Neon Genesis Evangelion
EVA-R Prime Extension
Thanks to Raymond Cooper
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, as well as the fan fic Light of the Soul / Contact, which is set just before this story.
Light of the Heart / At Last, A Reason
Lyn: (aggravated) Ahh.. we shouldn't have come here in the first place!
(The sixth child and his 'shadow' - comprising today of both faceless NERV security and the animated Tamashii Aoi - trudge slowly along the lakeshore, almost groping their way through the fog. The security team keeps its distance, not intruding on the two teenagers, simply following where they are led.
Aoi and Lyn, however, are less certain of where they are leading.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out they are hopelessly lost.)
Aoi: Hmph! Well from the way you've been acting, you'd think you didn't want to come at all! I had enough of a time getting you out of that damn apartment..!
(The girl looks away, tilting her head back, an uncharacteristic note of anger in her voice. She clutches tightly to a wicker basket and picnic blanket as she walks close behind the boy.)
Lyn: .. No.. well.. its not like that.
Lyn: It's this damned smog.
(The boy gestures in helpess anger at the drifting fog. Around them, the mist swirls and thickens, droplets forming in the oppressive chill. It is very much like being inside a ping pong ball - almost total whiteout. A long, dark shape looms out of the fog and the pair split to walk on either side of it.. a halogen lamp, switched off dispite the lack of morning sunlight.)
Aoi: This isn't smog! This isn't one of your smelly English cities!
Lyn: (flinching under the unusual anger) Uh.. okay.. whatever you say.
Aoi: .. besides..
Aoi: .. it doesn't smell right.
(Lyn stops in his tracks to eye his companion.. a puzzled frown on his face as he contemplates her uncharacteristic anger and the strange urgency she seemed to possess this morning as she asked.. begged.. well, almost forced him down to the lakeshore for a 'picnic'. It takes a few moments, therefore, for the young man to notice that something else is out of the ordinary..)
Lyn: Hey.. where's... my shadow?
(A second, more careful inspection reveals..
.. the NERV security 'shadow' - one of the teams assigned to watch all Evangelion pilots - is missing.)
(All over Tokyo-3, things become conspicuous by their absence as the fog invades the city, slowly rolling in from shore as the sun rises above the horizon on the third day.
The Lube lines, for the first time in their long service, start to produce intermittent delays; here a train arriving 10 minutes late, there, the scheduled service simply never appears at the station.
And the fog encroaches further on the sleeping city.
The people of Tokyo-3 begin their long day's work - some noticing the fog as they travel to their morning endeavours. Some head to offices, others to construction sites..
.. the chosen few heading to NERV central - for one reason or another.
Very few actually arive at their destinations. Trains go missing. People simply disappear from one moment to the next; the fog silences the voices of the city, swallowing and concealing any who enter it. It drifts and it spreads thinly over Tokyo-3 - the most notable "absences" occuring in the thicker patches which seem to linger around certain critical systems.
One by one, the defenses "go missing" or fail to transmit their signals. The Mount Fuji observation centre is lost in a swirling cloud of greyness; its hopeful predictions of clearing weather lost in a rising tide of sorrow and despair as the town is slowly strangled by the morning mist. Television stations desperately transmit warnings and reassurances, to no avail; their voices silenced like many others throughout the blanketed town.
And out to sea, the thickest, blackest patch of fog slowly makes its way inshore - plowing remorselessly through the waters of the bay, drifting with horrible purpose, inspiring panicked flight in all who behold its visage..
.. and deafening those who remain with the horrifying symphony of a thousand voices raised in an endless scream.)
Hyuga: Hey, you're in early again. Two times in a row? Its a record!
(While Hyuga is lost in greetings, Maya peers at the image of the pilots as they enter the testing area.)
Maya: What's wrong with your head, Shinji?
Shinji: (radio) Uh.. I had an accident last night.
(Misato stepped the control room for the synchronization tests just as Shinji and Asuka entered the testing area in their plug suits. Shinji is rubbing his head with a grimace, while Asuka's hands are pressed to the small of her back as she stretches painfully.)
Maya: They both look pretty beat up. What's wrong with them?
Misato: They.. didn't get much sleep last night. Asuka's been acting strange of late.. wants to pilot, doesn't.. then does.. I wonder..
(Shigeru makes a noncommital noise - close to a grunt - and turns his attentions to the console..)
Misato: (yawning) So it was a normal night for them, I guess.
Misato: (sighing) Just forget it. (looking at the screen) Where's Rei?
Maya: She's.. I've excused her from this test. ..She has personal business to attend to. Today's tests will only involve Shinji and Asuka. (looking at the console) This test is primarily to re-calibrate the Eva's after the problem with the test yesterday.
Misato: Any idea as to what happened?
Maya: (slowly) I'm .. not sure. I'm hoping that this synch session will shed some light on the question. I'm hoping to call in the sixth child to perform some AT field work as well..
(A pause develops, whereby Hyuga, Shigeru and Misato quietly ponder the deviation from procedure. To cover the akwardness of the moment, Misato butts in with a question.)
Misato: Speaking of which, where is he?
Maya: Lyn? I don't know. He's wouldn't be of any use in this test; perhaps later we can see if he can produce any results in Unit Two. Once we've re-calibrated -
Asuka: (radio) I don't think so!
Maya: ..from yesterday, we can continue the tests where we left off.
(The synch test proceeds. The second and third child are visible on the screen, but the other two plugs are conspicuously empty.)
Maya: (absently, to Hyuga) Make sure you get good readings for the tests.
Maya: And contact the sixth child's security team and get them to bring him to NERV central.
(Today, clearly, was not a normal day.
The streets lie deserted - the children long since left for school and the early morning rush of traffic long past. In fact, nothing moves beneath the oppresive blanket of white mist; no cars, no children, no television or radio stations take to the air, and just as crucial, no sirens can be heard of the impending crisis. The sound of silence is deafening.
The fog infiltrates the streets - on silent wings it takes to the alleys, slipping between the towering buildings. Before the sun has risen overhead, the mist had drifted in fron the north, rising over the halogen lamps, the streets long lost beneath. One by one, the street lights grow dim, then flicker, then fade - the city sinking slowly, its skyscrapers overshadowed by the invader gathering in the streets.)
(NERV Central - the situation could politely be termed one of concern. Hyuga and Shigeru man the consoles with Maya and Misato behind. Preparations are well underway for the next set of activation and AT testing when abruptly, the situation turns from unusual to critical.)
Hyuga: I can't seem to be picking up any readings from the northern power grid, Major!
Misato: (alarmed) How the heck could that happen? It can't just have dissapeared, can it?
Maya: It shouldn't threaten the activation tests..
(On the main viewer, two entry plugs are shown with glowing lettering indicating the occupants who recline, eyes closed, synchronisation well underway..
3rd C - Ikari, Shinji - EVA 01
2nd C - Soryu, Asuka Langley - EVA 02
At present, the synchronisation tests of the children seems to have faded in importance. Technicians usually devoted to analysis of complex mental patterns now struggle at their consoles, tapping furiously as they attempt to diagnose the mysterious problem.)
Maya: What did Mount Fuji have to say about the weather this morning?
(At his console, Shigeru barely looks up as his monitor flicks from one external camera to the next, visually inspecting the surface.)
Shigeru: This morning they predicted a chance of sea-borne fog, but otherwise fine weather.. ma'am.
Maya: And now?
Shigeru: ..I've been trying to raise them for the past 10 minutes.
