Neon Genesis Evangelion
EVA-R Prime Extension
Credit where credit is due to Gainax, etc etc. Evangelion is someone else's property, etc.
Additional Credits to the creators of EVA-R Illustrated Fan Fiction. Find it at http://www.eva-r.com - it is an absolutely brilliant fan fic and essential reading to understand this story. You should have read EVA-R up to episode 53 PRIME before reading this fan fiction.
The other fan fictions that are a part of this storyline are
Light of the Soul / Contact
Light of the Heart / At Last, A Reason
Stand By Me
This fan-fiction is intended to continue the story begun in the above episodes.
Author's Note: For those of you who are confused by the reference to "Adytum", just think of it as something similar to Central Dogma - a term for a specific part of NERV. It is left as an excercise for the reader to satisfy their curiosity and look up Adytum in a book somewhere.. after all, we did!
(Our story begins, as all things do, at the beginning. In this case, the beginning of a day - a rather special day. It is a milestone for one of the many friendly faces we know so well from Tokyo-3. It is someone's birthday.
But this person would be annoyed to have the birthday cited with any celebration - in fact, those that know her would say that any question of age is more than likely to bring a tear to your eye.. resulting from the heavy impact of a fist at high speed.
This stray fact is making Lyn Anouilh nervous. You see, the person in question is Seyoko Okazaki, his guardian. It is her birthday. And Lyn, officially the sixth child and Evangelion pilot, has placed it upon himself to be the celebrant in an impromptu birthday party.
That's not exactly the whole truth - coming from a culture where birthdays are a celebrated affair, he has been viewing this date with trepidation for some time. He could forget about it, and risk his guardian remembering - or remember, and risk a punch in the face if "that word" slips out.
The English pilot has chosen the latter, dispite being rather embarrased by displays of affection. This event is no different - he figets as he sits at the small living room table of his apartment, one hand absently clenched around a box of matches. His other hand, recently freed from plaster casting, is entwined around that of a female companion, one upon which he is now desperately seeking comfort, reassurance..
.. and a partner in crime.)
Lyn: Please, Aoi..
Aoi: (worried) I can't, six.
Lyn: (desperate) You can do it.
Aoi: I can't do it! I just can't!
Lyn: I'll be singing too, Aoi.. Seyoko won't even hear you..
Aoi: (looks up) Then why don't you do it yourself!?
Lyn: (sighing) Because it sounds terrible when just one person does it..
(Aoi Tamashii, seated next to Lyn in the kitchen of the boy's home, casts a nervous glance at the cake on the table. Clearly she does not wish to follow through with the plan thrust upon her by her pleading companion.)
Lyn: Unless you want me to sing to Seyoko.. alone.. it would be really romantic..
(The girl looks up, her eyes narrow.)
Aoi: I know you don't mean that, six, so don't even try to make me jealous.
Lyn: Please, Aoi, I know you can do this. You sound so good I wouldn't even know you can't speak English..
Aoi: Oh please. Don't even -
Lyn: (interrupting) I'm serious!
(A voice from out in the living room makes the two teenagers jump.)
Seyoko: (muffled - from her bedroom) Lyn? What's taking so long? Can I come out now?
Lyn: (to Aoi - frantic) Just this once, Aoi.. I'll be your.. your servant!
Lyn: (hesitating) ..Maybe.
(The girl smiles suddenly, darting forwards and kissing the sixth child on the cheek.)
Aoi: That's enough for me. But you better not stop half way through.
Lyn: You better not either - I'm not feeling that good about this..
(Aoi takes the box of matches from Lyn's hands and opens it. As she begins lighting the small confectionary candles, Lyn heads for the door.)
Lyn: (calling out) Just another minute, Seyoko!
Aoi: Um.. what were the words again?
Lyn: (in English) Happy Birthday To You..
(The girl fumbles briefly, trying out English words on her tongue softly..)
Seyoko: (muffled) That's it.. I'm coming out!
Lyn: Here, take this..
(Lyn gently lifts the cake.)
Lyn: This is it. Ready?
(Aoi nods once, slightly pale in the face, and both take a deep breath as the door to Seyoko's bedroom slides open..)
Seyoko: Alright..! Now what the he-
(Several floors below -
With a deft twist, Shinji cracks an egg on the rim of the pot and deposits the viscous contents into the nearby frying pan. As he continues with his chores, chopping up vegetables and sliding them into the growing mash of ingredients, Shinji smiles.
The second child and roommate, Asuka Langley Sohryu, watches the boy at his efforts. He is, as always, making breakfast for the pair of them - and as always, he seems to be smiling as he cooks, his eyes slightly unfocused as his hands work mechanically. Perhaps he finds some peace in the unthinking tasks, but either way, to the girl seated at the breakfast table, his clear abstraction is nothing if not annoying..
Eventually the redhaired girl dumps the magazine with a loud slap to the table, rounding on the boy in irritation.)
Asuka: Will you stop that? It's starting to get on my nerves!
(The second child blinks, stopping in his work to turn towards the waiting - and hungry - companion seated at the breakfast table.)
Shinji: Asuka? What's wrong?
Asuka: That infernal smiling of yours! No one who's cooking should smile at the same time! Are you going to poison us or something?!
Shinji: ..I just like cooking, Asuka. So what if I smile?
Asuka: So what? So what?
(Asuka huffs to herself, returning her attention to the magazine in her hands. Shinji obediently forces his face to remain straight as he continues adding ingredients to the pans on the stove.)
Asuka: (glancing over) That's better.
(Asuka flips through the magazine as Shinji continues to prepare breakfast. At this point, one of the hallway doors slides open and Misato Katsuragi, NERV Operations Director enters. Her expression is drawn, somewhat weary, that of a person under a great deal of stress, and her eyes do not register the scene at first.)
Asuka: You can smile if it's that important to you.
Shinji: It's not - not really.
(He continues cooking while Misato wanders past in her usual waking slumber. To the complete ignorance of all else, the woman makes her way over to the refrigerator, stepping over discarded magazines, empty beer cans and a skateboard as she yawns widely, scratching the left side of her stomach with her hand.
This behaviour does not draw the attention of the children; long since used to Misato's early morning disorganisation, they turn a blind eye as their guardian fetches a can of sake and slides past into the living room in her own special form of oblivion.)
Asuka: (absently - towards Shinji) Idiot.
(Misato drops onto the couch heavily, holding the beer in one hand, popping the pre-stressed seal with the other. There is a hiss, and the expected head of foam, followed immediately by a rather large gulp as the woman takes a totally unnecessary and protacted pull on the can.
At this point, both pilots turn a confused stare toward Misato - who remains slouched on the couch, beer in hand, almost expressionless as she takes another drink in nearly total silence. No cheer, no whoop, no yell, no exclamation and most importantly - no burp. It is the nearby penguin, Pen Pen, who breaks the silence as the Major reaches over, confiscating the remote control.)
Pen Pen: Quaaaa!
Misato: Shhh. (begins flicking through channels)
Pen Pen: Keeeaaa!
