribnow Box was blown apart, the pressure wave destroying millions of colonies, the sudden boiling temperatures killing millions more, and the sudden draining of the water annihilated yet more as the colonies were exposed to a dry environment. Quintillions of the units died in three seconds. And into this devastation arrived the nastiest creations Shinji had cooked up yet.

They were microscopic battleships, adapted to the air and to the heat, and they were packing the reason why the environment had become highly basic. Huge colonies of fungi had spread down the simulation body and began harvesting water… heavy water. Separating the deuterium from the oxygen had produced ionized oxygen that tended to strip hydrogen off water to produce two hydroxide ions.

Shinji had created flying, thermophilic psychic bacteria armed with fusion cannons. Telekinetically accelerating deuterium ions together, the bacteria hurled the products at the still shell-shocked colonies, bombarding them with x-ray, neutron, and alpha radiation. The attacks also positively charged the target, and the bacteria let the electrons stripped from the deuterons fly off towards their targets.

The walls of the box melted under the barrage. The bacteria were very thorough, starting at the top, causing the melted remains to fall down on lower colonies, frying them. They also salted the destroyed areas with friendly spores capable of surviving on the melt. With outside atmosphere leaking in, the spores began nitrogen fixing to produce acids and toxins that they rained down on the lower colonies.

By the time the Angel got its head together, so to speak, it had lost 81.4% of its initial mass and the attackers were already varying their tactics and techniques to avoid adaptation. Condensing its remaining colonies together, it projected a massive AT-field as it began construction of a full sized S2 organ. It needed all the power it could get in fighting these unholy monstrosities.

Once protected behind a full strength AT-field, something that the bacteria could not punch through, the Angel punched forward a line of growth directly at the disease covered simulation body that housed the source of the power for these ludicrous attacks. The Angel steamrolled everything in its path, using its AT-field to slice, crush, and destroy everything that stood in its way while it rapidly formed new connections, becoming smarter with each passing moment.

Crashing into the simulation body, the Angel punched tendrils of growth deep into its decaying flesh, towards the entry plug. Right when it hit the plug it struck a counter AT-field and the casing was the scene of a monstrous battle on the micro-scale as plasma blasts, lightning bolts, and telekinetic attacks were exchanged between opposing forces. The Angel however had learned many tricks, and with its S2 organ, it could bring more power to bear than Rei’s defenders.

It cracked the case of the entry plug and immediately found Rei, for she had grown too. Her body, the primary factor for the most monstrous contagions ever dreamed up, had swollen with cancerous growths to surface as an incubator for new strains. The Angel punched straight through the layers of overlapping tumours for the central nervous system. It wrapped about Rei’s spinal column and then began travelling up towards her brain.

Asuka dropped the mental shield she had been projecting.

For just an instant the Angel heard the mental chatter it had been protected from and it knew that its race was doomed. The Angels ultimate strength was their adaptability, the ability to react to a changing environment.

The Lilim on the other hand could adapt before a change occurred. They could see what was coming and act accordingly. They did not need to see a challenge coming to be ready for it. They could use the reactive nature of the Angels to prod them into evolutionary paths that ended in an ambush.

The Children had shielded the Angel from psychic chatter so that it would never develop the appropriate defences. They had unleashed hellish, impossible plagues against it, forcing it to divert all of its energy, all of its attention towards defending against the physical, and then when it had linked with Rei and both minds were open, the mental attack was launched.

The Eleventh Angel did not have time to communicate its findings to its brethren. It had just enough time to get off a psychic scream of absolute despair and fear that rattled them all to the core. For what it found in Rei’s mind was one word, one command that could not be denied.


The Angel’s mind and soul were shattered and sent hurling into the abyss, its body dissolved as the components all ceased to live and the pieces were disintegrated and incinerated as all the life forms Rei had released also died as one in an apocalyptic explosion that caused the nitrogen in the air to burn with the oxygen for a time.

Rei III also died giving the command, but it was no great deal for her, her soul immediately jumping to the bodies of her sisters to await revival by Gendo. In the peaceful silence of that limbo state she would share the new gifts she had acquired in the fight. She had absorbed all those wonderful, awful diseases into her soul, and now they would spread to the genome of every clone.

The blood of Rei IV would be capable of killing everyone on the planet if she so desired it to.

Up in their entry plugs the other Children were also absorbing their new gifts.

Asuka’s eyes had changed again, her once light blue irises darkening to a rich blue-violet that was almost black, a consequence of the strain in shielding the Angel from the thoughts of the other Children. There were also subtler changes that would take several days to manifest, but for now she seemed the least affected.

Just beneath the surface of his flesh, a new, strange neural net had developed, Shinji’s body quite liking the biological nano-computer design the Angel had come up with and replicating it. Weaving in and out with the rest of his nervous system, this new network was invisible to normal scans, but it took much of the load for autonomic actions off his brain, allowing more space to be freed up for higher brain functions.

As his already formidable intelligence increased, Shinji’s first major post-battle thought was not a happy one.

This situation is WAY too suspicious.
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Post by Academia Nut » 2008-01-03 03:11am

In the wake of the attack by the Eleventh Angel, things were very quiet for the Children. NERV was still a hornet’s nest of activity as repairs were made, clean-ups instigated, and investigations launched. They were all quite glad to be away from all the activity, for as Shinji had said, “Some weird shit just went down and we were the closest to it, so I don’t think we want to we anywhere near there when they start asking questions.”

Asuka was later in getting home as it had been her turn to help with classroom clean-up, and she had then stopped off at the store to get a few things. She had been feeling an incredible craving for red meat the past few days, so she had splurged and bought a large quantity of pork and beef.

Her first instinct when she got back to the apartment was to rip into the packages and begin eating everything raw, but she pushed that down and instead looked about to see if she could find Shinji. Eventually she knocked on Pen-pen’s fridge and asked, “Any idea where Shinji’s hiding?”

Opening the door, Pen-pen looked at her, said, “Wark,” pointed up, and then went back to his nap.

“Right, roof then,” Asuka says, heading out of the apartment.

Shinji was indeed on the roof, and while judging from his clothes and his staff lying off to the side he had been practicing, he was not doing so currently. Instead, he was sitting in quiet meditation, surrounded by his own congregation of animals. It was kind of creepy the way normally wild creatures would gather peacefully around Shinji and Rei, although at least in Shinji’s case his congregation was much cleaner.

“Communing with nature are you?” Asuka asks.

“Yes,” Shinji says, before gesturing for the various creatures to disperse. Unlike Rei, who had attracted the scavengers and the mongrels and the lost creatures, the vermin no one cared about, Shinji’s congregation was made up of what he called ‘subtle predators’. From the skies birds of prey of both day and night flocked to him and from the ground the snakes slithered forth to see him.

The only creature that did not leave for the night was a proud looking peregrine falcon that had made a nest on the apartment roof. The sharp eyed bird kept watch over its master all throughout the day, a flight of owls patrolling the skies at night but not claiming the territory the way that one falcon had.

Not turning to Asuka, Shinji remained seated, brushing the feathers of the bird while still meditating.

“Horus likes you, you know?” Shinji states idly.

“Horus?” Asuka asks.

“Ancient Egyptian falcon god… and a little in-joke,” Shinji states while nudging the bird to move. Flapping its wings, the falcon takes up position at its roost.

“Some freaky things are happening to us,” Asuka states, sitting down next to Shinji, hugging her knees to her chest.

His eyes still closed, Shinji states, “We are, and always have been and will be, special. Embrace that fact or go mad. Would you be frightened to know the reasoning behind your sudden cravings for strange things?”

Mulling this over, Asuka asks in return, “Would I be more frightened about the ‘why’ or the ‘how you know’?”

Smiling, Shinji says, “You’re learning. Both are frightful.”

“Tell me how you know then,” Asuka says.

“Very well,” Shinji says, still smiling. “In the fight with the Eleventh Angel, I had to guide the evolution of Rei’s diseases, which required an extremely fine control over my abilities. It forced my body to change to accommodate the new requirements of my mind. My remote viewing abilities have been… enhanced, considerably. Aside from microscopic detail, I can now view things in four dimensions.”

“Four dimensions?” Asuka asks curiously.

“It’s hard to explain really. Think of a two dimensional creature, not just flat but completely lacking in the third dimension. Its skin would be its perimeter, with all of its organs and such inside the area described, just like our skin encloses our volume. If you think about the way our eyes work, we only really see in two dimensions, but we have tricks like binocular vision to give us an approximation of three dimensional vision via depth perception. A two dimensional creature would be the same; it would only be able to see in one dimension because its eyes would have to be on its perimeter to actually interact with its world. If you were to show a 3-D object to such a creature, it would only be able to see slices of it at a time. If you were to show a 4-D object to us, we would only be able to see blobs of it at a time, and it would just be a confusing mess. Of course, for a 3-D creature looking at a 2-D creature, you could see all of it at once, its insides, everything. Hell, you could reach down and poke it right in the guts and there would be nothing it could do about it. Well, now I have 4-D vision if I focus properly. I can literally see the entirety of a 3-D object all at once,” Shinji says, attempting an explanation.

“So that means that?” Asuka asks.

Grinning, Shinji says, “Well for one, unless you have clothing that exists in four dimensions they’re pretty much useless for the purposes of concealing things.”

Whacking him playfully upside the head, Asuka says, “Stupid pervert.”

Rubbing the spot where he was hit painfully, Shinji says, “And the other thing is that I can see your insides all at once. Combined with microscopic viewing, it gives me a rather unique way of looking at the changes occurring to us. Makes applying telekinesis rather interesting as well.”

Asuka shuddered as she felt invisible fingers running all across and inside her body in a pleasantly visceral way.

“I have already memorized the map of the entire human peripheral nervous system through experimentation upon myself and others; I know what every last nerve, every last dendrite, does and how they connect. It’s actually rather frightening the sort of intelligence needed to do this in a few days, but then again most people just see a tangled mess, I can lay out every last connection without having pieces running over and around one another. It makes it much easier to tell them apart,” Shinji says, still running telekinetic fingers through Asuka.

Panting a few times at the alien sensations he is making her feel, Asuka says, “That… that’s enough for now.” He could effortless combine together sensations, triggering simultaneous warm and cold feelings while mixing them with painless cutting and purple-green bursts of light and the flavour of strawberries bursting in her mouth.

Discontinuing it with a wave, Shinji says, “Very well, I am no deviant Slaaneshi to revel in such things anyway. My original intent of such mapping was of course to be able to have a new way of taking someone down. A tap in the right place and a person could fall to the ground screaming as they feel as if their entire body is on fire. It would last but a few moments, but the effects could be devastating nonetheless. It is so much simpler than a direct psychic attack too.”

Thinking about this, Asuka asks, “Is this why the news was talking about the fit the President of the United States suffered yesterday?”

Chuckling darkly, Shinji says, “His public address was annoying me. It took quite a bit of effort to do a viewing and a telekinetic burst over that kind of distance, but it shut him up quite effectively.”

Shrugging at Shinji’s admission of such a use of his powers, Asuka asks, “So this has to do with me how?”

“Ah yes. As I was saying, I can see you inside and out all at once, and your body is changing in ways not normal for fourteen year olds. Your biochemistry is changing for one. It’s pretty subtle now, but I have no idea how long it will go on. For example, feel my hand,” Shinji says, holding out his left hand.

Taking it in hers, Asuka recoils in shock and says, “It’s ice cold!”

Grinning, Shinji says, “Actually your body temperature is somewhere about forty degrees Celsius, give or take half a degree.”

“What! That’s impossible!” Asuka says, although she had been wearing more clothing the past few days as she had felt chilled.

Poking her in the stomach, the organ not the belly in general, Shinji says, “Telekinesis is possible and you having an elevated internal body temperature and not suffering any ill effects isn’t?”

“Uh…” Asuka says, not really having any response to that sort of thing.

Smiling crookedly, Shinji says, “Well, I always knew my girlfriend was hot, but this is just taking it a touch further than expected.”

“Okay, why am I so hot then?” Asuka asks.

“Should I start with the breasts, thighs, ass or face?” Shinji asks.

Whacking him again, Asuka says with a touch of worry in her voice, “Okay, stop kidding around and tell me what’s going on.”

Wincing, Shinji mutters, “That spot was already tender from the first time.” After regaining his composure, he says, “Your body is running hot because its burning lots of extra energy rearranging itself, and your own natural psychic field is protecting you from the ill effects. The reason you’re so hungry lately, especially for red meat, is because your body suddenly has a massive demand for fresh proteins for all the new construction it’s doing.”

“So my temperature will go back down?” Asuka asks.

Shrugging, Shinji says, “Probably, although just looking at some of the new protein structures and how much more robust they are your body temperature will still probably be above human normal when this is all done. Maintaining all that new hardware is going to be pretty energy intensive I think.”

“Okay, so what new stuff do I have?” Asuka asks.

“Well, for starters your muscle fibres are now using a denser, more efficient form than what humans use, which is why when you slap me even lightly now it fucking hurts like a bitch. To keep from snapping your own limbs every time your flex your muscles, your bones are being reinforced with a biological form of a titanium-steel alloy. Incidentally, your iron uptake is going through the roof and your usage is going to be a bit wonky as your bones go through this reinforcement. It also explains why you’ve been drinking white paint,” Shinji tells her.

“I have not been drinking paint!” Asuka cries out indignantly.

“Relax; I said there was an explanation. Almost all modern white paints contain titanium dioxide as the primary pigment, and your body suddenly has a demand for titanium it didn’t before. Plus, I found the bottles, and disposed of them more carefully so Misato-san won’t ask why there are a dozen empty bottles of white paint lying around,” Shinji tells her.

“Oh,” Asuka says, blushing, glade that Shinji can’t see her with his eyes closed and in the waning light of the dying day.

“Yes. There are several dozen other changes being made as well. Your vision might be a little blurry at the moment, don’t worry, that will go away in a day or so. Your retinas are detaching one at a time and moving to new positions, along with new ones being grown. When it is all done your eyesight will be many times sharper than normal. Your digestive tract is changing into a smaller, more efficient form and your lungs and liver are expanding. Your kidneys are becoming more efficient at extracting water and expelling toxins. The conduction speeds of your nerves are increasing. I can continue if you want, the list of changes is quite long though,” Shinji tells her.

“No… I don’t think I need to know…” Asuka says in a frightened tone.

“If you’re afraid of these changes, don’t worry. Each one is fairly subtle, and it’s only the fact that so many are occurring that makes it so big. The net effect will be that by the time this is all over you should be able to head butt a brick wall, a load bearing one at that, and the wall will come off worse than you,” Shinji tells her.

“So… I’m becoming some sort of super soldier?” Asuka asks in a quiet tone.

Shrugging, Shinji says, “Pretty close to one.”

“I suppose that’s pretty cool, but I don’t know how that will help when we keep getting attacked by the Angels,” Asuka says.

Smiling wryly, Shinji points out, “It will sure as hell help when you’re getting knocked around the entry plug. I was damn near in a constant state of being bruised between Ramiel and Israfel.”

Smiling at that, Asuka says, “That’s true.”

Running a telekinetic finger up her spine, making her shiver, Shinji says, “You’re moping Asuka. Do you know what that means?”

“It’s time for a sloppy make-out session?” Asuka asks hopefully.

“Fuck yeah it’s time for a sloppy make-out session,” Shinji says, opening his eyes and then springing from his sitting position to tackle her.”

They playfully wrestled for a while, Shinji barely able to counter Asuka’s greater strength with his ability to predict her moves and weasel out of thing. Finally though Asuka managed to overpower him and pin his shoulders to the ground while straddling his hips to keep his legs under control.

Staring down at him, Asuka asks, “Shinji… could we go a little further this time?”

“How much further?” Shinji inquires.

“Well… I really liked what you did earlier with your telekinesis, and I was… um… wondering… if…” Asuka says, chewing her lip in hesitation.

“If I would do that to… shall we say more sensitive areas?” Shinji finishes for her.

“Yeah,” Asuka says with a nod. “I… I uh… actually had a… uh… a dream and it had you and it… uh… was really, really good and I’ve been wanting to… uh… ask you if… well… if you wanted to go to third base… for the… well… the uh… past few days.”

Laughing at the brilliant red blush on her face, Shinji says, “Hey, if my girlfriend wants to go to third base, I don’t care if I slide in or levitate in.”

Thinking about his word choice, Asuka glares at him with an amused look on her face and says, “Pervert.”

“Guilty as charged. Now do you want me to do a telekinetic massage or a direct neural stimulation?” Shinji asks.

“Surprise me,” Asuka replies.

She then promptly collapsed off Shinji as a small artillery shell seemed to hit her right between the eyes. Pinning her now, Shinji says, “I’ll let you figure out what that was on your own. Could you lower your mental barriers though? I want to know what is pleasant and what is too much so I can be careful.”

Gasping for air, Asuka looks up at him with half glazed eyes and a slack jaw.

Can you hear me now?

Loud and clear… and that should be feel quite nice for you, now shouldn’t it?

HOLY FUCK! Sweet merciful! Don’t… do… don’t… holy SHIT! Oh wow… oh wow… oh fuck! Fuck Shinji, you keep this up and sex will be a let down!

I doubt that. It will just be one more appendage to work with.

Oh God! Oh God, you’re a fucking octopus already! Oh sweet Khorne take me now!

Elsewhere in the city, Rei was watching this all through her mind, her envy growing. She could contain it… for now… but she wanted Shinji, wanted him the way Asuka had him. To a certain degree she hated the bitch… and to another degree she loved her just as intensely.

“You long to lie with them both,” a dry, cracked voice says to her.

“You are a figment of my imagination,” Rei replies.

“We are symptoms of a disease, a glorious, beautiful disease,” a gurgling, infected voice tells her happily.

“Silence,” Rei says, glaring at the two heads of her previous incarnations on the altar. She had already sown their mouths shut with heavy string, but still they spoke with her.

Worse yet, there was a third voice that had no head, the voice of her first incarnation. It flitted about at all times, its voice small and cruel in the way only children could be.

“In time, you too shall join us,” the childish voice says.

“Silence,” Rei IV orders.

“We cannot be silenced. We are you, you are we. Our soul has been reincarnated so many times, it has begun to fragment. Your wearing of our mindless sisters has accelerated the process, and what you learned from Ireul about group minds has made it worse,” Rei III tells her.

“Then I am going insane,” Rei IV says in annoyance.

“We are merely an expression your nature. Our voices add to your own, your minds to yours. After all, three heads are better than one!” Rei III says before beginning to chuckle wetly. A blow of telekinesis sends the bloated, cancerous head, caught in a state of perpetual rot, bouncing away.

“Three merely wishes to tell you the truth of the matter, just as I do. You cannot deny for instance that you joined with her in dream the other night,” Rei II says in her perpetually dry voice, the effects of the strange mummification that had happened to her.

Flopping down angrily, Rei IV cannot deny that bit of information. All the tiny bones of all the thousands of creatures that came here to die rattled between her fingers, the sound drowning out her own thoughts for a time.

Rei had stopped dreaming ever since she had incarnated in this form. Instead, when her body rested, her soul, already only loosely connected to any one body, drifted, lost upon the psychic sea of the hundreds of thousands of others slumbering at night. Every night she visited dozens of others, leaving them how she say fit. She was a young boy’s wet dream, an old woman’s fond memory, a guilty man’s nightmare.

And two nights ago, she had found Asuka’s soul in her meaningless drifting.

Rei had wept in her mind when she first beheld it, for she finally understood why Shinji had chosen Asuka over her. Rei had emotion and passion now, but it had taken her a long time to get it right, and even now she was barely a candle in comparison to the supernova that was Asuka.

In the dreamscape horned demons wielding crooked axes standing in front of a wall of boiling blood had prevented initial access, but one of the gatekeepers recognized Rei and allowed her within. Instead of being a free agent within the dreamscape, Rei and Asuka’s mind mingled, each sharing the other’s thoughts and sensations. Asuka did not understand what was happening, and would probably never know about Rei’s involvement unless she told her.

At the time Rei joined in, Asuka had been dreaming about just talking with Shinji, a simple memory being processed by the dream. With Rei’s involvement though, the dream had moved from simple talking to a full blown make-out session. Rei had revelled in all the memories Asuka had of Shinji’s touch to make the experience all the more real.

And then Rei had added her own contribution: Dr. Akagi’s adult memories, ripped from the woman’s mind over a week before. The two girls had been one as the dream Shinji did wonderful, incredible things to her/them. When it was all over and Rei’s mind drifted back to her body, she had immediately finished off what had been started. She suspected Asuka did the same.

Since then she had been melancholy in her obsession. She wanted the dream to be real. She wanted to feel Shinji inside her, to feel the warmth of his breath on her bare skin, the dripping of his sweat upon her back, the…

Asuka had invaded her fantasies too. She wanted to lie naked with the other girl and play with her. She wanted to be with her, for their saliva and other fluids to mingle. For Asuka to shudder with joy as Rei went to work and the blessings of Nurgle to do their job. For Asuka to cry out in joy just as her body finished breaking down into a bag of blackened pus that would burst upon Rei. And then Rei would wallow in the toxic remains of the other girl, immune to the disease that had removed the competition.

But never immune to Shinji’s glare. He would hate her forever if she did such a thing to the one he loved. Her fantasies of what he did grew worse with each successive version. He had begun by killing her in gruesome ways, ripping her apart with his telekinesis or throwing lightning bolts at her until her organs began to burst out of her flesh with the heat. Then it had moved on to a lifetime of torture, of reducing Rei to a quadruple amputee, her only sensations pain.

The worst though, was when Shinji killed himself. He did it just to spite her. For killing his love, he would give Rei no attention at all. At first these terrible thoughts had been Rei trying to continue on without him, but then Shinji and Asuka came back to taunt her, spirits eternally together in the afterlife, and she could not join them. No matter what Rei did, there was always another clone to keep her from the afterlife, while Shinji and Asuka just laughed cruelly in the shadows as the bodies piled up in one futile attempt after the other.

In other fantasies, it was Rei that dissolved, becoming the bacteria that swam in Asuka’s blood and guts, to be ever with the other girl, to gaze out through her eyes whenever Shinji smiled, to feel through her skin whenever Shinji touched her, and to know the love he had for the other girl. She would never be able to hop over to Shinji though. Even when he was plunging in and out of Asuka’s orifices, Rei could never make the leap between them. In fact, the closest she ever came to such a feat was when she cuddled up next to the child developing in Asuka’s womb as a result of their actions, their love.

Sadly, the most realistic fantasy was also the one Rei dreaded the most. In it, she and Asuka lay naked, intertwined, kissing and touching each other so as to arouse Shinji, who sat and watched their antics with amusement. He would then join the two of them, and they would take turns in serving him, in accepting him into their bodies. It was wondrous, it was possible… and it was heart crushing. Because no matter how much Shinji accepted Rei, she would always be second to Asuka, and that hurt.

“Second place is better than not ranking at all,” Rei II whispers to her.

“Indeed. Follow your heart. Ask Asuka if she wants to share. She is the one you must win over. If she asks Shinji if you could join them, then he will gladly accept,” Rei III says, her head having returned to its place on the altar while Rei IV was thinking.

“Or if you’re truly that desperate you could ask his father… but then again he would just use you because you’re a part clone of his dead wife,” Rei I says, giggling cruelly.

A tear fell from Rei’s face and hit the ground. For a moment black fungus and mould began to grow before Rei snuffed out the life before it spread out of control and finished off what Second Impact had started. She had always been at best second in the hearts and minds of others: a pitiful doll for a broken old man to lust after in place of his dead wife; the pilot of the prototype, the back-up for the test-type and production model; or just the quiet, creepy girl in glass.

The only one who had ever accepted her, ever truly cared for her, had been Shinji, and he was in love with another.

Wiping away her tears, Rei nodded and said to her heads, “Tomorrow there is a test at NERV; I shall confront Asuka… and find out if she would be willing to share.”

“That’s a girl,” her predecessors say in unison.


“Butterfly, a curious creature unique. What does it do, but flap its wings? Unique, but for the millions of others like it. One takes flight, its fellows follow, millions of wings stirring the air. Air, stirred, takes on a life of its own. Eddies and vortices, currents and streams, invisible patterns, unseen by human eyes but felt nonetheless. What is a human? A creation of other the gods, or something more or something less? Can a human perceive the flapping of a butterfly’s wings for what it is? Can a man see the whirlwinds created by that which he casually disturbs?

“Who is this before me, to whom the butterflies flock? What is this starry eyed man? Why does his smile scare me so? Why do I fall into his eyes, swimming with stars? Galaxies spin, suns explode, and the universe goes on expanding, growing cold and dark. But even in the darkness, the perturbations of the butterflies remain, and at the very end, that man is still there, still smiling. What is this in the palm of his hand?

“What is this? What is this? By the gods what is this?

Rei’s screams ended the test before it had even gone past the absolute borderline. Ritsuko wanted to grab a cigarette to ease her but after her little attack she had been forbidden from smoking and been forced to massively cut back on her caffeine intake. It had left her annoyed and irritable, and considering the disasters that had been happening while she was out, this was a bad thing.

Gendo was furious with the results that the Children had been giving for the past month, and it was all coming to a head. Simply put, Shinji did not respond to synchronization “correctly”, and instead seemed to have his own methods, methods that NERV science did not understand, for making his Eva move the way he wanted it to. Despite only having a 55% synchronization rating, he consistently had the most powerful AT-fields and his Eva always responded in real time.

This behaviour was infecting the other pilots. Rei’s synch rating had hit a similar plateau at 55%, and Asuka seemed to be dropping towards that level as well even though her reaction times were increasing. Of course, while immensely useful in combat, these results were absolutely useless for the Dummy Plug project.

And now Rei, considered the most universally compatible of the Children, and by far the most level person on the planet, was having a panic attack while trying to synchronize with Unit 01. This unfortunately confirmed what Ritsuko had feared: a combat “mature” Eva would only synchronize with its designated Pilot. The metamorphosis that had been happening was changing everything they knew about the Evas, which already was terrifying small, considering that they were using them for war machines.

The moment Shinji had been put into Unit 00 for that part of the test he had immediately aborted, claiming that he was getting anomalous sensory input. When pressed further, he had embarrassingly admitted that the problem was that the plug had started to smell like Rei as the power-up sequence had begun. Further pressed, he had finally said in exasperation, “Alright, look, it smells like Rei after she’s been in gym class for the past hour and decided to skip the shower and has just cracked open her lunch of natto on sauerkraut with vegemite and blue cheese sauce with diced onions and garlic for flavour and boiled beets for colour. If this smell gets much worse I swear I will throw-up, to say nothing of the distraction this is causing.”

Just looking at his rapidly increasing stress levels and comparing them to the normal cool head Shinji had, Ritsuko had allowed the termination of the test. Clearly Unit 00 liked him no better than Unit 01 liked Rei. At least he had immediately voiced his discomfort and not nearly driven Unit 00 into a berserker state, unlike Rei who had nearly made it to the absolute borderline before losing it.

As it stood right now, Ritsuko guessed that the only Eva that would have a chance of accepting a Dummy Plug was Unit 02. While by raw numbers it had about as many sorties as the other two units and the pilot had been training with it for a much longer period of time, it had not been through the vicious fights with Shamshel or Ramiel, both of which had caused a tremendous amount of damage, and thus regeneration, to the Evas.

Gendo was going to be pissed, because SEELE would be furious with this news. This was not something they needed right now.

At least Rei seemed well behaved.


Rei had intended to ask Asuka about her proposal to “share” Shinji in the change room, but before the test they had both arrived at very different times and thus that opportunity had been missed. Rei having to be hauled out of Unit 01 having a panic attack over a hallucination she could only half remember had fouled her plans for an attempt after.

Away from the physical manifestations of the previous fragments of her soul, Rei had also found that she had lost her nerve. Part of it was actual fear of how Asuka would react, while another part was a more well-founded fear of how Commander Ikari would react if he found out. Rei also realized that she had no idea how to really go about this sort of thing.

Thus she found herself standing in front of Major Katsuragi’s office trying to work out the exact wording of how she was going to ask this question. Outright lying seemed like a good idea, but then again Shinji had told her repeatedly that the best lies were, paradoxically, 100% true… from a certain point of view. By carefully presenting one fact you could have someone believe in the exact opposite. The best benefit of all this was that when the truth, the real truth came out, blame for the obfuscation would fall not on the one doing the concealing, but upon the one from whom the truth was concealed from.

Looking up from the pile of paperwork on her desk, Misato sees Rei and says in a surprised voice, “Ah, Ayanami-san, is there something you needed?”

Nodding, Rei steps into the office and asks quietly, “Yes. I have been troubled at school lately, and I felt I should ask you about it.”

“Oh? What makes you think I would be the best one to ask about something like that?” Misato asks with a crooked smile on her face.

“I overheard some girls talking in class. I heard someone saying some unpleasant things about Pilot Soryu.” That Rei had been the one saying these things in the privacy of her apartment was left out. “Or at least I assumed that they were unpleasant by the tone of voice. I did not quite understand the full meaning of some of the terms used, but I have been lead to believe that you would know these things, and as my commanding officer, I felt it best to talk to you.”

Frowning, Misato gets up and closes the door before going around to sit back on her chair and asks intently, “What did you hear Rei?”

Frowning slightly, Rei says, “I heard someone call Pilot Soryu a ‘whore whose ears hang on Pilot Ikari’s every word while she hangs off him by sucking on to his penis’. Individual these words I understand, but together I do not comprehend the full meaning.”

Face planting into her desk, Misato grumbles, “Of all the things I expected to have to do in my life, this was not one of them. Alright, strap in kid, because I’m going to give you the same talk I gave Shinji and Asuka. If you’re that clueless, you need to hear what I have to say.”

Three hours later and Misato was running out of things to tell Rei. Unlike the other two, she had not flinched from a word said, merely sitting back quietly and listening, asking questions about things she did not quite understand. Somehow Misato had got going and by the end of it she was somehow explaining what a ‘gangbang’ meant using examples from her wilder college days.

Trailing off at, “…and we were all kind of awkward around one another for the next week…” Misato slumps over, everything she knew about the birds and the bees that could be vocalized to a minor somehow drawn out of her.

“I… see…” Rei says softly. “So you never initiated one of these events?”

“No… I was usually quite drunk at the time,” Misato says, blushing with embarrassment at the memories.

“Then I will just have to make sure I am never drunk. Thank you Major Katsuragi, that was most educational,” Rei says with a nod before getting up to leave.

“You’re welcome Rei. I’m just glad you came to me for that sort of thing rather than trying to figure it out yourself,” Misato says, inwardly wincing at how screwed up her own past had been because of the dearth of strong parental figures to reign in her self-destructive impulses. Fortunately Rei wasn’t the wild, party type likely to get involved in something like that.

Snorting, Misato wondered if Rei even knew what sex was before coming down here.
Last edited by Academia Nut on 2008-01-03 11:08am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Academia Nut » 2008-01-26 02:32pm

Consciousness was slow to return, the first question to arise being 'Why was I unconscious in the first place?

His eyes fluttering open to see an unfamiliar ceiling, Shinji feels the rough texture of the hospital sheets first before he notices the sticky coldness of the sensor pads across his body and the uncomfortable pressure of the IV line in the crook of his arm. He also notes the abrasive coarseness of the straps about his wrists, ankles, and across his thighs and chest.

Thus Shinji’s second question was “Why am I strapped down in a hospital bed?”

“It is because they were afraid that you were contaminated by an Angel,” Rei says softly.

Jerking his head to the side, Shinji looked at Rei, but it is not Rei. Gone is the confident if creepy and unhygienic Nurgle worshipper, replaced by the quiet, broken, repressed doll he had first met. The brilliance of her soul was covered up again, and her unimaginative school uniform had returned.

Narrowing his eyes, Shinji says, “You’re not Rei.”

Peeking out the slightest tendril of psychic energy, Rei signals to him I will endeavour to explain what has happened.

“I am Rei, things have merely changed. You have been out of the loop for the past two months, ever since the fight with the Fourteenth Angel,” Rei informs him.

Fourteenth Angel? I don’t even remember the Twelfth!” Shinji exclaims.

“This was… not unexpected,” Rei reports. “You have spent the past month in a coma, nearly a vegetative state in fact, your brain activity almost nonexistent. Some memory loss was possible. What was the last thing you remembered?”

Trying to gather up the fragments of his mind, Shinji winces in pain at how badly scrambled everything is. His mind was everything to him. Finally he dredges up the most recent seeming memory and asks, “A party?”

Frowning, Rei says, “Ah, yes. It is unsurprising that the break occurs there. There is good reason for that.”

“What reason?” Shinji asks groggily as his mind fights to reclaim what was lost.

“That was the night Asuka killed Rei IV in a fit of rage. Things sort of degenerated from there,” Rei says quietly.

WHAT?” Shinji cries out, now desperately trying to remember that happening.

“It was really my own fault, and I apologize again for what happened,” Rei tells him.

“I mean you dying!” Shinji cries out.

“Oh. Yes. You wouldn’t remember the next part. I can die and be resurrected. I am Rei VII,” Rei explains.

Shinji goggles at her at that statement.

“Things have gone downhill considerably,” Rei says with a small shrug.

“Tell me,” Shinji says.

Clearing her throat, Rei says, “Our story starts with a wedding. Captain Katsuragi was invited to one, and you decided to have a little party behind her back while she was away for the night. I am not quite sure why you were trying to do this but…”

A little piece of his memory falling into place, Shinji says, “I was trying to bring Toji, Hikari, and Kensuke deeper into the fold, hopefully begin training them to use their inherent powers. I was also trying to get Toji at least to second base with Hikari.”

A sudden, crushing wall of guilt descended upon Shinji. He had been moving the two together since the beginning so that he could have a greater degree of control over the two psykers later, using their relationship as leverage against them. He could only remember screaming and crying, so he presumed this had ended badly; badly enough that he could feel guilty about his actions. He was somewhat surprised the human race was still intact… although technically he had yet to see anyone but Rei so it was still a distinct possibility.

Of course, the fact that he was restrained in a hospital bed was already proof enough that the proverbial waste treatment plant had exploded next to the industrial fan factory.

“Ah… yes… that would explain a few of your later actions,” Rei says, a heavy weight settling on to her, although the effect was rather subtle given her currently near emotionless state. Whatever she had done had clearly been worse.