(Shigeru flicks to another external camera - one that is nothing but drifting fog. He frowns, and stabs at his keypad, switching to another; or at least that is what the keys were meant to do. The sigils on the screen change, but the image does not. He stabs again - a blank screen, no carrier signal. Again - another blank. One final keypress is rewarded with a renewed shot of more fog-enshrouded streets.)
Shigeru: There's almost no visuals from the north district, ma'am. Half of the cameras are not responding, the other half are getting almost zero returns from within the fog bank.
Misato: Damn it, what the hell are the repair crews doing this morning?
Maya: (quietly) None have reported in yet.
Hyuga: I can't contact the sixth child's security team. I'll try again.
(A technician at a distant console raises his voice in alarm..)
Technician: Grid readouts from the northeast districts dropping! 45%.. 30%.. 15%.. Zero!
Misato: (swears loudly)..!
Hyuga: The whole northeast sector has gone, ma'am! Not even sensor and satellite imagery is getting anything!
(Outside, the fog deepens around the northern districts of the city. The southern areas appear at first glance to be relatively free of the encroaching mist; a few moments of examination belies otherwise as the mist swirls and thickens, slowly working its way south and west, spreading throughout the city.
In the command centre, the air of alarm is cut neatly dissected by the voice of command..)
Gendo: Put the city on full alert status.
(Misato turns; as does Maya and several of the technicians. Gendo Ikari has made his appearance in complete silence, Fuyutsuki at his elbow like a shadow. Ikari settles his glasses on his nose casually and raises his head to meet the gaze of the startled personnel.)
Misato: Full alert status?
Fuyutsuki: Our first priority is the safety of the populace.
Gendo: .. and the safety of NERV headquarters.
(The steel voice of command cannot be mistaken; Gendo stares down at Misato until at last she turns away and repeats his orders to the technicians at their consoles. Fingers fly across keypads as throughout the city, sirens wail a strangely muted alarm into the fog enshrouded streets and the buildings slowly subside into the geo-front.)
Maya: (to technicians) Locate Lyn; quickly!
(Wordlessly, the Project-E chairperson turns towards Misato - a grave expression on her youthful face.)
Maya: (quietly) Misato.. I have a favour to ask..
Misato: (just as quietly) What is it?
Maya: Rei was staying at my place last night.. We may.. need them.
Misato: Need them? What do you mean? Unit Zero is still not functional!
Maya: I know that, but .. we may need them here.. but it can't work if they're stuck in a shelter somewhere; I need them here. (pleading) Please, Misato, go get them for me?
Misato: Hang on..
(Misato reaches out and draws Maya away from the consoles slowly..)
Misato: What's so important about her? What can she do that they can't?
(Shinji and Asuka are in the cage elevator in Central Dogma. They are briefed over the intercom as to the present situation. Oddly, Misato's familiar voice is not heard.)
Shigeru: (intercom) This is what we know; At around eight this morning NERV security ceased contact with the team of operatives designated as Lyn's shadow - it was their job to follow and protect him.
Shigeru: (intercom) We have not been able to contact the team or Lyn himself for the past two hours. In addition to this, our diagnostic reports that they are unable to contact the the usual district communications either - phones and radio are out..
Hyuga: (intercom) There's more. A low-intensity AT field has been picked up, covering a large area of the city. Blood type is orange.
Maya: From what data the Magi have collected so far, nearly forty percent of the population of Tokyo-3 is unaccounted for.
Asuka: You mean.. they're all just gone?
Maya: (intercom) That figure is mostly likely going to drop over the next few minutes as more data comes in, but we can be certain that a large proportion of the population did not make it to the shelters when the siren was sounded.
Shinji: So.. where did they make it to?
Maya: (intercom) We don't know. Twenty percent of the city's defensive batteries are not on line - concentrated in one area of the city. We believe that this is the centre of the disturbance. The power grid is also being affected.
Fuyutsuki: (intercom) The best guess we can come up with is that an Angel is responsible for this disruption. It is possible that it is using some kind of modified AT field to cause this. But exactly how, and what kind of countermeasures to use against it, is as yet unknown.
(Asuka looks up, her eyes bright and suddenly confident as she makes a brushing gesture towards Shinji.)
Asuka: Where's the angel located? I'll handle it. I don't need this guy.
Shinji: YOU'LL handle it??
Asuka: (smug) Sleepy head isn't here, so I guess i'll just have to do her job for her, won't I?
Maya: (intercom) We don't know where the Angel is either, Asuka. The Evas are to be our eyes and ears on this mission - you're to try and confirm the location of the missing people; most importantly Lyn..
Asuka: (muttering) English tart!
Maya: (intercom) .. and stay out of trouble; no heroics. Is that clear, Asuka?
Asuka: Yeah yeah. Why the heck are you picking on me, anyway?
Hyuga: (intercom) The Magi are presently attempting to analyse the fog that is covering parts of the city; these areas correspond with the disruption of the city's functions. The regions that are experiencing the most disturbances have been mapped into your Eva's H.U.D's. Keep an eye on them when you're out there.
Fuyutsuki: (intercom) You must remain outside of these areas, at least until we know exactly what they are. If you see missing personnel, Lyn or the Angel we suspect to be causing these disturbances, do not follow them into the designated sectors until you've received instruction from us.
Maya: (intercom) Unit Zero is still undergoing regeneration of it's irradiated tissues, so only Units One and Two will be used. You'll enter the city in the seventeenth district, on the double gantry pad. You'll be about a kilometre away from the nearest heavily fogged area.
Maya: (intercom) This isn't a combat mission - yet. We just want you to get close to the fog so that we can use the Eva's sensors. If we can cause the angel to respond, then we can gain more data.
(The elevator stops on the loading gantry, where two entry plugs await the pilots.)
(The two massive Evangelions are fired up their respective launch tubes into the foggy grey morning. On the surface, warning sirens sound as two large sections of the pavement open, launch rails sliding up into the air.
Within moments the two EVA units crash to a stop on the surface. The final restraints retract with a low grinding noise and the powerful mecha step from their pads. Around them, the city of Tokyo is now fully immersed in a light fog; before them, a tall grey wall rises - the largest and thickest section of the choking mist coving the city. In it, buildings are little more than dim shapes; individuals are impossible to distinguish.)
Yuri: The Evangelions have been deployed, Ma'am.
(The NERV control centre sits collectively on the edge of its seat. Maya Ibuki commands the technical team; Yuri, Hyuga and Shigeru, while behind them are the watchful eyes of Fuyutsuki and Gendo Ikari, who are seated on the highest tier of the command centre.)
Shigeru: Sending Unit One a pallet rifle. Unit Two is arming herself with a progressive axe..
(On the surface, the sides of two structures slide down to reveal gigantic weapon systems. Like mirror images, the two pilots reach out, hefting their respective weapons.)
Maya: Can we get any sensory readings within the thicker fog band?
Shigeru: Nothing yet, Lieutenant. It's the same as the other affected areas of the city - if it wasn't for visual reports, I'd doubt the buildings themselves were there.
Maya: (Into comm) Shinji, Asuka.. are your sensors telling you anything about this.. fog?
(On the surface, the two Evangelions stand motionless, the red hefting a progressive axe, the deep purple clutching a pallet gun in both hands. Both units stand knee deep in drifting fog, peering intently into the thicker section that seems to be drifting their way..)
Shinji: N.. nothing as yet.. Sensor readings are zero..
Asuka: Any sensory sweeps I make are getting absorbed by this damn fog.. !
(There is only silence..)
Maya: Move closer to the thicker sections - but don't enter them. We need some better readings.
(Evangelions 01 and 02 stalk forwards. They slowly proceed down the central residential district of Tokyo-3, where most of the buildings have retracted into the armoured Geo-Front.)