(The penguin struggles with stubby limbs; after some effort, heaves himself out of Misato's grasp and lands on the floor.)
Misato: Sometimes, Pen Pen, I think I spoil you too much.
(Pen Pen looks at her.)
Pen Pen: Quaaaa!
(The penguin waddles into the kitchen, in search of his refrigerator. Misato watches the penguin as he disappears from view.
Returning her attention to the television, she checks a few more channels before giving up.)
Misato: Might as well face it sooner rather than later.
(Behind her, in the kitchen, Shinji has returned his attention to preparing breakfast and Asuka has shifted her gaze back to her magazine. With a brief glance towards the two pilots, Misato reaches under the couch to retrieve a manilla folder; she had placed it there in disgust the previous night. Stencilled on the front of the folder is:
Evangelion Pilot Candidate 07
Without a word, the Major begins flicking through the folder, frowning absently at the contents. On the edge of hearing, Asuka grumbles something suspiciously like a swearword under her breath - most likely directed at Shinji's lack of speed in preparing her breakfast.
But Misato is not listening - indeed, she doesn't even appear to be reading the report, thumbing through the pages at high speed. It is as if she already knows what is written within..)
Misato: (thoughtfully) The Seventh Child..
(She now knows that it cannot be held off any longer.)
Misato: I guess I'd better get it over with..
(As Misato struggles up from the couch, beer in one hand and folder in the other, a sudden shocking noise makes all three jump; Shinji spills a cracked egg on the stove, where it immediately chars black, Asuka spills a glass of water over her magazine, and Misato loses the contents of her beer onto the rug. The sound appears to be coming from above, at least a floor above to be more exact. Misato winces as a particularly awful note tears out..)
Asuka: Mein Gott.. what is that noise..
Shinji: It sounds like..
Misato: Did someone bring home a stray cat or something?
Shinji: Is that..
Asuka: I've heard better strays from the alley..
Shinji: Is someone singing?
Lyn: You stopped!
Aoi: I forgot the words!
(The apartment of Lyn Anouilh, the Sixth Child, is now filled with laughter, replacing the strains of 'Happy Birthday'. Aoi Tamashii, companion to the boy, is now the subject of his embarrased anger, having forgotten the English words rather quickly and fallen back on mouthing. As a result, the boy discovered himself singing alone - much to his embarrasment - and the carefully prepared song has now trailed off into silence.
Instead, the subject of the celebration, Seyoko Okazaki, is now seated in a chair at the table, trying to control hysterical laughter. Across from her, Lyn is redfaced, unsure whether to run and hide or stay and face the shame. In frustration, he sits in the chair opposite, head bowed, highly embarrased, as Aoi Tamashii takes a seat next to him, wrapping an apologetic arm around his shoulders.)
Aoi: Look, I'm really sorry okay?
Aoi: You weren't that bad, anyway..
Seyoko: It was the worst thing I've ever heard! (chuckling)
(Lyn merely ducks his head lower, nose almost touching the table, face flaming.)
Aoi: Aww... Six... please.. I'm sorry..
(Seyoko breaks out in another gale of laughter, thumping the table with one hand, almost crying in her hysteria. Eventually she brings herself back under control, her laugh trailing off into several small giggles, a chuckle, and a hiccup.)
Seyoko: I'm sorry Lyn..
Seyoko: The expression on your face though.. priceless..
(Seyoko hiccups again, catching herself short of more giggles.)
Lyn: (angrily) Well.. its the thought that counts, right?
Aoi: (agreeably) Right!
(After a thoughtful pause, Seyoko responds.)
Seyoko: I guess so.. yeah. Hey.. did you make this cake yourself?
Lyn: ... well.. um...
(Aoi nudges him in the ribs.)
Lyn: .. sort of. (winces as another nudge hits home) Aoi helped me.
(Seyoko smiles gratefully at the girl.)
Seyoko: Thanks.. it's a nice touch.. but..
Lyn: (worriedly) What?
Seyoko: Where's the icing?
(The two children look at each other in shock, then examine the cake closely. Indeed, in their hasty preparations, they neglected to apply icing, leaving the cake somewhat.. lacking.)
Lyn: Bloody hell.
(The Sixth child rises from his place, moving quickly into the kitchen, pulling open the refrigerator. Sure enough, a bowl of icing sits proudly on the second shelf, spoon embedded in the thick mixture. Moments later Aoi joins him, cake in hand, and the two begin to rectify the situation, liberally applying the topping to the cake.
A dollop, a second, spread around to cover the top of the cake.. another dollop for the sides.. another dollop.. Lyn starts to scrape around inside the bowl with the spoon, frowning as he realises there is not enough icing to cover the required area.)
Lyn: There's not enough - where'd all the icing go?
Aoi: Don't look at me, it's not my fridge.
Seyoko: (slowly turning red) Um.. well.. you see, I found a bowl in the 'fridge last night with a spoon in it and..
(Misato Katsuragi stands before the smooth metal panel marked "72". In her hands she holds the folder containing the Marduke report. Still dressed in her casual clothes, it would be hard to believe that she has arrived at the door to Seyoko's apartment on serious buisness.
Yet her expression belies her dress; her mouth is fixed in a thin line, teeth almost clenched as she considers the news she now has to impart to the guardian of the sixth child. As she raises her hand to press the doorbell, a sudden intuition strikes, and she pauses as the sound of raised voices reach her ear. Tenatively, she turns her head to the side, her expression shifting from solemness into curiosity, and she presses her ear to the cool steel panel.)
Male Voice: (from other side) Wha.. That was for you!
Female Voice: (from other side) I'm sorry! How was I supposed to know?!
Male Voice: (from other side) But that much?! You must have had half the bowl!
Female Voice: I'm sorry! I like chocolate! It was the middle of the night and I was hungry! (pauses) Hey, if it was for me anyway, then what's the matter?
Male Voice: You could have asked! Only two of us live here, you know!
Female Voice: (petulant) Well, if you're going to be that way about it, you put all of your stuff on your side of the fridge, and I'll put all of my stuff on my side. And since you made this wonderful icing, you can have it..
Misato: (pulling away from door) Hmm..
Male Voice: (raised in horror) Seyoko! Don't you DARE!
(There is a sudden shriek of laughter from the inside of the apartment, followed by a loud yell.)
Male Voice: Aaarrrrrgghhh!! Did you have to do that?
Misato: (sighing) I better interrupt them before..
(The Major's hand moves forward, this time reaching the button, depressing it for a long moment to ensure the doorbell chime is noticable to those within. The sounds from within the apartment quiet suddenly, the joyousness replaced by embarrasment as the people in the apartment realise the volume and length of their argument.
After a long pause and some scuffling, the steel entry panel slides open, revealing the grinning figure of Seyoko Okazaki, clutching a chocolate spattered spoon in one hand, dressed casually for a morning at home.)
Seyoko: Hello - Major Katsuragi?