Sighing, Rei says, “I feel that an explanation is in order. As I said earlier, I am Rei VII. I am, and always have been, an artificial being, genetically engineered to pilot the Evas. Before her untimely demise, Dr. Akagi…”

“Ritsuko is dead?” Shinji asks, the surprises still piling up. He didn’t even have a memory fragment of that one.

“Yes. It happened while you were asleep. Do you want me to tell this story in any sort of order at all? Because it is all rather complex,” Rei asked him in an almost chiding tone.

Shaking his head, Shinji said, “I apologize, please continue.”

Rei resumed, “As I was saying, Dr. Akagi would download my memories periodically for upload into a new body should I die. After you explained to me about my abilities, I discovered a way to transfer not just memories but my entire soul from body to body. Unfortunately each transfer generated a unique individual, and the soul did not always fit properly.”

Shinji closed his eyes in strain at this news. “Rei… that sounds like you were trying to possess each new body in turn. My daemonology is fairly weak, but considering the secrets we share you should have told me if you were having problems.”

A light blush lit up Rei’s alabaster cheeks and she bowed her head in shame before saying, “There is… well… a reason why I didn’t tell you. It has to do with the origins of my DNA…”

Shinji’s mind, altered by contact with the Warp and the Eva into something that was no longer wholly human, very quickly put the pieces together and he said, “You’re part Angel, aren’t you? That’s nothing to worry about.”

Nodding, Rei elaborates, “Half, but it is the other half that made me stay my tongue. Shinji-san… I’m a partial clone of your mother.”

“Oh,” Shinji replied. That little bit of shrapnel embedded in his mind twisted violently, and he knew that in the time away he had figured out the secret that had been plaguing him for months, but now ironically he had forgotten what it was that he had remembered.

“Yes… since we first met you have… instinctively felt a familial attraction to me, a subconscious realization that I am what could best be thought of as your ‘sister’ in such terms,” Rei says.

Telekinetically undoing his restraints just so Shinji can hold his face in his hands in exasperation, Shinji says, “I can see where this is going. Fuck… caught in a love triangle between a Khornate berserker and my Nurgle sister.”

“It was… messy to say the least. By Rei IV, the last version of me you remember, I was quite unstable, previous incarnations manifesting as voices in my head. My soul was only loosely attached to my body. I…” Rei pauses to collect her thoughts before continuing, “You awoke me to a whole new world of emotions, but you were not receptive to me in the ways that I wanted you to be. I began to despair, your brotherly love insufficient for me. I wanted to unleash the gifts of Nurgle upon the whole world, I wanted to kill Asuka-san to be with you, I wanted to sleep with Asuka…”

Interrupting and holding up his hands, Shinji says, “Whoa there! Time out. Say that last bit again.”

“Umm… well, you see, I was insanely jealous of Asuka-san, so much so that I actually began to desire her too. I eventually set upon the compromise of wanting a threesome with you two. I unfortunately did not know how to initiate something like that,” Rei explained.

Shinji goes to open his mouth to say something contrite, but a memory violently dislodged from the muck of his subconscious at that point and rocketed to the surface of his mind with all the subtlety of an iceberg flipping over.

“How do you do it man?” Toji asks enviously as Asuka saunters away after French kissing Shinji right in front of his friends.

Smirking while he rearranged his expensive clothing and wiped the lipstick off his face, Shinji says, “Confidence my friend, confidence.”

“Yeah, well, to risk injury with a bitch like that requires confidence or insanity, but where do you get either?” Toji asks.

Chuckling, Shinji shakes his head and says, “That’s my girlfriend you’re talking about there.”

Instinctively flinching away from a strike that never came, and never would come, Toji calmed down and says, “Sorry man.”

Snickering at the way his friend instinctively understood the power dynamic without him ever actually raising a hand against him, Shinji says, “She actually prides herself on being a bitch now, although she prefers to concentrate on the Angels these days. She’s itching for another close range fight; the last few have all been trying to avoid melee combat.”

“Ha! Yeah, I don’t blame them,” Toji says sarcastically.

“In any case, you were asking a question before. ‘ Where do I get my confidence and/or insanity?’ Well, those are both pretty easy. I know who I am and what I can do; questions most teenagers, and far too many adults, can’t answer. I am beyond angst and the existential crises that cripple the confidence of so many,” Shinji states.

“Okay, how do you
know that then?” Toji asks insistently.

Grinning, Shinji says, “Because I learned to fake confidence long enough to explore my world and figure it out instead of hiding away in my room, afraid of the outside world.”

“How do you
fake confidence?” Toji inquires incredulously.

“It is quite tricky because fake confidence quite quickly becomes real confidence. If you can bury your fears and just strike out, you can look quite confident, and because people can’t read your mind, they will assume that you truly are confident. And when you find that your fears aren’t as correct as you assumed, then you find your faked confidence becoming real,” Shinji explains.

“I… guess I see,” Toji says slowly.

Chuckling, Shinji says, “While I don’t recommend you try it, it is completely possible to go up to a complete stranger, say ‘Nice shoes, wanna fuck?’ and get laid. It’s all in the presentation really and of course making sure that you proposition to the right person at the right time.”

Boggling at this declaration, Toji asks, “You-you-you…”

Rolling his eyes, Shinji says, “Of course not. I’m not interested in a woman I can pick up that easily, there has to be some challenge to the courtship. That said, if you were to go up to Hikari-san and say, ‘Nice hair, want to go make-out?’ I bet you could pull it off. Of course, you absolutely
can’t stutter, have your body stiff as a board, or let your eyes wander. You just go up to her all easy and casual-like, look her in the eyes, and ask.”

“I…” Toji begins.

“Who are you Toji? Weak, knobbly kneed dork who can’t talk to the girl he has confessed to liking and received an equal confession back, or suave, cool guy?” Shinji asks casually.

“Uh…” Toji says before getting up and walking away in a funk, mulling things over.

“Think he’ll try it?” Kensuke asks idly.

“Yup,” Shinji says.

“Think it will work?” Kensuke asks.

“Not a hope in hell,” Shinji says with a smirk.

Wincing at the sudden rush of memories, Shinji glared at Rei and tells her, “If there was one thing I thought I had taught you, it was that you should have had the confidence to come up to me and ask, ‘Hey Shinji, think you can convince Asuka to go for a threesome?’”

Sighing in embarrassment, Rei says, “I was not exactly thinking clearly at the time. Instead I went to Misato for advice.”

Groaning, Shinji says, “While she is quite knowledgeable about sex, I don’t think she is the type to intentionally get involved in a threesome.”

“No. She cautioned me about mixing sex and alcohol for just such reasons, but I took that as advice on how to start up a threesome rather than as a warning,” Rei says.

“Fuck… fuck… fuck! Okay, this is why my memory starts to get all full of holes, isn’t it?” Shinji says.

“You react… poorly to alcohol,” Rei says in a sheepish tone.

Clutch his head in his hands in extreme exasperation, Shinji asks, “Considering the fact that alcohol has no interest for me, would you care to explain how this happened?”

“Well… before the party I began practicing with the gifts of Nurgle to figure out how to cause rapid fermentation of sugars in vivo,” Rei explains.

“You brewed the alcohol inside us?” Shinji asks incredulously.

“Only the first bit to impair your faculties enough to get you to break into the beer… and then the sake… by the time the vodka was flowing everyone was quite wasted,” Rei clarifies.

Mulling this over for a moment, Shinji says, “I can understand why I would respond poorly to alcohol… but Asuka… oh fuck! How much did you give her to get her drunk?”

“We were doing shots of grain alcohol before I felt she was sufficiently intoxicated to make my move,” Rei states.

“Did it occur to you that perhaps because it took copious amounts of alcohol to knock her out that she might recover faster than normal?” Shinji asks.

“The thought passed through my head, along with a chunk of my skull, when Asuka began to express her distaste for my actions,” Rei notes.

It was 2 AM and half the party-goers were passed out. Kensuke was sitting on one of the couches, drooling heavily down his shirt, while Toji and Hikari had collapsed on the floor while making out, Hikari’s shirt half pulled off her head. That would be interesting come morning.

Asuka on the other hand was still conscious but giggling idiotically at the naughty action Rei had initiated, too drunk to fully realize what was going on as they stripped down the mostly incapacitated Shinji, who lay sprawled out on the bed. The only one who was in any way clear headed, if you discounted the voices in her head, was Rei, her body processing the alcohol as readily as any other toxin.

Rei unfortunately discovered a minor flaw in her plan that she should have anticipated. While Shinji was an absolute lightweight, he was still quite intoxicated, which meant that he was quite impaired in the areas of Rei’s interest.

“He’s drunk,” Rei notes unhappily while looking over Shinji.

“Sho am I,” Asuka points out.

“It is rather hard to have a threesome when one of the three is incapable of acting,” Rei points out.

“You jusht got to… got to… warm him up, thatsh all,” Asuka says. Smiling, she kneels down before the semi-comatose Shinji and says, “Check out… check out this new thing we tried the… the other day.”

While Rei watched with rapt fascination, Asuka went to work. Drunken, sloppy, and clumsy work, but despite that Rei was still insanely jealous of Asuka for this. She was also extremely aroused and glad that she had already stripped down.

After a few minutes, Asuka paused and said, “Shtill not quite enough… here… you… you… you take over. I need a glassh of water.”

“Very well,” Rei said while taking Asuka’s place. As Asuka got up to leave, Rei ran a hand over Asuka’s bare skin and marvelled at just how warm the red head’s skin was. In fact, it could even be considered feverishly hot.

Shivering, Asuka says, “You’re cold Rei… you… you should warm up shome.”

Smiling, Rei leans in and kisses Asuka on the lips, enjoying the electric jolt of Asuka recoiling in surprise before she leans in drunkenly, giggling at the whole affair. Rei then says, “I intend to make things a great deal hotter.”

“Good… I’ll be back…” Asuka says, giggling at the way she let her German accent slip in for the last phrase, before she gets up and totters out of the room.

A few minutes later and Asuka returned, clutching her head and wincing, “Why does my head hurt?”

Rei did not answer, occupied as she was in getting Shinji ready for the main event.

There was a pause where only the sounds of breathing and Rei’s wet work before Asuka screams out, “What are you

It was at that point that Rei paused in horror as she realized that Asuka’s speech had shifted from “drunken and somewhat coherent” to “partially lucid but missing the past few minutes of memory and wondering why someone was sucking off her boyfriend”.

Rei never got a chance to explain as Asuka dug her fingers into Rei’s flesh, shattering a clavicle between her fingers and then hauling Rei violently into the air, tossing her against a wall where Rei bounced off, more bones broken.

Staggering to get up as her abilities regenerated the damage, Rei tried to summon forth something to stop Asuka, but she was distracted as Asuka’s shapely fist hit her hard enough to implode a chunk of skull and send pieces of bone ricocheting about Rei’s brain. Rei saw stars, her supernatural toughness keeping her from being killed by even such a brutal strike. Rei wondered if perhaps this had been a bad idea.

Then Asuka began to dig her fingers into Rei’s neck. The brute strength to accomplish such a feat made Rei realize that Khorne had been blessing Asuka just as much as Nurgle had blessed her. Fingers punctured Rei’s carotid artery and bright red blood began to spurt all over the crazed berserker.

Rei considered activating the various dread plagues that resided within her cells to take out Asuka, but with Shinji currently incapacitated, he would surely be consumed in the virulent outbreak. As her body automatically siphoned away energy that could have been used to combat Asuka to regenerate the lost blood, Rei realized that she needed to learn a great deal more about her abilities. In particular, she needed something somewhat less destructive than a world ending plague for these sorts of situations.

Rei died a full minute after Asuka punctured her neck, the entire room covered in red gore from the practically limitless supply of blood available to Rei. Rei died when Asuka got tired of thrashing her and simply pulled until Rei’s vertebrae separated and her head came clear of her body.

Stark naked, covered head to toe in a thick layer of blood, Asuka roared in victory. Still somewhat intoxicated and high from victory, Asuka immediate went back to a confused and barely responsive Shinji to finish what had been started.

“Oh fucking Tzeentch, how did we clean that mess up?” Shinji asked in disgust, horror, and exasperation.

“After retrieving a fresh body I used my abilities to quickly decompose my mortal remains, except for the head as something was blocking me there, and then I snuck out. Fortunately for all of you by the time Misato-san returned she was also quite intoxicated and you had time to clean things up before she noticed. In the short term, the consequences were not as bad as they could be, it was the long term where everything went to hell,” Rei explained.

“I’m guessing Rei V did not share Rei IV’s infatuations,” Shinji asks.

“No,” Rei stated. “At that point I was quite furious with the both of you, and our teamwork and coordination dropped accordingly. My ability to control Unit 00 also began to take a steep dive. The problem though was that Asuka found her first time rather unsatisfactory, and killing me, or at least thinking that she had dreamed killing me, gave her new drive and vigour.”

Frowning, Shinji groaned, “Now I’m really regretting not remembering things.”

“She became quite… demanding,” Rei says, pausing to pick her words carefully. “Most scandalously was the time when she had sex with you in the girl’s change room in NERV while I was on the other side of a bank of lockers, just to piss me off. Your condom expenses went through the roof I am to understand.”

“Fucking brilliant, I screw Asuka’s brains out repeatedly and I can’t remember a gods-damned thing,” Shinji griped.

“I do not think you want to remember,” Rei says. “Your father had recovered from some of the damage done by your actions. I do not know what happened when you fought the Twelfth Angel, but it involved you being trapped in a multi-dimensional psychic battle for several hours with Asuka and your Evas. During that time, when everyone was distracted, your father had your apartment laced with monitoring equipment.

“When you got back, instead of sweeping for bugs like you usually do, you and Asuka had celebratory sex,” Rei tells him without blinking.

“Fuck. Fuck! Fuck!” Shinji swore, cursing his own stupidity. Rei was right, that party had definitely been the start of a growing disaster.

“That was your problem,” Rei says flatly, obviously not having lost her quickened sense of humour in whatever transformation had taken place.

“He used that against me, I just know it. That old bastard knew that I was too slippery, too canny to attack directly, so he hit me in my blind spot: Asuka,” Shinji growled.

“You are correct. Shortly after the attack of the Twelfth Angel, there was an incident in America. An experimental engine for Unit 04 nearly went critical, and if it weren’t for a last second shut down the Eva, the production facility, and a nearby town would have simply ceased to exist. The media got word of this, and the public panicked. The Americans wanted the Evas out of their country. They had both units shipped over here,” Rei tells him.

Another memory began to surface, of screaming and crying and a deep feeling of guilt and shame. A dark black Evangelion dominated the mental landscape.

“In transit, another Angel struck, infecting Unit 03. Upon initial activation, it took over and destroyed the testing facility outside Tokyo-3. It disabled the still inactive Unit 04, critically wounding the pilot, before it began to advance on the city. We were scrambled, but I was practically useless, unable to concentrate upon the mission because of my jealousy and loathing of Asuka. Upon initial contact I was quickly disabled,” Rei tells him.

Fitting together several fragments of memory, Shinji says, “I refused to kill the Angel outright like my father ordered. I knew that the pilot was a psyker and thus useful in the long term, and I wanted to recover him. I also knew that Toji had been selected as a pilot because he confided in me his fears.”

“Asuka, following your lead, followed suit. Your father shrugged and deactivated your Eva remotely before activating the Dummy Plug system in Unit 02,” Rei says.

Shinji screamed in impotent rage as he tugged at the controls of his deactivated Eva, trying to force it to come back to life, but it lacked motive power and special blocks he had not heard about had been installed to prevent the activation of the Eva in this sort of situation. If he really tried, he could probably force open the blocks and force energy to flow, but he did not know what exactly the consequences of something like that would be. It would probably involve something unpleasant happening to him personally, and certainly a lot of unwanted questions to be asked afterwards.

So he could just watch as Unit 02 brought its chain-axe down into the poorly armoured flesh of Unit 03. It had not received the upgrades of the ones in Tokyo-3 yet, and despite the Angel’s upgrades, it was insufficient to withstand a berserker Unit 02 in full L-Type Equipment wielding the most advanced weaponry available to man. Asuka screamed in horror and fury at this abuse of her Eva, forced to watch up close as Unit 03 was hacked into bloody pieces.

Gendo did not power the Eva down until all that was left was a steaming corpse, the entry plug hacked to pieces by the chain-axe. The corpse of the pilot was almost too mangled to tell its identity.

Shinji’s heart broke in two as Asuka’s shrill screaming filled the air.

Hikari’s head rolled out of the remains.

Shinji clutched his fists together until they drew blood, forced to relive the horrors of that day again by this cruel amnesia. The furious tears rolled freely.

“Now I remember… I found out from Toji, what was left of him after he was left a quadriplegic by Unit 03 and nearly catatonic by Hikari’s death, that the only reason she accepted the position was because they had Toji… and Toji accepted because they were offering better treatment for his little sister,” Shinji says bitterly.

Now he felt the weight of the guilt he had felt earlier truly come crashing down on him. His fucking bastard of a father had used him, had played him like a fiddle. If he hadn’t been so distracted by Asuka, maybe he would have realized that he was being ensnared by his own schemes. Worst of all was the fact that Hikari, Asuka’s best friend, would have never been in that damn Eva if not for Shinji’s manipulations of Hikari and Toji’s emotions.

Snarling, Shinji said, “There had to have been a reckoning after something like that.”

Hanging her head in shame, Rei says, “There was a complication… me. In my fury with you two I had fallen back on Commander Ikari as a source of comfort and strength. If you moved against him without me at your side…”

“It would end with the extinction of the human race. Right… fuck. So I had to convince you first,” Shinji said.

“Yes. You sought proof that Gendo had known that Unit 03 was infected before activation, that he specifically placed Hikari-san with that Eva so that she would be killed by Asuka-san, just to hurt her to hurt you,” Rei explained.

“I left town to find out what was going on…” Shinji stated dully, seeing where this was going.

“…and an Angel attacked,” Rei finished for him. “It was the worst one yet, extraordinarily powerful. It went through Tokyo-3’s defences like butter, blew through eighteen layers of the city’s armour with a single shot, and shrugged off concentrated fire from the positron rifle like rain. It then blew up the rifle with a single shot, incidentally disabling Unit 00.”

Rei then smiled slightly, “Then it met Asuka-san. She fell, but not before she gave the Angel hell. She shoved a melta up against its core and fired at point blank range. The Angel survived with barely a scratch. But she kept hitting it with everything she had. She actually managed to take off one of its arms before it brought her down. You were quite incredibly pissed when you finally managed to get back to NERV.

Her smile broadening, Rei tells him, “In fact, you even gave a little speech over the radio while powering up your Eva. It went, ‘Alright motherfucker, you’ve invaded my city, beaten the fuck out of two of three of the girls I cherish most in this world, and now you’re making me play the Big Damn Hero with this last minute entrance. I hate playing the Big Damn Hero.’ What happened next I highly doubt you would remember.”

Thinking about it, Shinji shakes his head and says, “I don’t have a clue what happened.”

Nodding, Rei says, “You essentially merged with your Eva to squeeze every ounce of power out of it. You forced it to evolve and adapt in new and strange ways. You grew an S2 engine from scratch so that you could keep fighting. Your Eva began to breathe fire, multicoloured fire. You telekinetically threw the Angel back to the surface, through the armour, and not the part it had already shot. You elbowed it in the face and collapsed its skull with a single blow. You snapped its back over your knee. You threw it through a building and then crucified its corpse on the wreckage. You strangled it with its own intestines. Then you ripped out its core and punted it into low earth orbit, where it detonated.”

Taking this all in, Shinji shrugs and says, “Sounds like something I would do under the circumstances. I take it when you say ‘merged’ you mean…”

“You were rendered down into LCL and absorbed into your Eva. It took us a month to get you out of there… it was a bad month. Rei V, feeling incredibly guilty at how her actions had lead up to this event, hung herself. Asuka began to lose her mind. She became more a bitch than usual. She was hurting badly, lashing out at everything and everyone around her. They even put her on a suicide watch when they found out she was cutting herself,” Rei explains.

“Cutting? That doesn’t… oh wait… I know what she was doing. Blood sacrifice to Khorne in an attempt to get me back. If she couldn’t get it from her enemies, then she would get it from herself. Khorne cares not from where the blood flows. She probably didn’t even feel the blade,” Shinji notes.

“Quite,” Rei said in understanding. “It all looked well once we got you out of Unit 01… unfortunately we soon discovered that you were in fact in a coma. We had retrieved your body, but your mind seemed to be elsewhere. Asuka nearly killed one of the guards to your room she was so grief stricken to see you like that. It took fifteen guards and three tranquilizer darts to bring her down.

Shinji winced in pain as the piece of shrapnel twisted again, and he also felt like he was on the edge of some great truth.


Impossible syllables, properly pronounceable only by a seven-dimensional tongue with two different voice boxes, danced in Shinji’s mind for a moment before his inability to properly comprehend them caused the entire sequence to collapse.

Shaking it off, he turns to Rei and asks, “What happened between then and now?”

“There were two more Angel attacks. Asuka-san handled the Fifteenth Angel and I handled the Sixteenth. Both were as messy as the Fourteenth, but in different ways. The Fifteenth was a difficult, unconventional battle, while the Sixteenth was perhaps the synthesis of the most effective tactics so far. Rei VI was immolated in that battle.”

“What happened?” Shinji asks.

“The Angel was essentially nothing but a giant energy whip, one of the more successful weapons used against us. Conventional weapons did nothing against it, not even a point blank melta blast. After doing considerable damage, it then attempted to merge with my Eva,” Rei says before letting a feral grin escape from her suppressed face.

Big mistake, for by Rei VI, I had a bit better control over my own mind, but I was also further fragmented. Still, when the Angel invaded, it discovered that it couldn’t get back out because I was counter-invading with multiple minds. It sent cancerous feelers all throughout my body causing tiny squealing faces to erupt from my flesh. I sent worse things back at it. We were locked in battle for several minutes until finally it went suicidal and detonated. Unfortunately as it was inside my Eva when it exploded, the entry plug was incinerated, leaving behind only bones,” Rei explains.

“Which brings us to Rei VII, you,” Shinji states.

“Yes. With Unit 00 now so heavily damaged that it was no longer properly functional, Commander Ikari decided that I would be brought back with my memories from before I met you, to keep me docile and compliant to his will. I still retained everything I learned through my knowledge of soul transference, but I decided to play along. I also decided to stop using my powers, as they were causing my condition to become worse, and with Major Katsuragi in lock-up and…” Rei explained before being interrupted.

“Wait! Misato-san is under arrest?” Shinji asks frantically.

“Under suspicion of murder, although that is just a formality since everyone knows she did it. Shortly before the Fifteenth Angel showed up, Ryoji-san was found dead in the depths of NERV, a single gunshot wound to the head. Katsuragi-san, who began dating him again the same night Rei IV died, was distraught. You were in a coma, Asuka-san was exhibiting self-destructive behaviour, and her whole world seemed to be crumbling. Nothing was going right for her.

“Her story is that Dr. Akagi…” Rei began.

“Misato killed Ritsuko?” Shinji cried out incredulously.

“That is the leading theory,” Rei said. “Katsuragi-san’s own confession was that Akagi-san began viciously taunting her about the implosion of her ‘family’, and how it had parallels to the past. Fed up with Akagi-san’s words, Katsuragi-san struck her across the jaw. Lieutenant Ibuki moved to defend Akagi-san but was also struck in turn. At this point the story becomes a bit more complicated. Katsuragi-san claims that at that point Akagi-san drew a gun on her and acted in self defence, but Ibuki-san claims that it was Katsuragi-san who drew the gun, while the surveillance footage was inconclusive and the sequence of events could have gone either way as the weapon was drawn in the middle of a struggle between the two. Since it was never actually fired we don’t know who could have been holding it, and because it was non-standard, non-registered and in the struggle both their prints appeared on it, we don’t know who owned it.

“What happened next is not debated. Katsuragi-san is a decorated military officer, while Akagi-san was a scientist. Akagi-san was stabbed in the left lung by a letter opener grabbed as an impromptu weapon in the struggle. This wound was, while not instantly fatal, would have resulted in death without immediate medical attention, something impossible to get quickly enough in that situation. At this point Katsuragi-san claims temporary insanity for her following actions.

Pausing to clear her throat quietly, Rei says, “Seeing her best friend bleeding out from a fatal wound she inflicted, Katsuragi-san began screaming incoherently, saying that ‘she doesn’t know pain’ while repeatedly punching and stabbing, either to inflict as much suffering as possible before Akagi-san’s death or in some sort of insane attempt to speed the process. Either way, when it was all over Katsuragi-san was left in a semi-catatonic state, only answering questions asked of her but not initiating any actions, and Akagi-san had suffered thirty-seven stab wounds and five broken bones, three-quarters of her injuries sustained post-mortem.”

Somehow, the cold, clinical way that Rei described the events after the fact was far more terrifying than actually seeing it. Everything was already said and done; there was nothing Shinji could do to help his friends because he had been asleep.

He had been asleep because he had been merged with the Eva.

He had merged with the Eva because he had to fight tooth and nail against the Fourteenth Angel.

He had to fight tooth and nail with the Fourteenth Angel because he arrived late to the fight after it had already incapacitated his friends.

He arrived late to the fight because he left to gather evidence on his father and SEELE to prove to Rei that it was their fault in the Thirteenth Angel fiasco.

He had to prove Gendo’s guilt to Rei because Asuka had killed a previous incarnation, causing her to distrust them.

The Thirteenth Angel disaster was so bad because Shinji had been distracted by having sex with Asuka with a frequency that would make light blush, and had not noticed his father’s plans for revenge.

Asuka was having sex with him because she had gained enough confidence from her relationship with him and Khorne to get over her own fears. Killing Rei because she wanted to have sex with him had helped too.

The Thirteenth Angel disaster was so bad because Asuka’s best friend was in the entry plug when Asuka, forced by the Dummy Plug system, put a chain-axe through Unit 03 repeatedly.

Asuka’s best friend was in Unit 03 because her boyfriend was in Unit 04. Shinji had arranged for the two of them to get together so he could control them better.

Rei had wanted to have sex with Shinji because he had taught her how to express herself emotionally, but her allegiance to Nurgle made it hard for him to train her properly, and it drove her insane. And not the good kind of insane either.

The pilot of Unit 04 had been there because his sister had been injured in the battle where Shinji had made his Eva go berserk.

Everything tied back to Shinji’s own scheming. He had been snared in a web of his own making. The phrase ‘hoisted by his own petard’ didn’t even begin to cover this sort of thing.

He violently threw up, not that there was much in his stomach after two months of not eating through his mouth. Rei just watched quietly until it was all over.

Looking at her, Shinji says, “I appear to be in a hell of my own making. Everything is wrong, and it is my fault.”

“No, Commander Ikari is also largely to blame,” Rei points out.

Considering this fact, Shinji growls and says, “I should have dealt with him sooner instead of waiting for him to make a move first. He will be reckoned with, but all of this is surely my fault. You are a mess, Misato is under arrest for killing her friend, Kaji is dead, Ritsuko is dead, Gendo is still running free and Asuka…”

Shinji pauses for a moment before looking at Rei and saying coldly and savagely, “Rei… you skipped over the fight with the Fifteenth Angel. What the fuck happened to Asuka?

A blank expression on her face, Rei says softly, “I wanted you to be in the right emotional state first…”

Rei found her throat between Shinji’s fingers and he said, “Rei… if you don’t want to have to move up to version 8.0, cut the fucking bullshit and tell me what happened.”

Looking at him fearfully, Rei nods for him to release her throat and after a small cough, she says, “The Fifteenth Angel used a psychic, mental attack on her. The results were ugly, and she has been in a coma ever since, her mind nearly shattered under the strain of the attack.”

“Take me to her,” Shinji hissed.
Last edited by Academia Nut on 2008-01-27 02:27pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Academia Nut » 2008-01-29 01:27pm

Asuka was on a ventilator and a feeding tube, hooked up to various IV drips pumping her system full of various chemicals, while a whole battery of machines monitored her vital signs. She was also quite heavily restrained, enormous metal shackles and bars over her body to keep her down in the event she woke up angry.

Shinji wanted to rush in there and do everything he could for her, to tell her that it was alright, that he was back, that she didn’t have to hurt anymore. He resisted that impulse though. Everything was screwed up because he had lost sight of the big picture. If he wanted to truly help Asuka, he would have to think this out.

Still, looking at her through the observation window, Shinji couldn’t help but curl his fists in anger at this situation. Where had the laughter gone? Where had their meaningless, joyful play gone? Where had the cheeky banter between him, Asuka, and Rei gone?

Oh, wait, now he remembered. The Bastard Brigade of Gendo and SEELE were forcing them to fight this war with the Angels for them because they were too weak. Shinji could appreciate a good scheme like any follower of Tzeentch, but there were times to move the pawns and times to move the king. So far neither Gendo nor SEELE had done anything braver than castle. Tzeentch, they were probably still blaming one another over that Special Forces incident, not a clue what had happened. They were mewling kittens who thought they understood what power meant. They would not, however, survive any direct attacks, trusting their pawns and cat’s-paws to take the brunt of any counters by their enemies. Shinji’s growing resolve on the other hand showed that he would not fold up and die when something like this happened to him.

Rei was messed up, her powers having overwhelmed her psyche. But she would recover, and with time and more attention from Shinji, learn to master her powers.

Misato was in lock-up, half insane from having killed her best friend in a fit of rage while her family crumbled about her. But she was not yet dead, and there had yet to be a prison constructed that could keep out someone with telekinesis.

Asuka was in a coma, her mind attacked by the full power of an Angel. The battle must have been truly epic to have broken through her Khorne granted mental barriers and caused this much damage. But her soul was not destroyed, Shinji could feel it broken and wounded, but still intact. The urge to rush to her and begin the mending process nearly overwhelmed him again, but she was safe for now and it would be imprudent to take the risk at the moment.

Tzeentch was the god of hope. So long as there was still breath in his body, there was still hope. Hell, he had probably technically been dead for a month and mostly brain dead for another month, and yet here he was.

The time for schemes was passing. The time for war was approaching.

There would be no survivors on the opposing side.

SEELE? Their flayed hides would become a new decoration for Unit 01.

Gendo? Shinji would take immense pleasure in torturing his father until he was a blubbering pile of flesh devoid of any traits recognizable as human. While this was technically already true of the fucking bastard, Shinji’s way would involve far more blood and screaming to get there.

Gendo’s patsy Fuyutsuki? On him Shinji would test the limits of his telekinesis, see if he could actually crush the mass of a human into neutronium. He doubted it, but it would be interesting to try. Death would probably be instantaneous, a trifling consideration for the fact that Gendo’s lackey wasn’t as much of an ass as his father.

Anyone else who got in his way? Their deaths would be as slow and brutal as Shinji had the time for.

But for now, Shinji would secure his flanks. At this point, he only had two major points of weakness: the incapacitated Asuka and Misato. If anyone actually wanted to hurt him, the only thing they could do to cause lasting damage would be to kill either of those two. This was to say that Gendo had the perfect hostages. Since busting Misato out of jail would be the equivalent of an open declaration of war, such a move would have to come after he healed Asuka.

Healing the psychic damage would require all of his attention, leaving him vulnerable. He needed a guardian to watch over him while he did his work. Rei would work if he asked her to, but why settle for one guardian when he could have four?

Reluctantly and with great sorrow and bitterness, Shinji turned away from the observation window and said to Rei, “I have things I must do.”

Find Gendo, find him as the doll obedient to him I knew when we first met. Get close to him, find out his plans and FUCK THEM UP. Let Nurgle’s rot into all of his schemes and befoul them. Do as much damage as you can possibly get away with.

Rei made no sound or expression, simply staring on until Shinji had left, at which point she walked away, smiling on the inside.

It took Shinji a good ten minutes of walking through the halls of NERV to figure out what had changed in his absence. When he had first arrived NERV had been a sombre, almost morbidly serious place. Life with Gendo as commander had bred into them a sense that the world was coming to an end and that they would be the first ones to pay for any screw up. But under Shinji’s subtle influences he had brought hope to the place. With his insane stunts, demands for better, and the ability to quickly recover from what most people would consider disasters, he had inspired a feeling of hope in the entire base.

He had never noticed it until he saw how it had been ruthlessly stamped out in his absence.

In fact, it troubled him greatly how much had gone unnoticed by him. He prided himself on his powers of observation, critical to proper plotting and scheming, but in retrospect, despite his increasing powers he had had a fog over him for quite a while. It was more than just being distracted by teenage hormones. The time missing from his memory from before he was rendered out of action by the Fourteenth Angel bothered him greatly. So many things had happened then that seemed out of character for him.

Like how he could have been so stupid as to have not noticed -or anticipated- Rei’s problems or Gendo moving against him. He should have been smarter than that.

He strongly suspected some form of outside interference, but as far as he knew there was only one kind of influence that could fuck him over that badly. His mind leapt back to a prayer he said on the eve of the final battle with Ramiel and he felt a chill run up and down his spine.

Perhaps he hadn’t been caught in a web of his own making, but a web so much larger than himself he could not even see it, let alone comprehend it. He wasn’t sure which option was more terrifying. He would only be able to determine which scenario was correct once he had his memory back so that he could look at things with the clarity of hindsight.

This was probably the biggest reason why that month of memory had disappeared on him. Either he was so ashamed of his fuck up he was subconsciously repressing the memories, or whatever outside influence had caused this was keeping him in the dark. And it was infuriating.

Leaving Central Dogma behind, Shinji discovered the devastation to the Geofront for the first time. There were huge craters within the Geofront, presumably from the fight with the Fourteenth Angel, and the underground forests had all been burned to the ground. Sections were dark and in shadow while others were chaotic plays of light, some of the mirrors to bring sunlight from the surface damaged and broken. Worst of all though was the Tokyo-3 metropolis above, several of the buildings listing dangerously, while two or three had actually fallen out of their brackets. Two enormous holes had been punched in the artificial sky above, one molten and bending down, while the other was jagged and sharp, punching upwards.

Looking down at the road, he also noted the fact that he was standing in a size 400 boot print, the Nike swoosh clearly visible in the centre.