Shigeru: (radio) You're approaching the target.
Shinji: ..That's the target?
(The fog is a wall, a wide greyness so thick as to look solid. The barrier does not shift with the wind; it neither sinks nor rises. It is completely motionless. Whatever sentience created it does not show any sign of noticing the approach of the Evas.)
Asuka: It's just a.. fog bank. How are we supposed to fight that? There's nothing to hit!
Hyuga: (radio) The best we can do right now is collect data. The magi are downloading everything they can from your sensors.
(Back at NERV central, Yuri hangs up the phone with a look of frustration.)
Yuri: The shelter computers confirm that neither the first or sixth child arrived at any of the shelters!
Fuyutsuki: Where is Major Katsuragi? We may well have a combat situation on our hands, and our head of operations is absent?
Maya: (not looking up from her own console) She went to insure that Rei made it in safely.. but she should've gotten back by now.
(Maya looks at the console again.)
Maya: The Magi have completed their preliminary analysis.
Fuyutsuki: Any clue as to what this.. thing is?
Maya: There is an 97 percent probability that the fog is being generated by an AT field. The magi have reached 35 percent certainty that it is generated by a physical mass within the fog.
Fuyutsuki: Can they explain how the fog is shutting things down?
Maya: No. My guess is that the area enclosed by the fog is subjected to the physical laws that exist inside the phase space. It could be similar to the inverted AT field demonstrated by the 12th angel.
Hyuga: It may be physically impossible to move within the fog.
Fuyutsuki: What if the fog is some kind of preliminary stage of the Angel's development?
Yuri: Blood spectrum analysis is orange. It's possible..
Maya: But we can't be sure at this stage. (to radio) Shinji, Asuka; keep your distance.. for now.
(Shinji and Asuka do not answer - they are intently watching the fog.)
Asuka: (thinking) What's it waiting for?
Asuka: ..This is wrong.
Maya: (radio) What do you mean?
Shinji: Do you feel anything?
Asuka: No! It's not like that. It's like.. we're just going to stand here until it tries to kill one of us, aren't we?
Shinji: I.. I never thought of it like that..
Maya: (radio) We don't have much choice, pilot Soryu.
Asuka: But all we're doing is giving it time to prepare itself! There's got to be something we can do!
Shinji: Well.. I suppose we could just..
(Without another word, Unit 01 strides up to the fog and rams it's arm into the grey depths.)
Asuka: (shouting) Shinji!!
Maya: (radio) Unit 01! Get back!
Shinji: No! I'm okay.. but this is weird.
Maya: (radio - suddenly curious) What do you mean?
Shinji: I can't feel anything from my arm... its gone.. numb.
Maya: (radio) Alright Shinji.. try and go deeper. We don't have any more time to waste..
Asuka: What? I thought the were going to keep our distance.
(Suddenly, another voice breaks in over the radio.)
Gendo: (radio) The mission profile has changed. You are now to investigate the fog and discover the whereabouts of missing personnel.
Shinji: Missing? Who's missing?
Gendo: The first and sixth child are unaccounted for, presumed lost in the fog.
Shinji: Lyn..and Rei?
Asuka: (shocked) Wondergirl got LOST?
Maya: Its worse - Misato went to get Rei about 45 minutes ago and...
Shinji: ..and what..!
Maya: .. she hasn't reported back yet. None of the probes we send in gives back any signals either.. so we need you to investigate this fog and find them as soon as you can. For their sakes.
(There is dead air for about a minute as the two pilots sit motionless, as if contemplating their options. Then, finally..)
Asuka: (smug) Well. If Rei went and got lost, and Misato's gone in and got lost too, why do we have to go and get lost as well? And that.. that English tart! I'm not sticking my neck out for him!
Asuka: I guess its their fault, right Shinji?
Maya: Its an order, Asuka.
Asuka: (petulant) I don't get it, why do you always make us stick our necks out when all else fails? Why do we have to risk it just to save some stupid lost girl in some stupid fog!
Asuka: (waits for a response, then continues) Going into the thing is just stupid.
(After a brief moment of silence, Shinji makes his opinion known at last.)
Shinji: Do what you like, Asuka. I'm going in there.
Asuka: Well, I guess you'll just get lost as well, dummkopf!
(There is another pause as the boy clenches his right fist in his plugsuit.)
Shinji: At least I'm not staying out here cause I'm scared of getting lost.
(With that, the purple Evangelion turns and starts to stride purposely towards the thicker fog bank. Behind him, Asuka quietly fumes in her entry plug..)
Asuka: Why'd I get back in this thing anyway.. verdammt!
(Before disappearing totally into the fog bank, the pilot of Unit 01 turns back to deliver a final parting shot..)
Shinji: I might get lost, but at least I won't regret it for trying to help my friends.
(With that, the titan strides into the thicker bank, swallowed almost instantly by the swirling clouds of grey-white fog. Behind him, the Red Evangelion stands totally motionless as the pilot within slowly turns over the parting words in her mind, wondering at the third child's sudden display of will..
.. and a like a flash, a revelation makes itself known in the quiet whisper of a well remembered voice.)
-(flashback)-Kaji: ..think about not having any regrets..
(The girl blinks, sniffing back a sudden wave of feeling.. and nods, just once, to herself as she sets her jaw with determination. The Red Evangelion abruptly strides off in pursuit of its companion, giving no more than a whisper to indicate her abrupt change of mind.)
Asuka: ..Lets go, Asuka..
(Then both Evas are swallowed up by the fog. A lone voice speaks out over the radio.)
Maya: Units One and Two have entered the zone.
(But the voice goes unheard.)
(A frenzied cage of metal takes to the streets in a flashy screech of tires and the smell of burned ashphalt. Its headlights glowing dimly against the thick fog, Misato forces her car forwards, standing on the accelerator to overcome the unusual sluggishness forced upon her by a cold engine. Visibility - dispite the supposedly powerful headlamps - is almost nil, and the woman drives the streets, turning at the appropriate places almost by rote, risking life and limb in a mad dash through the fog.)
Misato: This is nuts! Why the hell did I agree to this..!
(The woman grabs at the frame of her car as she whips the steering wheel through ninety degrees one-handed, slewing the car wide around another corner. Skidding madly through an intersection whose red lamps are barely visible, she powers down another stretch of road, the car still hugging the far side of the road from her wide corner.
Her mind flashes back to her conversation with Maya Ibuki earlier..)
-(flashback)-Misato: What's so important about her? What can she do that they can't?
-(flashback)-Maya: The magi conclued that it's an AT field that's affecting the power grid and defences-
-(flashback)-Misato: Yeah, I know that.
-(flashback)-Maya: But the AT field will protect the Angel.. the Eva's can't attack it as long as that field is up.
-(flashback)-Misato: Then the Eva's have to negate the field.. but none of the children have ever generated a field of this size!
-(flashback)-Maya: No, they haven't. They can't do it alone.. but together..
-(flashback)-Misato: You want them to combine their fields?!
-(flashback)-Maya: No! Not Shinji and Asuka! In the tests.. (quieter) In the test yesterday, there was a moment when their fields DID combine.. but the readings were.. bad.
-(flashback)-Maya: I think it was mental contamination - only for a fraction of a second, but I don't want that to happen again.
-(flashback)-Misato: So.. how does this involve Rei?
-(flashback)-Maya: Not just Rei.. Tenkei is at my apartment too. They've done this sort of thing before-
-(flashback)-Misato: And you've put them in the apartment together!?
-(flashback)-Maya: Just get them both, please.. It's either you or NERV security, and I don't want them to be arrested..