(Seyoko appears startled by the figure before her. Indeed she should - the two are of a like dress, with Misato clutching a half-empty can of sake in her spare hand. Under her arm is tucked a plain folder - perhaps the neatest part of her dress - for the rest of her attire is a loose fitting sleeping top and a crumpled pair of jeans.
To complete the awe-inspiring ensemble, the dark haired Director of Operations is barefoot, choosing to brave the cold concrete in exchange for the enjoyment of the soft carpetting of the block elevator.)
Misato: Good morning. What's all the noise about?
Seyoko: (smiles) Just a little birthday celebration. I'd have invited you, but .. (slight laugh) It was rather sudden to me you see..
Misato: (level and calm) Happy birthday. (holds out folder) Your first assignment under my command.
(The Lieutenant looks briefly pained at the awkward timing of the Major's delivery. She holds out her hand, as if to accept the new package, but is interrupted by a boyish shout from inside the room is heard by the two officers. Seyoko pauses, looking over her shoulder to shout some instructions at the boysterous pair that remain inside the apartment.)
Seyoko: (calling out) Hey you two, quiet! I'm talking to Major Katsuragi!
Aoi: Yeah, shut up!
Lyn: Aoi, quit being such a..
Aoi: Such a what?
Lyn: Such a girl! And I can wipe the chocolate off myself!
Misato: (thinking) Aoi?
(Looking past Seyoko, Misato spies the young girl in question. Aoi Tamashii stands, washcloth in hand, in the hallway of the apartment of the sixth child, her face set in an expression of determination, a result of her partner's current look. The boy's face is somewhat smeared with what looks to be a spoonful of chocolate - courtesy of the expert hand of his guardian, the casting tool being the smeared spoon still clutched in her hand. Aoi is busy restraining the English boy, trying to hold his head steady as she cleans his face with the damp cloth, but his squirming causes her to spread the stain over more of his face as opposed to cleaning him.)
Misato: (thinking) Aoi is here?
Seyoko: So what's the assignment?
Misato: (reconsidering) Actually..
Misato: It is your birthday, so I really shouldn't ruin it so early in the day.. I... (thinking hastily) Perhaps we can meet after, say.. lunch and discuss it?
(The Major fumbles around, trying to find a graceful message of departure..)
Misato: One o'clock sound good?
Seyoko: (cooly) Sure.
(The two eye eachother carefully, like wildcats, neither speaking for a long moment. Eventually, another shout and giggle interrupts the freeze frame - Aoi now struggling with her red-faced 'prey', looking for all the world like a mother trying to clean a fussy child. Lyn yelps again, bringing an apologetic grimace to Seyoko's face as she takes a step backward, hand reaching to one side of the door frame.
The panel slides shut, muting the sounds of shouting from within.)
(Turning away from the door, she looks at the folder in her hands.)
(The Major walks back down the corridor, turning the folder over in her hands absently. Stopping before the elevator doors, she presses the 'down' button, one bare foot slapping a rhythm on the cool concrete as she waits for the lift to return to her own apartment.)
Misato: You'd think they were all fifteen years old..
Seyoko: (chewing) mm mmmm mm mmm!
(Seyoko eyes the spoon in her hand, taking in the chocolate mass perched on the curved end. Opening her mouth as wide as possible, she tips the entirity of what remains of her slice into her already full mouth and munches, a contented smile on her face.)
Seyoko: My compliments to the chef... I'm sorry, chefs.
(Seyoko continues chewing, her eyes half-closed as she savours the sweet chocolate taste. After a titanic gulp and several deep breaths, she heads for the sink and begins to fill a glass of water.
Aoi, meanwhile, is trying to coax Lyn's face around to clean it.)
Aoi: Lyn, turn around so I can clean it off...
Lyn: (objecting) Aoi!
Aoi: (waving dishcloth) You've still got some on that side.
Lyn: (looks at Seyoko, embarrassed) .. Seyoko!
Aoi: Oh, I see. Seyoko, could you please go outside so I can clean the baby?
(As Lyn flushes with embarrasment, Seyoko casts a thoughtful glance in the direction of the clock.)
Seyoko: I'm not sure if I trust you two.. and by the way, when does school usually start?
Lyn: (looking at clock) What.. Aoi! We'll be late!
(The sixth child leaps up and runs to his room - Seyoko briefly wonders if his haste was born of his worry about being late, or of his fear of Aoi's attentions. She takes a drink from her glass and looks at the girl, taking in her lack of proper school uniform.)
Seyoko: Don't you have school too?
(An uneasy silence falls as the two women regard each other, Aoi looking at just about any place but the Lieutenant's face. Seyoko's eyes narrow, detecting the evasion, but as she draws breath to pin down the point, the door to Lyn's room opens as the sixth child rushes past once more, having hastily changed into his school uniform.)
Lyn: Come on, Aoi! We'll be late!
(He grabs his empty schoolbag from its resting place near the dining table, using his arms to brush a heap of notepads, pens and textbooks from the table into the bag indiscriminately. He casts a guilty glance at the chocolate cake in the centre of the table, a peice missing - he has not yet had a chance to sample his own creation, but for now, school beckons.
Aoi takes a deep breath, about to say something, but is interrupted as Lyn rushes off once more, this time down the hallway, his finger stabbing at the door panel.)
Aoi: Lyn! Wait..!
(Aoi turns and rushes after, dishcloth still in hand. After a brief moment, the metallic hiss of the door signals the departure of the two children.)
Aoi: (in the distance) You've still got chocolate on your..
(Seyoko has not yet moved from her place at the table, from the time she mentioned school, to the time the two children left half a frantic minute later. Instead, her gaze falls on the chocolate cake which seems to rest contentedly on the table, almost bloated in its satisfaction at having but a single peice of itself missing.)
Seyoko: (sighing) I guess I'd better put you in the 'fridge..
(The cake says nothing - naturally.)
Seyoko: .. after just one more peice.
(The woman reaches over to the kitchen sink, retrieving the chocolate covered cutting knife and board, humming to herself as she makes her way to the table, cutting another generous slab, letting it lean over to one side, deftly catching it on her plate. She uses her fingers to lift the warm, fresh chocolate mass to her mouth and takes another bite, her eyes closing again in satisfaction as the savours the cake again.)
Seyoko: (around cake) I wonder where Aoi's going.. its not like her to skip school, and I can smell when someone's hiding something..
Seyoko: (thoughtfully) What if she's seeing another boy?
(Seyoko takes another large bite of the cake, turning the possibility over in her mind. Abruptly she realises the outrageousness of the suggestion - just as the mouthful is making its way down her throat as she swallows. Her swallow changes abruptly into a fit of coughing as the cake goes the wrong way, the woman hastily dropping the plate to the table as she leans over, both coughing and laughing and, at the same time, gasping for air.
Eventually, she takes a few deep breaths, steadying herself, and sheds the lunatic idea from her mind. As if nothing had happened, she reaches down, recovering the plate and lifting the slice to her mouth for yet another taste..
On the table, the cake seems to gaze up vindictively, satisifed that it has gained the appropriate payment for an additional slice.)