The only thing that had taken damage and been adequately repaired was Central Dogma itself, the rest seemed to have been left simply out of apathy. It took him a half hour to find a train to the surface that was still operable, and then another half hour just for it to arrive, twenty minutes late too.

The ride up was slow and torturous, the train slow and nearly empty due to the damage to the city. Shinji could only spend that time thinking, trying to reconstruct his memory, and getting an increasingly better view of the damage to the Geofront. Memories of the quick, pleasantly easy trips he had taken before were now only that, memories.

Exiting the gloomy, Stygian darkness of the lightless tunnel to the surface, Shinji got his first look at the damage to the surface. Buildings were knocked down or simply nonexistent, rubble lined every street, only shoved out of the way to free up the main roads. There was, in fact, a small lake in the centre of the remains of the city, the landscape so chewed up by the fighting that the local topography had been radically altered.

Getting off the devastated transit system as close to the house as he could, Shinji found that he still had a long trek back to the apartment. The streets were eerily empty of people, especially for a formerly bustling metropolitan area like Tokyo-3. It seemed that all non-essential personnel had evacuated, leaving behind only the handful of people who lived in the military barracks or in the Geofront where the damage was far less severe.

He wondered for a moment why all this damage had yet to be repaired, in comparison to the normally quick and efficient reconstruction Tokyo-3 normally had. Oh, the lake was probably a bit of a problem and rather recent too, but the damage from two months ago should have been at least patched over. Then he noted the second hole punched in the armour, the one travelling upwards, was right in the middle of the industrial sector. It looked like Shinji had completely annihilated Tokyo-3’s capacity to repair itself without outside help.


Arriving at the apartment building an hour later, Shinji looked up at the sky and frowned. It was already getting rather late in the day, and he doubted the trains to the Geofront would run much longer considering the damage. It looked like he would have to spend the night.

Climbing the stairs, because the elevator was no longer working, Shinji arrived at the apartment and realized after a few seconds that he no longer had the key on him. Shrugging, he unlocked it telekinetically and walked inside… to see the debris from the emotional wreckage Misato and Asuka had suffered.

The pigsty he had discovered upon his initial arrival was nothing compared to this. Even back then, Misato made the occasional effort to bag her garbage, to do some chores on an infrequent basis. It seemed that somewhere along the line, she had simply stopped caring, and Asuka had done nothing to fix the situation.

The piles of garbage were geological in their thickness and significance. At the bottom were the empty beer cans and instant noodle containers, but as he moved up the liquor got harder and the food cheaper and nastier. He felt like an archaeologist, but instead of sifting through the remains of a long vanished civilization, these were the stages of the implosion of a human being.

He began to pick everything up before pausing to consider the point of it all. He shook the feeling off though. He would not descend into apathy and despair; that was Nurgle’s shtick. Even if it was futile, even if he never came here again, he would clean up this place, for it was still his home.

With the main living area sanitized and cleaned a few hours later, Shinji stopped at the doors to the rooms, wondering what he would find on the other side. Ultimately, he left Misato and Asuka’s rooms alone. Those places were surely either their own private havens, or own private hells, and it was not his place to intrude upon them, not yet, not without them at his side.

So instead he entered his own room, flashlight in hand now that he no longer had the sun to light his way in this powerless place.

After blinking a few times to absorb it all, he was suddenly glad he had not intruded upon the sanctity of either of his housemates’ rooms. Crudely carved into the walls a la ‘The Shining’ were endless repetitions of the phrases “Come back!” and “I need you!” in three different languages. The bed was a complete wasteland, Asuka apparently having clung to the last traces of his presence as desperately as possible.

Creepy did not begin to cover it.

Sighing, Shinji just shook his head and gathered up his things. Obviously he had not done enough to help Asuka with her problems before being incapacitated and she had slid back into her dependent state. Just one more thing he would have to deal with

Settling down on one of the couches in the living room, Shinji relaxes and thinks about what he will have to do tomorrow.

First, perform psychic surgery on Asuka, pulling her back together. Kill anyone who stood in his way.

Second, bust Misato out of jail and try to fix her issues. Kill anyone who stood in his way.

Third, kill Gendo and Fuyutsuki. Use Misato’s expertise to assume control of NERV. Kill anyone who stood in his way.

Fourth, find and hunt down SEELE. Kill anyone who stood in his way.

Fifth, wrap up this whole Angel business, playing out the end game. There was only one left anyway.

Shinji’s eyes, which had been drooping up to that point, snapped open in shock. How do I know that there is only one Angel left?

From the depths of his mind more of that mysterious, unpronounceable language drifted up, telling him things he did not yet understand.


And yet… in those alien syllables, there was some glimmer of meaning, of comprehension. He now knew in his bones that this was the endgame. There was but one Angel left, the war almost over. Gendo and SEELE would soon be obsolete…

Fuck! Why was I so distracted these past months? As soon as I learned of SEELE I should have moved more strongly against them, learned more about their plans and capabilities. They’re all greedy bastards; they can’t be doing this simply out of enlightened self interest, there has to be something they want once this war is over.

do they want anyway? Power obviously, for that was all people like that ever wanted, but to what end? What could they get out of this? Aside from their own survival, what purpose was there to their actions… damn it, I should have hunted one of the bastards down and ripped the information out of him.

Shinji then considered what he wanted once this war was over, once he had his father’s face flayed off and stapled to his personal memoirs. He had power, love, and family, or at least the pieces of such things at the moment. He still easily had another 75 years to live, if not longer with his expanded powers of the Warp. There was so much he could do.

Eh… he would wipe out everyone who had opposed him so far and then think about conquering the world/galaxy/etc. He would definitely have to see how this world related to the home of his mentor. Maybe if he got back there he could make a play for ascension to daemonhood. Would probably take a couple of centuries, but he was still young, he still had plenty of time to figure things out.

Ah well, those were all schemes for later. Despite having slept for two months, he was still quite tired and tomorrow was a big day. Things to do, places to be, people to kill…

Shinji awoke before the rising of the sun, knowing what he would need to do today. Today would be a day of blood. Fuck, the media and historians would probably give it some overly grandiose name, like the Day of Thunder.

Yes… yes, a name like that would be fitting. There would be much electricity and many explosions before this day ended.

The apartment quiet and empty, Shinji quickly ate and washed up before beginning his final preparations. Thankfully the water was still running, if cold, apparently unaffected by the loss of power.

First he began with a long prayer session to Tzeentch, pleading for strength and offering much slaughter in return. The heads of Gendo and SEELE, pretenders to the throne of scheming and plotting, would surely make a fitting tribute to the god of such things.

Once that was done, Shinji rose from his shrine and began dressing himself for the day ahead. Gone were the cheap clothes he had recovered from the hospital ward, replaced by a very special wardrobe he had had custom tailored for him in secret and then hidden away. Fortunately it seemed that Gendo’s snoops had not discovered the package.

From the outside it looked almost as if Shinji was wearing a set of black robes, but in truth that was merely an illusion for his clothes did not impede his motions nearly as much as robes might. Their purpose was to conceal what lay beneath, namely the custom designed armour, costing a little over twenty million yen to incorporate the most advanced technology money could buy. Polymers most people had never heard about and involved the best materials technology know to man with such buzzwords as “nanotechnology”, “non-Newtonian fluids”, “dilatant” and “pseudoplastics”. It was all very bleeding edge stuff, still mostly experimental, but the upside was that Shinji could take anything up to -but not including- a 20mm autocannon shell to the chest and have a greater than 50/50 chance of surviving, while retaining almost all of his mobility.

Armoured in this way, he then armed himself with his staff and strapped a special bandolier to his chest to carry the four canopic jars that held his servants. He now had all of his weapons bar his Eva, which was to say that he could conquer the entire city single handed instead of simply taking over the planet by dint of the fact that nothing could touch him in his Eva. And despite this level of firepower, he looked vaguely like a member of some peaceful order of clergymen.

Shinji did so love deceptions.

He had but one thing he wanted to do before he left. Climbing the stairs, he arrived upon the roof of the apartment and looked around. As he had suspected, Horus was still waiting for him, far more loyal than his namesake. The bird immediately fluttered over to Shinji’s shoulder and alighted there.

Stroking the raptor’s head, Shinji looked it in the eye. “Sorry about the absence, I just came up to tell you that today everything changes. You may never see me again, or you may get your choice of hunting grounds and breeding partners in the future. Only time will tell really. You may however, wish to vacate the area as I’m not sure how bad the fireworks will be, and I’m sure you’ve been distressed by everything that has been happening so far.”

Somehow the wild animal understood Shinji and flew off, making for some place as far from Tokyo-3 as possible. Mainland China perhaps.

Just as Shinji was about to turn to leave, an old bulldog slumped over to him. It took him a moment to piece things together, but he realized that this must have been one of the creatures drawn to Asuka. As the saying went; always be wary of scarred old men, because the only thing you knew of them was that they were survivors. This dog was clearly a survivor, probably some victim of abuse, perhaps a fighter in illegal gambling operations before fleeing into the streets.

Wary of the creature, Shinji still addressed it and said, “Well then, I suppose you should know that today I go to aid your mistress, and when we return, your loyalty shall surely be rewarded as well.”

The old dog just ‘harrumphed’ and went off to lie down again. Apparently the old gladiator was unimpressed with the young sorcerer.

Leaving the apartment behind, Shinji began his trek back to NERV in the predawn light. Looking over the schedules at the train station, he found that the nearest reliable line was still further away, and if he wanted to get to NERV before noon he would have to use that line instead of waiting around all day for a train to show up closer.

Furthering his trek into the dawn, Shinji paused at the edge of the new lake created by the devastation of the fights with the Angels and wondered at the futility of it all. For all they had advanced, for all they had evolved, even with the Evas progressively losing Pilots, the Angels still kept losing this war, and they only had one shot left at this.

Did they even realize how fucked they were?

Shinji’s reverie of the thought was interrupted by the sound of humming. Looking to the side, Shinji notes a young man sitting casually on a ruined statue of an angel, observing the rising of the sun. With ashen grey hair, red eyes, and a youthful appearance, he appeared as a more upbeat, male version of Rei.

“Hello,” Shinji said.

“Hello Ikari Shinji-san,” the boy replied warmly.

“I see my reputation precedes me. I am afraid that you thus have me at a disadvantage, for I know not your name,” Shinji said.

Smiling broadly, the young man tells him, “My name is Nagisa Kaworu, Ikari-san. I am the Sixth Child.”

“Please, call me Shinji, Nagisa-san,” Shinji answered smoothly.

“Only if you will call me Kaworu,” Kaworu said.

“Very well,” Shinji said with a slight nod. “I must say though, that your presence here is… unusual, no?”

“Oh, the fact that they called up a new Pilot when the last battle left NERV without any Pilots, although your awakening is indeed fortuitous, is strange?” Kaworu asked lightly.

“No, I mean that you seemed overly happy in the face of this devastation, humming a song even,” Shinji pointed out, although his voice is non-accusatory.

Smiling, Kaworu answered, “Songs are good. Singing brings us joy. It is the highest point in the culture that Lilims have created.”

Chuckling, Shinji asked, “Oh really?”

Frowning slightly, Kaworu asked, “You do not appreciate song?”

“Hardly. I simply do not think it the high point of culture, merely a manifestation of the high point,” Shinji explained.

Grinning, Kaworu turns his head to the side in a lopsided manner and asked, “Oh, do tell.”

“The high point of any culture is its survival,” Shinji said.

“I would think that would be the base,” Kaworu pointed out.

“Then your thinking is woefully linear. At what point of a mountain do you differentiate from the ‘base’ and the ‘apex’ when it is all one whole? Music that lifts the soul will further the survival of a culture, but it can only appear when the culture itself ensures survival. The greatest pieces of music were all composed before Second Impact because we were not riding the edge of survival, and thus we had the time and resources to spare to such beautiful creations. But now that the wounds are healing, that the war with the Angels is reaching its conclusion, the songs are coming back out. They are proclaiming that we will not be bowed, that we have survived, that we will survive,” Shinji elaborated.

“A curious analysis Shinji-kun. What makes you think that the war with the Angels is coming to an end?” Kaworu asked.

“Because there is but one left,” Shinji stated boldly.

“Oh? And how could you possibly know that?” Kaworu inquired.

Mulling the question for a moment, Shinji replied, “Fighting the Angels has awoken within me new instincts, new insights, and I simply feel it in my bones that they have but one move left to play in this twisted game. One last, desperate move.”

Glancing about the wreckage of Tokyo-3, Kaworu asked, “You call this desperate?”

Grinning, Shinji replied, “Of course.”

A somewhat smug, condescending look crosses Kaworu’s face and he asked, “And if all of that was to lure you into a false sense of superiority?”

Snorting derisively, Shinji said, “Then the Angels are all idiots granted power beyond their station, blind, mewling things that have intruded upon a nest of serpents, not understanding their own inevitable doom.”

“A nest of serpents? Quite the negative appraisal of all Lilim, don’t you think?” Kaworu asked.

“Hardly. The serpent taught us everything we needed to kill Angels, and the venom of snakes can handily slay seemingly mightier creatures such as elephants or bears. For all their size and power, the Angels have fallen to us just as the tiger falls to the cobra,” Shinji stated smugly.

Hopping off the statue to confront Shinji, Kaworu glares at him condescendingly and asked, “I had heard that you were intelligent and wise beyond your years, but to underestimate your enemies so is as foolish as-”

Cutting him off, Shinji finished, “-to use the word ‘Lilim’ to refer to humanity. Honestly, how much has SEELE sheltered you from reality if such basic things are beyond you?”

Blinking, Kaworu stuttered for a second, trying to perceive the turn this conversation had unexpectedly taken, as his universe changed in an instant.

Sneering cruelly, Shinji advanced, smoothly taking a step closer. “Do not even pretend to think that you are like me Angel, parading about in such a stolen form. You are as your brothers, blind, stupid, and most of all weak. You cannot even comprehend your own power, and thus you cannot use it. In the war between brains and brawn… well, let us just say that there is a reason sword swinging nutcases are less common in the age of cruise missiles. Not that brute force does not have its place-”

Before Kaworu had time to respond, Shinji’s staff lanced out in a vicious strike that would have decapitated the Angel with blunt force trauma if not for the AT-field that popped into existence between the two of them.

Withdrawing his staff, Shinji noted analytically, “So you do have an AT-field.”

“Yes, or at least, that is what you Lilim call this thing. This is the light of my soul, a sacred territory in which no one may intrude. Aren't you Lilim even aware yet, that your so-called AT field is merely that wall that encloses every mind that exists?” Kaworu asked angrily, furious at this unexpected evolution of events.

Cocking his head to the side, Shinji said, “That may be the light of your soul, but this is the sound of a supersonic I-beam.”

Kaworu probably could have dealt with the momentum transfer of the impact if he had been prepared, but the shock of Shinji telekinetically accelerating a piece of broken building to Mach 2 in just under five metres of space caused him to forget to anchor his AT-field properly.

Nagisa Kaworu ricocheted from the surface of the lake twice before he stabilized his tumble, unhurt but stunned and confounded by this unheard of demonstration of power. Rising out of the perturbed water, Kaworu watched in surprise as Shinji levitated out over the lake to follow him.

“What have you Lilim stolen now?” Kaworu spat out.

Sneering contemptuously, Shinji said, “Nothing Tabris, we, unlike you Angels, have merely been learning. Much we have taught ourselves, but there are others willing to impart their knowledge. The Evas we built from what we learned from the Angels. I on the other hand learned from a completely different source, one best suited to the killing of creatures such as you.”

“What?” Kaworu stuttered incredulously.

Daemons,” Shinji hissed in a pleased tone. “If the choice is between the extinction of the Angels and the hell of daemons, I choose hell. So long as I still can act, no matter the circumstances, there is still hope, still things I can change. Hell is not so bad. Besides, they teach so many interesting things, like your true name for example.”

Once more Kaworu snapped up his AT-field, this time making sure to anchor it properly, as a rain of improbably massive and fast missiles rained down on his position. The lake steamed and bubbled as steel liquefied on impact, the steam rising up to the floating Shinji where it crystallized around him and feel back as snow.

Lashing out with his own power, Kaworu shoves Shinji back, launching him towards the still standing remains of downtown Tokyo-3. Taking flight to dodge the remaining barrage of missiles, Kaworu follows Shinji, intent on both killing this aberration and finding out how he came to do such things.

There were no such things as demons!

Standing smugly on one of the abandoned skyscrapers, Shinji taunts, “Is that the best you can do? Because we can keep this up all day, just countering each other, getting nowhere fast. Though, I’m sure that if this fight goes on long enough someone will notice, even after I turned off all the cameras, and send someone up here. At that point I will use the distraction to go get Unit 01 and repeat what I did to Zeruel to you.”

“Your arrogance shall be your undoing, I am quite capable of attack,” Kaworu spat.

Down below a small café exploded, hundreds of knives rising up to the level of their confrontation, embedded in Kaworu’s AT-field.

“As expected from someone who wants to take over the world,” Shinji noted dryly before throwing up his arms to block the bits of the barrage that got through his telekinetic barriers. Several knives stabbed into his arms, legs, and chest, but once it was all done he simply shook them off, none of the bladed weapons having penetrated his armour down to his skin.

“You were prepared for this fight I see,” Kaworu notes sarcastically.

“No, I prepared for a far more important one. You are merely an annoying side quest in the grand scheme of things, a trifling thing that needs to be dealt with, like a splinter beneath a nail,” Shinji stated dismissively before hurling the cutlery back at Kaworu hard enough for them to disintegrate. He then flicks a finger and rips the top of a building off and throws it at Kaworu from behind.

Another AT-field appeared between Kaworu and the incoming collision, the impact reducing the suddenly mobilized top floor into a pile of rubble.

“Your defences are impressive,” Shinji concedes.

“As are your offences. But they are no match for me, and how much longer will your armour hold out? How much longer until blood is drawn?” Kaworu asked.

“Why would I tell you mission critical information like that?” Shinji asked in a sing-song voice before throwing another supersonic I-beam at Kaworu.

“I guess it will have to be a surprise then,” Kaworu sneered, throwing more debris at Shinji.

They continued like that for several more minutes, hurling tonnes of debris and insults at one another, neither side really doing anything but forcing the battle to hop from building to building as they destroyed everything around them. It soon became clear though that Kaworu was getting stronger while Shinji’s strength began to wane, many of his projectiles failing to break the sound barrier.

Finally, something had to give, namely the floor beneath Shinji. The roof and top two floors of a building imploding as a steamroller was dropped right on top of him, Shinji tumbled down into the debris, disappearing into a cloud of pulverized concrete.

Floating down into the wreckage, Kaworu taunted, “You have been keeping to the rooftops when I know you can levitate, indicating that your strength is limited, and you cannot in fact ‘keep this up all day’. Your death is inevitable you know.”

Rising from the rubble, not a speck of dust on his clothing, Shinji still brushes himself off to show his contempt before saying, “Death is always inevitable, it is merely the time and place that are in doubt.”

“Says the frail Lilim. I will continue forever,” Kaworu boasts.

Raising an eyebrow, Shinji smiled, “No, no you won’t. Your corpse however, will make a fine declaration of war to SEELE.”

“And you called me stupid? In case you haven’t noticed, you are losing,” Kaworu growled.

“In case you haven’t noticed, I’m missing the jars that were strapped to my chest a moment ago,” Shinji mocked.

“So?” Kaworu asked just before there was the sound of blowing sand.

“So unlike you, I know how to deceive my enemies,” Shinji said as his servants open fire.

Drawing his AT-field in about himself closely to ward off the unexpected fire from the giant armoured brutes, Kaworu can only scream, “What are you?”

I am as far beyond you as humans are beyond the apes. Incidentally, you are pouring all of your power into physical defences and completely neglecting any sort of mental barriers.

Shinji’s astral construct cut through Kaworu’s almost nonexistent defences like butter with its initial strike, causing the Angel to collapse to the ground in agony, his capacity to levitate cut off as he refocused his energies, and as a segment of his mind was simply erased. The second attack however bounced off his strengthened shields.

“This… is… impossible!” Kaworu screamed.

Raising a hand casually to Kaworu, the boy struggling under the simultaneous physical attacks from the Rubric Marines and the mental attack, Shinji then said, “Chaos is all things.”

Violet-white lighting leaps from his finger tips and exploded across Kaworu’s AT-field, coruscating up and down hungrily, greedily searching for any crack in the defences. The field wavered for just a moment under the assault, but it was enough to let in a flicker of soul crushing energy. Kaworu screamed in agony as his body was cooked from within before a telekinetic thrust hurled him through a wall and to the ground below.

His body and mind in searing pain, Kaworu struggled to rise from the crater where he landed, but found his legs broken. Levitating gently to the ground, his servants returned to their jars and the jars returned to his bandolier, Shinji looks down at the final Angel with contempt in his eyes. “This is the end for your race. Think of it as returning the sentiment for what you tried to do to mine.”

“Now… now I see what you meant about music… you… you Lilim truly are survivors,” Kaworu said pathetically.

“A pity you only learned this at the end. And now young Angel… you die,” Shinji stated before pouring lightning into the body of the Seventeenth Angel. Kaworu’s body was seized in a spastic seizure as electricity danced across his flesh, twitching his muscles while cooking them. His hair caught fire, quickly burning away. The fluid in his eyeballs boiled over, causing them to explode. His jaw shut around his tongue, biting it off.

When Shinji paused over this charred and smoking body, he noticed the Angel was trying to regenerate so he poured on another blast, this time not stopping until the fat boiled out of the body and caught fire, consuming the boy in unholy candle flames while bits of lung bubbling out of his mouth.

When the smoke cleared and the twitching stopped, there was only a pathetic, twisted, blackened corpse left. Shinji took no chances, telekinetically ripping the head off and then stringing the rest upside-down off a protruding girder from a partially ruined building, using the intestines as the rope.

As a final touch, Shinji melted the words, “You’re next” into a nearby concrete wall.

He kept the head. It would make a wonderful gift for Asuka.

Speaking of which, he was late for his appointment. The lock-down he had initiated in NERV once he noticed the Angel would be problematic, but it had been necessary to keep nosey busybodies out of his business with the Seventeenth Angel.

Making his way quietly down to Central Dogma, seemingly oblivious to the state of panic caused by the mysterious happenings on the surface, Shinji watched in amusement as everyone streams past him, completely oblivious to the duffel bag he was carrying. None recognized him, his mind clouding their perceptions so that he would not be bothered with trifling things like being deployed to kill the Angel he had already decapitated.

Arriving a good two hours after his fight with Tabris at the location he had intended to arrive at significantly earlier, Shinji waltzed right into Asuka’s room without impedance, the guards too occupied with their sudden bouts of explosive diarrhoea to question him. He considered killing them, but that would be rather obvious and Gendo still had a hostage.

Setting up a small shrine and surrounding himself with the canopic jars, energized to spring to life should any threat present itself, Shinji began his meditation. The fight with Kaworu had taken a great of his strength, but he still had enough for what needed to be done.

It would simply take longer.

Okay Asuka, time to rebuild your mind. Time to relive these lost months and repair the damage they have done.
I love learning. Teach me. I will listen.
You know, if Christian dogma included a ten-foot tall Jesus walking around in battle armor and smashing retarded cultists with a gaint mace, I might just convert - Noble Ire on Jesus smashing Scientologists

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Post by Academia Nut » 2008-02-24 03:46pm

Shinji took a deep breath as he focused his mind for what was to come, the lights flickering as the gathering of Warp energies disrupted the flow of electricity in the room slightly. The machines Asuka was hooked up to switched over to battery power for a millisecond before continuing, not long enough to trip any alarms.

Exhaling, Shinji sent his consciousness into the Astral Plane, diving towards Asuka’s mind. Now that he saw the full extent of the damage, he knew that things would be trickier than he had at first assumed. Asuka’s psyche was like a jigsaw puzzle caught in a vortex, thoughts and memories swirling about, combining randomly before flying apart again.

Fortunately, the mind was more resilient than most people suspected, at least when you looked at it the way Shinji did. When there were no other forces at work, it would tend to mend itself. The trouble was that most people could not see the clash of ideas occurring within their souls, could not see the internal stresses and how to relieve them. Shinji could for everyone but himself, something that was currently frustrating him.

In any case, the first order of business was to slow down, then stop the crippling maelstrom that was currently incapacitating Asuka. The trick was that the chaos of her mind was being caused by her having no foundation to ground her thoughts. Analogously, if her mind was a puzzle in a vortex, then if Shinji could fit enough pieces together then the drag would slow everything down just enough to allow the greater whole to assemble automatically.

He would start at the periphery, where the memories were the freshest. Towards the core of Asuka’s being were her earliest, most primal memories, and there was already a great deal of damage there. If Shinji tried to fit those pieces together to serve as the base, it would be an exercise in futility, like trying to lash together a life raft out of shards of glass.

Moving in closer, Shinji waited until he saw a large, continuous block of surface thoughts, before snatching out a mental probe to catch it. He had intended to pull it up to the forefront of Asuka’s mind and analyze it before finding a piece that would fit with it, but instead he found his mind inexorably drawn into the memory. He might have been able to pull out at the cost of causing more damage, but since that ran counter to his intentions, he metaphorically grit his teeth and went along with the pull, diving in.

The Twelfth Angel, a floating ball of banded black and white floating above Tokyo-3, serene and seemingly inoffensive. Its enigmatic nature was not enough to cover up the deadly threat it presented, especially as it had simply appeared above the city, and nowhere else had it ever been detected.

The city was quiet except for the low rumble of the Evas skulking about the skyscrapers, trying to get a good look at the target, determine its form and abilities. Shinji had his bolter with underslung melta and the shoulder mounted missile pods, I had my bolt pistol and chain-axe, and Rei was backing them up with the positron rifle.

The bitch was still mad at me, but let her stew over the fact that Shinji is mine and I’m not going to share with some dirty little Nurgle whore. Slut was lucky she could pull off that back from the dead trick, and she should be happy that I let the issue drop with the last incarnation.

Finally, after ten minutes of doing nothing but using the buildings for cover, Misato finally said over the radio, “Alright, we still have no idea what this thing is. Asuka, fire a three round burst and then return to cover, we want to see how it will react.”

“Affirmative,” I say, longing to activate the motor to the chain-axe and leap at the Angel while screaming ‘Blood for the Blood God!’, but that would be reckless and imprudent, and I learned my lesson after the Seventh Angel. First figure out if the target will fall to the berserker approach, then go nuts on it.

Moving my Eva with the ease born from a decade’s worth of practice, I break from cover and line up the shot beautifully. In less than a second the enormous rounds are away and…

Son of a bitch! Bastard just

“Look out!” Someone yelled over the radio, but by then it is too late. Through my connection with the Eva, I feel my feet suddenly go cold, as if they were dunked in ice water. I try to pull away, but the sensation of tar sucking at my feet, dragging me deeper, is all I can feel.

Looking down, I find a black void spread out beneath me, everything it touches sinking into it. Void truly is the correct name for it, for the blackness is not simply the absence of all light, but the consumption of all light. If Crayola were to name this colour, it would be Hawking Black, for this was the colour of the event horizon of a black hole. This was an event horizon.

I hear various panicked orders being bandied about, but I comprehend none of them, so focused am I on attempting to escape from this slow, sucking fate. I point the pistol down at the void sea that has drawn me in up to the knees and unload the rest of the magazine into it, each shell disappearing beneath the surface with nary a ripple. Thumbing my chain-axe to life, I hack at the thing, only to have the axe ripped out of my hands by the spinning teeth. One way only it seems.

Before I can give in to panic or despair another hand grips mine, a barrage of missiles joining my rapidly dwindling supply of bolter rounds. Shinji has leapt atop one of the collapsing buildings and grabbed a hold of Unit 02’s, my, free hand and trying to haul me out.

He’s saying something; I can’t hear what he’s saying.

Hold on Asuka, hold on.

I’m down to my chest in this thing. Half my body is numb, one of my arms is caught in the tar, and with a sinking horror I realize that the entry plug has sunk beneath the surface. I am in this cold oblivion now. I should have ejected, should have escaped before it came to this, but I had to be an idiot and keep fighting.

The building Shinji is using for support is collapsing around his feet, the strain tearing it apart. He’s switched to a two handed grip, but as his footing disintegrates around him, my hand is starting to slip from his.

He says something again, and again I fail to comprehend the meaning behind the sounds.

I’m not letting you go Asuka! I’m not letting you go!

Only the arm Shinji is holding on to and the face of Unit 02 remain above the surface. The last thing I see is the last of Shinji’s footing give way and him forced to leap free. Everything goes to oblivion as my face sinks beneath the surface.

I am alone.

I scream.

I am trapped in this dark place, no hope of escape or rescue. I will be stuck here in the silence on minimum power as my LCL thickens to sludge, the oxygen content becoming progressively lower as the carbon dioxide levels increase dangerously.

There is no escape…

No! Remember the rest! Remember Asuka! Remember what happens next! Remember what you learn later.

Later? There is no later. I’m going to die down here…

This is a memory! You survived this! And you weren’t alone.

Asuka had all but sunk beneath the surface of this insane, bizarre Angel, only the single hand I had held on to remaining above the surface. I can already picture her terrified screams in my mind. She’s still so very afraid of being alone.

I make the choice. I grab a hold of her even as I fall into the ensnaring influence of the Twelfth Angel. I won’t abandon her. She is too precious to let go so easily. As I go I say over the radio, “I’ll be back,” and the last of my Eva seen disappearing beneath the surface is the hand not grasping Asuka held high in a thumbs-up.

Cheesy, I know, but that sort of brash confidence is what is expected of me these days and I would be a fool not to capitalize on it. Plus that kind of arrogant nonchalance helps keep me strong in normally sanity crushing situations. Like this one.

I don’t remember this.

It’s not your memory.

On the other side of the event horizon there is nothing, the absolute sort of nothing that can drive lesser being insane. I hope Asuka is strong enough to handle this. Energy seeps from Unit 01 slowly but surely, and I quickly switch over to minimal life support to conserve power. Soon I am alone in the Entry Plug, but I can feel a residue of touch from my Eva, the single point of contact between Unit 01 and 02. I hope Asuka can feel this too.

I… I remember that. I remember a tingling in my palm, a single source of warmth in the cloying cold.

I try to reach out to her with my mind, but this pocket of the void created by the Angel interferes. I cannot find her to make contact, even when I can still feel her presence physically.

So I begin to explore this place. It is a twisting maze in many dimensions. The Angel is folded in upon itself in a twelve dimensional fractal. My brain struggles to comprehend it, and only my experience with dealing with this sort of thing gives me any chance at all to decipher the form of the Angel. It is warped, but then again, so am I, with a capital ‘W’ too.

Minutes pass, then hours, as I work out what is going on. From within the Eva, it seems like nothing is happening, that we interlopers are simply floating motionlessly in an infinite void, but slowly I discern that we are in fact moving, ever so slowly, towards the heart of the Angel. What we will find there I have no clue, but somehow I doubt we will last that long once we get there, either through malign intent or simple neglect as we run out of power.

As I continue to explore, to study this alien place, I can feel a buzzing, a flicker upon the edges of my psyche. At first I think it is merely internal, psychic noise generated by my own frustration with trying to comprehend this impossible place, but as we draw closer to the core, I realize that it is the mind of the Angel.

Not like other. Not closed.

Who is this?

It is the memory of the Angel’s mind, as filtered through human, or at least near-human, perceptions.

It has a voice but no voice, my mind giving it speech despite the fact that all I receive from it are thoughts. Simple thoughts too, the fumbling stuttering of a child whose head has yet to clear with the absorption of knowledge and language. Even the simplest of dullards had grander dreams than this animal endowed with power above its station.

The ‘other’ as you call her is the master of the world of physical combat, something you disdain, but are you powerful enough to take me, a master of the mind?

In retrospect perhaps such taunting was a bad idea if Rei’s commentary on the method of attack used by the Fifteenth Angel is correct.


Hey! I had no idea the situation would evolve like this!

The Angel is confused by my declaration, for it is a babe who has yet to grasp simple concepts like linear time trying to listen to a quantum physicist with affection for Zen koans trying to explain the Schrödinger Equation.

It is here that I come to the ultimate conclusion that the Angels are
doomed. They have a certain feral instinct coupled to the ability to learn, but for all their power, they cannot know. They cannot know anything beyond themselves, beyond their experiences. It is more than a lack of imagination; it is the fundamental inability to grasp the ideas of another. Their advancements are reactionary rather than proactive.

A human may die, but they live on in the minds of others. The poet may no longer have a tongue with which to recite his works, but the tongues of others will serve as vehicles for his art just fine. Brains, stone, paint, ink, steel, glass, and light, these are the media through which humanity has achieved immortality.

The Angels are doomed, for they fight alone when an entire world is arrayed against them, the sum total of all humanity, past and present, dead and alive, bent towards their destruction.

I hide my powers, I counsel Rei and Asuka to hide theirs, and my master hid his very existence for we all know that no matter what our strength, to face such a force was the height of folly.

We hide because all the might of humanity turned towards a single goal is unstoppable.


Technically untrue, although damn close. I wasn’t exactly myself at the time for some reason.

Oxygen content getting low?

I was thinking more long term, but that could be a contributing factor.

The Angel continues its incessant buzzing, trying to talk to a human mind but failing on a fundamental level. Without the ability access my subconscious thoughts, it has no base point to relate to, no calibration to test against, so, ignoring it, I continue my exploration of the Angel’s structure.

Hours more pass. The Angel’s ‘voice’ is getting stronger, even if it is learning little from me or Asuka, as we are drawn closer to its core, a child throwing a temper tantrum at being ignored, but this motion is giving me the clues I need for navigation, like an active sonar pulse in the darkness.

I find Asuka’s chain-axe and begin to tug on it, drawing it back to us. An hour later I have it in Unit 02’s free hand, telekinetically closing the fingers about the handle for preparation of what is to come.

I… remember this part now…

Oh fuck here we go again…

Fight. Fight for me. Fight for you. Fight for us. Your soul blazes with such fury and passion, is it any wonder I was attracted to you in the first place, like a moth to a candle? So long as you fight, I can guide my way by the light of your soul. Fight, it was what you were born for.

Memories entwine and uncoil, two minds complimenting each other for a time, thoughts and emotions in stereo, the same and different, two unique perspectives on the same event. It is as the infinite dance of life, strands of DNA opening and closing.