-(flashback)-Misato: But I have a duty here-
-(flashback)-Maya (interrupting): You'll be back in time for any tactical situation..
Misato: Fat chance of that now..
(Misato's thoughts die as suddenly, a shape coalesces out of the fog.. starting as a darker, boxy image.. abruptly solidifying into the form of a parked truck..)
Misato: (scream) Holy sh..!
(Desperately, the brakes are applied, sending the car into a wild skid.. slewing sideways, the woman frantically turns the wheel, bringing the nose of the car away from the parked vehicle. The front of the small sports car slides past the truck - but the back, angled to the side, is clipped by the vehicle as it rushes past, sending Misato's car into an uncontrolled spin. Squealing rubber and the scream of terror mingles as the car skids out of control..
.. finally, amazingly, sliding to a stop in the centre of the street, unharmed save for a large rent in the back quarter. Misato yanks the handbrake, hands quivering in terror, and switches off the engine, laying her head against the steering wheel and shivering from adrenaline and nervous reaction.)
Misato: Oh.. god.. guh..
(Trembling, she unbuckles her seatbelt and pulls at the doorhandle, tumbling onto the ashphalt. She touches it tentatively - as if to assure herself that she is in fact alive - and stands on wobbly legs, stumbling away from the vehicle. She has barely staggered ten paces when a gigantic weight crashes down from on high, utterly crushing the car.)
(The dull moan of the car horn, somehow persisting from inside the compacted wreckage, punctuates the dead stillness after the terrific impact. The woman slowly raises her head.. following the contours of the steel shod boot that crushed her vehicle.. up a armor clad leg.. noting absently the burnished red color of its body.
It is Evangelion, Unit 02.)
Misato: Asuka... what are you doing here?
Misato: (shouting) Asuka!! DOWN HERE!
(But it seems the girl cannot hear her - as the Evangelion pauses for the smallest instant - before taking another crushing step further into the shadowy thickness. In the space of a few moments it has gone, swallowed by the fog, the only evidence of its presence the slithering mass of it's power cable, trailing after the Eva..
.. and the shattered remains of a car, now less than a foot thick. Poignantly, the horn chooses that exact moment to fail, fading out with a last dying bleat as Misato vents her anger, kicking the shattered wreckage as petrol seeps from the ruptured tank and spills across the road in a slowly spreading pool.
Misato sits dejectedly on the curb, staring at the ground as the remains of her car slowly cool in the mist.
After a brief moment, NERV's Commander of Operations realises that she cannot simply sit..)
Misato: Damn this..
(She stands, and begins to follow the power cable leading to Evangelion Unit 02.)
Misato: This should lead back to a power port.. I should be able to gain access to the Geo-Front there..
Misato: Or.. I could follow Asuka..
(She closes her eyes in concentration as her mind battles the effects of the fog. Misato frowns as her sense of responsibilty to the Geo-Front and the urge to follow Eva 02 battle each other. The mist affects her - and finally, the Angel's subtle AT field succeeds in it's purpose.
To confuse. To separate. To divide and conquer.
Misato chooses to follow Asuka. She turns to follow the cable as it's massive length slides after the Evangelion it powers.)
Shigeru: Sir! I'm getting reports that the fog is entering the upper ventilation systems!!
Fuyutsuki: Close off the vents! We must prevent the Angel's presence from contaminating NERV central.
Hyuga: Lieutenant? I think you ought to look at this.
Maya: What is it?
(Maya leans over Hyuga's shoulder and looks at the readings on the console.)
Hyuga: I don't know what to make of it.
Yuri: It's as if the boundaries of the AT field are causing in internal reflection in the phase..
Fuyutsuki: Lieutenant? Do you have something that you might want to tell us?
Maya: Perhaps, Commander. These scan results indicate the the AT field and the Angel have an unusual relationship..
Fuyutsuki: Can the Magi tell us anything concrete?
Maya: The Magi concur. There is a thirty percent probability that the phase space supports the Angel. Without the field, the Angel might..(trails off)
Gendo: (quietly - only Fuyutsuki can hear) It would seem that the old men are growing more impatient in creating their abominations.
Fuyutsuki: (quietly) You believe that they would create something so physically fragile to send against us? That would be risky in the extreme.. quite unlike them.
Gendo: Perhaps not - the Evangelion series are equipped for purely physical combat - which is why the complement was developed, to shield that weakness. A creature with no body to attack would be the antithesis of the Evas. To destroy the target, we need to utterly negate it's field.
Fuyutsuki: Then perhaps we have a chance, if the complement can be recovered in time..
Gendo: I doubt we have that luxury.
Shigeru: Sir! The fog is still descending through the levels! Closing off the vents didn't do anything!
Hyuga: It's penetrated the entire upper maintenance level and is entering the launch tubes!
Shigeru: I've lost contact with the upper three floors of NERV central!
Fuyutsuki: Close all blast doors in the upper ten levels. Evacuate all personell to the lower levels! Activate Terminal Dogma's defensive systems. Seal us off!
Gendo: How long until Central Dogma is compromised?
Shigeru: We have.. thirty minutes until the fog enters the Geo-Front. After that..
(Shinji frowns as he checks Eva 01's status - which is about the only thing he CAN do at the moment. All around the Evangelion there is nothing but white - swirling mist, punctuated by dim blocky shapes; buildings, streetlamps, cars.. the Evangelion continues its slow progress, trudging in what it believes to be a straight line for the foggy heart..
Shinji has been doing so for the last twenty minutes.)
Shinji: (to himself) No radar or sonar images.. no audio pickup, no thermal emissions, radio...
Shinji: (to radio) Maya? Misato? Asuka? (pauses, waiting) Still nothing..
Shinji: (to himself) Nearly blind.. (peering forwards) What's that?
(He looks up, staring ahead. In the dense fog a shape looms, nearly a thousand metres away, shrouded in the mists.)
Shinji: Damn Asuka.. Why did she have to do that?
(The shape moves.)
Shinji: What the.. the .. Angel?
(The creature shifts, it's movements taking it closer to Unit 01. Shinji's eyes narrow as he watches it..
Suddenly the air between the two giants shimmers and twists. The wall of distortion expands with shocking pace, tearing at reality as it seeks it's target. Shinji flinches as the AT field solidifies; he hurls himself to one side, Unit 01 leaping away from the possible threat, bringing it's rifle to bear.
The field rolls over the Eva, temporarily washing Shinji's senses with it's power. For a moment, all he feels is paralysing fear, clutching at his muscles, forcing him to freeze.)
Shinji: (dazed) I've been hit?!
(The boy quickly regains his senses and rises to one knee, leveling his rifle and keeping it trained on the hazy object in the distance.)
Shinji: The .. Angel.
(The shape charges.)
Shinji: (shouting) ARRRRRR!!!
(The pilot pushes back his fear with a defiant yell as he stands, letting loose with the pallet rifle. Shells scream through the mists towards the target, but the creature is impossibly fast - it's dark form leaping aside as the shots trace bolts of light past it.
The target sprints to one side as Shinji continues to fire. Bullets impact on the creature's AT field, detonating their explosive tips - the boy realises that he hadn't cancelled the creature's defences.
His thoughts are scattered as something hurtles out of the fog. Unit 01 almost falls back in it's haste to duck, just evading the almost unseen attack - but his rifle is not so lucky, the huge weapon shattering in his grip.
Shinji scrambles to his feet to catch the Angel's next attack. The shape - humanoid, like an Eva, charges him, it's hands grabbing at Unit 01. The boy lashes out, catching the creature with a backfist to it's black armoured head. As the Angel spins away Shinji hears something hitting the ground -
- and then it is gone - lost in the fog.)