Seyoko: Oh.. shut up!
(It is less than an hour later, and school is in for the children of Tokyo-3. The teacher of class 9A has not yet made his appearance, which leaves his students with a few idle moments to chat, cram in forgotten homework, and generally kill time. Touji Suzahara, the one-time Fourth Child, makes the most of this time. With his feet kicked up onto his desk he leans back in his chair.)
Touji: I've been thinking about it, but.. what's a guy supposed to do in this kinda situation?
Kensuke: Don't look at me. I'm not a counciller or anything like that.
Touji: You can say that again.
Kensuke: This is the sort of thing that we're just not good at.
Touji: Yeah, but it's just a movie. It's not like it means anything.. but.. you know, don't you?
Kensuke: No. You're not being very helpful, Touji. If you want advice, then why don't you -
(Kensuke sneezes, abruptly cutting his sentence off.)
Touji: Haven't you shaken that cold yet?
(Kensuke grimaces, pulling a hankerchief out of his pocket and raising it to his nose.)
Kensuke: No. Shinji and I should've taken some of my wet weather gear before running off.
Touji: Well, I guess it's the price of rushin' like that.
(Kensuke wipes his nose, briefly remembering the mad race through the wet countryside, now a week past. Unfortunately for the teenager, Kensuke's cold, picked up during the journey, is still with him, and is causing his nose to complain wetly.
The two boys look up briefly as Asuka enters.
The second child is wearing her usual school uniform, but her usual alertness is absent. Instead, she seems to almost wander into class, her mind apparantly elsewhere. Hikari, standing at the teacher's desk attending to the roll, is the next to notice the entrance of the second child, and greets her friend cheerfully.)
Hikari: Good morning, Asuka!
(The class representative frowns slightly before she lowers her head again, busying herself with her duties. Asuka continues to absently thread her way between the chairs and desks of the class, until she finally sits.
Touji and Kensuke freeze - Kensuke, in particular, resembles a rabbit caught in the spotlight of an oncoming truck. As the boy still feels the after-effects of the cold trip a week before, he still remembers the focused violence Asuka had directed at him in a moment of vengeful wrath.)
Touji: What did you do, Kensuke?
Kensuke: (cautiously) Nothing that I remember..
(The reason for his discomfort is that the second child has not taken her usual seat, but is instead seated directly behind Touji and Kensuke.)
Touji: Are you sure?
(Asuka stares at the top of the desk in silence. It is a plain, nearly featureless rectangle of wood, exactly identical to all others in the classroom - except of course for the words scratched into the desktop:
What are you, stupid?
The second child's head seems to be bowed slightly, her eyes fixed on the words as she contemplate what appears to be some deep and meaningful truth.)
Kensuke: (looks at Touji sidelong) Um..
Touji: (leaning forward) Sohryu?
Asuka: (staring) ..
Touji: (snapping fingers) Hey Sohryu!
(Asuka seems to shake herself awake, dragging her attention to Touji. Her eyes narrow.)
Touji: What are you doing?
Asuka: (spiteful) It's called school, Suzahara, if you can wrap your two braincells around the word.
Kensuke: (blows nose) ..
(The two boys, faced with Asuka's aggressive defence, carefully re-assess the situation - they look around carefully. Once certain that they have not made any mistake, they look back.)
Kensuke: .. you're sitting in..
Asuka: (turns on him) What, Aida?
Kensuke: (trailing off) Shinji's.. seat.
(Asuka pulls back slightly, her eyes blank.)
(She slowly looks around, taking in her position in the classroom. Her eyes narrow as she drops her suddenly suspicious gaze to the desk:
What are you, stupid?
Asuka looks back at Touji and Kensuke.)
Asuka: (under her breath) Stooges..
(She gets up abruptly and heads down the room towards her own seat. Kensuke and Touji don't get the chance to comment on the girl's strange behaviour as Lyn Anouilh enters the classroom, a frown on his face. Asuka brushes roughly against her shoulder as she pushes past him.)
Lyn: Hey! Sohryu, what's up?
Asuka: Just shut up, Anouilh.
(Lyn sits at his own seat, somewhat confused by Asuka's anger, but it is an all too familiar occurance for him to have any serious interest as to the source. Yet the confused look remains as he ponders some unknown fact, that is, until the Class Rep approaches him as part of her early morning duties..)
Hikari: (to Lyn) Mister Anouilh? Would you know where Miss Tamashii is?
(The boy looks up at sound of the girl's voice - Hikari is still filling in the roll for the morning and waits with a pen in hand. Her curious gaze meets his own, slightly baffled expression.)
Lyn: Aoi won't be coming today.. but she said she'd bring a note in tomorrow to explain it.
Hikari: (ticking off the name) ..Ok.
Lyn: (softly) She wouldn't say why, though..
(Aoi Tamashii sighs down at the large bundle of forms as it lands on the desk before her with a loud thump. Slowly, cautiously, she raises her eyes to meet the encouraging smile of Maya Ibuki.
It is a smile masked in trepidation; Maya isn't very used to indoctrinating new pilots. Promoted to the position of Project-E chairperson after Ritsuko's arrest, this is the first real chance Maya has had at direct pilot interaction - the kind that steps out from behind the computer console and beyond the giant Evangelions that the pilots are assigned to.
Taking in the expression on Aoi's face, Maya comes to the all too easy conclusion that she's simply not cut out for her line of work.)
Aoi: What's this?
Maya: NERV dogma. That's your basic conduct routine - you have to sign after you've read it.
(In a small, sterile-looking office in the Geo-Front complex, the newly appointed seventh child sits before the chairperson of Project E - Leiutenant Ibuki. Maya, since having replaced her predecessor and teacher, Ritsuko Akagi, has taken to wearing a white lab coat over her usual uniform.
Aoi looks at the thick booklet of sheets before her and considers examining them, but the sheer mass of the report quickly sways her from even attempting it - there is simply too much to read.)
Aoi: I trust you. What does it say?
Maya: In the most simple terms, you belong to us. Otherwise, you can't pilot.
Aoi: (surprised) Thanks for you honesty, um.. Lieutenant?
Maya: (smiling slightly) I'm actually the Project-E Chairperson.. but you can just call me Maya.
Aoi: Maya. So just how much of my freedom am I giving up?
(The former officer shrugs, knowing there is no possible way she can remember - let alone explain - all the details to the new pilot. Uncomfortable already, Maya drops her smile and simply waves a hand at foremost page of the large, tied bundle.)
Maya: Just read through the outline - it'll give you the general idea.
(Aoi lifts up the first paper and looks over it - then goes to the second. Finding the contents sheet, she flips quickly to the appropriate section and scans through it.)
Aoi: Obeying orders.. discretion of vital data.. defense plans.. secrecy.. Well, I suppose this makes sense.. Sort of.. (surprise) I have to what?
(Maya leans over the desk and looks at the section of the outline. She nods.)