For the briefest of moments both Shinji and Asuka get a glimpse of something… beyond, before the memory resumes.

I was trapped.


The Entry Plug would be my coffin.

I was curled up tightly, scared nearly catatonic, my mind playing tricks on her. I swore I could hear the shovels tossing the dirt over the lid of the coffin already.

Only some twinge of rational thought had forced me to go into power conservation mode all those hours ago. I wanted to thrash and wail, to claw at my grave, to dig my way to the surface, to find the fresh air I craved. The LCL had grown cloudy, murky, and I wanted to expel it all from my lungs, but there was no air out there. There was nothing. It the depths of space had nothing on this sort of void.

At least space had the stars for comfort.

Fight, it was what you were born for.

The thought came from outside me… and from within as well. An echo of a memory, a promise made…

Thank you.

This… wasn’t me…

The chain-axe in my hand leapt to life, AT-field exploding outwards in unison with Shinji, with me the entire time, nullifying the reality bending space of the Angel. Once ethereal membranes closed off to them became solid and yielding. Flesh parted, and the Evas exploded out from the core of the Angel, dropping to the ground of Tokyo-3 in a torrent of blood as the Angel imploded, its extra-dimensional flesh not meant to be subjected to such strains.

The Twelfth Angel died with a whimper, evaporating away, the damage taken less than even the relatively pathetic Ninth Angel until you realize that in its twisted, warped nature its core was its body.

Both Evas had a moment to roar their triumph before the last of the power gave out and emergency response teams had to scramble to get the pilots out of the entry plugs before the lack of life support caused permanent damage.

Thank you for what you did.

It… it wasn’t me at the end. There was something… something else…

The man was nailed to the wall with whatever was available at the time, mostly pens and chair legs, but other appropriately shaped objects had been used as necessary. The witnesses were still dripping off the ceiling and any exposed surface, while it would probably be easier and cheaper to mine and process new materials than try and salvage the heaps of electronics turned to slag.

That was for Hikari and Toji. Revenge however would be incomplete until I had Gendo’s head on a pike and the skulls of SEELE stacked up in a nice neat pile.

And they would dare to call me a monster after what they have done?

THEY had done this. Done this to me. Done this to Asuka. Done this to Hikari. Done this to Toji. Done this to them all.

Malicious aforethought would have been preferable, but this monstrosity was so much worse. It treated them all as things, simple tools without thoughts or emotions. Did they think we would not care for the cruel indignities placed upon us, even the secret, bitterly ironic ones? Even I understood to hide the evidence more carefully than this for fear of the retaliation of my victims.

They had sown the wind, now it was time to reap the whirlwind.

I walk out of the remains of the building before mentally setting it on fire to cover my tracks. Warp energy seethes off me, my fury barely contained. The plants around me blossomed and evolved in a riot of life before crumbling and dissolving into multi-coloured slurries. For kilometres in every direction the air became charged and excited with energy. Lakes and rivers began to boil away, feeding into the enormous thunderstorm building, clouds as black as the Twelfth Angel’s body soaring tens of thousands of feet into the air as the perfect day was covered in darkness for tens of kilometres in all directions.

Had there been survivors, they surely would have commented on the strangeness of this, but the area was already devoid of life.

A storm was coming to Tokyo-3.

A storm by the name of Ikari Shinji.

I let the rain come though it does not wet me; let the wind come, though it does not ruffle my clothes; let them pick me up and carry me off to my destination. Lightning and thunder boom about me, the pennant and war drums of a furious sky god of old, demanding human sacrifice in appeasement for the insults given by the mere existence of the puny mortals.

Damn, whatever you found must have been huge!

Fuck, I wasn’t even this pissed when I woke up yesterday and everything had gone to Hell. What did I find?

I race across the landscape, Odin leading the Wild Hunt, lightning whip cracking against the flanks of my zephyr horses while banshees and Valkyries wail at my sides. As I near my destination though, the sounds of my thunder are drowned out by the thunder of man.

Cresting a final hill, I find myself looking at Tokyo-3 firing away with everything in its arsenal, trying desperately to slow down the advance of the Fourteenth Angel. It is all one long, continuous roar of guns and explosions bouncing off the AT-field like spit balls against Chobham armour.

And then, with a single, contemptuous swat, the Angel annihilates half the defenders before punching a hole in the armour, making its way down towards the heart of the city.

While the storm I have stirred will take time to die, I none the less let it slip away. I must make it to my Eva! Gendo and SEELE can wait a few minutes!

Making the best compromise of speed against drawing attention to my position from the Angel, and incidentally everything else as all attention is focused upon said Angel, I make it to Central Dogma just in time to see the end of the fight between the Angel and Unit 02.


Tokyo-3 was a clean, modern city firmly under the control of NERV… or at least it
had been until Shinji and Zeruel had put several large, gaping holes in it and severely damaged its capacity to affect self repair. They were still working to bring the electricity back on in some places.

Into that power vacuum had flood all manner of scum and villainy, hoping to capitalize on the ruin and despair left by the battles with the Angels. Profiteering was the least of the ills that had sprung up like mushrooms in the cracks of a poorly maintained manure processing plant. With a rich supply of those too broken and destitute -or ensnared by NERV- to leave the city, drug use had sky rocketed in the past three weeks. And as inevitably as Tokyo-3 attracted the Angels, with the drugs came the violence.

And with the violence, came the predators.

The smell of gun oil and leather, the smell of conflict, draws me. A tiny part of my mind wonders at just how much I have changed to be able to track such smells.

Tell me about it.

Quiet! This is hard enough to follow already!

It is dark out, and yet my eyes see the world as if it were day. Sight, hearing, smell, touch, even taste had taken on a new sharpness, of the sort that can only be experienced to be understood. I perceive the world in a way that no human can comprehend. The only person who I could have related this to is not here. He is trapped in his Eva, his corporeal form dissolved away.

I was always with you in spirit.

My nose picks up the scents of conflict, of blood spilt, and I am drawn like a shark to a wounded seal, following the winds, my bare feet slapping against the asphalt, concrete and corrugated metal of the warehouse roofs I run across in search of prey. Stopping at the edge of one, I peer down.

I see five men standing in a circle around a young woman. One of them has a knife out, dripping with blood, the woman holding her right arm in pain, obviously wounded. The only light aside from the city’s background glow is from a single yellow source in a metal cage above a warehouse door.

I pull out one of my hatchets. I don’t even know where I get them anymore, they just come to me when I need them and vanish when they become ‘evidence’. Shinji would know more about this but…

Such thoughts drain away. Shinji was right all those months ago, Chaos truly is free from angst, at least when used properly. When I am fighting, time slows down my focus on the moment is so great. There is no room for superfluous thoughts, for anything at all but purest rage and bloodlust. This is why I hunt; this is why I fight, to forget.

the psychotic berserker I feel in love with.

I am already falling through the air as the hatchet impacts against the light. The prey does not have time to even acknowledge that the light is gone before I am upon them, literally in the case of the one holding the knife. The impact from my fall is dissipated into his body, breaking bones and compressing organs, mostly in the shoulders and spine as that is where my feet make contact.

Springing off him and landing adroitly on the ground, I extend a hand and catch the hatchet I had thrown, the last light from the sparks illuminating me for just the briefest of moments, the blade of the hatchet catching the light of the last embers and illuminating like hellfire for just a moment before it catches flesh.

What little light left to the alley there is will no longer reflect off the blade as it is now covered in blood, along with most of the scene as the man’s heart, not knowing he was dead, still pumped a few times, squirting blood out of the major arteries in his neck that were now open to air.

His head hit the ground with a dull thump not dissimilar to a cantaloupe.

My breathing quickens at the sight of the slaughter I have wrought, charged with adrenaline and other, stranger chemicals, products of a body I no longer understand, gifts from my ferocious god.

“BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!” The words escape from my lips as if on their own, a savage cry that echoes through the alley, deafening the still stunned prey. Continuing the arc that decapitated the first man, I whip the hatchet around so that it catches a second just bellow the sternum, ripping his whole chest cavity apart.

It’s raining blood now. The air tastes of copper and iron, the sweetest scents I now know. I can count the individual drops as they fall, my senses and reactions are so tuned in. I know that I am drooling, long ropey cords of spittle that trail from the edge of my mouth, turning to foam as I proceed.

I am insane.

I reach out, my fingers punching through skin and muscle like butter, only stopping to wrap around bone. I yank. With a wet slurping noise and the cracking of bones, cartilage, and ligaments, I tear one of the prey’s heads off along with a chunk of spinal column.

I am inhuman.

“SKULLS FOR THE SKULL THRONE!” I roar. I relish the unimaginable violence I unleash. I am a destroyer, a conqueror, a bloodthirsty monster.

I love it.

There is but one combatant left. The one I landed in on is still moving, but that is simply post mortem twitching. I can hear the fact that his heart has already stopped beating. Not that he was a threat anyway after I broke his shoulders and paralyzed him.

The last man is just getting out his knife when I strike. The hatchet released from my hand, it spins through the air, shedding blood in long arcs before striking the hand wielding the weapon, breaking bones and cutting off his thumb. He does not even have the time to scream in pain before I am on him, slamming into him hard enough to drive the air from his lungs.

I am a fourteen year old girl and I out mass a fully grown man in a violent profession by at least half his mass. I pin him to the wall and then drive him to his knees so that I can get a good angle at his throat. If this were Shinji, what I do next would be much more gentle and affectionate, and he would be better able to withstand it.

I am glad you think of me when killing people.

It was for you.

I know.

My mouth fills with blood as my teeth penetrate flesh. Hot, sticky, and sweet, it is like honey on my tongue, the ultimate sacrament. Khorne needs no transubstantiation bullshit.

Without Shinji, killing is sex for me. Considering the fact that Shinji is telepathic, telekinetic, and has mapped the human nervous system with the powers of his mind, that puts killing somewhere above some hypothetical mixture of heroin and chocolate on the scale of ‘good shit’.

I really wish I could remember that.

I bet you do.


When I can no longer even suck the blood from the dry blood vessels I have punctured, I drop the corpse to the ground. In this alley, only two hearts remain beating: mine and the prey’s prey. My heartbeat is slowing to a regular, steady beat now that the fury of the moment is passing, but the girl remains frantic and somewhat irregular with terror.

She has collapsed to the ground, still clutching the wound on her arm, but now she is tainted with the harsh ammonia smell of urine and the unpleasant stench of tears mixing with mucus as she cries in terror.

She is not worth my time. Picking up my hatchet, I hack off the heads of those not already decapitated and then gather them up, leaving the alley behind. I know that there will be no witnesses, not even evidence, that Asuka Langley Soryu killed those men.

Half an hour of travel through the labyrinth of service tunnels running beneath the streets of Tokyo-3 brings me to my lair, the charnel house I have dedicated to Khorne, a portion of the dead zone created by Shinji’s battles. It will be months before the reconstruction reaches here, and I suspect it will remain unmolested even then. The gods seem to protect the sanctity of their shrines in this city, as evidenced by the continued secret existence of Rei’s bone yard.

My chapel to Khorne is what would be expected. Skulls from the past two weeks of work are piled up in a great stack, dozens of them human but hundreds from other, lesser species, the spoils of my apostles. Spartacus had brought in several dead cats already, the blood on their fur and on his muzzle showing how they had ended up dead. Already the old bulldog was working at ripping their heads off to add them to pile.

Or rather; The Throne. Sinking luxuriously into the skull throne I have crafted in imitation of Khorne’s, I pick up one of the skulls and begin the task of cleaning it to make suitable for addition to the throne.

That task however requires a bit more light, so I strike a match, the phosphor flaring brilliantly in the darkness before subsiding to the yellow-orange glow of burning wood. I light two candles, crafted from the rendered flesh of those I have killed.

I work on the five skulls quickly and efficiently, having them cleaned and added to the throne in about an hour. My own internal sense of time tells me that I still have an hour before I need to be back at the apartment before Misato rouses from her latest drunken stupor. I can get there in forty-five minutes if I run at full speed.

I can make better time than the trains most of the time.

I consider snuffing out the candles and leaving immediately, but I pause to consider my reflection in the mirror that had been part of this room’s original purpose.

No one would ever suspect Asuka Langley Soryu of the killing spree that was haunting Tokyo-3 because the creature staring back at me from the mirror looked nothing like her the majority of the time. Naked except for a blood-stained tarp, I was only vaguely human as all the proportions for her limbs were wrong, a by-product of the alteration of her skeleton for more efficient attachment of the muscles that rippled across my body, barely contained by my skin.

red skin. As in brilliant crimson, the colour of arterial blood flowing from a fresh wound, before clotting has kicked in. It was the sort of colour more associated with paints than with the spectrum of human flesh tones. It was unnatural and terrifying with its ultimate wrongness for it had not the same quality as painted skin either.

The same went for my hair. While copper was an accepted hair colour, mine was bronze. Again, it wasn’t so much the colour in of itself that was wrong, it was the fact that it was on a human, because it didn’t look like some strange admixture of blonde and red that might arise in nature, but it looked like it was made out of actual strands of metal. It just subtly did not look right.

Of course, the horns jutting out of my forehead pretty much guaranteed that the police would never catch me. Any eye witnesses would either be considered too traumatized to be giving a correct report or they would assume that the horns were a prop.

I gazed at the mirror for a time, staring at the daemon looking back at me before asking, “What more do you want?”

I pace in frustration back and forth for a time before shifting my features back to normal, the procedure quick and painless despite the cracking of bones and the shifting of flesh. The fact that my hair changes colour too despite the fact that it is dead shows just how altered my contact with Chaos has left me.

I stare at myself, the only thing unchanged about me being my eyes, as they were already marked by Khorne months ago. I grind my teeth in rage. I need Shinji back; I don’t need more strength and power.
He is my strength and power. In fact, he is probably the reason I haven’t been caught yet.


What’s with the negativity all of a sudden?

That’s not you?

On a sudden impulse I pick up one of the numerous bladed implements scattered about and consider it. Obviously my offerings haven’t been enough for the Blood God to return Shinji to me yet. It looked like it was time to up the ante. I could either start killing more people, probably not the best of ideas as my Eva was still being repaired and had a limited power supply, and large calibre bullets could still give me problems.

Or I could start making an offering that was actually from the

The cutting edge bit into my skin, between the breasts and above the heart. The damage was superficial, but already the blood had started flowing in contrast to the sluggishness it usually exhibited these days. This was a sacrifice in the truest sense of the word, the giving of my blood. When she finished, she had the emblem of Khorne carved into my skin just above my sternum. The pain was meaningless, something for Slaaneshi fanatics, only the blood mattered.

So crude.

Stop that!

It’s not me!

Who then?

I don’t know! I don’t even know who I am right now!

These are all memories you know.

This is blood freely given. Blood to pay for my failure that day.

Get out the popcorn. This is going to be fun.

Who are you?

Scene change.


I could feel the concussive thump of the armoured roof of the Geofront being breached even through the LCL of my Eva. It was a huge blast to punch all the way through with only two shots. Following shortly afterwards in the wake of the explosion at a sedate pace that belied its ferocious power, was the Fourteenth Angel, Zeruel. It was a blocky sort, basically just a giant torso with a skull-like face at the top and two short, stubby legs at the bottom that it didn’t really need with its levitation powers. It had shoulders but no real arms, just truncated, little squares where arms should be.

It was essentially a black, beige and orange ball of ugly that had so far demonstrated the most firepower ever for an Angel. I like it. It is a simple killer, something I could understand.

A brilliant blue-white beam sprang up from Unit 00’s location, intercepting the Angel as it descended, but the energy just splashed harmlessly off its AT-field. Rotating slowly to face this distraction, its eyes flashed and suddenly Unit 00 was consumed in fire. Blown backwards by the energy unleashed, Unit 00 bounced several times before coming to rest in one of the underground forests. The positron rifle and the power pack then exploded, immolating everything around the fallen Unit 00.

The indicators declared Unit 00 intact but inoperable.

Snorting derisively, I say to the Angel despite the fact that I know it can’t hear me, “Nice, you got the bitch. I would buy you a beer, but unfortunately I’m underage and, more importantly, I’m going to kill you now.”

I depress the trigger and a stream of rounds bursts forth from my bolter to explode harmlessly against Zeruel’s AT-field. It ignores me.

Big mistake.

I continue to fire off bursts of bolter fire as I advance, the ground quaking beneath my feet as I push my Eva up to a full run. The Angel continues to ignore me as it searches for… something. I do not know what, and I do not really care.

I begin priming the underslung melta on my bolter.

The sudden power build-up attracts the Angel. It turns towards me, eyes flashing.

I am already moving too fast, my reactions accelerated beyond what a human should be able to do. I side-step the attack, my eyes picking up the near invisible shimmer of the energy distorting the air as it passes by to strike the far end of the Geofront.


The Angel’s face contorts into the image of simple-minded confusion. How did it miss?

I dodged retard.


Whoever you are, could you cut out the commentary, we both have a rather confused concept of self and time right now and you’re not helping.

Shh! We’re almost to the good part.


The Angel fires again, and once more I dodge, although just barely this time. I can feel the crackle of energy along the skin-tight AT-field I have erected, but the majority of the blast impacts close to where the first one hit. I idly note that the atmosphere in the Geofront is rapidly being polluted by various nitrous chemicals and a great deal of ozone. Lot of energy being thrown around.


I’m about to throw about more.


Cluing in, the Angel ceases targeting my centre of mass and aims for the ground in front of me, knowing that I’ll be caught by the blast. I leap into the air just as it fires, and then steal a page from Shinji’s playbook. I erect a wall with my AT-field beneath my feet after the blast strikes the ground and use it to ride the explosion into the air while gingerly cradling the weapon in my hands to avoid setting off the now touchy melta.


I flip over the Angel, erecting an AT-field in open space to push off of so that I avoid travelling too far, before landing adroitly, for a thousand ton war machine anyway, on the ground.


Zeruel turns to face me slowly as I begin to erode its AT-field with my own. Something is happening with its arms, as if they are unfolding like pieces of paper.


“Too late motherfucker,” I note before shoving the melta right up against its core.


Sensing the danger, at the last instant something folds around Zeruel’s core right as I fire the melta. The whole world goes white and the entire bolter/melta weapon’s platform is ripped from my hand by improper bracing against the tremendous recoil. It doesn’t matter though because…


Motherfucker! Somehow the Angel managed to survive all of that. True, its flesh was blackened and charred, but it was somehow intact and regenerating. And moving.

Its arms were fully unfolded now, great sheet-like things that had a mobility that should not have been possible. I know from looking at them though that they are an extension and enhancement of the energy-whip idea utilized by the Fourth Angel. It probably used its AT-field to make them cut at least as well as a progressive blade. The fact that I had not vaporized it indicated that it could somehow maintain both the typical ‘wall’ style AT-field and some sort of structural version.


Dodging under the first swipe I pull my trusty pistol and chain-axe off my back, bringing them to bear. Sidestepping the second attack, I parry a third with my chain-axe. The whirring progressive teeth war with the AT-field empowered mono-edge of the appendage for a moment before the two mighty weapons recoil away from each other with a shower of sparks. For the brief moment where they clash the Angel is open and I pump two rounds into its core. The armour piercing high explosive bolts detonate at the surface, doing little to no damage.

We dance like that for a time, the Angel and I, neither one capable of getting a solid hit on the other, even as our tempo and pace increase to insane levels. I don’t care though, laughing in my Entry Plug at the thrill of the fight. My synch ratio is probably over a hundred right now, as if such numbers matter, and I am one with the fight. I am my Eva and my Eva is me.

Not quite.

Shut up!

Oh fine, but really the sarcastic commentary is the best part.

And then in an instant, everything changes. One of the blade arms cuts through part of the sensor vane on my helmet, but I gladly sacrifice it just for the chance to get an opening. The Angel screams in pain as my chain-axe connects with the base of its right arm, sawing through the weaker flesh there. Brutally kicking it to the ground I shove my bolt pistol right into the wound and empty it, splashing purple blood all across my red armour.

I raise my chain-axe high for the killing stroke…


My power cord had been cut in the blast that sent my skyward and I had not noticed, so caught up in the moment. I am out of power. In hindsight I think Misato was trying to warn me of that, but I had not noticed.

“FUCKING BULLSHIT!” I scream at the unfairness of this snatching of defeat from the jaws of victory.

Not wasting any time, the Angel then cuts off Unit 02’s head and hurls the rest of the Eva back and far away with a blast from its eye beams. The armour barely holds. It shouldn’t have held I am told later, but somehow, miraculously I survive.

I do not however remain conscious after impact with the ground at the end of my ballistic arc. Considering all the upgrades to my body that says something about the violence of the event.

Bravo! Bravo! Encore! Encore!

Would you kindly tell us who the fuck you are?

Shinji knows already.

No I… this is one of those things I forgot about, right?

Yes. I think it is also time he remembers what I told him and the Secrets I Keep.
Last edited by Academia Nut on 2008-02-27 01:55am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Academia Nut » 2008-03-03 09:55am

I’m bored out of my skull… or rather I would be if I weren’t already out of my skull for other, unrelated reasons. Well, somewhat unrelated reasons. The boredom and the being out of my skull are independent consequences of the same root cause…

Yup, definitely bored, playing word games with myself just to try and get some perspective.

For perhaps the third time in that hour/day/week/eon I snap at the daemon. “Are you just going to play with it for the next ten thousand years? Am I going to have to figure out a way to tell Asuka to hook me up to life support and start offering sacrifices to keep me going?”

“Must you be so crude?” The daemon sighs, looking up from the ministrations on its plaything.

“Hmmm… considering all the damage control I have to do when I get back -thanks to
you incidentally- I feel justified in my impatience,” I tell the creature in annoyance.

“And I thought you Tzeentchian schemers were so patient,” the daemon sneers with a cruel grin on its bovine face.

“That’s because we’re usually in control of the situation and have the luxury of smug arrogance and waiting for things to unfold. When it’s not like that we’re quite hard working and irritably impatient at the slightest distraction.
This goes beyond a ‘slight distraction’ by several orders of magnitude,” I point out.

“Yes, well this is…” the daemon begins.

“…‘all going according to plan’. Yes, well, remind me to knee my god in the balls next time I see Him,” I note with dry sarcasm.

“Oh my, crude and flippant young one, your mind is so-” the daemon begins before I cut it off.

“Look, if Tzeentch were to actually appear before me after all this in a form
with balls to knee instead of some sort of gibbering, tentacled monstrosity capable of driving lesser beings mad with the merest glimpse, then I think it is fair to say that He is asking for the patella to connect with the groin. It will probably even be part of one of His plans, so I honestly won’t feel bad at all,” I explain with bitter annoyance at being underestimated, again.

The daemon is silent for a time. Or rather, its mind is still, for silence implies the
possibility of sound, which in turn requires some sort of transmission medium. Considering that my mind was cast adrift in the Warp, transmission mediums capable of supporting sound waves were in short supply.

Finally the daemon just sighs. “You are
quite irritating. Do you know that?”

“It’s why I was chosen, wasn’t it?” I ask rhetorically.

“No, you were
raised annoying, your selection was merely an accident of birth, you know that,” the daemon chides.

“Yes, because
you go over the plan every twelve hours!” I spit back angrily.

“Come now, you know the necessity of this. The odds of you remembering any specific section are low,” the daemon reminds him.

“Yes, that’s part of the same damn debriefing I keep hearing. Incidentally, isn’t there some way to give me laser guided amnesia instead of just wiping out the past three months when we’re done here?” I ask for the hundredth time. With any luck I’ll only remember the
first version of this debriefing when it was still shocking and intriguing instead of the thousandth when I was already ready to go.

“Sadly, the mental bastions of your mind are
not a gift that is revoked, nor something that can be consciously suppressed to that level. In order to affect your memory loss a chainsword will be required rather than a scalpel. A pity, your mind would be so much fun to play with,” the daemon notes while idly going back to its plaything.

Leaning on the armrest of my throne, such as was possible in this mad realm of thought, I note, “When I remember this, I do believe I will have to give myself a thorough scrubbing to get the memory of you out. I can already hear your voice echoing sarcastically in the future.”

Well that’s a relief… I think.

You think. Good job monkey.

“Ha! Like I would let you go that easily young one. I will be busy with other things, but I can assure you that my memory will remain with you for a long time. If the architects of this grand scenario had not already returned their support I would still be playing with you and your Khornate toy,” the daemon cackles.

Growling, I say, “You will not address Asuka like that.”

“Fine. I would still be playing with you and your
cum-guzzling whore,” the daemon says mockingly.

The strike is fast and straight at the daemon’s weakest point: its pride. Before it knows what has happened the plaything is out of its clawed hands and safely next to me, within the bubble of invulnerable thought that protected me from the same tender mercies inflicted upon the damned soul now cowering at my ‘feet’.

The daemon’s face gaped open for a moment before it screamed in a rage that rocked the very fabric of the warp around them, “GIVE THAT BACK!”

I consider the request for a long, pregnant moment before stating, “No.”

Snarling, the daemon lashes a clawed hand against my barriers only for it to be repelled by a shower of crackling, iridescent light. I look upon it with boredom while it rages against my barriers, examining my non existent shirt for non existent lint as it spits insults and curses at me. Finally it just stops and sulks, saying, “You know you’re just making it worse when you have to let me in.”

“Oh I know, but this moment is sweet enough that I think it will be quite worth the price. You can hurt me, but you can’t cripple me, can’t do anything worse than petty cosmetic damage. You wouldn’t survive the backlash if you did anything more,” I state smugly.

The daemon growls and finally says, “Fine, I
won’t tell you the secret to repairing your lady.” It practically hisses with false politeness on the last word.


“You never were planning on doing such a thing anyway; you just told me that to annoy me. Anything you would tell me would probably be so filtered through all those wonderful Freudian psychosexual hang-ups you Slaaneshi types have that it would be useless to me should I actually try and use it,” I note dryly.

Harrumphing, the daemon finally says “Okay, if you’re going to be like
that, I’ll just go play with something else.”

“Going to make the long, dangerous, multi-light year trek to find another toy like this one?” I ask, gesturing to the pathetic Eldar soul grovelling at my feet.

“Nah, good specimens of that species are so hard to find these days, it’s not even worth it. The first trip was hard enough and I only found that toy by chance, I won’t bother looking for another. I’ll just find a human or two to play with,” the daemon says with a slow, delicious sing-song cadence towards the end.

“Back to Misato and Kaji is it?” I ask with an undercurrent of hatred clear in my voice.

“Oh, you know about that do you?” The daemon asks, somewhat disappointed that its secret is out.

“I figured it out a couple of sessions ago. For lack of a better word, you ‘smell’ of Misato whenever you come back, carrying hints of her mental signature on you after what must be wonderful mind fucking session. Of course, there is nothing I can do to stop you,” I note with infinite disgust.

The daemon runs a long, practically prehensile tongue over its razor sharp teeth before smiling lustily and saying, “What do you think of me raping her dreams wearing your guise tonight? You could not hide your lusts from me during the time when I was allowed free rein in your mind; I know that there is a part of you that wants to do such awful,
wonderful things to her.”

Glaring impassively at the daemon, I say, “
That is the best you can throw at me? Those are the terrible Secrets you Keep? That I’m a horny fourteen year old living with a sexually aggressive and experienced woman and I wouldn’t mind getting in her pants? By the Warp, this shocking revelation changes everything. Quick, call up the Gods; we have to get this critical piece of information to them in time!”

“Sarcasm suits you, you know?” The daemon notes in annoyance.

“It’s a Tzeentchian thing, although in that instance I decided that the subtlest instrument in my linguistic tool kit was a 2X4. Now, on other subjects, can I cut a deal with you, or will you have to limit your mind fucking to the rather difficult task of influencing a non-psyker?” I ask.

“Oh, and what can you give me that I don’t already have?” The daemon notes with the slightest smirk in its tone…

Shrugging, I tilt my head to the damned soul, who begins to cry and sob and beg for mercy. “I can give this one back to you in exchange for not using my likeness to haunt Misato’s dreams.”

“Oh, but you already do. Your absorption into your Eva and now this coma has left her quite haunted by you. It’s actually something of a tangled form of what you humans so amusingly call an Oedipus complex. She has such abandonment issues with her father, and everyone else who died in Second Impact, but since she can’t have him, she now lusts after her surrogate son. It’s all very lovely for me,” the daemon gloats.

“Yes, yes, well you don’t need to make it worse you know,” I point out.

“Where is the fun in that?” The daemon whines falsely.

“Oh, no
fun. It’s just that I’ll make sure that it would be less fun for you otherwise,” I explain.

“Or what, you’ll keep my toy from me? You have a week left here, that’s nothing in comparison to the
eternity I will have to play afterwards,” the daemon points out smugly, sneering at its play toy which pathetically cringed backwards, even behind the invulnerable barrier.

“Yes, but I can make sure that the next week is absolute
misery for you. You have to come back to explain the plan to be sure of things on a regular basis, you can’t avoid me for the next week. And every time you’re here, I’ll make sure that I’m the one ‘playing’,” I growl threateningly. My right ‘hand’ then morphs into a long, grasping tentacle that I use to wrap around the ‘throat’ of the damned Eldar. Mental self image in this plane is so malleable to one such as me.

“You know I like to watch,” the daemon sneers, but there is a hint of fear in its tone.

“While I’m sure ‘practice’ for when I get back to Asuka would be useful, this alien is indeed a comely female specimen, I have other
plans,” I tell the daemon, drawing the last word out into a malicious hiss.

“I am a follower of the Lord of Change… I wonder what it would take to alter a dead Eldar soul into a form beyond sensation… beyond acknowledgement of your ministrations. Such a dissection and reconstruction would be a glorious achievement to offer to Tzeentch, don’t you think?” I sneer.

“You… you… you wouldn’t dare!” The daemon screams.

“Oh, I
would dare, and I think you know I would. I know that you are more bored than I, your vast mind trapped in this empty, dull place with so few things to torment, and you have been here for a decade compared to the paltry month I have suffered through. I know that should I truly take your toy away, that would hurt you. So do us both a favour, and instead of being a petty dickhead like you usually are, bargain with me on this one thing. You leave Misato alone; I leave your fuck toy alone, got that?” I offer up generously.

“Fine,” the daemon hisses.

“Swear it. I don’t want to shove this whore through my barriers only for you to prance off and screw with Misato anyway,” I demand. “Swear it on your
secrets and it is yours to do with as you will.”

It snarled in response to his impudence. For a Keeper of Secrets to swear
on those Secrets meant it was beholden to reveal them should it break its half of the bargain. And as the Greater Daemon was in part an avatar of its God, he was in effect poking Slaanesh in the ribs.

It wasn’t quite kicking Tzeentch in the balls, but it was something…

The daemon growled before rattling off several dozen syllables unpronounceable by the human tongue before saying, “There, I just swore I would leave Misato alone in exchange for that Eldar’s soul.”

“So be it” I declare before casually tossing the struggling, weeping alien outside my barriers where the daemon gleefully pounces upon it.

I sit back and watch, as I have for the past three weeks. I don’t know why the stupid thing thought I was there to save it, I had not been moved by its pathetic screams when I first saw it, and I wasn’t about to have a sudden fit of compassion for a dead alien I had never met in life.

I watch and take notes for the thousandth time. Who knows what parts of my memory would return to me and when? The daemon did know a lot about sex, and I was always looking to learn new things.

Shinji awoke from the shared dream, his mind pulled from the chaotic swirl of memories by that memory of the daemon. Fortunately Asuka had not been pulled into that experience. Shinji knew now that the commentary had come from his mind, from the part of him tainted by contact with the Keeper of Secrets sent to move things along according to plan.

It deeply disturbed him however that a greater daemon of Slaanesh was taking orders from Tzeentch… somehow, and for some reason. He knew the full plan had been explained to him, he just could not remember the details, yet.


Damn it! He knew the words, knew that they were important, for they had told him the identity of the last Angel, but he could not remember how to translate them into something meaningful, something he could understand.

Until that happened, he was working on his own.

He had the dread feeling however, that this was all still going just as planned anyway. He managed to swallow his bitterness though. This was the sort of thing to expect from Tzeentch. There was nothing worth crying over, although he would kick the bastard’s ass if given the opportunity. As he had told the daemon, if Tzeentch presented you with an opportunity that you wanted, you were best off taking it because that was probably just another part of His plans.

Also, unlike Gendo, Shinji didn’t intend to try to kill Tzeentch, just rough Him up a little, maybe take a couple of hits in return, let Him know how Shinji felt about the whole deal. It was a bonding experience in Shinji’s mind.

Because the Gods only knew that a distant, alien, manipulative, daemon god who was almost certainly using him for His own designs was still a better role model than Gendo.

Setting aside his concerns for the future, Shinji turned his attention back to Asuka’s mind, first smiling then frowning at what has occurred. So far he had managed to reconstruct about 90% of her mind, or rather, he had established the conditions for the majority to reform on its own. The problem now was that the remaining damage was still in critical locations.

One analogy for description would be to look down at a smooth, flat disc, a CD or hard disk if you will, although those were purely storage devices in comparison to the active processing capacity of a living mind. In active mode, it would spin very fast, thoughts and memories linking and joining, producing a complete person. Unfortunately at the moment, there was an arc stretching from the outer edge of the disk to its core that had been shattered. Shards of pure thought drifted in the wound like bits of pulverized flesh in a bullet track, terminating in an ugly hole in the centre of the disc.

If the ‘disc’ tried to spin at any great speed, especially without its centre, it would simply tear itself apart, and all of Shinji’s work would be undone. Asuka’s mind knew this too, and it would not let her awaken from her coma until the damage was repaired.

This final scar was the wound that the Angel had inflicted, the genesis for the collapse of her mind.

It would need to be dealt with.

Shinji plunged back in.

The rain reflected the foul mood of the inhabitants of Tokyo-3. Shinji had been hauled out of Unit 01 two weeks ago, but still there was no sign of his recovery. I had been released from protective custody a few days ago, after it became obvious I wasn’t suicidal…and after it had become obvious that I would start killing my way out if they kept me caged much longer.

Misato was a bundle of nerves more high strung than the old Golden Gate Bridge on a mixture of methamphetamines and crack cocaine. She had not been sleeping well for months, her dreams haunted by nightmares of things she barely understood mocking her pain. I knew how that felt, but for all that I wanted to reach out to her, to cling to her, I couldn’t.