Shinji: (panting) What the.. hell?
Shinji: (quietly) Where did it go?
(Nothing but fog.)
Shinji: (to radio) HQ? Asuka?
(Silence. Unit 01 engages it's progressive knife; with a hum the sonic blade activates.)
Shinji: .. Anyone?
(Then he is knocked to the ground by the tremendous impact of the Angel. Hands grab at his throat and shoulders, tearing at the armour. His knife lost in the tackle, Shinji scrabbles at the target for purchase. He finds it.)
Shinji: Get off me you son of a -
(The two giants struggle, wrestling in the street, their massive bodies crushing cars and cracking buildings as they thrash. Unit 01 finds footing and stands, dragging it's opponent up as they grapple.
Finally Shinji can see it clearly. The Angel appears similar to an Eva - a emaciated humanoid with arms and legs - but it's body is covered in black-grey armour, without details or markings. Locked in the struggle, he stares at it's face - but it has none. Instead, a smooth, featureless mask covers the creature's visage.
The Angel rams it's forhead into Unit 01's. The impact rocks the entry plug, and pain bursts in Shinji's skull. Again, the creature headbutts the Eva, and again, hammering Unit 01 down, smashing the angular horn of the Eva's communication array. The Angel grabs the purple giant by the head and again thieir armoured heads collide, sending another wave of pain through Shinji's mind.
The enraged third child retaliates by slamming an armoured fist into the creature's stomach. The Angel, doubled over the blow, recieves Unit 01's knee in the face. It falls back, rolling to it's feet, ready in a crouch.
The two giants circle each other in the fog, their hands outstretched. Then Shinji strikes.
Unit 01's fist catches the Angel in the side. The creature retorts with arcing blow to the Eva's head. The two titans trade blows, hammering at each other, the sound of heavy blows fracturing the windows of nearby buildings. Unit 01 grabs it's opponent with one hand, swinging the other into its opponent's ribs.
Breaking out of the struggle, the Angel leaps back, then kicks out at Unit 01 as it follows. A foot smashes the armour plates of the Eva's sternum as Shinji is slammed back into a building, cracking the facing with the force of his impact.
The giant stumbles away from the concrete structure as Shinji clutches at the pain in his chest. His Eva's hands grab at the fractured armour as damaged plates fall away, revealing the red orb of the Evangelion's S2 organ.)
Shinji: (slowly) Oh.. no.
(In the corner of his vision Shinji sees the Angel charge again, the mist swirling around it as it displaces a huge volume of air. The pilot reacts instinctively, ramming his fist into the target's face. It's charge halts in a crack of broken armour as it's reels back from the mighty blow.
Shinji follows the creature, grabbing it around the waist and charging, inhuman muscles tensing as they lift the Angel up. The sound of the Eva's scream of fury roars through the fog as it hauls it's opponent down the street at full sprint. Unit 01's mad run is stopped abruptly as the two combatants slam into the side of a building.
Broken glass and fractured concrete rains down on the pair as Shinji begins the choke the Angel. The Eva applies all it's massive weight to the task of squeezing the life out of it's opponent.)
Shinji: Die, damn you!!
(The Evangelion leans against the Angel, it's booted feet sliding on the ground for purchase as it pushes and pushes.
Pain tears into his shoulder and Shinji pulls back sharply; the agony doubles as flesh is torn from the body of Unit 01. Shinji backs away from the Angel, clutching at the bloody injury, as he recognises the weapon the creature used.
His own progressive knife, dropped less than a minute before.)
(Driven on by the sound of the combat, Misato reaches the end of the power cable. The heavy cord has been severed, the exposed wires sparking in the mist.)
Misato: Asuka, where are you?
(A roar of pain tears through the fog; Misato jumps, then looks up towards the source.)
(Asuka holds the knife at the ready as she circles her opponent. The black-armoured Angel appears wounded, it's faceless head tilted as it holds its injured shoulder. Ebony plates of armour are fractured and missing around the sullen red orb of the Angel's S2 organ..
.. the same red glow that permeates the entry plug as Unit Two's internal power reserves are drained with frightening speed.)
4:26:53 TOTAL ACTIVATION TIME REMAINING
Asuka: Gotta kill this.. thing..
(The Angel lunges, but Unit 02 holds it at bay, vicously hacking a gash across the creature's face. Asuka continues, advancing on the Angel, the memory of its hands around her throat in a crushing grip keeping her wary of getting too close.
The creature lunges, black hands outstretched. Asuka again slashes with the knife, but her opponent was ready. The grey-armoured beast drops low, hunching it's mighty shoulders, and tackles Unit 02, knocking both to the ground. The entry plug shakes around the second child.)
Asuka: (stunned) Uggghh..
(Asuka regains her senses long enough to gasp in fear as the creature above pulls back a fist and smashes at Unit 02's face. The impact jars the Eva's head back into the concrete of the city floor, and causes a starburst of pain in the girl's mind. Again, the Angel pulls back and hammers down. The massive blows makes the pilot release her grip on the progressive knife.)
Asuka: (weakly) You son of a..
(In an instant of clarity, Asuka flashes out with one hand and catches the Angel's next blow. Very slowly, Asuka pushes the black armoured fist back - she sees that her opponent's shoulder is a mass of torn muscles. Drawing strength from the damage she has already down, she screams.)
Asuka: (shouting) Get off you bastard!!
(The Angel is tossed over, landing heavily on it's injured shoulder. Growling, Asuka grabs the fallen knife and pounces, the weapon held high..
The falling blade striking the S2 organ dead-centre. A fracture line splits the orb, spraying sparks and waves of heat out of it's interior. Asuka raises the weapon again, but her second blow is caught by the Angel.)
Misato: What the hell?
(The woman looks up at the incredible spectacle of Units 01 and 02, their massive frames only half-hidden by the fog, locked in desperate struggle. Unit 01, it's communications array smashed, bloody gashes torn through the armour of it's faceplate, and shoulder, is trapped beneath a vengeful Unit 02 who bears down on it with a progressive knife..
..where Misato can see the red glow of the exposed S2 organ..)
Misato: (shouting) Asuka! What the hell are you doing!?
(Shinji grips the Angel's wrist with the hand of his uninjured arm, blocking it's deadly trajectory to Unit 01's S2 organ. The creature above him grips it's knife with both hand and shoves downwards - the blade inches down slowly, touching the shell of the red sphere.)
Shinji: (in pain) Arrrrgh!
(The burning in his chest grows as the knife pushes on the crack. As he adds his other arm to the struggle another pain arises - the gash in Eva 01's shoulder. The injury bleeds, and the arm of the Evangelion goes numb with weakness. Not able to fight back with his full strength, Shinji can only gasp in pain as the knife slowly begins to intrude on the crimson sanctum of his S2 engine.)
Shinji: (pain) It can't.. take much more damage..
(He tries to kick upwards to dislodge the Angel. His desperate blow demolishes the front facing of a nearby building but fails to make contact with the target. Gritting his teeth, the third child manages to force the Angel's knife hand back up slightly, only to have it return to it's painful advance
Shinji realises, in the depths of his pain, that he cannot win.)
Shinji: (pain) Have to.. contain the .. Angel..
(He locks the Evangelion on it's present commands - the prone giant continues to block the knife's descent as the pilot's neural link partially disconnect. Shinji exhales in relief as the burning pain in his chest, shoulder and face eases slightly. Then, steeling himsef, the boy initiates the final resort. He pulls himself out of the pilot's seat and climbs up the plug..
..to the self-destruct system.