Maya: That's the clause about residence. You have to remain where you can be located and transported to NERV central at all times. So, no long distance vacations, no hiding from the security teams that will be following you.. It also means you can't go on any school trips, I'm afraid - outside a certain vicinity of fast transport, that is.
Aoi: No trips? But..
Maya: It's been standard procedure ever since we lost Asuka.
Aoi: Lost her? How?
Maya: (sighing) Just sign the form.
(Aoi settles the correct page in front of her and stops. Her hands fumble as she looks for something to write with.)
(Maya reaches into a pocket and retrieves a pen, handing it to Aoi.)
Aoi: Thanks. (looks at paper) So.. when will we.. do this thing? The test?
Maya: Actually, it'll just be the first test. But we won't be able to start today.
Aoi: (signing) Busy?
Maya: You could say that.
Teacher: So, in conclusion it can be seen that the derivative of these equations..
(In class 2A of the Tokyo-3 school, the students collectively release a large yawn of boredom. It is nearly the middle of the day, and against all hope, the teacher has progressed from a topic as boring as the Second Impact, and proceeded to actually educate the students. The matter at hand is mathematics; the students of the class display expressions varying from mild interest to outright boredom to utter confusion.
Shinji has his head down and is busy tapping away at his laptop, taking as many notes as is possible. Nearby, Kensuke is furiously typing as well - though most likely for very different [and less than legal] reasons. Touji seems to be doodling on his notepad - every so often his gaze wanders around to rest on the Class Representitive, Hikari Horaki. He is well into his fourth protracted "glance" when Asuka finally notices.)
Asuka: (poking Touji) Hey!
Touji: (whispering) Ah jeez, leave me alone..
Asuka: Quit staring at Hikari!
Touji: (angrily) I am not!
(The wizened teacher looks up, right on cue. Touji pales slowly as the class falls silent, punctuated by the sharp tap as the teacher tosses the piece of chalk onto the table.)
Teacher: Mister Suzihara - is there a problem?
(A deep chime sounds in the classroom.
The class releases a second collective sigh - loudest from the student in question. He has been saved by the bell; the Teacher's ire dissipates as Hikari Horaki rises to her feet and gives the appropriate commands. Once the pupils have paid their respects, the teacher nods once, directing an irritated glance at Touji, then steps out.)
Touji: (panting) ..! Saved by the bell.. and by my favourite meal, too!
Asuka: Trust you to be thinking of your stomach.. and why were you staring at Hikari so long, anyway?
(The class 'tough guy' flushes a light shade of red under the questioning of the Second Child. Nervously, he peers around the classroom, looking to his friends for aid - Shinji, still absorbed in taking down some last minute notes, Kensuke shaking his head, remembering the reward he recieved for his last involvement with the often-vindictive German student. Eventually it is the subject of his embarrasment - Hikari - that comes to the rescue.)
Hikari: Actually, Asuka.. I was going to share my lunch with Touji..
(Asuka looks a little startled as Hikari has her turn at coloring an embarrased shade of red. Eventually, the Second Child shrugs, throwing her hands up in the air, and turns away with a look of disgust..)
Asuka: Bah.. betrayed! Who am I going to have lunch with now..?
(Asuka's eyes fall upon Shinji, still typing.. she touches her lip thoughtfully, considering.. until Kensuke leans into the picture, a bright smile on his face.)
Asuka: Aarrrghh.. no way..
(The redhaired girl's gaze travels around the class - with the Teacher gone, most of the seats are empty. One familiar figure is still packing her books and departing - the calm figure of Rei Ayanami. Out of desperation, Asuka raises her voice in a call..)
Asuka: Hey, Wondergirl! Where are you going?
Rei: It is lunchtime.
Asuka: Aren't you going to eat your lunch? You do eat, don't you?
Rei: .. He is waiting for me. Goodbye.
(Asuka stands, speechless, in the centre of the classroom as Rei quietly leaves, slowly closing the door in her wake. By the time the girl recovers from her astonishment, the rest of the class has abandoned her as well, leaving a very irritated figure standing amidst disorganised lines of desks and chairs.)
(The NERV security agents spread out - two men walks nearly a hundred metres ahead, another pair follow at an equal distance. All maintain cautious radio contact through their earplugs and microphones as they discretly escort the child.
Tenkei walks through the streets of Tokyo-3. The security team did not have a choice in the child's actions; the boy has previously displayed ease in evading their scrutinous eyes. Rather, they follow and protect as best as they can.
They already know where the child is going - he has gone there every lunch break for the past week, walking out of the primary school grounds, leaving his teachers and classmates behind.)
Agent: (radio) Two hundred metres to the park.
(It is just past noon on this fine school day - at this time children are, usually, just beginning their lunch breaks, eating their meals or playing in school grounds. The city parks are almost empty, making it easy for Tenkei to find Rei Ayanami, waiting patiently. The first child sits on an unmoving swing, her head bowed, an open book in her lap, using the wait as a chance to catch up on her studies.)
(The pale-haired boy picks up his pace, striding towards the swings. Rei looks up, her face blank as her crimson eyes focus on the approaching child, then flicker from side to side, observing the security agents.)
(He stops a few feet away from the waiting girl, his small sneakers scuffing on the turf. Meanwhile, the security agents spread out along the perimetre of the park, turning their backs politely, giving the children some privacy.
It is a ritual that has been repeated daily since the two children returned from their escape from the city.)
(Rei closes her book and slipping it into a pocket of her uniform. Tenkei watches her calmly, his expression as blank as the girl's - she slowly stands.)
(The first child covers the distance between her and the boy in a few short steps. Kneeling down, she levels her eyes with Tenkei's. A smile flickers breifly on the boy's face as he reaches out to clasp Rei's hands. His hands curl around her fingers, and his smile spreads across his young face.
The first child returns the smile, closing her eyes briefly, as if in thanks.)
(With the lunch half over, most of the students have vacated the area near the classrooms and now take to the large grassy oval. Shouts of competition and laughter echo from the building walls as the students engage in a variety of games, several taking advantage of the school pool to quench the day's heat.
Shinji and Kensuke have joined the students currently engaged in a basketball game. Neither is known for their skill - in fact, both are straying near the sidelines, almost content to watch. They usually participate reasonably well in such games, but today is different; today, Touji is not on the court to join them. Suzahara is still known for his skill in the game, despite his prosthetic limbs.
Asuka suffers from a similar distraction - Hikari is off, who knows where, sharing her lunch with Touji. This stray fact leaves the redhaired girl somewhat annoyed - and perhaps a little jealous. She now wanders the school grounds, passing between the buildings slowly, her feet tramping through the dust, lunchbox clasped in one hand. She has not yet bothered to open it.)
Asuka: (muttering) Hikari.. off having lunch with.. rrruuuugh
(The girl presses her free hand to her stomach, grimacing as a slight discomfort touches her. She wanders across a bare tennis court, the net torn - hanging to the point of unusability. The girl walks slowly to the far side of the court, her hair being kicked up by stray gusts blowing over the school oval.