There was a wall between us these days. Misato was becoming increasingly self-absorbed in her own pain, while I was venting it nightly on the blood soaked streets. I thirsted for violence, she thirsted for alcohol and who knew what other chemical intoxicants… and other things.

Up until a few nights ago, Kaji had been coming over frequently. The sounds they made… they drove me insane, or at least more insane than typical. My body longed to be touched in that way by Shinji again, and I would often find myself growling in sympathy to the grunts and moans coming through the walls. And I hated her for that.

A part of me still pined for Kaji, even though I knew that it could never be as good as Shinji seeing as it was physically impossible for a normal human to stimulate every erogenous zone simultaneously the way a skilled telekinetic like Shinji could. More so though, they made me absolutely furious, not that such a thing was difficult these days, in the way they were so self-absorbed.

bitch had to have known that Shinji and I were sexually active, had to have known that Shinji meant the world to me, that his touch had completed me, and they had to have know what Kaji meant before Shinji arrived in my life. For them to fuck like rabbits every night where I could hear them… it smacked of such arrogant self-absorption that it took every fibre of my rather limited self control not to storm out of my room and into whatever room they were using for their filthy lusts and add their heads to the growing pile.

The authorities were still blind to stop me, to catch me. Every night my dread harvest grew, and I took a minimum of eight skulls each night. The axes I was summoning were also changing, evolving from simple, modern hatchets into large, bronze battle-axes that evoked memories of a more ancient, primitive and
brutal, time. Despite the change in materials, the weapons were getting sharper and stronger. With my growing daemonic strength, I could easily cleave through both arms and the upper torso of a full grown, heavily built man with ease… and leave a gouge mark in the concrete wall behind him.

I truly am a monster, and I would kill
anything that got in my way.

Thus I practically had an orgasm when the announcement came that an Angel had been detected in low-Earth orbit. The coward would probably not engage in close quarters combat where I could frolic in the shower of blood pattering against the armour of my Eva, but killing was killing, and I
needed to kill an Angel to even the score after Zeruel.

I was in Unit 02 before the order to scramble was even given, having made for the holding bays the instant the first alarms went off. I was already through the power up sequence when Misato’s ragged face appeared on the monitor.

“Asuka-san, you are ordered to stand by and support Rei-san against the Angel,” Misato told me.

I growled as I began entering the catapult overrides. “Fuck you bitch if you think you can keep me here.”

Misato just looked hurt as the connection was cut by me turning off the line as the EM-pulse of the rail launcher kicked Unit 02 up to the surface of Tokyo-3. It was stupid of me, but I just had no respect left for Misato, so I simply didn’t give a flying fuck. At least Misato had the good grace to send me up the last functional long range weapon we had left in our stocks.

With the destruction of the positron rifle, the only major long range weapon the Evas had left was the “Davy Crockett”. I didn’t bother remembering the actual name, just the joke name given to it after an old American weapons platform from the Cold War. It was basically a large launch tube loaded up with a large missile and a high yield N2 mine. The range was crap in comparison to the ballistic missiles of old, but the Evas needed a stop gap for their lack of a long range weapon until a new positron rifle could be built from scratch. The JSSDF’s weapon had already been claimed months ago to be used in construction of the last one, so there was a dearth of mostly built weapons available.

Shouldering the large weapon, I began to go through the long process of acquiring a lock on the Angel orbiting above. The shot was a long one, requiring the MAGI to run some complex calculations to work out the ideal point and time to pull the trigger. Happily, the Angel was holding a precise orbital distance from Tokyo-3 and not moving, making the calculations an order of magnitude easier, reducing the number of key variables significantly. One of which was when to detonate the N2 mine. If the missile could not reach high enough, there was still the chance that a detonation would be able to swat the Angel out of the sky if I was nullifying its AT-field.

The targeting reticules were slowly aligning as the MAGI calculated the final firing solution when a ghastly golden light punched down through the cloud cover, slamming into my head like white hot iron spikes being driven into my eyes.

I screamed.

My mental barriers had held against the initial assault… barely. The attacking Angel had no finesse, just raw power, but it unfortunately had a
fuck load of power at its disposal.

LCL boiled with psychic backlash my body went into spasms with the bleed off of the initial psychic attack, although fortunately I had the good sense and training not to have my finger on the trigger of a multi-kiloton weapon before I had a firing solution. The results would have been unpleasant otherwise. The N2 mine probably wouldn’t have armed, but it was still loaded on to a rather large rocket.

I vaguely heard the annoyed tone of the lock on being broken by my Eva jerking and shuddering about with the mental noise being generated by the Angel attack, but I was too busy trying to reinforce my mental defences to care.

If my mind was like a vast iron fortress with a barrier wall of solid, armoured metal three metres thick, an imposing, impregnable point that only allowed entrance to invited guests, then the Fifteenth Angel’s psychic attack was the equivalent of one of Ramiel’s beams. The armour had not been penetrated in the first strike, but there was now a glowing melt point where the wall had
almost been breached.

And the white hot lance of psychic power was already charging up for its
next strike.

The LCL, always tasting of blood, now was an even more pungent flavour to it as I realize I have bit my own tongue. I sub-vocalize, “For the Blood God,” before gritting my teeth and preparing for the next big assault.

The Angel slammed its psychic probe through my defences, cracking the armour, and as fast as that, it was in, predatory and
hungry. The being had no idea what it was looking for, just that it would know it when it found it. It was looking for memories of pain, of suffering, weapons to use against me, to break me.

This was a rape of the mind.

Shinji, or any other sufficient powerful follower of Tzeentch, would have ensnared this Angel twelve different ways already, their labyrinthine minds designed to capture and rip apart such childishly simplistic attacks, like soldiers caught in rolls of razor wire, the Angels own raw power would have sawed it apart.

A follower of Nurgle would have simply overwhelmed such a mental attack with wave upon wave of apathetic despair. There was no pain they could not endure, and to fight with them was to court catching the contagions they carried.

A follower of Slaanesh… well, by definition, you can’t rape the willing. Such a mind would probably revel in such an attack to the point where the attacker would be the one being mind raped by the depraved thoughts it found by the end.

For me, a follower of Khorne, the Blood God, the Skull Lord, I had but one course of action open to me in such a situation.

Straining against the psychic pressure, I begin to raise the Davy Crockett back up into position, the crosshairs and firing solution closing…and closing…and closing, focusing everything that I am or ever will be on getting a lock…

I make it halfway before the Angel finally finds what it has been looking for.

A point of pain.

And it presses. Hard.

My whole body ached with sobbing, my face red and swollen with the total expenditure of every tear in my body. Every nerve ending screamed in fire and pain, a chorus of physical agony to accompany the wails and cries in the mind now that the throat could no longer vocalize the pain.

The image of Hikari’s head dropping, almost mockingly, out of the savaged remains of Unit 03 haunted her every time she closed her eyes, and yet the physical pain forced them tightly shut. The phantoms of her actions howled in her mind, taunted her.

‘I killed my best friend’ was the only thing that played through her mind.

I could still see her face so clearly, so afraid, so shocked, so betrayed by my actions. Did Hikari still see through the eyes of her Eva when the Angel possessed it? Did she see us standing there and assume that we were there to save her?

When I started hacking her apart with my chain-axe, did she think that I had been given the mission because I was a bloodthirsty monster willing to turn on her like some rabid dog seeking a fight?

I had already given myself the epithet of Asuka the Betrayer.

A part of my rational mind tries to tell me to get over it, that I was not in control of the time of such an atrocity, but what say had reason in such an emotional storm.

What happened next…

He should not have lingered.

Somehow, I looked up to find Shinji waiting at my door, looking in at me wearing an expression of deep but well controlled anger, and concern. He was dressed for a journey, wearing a jacket and with a bag slung over one shoulder. He was clearly leaving.



In some reservoir I found more tears to cry. Already the heavy hand of loneliness and agony was settling over me.

The bed creaked as Shinji lay down next to me, enveloping me in his arms. There were no erotic undertones to this despite all the times we had shared a bed, or the floor, or a bath tub, or a table, or a wall, or…

He was just holding me to
hold me.

His body was cool in comparison to my heightened metabolism, but at that moment he was like purest sunshine on my skin, a point of hope and warmth in my dark, unforgiving world.

“Don’t go,” I beg of him.

“I must. I must repay this crime a thousand fold, but for that I must know who to punish a thousand times, and who merely a hundred,” Shinji whispers while holding her closer.

“Please… don’t go. I need you Shinji-kun,” I whimper.

“And I need you Asuka-chan, which is why I must go. You are the most precious thing in my life, and to see you hurt like this… this must be avenged,” Shinji tells her while gently brushing a lock of hair out of her face and wiping away her tears.

“If you go, it will hurt more,” I tell him.

“I know,” Shinji agrees.

“So why must you go?” I demand pathetically.

“Because if I don’t let the world know that it will not hurt us under pain of unspeakable torture and death, it will keep doing this. When hit, we must hit back harder, or the pain will not stop. I must go, but I promise I will be back,” Shinji tells her.

“Promise?” I ask.

“By all the Gods, I promise to return to you Asuka-chan. I promise to return, and then we will have our harvest of the skulls of our enemies. The whole world will tremble before us, and world leaders will grovel before us just for the chance to kiss your dainty feet… not that I would let them touch my precious Asuka-chan, but you get the point. We will finish off the Angels, and then we shall own this world for now and ever more, nothing capable of hurting us,” Shinji promises her before getting up to go.

“Shinji-kun?” I ask.

“Yes?” He asks.

“Stay with me for the night… just hold me… will you?” I plead.

“I… I will be gone by morning or I will never leave. Can you bear to wake up to that?” He asks.

“Yes,” I lie.

I need him next to me; I need his sun bright warmth to fall asleep because the primary source of my agony is not that I killed my best friend.

The biggest source of my agony is that I
enjoyed it on some level. To kill, to kill anything, even those I loved, excited and thrilled me, while simultaneously sickening me.

And when I woke up, Shinji was gone…and it hurt ten times as much as before.

I wish he had not lingered.

I wish he had not made a promise he couldn’t keep.

I wish…

Struggling against the rush of anguish and sorrow, I succeed in raising the missile launcher another fraction of a degree at the prompting of the MAGI as they continue to work out a firing solution. My limbs are shaking as they simultaneously freeze and burn and the feedback is affecting all of Unit 02, throwing off my aim, but from somewhere, I find the strength adjust my aim.


The Angel continuing to violate my mind stumbles across a bloody, raw emotional scab in its search, easily deflecting away my desperate attempts to push it away.

Without hesitation, it rips it open.

It was all
her fault. If not for that bitch Rei, Shinji never would have had to leave; he could have simply killed his father and dealt with the Fourteenth Angel at his leisure instead of having to rush in at the last moment and become the Big Damn Hero.

And getting sucked into his Eva doing it.

There would be
blood for this. I had killed Rei once, I could do it again.

And again.

And again.

Until the bitch was gone from our lives forever.

I ascend the filthy stairs of Rei’s otherwise abandoned apartment, wrinkling my nose in disdain of the disgusting hovel that only a follower of Nurgle would want. As I climb higher, I stop even trying to identify the various kinds of mould on the walls, trusting in the changes to my body and Khorne’s blessing to keep me safe from this toxic environment.

Finally I reach the apartment, no longer even caring about the stomach curdling smell, my rage at Rei for
all of this powering me onward when most people would have run screaming to find the nearest bottle of Lysol by now. I don’t even bother trying the corroded handle; I simply kick in the door, the rotted wood disintegrating under the force of my foot.

A wave of putrid miasma washes over me, and I recoil back for an instant before peering into the dark cesspit that is Rei’s apartment, ready to unleash a terrifying vengeance at the source of my misery.

But hanging there is the one thing that can still terrify

Rei is suspended from the ceiling, an extension cord wrapped about her throat, her head lolling at an uncomfortable if not unnatural angle. She had hung herself, and it had been messy. She did not have enough of a drop to snap her neck, so she had strangled to death. Her porcelain face was a deep blue-purple, blending in unpleasantly with her greasy pale blue hair, while her tongue is swollen and sticking out of her mouth. Foam flecks at her lips while nail marks gouge at her throat in an attempt to open up her airway. Sometime during or after the process she had soiled herself, the filth still running down her legs to drip in puddle at her feet.

The worst bit though was the fact that she had neatly taken off her clothes and laid them in a pile on her bed. She had killed herself, and even then she was still being polite to the next iteration in not soiling her clothing to point where people would ask questions.

I scream and run to get away from that awful, taunting thing hanging like strange fruit from the ceiling.

thing that will now wear my mother’s face forevermore.

Mother did not die clean, but at least her neck broke from her drop. There was none of the struggle and pain evident on Rei’s face and body from the end. Now though…
now I would never be able to get the superimposition of those two dread images out of her mind.

The doll had hung herself, and she didn’t even
care. She had set aside all of her things in anticipation of death and a new copy would be along shortly to claim the life that the last had vacated.

I kept running until even my enhanced muscles burned with fatigue on the far side of Tokyo-3, collapsing in a heap in a darkened alleyway, puking my guts out just to try and purge my body of
something as my mind cannot purge the horrors now lurking within… and the horrors that had been lurking for the past ten years.

“I'm not a child! I'm going to grow up quickly”

“So look at me.”

“Please, Asuka, die with me.”

“No! I'm not your doll.”

“I'm going to think for myself and live for myself.”

“That girl over there.”

“Mom! Please, don't quit being my mom.”

“Mom! Mom! I've been chosen.”

“I'm an elite pilot, chosen to protect all of mankind.”

“I'm the best in the world.”

“It's supposed to be a secret! But I'll tell you anyway! Just for you.”

“Everyone will be nice to us from now on.”

“So, we won't be lonely anymore.”

“So, we'll be fine, even without Dad around.”

“We won't be lonely anymore.”

“So, look! Look at me.”

“Come on, Mom…Mom…Mom?”

My screams are echoing across Tokyo-3, picked up by my Eva and roared for all to hear and cower before. I can feel my mind slipping away under the onslaught. The outer walls of my mind had been swept of defenders, and the inner courtyard had fallen. All that was left was the final inner keep where the defenders were putting up a last minute holding action, desperately trying to sell their lives for just… one… shot…

And Khorne be praised, the targeting system blared with the glorious tone indicating that a firing solution had been successfully calculated by the MAGI.

My finger twitches over the trigger, caressing it. The entire Eva shudders from the recoil of the missile leaving its tube, carrying its deadly payload skyward on a pillar of smoke and fire.

The defenders of my mind, Khornate berserkers to the last, leap from their fortified position and land on the tendrils of the Angel’s psychic assault. It wanted pain… it will
get pain.

All that mental anguish and torment… that was

Your brother denied me Shinji, the first person who understood me, the first person who knew how to take the pain away simply by




The Angel struggled with the sudden onslaught of rage as it tried to retreat out of Asuka’s mind, but it discovered that age old maxim that a position that was impossible to get into was also impossible to get
out of.

Its mind was ensnared in a cage built of fury and pain and countless other thoughts and emotions alien to its being. All of the rage and despair, the loneliness and the hate, the frustration and the terror, all the emotions I had worn like chains for weeks now was let loose in a single, fantastic wave of raw human emotion that tied the child of Adam to me; too much to comprehend, too much to deal with in too little time-

The missile reached the limit of its burn, ejecting the payload with an explosive bang to give the deadly N2 mine a final bit of impulse. The missile had not been designed to hit something this high up, but the MAGI had figured out a way to make it work.

The mine drifted higher on a ballistic arc, slowing down as gravity began to reclaim this unsuccessful escape attempt.

The mine reached the top of its trajectory.

Directly beneath the Angel.

The Angel shrieked in terror, perhaps for the first and last time in its existence understanding the emotion, its AT-field trapped in offensive mode by the sudden turn around in the assault. It could not disengage to form a shield.

In a flash of impossibly bright light the Fifteenth Angel disappeared, reduced to a puff of vapour and a lingering scream in the minds of those who could hear such things. It was the thirteenth such scream in the better part of a year.

My eyes roll up in my head as the psychic backlash of holding on to the Angel’s mind as it dies rolls over me. Just as my thoughts are alien to it, so are its thoughts to mine and all I can feel is a profound sense of loneliness and loss.

Is this what it means to be an Angel? To be utterly alone in the universe, not even understanding why you fight the tiny things at your feet?

My mind is imploding, I can feel it. All those memories of isolation and loneliness are flooding forth, the containment I have about them utterly shattered by the attack. They drown me in my own suffering. My own prison.

Everything is going dark…

Shinji, where are you?

Why aren’t you here for me?

Please… help…


help… me…



A memory in stereo, or perhaps quadraphonic, surfaced, one half from Shinji, the other from Asuka, mingling and entwining, as they had the night it had been made. For each it was already a confused, wondrous memory, each having let down their outer barriers just for that the other, thoughts of the one mixing with thoughts of the other.

It was the night after they had slain the Thirteenth Angel; the night after Shinji had refused to abandon Asuka to the inky blackness. They had been having sex for over a month now, but nothing like this. Their minds had been open, but there had still been guards at the borders.

This was the equivalent of the Berlin Wall coming down at last and the celebration of that incredible time.

Thoughts and sensations echoed between them, every touch felt at least four times between the two of them. Once by the person doing the touching, once by the person touched, once by the person doing the touching feeling the thoughts of the person being touched, and once by the person being touched feeling the thoughts of the person touching. It was an incredible tangle of thoughts and emotions.

There were no boundaries. There were no limits. There was no need for words. There was just heat and pressure and sweat and breathing and the explosion of nerve clusters in patterns of sensation beyond description.

With their minds so linked, feeding back upon each other, it was little surprise that it all ended at the same moment, like twin Tsar Bombs going off within a deep mountain valley, the echoes of the noise bouncing back and forth between them long after the fireball faded.

All that was left was to gaze into the eyes of the other, and to see your own eyes superimposed from their point of view. It was incredible, both of them very nearly glowing in the visible spectrum with the energy cascading off them as they lay spent and exhausted in the aftermath.

“I love you Asuka.”

The mirror shattered under the impact, countless spider web cracks radiating out of the point where my fist made contact, little bits of glass falling out as the remains of the tremors faded. Chunks of mirror were embedded in my knuckles, but that was nothing compared to the visceral twisting of my guts or the hollow emptiness of my heart.

Tears of blood dripped from my face into the sink, further proof of my inhumanity. I could not cry like a normal person.

“Damn it all… if I can’t have him back… can’t I just have a piece of him? A fragment, a memento to carry with me into the future?” I ask bitterly.

Damn him.

Damn him for being so responsible.

Damn him for not being here.

Damn him for forcing me to mature, to realize that I was a child pretending to be an adult… and thus to become an adult anyway.

Damn him.

Damn him.

I sink to the floor of the washroom and cry.

Why me?


Something bubbles up within me and I remember Shinji’s words. I refuse to give in. I refuse to stop fighting.

will get him back.


Shinji was forced out of Asuka’s mind as it abruptly stopped at the edge of whatever realization it had been at. It was now 99% complete, if still damaged and scarred from years of trauma. Already it was starting to move again, for complete thoughts to flow, memories in complete, uninterrupted segments allowing for the conduction of ideas.

Shinji could not leave the job half done though, not at all. There was still one piece at the core that still needed to be fitted into place. It had an odd texture from the others though, almost as if it were not a memory but something more profound and primal.

Shinji refused to allow this last piece to go unexplored, unrealized, so he plunged it.

He was right, it was not a memory; it was something different. It was something more archetypal, an ideal rather than an idea. It was a piece of Asuka’s heart she hid even from herself, the motivation that drove her onward, that made her doing the things she did, even when she did not realize them.

The thought was fuzzy, hazy, only barely realized, and from the third person perspective rather than first person. It was Asuka looking in on herself rather than looking out.

An exhausted looking woman, her face blurred out until it was undistinguishable, was lying in a hospital bed while cradling a tiny bundle in her arms staring down proudly at what she held. A man in a business suit, his own face blurred out, had a hand on her shoulder, beaming at her.

Is this her first memory? Her mother holding her just after her birth in the hospital?

Is it even possible to remember something like this?

From the shadows about the scene, eyes began to open, glowing in the gloom, growling hungrily for the happy family within the light.

The babe began to wail in fear of the things lurking in the dark.

Is this what she wants? A family to protect her from the monsters within and without. Does she…

Shinji’s musing was abruptly interrupted by the young woman pulling a large battle-axe out of nowhere and slamming it into the darkness, causing an outraged squeal of pain that died off into a gurgling death rattle. The mother than carefully rocked her child back to sleep as the monsters in the dark retreated in terror.

The father then loosened up his joints and extended a hand out into the darkness, no doubt preparing to unleash hell on whatever had threatened his family.

Wait a second! I understand now, she wants-

Shinji was hurled backwards by the backlash of his spell abruptly ending due to an emergency recall trigger, his Space Marine guardians already forming in small tornadoes of swirling sand as he tried to get his bearings.

It took a moment to understand what was happening, but the sound clued him in. Once you heard that noise, you could never forget.

Someone had detonated a nuclear weapon or N2 mine on the remains of the city above, definitely the sort of thing that would kick him out of his astral projection.

Scrambling to his feet as the Marines materialized fully into existence, weapons at the ready, Shinji rushed to Asuka’s side to see what the backlash had done to her.

She was having a seizure.
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Post by Academia Nut » 2008-03-06 09:45am

This was bad, this was very bad. Shinji had been right at the core of her being when he had been yanked out by the detonation, and while there were safeguards in place, those mostly protected him from psychic backlash. Worst case scenario he should have been yanked clear and whatever damage his abrupt exit caused would have been repairable.

Unfortunately, her mind was already starting up and he had done enough repair work that her psychic defences were now manifesting themselves. He couldn’t access her mind to soothe over the distress he had caused with his abrupt departure, and he couldn’t use his psychic abilities to try and calm the electrochemical storm raging across her brain.

He had to find some way to restrain her or she was going to thrash herself to death, but there wasn’t anything strong enough to contain her warp-fuelled muscles, and he couldn’t use his telekinesis on her without her permission, something she couldn’t give in her current state.

A sudden burst of realization came over him as he realized that while he couldn’t use his telekinesis directly, he could apply force to an intermediate object to restrain her. Of course, there was the danger of accidentally crushing her as the feedback from such a situation was far less fine than a direct application.


Dismissing the risks to himself, Shinji slammed his hand down on her sternum, holding her torso down as she shook to keep her from breaking her own spine with convulsions, his telekinesis applied to his arm.

It hurt.

A lot.

He was subjecting his body to stresses it wasn’t meant to endure, and then holding the bones and flesh together with nothing but the power of his will, when by all rights they should have shattered from the massive compression he was subjecting them to.

The heavy duty bed frame collapsed, but Shinji caught the comforter with his telekinesis, not that it was doing much good as the springs were rapidly being crushed into a useless mass.

And then Shinji noted to his horror that Asuka was snapping her jaw open and shut spastically. She was going to bite her own tongue off and drown in her own blood if he didn’t intervene.

The irony of a Khornate berserker dying like was not lost on him.

He needed to do something quickly before the situation degenerated to the point of no return. He couldn’t think of anything strong enough to…
With his telekinesis he had maintained the integrity of his arm when steel had given way. Mentally preparing himself, he put his left hand between the super human teeth snapping away and threatening to take off Asuka’s tongue. He grunted in pain at first, but his plan appeared to work, to keep Asuka steady and stable, when…

Shinji screamed as his telekinesis failed and Asuka’s teeth sliced through the meat and bones of his left hand, her titanium infused bones slicing like a jagged saw through his all too human flesh. He contained the mess though, ruthlessly crushing his own blood vessels to prevent from bleeding out into her mouth and yanking the severed portion of his pinkie finger and left hand up with telekinesis so that she did not choke on it.

Fortunately he did not need to sacrifice any more appendages to her maw as the seizure began to die down, Asuka relaxing into a deep sleep.

Withdrawing his now smashed left hand, Shinji gritted his teeth to keep from crying out more than he already had as he turned his awareness inward, using micro-fine control over his abilities to cauterize the vicious wound that has left him short a finger. Wrapping his whole hand in a bit of bed sheet, Shinji then tucked his agonized left hand close to his body and stumbled out of the room to try and find out what was going on.

Out in the halls there was a massive buzzing of activity as people tried to figure out where they needed to go, the sound of the explosions that grew ever closer hastening their movements, but confusion had not mutated into panic. Yet.

And then Shinji saw a face he recognized. He had only seen it once, but he never forgot the face of anyone he owed a favour to.

It was one of the NERV soldiers that had fired the TOW missile that had slain Ramiel all those months ago. It looked like Shinji was about to increase his debt a little.

“You!” Shinji cried out, imparting a bit of telepathic command to his voice, causing the soldier to freeze. “What is going on here?”

Confused by the compulsion to stop, the man then looked at Shinji and recognition flowed over his face. “Pilot Ikari-san! They’re looking for you on the bridge! The JSSDF has attacked us and we’re scrambling all remaining assets!”

Hmm… that would explain the N2 mine. I had better get on this.

First priority; make sure Asuka is safe.

Shinji frowned. “Whatever you were doing before, you have a new mission.”

“I…” the man starts to protest, but the eight foot tall monstrosities kicking down the wall from the room Shinji just came out of cut his protests off in mid sentence, one of the figures gingerly cradling Asuka in its enormous gauntleted hands.

Gesturing with a hand to allow the man to understand that the force that was moving him forward was coming from him, Shinji glares at him and says, “Your new mission is to get this girl to…”

What’s the safest place in NERV right now?

“…to her Evangelion. I don’t care what you have to do, what rules you have to break, what you have to steal, who you have to kill, you will get her there. Do I make myself clear?” Shinji says while holding up a hand crackling with fell lightning, letting the power of the Warp sink into his eyes and voice to accentuate his point.

“Uh… actually I was sent down here to retrieve you two…” the man replies in confusion and fear. While he had the balls to stand outside and fire a TOW missile at an Angel’s core, this was a little outside context for him.

Grinning, Shinji says, “Then I have made your job considerably easier. Get her there. I will follow once I have concluded my business.”

The man looked ready to protest, but instead he just took Asuka and called over several others to follow him, retreating away from the psychosis occurring around him.

Second priority; slow the invasion down.

Telekinetically summoning his staff, Shinji expands his mind outward, using the special resonance crystal contained at the core of the metal staff to amplify his powers. Just before he detached his psyche from his body, he tells his Marines, “Oh, do give warning before you start killing anyone, there are some people I don’t want dead.”

Yes Lord,” the Rubric Marines intone in their strangely loud whispers, falling into a protective circular formation around him.

Letting his mind fly from his body, Shinji quickly ascends up through the hole punched in the roof the Geofront, watching as the remains of the lake that had occupied the remains of the city poured down, raining upon Central Dogma far below. Tokyo-3 was complete scrap now.

He tasted the emotions of the soldiers advancing forward. There was a great deal of anger and resentment, but there was also an enormous undercurrent of fear tinged with a grim dark resolve to do whatever needed to be done. They had ordered the bombardment with the N2 mine before their main advance, terrified of what NERV could do. They had seen what the Evas were capable of, and they weren’t taking any chances. They wanted the enemy citadel open to direct fire as quickly as possible.

A pity. If they had begun with a conventional attack, Shinji might not have been roused so soon. Then again, he was almost done with the process of healing Asuka, so it was somewhat moot. Of course, they were so deliciously vulnerable at the moment.

Ah! There is the mind of their commander!

The general of the operation was an old veteran of the Post Second Impact Wars and all the horrors that had occurred during them. He was a hard man who accepted no compromises from his men or from the enemy. He was the perfect man to lead the purging of NERV.

His mind held off Shinji for all of three milliseconds.

The second and third in command of the entire operation were dead before anyone had realized that the general had drawn his side arm and shot them point blank in the head. By the time the guards had started to respond, 80% of the senior command staff for the entire operation were dead or wounded, and then they blew away their commanding officer.

There was a stunned, awful silence in the mobile command vehicle as everyone still alive tried to come to terms with what had just happened. The man who had planned and was executing this operation had suddenly just gone insane and killed as much of the upper ranks of the chain of command as quickly as he could, ignoring the more dangerous threat of the guards just to put another bullet in someone important.

Elsewhere in the command segment, Shinji was having a merry old time with the senior communications officer and the various communications protocols he had ripped out of the general’s mind before he had died.

Let’s see… communications are now scrambled, IFF codes have been set to random walk, and for good measure let’s start shooting up the primary communications gear.

In all of a hundred seconds Shinji had decapitated the JSSDF assault force and fried their ability to effectively communicate between units and with the outside world. For probably the next ten minutes to an hour the entire situation would be an uncontrolled cluster fuck waiting to happen.

A flight of gunships pounced on a column of hostile armour crawling into the city, a barrage of Hellfire anti-tank missiles decimating the better part of a battalion in a matter of seconds. The fact that NERV did not actually own any tanks never entered the pilots’ minds… especially with Shinji psychically fucking around with them. Their IFF said they were hostile, they received no ‘wave off!’ communications from the vehicles and the pilots gleefully pulled theirs triggers.

Seconds later, the gunships were swatted from the sky by another flight, pouncing on the apparent NERV aircraft as they engaged the tanks, before a SAM battery opened up and indiscriminately engaged every aircraft it could see, its targeting screen suddenly flooded with confirmed hostile targets.

A tank unit on one side of the valley raked a its brothers on the other side and generated fierce counter battery fire in response, green tracer shells arcing back and forth in an impressive display of firepower as suddenly cut off and surrounded units fought desperately for their lives.

Here, an infantry platoon scrambled for cover as a pattern of mortars dropped into their positions from their own fire support.

There a Machine gun squad tore into the backs of an assault team, who found what cover they could and poured fire back into the suddenly terrifying ‘NERV’ defence.

It was all so easy too. A subtle prod here, a blurred perception there, and before the forces arrayed against NERV knew what was happening they were shooting at one another.

Within five minutes Shinji had 75% of the invading army shooting at itself. With the upper echelons dead, communications scrambled, and IFFs randomly switching between friendly and enemy, paranoia rapidly took over. No one knew who or what they were shooting at, or what was shooting at them, so they simply moved to defend themselves.

This went beyond a simple cluster fuck, this transcended into the realm where future generations of soldiers would refer to a situation this badly screwed up that they would have to call such scenarios ‘Tokyo-3’. Military historians could make entire careers on writing books on how everything went south all at once.

Entire special weeks on the History channel would be devoted this single battle!

That however left the light infantry, spearheaded Special Forces that had already infiltrated Headquarters. They had quickly moved to a self-imposed communications black out and they were in close enough quarters that they would be able to tell who was firing on them by visual inspection. More then that however, they were trained to fight in situations of poor communications and confusion, thus making them less reliant on the technology that was the doom of the pilots and tankers on the surface. Shinji could take them apart one squad at a time, but that would take a great deal of time, allowing the enemy to get into the various critical systems of NERV.

Plus their spearhead appeared to be moving down a primary access route that would take them right through the main detention block where Misato was presumably being held…a fact he confirmed after quick inspection.

Third priority; get Misato out of there.

Returning to his own body, Shinji nodded to his Marines. “Let’s roll boys, we’ve got killing to do.”

Resistance had been light so far, the guards on the surface completely unprepared for an attack and still reeling from the unexpected bombardment with the N2 mine. The massive security doors had been a pain in the ass to deal with, taking up a lot of explosives or time with specialized equipment to get through, but with no one defending them it wasn’t like they became natural kill points.

There were screaming, panicking civvies all around, but orders were to wipe out anything that moved, with special emphasis on the three Children capable of pilot the monstrous Eva Units. If those fuckers were actually allowed to get into their war machines, then it could very well be the end of the world as they knew it.

Best to just shoot first and never ask questions.

The lead squad that entered the access tunnels into Central Dogma first must have thought it was their lucky day when they saw a young kid in expensive looking purple and blue clothing and a walking stick just stroll right into their crosshairs. They opened fire without giving it a second thought.

The kid just turned and smirked at them as he failed to die. For a few seconds the firing continued until the soldiers noticed that there was a wall forming in front of him of… of…

Of bullets…

“Bored now,” Shinji noted while flicking his wrist. The soldiers simply came apart as their bullets returned to them at hypersonic velocities in a tsunami of copper jacketed lead.

Motioning for his Marines to come into view, Shinji gave them a simple order, “Hold the tunnels while I do my business.”

Yes Lord,” the soul bound suits of armour note while fanning out into ideal defensive positions learned from millennia of war.

For a moment Shinji almost pitied the JSSDF forces coming down this way. He knew that their main thrust was going to try and punch through in this location simply by locating the densest concentrations of minds. Light infantry hitting four Rubric Marines in defensive positions while in confined quarters? Oh, and Shinji had ensured that their heavy support would never arrive as it was busy killing itself up above. It would not go well for those soldiers.

Still, they had invaded his domain, and ignorance of a dragon’s lair was no excuse when you were about to be eaten.

While ripping the security doors of the detention block open on his way towards freeing Misato, Shinji heard the harsh bark of bolters firing psychically charged inferno bolts and the screams that followed, and it brought a smirk to his face.

A few rather nervous looking NERV guards moved up to intercept him, but Shinji just glared at them and said, “There are some rather unpleasant soldiers that way who may, in fact probably will, kill you if you fight them,” he pre-empted their challenge, pointing to a second door on the far side of the room. “That way leads to the defensive positions the rest of the facility are now forming. The way you are headed right now, which is to say ‘in my way’ ends with certain death at my hands after considerable amounts of fire and screaming. I suggest you make a good decision.”

Having seen him open the blast doors, the guards nod in a panic and run deeper into Central Dogma, away from the advancing army and the psychotic child with powers they did not understand.

Strolling leisurely down the detention block cells, Shinji stops before the one with Misato on the other side and casually gestured with his hand, wrenching the heavy door open to find Misato huddled up in one corner, her fingernails broken off from clawing at the walls and her own flesh. She looked up at Shinji with wild, frightened eyes, before she shook her head and turned away from him.

Shinji growled in barely contained fury. That Keeper of Secrets was going to pay for this. Gendo was going to pay too for not even trying to give her the basic attention of a straitjacket, but honestly at this point Gendo could probably kill everyone else on the planet and it wouldn’t particular increase the suffering he would experience at Shinji’s hands. He’d kind of plateaued on the crimes thing a while back.