The lights in the plug go red as the device activates. Shinji quickly punches in the commands, not willing to trust the voice command system - or his own resolve..
----NERV PRIORITY COMMAND----
----EVANGELION UNIT 01 TEST-TYPE SELF DESTRUCTION SYSTEM----
----IKARI, SHINJI, 3RD CHILD, DESIGNATED PILOT EVANGELION UNIT 01----
----SELF DESTRUCTION SYSTEM ARMED----
----20 SECOND COUNTDOWN----
----BLAST YIELD 5 MEGATONS----
----VERBAL CONFIRMATION REQUIRED: PROCEED? Y/N----
Shinji: (quietly) Yes..
----MODE D ENGAGED----
(Shnji slumps into his plug, yet retains a look of determination - as he closes his eyes one final time. Sitting back in his the plug seat, he turns his will inwards, concetrating towards a new goal - not escape, but containment, slowly folding his AT field in upon itself. Around the struggling giants, a dome of red slowly shimmers into existence, contracting, grabbing at the Angel and locking it against the doomed Eva.
In death, Shinji hopes to bind the Angel to follow him to firey oblivion.)
3:23:27 TOTAL ACTIVATION TIME REMAINING
Asuka: What the hell?
(The girl struggles with the plug controls as she feels the Angel's AT field compressing around her, preventing her escape..)
Asuka: It's trying to.. (horrified) No!
(The AT fields crackle as their energies flow against each other. The red sphere encompassing the two giants flashes a brilliant white as the Eva strains with all of it's strength, pressing outward against the slowly closing trap.)
Asuka: Damn this! (shouting to radio) Shinji! Where the hell are you!?
(Asuka strains with effort - but the encompassing AT field is far too strong. Time and time her will rebounds from the invulnerable barrier as she throws herself desperately against it.)
Asuka: (strained) Let.. me.. out.. sheiss.. or I'll.. make you.. wish you hadn't..
(At last, the girl turns her attentions inwards.. reaching out, feeling with her own lines of force.. she encounters the familiar shell of the AT field.. and grips it tightly, forcing herself upon it, seeking not to break through but to cancel it..
Asuka bends her will to negating the Angel's field, to free herself from the binding sphere of force that wraps around the two combatants. And as she strives to match the field of her unknown assailant, a sudden odour permeates the entry plug..)
Asuka: (surprised) Huh?
(Shinji closes his eyes and waits.)
(In the sudden calm that surround him, the boy senses something..)
(It starts off simply.. nothing more than a smell..)
(A very familiar smell.. one associated with memory. No.. a flash of memories -
long hours of well known - if frustrating - company..
names that he had been called..
(What are you, stupid?)
(The young pilot rears back in shock as full awareness dawns.. but it is far too late.. even as he turns, drawing air into his lungs to scream the abort command, the final second of the clock ticks away and the AT field surrounding the two struggling giants flashes a brilliant white and merges into one..
.. and out of the madness, a single voice rises, clear and strong..)
Voice: EVA UNIT ONE - SELF DESTRUCT CANCELLATION CONFIRMED.
(Misato is knocked off her feet by a wave of heat and light that bursts from the two Eva's. In a fraction of a second, the fog in the surrounding kilometre of city disolves under the onslaught as the torrential winds burst outwards in an exultant cry..)
Misato: My.. God.. what did they do?
(The Eva's are surrounded by a shimmering sphere of white light, flickering with red, illuminating the street. The two giants are still frozen in the last second of combat, but the desperation that seen but a moment ago has gone - their massive limbs no longer shake with furious straining, their heads no longer locked in deathly stares at one another.
The scene is almost.. peaceful..
Then the very air begins to scream as the AT field expands in a glorious blast of light.)
But there are no eyes here; there is no need for eyes.
"Eyes are the windows to the soul."
But here is the soul.
Lyn: Bloody hell! What in God's name is that!?
(Lyn forgets his Japanese in shock and reverts to English as he and Aoi stand up suddenly. Light peirces the fog, illuminating the dewy grass of the lake shore from a pinpoint of white in the distance. The sixth child stares at the growing sphere of light, his eyes wide with amazement.)
Lyn: Is that.. the others?
(Aoi, however, is silent as she observes the light source, torn between triumph and trepidation.. a feeling of achievement combined with a growing fear of the terrible price..)
(In Central Dogma, the control room is in general uproar.)
Shigeru: Defensive batteries twelve through fifteen have just come back on line! The power grid has returned to 65 percent capacity!
Hyuga: I've located the Evas! They're at the heart of a massive AT field - blood type is BLUE!!
Yuri: The field is still expanding! Six hundred metre radius and still growing!
Fuyutsuki: Contact the pilots! What the hell is going on?
Hyuga: Negative! They're not responding!
Shigeru: Both Eva's have incurred damage. Unit One's S2 organ has been compromised! Unit Two's energy reserves are down to two minutes!
Fuyutsuki: Eject Unit Two's plug!
Shigeru: Command refused! The system's been damaged!
Maya: Download all data from the Eva's recorders! Find out what happened in the fog!
Shigeru: Yes Ma'm!
Yuri: The field is now over two kilometres across! Still expanding!
Fuyutsuki: What about the Angel?
Maya: The Angel's field is still there - but it's completely out of phase.. it's almost collapsed!
Hyuga: What the.. the pilots are showing signs of mental contamination!
Hyuga: They're well into the danger zone!
Gendo: Cut the synchronization ratio down to twenty-five percent.
Hyuga: Affirmative. (works on the console) Wait a.. The plug system is being by-passed!
Hyuga: The pilots are synchronizing independant of the plug system!
A figure stands opposite. He does not recognise it's features - they are both alike.
A being of light. White light, except for a red glow, where the heart would be..
A figure stands opposite. She does not recognise it's features - they are both alike.
A being of light. White light, except for a red glow, dim and dying, where the heart would be..
(At the heart of the light, silence descends..)
(She slowly rises to her feet. The light is gone, as suddenly as it came, swept past in an ever expanding ring, pushing back the fog. Misato can now see with perfect clarity as she stands in the eye of the storm.)
Misato: Shinji, can you hear me?
(The two Eva's do not move; they are still frozen, Unit 02's progressive knife touching the cracked surface of Unit 01's S2 organ. The red light that flows from within the sphere begins to darken.. )
They do not reach out; there is no body here. All faces, all forms, all names are false here.
The broken glow from his essence is mended.
(Misato's eyes widen as the cracks that run along the surface of Evangelion Unit 01's S2 organ suddenly close. In a second, the sphere is again smooth and unmarked. Throughout the struggling combatant's forms, bloody gashes and broken bones begin to heal, spilled blood evaporating without any sound nor trace to show its existance..)
Misato: My God..
(Then there is a sound - a gasp of pain from a youthful throat... Misato spins to face the new arrival.
It stumbles down the street. It's head hangs down as blood drips from it's mouth. Teeth clenched in pain, it screams - the scream of a single human voice, not a million, torn through by agony beyond measure, agony it has been forced to endure.
A naked child, it's hair matted with blood, it's once-pale skin blistered and bleeding. It collapses in anguish to the unforgiving pavement and drags itself along. It's hands, tipped with broken and bloodied fingernails, go limp with pain, but somehow, it manages to haul itself along.)
Misato: What in ..
(The child approaches, crawling painfully towards her. Frozen with shock, Misato stares in horror as it lurches to it's feet and stumbles forward once more - her heart wrenching with every pained gasp the boy gives. Something within her snaps and she dashes over to the youth, catching him in her arms as he falls for the final time.