Reaching the side, she begins to walk along the tall fenceline until she reaches the end of the divider, where a small bench is placed for people to view tennis matches. Since the court itself is abandoned, the seat is conveniently empty and Asuka sinks into it, still rubbing her stomach with a thoughtful expression on her face.)
Asuka: mmph.. this doesn't feel good..
(The redhaired girl slumps in the seat, leaning back and stretching her feet out, the heels of her sandshoes scraping along the bitumen court. After a few minutes of relaxation, the second child lets out a deep sigh and shifts slightly, kicking a leg up comfortably on the seat.)
Asuka: ahh.. that's.. mmph better..
(Almost absently, her hands come together over her lunchbox and she pops the lid, seeking for the first time to eat the food packed earlier in the day. Rummaging around, she comes up blindly with a tidbit..)
Asuka: (sniffing) Shinji made this lunch..
(She pops the morsel into her mouth, chewing contentedly. She shuts her eyes, enjoying the lunch that someone else - that idiot - made, and produces another two morsels, popping them into her mouth with machinegun regularity, swallowing one after the other, her lids still closed.)
Asuka: Pretty good, as always.. 'course, I'd never tell him that..
(A sudden voice sounds, terribly close, catching the girl in the middle of a new portion..)
Voice: Are you alright?
(Asuka freezes in mid-bite, opening one eye to peer around, attempting to locate the source of the voice. It takes a moment for her to realise that the speaker is not, in fact, before her, but on the other side of the wall. Sitting up, she hastily gulps and leans closer to the divider.)
Second Voice: Yeah..
First Voice: You sure, Shinji? What happened on the court?
Asuka: (thinking) Shinji?
Shinji: I don't know.. I just felt.. sick.
Kensuke: But you're alright.. now?
Shinji: Yeah.. I just... (pausing) .. thanks for helping me..
Kensuke: Hey, anytime!
(There is a distant shout; probably one of the players from the other court, Asuka surmises.)
Kensuke: I gotta go.. if you need a hand, just holler..
Shinji: (quietly) Sure..
(There is the quick scuff of footsteps as Kensuke leaves, his departure hidden by the thick webbing of the fence. Asuka leans closer to the divider, listening to the soft sounds as Shinji takes several deep breaths.
On the other side, Shinji sighs as he leans back, relaxing in much the same way Asuka did several moments ago. After a long pause, the boy speaks once more in the same soft tone.)
Shinji: (quietly) Asuka..
(There is no way the Third Child could have seen her; the fence is nearly totally opaque, made to provide shade as well as prevent after-hours intruders.)
Shinji: (smiling slightly) Enjoy your lunch..
Smoke swirled overhead as the tired figure sat at the bar.
The drinking establishment at which the figure sat was not known for its reputation; more accurately, it was one of the most disreputable places around. All kinds of low life ended up in a joint such as this at one time or another, for various reasons - tax evasion, wife evasion, job evasion or simply, life evasion. It was the kind of place where the drinks weren't watered down, but up - where you could drink yourself to stupidity relatively cheaply.
It was the perfect place for her, in her current situation. Seyoko Okazaki absently turned her drink around in her hand - it was a Scotch, rocks.. neat. She hates hard liqour.)
Seyoko: Waited my life for this..
(The swirling smoke - clearly the exhalations of cigarette users - has until this point obscured her figure as she slumps at the bar, chin on the palm of her hand in depression.)
Seyoko: My whole life.. and they make me a bloody nursemaid..
(The woman is clearly not happy with her situation. Her hand tightens on the liqour glass, producing a sharp crack as the glass shatters along one side. A hairline fracture appears in the cup, causing a matching red sliver along the palm of her hand. A small droplet of blood seeps down, unnoticed, to the top of the bar..
.. until strong fingers separate cracked glass from her tight grip.)
Voice: Can I buy you a drink?
Seyoko: (glum) I don't drink.
(The voice appears to belong to a tall figure, well proportioned, and from the depth in his tone, male. Without a word he sits on the next stool and takes up idly twirling the cracked glass, carefully keeping his fingers away from the sharp sliver. The cigarette smoke swirls lower, concealing his features as he answers with a gentle rebuke.)
Man: Well, I was fooled.
Seyoko: What do you care?
(In response, the man takes her hand in his, turning it over, tracing a finger along the small cut in her palm.)
Man: A small, shallow injury - caused by a sliver of glass, a cut of pain, a slice of the injustices of life.. a lady as beautiful as you should have wounds such as these mended by a strong heart..
Seyoko: (pulling her hand away) Still the charmer, I see.
(The man's smile is a flash of white, even teeth in the smoky dimness of the bar.)
Man: I'm told I never change. I take it you've been given your assignment?
(In response, the woman makes a face, expressing her disgust at her new and vaunted 'assignment'.)
Seyoko: A-04. Protection. In other words, babysitting. Worse yet, standby duty.
(She runs a hand through her hair, uncaringly staining it with a thin streak of blood. The crimson is lost among her red locks.)
Seyoko: They could assign me to anyone, at any time. Until then, I'm nailed down here. My career and my life is waiting for them to decide which fat-cat's son needs a sitter.
Man: It could be worse - you could have pulled a D-06. Then they'd decide which fat-cat's son you have to impersonate.
Seyoko: (grimly) That's the sort of assignment I wanted.
Man: Really? "A deep cover operative placed in a foreign land to be activated only in situations of dire need, required to place their life at constant risk for an indefinite period of time".. are you serious?
Seyoko: Stupid instructor..
Seyoko: (grumbling) Just because I wouldn't sleep with him..
Man: (shrugging) Some of them are like that.
Seyoko: Everyone seems to think we're sleeping together, too.
Man: Let them. Does it bother you?
(The redhaired woman falls silent, looking down at the palm of her hand, on which the tiny red line is already scabbing over. A wound, a brief pain, healed by another's touch - the pain is fleeting, the blood already clotting as she looks ahead to her new position, and around to see the progress of others.)
Seyoko: (sighing) I'll probably get stuck with some spoiled, loudmouth brat who thinks he's old enough to sleep with me.
Man: (smirking) ..If you didn't look so young and innocent..
(Seyoko answers with a solid punch to the upper arm. The man shrinks away, wincing, making a show of rubbing the impact point with his other hand.)
Seyoko: You're distinctly better off, from your travel records. You move around a lot.
Man: My travel records?
Man: And how did you get my travel records?
Seyoko: (to herself) I should have gotten a D-06..
Man: (interrupting) You know why you got an A-04?
Seyoko: (sullenly) Why?
Man: Because you ask too many questions - and stick your nose in unsafe places.
Seyoko: I thought you were the one with the nose for trouble.
Man: Yes, I suppose.. (thoughtfully) But I slept with the instructor.
(Seyoko glances sharply at her companion, almost sure he is joking.)
Man: (leaning in close) I'd much rather sleep with you.
Seyoko: Just a matter of time until you make those rumors into truths, right?
Seyoko: Good thing I've got you covered - I know your secret, oh fortunate undercover man..