“Misato-san, please don’t be afraid, you’re not dreaming, its really me here, and I haven’t come to do anything atrocious to you,” Shinji said gently while squatting down at the edge of the door to avoid towering over her.

“No… no… you can’t be real… can’t be…” Misato mutters while continuing to avoid eye contact.

Reaching out his hand, Shinji says, “Touch me then, feel that I’m real. I know you can still feel, right?” A daemon of Slaanesh would never take that sort of thing away. Sanity, yes; the ability to feel, never.

Misato glanced up at Shinji’s hand before looking away and mumbling, “Makes it look so real… not real… not really real…”

“Misato-san, the daemon isn’t here right now, I can tell, and I won’t let it harm you again. I know it was doing terrible things to you, telling you truths you were better off not knowing…” Shinji begins.

“It told me who killed Kaji,” Misato exploded, before idly pulling another bloody clump of hair out of her now thinned out scalp.

“Who? I’ll bring them here and we can butcher them together, maybe bring in Asuka and Rei too, be one big psychotic family,” Shinji says far too warmly for the content.

“Too late,” Misato intones in a sing-song voice while considering the scrap of hair and skin in her hands.

Shinji went quiet for a moment before saying, “So Ritsuko did it, huh?”

“Kaji… Kaji was investigating NERV. Trying to find out all the dirty, dirty little secrets. He managed to slip down to the lowest levels, to find out what is sitting at the bottom of Terminal Dogma… but he had bad timing… bad timing… someone was already there… she knew, knew… and then… and then… and then… BANG! Ahahhahahahahaha!” Misato ripped apart the blood scrap in her hands at the exclamation, gibbering maniacally before trailing off into sobs.

“Ritsuko couldn’t get me out of Unit 01 fast enough, couldn’t make me wake up, she shot the love of your life, and then to top it all off she started belittling you for the disintegration of your family that she caused. You couldn’t let that stand, could you?” Shinji asks quietly, trying to see if he could follow her twisted logic. Just because his logic was warped didn’t necessarily mean it was warped in the same way as hers.

Nodding profusely and excessively, Misato says, “Yeah! I… I wanted to kill her so bad, wanted to let her suffer the way I suffered… wanted to make her suffer the way I suffered… maybe cut up that fawning little Maya bitch in front of her… maybe violate her physically the way she violated my soul… maybe…”

Cutting off the growing rant, Shinji says, “But you didn’t. You snapped.”

“I… I… thoughts not mine… Ritsuko my… friend? I… I didn’t want to believe… fed up with her… fed up… had to hit that bitch. Had to hit that bitch! Feel her flesh crumple beneath my fist… yeah, just hit her, just make her shut up. Shut up! Shut up!” Misato screams, clutching her head and adding fresh marks on top of the numerous weeping wounds and scars she had accumulated during her incarceration.

The fact that none of them were infected was rather telling.

“And then she pulled the gun,” Shinji says quietly.

“Yes, The gun, the one she used to gun down Kaji… she’s not a very good shot… she bungled it… not quick… not clean… made him suffer before he died. The gun is proof! She killed Kaji! She had to die!” Misato wails.

“And she’s dead now,” Shinji tells her.

“Yes… yes… but… but… every time I stabbed her… it… it… it whispered another crime… so many… so many! Oh Shinji!” Misato bawls, before lunging out and grabbing on to Shinji, burying her face into his shoulder to cry it all out.

Feeling distinctly uncomfortable and distinctly angry at what had been done to one of the few precious people in his life, Shinji could only pat her on the back and wait for her to get it out of her system.

“They killed your mother…” Misato mumbled into him, her voice muffled by his clothes and flesh, but the meaning still there.

That piece of shrapnel that had been twisting about in Shinji’s mind for so long suddenly moved like it had been caught in the magnetic field of an active MRI machine.

Shinji began to shudder with emotions he had not even known he had been building up since he had arrived here. Now he remembered. Now he remembered that day over ten years ago when he had watched his mother climb into Unit 01, and never climb back out…

She had been absorbed into Unit 01, body disintegrated into LCL and soul bound to the Eva.

Yet somehow they had been able to reverse the process for him

“They… they needed a person’s soul to bond with the Eva, to control it, so they… they… oh Shinji-chan, I can’t believe I had you climb into the one that killed your mother…” Misato told him miserably, not noticing as Shinji’s face became increasingly expressionless.

High above, the JSSDF was slowly reassembling itself. Quick thinking by sub-unit commanders who had survived the brutally Darwinian battle had forced a cease fire, survivors linking into loose ad-hoc platoon and company sized units, junior officers trying to consider their options in the horrific situation fifteen minutes of self destruction had caused. Under any other circumstance they would have withdrawn, but they had been told quite clearly that time was of the essence and they could not afford the luxury of retreat. Not that they could afford the catastrophic losses they had taken to friendly fire, nor the loss of their entire command and control network and its associated senior officers, but already anything that had a reasonable chance of making it there in time was being deployed to reinforce the badly mauled group…

And then things got weird.

For the first time in over fifteen years, it dropped below freezing in Japan. Hoar frost began to spontaneously spread across all available surfaces, while the sky above began to take on an unnatural tone. Weather satellites high above watched as the seas about Japan boiled, feeding enormous amounts of water vapour that flowed into impossible supersonic airstreams that flowed straight for Tokyo-3.

Despite the positively Antarctic, original not modern, conditions on the ground, the skies above began to roil with energy. It was -30C on the ground and 50C a kilometre above. At the interface point between these two radically different layers of air, bad things started to happen. The sky turned green just before the clouds shut off all light in the valley that had once housed Tokyo-3.

The soldiers began to panic as this utterly unnatural storm formed above their heads. Their hate and anger towards NERV had been fuelled by the story that NERV had betrayed humanity and was preparing to end the world…and at ground zero, it now looked very much like the madmen at NERV had succeeded after all.

Even the members of SEELE, the madman who –from a certain point of view- were trying to end the world were confused as none of their instrumentation was showing what they expected of Third Impact, but there was nothing else to explain what was happening; to explain why there was a blizzard with hurricane force winds and lightning powerful enough to detonate an attack gunship in a single strike. The turbulence at all levels around the city was so catastrophically bad that it was actually physically impossible in some places, given atmospheric density against the laws of physics.

Their only hope was that this was some sort of prelude to the end, and that the Mass Production models almost on site would be able to make it there in time. Their transports were desperately fighting for altitude to escape the forming hurricane, already inserting the Dummy Plugs to power them up and preparing to release them. They weren’t suicidal enough to get much closer than they already were to the monster storm above Tokyo-3.

Down below, Shinji was barely aware of the effects of his emotions pouring out into the Warp as he just remained where he was trembling with fury, Misato clutching on to him for dear life while she continued to tell him what she had learned from the whispers of the daemon.

“The… the souls couldn’t be just anybody though… they… they had to want to work with the Pilots, to protect them… they had to be the mothers of the Children,” Misato tells him.

Now he remembered what he had found in the ruins of the testing site for Units 03 and 04. Not only had they known, in fact encouraged, the infection of Unit 03 by the Thirteenth Angel, but they had done something far, far worse when the Evas arrived.

“How. Many. Tanks. Do. They. Have?” Shinji grits out between his teeth while seeing red.

“Fifty. They have fifty women in suspended animation, all of them mothers of your classmates, in the event that they decide to use them as Pilots,” Misato tells him.

Shinji threw his head back and opened his mouth to scream, but no sound came out in the physical world.

Across the planet animals began to panic, those in cages thrashing at the bars to escape. Most people suddenly felt shivers up and down their spines, while more sensitive types winced in momentary pain or even suffered from minor nosebleeds. Dozens of light years away Eldar looked up in fear and confusion for a second.

Tears were streaming down his face. Two thirds of his life Shinji had lived without his mother. Two thirds of Asuka’s life she had been tormented not just by the loss of her mother, but from seeing her dead body hanging from the rafters. Toji and Hikari and Kensuke… all the friends he had made here, they had been made to suffer the loss of a parent because they were special and a group of old men desired to harness powers they did not understand to their own benefit.

Shinji had been mad the first time he learned this, learned what that other presence in the Eva truly was. But now… now after having suffered so much more, having seen how the machinations of those responsible for this had inflicted so much more suffering on the ones he loved the most, after having already thought that he had reached the point where there was that could make the situation worse… now…

Now he had transcended anger.

A strange calm and clarity washed over him. He would not get mad.

He would get even.

Shinji stroked the remains of Misato’s hair, telling her, “It’s all right Misato-chan, they tricked me too. They tricked me too. I don’t blame you; you were just another dupe like I was. We’re going to make them pay. But I need your help. We’re under attack by the JSSDF and the forces of SEELE. I managed to use a few tricks to stall them for a time, but I don’t have your tactical brilliance. I need your help. Can you help me Misato-chan? Can you help me make them all pay?”

Misato looked up at Shinji and smiled. She said, “It is really is you Shinji.”

Ironically, while she was seeing him as real and not a fantasy drudged up by a deranged mind, his eyes were actually crackling with blue lambent light bleeding off from the massive amount of warp energy he was channelling. He was a dread figure of doom. He was unstoppable.

He was Shinji.

“Yeah, it’s me Misato-san. Come on, we need to go kick some ass,” Shinji says while standing, offering a hand to help her up.

When Misato took his hand and stood up, Shinji knew that it was going to be all right. Misato would be able to rally the defenders of NERV while Shinji used his Marines and powers to rip the throat out of any attack sent their way. Hell, give him some radar telemetry and he could rip the detonators out of any nukes sent their way.

And with the Evas…

The world was theirs for the taking.

Just as Shinji was about to turn about to gesture for them to leave the cell, Misato’s eyes snapped wide open with fear. Shinji should have been precognitively fast, but he was caught unaware and flat footed. Misato was faster than him, tackling him to the ground, turning him to the side.

He felt the impact of the bullets into her body.

You really shouldn’t have fucked with me! Did you know there was a ‘secret’ maintenance tunnel that can be used to bypass that little kill zone you set up? Or that you’re using up so much psychic energy right now you forgot to assign some to precog?

There was no cry of anguish, no bellow of outrage, just surprised blinking as Shinji’s brain tried, and failed, to process this sudden turn of events. It was like there was some sadistic puppet master that enjoyed seeing the things he loved in life taken from him.

Oh wait…

There will be words later daemon, but for now…

To the untrained eye, the soldiers that had fired the shots appeared to simply vanish with wet popping noises. What actually happened was that they were crushed into microscopic dots of degenerate matter and then hurled into the Warp through tiny rifts where they promptly detonated.

Shinji had more important things to worry about than making faceless, nameless minions suffer, as tempting and as pleasant a diversion as it might be.

Gently lowering Misato to the ground, Shinji took a look at the wounds with his mind and eyes. She had taken five bullets, all to the centre of mass. One had struck her left shoulder blade and shattered the bone. One had hit her in right lung before bouncing off a rib and travelling out of her body. One had travelled through her body at an odd glancing angle caused by the way she had tackled Shinji, “only” shredding a kidney. One struck her spine at an odd angle and went spinning through her liver and intestines. And one had played bone pinball, bouncing off three ribs before coming to rest just next to her heart.

Everything was shredded. It was a miracle she was still semi-conscious.

“Shinji, I…” Misato said weakly with only about half a functional lung. She reached up to place a bloody hand on his cheek.

“Save your strength Misato,” Shinji urgently commanded her while he hurriedly began to telekinetically tie off blood vessels.

Triage. Keep what’s left of her lungs from flooding and stopping oxygenating the blood. Keep the blood pumping to her brain. Keep her heart beating to keep the blood pumping.

He could do that. He could keep her alive, keep her going.

Get her to a doctor, get her hooked up on machines until she heals. I can do this.

“…I’m… sorry…” Misato whispers.

Trying to put a smile on a face that did not feel like lying for once, Shinji told her with a trembling voice “You saved me Misato… don’t feel sorry for saving me. Here, let me return the favour.”

Blood vessels to the brain are all that matter. Everything else can wait. Make temporary ties at every other junction. Save the blood for the brain. I really wish one of us Children knew anything about regenerating others.

Coughing up blood, the spasms undoing half the blocks Shinji had just made, Misato lets a flicker of a smile pass over her ashen face. “…it’s…

Oh fuck she’s in shock! I… I… I don’t know to do!


Come on, think! You’re a genius; you should know what to do! Survival is all that matters, healing can come later! Survival is easy, just be ruthless!


“Don’t leave me Misato, we still have asses to kick, don’t you know? Don’t you fade away on me. Don’t you fade away,” Shinji tells her, his amazingly level voice belying the incredible panic he was going through at the moment but telling of the incredible emotional shock.


Misato’s hand dropped away from Shinji’s face, leaving a bloody hand print. The life was gone from her eyes. Her heart stopped. Shinji pumped it with his own telekinesis and made her lungs expand and contract for a good five minutes before he stopped.

He could no longer see the sparkle of electrical activity in a living brain or feel her soul.

She was gone. She had given her life to protect him, and now she was gone. She had given her life so willingly to. It was not a thought out decision; it was instinctive, like a mother bear protecting her cubs.

Misato was dead.

You know, it’s a pity you made me promise to leave her alone. I might have been able to snatch her soul before it goes to the place where human souls go. It’s not very nice. Did you know that it’s possible to bind a mortal’s soul to a host body much in the same way as with a daemon? Obviously the result isn’t very powerful, but it can be done if you have the soul and know what to do. A pity that we don’t have the former, because I know all about the latter.

Shinji ignored the daemon’s taunting, too numb to care.

Misato was dead.

Shinji just looked down at her body, gently stroking her hair a few times.

Oh for the love of… look hero, this is starting to go a little outside of plan, which I assume you still don’t consciously remember. Now, I know that you’re suffering a little, hey, suffering is my job, I can grok that shit, but try to look at the bigger picture.

Shinji still wasn’t listening. He had already spent all of his emotions for the day; he was tired of this shit.

Look, you’ve still got Rei and Asuka to worry about. Remember them? Little blue haired Nurgle worshipper, could be considered your half sister. Psychotic red haired Khornate berserker, awesome lay in bed despite the whole crude Blood God thing. Ring any bells in there?

Shinji blinked once.

He blinked twice.

Someone hit reboot to clear out the damn blue screen of death.

Oh… right. There are other people I love in mortal peril. I had better go kill anything that glances at them funny.

That’s the little sociopath we need.

Understand me clearly daemon. There
will still be words later, when I am not so in shock.

Try me Tzeentch-boy.

Shinji got up, ripping out a chunk of the floor as he rose, shaping it into a flat, circular disk to bear Misato’s body along with him with the dignity it deserved.

Shinji’s pace was slow and deliberate as he forced himself to put one foot in front of the other, his staff at his side pulling him along like Chiron’s barge pole in the Styx. He made his way to the point where he had left his Marines, the downward slope of the roadway leading to this point facilitating the flow of current from all the blood accumulating in the tunnels. Whoever was in charge was just desperately throwing men at the problem.

The Rubric Marines were tireless, emotionless automatons that ignored anything short of a rocket launcher. The one picking itself up off the ground after a hit with an anti-tank weapon showed that even the things that they couldn’t ignore could still be shrugged off. The fact that they were manifesting their ammunition out of raw psychic energy and thus had infinite ammunition so long as Shinji was still awake meant that it wasn’t like they would stop firing any time soon.

As if to prove the futility of the engagement, the Marine knocked over a missile capable of punching through the front of an infantry fighting vehicle simply returned to its feet, training its bolter on the cross corridor the heavy weapons team that had struck it was hiding behind. Its auspex sensors tracked them through the wall as they franticly reloaded their weapon for a second shot, encouraged by the ‘kill’ they thought they had made.

The Rubric Marine, its skills honed through thousands of years of war, readied its bolter faster.

Two inferno bolts tore through their meter thick cement cover like tissue paper, detonating their stack of missiles in an explosion that vaporized most of the squad hiding there

“Come, we have much to do,” Shinji noted numbly.

Contracting to form a defensive bubble about their Lord, the Marines follow him deeper into NERV. Almost as an afterthought, Shinji collapses the tunnel behind him. A collapsed tunnel told even the dumbest of commanders to find a new path. Four men defending a choke point was a much better distraction. After all, with communications down, teams in the rear would only hear that the main route they were planning on taking was guarded by ‘only’ four men and thus flock forward as reinforcements, never knowing the full extent of the danger they were rushing towards.

Shinji wasn’t going to do distraction any more. He was going to do ‘Find Rei and ensure her safety before taking Unit 01 and along with Asuka kill every motherfucker on the planet that stands in our way’.

Asuka arouse from her coma in her Plug Suit and safely encased in the quiet darkness of Unit 02’s entry plug. Thoughts resonated within her mind, a feeling of warmth and well being radiating outward.

Shinji was alive.

He had kept his promise to her, to crawl his way back from even the depths of Hell itself just to be with her. He cared for her. He loved her. He would never leave her alone. She wasn’t alone anymore. She would never be alone again.

More warmth flowed through her limbs and core, as if phantom arms were wrapping themselves about her, filling her with pride and joy. She could feel it spreading through every inch; every pore; every cell of her being.

All those years she had spent being angry and sad at the whole world, she had never realized that the source and cure to all her sorrows was right next to her the entire time. But now that her heart was truly open...


Shh… I’m here with you… I’ve always been here with you. I’m proud of you Asuka. I don’t care what you’ve become; you’re still my daughter, my baby to me.

Asuka grinned. Mama had never left her either. Shinji was back. Mama was back.

The warmth inside her exploded into fire.

It was time to kick some ass.

Despite the ferocious katabatic winds roaring down from the hole punched in the roof of the Geofront, the underground dome was still safer than the apocalyptic storm raging above, so anyone left had retreated there.

A colonel from a reinforcing group and his command staff strode up to the largest assembled collection of the ragged men on first contact and demanded to see who was in charge. He did not expect to get a salute from a second lieutenant.

You’re in charge…” the colonel read the man’s name off his uniform, “Lieutenant Gorman?”

“Y-y-yes sir. Most people above the rank of major were dead within minutes, assassins apparently, and then they suborned our communications gear. I don’t know who is still alive. I-I-I ordered all remaining elements to support the surviving infiltration teams… I-I don’t really know what’s going on sir,” the man reports.

“You’re all that’s left?” The colonel asks incredulously.

Lieutenant Gorman never had a chance to answer as warning lights went off around the perimeter of their position, warning that the ground was about to split open.

Everyone looked down at the ground and realized that in the panic and confusion they had set up temporary headquarters on top of an Eva launch tunnel in the Geofront. The lucky ones managed to ride the retreating armour plate to the edge of the gap, although being thrown at speeds high enough to break bones when they stopped was not what most would consider lucky. On the other hand, those closer to the centre tended to fall into the tunnel and go splat against the rapidly rising red Eva.

Disengaging from the launch rails, Unit 02 bellowed a challenge to any that could hear it.

The infantry in the Geofront were disinclined to answer. But surprisingly, there were a series of return bellows, weirdly modulated. Looking up, Asuka saw nine white shapes rapidly spiraling down into the Geofront, dropping altitude as quickly as possible to get out of the nightmare storm above. Rain and lightning sleeted harmlessly off their backs, their AT-fields flashing to disperse the energy of the storm. The winds still buffeted them, but their size made them all but inured to the winds on this level.

They were the only thing in the whole world capable of standing against Asuka at this point.

The safety on Asuka’s bolter clicked off and her chain-axe hummed up to full speed.
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Post by Academia Nut » 2008-03-08 10:43pm

The halls of Central Dogma were a vicious battle zone that swept up and tore apart anything caught in their wake. While the commanders of NERV were inexperienced in this sort of fighting, they merely had to hold at the chokepoints to inflict horrific losses on the JSSDF troopers. The damage done to their back-up had meant that heavy weapons had been expended early only to break up defensive lines only for no resupply to be available once NERV hardened up their defences. Of course, the advantage of defensive terrain was pretty much NERV’s only advantage, so it was a massacre on both sides.

Oh, and the slaughter by the Rubric Marines had certainly not helped the JSSDF forces at all.

That was in fact the only point of relative peace in the entire command complex, the little bubble of death incarnate around the levitating funeral barge for Misato. They advanced at a slow but distance devouring rate towards the command bridge, for even though their speed was somewhat sluggish their velocity was higher than usual as they did not take any of the usual detours.

Walls were ripped open and deep shafts levitated over. Anything that tried to slow this advance met with rapid and overwhelming force in the form of several inferno bolts or a storm of electricity from Shinji if he was in no mood for delays.

It thus took him almost no time to go from the detention block to the bridge, a trail of burning and exploded bodies in his wake, not all of them JSSDF soldiers, some of them being NERV guards stupid enough to shoot at him when he really didn’t feel like taking time to explain that he was on their side.

There was of course a rather large amount of confusion and fear when Shinji swept into the cavernous chamber surrounded by four giants in armour that looked suspiciously like the armour on his Eva carrying weapons that looked like they should be crew manned. The command staff was fortunately not stupid enough to open fire.

Of course, the fact that he was floating through the air, witch fire radiating from his eyes didn’t exactly reassure those who were uncomfortable with his guardians.

Where is Rei-san?” Shinji asks, his voice echoing with power.

There was stunned silence for a moment before Shinji nodded. “You don’t know. Very well. Where is Asuka-san?

Again, an uncomfortable silence as everyone assembled tried to figure out if he had simply taken those thoughts from their minds. However, someone had enough presence of mind to bring up an exterior camera on the main monitor, showing the white with purple trimmed mass production Evas landing in a long line with Unit 02 squaring off against them.

Come, we must make haste to the Eva bays,” Shinji tells his retinue while gently setting the disc carrying Misato’s body on the ground.

After he departed, his Rubric Marines carried aloft with him, Shigeru asked what everyone else was thinking in the stunned silence of the Command Centre.

“What the fuck just happened?”

The Mass Production Models of the Evangelion series were truly a marvel of modern engineering and research into the Angels. While being built in secret by SEELE as their counter to NERV, they had been refined and upgraded countless times in response to the latest data gathered from the battlefield. And they needed as much of an advantage as they could get, seeing as they didn’t have the much heavier L-type equipment available to them.

What had been produced though was terrifying enough. Every MP Eva had within it an S2 engine for unlimited operation that also granted regenerative abilities. This was rather critical as several of the abilities reverse engineered from studying the Angels actively used up the flesh of the MP Evas. For example, from Sahaquiel they had figured out how to take a bit of flesh and accelerate it using an AT-field, turning it into a deadly spike. For extra kick they gave each round so accelerated a tiny chewing maw to dig through armour and flesh, backwards engineered from Ramiels formidable drill.

From Matariel they had figured out how to charge the blood of the Evas to make them highly corrosive. One of the units even had a support weapon hooked up directly to its circulatory system, giving it the ability to shoot streams of acid long distances, a sort flamethrower analog only far more unpleasant.

The teams had also stolen the idea of using an AT-field to generate a particle beam, giving one member of the squad an enormous plasma cannon tied straight into its central nervous system and made primarily of Eva flesh to be better enveloped by the field to protect the mechanisms from the ravenous beam.

And as the MP Evas settled on to the ground, their huge wings morphed from huge flat flight surfaces into several long segmented limbs tipped with wickedly sharp scything blades, giving them a considerable advantage in close combat.

Perhaps one of the most terrifying abilities though was the way they were networked together. On a purely technological level, each MP Eva could share all of its sensor data with its fellows via a variety of uplink methods, but the designers had also been tooling about with incorporating the super-soul of Israfel, linking the Evas further together. When Tabris had died screaming at the hands of Shinji, the insane fragments of his soul had filtered into the various clones used in the Dummy Plugs.

The MP Evas were insane, fearless, felt little to no pain, and none cared for their own survival so long as the group survived. They were capable of acting as a single entity with one purpose: to kill.

There were also a wide variety of other nasty surprises as well, put in by SEELE and the design teams to increase lethality even more.

Asuka knew nothing of this. What she did know was that the rocket pods on her shoulders would slow her down. She wondered why they had been loaded on in the first place although she suspected they might have tried to dump her in the Eva during one of the attacks and see if she could take pot shots at range. Still, she didn’t want to waste the missiles by not firing them.

The MP Eva with the plasma cannon took a face full of heavy rockets and missiles, not penetrating its defences but knocking it on its ass with the enormous concussion of some of the weapons.

Time slowed and thickened like molasses, Asuka’s perceptions accelerated beyond all human capacities, even glimpsing into the future at times. She was one with her mother and the spirit of the Eva. Her mother would always be with her, and the beast within the machine practically worshipped her ability to propagate slaughter. It was a hive mind of nine killing machines versus the perfect single warrior.

Asuka cleared the three kilometre gap between them in ten seconds, and it took so long as she leapt and dodged about their fire, like a ballet dancer in the rain. It was hard though, the coordination between the MP Evas perfect, each one covering a different firing lane and switching around effortlessly as the hive mind tracked her movement. The flesh boring bits of flesh struck her at times, but always on her main armour where they did no damage before running out of energy and crumbling to dust. Her bolter fire on the other hand was deadly and accurate.

The MP Evas had to temporarily divert their AT-fields to accelerating their weapons, giving a brief flash where their defences went down every time they fired. By timing her shots perfectly Asuka was able to get a single round into one of the MP Evas before she was upon them. The high explosive-armour piercing bolt tore through the thin armour of the war machine, travelling half way through before detonating.

The Eva was blown in half by the explosion, releasing a torrent of purple blood that ate away at the ground for a moment before going inert. Its Dummy Plug shattered, it would most certainly never rise again.

One down, eight to go.

Asuka hit the formation like a train hitting a tank. She slammed full into the nearest enemy Eva, body checking it so hard that it was hurled into the air, its light armour plate shattered by the tremendous forces involved in the impact. Before it even had time to hit the ground a two round burst caught it in the hips, blowing its legs off in a shower of gore.

Already the group was responding to her assault, less like a pack of wolves turning upon a charging moose, or even an ant colony responding to a stick being shoved into the nest. No, their reaction was more like an immune system responding to an attack upon the body.

Asuka back flipped out of the way of the scything claws of an Eva that tried to sneak up on her. There were several more Evas in front of her and if not for precog she would have fallen for the trap, assuming they were the important targets when the true strike was coming from elsewhere. While its claws went through her umbilical cord and started her count down timer, she landed on its shoulders, crushing one of its claws before she wrapped her feet about its neck and dropped, twisting as she went, incidentally dodging the hail of fire sent her way as the group responded to this change in events.

With an enormous, wet, tearing sound the Eva’s head and most of its spine was ripped off in a torrent of purple blood. The headless thing brought a hand up to examine the damage before collapsing, its entire torso falling apart from the lack of a spine for support, the imploding flesh and metal crushing the Dummy Plug and killing the cloned pilot within.

Two down, seven to go.

Hitting the ground, Asuka quickly rolled out of the way of a barrage from the remaining five MP Evas armed with the flesh boring guns, taking a few hits but avoiding the majority of the attacks. Grinning with insane glee, Asuka kicked her Eva into the air unexpectedly, thus completely avoiding the ravenous beam of white hot plasma directed her way. A small tank division trying to flee the fighting of these titans flashed into vapour in an instant.

No normal human could have known that attack was coming. A tiny part of Tabris, the one in the explosively bisected Eva that had time to be afraid, wailed in terror. It remembered what the Third Child had done, and feared what the Second was capable of.

The rest of the hive mind ignored that part and told it to keep fighting.

Descending from her leap on a steep arc, Asuka turned in mid-air so that her chain-axe would strike with damn near all of the angular momentum and most of the linear momentum she had built up in her roll and leap.

The attack very nearly bisected the enemy Eva from crown to groin, the whirring progressive edged teeth of the chain-axe going through armour, flesh, metal, and the Dummy Plug with hardly any resistance until the acidic blood did its job and turned the weapon into scrap, the head snapping off of the haft and remaining in the steaming remains of the dead monster.

Three down, six to go.

Reversing her grip on the haft, Asuka slams the jagged, broken end into the guts of an MP Eva trying to sneak up on her. Hauling up, she throws the beast over a shoulder so that it collides with another Eva charging in with the intent to disembowel. Somersaulting to the side, she takes a shot at the now exposed heavy weapons Eva, sending a three round burst its way. Only one bolt made it through before it raised its AT-field, but that round managed to take its right leg off at the knee, dropping the Eva flat on the ground.

Her super refined senses were tied so totally into Unit 02, Asuka saw the next attack coming and knew that she could not dodge it completely, but she still had enough warning to get mostly out of the way. The support Eva had used the slaughter of its comrades to assume the perfect position to fire, the others having already vacated its line of fire. A high pressure stream of boiling, acidic blood painted her side, melting away armour in a cloud of acrid smoke, but Asuka was already rolling away.

Within her Entry Plug from the upper thigh to just under her breast on the left side, Asuka’s skin melted away. She snarled in pain, but refused to let it distract her. Instead she practically threw her Eva over to where the legs of the partially exploded Eva were lying. Grabbing a foot, she pivoted like an Olympic hammer thrower for a half rotation before she hurled the limp limb through the air. Tumbling end over end, it smacked the acid spewing Eva in the head, knocking it back.

Asuka charged, leaping up to plant a foot on one of the Evas knocked over, crushing its skull under Unit 02’s weight before kicking off into the air, deploying her back-up progressive claws from her now empty right gauntlet. She slammed it down with all her might into the torso of the Eva, piercing the Dummy Plug. As the twin progressive blades began to dissolve, she violently twisted, ripping out the guts of the Eva while shattering her weapon.

Four down, five to go.

Pain exploded along Asuka’s left flank as the half of the Eva lying on the ground fired a salvo of rounds into the side that had been most damaged by the acid, the high velocity, biting slugs penetrating her flesh and chewing deeper for several seconds before dissolving away. The blood began to taint the LCL in the Entry Plug.

Asuka emptied her bolter into the bastard, exploding its head and torso.

Five down, four to go.

She started to get another magazine but when she tried to eject the one already in place she found the mechanism had been corroded into a single mass by all the acid blood flying around. Tossing it aside in disgust, she whirled around just in time to catch a charging Eva slamming into her. It had used the distraction of the sundered Eva well.

A long blade slammed through right shoulder while another one skittered across her torso armour, looking for a gap to plunge in and begin ripping out her Eva’s guts. Asuka held off its other hands while it snapped at her face, drool flying off its shiny, metallic razor sharp teeth to splatter across Unit 02’s helmet.

Asuka head butted it.

Teeth shattered and the thing reeled back. Releasing one of its hands, Asuka reached up and wrenched on the blade in her shoulder, snapping the limb off at the closest joint. Getting her legs beneath her, she planted her feet on the MP Eva’s chest and kicked out, throwing it off of her.

Quickly regaining her feet, Asuka felt Unit 02 being hauled back. She had forgotten to eject the remains of her umbilical cord, and one of the MP Evas had taken advantage of that by grabbing on to it. Snarling, Asuka ejected the cord with a thought and then spun around faster than she should have been capable of.

If it could have looked surprised the Eva would have when Asuka suddenly grabbed a hold of the cord and jerked on it, hauling the Eva towards her and the blade she had ripped off of one of its brothers. The weapon was still sharp enough to ram through its lower jaw and out the top of its skull with the force Asuka put in it. She then kicked straight out, impacting the MP Eva full in the chest. Armour shattered and flesh caved in, the entire Eva hurled back into the lake in front of Central Dogma, a Nike Swoosh carved into its chest.

Whirling about seeking any combatants still standing, Asuka discovered that the heavy weapons Eva had regained its feet, sort of. It was using its claws and its gun as crutches while it carried something else in its left hand. It looked like a long spear made out of two pieces of metal wrapped around one another, bisecting in the middle to form two long prongs.

The MP Eva braced, and then hurled its weapon with terrific force.

Asuka moved to get out of the way, but she felt it begin to alter course to strike her.

She held up a hand instinctively and projected an AT-field.

The prongs struck the hexagonal orange wall and began to slowly yet inevitably slide through. Asuka blinked in horror just as her field dissolved entirely, and then the copied Lance resumed its regular speed and crashed into Unit 02’s face, taking out two of the eyes on the right side.

Asuka stumbled back a second step. She saw the other three MP Eva’s beginning to rise, their injuries not enough to destroy their cores or Dummy Plugs, their regeneration allowing them to get back in the fight.

She stumbled back a second step, her whole Eva starting to list over with the weight of the spear in its head.

She took one more step back before her power clock ran down to 00:00:00.

In the warp, a daemon clapped with glee. It had had its encore performance.

Shinji was flying through the halls of NERV

Literally. And hauling his servants along with him.

Entering the Eva cages, he saw the empty stall where Unit 02 had once dwelt between missions. Asuka was out there fighting, he had to help her.

As he opened up the Entry Plug for Unit 01, dissolving his Rubric Marines into the dust in their canopic jars, Shinji also took note of the other cages for the first time in many months. The remains of Unit 00 were propped up in one of the cages, the prototype Eva badly damaged by its fight with the Sixteenth Angel, its core still barely intact but most of its armour cracked and the area around the core burned out.

The broken limbed doll of Unit 04 sat next to Unit 02’s cage, the Eva not quite destroyed but so badly mauled that only a half-hearted attempt had been made to repair it in the past two months. It was doubtful it would ever be operated again, especially with current events the way they were.

Going through the start up sequence as quickly as he could, Shinji had only one thought on his mind: to get out there and assist Asuka in her fight. He desperately hoped he wasn’t too late.

He couldn’t take any more loss today.

Fight. Fight for me. Fight for you. Fight for us. Your soul blazes with such fury and passion, is it any wonder I was attracted to you in the first place, like a moth to a candle? So long as you fight, I can guide my way by the light of your soul. Fight, it was what you were born for.

Asuka was bleeding from her left flank, from her right shoulder, and her right eye had been pretty much pulped, all from the feedback from her contact with her Eva. There was so much blood, so much pain…

But blood and pain were power to Khorne.

Asuka would not stop fighting just because of such minor damage. Nor would she let a drained internal battery slow her down.

The spirit of Unit 02 sang along with her heart, going completely berserk.

Berserk was good.