Misato stares into alizarin eyes as she cradles the child in her arms. The body is incredibly light, his frame painfully thin and wasted of muscle. Through the blood and pain and terror, Misato judges the child to be Shinji's age - but his face carries many more years.
His red blood flows, thin and watery, his breath comes in short gasps from speckled lips. The boy clutches at Misato, his eyes wide with pain and fear as his wind pipe fills with choking blood. He coughs up a spray of red, doubling over, and inhales again. The sound of his breath is mixed with the tearing sound of his lungs, finally failing.
He mouths words, but no sound emerges.
His hands scrabble at Misato's bloodstained jacket.
Finally, his frantic movements slow.
His pained cries fade in a gurgle..
His red eyes roll up in their sockets.
The flow of blood from his mouth ceases.
All in the space of two heartbeats - two painful moments drawn out for an eternity as Misato cradles the dying child.
And then she cradles a dead child.
Finally she shifts, wiping away the tears that stream down her cheeks. Lowering the boy to the ground slowly, she shrugs off her flight jacket, draping it over his nakedness, before sitting back on her haunches and regarding the now peaceful features.)
Misato: (thinking) Who were you? Who in god's name.. put you through this?
(Misato leans forward over the corpse as the grief cuts into her, tearing a cry of pain from her throat.. the dying pain she saw so vividly on the boy's features searing into her memory. Something inside her rears up in outrage that one more life had to be crushed - that one more child had to suffer, had to endure this pain.
Misato refuses to cry. But still, for the alien child's lost life, she grieves.)
(The fog rises from the lakeshore almost instantly, replaced by an ever expanding globe of white light..)
Lyn: Oh my god..
(But Aoi's thoughts are not on the lakeshore with Lyn and herself.
For a moment, tears are visible, forming in her eyes..
Then she speaks quickly, wiping her face with a hankerchief, trying to cover her feelings.)
Aoi: (brokenly) I guess that.. took care of that..
(She turns slowly to the boy to find him captivated by the beauty of the globe as it expands slowly from the heart of the city..
.. as the sphere grows further, the shimmering wall of light silhouetting building after building.. capturing one of poignant significance.. the building's stone facing shines brightly, the cross at its apex flashing as if struck the light of god..)
Hyuga: The Angel's AT field has.. disintergrated.
Fuyutsuki: And the Eva's?
Shigeru: Unit Two still has thirty seconds of power remaining. We can't stop the contamination until then.
Gendo: Report. What is the status of Tokyo-3's systems?
Shigeru: Um.. everything's back on line, sir!
Hyuga: Power, defences, sensory arrays..
Fuyutsuki: Then the Angel is dead, or dormant.
(Maya's concerned voice breaks through the din of reports and analysis.)
Maya: Mental contamination is affecting the third layer!
Fuyutsuki: (suddenly alert) What?
Maya: I'm getting two signal patterns from each plug!
Fuyutsuki: You mean..
Maya: Their brainwaves are overlapping! They're affecting each other's nervous systems!
Hyuga: Unit One's pilot is going into convulsions! His vitals are fluctuating!
Shigeru: The plug suit is administering muscle relaxants..
Hyuga: The pilot of Unit Two's just gone into cardiac arrest! Her suit's is performing a heart massage -
The sound of a heart that no longer beats..
A jolt of pain leaps through tissues, causing cardiac muscle to convulse painfully. Blood flows once more, a burning stream of liquid through arteries and veins, warming the body as it passes through..
But these sensations are not felt by the body's sentience.
The body's muscles jar violently, hands clenching in spasms of pain. Needles pierce the skin and chemicals flood the cells, calming the pain and tension..
But the mind is elsewhere.
An image. A girl with pale skin and hair, and a soul filled with a void.
"I have nothing else."
A feeling. Pain. An ache, that one cannot help her, cannot reach her, cannot ease her suffering.
An image. A father, far away, not caring.
"Don't you like the doll your new mother gave you?"
A feeling. Defiance. There is no need for a doll. One does not need a doll! One has to be grown up!
An image. A father, nearby, but still distant. But still too close.
"Because I have a use for you."
A feeling. Anger. He has never cared! He has never been a father at all!
An image. A man, close, but too distant.
"Not now, Asuka."
A feeling. Longing. He knew of one's feelings, but never returned them!
Why do you hold these so sacred?
Frantic motion, if such a thing can be on this plane of dreams. A struggle to keep those things that define one. The memories that form one's mind.
Why do you clutch these so tightly?
In the battle to retain identity, one mind presents the intruder with a question.
-Who are you?
One who understands. You, I see, do not. Otherwise, you would not feed upon this pain, darkening your world, lowering your souls with misery. You gorge yourselves on past agonies.
One mind cries out against the intruder.
-No! This is mine! This is my choice! I don't need your opinion! I don't need you! I can be alone!
Die, and be alone.
-No! I don't want to die!
Die, my Asuka, and be alone.
Die, my Asuka, and be alone.
While one mind fights the shades of the past, the other mind reaches out to the intruder.
-Who are you?
Who am I?
Silence - as the ghosts of the past and feelings of the present are dispelled by the simple question. The voice speaks a second time, adding to its original question.
Who are you? Shinji Ikari? Asuka Langley Sohryu? Those are your names, but what are you becoming?
The two, as one, now turn their mind inwards - seeking the answer to the question. Their identity.. so long associated with a simple concept, such as a name, is suddenly intangible in a place without walls, a soul without windows..
.. a being with no companions, no mirrors in which to see itself reflected ..
.. and in a sudden realisation, the newly shared conciousness gathers up the images - the memories - clutching them tightly to itself.
You define yourself by these.. even though they cause you pain..
An image. A tombstone, black as night, marked with a single name of gold lettering. One of many.
"Everything is kept in my heart. I am satisfied with that."
.. because even in the midst of pain - sometimes even because of it - you find joy..
An image. A young boy, sitting upright in his hospital bed, chuckling as his "visitor" flushes red, hiding her embarrasment by ducking away from the open door.
"Well, that's good for you."
.. you find innocence..
An image. A moment of rapture as a mother gathers a child to her breast, holding it close, cuddling its small form against her warm body - sobbing in the darkness as she returns to herself what has been missing all this time. As the young mother croons a soft song, the child raises its head, turning slowly in the direction of the watchers - even though their presence cannot possibly be detected..
The child smiles. It is Tenkei, observing them in return from within Rei's embrace.
"Thank you.. for mama."
.. this is what you have.. this is why you must return.. and why I cannot.
(A sound like the roaring of a waterfall washes over the street as Misato looks up at the Evangelions. The sound rises in pitch as the glowing AT field shrinks, contracting into the Eva's themselves. As suddenly as it appeared, the field of light vanishes.)
Shigeru: Unit Two has completely drained all energy reserves... no readings on the combined AT field. The field collapsed when Eva 02 shut down!
Hyuga: Life signs of the pilots are both stable - they're still breathing and hearts are still beating. Brain wave readings are still distorted but from what we're getting here they appear to be unconscious at best.. at worst..
Fuyutsuki: Dispatch a recovery team immediately. (quieter, to Gendo) You do know what prolonged third level contamination does to pilots, Ikari?
Gendo: I know. But the only instances hardly seems to precedent .. this development. And remember, such an event was one of the project's goals.
Fuyutsuki: (whispering) In laboratory conditions, under the eyes of the Magi! Not in the field, not like this!
Gendo: True. But this will be assimilated into the schedule.
(Fuyutsuki straightens, locking his eyes onto the distant viewscreen.)
Fuyutsuki: (thinking) You always manage it, Ikari..