Man: My secret? My achillies heel? And what, pray, would that be? Some photographs of my dark days, perhaps? A bit of blackmail from my sordid past?
Seyoko: Oh.. hardly. A person, actually.. a name. A very old friend.
Man: (frowning) Who?
Seyoko: (softly) Misato..
Misato: (pausing) Are you paying attention, Leiutenant?
(The time is now 1:00 pm. Major Misato Katsuragi has made good of her promise - presently she and Lieutenant Seyoko Okazaki are traversing one of the many mechanical conveyors that line the maze of the Geo-Front complex. Beneath the 'bridge' under them is a vast drop into the abyss, where, far below, more conveyors and elevators are visible.
Seyoko shakes herself out of her memories, turning her attention to the Major.)
Seyoko: I'm sorry, Major. You were giving me..?
Misato: (smiles) Your first assignment under my command.
(Seyoko takes the offered folder and opens it, a faintly sick expression passing over her face.)
Seyoko: You're enjoying this, aren't you?
(The smile remains fixed on Misato's face as she begins to detail the Lieutenant's new duties.)
Misato: The first duty of any official is the delegate responsibility onto others.
Seyoko: You are enjoying this.
Misato: If it makes any easier on you to think that I am, then you can think whatever you want.
Misato: Well. Firstly, your primary duty is to protect and care for the sixth child, Lyn Anouilh. You are his official guardian, and all responsibilities that go with it are yours.
Seyoko: (hesitating) But.. I already take care of Lyn..
Misato: And your immediate duty to Lyn is to inform him of the next child - the seventh.
Seyoko: The seventh? Another pilot?
Misato: (nodding to the folder) On the last page you'll find the report from the Marduke institute.
Seyoko: (opening folder) Marduke?
Misato: You must have heard of it.
Seyoko: (flicking through pages) Yeah..
Misato: It's important that you tell him.
(Seyoko finds the report profile and stares at the name.)
Misato: You see?
Seyoko: You're kidding.
Misato: No. That's why I think it would be best if you told him.
Seyoko: (eyes narrow) This is crap. This is unbelievable. How can they do something like this to the pilots?! To him?
Misato: They didn't. She came to me and overturned her.. previous decision..
(Seyoko's momentary anger freezes within her. As if doubting her hearing, she takes a step down the escalator towards Misato.)
Seyoko: She.. refused originally?
Misato: (nods somberly) She was actually the sixth child 'out of the hat', so to speak. But she refused, intitially.
Seyoko: (quiet) The sixth? That means that Lyn was..
Misato: Her replacement. (hesitates) I've been told that they have an.. understanding.
Seyoko: (slowly) She must be trying to make up for it.. she thinks she's forced him into it.. by refusing..
Misato: (looking down) Well, I'm leaving it in your hands.
Seyoko: (dryly) Thanks.
(The day wears on, and soon 3:00 pm arrives, bringing with it the end of the school day. Hikari Horaki is approaching the gate out of the school grounds when a strident shout reaches her ears.)
Aoi: (yelling) Hikari!
(The class representative stops, turning towards the source of the call. Aoi Tamashii runs along the fenceline of the schoolyard, waving.)
Aoi: (yelling) Hikari! Gotta speak to you!
Hikari: Miss Tamashii?
(They meet at the school gate - Aoi leans against a fencepost, breathing heavily.)
Aoi: (breathless) I'm sorry I wasn't in.. today..
Hikari: You have a note, don't you? Lyn said you would..
Aoi: (nods) Just let me.. catch my breath..
(Hikari slips her school bag off her shoulder and waits as Aoi recovers.)
Aoi: (rummaging through pocket) ..
Hikari: So why weren't you in class today?
(Aoi unfolds a sheet of paper, recovered from one of her pockets, and hands it to the class representative. Hikari takes the sheet and reads it - after only a brief skim, her eyes widen.)
Hikari: (surprised) ..!
(Hikari nods, mute, and checks the sheet again, taking in the red symbol in one corner.)
Aoi: Don't tell anyone - please?
Hikari: (offers it back) It's too late today.. I'd have to hand it in tomorrow - you really should do it yourself-
Aoi: (interrupting) I won't be in tomorrow either - it says so in there.
(The class representative's face is briefly creased with a worried look; the hand that holds the sheet out to Aoi sinks back to hang at Hikari's side. Hikari takes a breath, trying to formulate something to say, but the seventh child turns away and, with a brief wave, begins to run.)
Aoi: (calling back) Thanks anyway Hikari!
(The door slides shut with a hiss as Misato arrives home. Looking about the apartment, she can see that, despite the relatively early hour of the evening, all is quiet in the Katsuragi household.)
Misato: ..Hey Shinji?
Shinji: (from another room) Hey Misato.
Misato: What are you doing?
Shinji: (from another room) Home work.
Misato: Where's Asuka?
Asuka: (from another room) I'm with Shinji.
Misato: (to herself) Huh?
(Misato heads into the kitchen and opens the fridge. From her vantage point she can see the second and third children in the living room, both intently staring at a textbook.)
Misato: Having trouble?
Asuka: Kind of.
(The young woman grabs a beer from the fridge and breaks the seal. As she gulps down the contents, she watches the two pilots studying.)
Asuka: (turning page) ..
(Quickly finishing off the can, Misato looks about for the rubbish bin - then stops. She turns, slowly and thoughfully, and places the can down next to the sink. Stepping back, she looks at it.)
Misato: (calling out) Shinji! Don't touch the can on the sink!
Shinji: (from another room) Right!
Asuka: (from another room - frustrated) This is no good! You didn't get it either!
Shinji: I'm sorry! I guess we must have forgotten something.
Asuka: (aggravated) Rrrrgh! Let's go back and try again.
(Cool night falls onto the city of Tokyo-3 - the dark clouds overhead drift on the winds, occasionally revealing bright stars beyond. Midnight comes in a silent wave, and passes, bringing the earliest hours of the new day. It is at this time we see Misato Katsuragi restlessly shifting in her bed.)
Misato: (groans) ..
(Her eyes breifly open, blearily taking in the time shown on the clock. It read 4:30 am.)
Misato: Too.. early..
(Her eyes close again, and her tired body obeys the simple order - stay still. Misato rests silently, trying to return to her slumber.)
(Her eyes open again, almost experimentally, and again she glances at the clock. It reads 4:30 am.
Misato: (groans) ..
Misato: Not one of these mornings..
(The woman closes her eyes again, determined to return to sleep - but no longer feels tired.)
(Another glance. Still 4:31. Eyes close.)
(Her body, seemingly determined to force her awake, begins complaining. A dryness encroaches on her tongue, bringing up visions of glasses of moist, refreshing water - or cans of cool beer. The prospect of a further two hours in bed stretch out into the infinite distance..)
Misato: ..Damn it.
(She rises, slightly stiff, but finally resigned to the waking world. The apartment is dark, only the most faint pre-dawn light enters through the windows. Not yet worked up to getting properly dressed, Misato trudges out into the corridor, wearing her pyjamas.