If they had eyes, the four remaining MP Evas would have blinked as Unit 02 suddenly stopped stumbling back and violently ripped the Lance of Longinus out of its head, tossing it contemptuously to the side.

Some outside force seized Unit 02, lifting it high into the air, its limbs held out taut. The air began to swim with unholy sounds, almost as if the wind had a forked tongue and was chanting in some blasphemous language. Something unpleasant was going on beneath the armour of Unit 02, waterfalls of blood leaking forth from its wounds, turning the ground bellow and the nearby lake vermillion.

With a scream brought forth from the very universe itself, the back of Unit 02’s armour exploded outward in a shower of broken metal and ceramics and a flood of brilliant crimson blood. A pair of colossal bat wings unfurled, flicking blood off their surface as they extended, before making a powerful downward stroke that launched Unit 02 into flight, seemingly ignoring the winds generated by the storm still raging above.

Reaching a hand out into nothingness, Asuka grabbed onto something with each hand and began to pull out. Twin ragged streaks appeared in the sky, blood raining from holes in reality as Unit 02 extracted its new weapons. In the right hand it held a titanic bronze battle axe dripping with blood on its adamantine blade, while in the left it bore a long, snaking whip covered in barbs.

The MP Eva that had thrown the Lance attempted to bring its plasma cannon up to bear on the circling Unit 02, but the crimson, bloodthirsty Eva just folded its wings and fell like a thunderbolt upon the offending monster.

There was a huge concussive shock that rocked the Geofront followed by a shower of Earth that erupted, as if a ton of high explosives had gone off beneath the targeted Eva. As the dirt and stones settled, it became clear what had happened. Unit 02’s new blade had cleaved through the Eva in one blow and kept going, striking the ground hard enough to gouge out an enormous crater.

Six down, three to go.

Two of the MP Evas transformed their claws into wings and took back to the air, preferring to take their chances flying into an apocalyptic storm, while the one with only one extra appendage just ran.

Asuka took to the air after the two fleeing, powering effortlessly through the brutal crosswinds and rapidly closing the distance. When she was close enough, she lashed out with her whip, ensnaring the leg of one and hauling back. Yanked out of its flight path, the MP Eva did not have time to do anything before it was disembowelled by the first stroke of the axe and decapitated by the follow up.

Letting the badly wounded Eva fall behind until the whip went taut, Asuka then stopped suddenly in mid air and swung the body forward, letting it loose to tumble through the air and collide with the other one trying to fly to safety. The active Eva so struck stalled for a moment as it tried to get its wings untangled.

The dread axe ironically freed it as it tore apart the limp body ensnaring it. Thus freed, it immediately dove, trying to gain speed and distance, trying to gain time to power up its own Lance, along with the one of its brother, seeing as the dead had no need of such things.

Seven down, two to go.

Unit 02 dove after it a second later when Asuka belatedly realized she had missed the still active target. She rapidly gained ground, a crimson mist trailing behind like a comet’s tail her from the numerous wounds Unit 02 had sustained. She should have been dead twice over, and still she refused to let her quarry escape.

Suddenly the MP Eva she was chased flared its wings, breaking in mid air and turning about to present its unfolding Lances. Asuka tried to break just as quickly, but her injuries had slowed her down a bit.

The two titans slammed together and tumbled to the ground, slamming into a hillside and digging a deep gouge in the Earth, both combatants disappearing into their trench. For a moment everything stood still.

The MP Eva’s head was tossed out of the trench and a moment later Unit 02 hauled itself out, one Lance sticking out of its gut, the other having 'only' nicked the left hip, leaving an enormous gouge in its side. Neither wound in isolation nor combination were not enough to put down the berserker.

Eight down, one to go.

Everything was fading in and out now for Asuka. One of the prongs had actually struck the Entry Plug a glancing blow and she could see it next to her. LCL was slowly draining out, bubbles rising from the points were the seal between the plug and the Lance was imperfect. She dared not remove the Lance yet as that would probably break the connection she had with Unit 02. Mother’s voice was getting distant-

Another Lance slammed into her right shoulder, ripping the arm off. The gigantic axe hit the ground and dissolved, turning her impact crater into a lake of blood. Unit 02 staggered back for a moment, before lowering its head and moving forward. It was less of a charge and more of a controlled fall forward.

Within two seconds there was no ‘controlled’ fall at all, Unit 02 ploughing completely into the ground, unable to keep moving.

Reaching out with its remaining arm, Unit 02 tried to drag itself forward still, but the Lance impaling its guts had embedded in the ground. Unit 02 was pinned like a butterfly, and no amount of struggling was going to get it any further.

Eight out of nine… that’s not bad…

Eight’s… a… good… number…

Asuka’s eyes closed and Unit 02 went silent…just as Unit 01 exploded out of its launch ramp.

At the deepest point of Terminal Dogma was a room that appeared on no maps that officially did not exist. Only two people in recent memory had access to this room, and one of them was now dead, just like everyone else who knew about it in the long run. What was contained within was a secret worth keeping, worth killing for.

Nailed to a cross and surrounded by a lake of LCL that still leaked from the wounds inflicted upon her, the Second Angel, Lilith could only wait in silence for the chaos amongst her children to end, the seven eyes of her mask staring out impassively as two familiar faces approached her.

One was Ikari Gendo, a cold antisocial man with a drive to achieve his goals only matched by the skills to back up such reach of grasp. As far as he knew, he had broken his son, the boy spending the majority of his time since awaking from his coma praying for his broken girlfriend to wake up. Religion as a whole was a concept he had no time for, just another weakness of the human condition, something for the strong to use to exploit the weak.

Gendo put himself in the former category and his son in the latter.

Ayanami Rei on the other hand, was currently a bubbling cauldron of mirth beneath her expressionless demeanour. She could feel years of planning coming to fruition, and she knew that she was the lynchpin to Gendo’s plans. He assumed that she was his obedient servant, beholden to do whatever he ordered her to. For so many years, that had been the case, and even in her most rebellious moments she had never actually gone against a direct order.

Now though… now

The world was coming to an end and Rei would become the instrument of its destruction, something any minion of Chaos would be pleased to claim, especially a follower of Nurgle’s rot, ruin, and decay like Rei. Of course, she could still spare the people she liked.

Shinji had told her to foul Gendo’s plans. She assumed that what was to come would definitely count.

She was naked, Gendo having informed her that she would not need clothes for what was to happen. For a moment she assumed that he would take her physically, in which case she had a lovely set of diseases to inflict upon him, but when he had bade her to follow into Lilith’s chamber, she had known that something more special was about to occur.

The true Lance of Longinus had been removed from Lilith a short time ago in preparation for what was to come, Gendo not wanting to go about this process by Lilith directly, but to have Rei assume control of Third Impact so that she could lead him to his Yui. Ultimately control would rest with Unit 01, but Shinji was so pathetic and useless that he would not resist the destruction of the world. All was going just as planned.

Removing the glove from his right hand, Gendo exposed the embryonic Adam fused to his palm. For the destroyer of three billion people, it seemed such a small, pathetic thing, although as the insane Major Katsuragi would attest it had not been that small when it caused Second Impact.

Reaching out, Gendo placed his hand on one of Rei’s breasts, her flesh giving way like a gooey marshmallow before the slumbering might of the First Angel. Rei let out a small gasp that was mingled pleasure and pain at the experience as the Flesh of Lilith mingled with the Flesh of Adam, something that should not have been.

Already Rei could hear the siren call of Lilith behind her, demanding to make war with her old nemesis. It was an instinctive and ultimately suicidal impulse, one that would destroy both of them and leave Rei in command of both their powers, although what would emerge on the other side was uncertain as no mortal could experience such power and remain unchanged.

Moving her hand through her body like it was water Gendo let it settle upon Rei’s sterile womb before ordering, “Now go and undo all the AT-fields in the world and bring me to my Yui-san.”

A torrent of power was flowing into Rei, and she could already feel it begin to mix with the power she had dammed for her own good. Rei just looked up into the bespectacled face of Gendo and said quietly, “No,” before the transformation over took her.

Flesh began to run and rearrange itself, unveiling the form hidden within. Rei began to grow, her human genes giving rise to expressions that would have occurred naturally with the passage of time, her body maturing into something that resembled the adult Ikari Yui more with every passing second.

For the briefest of moments Gendo thought that Rei had found a better path, switching about her soul with the soul in Unit 01, giving him back his Yui in the flesh as well as the spirit.

Then Nurgle began to paint on this malleable canvas, dashing Gendo’s hopes in a way that only the God of Despair and his followers would find comical.

From a distance Rei would have still been comely and desirable, but up close one would quite clearly see what happened to those that championed the Great Corruptor. To see the change occur was to gaze into the mouth of insanity.

The first, subtle change was for the whites of Rei’s eyes to become yellowed and rheumy while her brilliant red irises flared with inner light.

Next, her hair fell out, replaced by something else entirely. At first it looked like new hair was sprouting from her scalp, but in truth this was not hair but thousands of incredible fine, translucent blue worms embedded in her scalp like bot fly larva. Shoulder length, the worms squirmed and writhed like some fouler version of the Medusa.

After that, Rei’s fat and muscle began to redistribute, retreating in places to leave famine victim skin and bones, while conglomerating in others to form fleshy tumours. There was still a sick aesthetic though; the cancerous growths appearing in places to give curves that most women would kill for. For example, Rei’s breasts expanded with unwholesome tumours swollen nearly to bursting, her small, previously nearly unnoticeable nipples growing red and rosy… as boils brimming to the point of weeping with pus rather than mother’s milk.

Rei’s once alabaster white skin was stretched taut by the distortions to her body, before inflamed and swollen veins erupted across her skin, standing out stark blue as some sort of cancerous marble effect. Slowly the blue faded to black as her skin darkened from white to a pale, necrotic green.

Behind her the Lance of Longinus levitated into the air, orienting towards the surface before flashing away, tearing its way to the mind that had called it.

Rei smiled to reveal a mouth full of rotted black teeth and swollen green gums crawling with maggots, her saliva replaced with thick phlegm and pus.

Her voice a smooth, purring death gurgle, Rei says again, “No. Shinji-kun is the only one who can determine the distribution of souls after Third Impact; it is not up to you to decide this.”

Glancing towards the surface high above, Rei adds on mirthfully, “I don’t think he’s going to be very appreciative of your agenda.”

Gendo had only watched in mute silence brought on by a large chunk of his psyche shattering upon beholding such a grotesque transformation, before the animalistic part of his brain tried to escape, to withdraw his hand from Rei’s guts, to get away from the inescapable feeling that her intestines were squirming about his hand, worm maws nibbling upon his flesh.

Rei cocked her head to the side and released him. In true Nurgle fashion.

Gendo’s forearm began to rapidly swell with infectious inflammation. Enormous pustules began to grow, one on top of each other, the pressure growing agonizingly. Eventually the skin closest to Rei began to turn a putrescent green as necrosis set in. This did not last long as the rapidly weakening tissue could no longer contain the growing pressure.

With a sound like a cluster of water balloons being hit by a cluster of flechettes, Gendo’s right arm exploded, hurling him back in a shower of pus and gore. Falling to the ground, Gendo could only stare in dumb horror at the corroded yellow remains of his radius and ulna, slick with green and yellow pus.

Levitating into the air, Rei told Gendo, “Do not despair, you shall not die yet, your fate is for another to decide.”

Rei then slid back into Lilith. There was a momentary ripple before the Second Angel began to move, her hands sliding off the spikes that impaled them while her legs finished regeneration. Crashing into a kneeling position in the LCL lake below, the mask on Lilith’s face slowly fell off with a sucking noise to reveal Rei’s face.

Standing up, Lilith/Rei began to expand at a phenomenal rate, the same grotesque metamorphosis that had occurred before repeating itself on a scale a thousand times grander. Those that saw this happen invariably ran screaming when they did not collapse into quivering, vomiting piles of mental trauma. Those that had the misfortune for Rei’s ghostly flesh to pass through them were left gibbering wrecks, their sanity violently and permanently ripped from them by the horrific experience.

Rei smiled. She had an appointment with a friend to keep.

Shinji sat in his Entry Plug, mute and staring at the tiny broken form resting too quietly in the palm of his Eva’s hands. His Eva was floating several kilometres above the eye of the storm he had conjured, six enormous wings projecting out of its back, covered in ever shifting, iridescent feathers. Floating faithfully at his side was the Lance of Longinus, its prongs stained with the blood of the last MP Eva, while Chaos symbols a kilometre tall surrounded him, burning brightly in the sky and driving mad all who looked upon them.

“Wake up Asuka, wake up,” Shinji said quietly while staring at the limp body he held.

I should have been faster…

I shouldn’t have let Misato’s death affect me so when there were still others I had to look out for…

I should have…

I should have…

Shinji was a hollow shell, every last trace of human emotion drained from him by the trauma of all he had seen today. The horrors within Asuka’s soul, Misato’s revelation and death, and now this. No human could withstand such pain and remain intact.

Shinji had been broken to begin with.

In the end, all I really wanted was someone warm at my side at night. Is that such a terrible thing to wish for? To not be lonely like this, to know that when you go to sleep there will be someone who loves you waiting to smile at you in the morning?

Is that too much to ask?

I would trade it all just to have that again.

“Shinji…” a soft voice whispered to him.

Blinking twice, Shinji looked up and found a ten kilometre tall Rei in full Nurgle bloom staring back at him, smiling in that faint way that was only describable as being ‘Rei’.

Shinji smiled weakly back as a small, pained, psychotic giggle escaped from his throat. Recovering after a moment, he says with all the sincerity he could muster in his burned out state, “You look beautiful Rei-chan.”

Smiling more broadly, Rei says, “Thank you Shinji-kun.”

Chuckling sadly, Shinji says, “But you’re going to leave me too, aren’t you?”

Tilting her head to the side in a motherly way, Rei then shakes it and tells him, “Far from it, I am here to grant you your most deeply held, fondest wish.”

Exploding into full on dirge laughter, Shinji screamed out, “THEN BRING THEM BACK!

Her smile never leaving her face, Rei says, “This I can do.”

Shinji blinked, a sudden spark flaring in his breast. For the first time since Misato died he felt something that was normally integral to his character: hope. He would not go down without a fight, ever. If he had to rip the gates of Hades off their hinges and put down Cerberus to get to Misato and Asuka, then he would damn well do it.

“Do it,” Shinji told her.

“Once passed beyond the veil, it is not easy to recover a soul,” Rei warned him.

“Do it,” Shinji repeated.

“There will be a great sacrifice to make,” Rei warned him.

“Do it, I will pay any cost to have them back,” Shinji told her.

“They will be changed by the forces required. You will be changed by the forces as they are yours to command,” Rei advises him.

“Change is good,” Shinji said with a feral grin.

“I thought you would say that,” Rei says, reaching up to cup Unit 01 in her hands, shrinking down below the clouds.

The storm had cleared an hour ago, but the air still remained unnaturally charged, leaving the soldiers on overwatch feeling queasy and nervous, some going so far as to have psychological breakdowns just from getting too close to Tokyo-3. There was little those in charge could do to assuage their men’s fears, for no one knew what was happening, just that some of the most battle hardened and experienced men in the country had gone into the city and never returned. Along the outskirts the broken vehicles and bodies could still be seen, mute testament to the hell that had engulfed the area.

In the centre, there was nothing. The governments of the world had launched dozens of high kiloton N2 devices at the site, but all that they were doing was blowing off the cover for a smooth black shell that now encased the Geofront, the strange material immune to everything thrown at it.

The whole world held its breath and waited.

The arrival of a very curious person did nothing to lift the dread quiet, but it did stir up a hundred different emotions in the eyes of those watching.

He was clad in heavy blue armour with impossibly intricate gold designs worked into the surface, so reminiscent of the pharaohs of ancient Egypt, and yet also so much older and grander than that dusty civilization of yesteryear. In one hand he carried a huge axe set with spinning teeth like a chainsaw, while in the other he carried a pistol that most would have considered a small grenade launcher.

The man was infinitely similar to the armour and weapons upgrades of the Evas, but one look at him let everyone know that he had seniority on the Evas by several thousand years, as impossible as that was.

All stood aside as the giant passed them, watching as he walked out, unconcerned, onto the field of molten glass that lead up to the great black dome over the Geofront.

They watched as he walked right up to the edge.

And they watched as he fell to his knees and bowed down in supplication and worship.

Far away in Germany Keel Lorenz also watched in silent rage, a live satellite feed showing this strange event taking place.

Rage as the work of decades was destroyed by Ikari.

Silence, because with the Mass Production Evangelions destroyed, there was nothing he or anyone could do to stop these events

None of them had any idea what Ikari had unleashed, as this was all quite outside of the prophecies they had been using to guide their way through the war with the Angels to the culmination of Third Impact. But now everything had gone inexplicably wrong.

“It is because you messed with things you do not understand old man,” a silk smooth voice commented from the darkness about the weathered cyborg.

Turning his head as fast as his implants will allow him to, he immediately found a strange looking man sitting in the shadows across from him. He was clothed in a blue and gold style ancient Egyptian headdress and a purple and blue pleated kilt, with a fine gossamer shroud wrapping about the rest of his body, but no matter the angle his face was a depthless black void.

Behind him, the SEELE monoliths died, consumed by shadows that seemed to radiate off this figure like some unholy un-light.

“Who are you? How did you get in here?” Lorenz demanded angrily while quietly pressing a button to summon his guards.

“Oh, they are quite indisposed right now,” the man… thing… whatever tells him amicably.

From the shadows that seemed to be thickening with each passing moment there echoed small, distant screams of absolute terror and agony.

“As to who I am… well, who is not quite the correct word, but rather what. You may, however, call me a Black Pharaoh. He did so enjoy those stories you know,” the creature explains.

“Who?” Keel asks nervously.

“My master of course. If you truly want to know what I am, well, that is a little hard to explain. I am… a projection if you will, a manifestation of His will,” the Black Pharaoh tells him.

“And what does ‘he’ want?” Lorenz inquires; sweat starting to bead on his brow.

“Lots of things, but mostly power and love, of which He will have plenty by the end of His gestation period. From you however, he wants revenge. Revenge for all the pain and suffering you have put him through. To that end, your soul is going to be claimed with extra care so that you can be subjected to special torture afterwards,” the Black Pharaoh explains, leaning in, its body language cruel and predatory.

It then whispered conspiratorially. “You and the other members of SEELE wanted to shed your bodies and become one with a new god… well, no one ever said that God would be nice or particularly like you and your cronies for your involvement in its birth. I hope you prepared for the eventuality of an eternity being horrifically tortured by your worst nightmares.”

Lorenz had nothing to say to that.

“Ah, I see the Reiglings are finished with your guards,” the Black Pharaoh notes gesturing behind the leader and now last member of SEELE.

When the diseased claws plunged into the old man’s body, they made sure that he had a long time to scream about it. And at the end of it all, not even death held the release from suffering Keel Lorenz had long sought.

In Tokyo-3, the top of the great black dome split open, pouring unnatural light out into the surroundings. The sky went black, the warm light of the sun driven off in terror by the colours of out of space pouring forth. Khnemu held up his hands in worship, chanting an ancient prayer to Chaos Undivided as the things that streamed out passed him by, their insane giggling and grotesque figures driving most others mad simply by being near them. When they struck, they dissolved flesh into clear orange goo, bodies bursting like over inflated water balloons, their souls taken for the Great Harvest.

All across the planet, people started dying, their bodies turned to goo and their souls released to join into the collection occurring above Tokyo-3 at the behest of the Mother. Screams of fear and panic filled the world, but not all died. The creatures, the Reiglings, struck seemingly at random, harvesting one person but sparing the next. The only thing that seemed to help the odds was to fall down in worship of these dread creatures, an act that often, but not always, turned away their fell attention.

The Great Harvest ended ten minutes after it began, two thirds of the world’s population offered up as sacrifice to the Mother.

To Mama Reigle.

Deep within the Black Moon, the Egg of Lilith, the Warp bled out into reality, creating the perfect gestation grounds for the beings within. In this seething cauldron of unreality, things had many layers, and viewing things from different angles could have a profound effect on what was seen.

For example, looking at a particular room one way, one would see a high vaulted, cathedral like chamber coated in a mockery of organic tissue, pulsing and quivering with foul energies. Hanging like grotesque chandeliers from the ceiling were three enormous embryonic sacs, bright red veins pumping life and energy into the shrouded occupants. One of these sacs then began to descend.

Viewed from another angle, the room was a great void at the centre of which dwelt an unspeakable monstrosity bent and twisted into strange, non-Euclidean geometries. To say that it had tentacles was a misunderstanding of the nature of its limbs, for not all of their space could be seen at once by those with only three dimension sight. Great quakes began to shudder through this enormous beast as the process of budding off another like it began.

And from another angle, one best not viewed long for the sake of sanity, one could see an enormously pregnant Rei going into labour.

Across the planet, the survivors of the Great Harvest heard the psychic shrieks of mother and child as a new god was born.

He wore a thousand forms, but one of the few that could be understood by human eyes was that of a well muscled adult male human missing a finger on his left hand, clad only in a simple kilt, his eyes pinpricks of eternity, galaxies birthed and dying in a single moment within his fathomless mind.

He gazed at the other. Mother. Sister. Lover. Queen. Goddess. These were but a few of the titles She would wear.

“Hello Mama Reigle of the Seven Lives,” He said coolly and slowly.

“Hello Lord Tzintchi, the Nine Fingered King,” She replied in kind.

Glancing at Reigle, He asks, “How much longer until the other Queens are born?”

“Death was hard on Them; They will need more time to be cared for. Asukhon the Eightfold Victor will take perhaps another week to be made ready. On the other hand, because She was not a psyker, Mislaato of the Six Wounds will take anywhere from a month to a year to fully gestate,” Reigle explains.

Nodding, Tzintchi says, “We have all the time in the world. Do not strain Yourself or Them.”

“There is a message for You,” Reigle informs him.

“I know. I shall get to it in time, but for now I wish to gloat,” Tzintchi says before turning and leaving the chamber.

In the compressed and tangled space that was the inside of the Black Moon, He was where he wanted to be in an instant, in a thought.

He was at the Hall of Torment.

The senior members of SEELE and his father were imbedded in the walls, ceiling, and floor of this place, screaming in agony, their souls trying to claw their way out of membranes of unreality that would trap them for all eternity. Tzintchi walked along, admiring the handiwork, until he came to his father and leaned in close.

The soul of Ikari Yui emerged from the sea of souls that was Tzintchi. When the division had been made, her ability to scheme and plot and hope had assigned her to her son who had become a God. Within Him, and in fact all of Them, all souls were one, and yet separate, a bizarre paradox only Chaos was capable of. The only thing certain was that the souls that had once been Shinji, Rei, Asuka, and Misato were all firmly and absolutely in charge, as Tzintchi had commanded it be.

Still, They could deign to let the others out from time to time.

Yui looked sadly at the tortured face of her husband, reaching out to soothe him, saying, “Oh Gendo… this is entirely your fault. I willingly stepped in to Unit 01 wanting to make the world safer for our son, and you abandoned him. If you had just opened up your heart and been a good father like I had hoped you would have been, none of this would have happened.”

Her face going firm, she then says, “I’m afraid that it is quite too late to try and make amends at this point dear.”

Subsumed back within, Tzintchi took control again and looked at Gendo before saying, “That was a concession to my mortal birth mother; I on the other hand am not so forgiving. But perhaps I will change my mind in a few millennia and absorb you, so that you can be with Yui. Perhaps.”

Cackling with mad laughter, Tzintchi went to review the message waiting for him. It was not pressing, for it was a message in a bottle.

Or rather bottles.

The four canopic jars that contained the spirits of his Rubric Marines had been an incredible drain on Sensei Khenmu, more than they should have even in this Warp hostile environment. There was something else in each of them, fragments sent along to tell Him something.

The jars opened and out poured the gods.

“All Hail Tzintchi!” They declared, accepting Him as of their rank.

“All Hail,” Tzintchi replies, settling down to hear what they had to say.

His acolyte to begin with, Tzeentch begins, “Very good my young apprentice, very good. You did remarkably well, and things went just as I had planned.”

“You endured much,” Nurgle gurgled.

“You suffered much,” Slaanesh hissed.

“But You fought hard,” Khorne growled.

“Ya fought well,” Gork, or possibly Mork told Him.

“Ya woz a sneaky git too,” Mork, or maybe Gork, continued.

“But in the end you won out,” Khaine congratulated Him.

“But there is still much to do, many questions to ask,” the Laughing God informed Him.

“So it is time You got some answers,” the Emperor finished.
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Post by Academia Nut » 2008-03-17 10:31am

The Gods finished settling in. Though it would be difficult to describe where or what they had settled into -being manifestations of pure thought and psychic energy- Tzeentch began the explanation owed to their newest alumni. Thoughts and ideas filtered through the ether, mingling and connecting. There was no room for miscommunication, but plenty for ambiguity. Such were the paradoxes of the Warp.

“The first thing you must understand young god, is that Chaos does not get along. In fact, I am sure that you understand our opposed and often fratricidal tendencies, but you only received a tiny taste of the truth behind the matter. We Chaos Gods do not merely hate each other, we also hate ourselves,” Tzeentch began. “We are conglomerations of emotion and psychic energy given sentience and purpose… but for all our intelligence we cannot escape our origins. We are hate given form. I am hatred of the present, Nurgle is hatred of the future, Slaanesh is hatred of the imperfect, and Khorne is hatred of…well, pretty much everything else. We lash out, each in our own ways expressing our hatred, and we destroy so much, spreading misery. This in turn spawns more and greater hatred that sustains us in an ever worsening cycle of destruction,” the Lord of Change explains.

Tzintchi smiled faintly and then asked smugly, “Don’t you want to change that?”

YES!” Tzeentch roared, millions of years of frustration finally given voice. “You have no idea the plots I have been running since the very start, seeking to change the status quo.”

“I knew,” Nurgle burbles happily.

“Shut it Pappy, even I didn’t know what I was doing half the time,” Tzeentch snaps at his old rival.

“I know how the universe dies; you think I couldn’t tell that you were plotting our downfall? You’ll note that I never actually tried to stop you,” Nurgle points out.

“Was that because you felt the same way or believed that I simply would not succeed?” Tzeentch asks sarcastically.

Nurgle smiled broadly.

Waving it off, Tzeentch continues and says, “Immaterial to the moment. In any case, subtly hidden amongst all the depredations I caused, and sometimes even engineered the actions of my fellow Gods, I was… testing the mortal races, trying to find a way to break the cycle. Most of them failed, badly.”

“I like how you dismiss the near extinction of our race as the failing of a test,” the Laughing God notes bitterly.

“For the longest time, I had hopes for the Eldar. They had their own, successful pantheon and an ancient, well developed culture capable of holding us off. Ultimately though, they were trapped in an evolutionary dead end, and thus useless to me. So disappointing, so much wasted potential,” Tzeentch continues, eliciting annoyed grumbling from the Eldar deities, but a toothy grin from Slaanesh ensured that they did little more than that.

Tzeentch was about to say something more when the Emperor interrupted, saying, “And then I was born.”

The Lord of Change glared at the God Emperor for a moment before saying, “Yes. And then you were born. I was aware of humanity at the time, the species factoring only tangentially into some of my plans, when they did something unexpected.”

“Ten thousand years ago from your perspective, humanity was an active, budding psychic race. Those with the gifts never had to face true death, capable of reincarnating their souls upon the expiration of their bodies. But the powers of the Warp are corrupting and subtle. With each iteration, the process became harder, the siren call of the daemons becoming stronger. Before the age of agriculture, humanity would have been extinguished, destroyed by the mad decadences of those who should have been guiding others on to greater heights. Rather than face extinction as individuals, close to a million of those ancient shamans and witchdoctors assembled together and ended their lives, reincarnating as one. Thus I was born,” the Emperor explains.

“It was… remarkable really. I watched humanity with great fascination from that day forth. You humans have some remarkable qualities. All intelligent species capable of forming civilizations have the capacity to cooperate, but humans are remarkable in that while they are complex, emotional creatures, they are capable of subsuming their identities into the group. The history of your species is littered with great deeds, both for the ill and betterment of your people, inspired by your passions and made possible by your capacity to band together and pool your power. Humans are perfect for Chaos. That’s why I blew up the Eldar,” Tzeentch gushes.

Slaanesh, Khaine, and the Laughing God all glared at Tzeentch while Nurgle chuckled and held out a bloated, flabby hand, saying, “Ah, those were the good old days. Pound it my brother.” Tzeentch then proceeded to do just that, to the confusion of everyone else present.

“I thought you hated one another,” Tzintchi pointed out in exasperation.

“We do, and we don’t, it is part of the paradox of Chaos,” Tzeentch says with a shrug. “Also, at the time all of Chaos hated the Eldar pantheon. Annoying gits.”

“That is because we were in the habit of protecting our children from your foul designs,” the Laughing God points out angrily.

“I know. Why do you think I was so busy during the years leading up to the Fall? I was distracting you all from noticing that maybe you should be pulling your followers back from the brink of destruction. The Eldar were… broken from the start, you all just managed to keep them on the straight and narrow for millions of years. I and Pappy started distracting all of you while Khorne moved the wars away from Eldar space, making them fat, happy, and bored enough to make Slaanesh. I of course didn’t tell the Blood God how annoying the end product of this operation would be to him,” Tzeentch says, chuckling at the memory of the joke.

“I remember that sorcerer,” Khorne growled in annoyance.

“Blowing up the Eldar was of course just a means to an end; to test humanity. Right as you began to regain the psychic prowess you once had, would you be able to handle the Warp storms the gestation of Slaanesh would cause? Would you perish in the dark like so many countless species before you, your souls consumed by daemons, or would you prevail?” Tzeentch explained.

Khaine glanced between Tzeentch, Tzintchi, and the Emperor a few times before summing up the Eldar sentiment on humanity succinctly, “Fuck the Mon-Keigh.”

“Gladly,” Slaanesh says with a smile.

Waiting for the side conversations to die down, Tzeentch continues, “Humanity performed better than even I expected. The Emperor rose to the challenge and took control of Terra. He united your race, gave them a single purpose, and began conquering the galaxy. Empires greater than the Imperium have spanned the galaxy before but none have ever succeeded in clawing their way back. For the first time in my long existence I was ready to test your species for a second time, to see if you had the strength to give me answers to the questions I sought.”

“You turned my sons against me,” the Emperor notes bitterly.

“Indeed. The Horus Heresy was one of the finer schemes I dreamt up. If it succeeds, then we gain a new tool. If it fails, then… well, let’s just say that I wanted it to fail, although just barely,” Tzeentch explains.

“You wanted me on the Golden Throne,” the Emperor says, his eyes narrowed.

“Yes. And, as I’m sure you guessed, I was the one dicking around with the Thousand Sons and Magnus the Red to send you that lovely little message that ripped apart the wards of the palace and so badly damaged the Golden Throne,” Tzeentch explains.

“A blind ferret with ADHD and amnesia could have told us you did that,” Khorne points out sarcastically.

SHUT IT!” Tzeentch snaps, causing the two gods to bristle at one another for several seconds.

Calming down again, Tzeentch resumed. “Yes, but what few could have guessed was that his confinement to the Golden Throne was intentional. I did not want him dead; I wanted him to begin the process of ascension to godhood. I wanted the fifth Chaos God, a Chaos God of Unity!”

“The Emperor would have brought Order to Chaos, as paradoxical as that sounds. Humanity would have been free from the terror of the daemons… because they would have become daemons. I like how you think,” Tzintchi summarizes.

“Yes, very good my student. Of course, it had to be a slow, gradual process, mostly because it would take a while to convince the Emperor that Chaos was in his best interests,” Tzeentch explains.

The Emperor just glares at the smug Chaos God.

“Of course, blowing up Slaanesh would have been a good way to earn some trust,” the Laughing God comments dryly.

WHAT?” Slaanesh cried out.

He was the one who gave the Eldar, via me, the plans for the weapon meant to kill you and evaporate the Eye of Terror,” the Laughing God explains, a smug grin on his face.

Tzintchi watched quietly as Tzeentch and Slaanesh got into a fist fight that was spectacularly un-epic for a brawl between two deities. The Laughing God let out a storm of psychotic giggles at his actions, while Khorne unleashed a gale of roaring laughter at his two chief rivals embarrassing themselves so. Gork and Mork appeared to be taking bets on the winner.

The Emperor just looked at him and said in exasperation, “We could only send back about a billionth of our total power or your sensei would have exploded trying to maintain us even in our dormant state. Thus… this.”

Eventually Nurgle got so annoyed that he stood up, waddled over to the two combatants, although with all the hair pulling and slapping that was going on ‘combatants’ was a decidedly more martial term than the fight warranted. He then put a thick, meaty hand around each of their necks and slammed their heads together before separating them.

“Now, are you two going to get along?” Nurgle asks like a school teacher scolding two fourth graders.

“We will Pappy,” Tzeentch and Slaanesh say in chorus, exactly like two fourth graders caught by their teacher.

Returning to their seats, Tzeentch then continues on as if nothing had happened, “Yes, I was planning on ‘blowing up’ Slaanesh, but it wouldn’t have stuck. Silly Eldar, did you really think that dissolving Slaanesh would have actually removed all the things that went into making him? All those pre-Fall souls and emotions, you think they would just go away with the dissolution of the being that held them together? Plus, the effects on the living from all those emotions kicking around, filling their heads with dark thoughts… yeah, not pretty. Within a millennium Slaanesh would have reformed. Of course, the Warp storms kicked up by the detonation would have crippled the rest of the galaxy.”

“We would have extracted the rest of our pantheon in the process and retreated into the Webway,” the Laughing God says with a shrug.

The Emperor looked at the Laughing God and summed up humanity’s view on the Eldar, “Fuck the Eldar.”

“Oh, I have,” Slaanesh noted smugly, earning extra glares from Khaine and the Laughing God.

Shaking his head at the immaturity of his fellow gods, despite having just been in a rather pathetic fight with Slaanesh, Tzeentch sighed and turned back to Tzintchi. “The upswing of all this would have been that the energy surging in the Warp would have been enough to launch the Emperor up to the level of full blown Warp God. He then would have proceeded to beat the ever loving shit out of the rest of us.”

“Why did I ever let you convince me into any sort of joint operations?” Khorne asks bitterly.