(The choking fog has finally risen from the city of Tokyo-3. Out of homes, out of churches, out of schools and out of shopping centres, people begin to flow; the lost people, the few unfortunates forgotten in the fog. The mist had stolen them - now, in it's destruction, it returns them to their homes.
Yet most only remember a few minutes of confusion in the fog, a loss of direction. The titanic and almost tragic battle in the streets went unseen by all of those who had bee swallowed when the fog arrived.
But some remain aware.)
Rei: ..We should report in.
Tenkei: I.. have to stay.. here.
(There is a pause while the girl takes this in. It was an expected conclusion - but hearing the words still causes her grief.)
Tenkei: ..I am sorry.
(Rei struggles with the fear that suddenly grips her; that for a few moments, she was..
..it is not an unknown concept to her, merely unfamiliar..
..she was happy.
But for now, she will lose that brief completion - and in its place, she gains a new hope - the hope of regaining it.)
Rei: Then.. I will come back.. as soon as I can.
Tenkei: Thank you..
Two Hours Later
(Misato Katsuragi and Maya Ibuki command the recovery operation from the maintenance cage. The Leiutenant checks off items on her clipboard as the massive form of Evangelion Unit 02 is loaded onto one of the launch gantries. Finally, the viewscreen in the maintenance cage shows the huge cranes completing their haul.)
Misato: (into radio) Begin the third gantry's descent.
(The platform upon which the red sentinel stands begins to lower itself into the ground. Slowly, steel and concrete swallow up the Eva.)
Maya: (absently) At least the damage to Evangelions were minor - nothing more than shattered armor. Its astonishing, actually, in light of all the evidence, that there was so little injury - both Units are projected to be operational again inside a week. Unit Zero's work is almost finished as well..
Misato: Then we'll be back up to full strength.. whatever that means.
Maya: We should consider ourselves lucky. From what was recorded by the Eva's black boxes, those two nearly killed each other out there.
Misato: And would have taken out most of the city, if the self-destruct had gone off.. Did the Magi offer any explanation as to how the system cancelled the countdown?
Maya: The on-board computer recorded a cancel command. But the nature of the command, if it was vocal, entered via keyboard or neural link, isn't clear.
Misato: By neural link.. Is that possible?
Maya: To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure. I don't think that the system is even connected to the interface in that way..
(There is a pause as Maya trails off, her uncertainty creating a gap in the conversation. In the lapse, Misato's thoughts turn back to the pilots.)
Misato: And.. the children?
Maya: We were able to perform a standard extraction of Asuka's entry plug seat, but we had more trouble with Unit One.
(Misato remembers - the image of Unit 02 crouched above it's opponent, Unit 01. The purple Eva lies on it's back, it's plug armour blocked by it's own weight.)
Misato: I can imagine why.
Maya: They had to wait for the heavy loading machinery to remove Unit Two before they could flip over Unit One.. but they're both fine, physically. Of course, that's not what you're worried about, is it Major?
(Misato does not answer for a moment.)
Misato: What have the doctor's come up with?
Maya: Their EEG seem completely normal, from what we've seen so far. That's a good sign. We can always hope that there are no residual effects.
Misato: We can always hope.
Misato: (pausing) And what about casualties?
Maya: So far, none have been reported. The fog wasn't toxic, merely.. disorientating. The distortion in the phase space caused a loss of direction of those who were trapped in it. (looks at Misato) You were really lucky, Ma'm. If you hadn't had Unit Two's cable as a point of reference, I doubt you'd have been able to get anywhere.
Maya: Of course, I don't want to be the one to tell the Commanders just what the damage to the city amounts to..
Misato: At least I won't be apologising for "civillian mishaps".
Misato: (pausing) What about the child?
Maya: The child?
Misato: The.. You know what I'm talking about Leiutenant. The boy. He was here. NERV security retrieved the corpse only a few minutes after I reported it by phone.
Maya: The child..
Misato: They took him, Maya. How the hell was he here in the first place?!
Maya: I'm not permitted to talk about classified information, Ma'm.
Maya: I'm sorry! It's just.. the way things are. I'm sorry.
(The Major takes a deep breath, blinking away tears and the memory of the boy's final gasps..)
Misato: It's okay. Really... I..
Misato: ..I'm starting to get used to it..
(Over an hour later, a report is being filed in the Magi computer system.)
CLASSIFIED FILE # 7-1-1 IBUKI035
"ANGEL" - 23
SUBJECT IDENTIFIED AS LILLITH-BASED LIFEFORM
SUBJECT EXHIBITED BOTH PARTICULATE AND WAVEFORM PROPERTIES
CORE COMPONENTS: RECOVERED.
Outer shell identified - gaseous molecules sustained form via AT field.
Additional effects cited in attached document #7-1-2a.
Inner core identified as I.L.F. - Incipient Life Form.
<-Sample recovered. Organism deceased, anatomy intact->
Physical identification conclusive
DNA sample tests confirmed.
Subject identified as:
<Subject analysis commencing. Updates in attatched document #7-1-3a.>
(Leiutenant Ibuki sighs as she begins the final part of the entry.)
BRIEF: Subject's purpose and goals:
Maya: Best if you didn't know, Major Katsuragi.
(Midday fades into the pale orange light of afternoon. The last traces of the fog have long since departed. The city of Tokyo-3 sluggishly returns to a semblance of life as almost a third of its populace recover from hours of wandering the street, alone and afraid..
Lyn and Aoi are discovered, finally, in the streets not far from the stricken Eva units. The NERV security officers stationed with the boy are missing, vanished in the fog, presumed dead - but the search continues. Their charge remains yet aware of his surroundings - bearing a sorrowful expression on his face as he regards the city, clear of fog, in a new light. As the rescue team calls his name, both he and his female companion turn tear streaked faces - each crying for different and very personal reasons - towards their "rescuers", as they are scooped up and shuttled away to a small hospital in NERV central.
Asuka and Shinji are delivered, unconcious, to the staff at Cranial Ward 234 deep in the geo-front. After being given a cursory physical examination, the two pilots are placed carefully in their respective beds in the ward, only to awaken a short time later. After given a second physical by NERV staff and brief questioning about their experience, are released - under observation - their true debriefing deferred for a more appropriate time.
The two instantly go their separate ways, moving in complete silence, each wandering the far flung reaches of the town, perhaps to ponder their experiences.. but as the last of the sunlight reflects a golden light from the clouds on the horizon, Shinji has found his way once more on the lonely clifftop overlooking the city.
By the time Asuka has made her way to the look out, Shinji is well into the second side of his cassette tape and the city lights have long since replaced the sun on the horizon. Shinji does not hear her quiet approach; it is not until she places a hand tentatively on his quivering shoulder does she realise the tension in his carriage, the burden on his shoulders. She speaks softly to bring him from his reviere..)
Shinji: (pulling the headphones from his ears slowly) Uh... Hi.
Shinji: (blurting) I... Asuka.. I don't remember anything.
(Asuka absorbs the words in uncharacteristic silence..)
Asuka: .. yeah..
Asuka: .. thats what I told them too.
(After a moment's hesitation, Asuka relinquishes the contact with his shoulder, sinking slowly into the seat beside Shinji, her gazed fixed also on the twinkling lights of the city. No words are spoken as her hand slips out - her steady hand gripping his shaking one as the two seek each other in rememberance of a loss - and at the last, a reason to go on.
It seems nothing more needs to be said.
The two EVA pilots sit together in silence, each lost in their own thoughts yet somehow together, and it is not until the night air grows chill that they rise as one and slowly make their way back to the apartment of Misato Katsuragi; their home.)
To Be Continued...