Her bare feet slap against the linoleum floor as she seeks out the cure for her thirst - beer.
A crack, then a hiss, sound loudly through the otherwise silent apartment. Then, much more faint, the sound of determined swallowing.)
Misato: (burps) ..
(Fumbling briefly in the faint light, Misato deposits the empty can on top of the previous one, which still rests beside the sink. In some way satisfied by her small tower of aluminum, Misato heads out into the living room - and stops.
A foot protrudes from behind the couch.)
(She approaches the foot carefully. The body that the foot is connected to is, more correctly, in front of the couch, on the carpet before the TV.
And actually, there are two bodies.)
(Shinji and Asuka are sprawled on the carpet. Shinji's head rests on an open textbook, while Asuka has one arm wedged up under her ear. Misato quickly surmises that the study they were doing the previous night stretched out - and out.)
(Shinji makes a small sound in his sleep, shifting slightly. A murmer escapes his lips, too muffled by slumber for Misato to recognise the words. The watching woman remains silent during this; after Shinji's brief movement the apartment is consumed in a vacuum of silence.)
(Taking great care not to wake the children, Misato heads back into Shinji's room, roughly pulling the sheets up from his bed. Doing the same with Asuka's, Misato returns to the living room with a bundle of blankets.
Once the two pilots are covered, Misato stands back, a small smile on her face.)
Asuka: (sleeping) Nnnngh..
(Worried that she might have woken the girl, Misato steps back slightly; but her fears fade as Asuka continues to murmer in her sleep, apparently undisturbed.)
Asuka: (sleeping) ..Nnnnnn.. (shifts)
(Asuka flops slowly onto her other side, twisting under the covers, until finally she manages to roll onto her back. She throws her arms out in sleep, one foot protruding haphazardly from beneath the warm covers, mouth open as she takes a deep rasping breath. The whole display draws a smile from the Major, who smiles, nodding once as she turns, slowly making her way back to her room. In her humour, Misato fails to notice the significance of Asuka's outflung arms, and the person to whom she is unconciously reaching.
The two teenagers in the living room continue to sleep peacefully, not disturbed by Misato's careful nursing as the now slightly tipsy Operations Director makes an unsteady beeline for her bedroom.)
Gendo: The Unit?
(Maya looks up from her checklist - slight circles of darkness under her eyes reveal that she has remained at work through the night.)
Maya: The final formation proceedures have yet to be initiated.
(Gendo Ikari holds his hands behind his back as he gazes up through the thick plexiglass screen at the giant form beyond. It's body, bare of armour, is a mass of brown-green flesh - a distorted human form. Elongated arms hang down limply, almost reaching the floor. Equally long tubes and cables are inserted into it's body, some vanishing up into the ceiling, others running along the floor into the walls. Reinforced restraints hold the creature to the wall of the Adytum chamber.
It's eyes are dim - the creature is inactive.
Other NERV personel are still at work; a few labour at the computer stations set at points along the cables that lead from the Evangelion. All have a quiet, subdued attitude, well aware of the extreme early hour.)
Gendo: I trust there were no difficulties in the last formation?
Maya: No sir. The test-type genome followed the prototype's anatomical structure to within point seven percent. There were no problems found in graphing the entry canals or the skeletal structures.
Gendo: Then the Unit will be operation once the final formations are completed?
Maya: It should be capable of an activation.. of course, affixing armour will take several weeks, especially as we'll need to fabricate entirely new plates to fit its dimensions..
Gendo: We merely need to test it's operational capacity. The exo-skeletal restraints are all that is necessary.
Maya: Yes sir.
Gendo: When can the final formations be completed by?
Maya: Um, if we start the final stage tonight - I mean this morning, I suppose we could have it ready in maybe three hundred hours.. if we rushed it. But I'd advise another week for checking the calculations and measurements - we only have one shot at this, sir.
(The early hour seems to have no effect upon the Commander of NERV as he gazes up at the creature.)
Gendo: (thinking) One more step towards you..
Gendo: What about it's capacity to recieve pilot data?
Maya: Sir? Well, the nerve links are nearly fully developed - but without the final stage being completed, it's incapable of responding to any input.
Gendo: Very well. Continue, Lieutenant. Ensure that it is ready for the test tomorrow.
(When the sun finally shows it's radiant face, it sheaths the city of Tokyo-3 in light.)
(The first child is seated at her place in class as she gazes out a nearby window at the sun-soaked courtyard beyond. The morning is cool, but the skies, clear of the previous day's clouds, warn that by noon the coolness will become oppressive heat.)
(Rei glances up at the classroom clock - classes have not yet started. More to Rei's concern, the lunch break is still far away - and thus, so is her daily meeting with Tenkei.)
Rei: (turns in seat) Anouilh?
Rei: What is it?
Lyn: Was.. (pauses, looks around) Was there a test scheduled for today?
Rei: I do not believe so.
Lyn: Because Shinji and Asuka aren't in..
Rei: (looks at him questioningly) ..
Lyn: Normally they are.
Rei: Perhaps Lieutenant Ibuki has requested them specifically.
(The boy switches on his terminal; Rei takes this as an end to their conversation and turns back to the window.)
Lyn: (thinking) Maybe I'll call her later..
(The sixth child looks around again, and again the object of his search is missing - Aoi Tamashii is absent from class.)
Lyn: (thinking) Two days now..
(From the front of the class, Hikari Horaki watches Lyn with a faintly worried expression.)
-(flashback)-Aoi: Don't tell anyone - Please?
(Hikari stands, choosing to stay outside the class room. Closing the door behind her, she waits in the corridor.
As she waits, students file into the classroom to wait until the teacher arrives. As each enters, Hikari marks them off on the roll.)
Touji: (loudly) 'Morning, Class Rep.
(Hikari ticks off Touji Suzahara's name on the roll as the boy calls out from down the corridor.)
Hikari: Good morning, Mister Suzahara. Not late today?
Touji: Um.. No, I guess not.
Hikari: Have you seen Mister Aida this morning?
Touji: Yeah, on the way in. He had to return some money to the office.
Hikari: (smiles) Thanks, Touji.
Touji: Um.. you're welcome.
Hikari: Say, do you want to have lunch again today? My sister Kadama and I cooked extra again last night by mistake..
(Touji is saved from responding by the sound of a wooden cane striking the hall floor - annoucing the approach of the teacher. In scant moments the wizened Teacher enters the classroom and Hikari resumes her duties, approaching him with her papers.)
Hikari: Sir? I have the absence slip from Miss Tamashii, from yesterday.
(Hikari hands the teacher the note - the old man reads the message from NERV impassively.)
Teacher: Hmm.. another one..
(A brief frown creases his ancient face before he enters the classroom. Just as Hikari turns to follow, the sound of rapid footfalls in the distance causes the girl to turn, a knowing smile on her face.
Kensuke and Goro sprint down the corridor, bursting into the room just as the Teacher turns, relief evident on their faces as they gauge the timing of their arrival.)
Kensuke: (breathless) -made it!