“Because I’m eloquent. Besides, the same thing with Slaanesh would have applied. We would have reformed unless the Emperor decided to actively consume us, and thus become us. The only way for him to save humanity would be to join with us, to hold us in check from our own excesses, while we join real space with the Warp. It would have been glorious. Humanity at long last united under one, and only one banner, a psychic race of supreme strength, protected from the Horrors of the Warp by simple dint of the fact that they would have been allied with said Horrors. We would have marched on the rest of the universe. We would have seen the stars go cold and die and then moved to younger, fresh universes. All of time and space would have been under the control of Chaos and humanity, for all eternity,” Tzeentch explains, detailing out his insane plans.

“I never would have allowed that,” the Emperor says with a scowl.

Shrugging, Tzeentch replies, “The plan called for a full 20,000 year prep-time on the Golden Throne, 15,000 if rushed. I still had wheels within wheels within wheels spinning to get you in a state of mind where this result would be acceptable. I am the master of Plan ZZ Plural Z Alpha after all.”

“So what went wrong?” Tzintchi asks.

“Despite all of our power… we got blindsided by something that fell out of the purview of the things we normally kept track of. We got hit by the fucking C’tan and their Necron minions,” Tzeentch hisses, every other Warp God in attendance vocalizing their hatred of the Star Gods in one manner or another.

“By the time we realized what was going on they had already built enough of their Great Warding to have a 1 light year bubble where the Warp was all but totally cut off. The effects are actually somewhat subtle, in that it works less like a total area denial, cutting off the Warp entirely, and more like raising the energy requirements to punch through to the other side, somewhat equivalent to raising the potential to prevent quantum mechanical tunnelling in a system. It was still enough to blunt all but the most powerful psykers and prevent transition in or out of the Warp in the region they warded. Nothing we threw at them could get there fast enough to be of use, as we had to drop our ships out of the Warp and into real space where the speed of light limits such things. The Necrons had a year’s prep time to prepare for any attack and then cut it apart at their leisure at any time as their drives weren’t affected. They could hit and run with total impunity,” the Emperor explains.

“The Eldar dared not venture into that space. It drove all but our strongest psykers mad and killed the weaker ones to be exposed to such… conditions. Even those that were not strongly psychic were still sensitive enough to suffer greatly for it. The Mon-Keigh suffered similar fates, although their non-psykers were mostly unaffected,” the Laughing God continues.

“We Orks went ter git in on da scrap, but wen we git der da WAAAGH! died owt! Wot are Orks wivvout da WAAAGH!?” Gork, or maybe Mork, it was extraordinarily hard to tell the difference, or if they were even separate entities, nodded furiously. “They’s worse dan uumies they is!” the other of the pair answered.

The Chaos gods just all looked at Tzintchi and asked, “How the fuck do you think we fared?”

“I didn’t ask,” Tzintchi answered.

“Their base of operations so secured, the Necrons began to expand, setting up further warding relays on worlds they conquered and cleansed of life. The zone of control they had became unassailable within a year by sheer size alone. Across the galaxy their armies began to wake, spreading death and destruction in their wake… soon it became clear however what their full intentions were,” the Emperor explains before pausing.

Finding the right words through his anger, the Emperor picks up and said, “Their C’tan masters are addicted to souls: human, Ork, Eldar, whatever. So long as they are individual souls, they will consume them like an addictive drug. They were going to create a galaxy devoid of the Warp, or at least devoid enough to remain unthreatened while still allowing their slaves to have souls, and establish a continual harvest of feed their addictions. They would create an order devoid of all hope, all species in the galaxy living out their lives as slaves trapped on dying worlds as the stars go dark. It would last for billions of years, but there would be nothing at the end, just burnt out husks where there should be vibrant life.”

Gork and Mork unleashed a ferocious WAAAGH! before stamping their feet and proclaiming, “Dey woz gonna take away da WAAAGH!”

“Desperate times called for desperate measures. So we gods of the Warp set aside our differences, buried the hatchets,” Tzeentch says.

“Mostly in each other’s backs, but we’re gods so that was pre-truce clearing of the air,” Khorne says dismissively.

“Quite. Their Great Warding was still being built, so we still had time. None of our followers were particularly inclined to band together though, so we had limited options. Our only hope was to stop the Warding before it was built. Unfortunately, even then our options were… limited. The primary problem was that we have yet to figure out how to effectively put down a Necron permanently -bastards just teleport to a repair bay most of the time- without throwing them into the Warp, and with their Warp suppressing technology, that became impossible. The C’tan, were of course, even worse. We had no idea where all of their tomb worlds were. So a strike through time, while possible with the Warp, had no target, and we probably just would have awoken the threat early,” Tzeentch details out.

“Fortunately, in my youth, I encountered an… unusual xenos species on Earth, one that I quickly put down while they slumbered,” the Emperor says.

“The Angels,” Tzintchi guesses.

“Correct. Now that we were sharing knowledge, I was quite surprised to discover that none of the other gods had ever encountered the Angels before. This meant that the Angels were at least 60 million years old, the time when the first Eldar and Chaos Gods were forming, with Gork and Mork following shortly after,” the Emperor explains.

“We suspected that the Angels were another weapon created by the Old Ones to fight the C’tan in the War in Heaven,” Khaine said.

“We were wrong,” the Laughing God noted.

“When we cast our perceptions back through time, seeking the origin of the Angels, we discovered that they went back further than we imagined. The Angels have lain dormant on Earth for the better part of 4 billion years. In fact, their complete origins have to do with the birth of the universe itself,” the Emperor explained.

“The birth of the universe?” Tzintchi echoed with a raised eyebrow.

“Yes. Our universe is… something of an accident. When the Big Bang occurred, another cosmos was caught too close and drawn in next to it, partially formed,” the Emperor began.

“The Warp,” Tzintchi conjectured.

“Precisely. Into our cosmos were born the C’tan, forged from the heat of the Big Bang. Forever would they hunger for that energy again, driving them to drain the warmth from stars, speeding the death of the universe. There were millions originally, but they were not alone. Within the Warp there was another intelligent species, one the agents of NERV and SEELE labelled the First Ancestral Race from their research into the origin of the Angels. Their degenerate ancestors we call Enslavers,” the Emperor supplied, falling silent as Tzeentch again picked up the tail.

“To our surprise we discovered that the Enslavers were quite different originally. Curious and inquisitive creatures, they were… harmless at first, if such a word could be applied to anything in this universe. The Materium was so much more interesting than the Immaterium to them, so in the places where the two overlapped naturally, they ventured forth to explore. They could not last long at first, so they bent their powers to creating forms that they could inhabit from the Warp, remote controlled platforms with which to observe the cosmos. They began seeding the universe with Black Moons, out of which would spring simple humanoid bodies they could take control of, birthed by the species you call Lilith,” Tzeentch picks up.

“As was inevitable, the Ancestors came into conflict with the C’tan within ten millennia of beginning their activity. The wars went badly at first, until the development of the White Moons and the creation of the Angels. The Angels of those days were… terrifying is the only word to use,” Khorne explains, scaring the pants off Tzintchi.

“You… Khorne… terrified?” Tzintchi asks incredulously.

“At the end of the war there were less than a thousand C’tan left out of the millions at the start, thanks to the Angels. They were mass produced, entire Galaxies devoted to churning them out, and evolved quickly. A single C’tan could slaughter a billion Angels effortlessly, only for the group to evolve and by the billion and first to present a challenge, the billion and second to wound it and the billion and third to tear it apart. We could not kill one,” Khorne explained.

“A fully evolved Angel was a killing machine of unimaginable power. They were capable of ripping holes in space time the size of the Eye of Terror at will. Entire galactic clusters burned. You were fighting flea larva in comparison to the Angels of old. Still, it was not enough. The C’tan destroyed the production facilities and then hunted down the last of the Angels, destroying every White or Black Moon they could find. The encounter badly twisted the Ancestors, transforming them into the Enslavers, who forevermore retreated into the Warp, only venturing back out to breed,” Tzeentch adds on.

“For billions of years, the universe was quiet. A few Black Eggs had survived, seeding the cosmos with life, the life that the Enslavers would occasionally use for their own purposes. The humanoids that resulted were meant to have an Ancestor behind their eyes, so as time advanced they eventually evolved their own intelligences, their own souls. The most successful species in this galaxy to arise in such a way were the Old Ones, who quickly mastered the Warp and spread, becoming prolific. Eventually they discovered another species, the blighted Necrontyr, who were jealous of the life, health, and power of the Old Ones. They made war upon the Old Ones, and lost,” the Laughing God picked up, the tale entering into territory the Eldar pantheon was familiar with.

“We like to refer to the Necrontyr as ‘dumbasses’ at this point,” the Emperor noted with the sort of annoyance that conceals incredible anger at the actions of another.

“By chance, the Necrontyr discovered one of the few remaining C’tan and gave it a host form using their technology. The C’tan were pleased by this turn of events, and joined in the war. We don’t know if they knew that these were the remains of their old foes or if they just wanted to stop the Old Ones before the reached the power to create something like the Angels to threaten them again. They gifted the Necrontyr with much technology, some from their intimate, instinctive knowledge of the physical universe, some stolen in the previous war. For example, their phase weaponry was reverse engineered from the Lance of Longinus developed by the Ancestors to control their creations,” the Laughing God continued.

“We Eldar and the Orks were created by the Old Ones as biological weapons platforms in the war, the Orks as the ultimate bodyguards, while the Eldar as psychic artillery and summoning platforms for the pantheon. It was all a losing battle however, and once the C’tan transferred the souls of the Necrontyr into the metal bodies of the Necrons, they became unstoppable… except, somewhat fittingly, from the Enslavers. A sudden invasion by them caused a catastrophic drop in galactic population. The first of the Chaos gods were also forming from all the death and destruction being inflicted. By now the C’tan were addicted to souls and probably would have gone insane, or more insane in the case of some, with withdrawal. So they and their armies went into a deep slumber, to wait out the ages and let the galaxy heal while they plotted the downfall of the Warp, the only weapon that had proven consistently capable of hurting them,” Khaine picked up the narrative.

“Earth, however, was special” the Emperor explained, stepping away to widen his arms and gesture at the black moon of Lilith around them. Here, a Black Moon and a White Moon landed. Neither of the primary producers, Adam or Lilith, could tolerate the other as both were programmed to take control of the ecosystem to produce offspring for their masters. Adam was defeated and Lilith’s offspring took control, but both were forced into hibernation from their clash, one that would last billions of years. Life on Earth evolved slowly and steadily, following the simple imperative to survive. It was left alone, an untouched ecosystem, the conflicting thoughts of Adam and Lilith subtly driving away other intelligent species. The Void Dragon picked Mars as its Tomb World specifically because it noted this strange effect and had the willpower to overcome it. Earth was the last stronghold of the Angels, the last place in the universe where the C’tan killers lived. But they are mindless killing machines, knowing nothing of tactics or strategy as these things were originally supplied to them by the Ancestors. They could not win a war on their own any more than a tank without a crew could. They never had the chance to evolve to the point where they could threaten the C’tan again,” the Emperor explains.

“So we devised a plan… oh what a plan it was too. It took all of us pooling all of our intelligence to perfect it, and even then there was so much risk. We were going to have the C’tan complete the Great Warding 60 million years ahead of schedule,” Tzeentch told Tzintchi.

Tzintchi’s jaw dropped open in stunned amazement at the audacity of such a plan. If he hadn’t already been a worshipper, he would have dropped down before them all in awe.

“Earth would remain unaffected, while the C’tan would win decisively and never encase their servants in metal. The Necrons would never be born. Better yet, the Angels, in their slumber, would be exposed to the Great Warding and evolve a counter measure… the S2 organ. No psykers would ever be born on Earth, and thus the Emperor would never be born and kill the Angels,” the Laughing God continues.

Staring at them all in amazement, Tzintchi cries out in wonder, “You’re fighting them by erasing yourselves from history!

“They’ll never see it coming, just like we never saw them coming. Turn about is fair play I always say,” Tzeentch said with a mad laugh that the Laughing God quickly picked up. “The Eldar Pantheon died 60 million years ago, Gork and Mork were never spawned, and Chaos never got off the ground. The Enslavers went extinct, unable to crossover into the material realm to breed. As far as the C’tan and their Necrontyr followers are concerned, the Warp no longer exists. You know all about them, have countered their greatest weapon against the Warp, you have the greatest weapon ever used against them, and they don’t know you’re coming. The phrase ‘perfect shot’ comes to mind.”

“As Tzeentch observed as well, humanity’s capacity to unite into one common purpose will give you an advantage. From our observations in the shifting strands of fate, the Necrontyr, especially now that they’ve been dominant for 60 million years, are far more divisive. They know what happens to their slaves, the ones fed to the C’tan, and they do not want it to happen to them, except of course for the religious fanatics. They rule over vast holdings of Eldar and Orks along with other species, revolts suppressed by the simple fact that the overlords control access to transportation. You on the other have access to the S2 technology that you can use to gain access to the Warp, a smooth, steady Warp free of storms of predators I might add. Use your unity and their disunity to your advantage,” the Emperor informs Tzintchi.

“You should probably also know something else,” Slaanesh speaks up. “Because of your divinity being based off of your humanity, you cannot create Greater Daemons the way we could, but this an advantage in a way. You already care for your fellow gods, but if you wish to have powerful daemons, you will need to combine essences as humans do. You will need to mate and breed, need to create a whole family of daemons. Your brand of Chaos cannot stand alone.”

Tzintchi smiled and said, “Interesting, and I am sure, fun.”

“My servant had such a good influence on you,” Slaanesh noted in amusement.

“Did you tell him that the woman he was torturing was destined to be his new boss?” Tzintchi asked.

“No,” Slaanesh replied before bursting into mad laughter that Tzintchi quickly joined in with.

Once he settled down again, Tzintchi asked, “So how did you do it?”

Shrugging nonchalantly, Tzeentch replies, “It was just a matter of power to get what we needed back 60 million years. We convinced Abaddon to use the Planet Killer to destroy Cadia and then we whisked one of the pylons into the Warp and hurled it back through time to where the Necrontyr would find it and bring to their C’tan masters for study into the creation of the Great Warding. We burned out most of our daemons, the Emperor burned out ever psyker tied to him, the Eldar gods blew up all their Infinity circuits, and every Ork in the cosmos WAAAGH!’d at once, coincidentally blowing up their heads, to produce the required power. Oh, and we told the Chaos Space Marines the whole ‘make the Emperor the fifth Chaos God’ plot and how they were basically patsies in the whole thing. Abaddon’s screams alone got us an extra ten years worth of time travel.”

All of the gods laughed at that one, wiping away tears at the end and holding their sides, Nurgle summarizing by saying, “Ah Abaddon, what a dork. His expression when we told him that we made him the leader of Chaos because we knew he didn’t have a chance of actually winning; now that was priceless.”

Smirking, Tzintchi finally asks, “So what did Khnemu have to do with all of this.”

“At the point in time of the Angel Wars… well, let me be honest and say that you are a complete bitch in most versions. Third Impact was such a pivotal point in time that a thousand different outcomes resulted, radiating backwards in time, creating a thousand different Ikari Shinjis. All were useless to our purposes, most either too spineless to be effective, or a few too confident to let Third Impact happen in the first place. There were also some weird versions, like one Shinji who went back in time to the beginning of things to change events for the better, or one bizarre world where Gendo wasn’t a complete prick, and in fact things were rather nice. Those things just wouldn’t work for us though. So we decided to skew the odds in our favour by giving you a mentor in the form of Khenmu,” Tzeentch explains.

“We considered sending various other mentors, ranging from the Eldar suggestion of one of their Harlequins or the Farseer Eldrad Ulthran, a hilarious if ultimately unsuccessful timeline I might add, to trying the followers of the other Chaos gods. We settled on Tzeentch. Slaanesh would have worked too, but even he agreed that after Third Impact the results would not have been ideal for fighting the C’tan,” the Emperor adds, a general shudder going up amongst every god except for Slaanesh.

“Wimps,” the Prince of Pleasure sneers before conceding, “But yeah, that Shinji wasn’t very useful.”

“So we sent back Khenmu to teach you the art of scheming and to awaken your psychic potential. We also sent back that Keeper of Secrets to keep an eye on things and ensure the scenario had you accepting Third Impact, by generally making your life hell at key moments. You will also note that his gene seed is still intact, so we gave you the capacity to begin making Space Marines. So here we are,” Tzeentch finishes.

“So where do we go from here?” Tzintchi asks.

“We Chaos Gods, or rather these billionth scale fragments of us, are going to give you what knowledge and power we can to aid you and your queens. The Emperor is doing the same to ensure that you remain human enough and we do not have excess influence on you. The Eldar and Orks have conditions though,” Tzeentch says.

“We do,” the Laughing God begins. “We want a promise that the Eldar will be left alone if you overthrow the C’tan and liberate the galaxy. You will not consume their souls because you can, will not prosecute them, etc. etc.”

Shrugging somewhat indifferently, Tzintchi said, “If they come to us, no promises. If they make war upon us, no promises. But we won’t actively be dicks to them. That enough?”

Khaine shrugged at the Laughing God before turning back. “We expected as much.”

The two Eldar gods then dissolved away, filling Tzintchi’s mind with memories of the War in Heaven and on Eldar technology.

Gork and Mork looked at Tzintchi and said, “Orks is Orks, ya gots dat? We gets ta WAAAGH! when ya win, ya gots dat?”

“They’re free to fight as much as they want, but if they get driven to extinction for picking a fight they shouldn’t, well then it’s not my fault,” Tzintchi declared.

Laughing, they say, “Ya can try uumie” before they too vanished, Tzintchi’s mind filling with primal fury and strength, along with the knowledge of how to create a proper WAAAGH!

The other Chaos gods faded away to empower the other new gods, leaving Tzintchi alone with Tzeentch and the Emperor.

“So now you go… but you were never really here, were you?” Tzintchi asks of his god.

“No. We only had enough power to manifest those tiny fragments after Third Impact. Even getting a Keeper of Secrets to function in this environment was difficult and chancy,” Tzeentch admits.

“So those ‘gifts’ we received?” Tzintchi asks.

“All you. Your powers were blooming quite rapidly, and you three began to alter yourselves subconsciously according to the framework of Chaos Khnemu gave you. It was why we could not do a precise excision of your memories, the gifts you all were developing could only be lowered if you willed them, and such a direct attack on your mind would bring about instinctive defences. It took a lot of work to infiltrate Asuka and your minds, but fortunately you were horny teenagers, giving the Keeper of Secrets a point of access. Quite impressive really,” Tzeentch tells him.

“Then I don’t really owe you a kick in the balls, do I?” Tzintchi asks.

“If it will make you feel better,” Tzeentch suggests.

“Considering you’ll probably merge with me immediately after, I would just be kicking myself in the balls, wouldn’t I?” Tzintchi points out.

“Good lad,” Tzeentch says before fading away, filling Tzintchi with all the knowledge of daemons a Chaos God would ever need.

And so there was one left.

Tzintchi and the Emperor.

The new and old Gods of Mankind.

They stared at one another for a long time before the Emperor finally smiled slightly. “Really, I’m the one you should be furious with.”

Raising an eyebrow curiously, Tzintchi asked, “Oh? Why?”

“Tzeentch was originally pushing to send back a Lord of Change to guide you. The results of all this would have been similar, but nothing would have gone wrong for you. Your mind never would have been clouded, all the disasters that befell you would have never occurred. You would have claimed divinity for you and your friends out of greed. I did not want that for you or humanity or the universe. So I convinced the others to send back the Keeper of Secrets instead, to utterly fuck you over, to make you suffer,” the Emperor tells him.

Tzintchi bit back his initial reply and instead asked with barely contained fury, “Why did you do this?”

“To teach you a lesson, one you would never forget: when the gods are assholes, mortals suffer. Humanity, and even those xenos races you encounter, are not toys for you to play with, not just numbers. You will make sacrifices, you will fuck people over who don’t deserve it, its part of being a god in this universe, but I refuse to let you walk down the same path as the old gods. Our arrogance led to our downfall, our toying with the lives of our followers left us divisive and weak. I made it so that you would suffer, so that you would remember what it was like to be mortal,” the Emperor told him forcefully.

Tzintchi swallowed and considered this, before asking, “How much did you influence events like this?”

“Aside from sending back a daemon that would completely fuck with you and everything you loved? You might know I have, shall we say, some small skill at genetic engineering and biotechnology?”

Tzintchi narrowed his eyes as he realized where the Emperor was going, his fury only building as he realized what it had cost him…

I was the one who told it to help out the design team for the Mass Produced Evas, to make them overwhelmingly powerful killing machines- incidentally after you off the C’tan you might want to look out for the Tyranids, we’re not sure if they’re still around in this timeline or not. If she who was Asuka hadn’t been such a good fighter and conjured up those wings and weapons, she would have fallen with far fewer kills than eight. Ironically though, a strange resonance of warp powers may have prevented her from making that final kill, the numerology of the Chaos gods cutting off her ability to draw power after the eighth kill. But yes, I was the one that made sure that Misato and Asuka would be killed so that you would harness the power of Third Impact to resurrect them and ascend to godhood, and it was in fact all my idea that you suffer so,” the Emperor told him.

Tears of pure thought and souls streaming down his face, each drop forming a lesser daemon as it struck the ground, Tzintchi lashed out at the Emperor, punching him square in the face.

“You… you fucking bastard!” Tzintchi roared and the Black Moon rocked with the thunder of his rage, only broadening the smile on the Emperor’s face.

“I know, but if you’re going to be the god for humanity like I have, you’ll need to be one too. Humans can be so strong at one moment and weak at the next, and visa versa, that you must remember what it means to be human or you will break them. You must nurture them, spread them to the stars, and protect them from their enemies. You must know what will boost their morale, and what will crush their spirits. You must respect them. You must make sure that they never suffer the way you suffered”.

Tzintchi swallowed his rage, and with the calm of an epiphany realized the way only a god could realize what a wondrous gift the Emperor had given him. Tzeentch had such hopes for humanity because they had hope, despair, rage, and passion and every other subtle emotional texture, and thus they could unite the wars of Chaos. The Emperor had ensured the in his mortal life Shinji experienced every emotion so that when Tzintchi was born he would be alloyed, razor sharp and super strong Damascus steel rather than brittle pig iron.

“I still hate you for this,” Tzintchi pointed out, though his fury drained away as the truth of the Emperors words sunk into him.

“Take it as another gift, a reminder to bring down other jackasses like me in the future. I have given you much Tzintchi, because I expect, nay, I demand much from you. Do not disappoint me,” the Emperor warned him before fading away, Tzintchi’s mind filling with the knowledge of gene seed manipulation and of other technologies the Emperor had mastered.

His nose also really hurt now.

Shaking it off, Tzintchi watched the Black Pharaohs circling about him, singing his praises for creating them. Idly he assigned them each a task to do, and they all flew off to accomplish them. Four of them picked up the canopic jars and carried them off, the souls of the marines still intact even after having carried such power. They would make useful servants.

Pausing, Tzintchi amended that thought. They would make worthy followers. The distinction was fine, but one he would not soon forget.

Exiting the meeting area, Tzintchi found that time had slipped away differently between the two points within the Black Moon. Asukhon had emerged from her gestation within Reigle and was waiting for him.

Of the many faces she wore in her divinity, one was as she would have been given another ten years time, of a woman in full bloom at the prime of her life, confident and mature, her body spectacularly muscular and athletic while not sacrificing a single drop of femininity. She was also as the ultimate evolution of the red-skinned demon form she had been developing in the nights of Tokyo-3, enormous ram’s horns curling up from the side of her head, her hair beautiful burnished bronze.

Tzintchi smiled and looked hungrily at his two queens. He asked, “How do you two feel?”

“Tired… but fulfilled,” Reigle replied.

“Ready to kick ass,” Asukhon answered, licking her blood red lips eagerly.

His form beginning to shift and change, Tzintchi asked, “How about a nice threesome as we explore these new forms?”

Asukhon and Reigle looked over him for a moment, before Asukhon asked, “Do we have to share?”

“My dear wives, the inability to share is what got us here in the first place, so I intend to correct that error. Besides, there will always be enough of me to go around,” Tzintchi pointed out.

Reigle glanced up and down over him before turning eagerly to Asukhon and said, “Mislaato would benefit from high levels of perversion and passion during gestation.”

Caving, Asukhon sighed before irately demanding “I’ll always be number one, you got that?”

“Of course dear,” Tzintchi said with a growing smile… amongst other things.

Toji had been wandering for days. He didn’t know how, but he had suddenly acquired the ability to walk again after… whatever had happened had happened. One day he had been lying in his hospital bed, listening to the screaming from the halls, followed by silence, and then the next day he found he could walk again.

So he walked, drawn by something he did not understand, drawn back towards Tokyo-3. He had been transferred to Tokyo-2 after the disaster, after…

He refused to think about that. He would just keep walking, just keep heading towards that silent siren song in his mind, and just keep slogging through the orange goo that filled the buildings and streets. He refused to think about where the gunk had come from or why he had not seen another living soul since that terrifying moment.

He walked through the ruins of the former military action and let a wry smile cross his face. He wondered what Kensuke would have thought of all of this stuff just lying around in the open, no one manning their posts. Why he…

“So you came too Toji-kun,” a familiar, ragged voice said behind him.

Whirling about, Kensuke found a beleaguered looking Kensuke behind him. He was so relieved to see a human face, let alone a friendly face, that he rushed forward as fast as his tired, hungry legs could carry him and wrapped his best friend in the biggest hug he could manage.

After a few moments of trying to wriggle free, Kensuke finally managed to get out, “Need… air…”

Releasing him in embarrassment, Toji backed off and asked, “Do you have any idea what happened man?”

“No, I just… oh… my… god…” Kensuke’s face turned white with terror and he raised his hand to point at something behind Toji.

“What is it man, you look like you’ve seen… a… ghost…” As Toji turned he lost all will to continue, struck by what he saw standing behind him.

It was Hikari. A somewhat older looking Hikari, but it was definitely Hikari, the only person Toji had ever felt comfortable opening his heart up to. His girlfriend. His fellow Pilot. The one who had, against her will, been responsible for paralyzing him. The girl who had been dead for close to two months.

She was stunningly beautiful in a mature, serious, and yet unbelievably cute and girly way. She smiled at Toji and said in an ethereal voice, “Follow me, you two are expected.

The two of them followed the inexplicable phantom into the valley where Tokyo-3 had once been, arriving faster than they expected, as if space or time had wrapped around them to shorten the journey and blind them to the activities occurring in front of them. They should have seen what was going on hours ago from a distance, and yet somehow they had missed something as obvious as an erupting volcano.

There was an orgy occurring in front of them on the smooth black surface that had replaced Tokyo-3. Hundreds of adult clones of Shinji, Rei, and Asuka were writhing about in just about every imaginable sexual act. Both Kensuke and Toji blinked and wondered how they knew the origins of these creatures. The Asuka creatures did look something like her, but only if she were a red skinned, horned Amazon in bronze armour. The Rei ones had a bit less of a resemblance, but that was because they looked like corpses that had been left in a hot swamp for a month. The Shinji things didn’t even have faces and they could still identify them though! That made no sense. How could things that looked so strange and unlike their friends still be identified like that?

“The Lesser Daemons are expressions of the Gods will and, as you can see, the Gods are quite happy at the moment,” a deep bass voice sounded behind the two boys, causing them to whirl and meet a giant in blue and gold armour. An old crow perched on one shoulder, a falcon on the other, a scarred dog was to his right, and Pen-Pen was to his left.

All that need be here are here,” Hikari noted as the creatures began to finish up what they were doing and fade away.

“What… what is going on here?” Kensuke finally managed to stutter out fearfully.

“The Gods have summoned those they care about to them to reward them for their faith and friendship,” the giant explained.

“And those things?” Toji asked as the last of monsters finished up.

“Black Pharaohs, Reiglings, and Valkyries. They are the lesser daemons of Tzintchi, Reigle, and Asukhon, respectively. They are fragments of their masters’ wills, creatures sent out to do their bidding, mirrors of their thoughts and emotions. I believe they were enjoying themselves as a way to pass the time before we arrived,” the giant told the two of them.

“And… what happens now?” Toji managed to ask in dread.

In answer, the ground split open and three Eva sized figures emerged, like the lesser daemons from before but infinitely grander and more powerful. Here, Shinji’s face was clearly seen if somewhat more adult and his eyes were pools of star filled darkness. The three humans in attendance all dropped to their knees in awe, while the animals grovelled and Hikari bowed her head.

Toji wanted to cry out that Asuka really was a devil, but fear stole the words from his lips.

When Tzintchi spoke, it was as a whisper so as to not deafen his friends, the words instead carried to their ears as if he were normal sized and next to them.

“My friends, today is the dawning of a new age. Today there are no more nations, there is only humanity. Before, we had no gods to unify us, but now we have created the deities so long absent. Now we have become the gods that humanity sought to unify it. And you shall become the leaders,” Tzintchi told them.

He curled a finger beckoningly, causing Khnemu to rise into the air, gripped by an immense power. For a moment the Marine appeared to be disintegrating, but it soon became apparent that his armour was simply being stripped from him and gently laid to the side. Hikari floated up as well, but it seemed to be of her own accord.

“Khnemu, for what you have done for me, your reward shall be ever lasting life and immense power as a daemon prince, the first of your kind… unless of course you count Hikari here, but she is a daemon princess,” Tzintchi informs his old master as power begins suffusing him. Hikari grinned, her own form rippling with the power invested within her by the gods.

Tears of joy flowing down his face as the Warp replaced his flesh with firmer stuff and as power and knowledge filled his mind, Khnemu cried out, “Thank you My Lord, thank you!”

“No, thank you,” Tzintchi told him as Khnemu exploded and reformed as a radiant, gold skinned man of perfect form, every pore of his body overflowing with light. All that was left of his mortal form were two small, smoking balls of flesh that remained floating as the new daemon took station next to the gods.

Tzintchi then beckoned and Toji and Kensuke were lifted up. They were terrified, but they found themselves unable to act on their fear. Something from outside them was overriding their ability to act in even the most instinctive ways, which was a good thing for their pants.

Hikari drifted down to Toji and ran a finger across his cheek, saying, “Do not be frightened, this is a joyous occasion.

Now eye level with the gods, the two floated where they were and waited to see what would happen. The two pieces of Khnemu left of his flesh after his ascension floated up before each of them.

“In time you two shall join the ranks of our princes and princesses, but not yet. For now I need you two to incubate something very special and important, and to become my mortal generals on this world, to aid me in uniting what is left of humanity, to forge that which remains into something that will grow and prosper. I need you to become the first Marines. I need you to become my Primarchs,” Tzintchi told them.

There was a flash and light, but no pain. When it cleared, Toji and Kensuke were lying naked on the ground, their flesh settling into place not much different from before, but already the new growth could be detected if you knew how to look.

“The seed of the future is now in your blood, in your flesh, and as you grow, something that will happen faster than you think, you will find yourselves stronger, faster, and smarter than any other mortal on this world. Enjoy your new strengths, for you will need them for the challenges ahead,” Tzintchi told them as they tried to settle into their new forms.

All three gods then raised their fingers and said, “Arise the first Beasts of Chaos, progenitors and masters of your ilk.”

With a snap, the gods transformed their servants. Rei’s crow, Old Priest, became the first Carrion Crow of Reigle, a creature about as putrid and disgusting as it sounded, yet wise and clever with the knowledge of the ages. Asuka’s Spartacus became the first Blood Hound of Asukhon, a ferocious creature capable of incredible violence and tender affection, depending on the situation and its mood. Shinji’s Horus became the first Striking Falcon of Tzintchi, a fierce predator that always struck where it wanted to at incredible speed.

This left just Pen-Pen, who appeared to be taking all of the strange events in his stride.

The gods looked down at the penguin and smiled.

“Mislaato will have to pick a different animal for her beast, for we all wanted you by our side, and besides, you are far too good to call a beast. No Pen-Pen, because of you, we have decided that penguins shall have a place in this new order we are making of Chaos. You shall be the first to be blessed with the Mark of Chaos Ascendant, once Mislaato gets around to contributing of course. For now though, receive all of our blessings,” Tzintchi tells the startled looking penguin.

Energy suffused Pen-Pen for a moment, blessing him with the Eight Pointed Star of Chaos, before he settled down.

“Rise God Emperor Penguin! Show your kin the path to enlightenment; join with humanity in the stars as friends, companions, and allies. So we have decreed it!” The gods spoke as one before descending back into the Black Moon, Khnemu and their beasts following them while Princess Hikari moved to assist the two new Primarchs in acclimatizing to their new bodies.

It is the 3rd Millennium. For more than six hundred thousand centuries the C’tan have ruled the galaxy, immortal masters of millions of worlds by the might of their armies. They are the drug addled rulers of the cosmos, fed thousands of souls daily so that their hungers may be satisfied.

Yet even for all their power, they know not what lurks in the shadows between the stars they prey upon. On a tiny blue planet circling an ordinary yellow star, young gods plot their overthrow.

From the shattered wreckage of their birth, already the survivors of this world are forging new weapons of war. Their numbers are small, but with each day they grow legion. Each new soul born is new strength for their growing armies. Greatest among them are the Space Marines, bio-engineered super-warriors, brought forth from a forgotten time. But their allies grow legion as armies of mere mortals are raised to fight alongside their superhuman brethren, and the great and terrible machines of war, the Evangelions.

To be a man in this time is to be numbered amongst the proud and few who dare to stand against the old order with guile and trickery more than simple strength of arms. To be human is to know that you have a purpose, to serve the gods sitting upon their thrones. To serve beautiful and passionate Mislaato, goddess of perfection and sensation. To serve grim and enduring Reigle, goddess of disease and mirth. To serve fierce and furious Asukhon, goddess of anger and war. To serve wise and powerful Tzintchi, god of trickery and hope. Hope for the future.

Upon Holy Terra the young gods sit and plot the downfall of the old gods, their laughter echoing in space between the stars where only they can hear. When they set out, there will be no peace amongst the stars.

There will be only war!
I love learning. Teach me. I will listen.
You know, if Christian dogma included a ten-foot tall Jesus walking around in battle armor and smashing retarded cultists with a gaint mace, I might just convert - Noble Ire on Jesus smashing Scientologists

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